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39 Articles or The Articles of Faith

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by CallofChrist, May 3, 2022.

  1. CallofChrist

    CallofChrist Active Member Supporter

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    Thirty-Nine Articles, or Articles of Religion – The Episcopal Church

    What do people think of the 39 Articles?

    I understand that the Episcopal Church has never required subscription to them, but do people find them useful or not?

    My priest and I had a brief conversation before service this past Sunday, but because of time constraints, he was unable to answer some of my questions. I have done a little bit of historical study of the Articles and also the Westminster Confession of Faith. I was raised Roman Catholic, but have been influenced by Reformed teaching, especially confessional adherence. I think I am looking for some sort of doctrinal statement to grasp, but maybe that isn't a good trajectory to be on.

    I am in many ways still a baby Episcopalian, because I had been received into the Church for less than a year when the pandemic hit and everything went to Zoom online, instead of in person worship until just recently.

    Any input of any kind would be appreciated. I am really just trying to learn and experience things the best way I know how, but could use the input of those who have more experience and wisdom than I have.

    Thanks in advance for your kind words.
    Peace be to all :)
     
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  2. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    You likely have already read this article from The Episcopal Church website. I have no more definitive answer for you as I still consider myself a new Episcopalian (12th anniversary of my Confirmation was yesterday :clap:).

    One might infer that the different interpretations from the reformed folks and the Anglo Catholics led to TEC taking a position of neutrality, declaring the 39 Articles a historical document and allowing folks to think of them what they will. That's just my guess from the pew.

    I think it is an adjustment for converts coming from bodies steeped in dogma and doctrine to come to a church which basically says, "Hey, we worship like this together - otherwise you have some latitude to think for yourself." I have always thought it fitting that our prayer book is "Common Prayer" not "Common Belief."
     
  3. Deegie

    Deegie Priest of the Church Supporter

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    I personally find them useless in the same way that the Athanasian Creed is. We have moved on in our thinking and they are just not very relevant to the modern church. They are interesting to give a snapshot of belief in a particular context and thus helpful for teaching history. But we are not a doctrinal church, as was mentioned in the post above. "Belonging, not believing" is the essence of our communion (in my over-simplified world).
     
  4. CallofChrist

    CallofChrist Active Member Supporter

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    Thank you @seeking.IAM and @Deegie for your help :)
    I think "belonging" is what makes me love my church, so.

    Also, @seeking.IAM , your signature is something that I used to tell myself and shall again:
    "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity" ~St. Augustine
     
  5. Deegie

    Deegie Priest of the Church Supporter

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    You are most welcome. For me, the fact that we can come to the table together without being told we all need to think/believe the same things is the primary beauty of Anglicanism. I wish you the best in your journey in the Episcopal Church.
     
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  6. CallofChrist

    CallofChrist Active Member Supporter

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    I picked this book up on Kindle. I think it will help me :)

    Walk in Love
     
  7. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    So, I'm coming from a different place (quite literally) in that I'm in Australia, and while we're in full communion with TEC, our culture and history as a church here are quite different.

    Here, clergy are required to assent to the Articles on oath. But assent to the Articles does not mean "These are a full, adequate and definitive statement of what I believe." It means, "I agree to keep my teaching and public ministry within the boundaries defined by the Articles."

    So that means, for example, that while an Anglican priest may privately, say, pray to Mary, we shouldn't do so in public worship, because the Articles say that's a "fond thing vainly invented." Or, even though we might personally be deeply pacifist, we don't rail against the armed forces from the pulpit, because the Articles say that service in the military is lawful.

    It's about the agreed and defined boundaries on what is acceptable in the public ministry of the church, not about dictating the private thoughts inside a person's skull.

    (This did cause me some headaches with Covid, because I had one parishioner deeply angry that we were withholding the common cup, because the Articles say you shall not withhold the cup from the laity! Trying to get it through to him that this was a different issue was... challenging).

    From the point of view of a lay person, I think they're probably helpful in terms of understanding where our church understands (or perhaps, in your case, historically understood) itself to be positioned on a range of issues. But if your own thinking doesn't completely align with them on any point, while that might be an invitation to further reading and reflection, I would not in any way take that as some sort of deficiency on your part. They're a historically conditioned set of statements that were intended to provide some necessary boundaries to public worship, and their original context is different enough from ours that we might well have reason to question or even personally disagree with some.
     
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  8. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    Thank you for that. It is interesting to hear how things are different in different places.

    Is this to mean an Australian priest can't pray the Rosary in public worship? (My TEC prays the Rosary in special gatherings in the church for those who are interested-never during a Mass or gathering of the entire parish. It's popular among our former RCs, not so much among this former Methodist boy).

    For what it's worth, we don't rail against the armed forces either in my TEC. I have never considered whether that is connected to the Articles.
     
  9. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Look, there are some who do, because discipline is an issue. But if we were all actually obeying the rules, as it were, then yes, it would mean that. I remember when I was in seminary some of the ordinands wanted to pray the rosary in the college chapel (publicly) and were told that they may not do so.

    For me, the Articles basically approving military service is one of the most difficult areas with them. As a profound pacifist, I have a massive problem with the idea that a Christian can take up arms to kill others, in warfare or any other situation. So the Articles compel me to be more generous on that score than perhaps might be my personal inclination.
     
  10. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    I never thought of you as one with an inclination to rail from the pulpit. I am starting to see you in a whole different light. ^_^
     
  11. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    :preach:

    Like all of us, I have my particularly passionate moments, I guess. Assenting to the Articles means I need to be mindful of keeping them in bounds. :sorry:
     
  12. CallofChrist

    CallofChrist Active Member Supporter

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    This makes much good sense. I am starting to see that about the Articles.

    This is also wise and comforting. I suspect that being an individual person that is part of a body, I may agree with a lot of things but may have questions about some other things.

    @Paidiske Thank you for your insight. Just being able to ask questions here has really helped me a lot and everyone is so kind about them. :)

    Peace be to you
     
  13. RileyG

    RileyG Veteran

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    Fascinating. I need to review my BOCP. Never read the thirty-nine articles or historical documents all the way through.
     
  14. RileyG

    RileyG Veteran

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    Thanks for the clear explanation! I am not Anglican, so this made perfect sense to me when you explained it well. :)
     
  15. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    One thing that is interesting about the Articles is that, even when subscription to them was mandated, the American version were always from the beginning different then the version used in the UK.
     
  16. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    Do you have some examples; just curious?
     
  17. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    They had to adjust for the lack of monarchy. ;)
     
  18. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    It wasn't just the lack of monarchy, though that was a big one. For instance, look at Article VIII.
    That's England. Here's the US

    The XXI article was left out altogether. Here's what it says.
    Article XXXVII was changed substantially. Most of it had to do with the powers of the government and the King over the church, but a small part on Christian ethics was also removed.
    England
    American
     
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  19. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    Ah, I see; so Canadian Anglicans 39 articles as found in my moms old prayer book would be pretty much inviolate. LOL
     
  20. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    To the best of my knowledge TEC is the only Anglican Church to have edited the Articles. However, it's worth pointing out that when they did so there wasn't really any sort of understanding of an "anglican COmmunion" anyway. Not sure when that developed, but I imagine it was in the late 19th century when Lambeth became a thing.
     
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