Wednesday, April 18, 2012

39 in 39

I am told that there are now 39 days before Pentecost. The Anglican Communion Facebook page suggested reading one of the 39 Anglican Articles of Religion a day for that period. I think I may try that to see what theological discussion I can drum up. I am going to us the original 39 articles. The Episcopal Church and other non-Church of England provinces have altered them slightly over the years, but I will go native, so to speak.

Also, the Episcopal church no longer believes the 39 Articles are creedal or binding. They are to be found in the current 1979 prayerbook, but are under the "historical documents" section, and, thus, are not actually binding doctrinally.

The 39 Articles came out during the reign of Elizabeth I. For many years were as close to a confession of faith as Anglicans had. You will notice what an interesting amalgam of Reformed and more Traditional doctrine they are.

So, here we go:

Article I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As you can see, this is flamboyantly Trinitarian, not Unitarian, Pantheistic, or Panentheistic. Notice that God is emphasized in the Greco-Roman manner of not having any corporeal form or passions. In fact, the very opening sentence of the very first article is "There is but one living and true God..." that was moved to create the universe out of no other motive than his goodness. 

Any proper Anglican collect prayer must end with a Trinitarian doxology emphasizing the unity of God. Such as the collect for this coming Sunday (emphasis: mine):

O God
, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 In other words, the basic theological equation in every Anglican collect prayer is in some way: Father+Son+Holy Spirt=God=Unity.

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