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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

Monday, July 05, 2010

Confessional Anglicanism and the History of Evangelical Anglicanism


[Nota bene: The following is an excerpt from an article in the Churchman, 106/3 1992, “Evangelicals and History,” by David Samuel. I particularly agree with his stance that the Bible must have a confessional interpretation or a formal statement by the church clearly outlining what we believe together as the body of Christ. In particular, Evangelical Anglicans ought not to be against the other Reformed confessions, including the Lambeth Articles of 1595, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Three Forms of Unity, and the Westminster Standards. To simply advocate the 39 Articles without further particularization leaves the door open to secondary heresies like Arminianism and Amyraldianism, neither of which were intended to be “allowed” by the 39 Articles or the Anglican Formularies. (See the Formula Consensus Helvetica). That makes about as much sense as saying that John Stott's view of annihilationism is “allowable” under the 39 Articles. That is far from the case. We are obligated to accept all that Scripture affirms wherever that may lead, including God's double decrees to election and reprobation. In fact, I would contend that election and reprobation are openly taught in Article 17 of the 39 Articles, although many refuse to accept the plain teaching of the text that those who are not elect are under God's “sentence.” I would contend that so-called Evangelicals who emphasize ecumenical unity with “orthodox” Anglo-Catholics have forgotten their history and have more in common with the papists than with the English Reformers. There is increasing evidence that the Sydney Anglicans and the Anglican Church League are following the example of the Reformed Episcopal Church where the “Anglican” Quadrilateral is emphasized above the Protestant Reformation. Oddly enough, it is James I. Packer who is also advocating the “Quadrilateral” above the Reformed confessions of faith. This can be clearly seen from this article at the Trinity School for Ministry, “A Case for Evangelical Anglicanism.” Obviously I strongly disagree with any emphasis on ecumenical relations with Anglo-Catholics, who are basically papists and hostile to the Five Solas of the English and Protestant Reformation.]




2. The second consequence of Keele has been to leave evangelicalism in the Church of England exposed and at the mercy of fashionable movements and theologies which have little Scriptural warrant about them. Historical waymarks are of great assistance in determining the right road to follow, but these were swept away by those who were intolerant of history. We have no need of them, was the cry; we have no need of the Thirty-nine Articles, we have the Bible and that is enough. But Bishop Ryle in his wisdom thought differently and warned many years ago of the danger of taking such a position. In his paper ‘The Importance of Dogma’ he wrote:

It is not enough to say, ‘We believe the Bible’. We must distinctly understand what the leading facts and doctrines of the Bible are; and this is exactly the point where Creeds and Confessions are useful. Those who care to study this subject will find it admirably handled in a Scotch book, entitled ‘Dunlop’s uses of Creeds and confessions of faith’. Burke’s speech in the House of Commons, on Archdeacon Blackburn’s petition, is also well worth reading ... He truly says, Subscription to Scripture alone is the most astonishing idea I ever heard, and will amount to no subscription at all.


It seems to me that Bishop Ryle was clearly right and that, paradoxically, the appeal to the Bible apart from the Confessions really represents a flight from the teaching of the Bible. That was so in the case of Archdeacon Blackburn’s petition, which was opposed by Burke in the House of Commons. That petition was presented on behalf of the Arian clergy who objected to the orthodox Trinitarian doctrines of the Thirty-nine Articles. They did not want to be bound by such teaching and so they wished to replace subscription to the Articles with subscription simply to the Bible. In this way they thought they would be free to follow their own beliefs. That was true of the Arian clergy of the eighteenth century, but why should evangelicals adopt a similar plea in the twentieth century? It seems to me that if you say you believe the Bible, sooner or later you must state what you believe the Bible teaches on God, man, sin, salvation and so forth. If you do that you will surely come up with something very much like the Thirty-nine Articles and the other Protestant Confessions of Faith. Why then should anyone seek to divide the confessions from Scripture unless in fact they are seeking to escape from the doctrines of Scripture, which are those of historical evangelicalism? By thus sweeping away those historical waymarks of evangelicalism the right path for contemporary evangelicals has been obliterated and the movement has been made vulnerable to the incursion of teaching from sects and heresies.

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Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

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