Dear friends,

This summer I have written a series of blogs on “root” Anglican beliefs. For us at Messiah these are not mere root beliefs as they are part of our statement of faith. This week I will bring the series to a close by looking at several statements in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion that are very surprising to people who are only familiar with the “official” Anglican Church in Canada and the United States (whose “official” church is called The Episcopal Church).

Do Anglicans believe that the creeds are equal to the Bible? Answer: No. Article VIIIThe three creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’ Creed and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by certain warrants of Holy Scripture.” Please note, the creeds are not equal to the Bible. The creeds are of value because they are biblical.

Do Anglicans believe that it is by living a good life that we are Christian? No! Article XI: “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith and not for our own works or deservings: wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort….”

Do Anglicans believe that it does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere in what you believe and try your best? That many faiths lead to God? No! Article XVIII (Please note that 16th century documents are more blunt than we are used to). “They also are to be had accursed that presume to say that every person shall be saved by the law or sect which they profess so that they are diligent to frame their life according to that law and the light of nature. For Holy Scripture does set out unto us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby people must be saved.”

Do Anglicans believe in purgatory? Do they pray to saints? No! Article XXII: “ The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, worshiping and adorations as well of images as of relics and also invocation of saints is a fond thing vainly invented and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture but rather repugnant to the word of God.” Please note several things. The Bible is Holy Scripture, the Word of God. “Worshiping and adoration” here includes worshiping and adoring the consecrated bread, icons, statues or relics. The Article says these practices are invented by people and are, to be blunt, repugnant to what the Bible teaches.

Please pray that we be a people who daily read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Bible. Pray we read all of the Bible on a regular basis.

George +