The THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES OF RELIGION (commonly abbreviated as the THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES or the XXXIX ARTICLES) are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation . The Thirty-nine Articles form part of the Book of Common Prayer used by both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church . Several versions are available online.
Henry VIII broke with the
Roman Catholic Church
The articles went through at least five major revisions prior to
their finalisation in 1571. The first attempt was the Ten Articles in
1536, which showed some slightly
Finally, upon the coronation of
The Thirty-nine articles were finalised in 1571, and incorporated
Book of Common Prayer . Although not the end of the struggle
* 1 Ten Articles (1536)
* 2 Bishops\' Book (1537)
* 2.1 Authorship
* 3 Six Articles (1539) * 4 King\'s Book (1543) * 5 Forty-Two Articles (1553)
* 6 Thirty-nine Articles (1563)
* 6.1 Content
* 6.1.1 Summary
* 6.2 Interpretation * 6.3 History and influence
* 7 References
* 7.1 Citations * 7.2 Sources
* 8 Further reading * 9 External links
TEN ARTICLES (1536)
In summary, the Ten Articles asserted:
* The binding authority of the Bible, the three ecumenical creeds and the first four ecumenical councils * The necessity of baptism for salvation, even in the case of infants (Art. II. says that "infants ought to be baptised" and that, dying in infancy, they "shall undoubtedly be saved thereby, and else not"; that the opinions of Anabaptists and Pelagians are "detestable heresies, and utterly to be condemned".) * The sacrament of penance, with confession and absolution, which are declared "expedient and necessary" * The substantial, real, corporal presence of Christ's body and blood under the form of bread and wine in the Eucharist * Justification by faith, joined with charity and obedience * The use of images in churches * The honouring of saints and the Virgin Mary * The invocation of saints * The observance of various rites and ceremonies as good and laudable, such as clerical vestments, sprinkling of holy water, bearing of candles on Candlemas-day, giving of ashes on Ash Wednesday * The doctrine of purgatory , and prayers for the dead in purgatory (made purgatory a non-essential doctrine)
The emerging doctrines of the autonomous Church of England were followed by further explication in The Institution of the Christian Man.
BISHOPS\' BOOK (1537)
The Institution of the Christian Man (also called The Bishops' Book),
published in 1537, was written by a committee of 46 divines and
bishops headed by Thomas Cranmer. The purpose of the work, along with
the Ten Articles of the previous year, was to implement the reforms of
Henry VIII in separating from the
The list of the 46 divines as they appear in the Bishop's Book included all of the bishops, eight archdeacons and 17 other Doctors of Divinity, some of whom were later involved with translating the Bible and compiling the Prayer Book :
SIX ARTICLES (1539)
One of the final drafts of the Six articles (1539), amended in King Henry VIII's own hand
In 1538, three German theologians – Francis Burkhardt,
vice-chancellor of Saxony; George von Boyneburg, doctor of law; and
Friedrich Myconius , superintendent of the church of Gotha – were
sent to London and held conferences with the
Anglican bishops and
clergy in the archbishop's palace at Lambeth for several months. The
Germans presented, as a basis of agreement, a number of Articles based
Henry had felt uneasy about the appearance of the
* transubstantiation , * the reasonableness of withholding of the cup from the laity during communion , * clerical celibacy , * observance of vows of chastity , * permission for private masses , * the importance of auricular confession .
Penalties under the Act, "the whip with six strings", ranged from
imprisonment and fine to death. However, its severity was reduced by
an act of 1540, which retained the death penalty only for denial of
transubstantiation, and a further act limited its arbitrariness. The
As the Act of the Six Articles neared passage in Parliament, Cranmer
moved his wife and children out of seclusion, probably in Ford Palace
KING\'S BOOK (1543)
The Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Any Christian Man, also known as the King's Book, was published in 1543, and attributed to Henry VIII. It was a revision of The Institution of the Christian Man, and defended transubstantiation and the Six Articles. It also encouraged preaching and attacked the use of images.
