Episco-Fact #155
September 12, 2019

What are the Articles of Religion and why are they important?

Also known as the Thirty-nine Articles (because there are 39 of them), were established in the Church of England (COE) in 1571 by a Convocation called by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In that same year Parliament required the English people to adhere to them. It was the time of established religion, after all. They are that dogmatic responses to the controversies of the English Reformation which primarily place the COE as theologically Calvinist leaning and slightly Roman Catholic practicing. They are included in the English Book of Common Prayer, the last official revision of which occurred in 1662 at the restoration of the monarchy after the death of Oliver Cromwell and the fall of his "Protectorate." It was also voted to be included in the American Book of Common Prayer by the General Convention in 1801, and they are in the BCP 1979, starting on page 867.

The topics included are as follows. Articles I-VIII, The Catholic Articles which deal with the Nicene and Apostles Creeds and the nature of God as Trinity. Articles IX-XVIII, The Protestant and Reformed Articles dealing with sin, justification by faith, and the disposition of the soul. Articles XIX-XXXI, The Anglican Articles focusing 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 Articles which concern clerical celibacy, excommunication and the Bishop of Rome's lack of jurisdiction in England.

More insight on particular articles to come in future weeks.