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 First Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Protestant Focus of the Articles of Religion

  • The Articles of Religion were a product of the English Reformation and, in their final form, of one particular phase of that Reformation, the Elizabethan Settlement. As such, they naturally reflect the concerns of the Reformation era, in addition to affirming the creedal bedrock laid in the first five centuries of the history of the Christian church. Philip Schaff best summarized the main characteristics of the Articles long ago: ʻ[They] are Catholic in the ecumenical doctrines of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnationʼ, especially drawing upon the Lutheran Augsburg and Wurtemberg Confessions. ʻThey are Augustinian in the anthropological and soteriological doctrines of free-will, sin and grace… They are Protestant and evangelical in rejecting the peculiar errors and abuses of Rome….They are Reformed or moderately Calvinistic in the two doctrines of Predestination and the Lordʼs Supper…[and] they are Erastian in the political sections….ʼ Hence the Articlesʼ original historical context is the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation, and not just the English Reformation but the Continental Reformation as well. Schaff wrote that the Articles taught ʻthose doctrines of Scripture and tradition, justification by faith, faith and good works, the Church, and the number of the sacraments, which Luther, Zwingli and Calvin held in common.ʼ1

  • If one is seeking to define clearly Anglican identity in this muddled age, one is met, then, with a major obstacle at the outset. The vast majority of American Episcopal layfolk (and, in my experience, many of its clergy) are woefully ignorant of the Reformation. http://www.churchsociety.org/churchman/documents/Cman_116_3_Harp.pdf

I completely agree with Gillis J. Harp's assessment in his article posted at the Church Society page. Most Anglicans and Episcopalians have no knowledge of the English Reformation or how it fits with the continental Reformation. The Anglican communion for the most part has forgotten the Protestant emphasis of the English Reformation. Even Dr. Peter Toon, most likely an Anglo-Catholic himself, has said that the books of alternative services are not the Book of Common Prayer. I would include the use of the Anglican Missal as an "alternate service" since it is NOT the Book of Common Prayer at all. The English Reformation promoted a book of common prayer that was decidedly Protestant in content and theology.

I grow increasingly irritated with the claim that the Anglican Communion is "Evangelical." This word is used to mean that one's denomination is unequivocably Protestant and confessional, that the five solas of the Protestant Reformation are front and foremost. This is not the case anymore and the word "Evangelical" has been co-opted by those who actually oppose the five solas, while still claiming to be "Evangelical" and "Protestant." For those who deny the principles of the Reformation to claim to be "Evangelical" or "Protestant" is ludicrous.

But this problem is not limited to Anglicans and Episcopalians. Increasingly, Evangelicals of all varieties are forgetting their Protestant roots and the essential doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. This is precisely why the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is calling conservative Evangelicals back to a confessional understanding of Christianity. May God restore the church to the faith once delivered to the saints.

In Christ's name we pray.

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