FORTY-TWO ARTICLES (1553)
The Forty-Two Articles were intended to summarise
as it now existed under the reign of
Edward VI , who favoured a
THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES (1563)
Elizabeth I, in whose reign the Thirty-nine Articles were passed.
Thirty-nine Articles were not intended as a complete statement of
the Christian faith, but of the position of the
Church of England in
relation to the
The Articles highlight the
Anglican positions with regard to orthodox
ARTICLES I–VIII: THE CATHOLIC ARTICLES: The first five articles
ARTICLES IX—XVIII: THE PROTESTANT AND REFORMED ARTICLES: These articles dwell on the topics of sin , justification , and the eternal disposition of the soul. Of particular focus is the major Reformation topic of justification by faith .
ARTICLES XIX–XXXI: THE ANGLICAN ARTICLES: This section focuses on the expression of faith in the public venue – the institutional church, the councils of the church , worship , ministry , and sacramental theology .
ARTICLES XXXII—XXXIX: MISCELLANEOUS: These articles concern clerical celibacy , excommunication , traditions of the Church, and other issues not covered elsewhere. Article XXXVII additionally states among other things that the Bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in the realm of England.
In 1628 Charles I prefixed a royal declaration to the articles, which demands a literal interpretation of them, threatening discipline for academics or churchmen teaching any personal interpretations or encouraging debate about them. It states: "no man hereafter shall either print or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and Full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense."
However, what the Articles truly mean has been a matter of debate in the Church since before they were issued. The evangelical wing of the Church has taken the Articles at face value. In 2003, evangelical Anglican clergyman Chris Pierce wrote:
The Thirty-Nine Articles define the biblically derived summations
of precise Christian doctrine. The Thirty-Nine Articles are more than
minimally assented to; they are believed wholeheartedly. In earlier
times English and Irish evangelicals would have read Cranmer, Ridley ,
Latimer , Ussher , and Ryle and would unreservedly agree with Dean
Litton's assessment that (quoted by Dean Paul Zahl, in his work 'The
“ Some of them are the very same that are contained in the Creed; some others of them are practical truths, which come not within the proper list of points or articles to be believed; lastly, some of them are pious opinions or inferior truths, which are proposed by the Church of England to all her sons, as not to be opposed; not as essentials of Faith necessary to be believed by all Christians necessitate medii, under pain of damnation. ”
This divergence of opinion became overt during the
Oxford Movement of
the 19th century. The stipulations of Articles XXV and XXVIII were
regularly invoked by evangelicals to oppose the reintroduction of
certain beliefs, customs, and acts of piety with respect to the
sacraments. In response,
John Henry Newman 's
Tract 90 attempted to
show that the Articles could be interpreted in a way less hostile to
HISTORY AND INFLUENCE
The Prayer book of 1662 included the Thirty-nine Articles.
Adherence to the Articles was made a legal requirement by the English Parliament in 1571. They are printed in the Book of Common Prayer and other Anglican prayer books. The Test Act of 1672 made adherence to the Articles a requirement for holding civil office in England until its repeal in 1828. Students at Oxford University were still expected to sign up to them until the passing of the Oxford University Act 1854 .
In the past, in numerous national churches and dioceses, those entering Holy Orders had to make an oath of subscription to the Articles. Clergy of the Church of England are required to affirm their loyalty to the Articles and other historic formularies (the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons). The Church of Ireland has a similar declaration for its clergy, while some other churches of the Anglican Communion make no such requirement.
The influence of the Articles on
Anglican thought, doctrine and
practice has been profound. Although Article VIII itself states that
A revised version was adopted in 1801 by the US Episcopal Church.
In Anglican discourse, the Articles are regularly cited and interpreted to clarify doctrine and practice. Sometimes they are used to prescribe support of Anglican comprehensiveness. An important concrete manifestation of this is the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral , which incorporates Articles VI, VIII, XXV, and XXXVI in its broad articulation of fundamental Anglican identity. In other circumstances they delineate the parameters of acceptable belief and practice in proscriptive fashion.
