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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, July 31, 2009

Part VIII: Chapter Five of Thirty-Nine Articles: The Historic Basis of Anglican Faith: The Doctrine of Ministry



"It recognizes the fact of ministry, and states that those who minister publicly in the congregation should not do so till their call is confirmed by 'men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.' But who these men are the Article does not specify, and so does not tie the doctrine of the Church of England to any one form of church polity."

Thirty-Nine Articles: The Historic Basis of Anglican Faith

A book by David Broughton Knox (Sydney: Anglican Church League, 1967). Revised 1976.

The author: Canon David Broughton Knox, B.A., A. L. C. D., B.D., M.Th., D. Phil. (Oxford), was Principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia. Ordained in 1941 he served in an English parish and as a chaplain in the Royal Navy before becoming a tutor at Moore College 1947-53. On leave in England he was tutor and lecturer in New Testament at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford 1951-53 and Assistant Curate in the parish of St. Aldale's, Oxford. He became Vice Principal of Moore College in 1954 and Principal in 1959. He was elected Canon of St. Andrew's Cathedral in 1960. His other books include "The Doctrine of Faith in the Reign of Henry VIII" (London: James Clarke, 1961).

David Broughton Knox also founded George Whitefield College in South Africa in 1989.

Chapter Five

The Teaching of the Articles

The Doctrine of Ministry

The pages of the New Testament show that in each Christian church there were various ministries. The Spirit of God was the source of these ministries, distributing to each church member a gift of ministry in accordance with the divine will. The New Testament enjoins on Christians the duty of recognizing these ministries which have God for their source, and of accepting from God what He gives for them through their ministers. But the New Testament does not descend to details with regard to the ministry. It would appear that there was considerable diversity amongst New Testament churches not only as to the form of ministry but also as to the duties of office-bearers, such as elders, and as to the way in which the church recognized and commissioned the ministers.

Article 23 'Of Ministering in the Congregation' follows the example of the New Testament, in that it could not be more general in its terms. It recognizes the fact of ministry, and states that those who minister publicly in the congregation should not do so till their call is confirmed by 'men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.' But who these men are the Article does not specify, and so does not tie the doctrine of the Church of England to any one form of church polity.

It is, of course, well-known that the Church of England has retained the polity of episcopacy. However, none of its formularies goes beyond saying that episcopacy is an ancient form of church polity stretching back to the time of the apostles. This much is stated in the Preface to the Ordinal, which adds that it is the Church of England's intention to continue this polity of bishops, priests and deacons. What the Preface omits to say is significant in view of ecumenical discussion. For example, it is not said that it is a polity enjoined in Scripture, or that it is the only valid form of Christian ministry, or even that it is the best form.

Although Anglicans are not required to affirm that episcopacy is the best form of church ministry they are required to recognize that it is a valid ministry, not contrary to Scripture, for Article 36 affirms that the Church of England Ordinal contains nothing 'superstitious and ungodly', nor is it to be thought defective as a form of service for the ordering of ministry.

It is also worthy of notice that the language of the Church of England formularies is careful not to contradict the view held, for example, by Jerome and other Church Fathers, that bishops and priests belong to the one order of ministry. Thus Article 36 speaks of the consecration of archbishops and bishops, but of the ordering of priests and deacons. The same distinction is made in the page headings of the Ordinal, while the Preface speaks of 'these orders', not 'three orders', as it is sometimes misread.

Next Section



The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.


LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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