Are the Articles an essential, definitive part of the fullness of Anglicanism?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by rakovsky, Jul 6, 2016.

?

For Anglicans only: Are the Articles an essential or definitive part of full Anglicanism?

This poll will close on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:02 PM.
  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    My understanding is that the articles are an essential, definitive part of the fullness of Anglicanism. That is, the Articles are a necessary or core part of conservative Anglicanism and of the Church of England, such that failure to affirm the Articles would mean a failure to affirm the fullness of Anglicanism. The reason I make this thread, however, is because some Anglicans have told me that the Articles are not an essential or definitive part of Anglicanism. Another reason for inquiring is because some parts of the Articles distinguish their beliefs from those of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran Churches, eg. on the Eucharist. A third reason is because if the Articles are essential, then they are an important tool for discerning what Anglicanism teaches.

    Perhaps some might reply that the Articles do not "define" Anglicanism, in that they are not "chains" on Anglicans. But that debate is not my focus here. What I mean is that the Articles are an essential part of Anglicanism, in the same way that an engine and a transmission are essential parts of a car. It doesn't mean that the engine chains the car. Nor am I asserting that the Articles are all that Anglicanism teaches. So in asking this question, I am not looking for an overanalysis of what "definitive part" means. Finally, in making this thread, I am not arguing against the Articles, Anglicanism, or website rules.

    [​IMG]


    Here is why I think the Articles are essential or a definitive part of Anglicanism:

    First, Christina pointed me to an essay on "Subscription to the Articles", regarding a declaration that all COE clergy must make:

    That is, the Canon remains in effect and teaches that the COE bears witness to truth in the Articles of Religion, and the clergy affirm to loyalty to the Articles ("this inheritance") as their inspiration and guidance under God. Then the clergy explicitly declare belief in the beliefs that the Articles witness.

    Second, Anglican.net is the main forum for the Anglican comunity on the internet,
    and the Community Page on Anglican Orthodoxy notes:
    http://forums.anglican.net/pages/orthodoxy/

    Third, Stalwart explained that the Convocation of the Anglican church passed the Articles as their teachings, ie. doctrines:
     
  2. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Here are two counterarguments and why I am skeptical about the counterarguments:

    First, Lowly Layman replied about this kind of question by saying that the Articles are not considered "infallible" by the Church of England,
    and so he did not consider them a mandatory part of Anglicanism.

    On the other hand, just because a Christian denomination does not consider one of its doctrines to be "infallible" does not mean that the doctrine is actually wrong or that denomination does not teach it as doctrine.

    Second, the Episcopal Church USA includes the Articles of Religion in its "Historic Documents" section of its 1979 BCP. But I do not know if the Episcopal Church USA requires its clergy or members to affirm loyalty to its Formularies like the Church of England does.
    The Episcopal Church is a major part of the Anglican Communion, so if the Episcopal Church does not require this, it means that in practice there are a major number of clergy who have not been directly required to affirm the Articles.

    On the other hand, the Church of England is the central and "mother" church in the Anglican Communion. So if the mother, central church in Anglicanism affirms a set of what the other churches recognize to be their "historic documents", doesn't that make those particular documents an essential component of full Anglicanism? In other words, wouldn't someone who rejects the Articles be considered not a "full Anglican"?
     
  3. Christina

    Christina Active Member

    Posts:
    262
    Likes Received:
    211
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican;Eastern Orthodox
  4. Christina

    Christina Active Member

    Posts:
    262
    Likes Received:
    211
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican;Eastern Orthodox
  5. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

    Posts:
    95
    Likes Received:
    101
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Alkayus and Madeline like this.
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    714
    Likes Received:
    909
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I am not sure of the force of the term 'Full Anglicanism'.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury is neither more nor less Anglican than a young homeless child on the African sub continent who looks to God in Christ Jesus from within our tradition for their hope and salvation.

    I am inclined to feel that the canons of 1604 discussion of the Thirty Nine Articles and those who suggested that they were 'in any part Superstitious or Erroneous, ... after his Repentance and publick Revocation of such his wicked Errors.' should probably be understood in the context of the time in which the canons were passed.

    The strength of Anglicanism is not defined by how high we build the fence, but rather by how high we lift the Saviour of the World that those outside the fence may see and believe.
     
    Lowly Layman, Madeline and Aidan like this.
  7. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    A fourth reason to consider the Articles' teachings as an essential part of Anglicanism is what the Anglican Mainstream website highlights about Canon 7 of the COE:

     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    714
    Likes Received:
    909
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    C 7 Of examination for holy orders
    No bishop shall admit any person into holy orders, except such person on careful and diligent examination, wherein the bishop shall have called to his assistance the archdeacons and other ministers appointed for this purpose, be found to possess a sufficient knowledge of Holy Scripture and of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church of England as set forth in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal: and to fulfil the requirements as to learning and other qualities which, subject to any directions given by the General Synod, the bishop deems necessary for the office of deacon.​
     
  9. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Hello, Christina,
    How do you see the COE's current Affirmation of Loyalty to the Articles as one's personal inspiration and guidance by God as different from a subscription to them?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    849
    Likes Received:
    666
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    The are a definitive guideline of what we do not believe, but not a complete summary of what we do believe. That is why I agreed to make the oath on this site.
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    714
    Likes Received:
    909
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I concur to some extent, however reading some of the articles, especially the early ones, there are a number of definitive claims to things we do believe and cherish most dear. I would cite Article I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, as examples of articles which set forth things that we clearly believe. There is no doubt a change in the way we speak English, and perhaps there is an argument that they may need to re-rendered so they may more absolute and deliberate and plain sense in the 21st century.