The Articles continue to be invoked today in the Anglican Church. For example, in the ongoing debate over homosexual activity and the concomitant controversies over episcopal authority, Articles VI, XX, XXIII, XXVI, and XXXIV are regularly cited by those of various opinions.
Each of the 44 member churches in the Anglican Communion is, however, free to adopt and authorise its own official documents, and the Articles are not officially normative in all Anglican Churches (neither is the Athanasian Creed ). The only doctrinal documents agreed upon in the Anglican Communion are the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed of AD 381, and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Beside these documents, authorised liturgical formularies, such as Prayer Book and Ordinal, are normative. The several provincial editions of Prayer Books (and authorised alternative liturgies) are, however, not identical, although they share a greater or smaller amount of family resemblance. No specific edition of the Prayer Book is therefore binding for the entire Communion.
* ^ A B The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 1622
* ^ A B Chapman, Mark (2006). Anglicanism: A Very Short
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280693-9 .
Church of England (1999) . The Book of Common Prayer. with an
introduction by Diarmaid MacCulloch. London: Everyman's Library. ISBN
* ^ Blunt, J. (1869). The Reformation of the
Church of England –
its history, principles and results (A.D. 1514–1547). London,
Oxford, and Cambridge: Rivingtons. pp. 444–445.
* ^ MacCulloch 1996
* ^ A B The Reformation in England, Volume 2 Book 3. Edinburgh:
Banner of Truth Trust. 1972. ISBN 978-0-85151-487-1 .
* ^ A B MacCulloch 1996 , pp. 213–221
* ^ Ridley 1962 , p. 180
* ^ MacCulloch 1996 , pp. 235–250
* ^ World Religions Protestantism,page:77 Third Edition, by Stephen
F. Borwn, Chelsea House Publishers,2009, ISBN 978-1-60413-112-3 °
* ^ Forty-Two Articles (Faximile and modern English)
* ^ A B The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 428
* ^ A B C The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 625
* ^ A B C
* John Guy, Tudor England Oxford 1991. * J. D. Mackie , The Earlier Tudors, 1485–1558, Oxford Paperbacks, 1994, paperback, 721 pages, ISBN 0-19-285292-2 * Ayris, Paul; Selwyn, David, eds. (1993). Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: The Boydell Press . ISBN 0-85115-549-9 . * Cross, F. L.; Livingstone, E. A., eds. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press . ISBN 0-19-211655-X . . * D\'Aubigné, J. H. Merle (1972). The Reformation in England, Volume 2 Book 3. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust . ISBN 978-0-85151-487-1 . . * MacCulloch, Diarmaid (1996). Thomas Cranmer: A Life. London: Yale University Press . ISBN 0-300-06688-0 . . * Ridley, Jasper (1962). "Thomas Cranmer". Oxford: Clarendon Press . OCLC 398369 . .
* Bicknell, E J. A Theological Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. London: Longmans, 1955. Print. * Denison, Edward (1835). A Review of the State of the Question respecting the Admission of Dissenters to the Universities. London: John Cochran. * Douglas, Brian. A Companion to Anglican Eucharistic Theology, Volume 1, Leiden: Brill, 2012, pp. 234–246. * Kirby, Torrance. The Articles of Religion of the Church of England (1563/71), commonly called the Thirty-Nine Articles. In Andreas Mühling and Peter Opitz, eds. Reformierte Bekenntnisschriften. Band 2/1, 1559-1563, 371-410. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2009. * O\'Donovan, Oliver . On the 39 Articles: A Conversation with Tudor Christianity. Paternoster, 1986. * Redworth, Glyn. A Study in the Formulation of Policy: The Genesis and Evolution of the Act of Six Articles. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 37/1 (1986): 42–67.
* The Ten Articles of 1536 * Audio version of the 39 Articles in mp3 format * Articles of Religion, text of the 1571