    There are discussions here about the first two of the articles, and it seems to me that they are very positive statements about what we do believe.

    Perhaps we might find more value in discussing what the articles do say, as against the value of the articles in themselves. The articles in my view do not need us to stand and defend them, they are important not because I say so, they are important because of what they themselves say. What they say has helped shape that which we call Anglican. They of course are not the only things that has helped shape Anglicanism, indeed I think that the liturgy expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, the collects and the translation of the psalms, has made a big contribution to or shape form and belief.

    As one wit once expressed it 'The Anglican Church is a diverse group of peoples loosely bound together by a prayer book they no longer use". Perhaps I should add that I fear without a prayer book we may be found to lack spine.
     
  12. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

    Posts:
    221
    Likes Received:
    207
    Country:
    south africa
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I'm not learned on these things but my priest told me that the articles must be read in their context. They don't seem to be a requirement in most of the Anglican world...making them non-essential according to my personal observation. There are millions of fully functioning and dedicated Anglicans out there who don't even know of their existence.
     
    Christina likes this.
  13. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Anglican74,

    I can understand that the Articles are not a complete summary and I did not mean it as such when making this thread, only that they are an essential part of full Anglicanism.

    When I say full Anglicanism I don't mean that a person in the Ep. Church USA is not a full member of the Anglican Communion. Rather I meant that the articles are one essential or definitive component of Anglicanism's full ideology/beliefs. A person who accepted the beliefs in the Articles could have the full ecclesiastical privileges and benefits found in the church, but failure to affirm loyalty to their beliefs would mean that the person could not join the COE's clergy.
     
  14. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    107
    Likes Received:
    96
    We will continue to output works from the Anglican tradition especially the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries upon the Articles. These are upcoming, so please stay tuned:

    William Beveridge, The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England (1716)
    James Boys, A Practical Exposition upon the Thirty-Nine Articles of the CoE (1716)
    Randolph Ford, Christianae Religionis, sive Ecclesiae Anglicanae articuli XXXIX (1729)

    And many more.
     
    Botolph and CWJ like this.
  15. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    That is helpful. I think 16th and early 17th c. writings are the most helpful bc they are contemporary. Someone writing in the 18th or 19th centuries might be influenced by later trends like the Oxford movement.
     
  16. Christina

    Christina Active Member

    Posts:
    262
    Likes Received:
    211
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican;Eastern Orthodox
    I struggle a little to know how to answer your question. Correct me if I am wrong, but the EO and RC Churches have doctrines that all full members must subscribe to. The only doctrinal statement that I understand the C of E asks me to subscribe to is the Nicene Creed. Beyond that members of the Anglican communion have different views, understandings, ways of worship etc. I am a full member of the C of E. When preparing for confirmation in my late teens I wasn't introduced to the 39 Articles at all . It wasn't until a few years later that I even heard of them - I was a full member before that. Taking personal inspiration and guidance from something is fine. We take personal inspiration and guidance from the Bible which, as we all know, can be interpreted in different ways, Likewise, the Articles, which are not Scripture or infallible, can also be interpreted in different ways.
     
    Madeline likes this.
  17. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Yes, I understand that you would not have to openly affirm loyalty to the Articles like COE holy orders do.
     
  18. Christina

    Christina Active Member

    Posts:
    262
    Likes Received:
    211
    Country:
    England
    Religion:
    Anglican;Eastern Orthodox
    Traditionally subscription meant "a signed declaration or agreement" - implication being, I think, a signed declaration of belief in or acceptance of the Articles. I think that this is rather different to having loyalty to the Articles as personal inspiration and guidance. Some Anglicans on this forum do make an oath of acceptance - a bit like a subscription. Others don't, but probably can be inspired by what was written centuries ago and guided by it.
     
    CWJ, Madeline and Botolph like this.
  19. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    33
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Did the COE actually require all priests to sign that the affirmed the Articles?

    The Episcopal Church glossary says that Anglicanism means the churches in communion with the see of canterbury.

    Another Anglican glossary said that in England, Anglicanism is called the Church of England. Is that true?

    Canon 7 or 15 of the COE IIRC says that the COE's doctrines are in the Articles.
     
  20. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    106
    Likes Received:
    120
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Laudian Anglo-Catholic
    Edit: Disregard, wrong thread.
     

Share This Page