Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Foundation of Our Faith.

As every Biblical Christian knows, the Thirty-Nine Articles are the foundation of Orthodox Anglicanism. Not only were they personally dictated by God to St. Paul (or perhaps by St. Paul to God: the details aren’t important), but were it not for the Articles Henry VIII would never have been convicted of Rome's drift into schism – an indisputable miracle since the Articles weren’t completed until 28 years after his death.

Just as important when it comes to understanding the XXXIX Articles role in our faith’s history is the fact that Cranmer himself - who only died 15 years before they were finalised - considered them the infallible, definitive, and binding statement of True Anglican Doctrine®. Consequently it’s vital that every believer, even Dearly Beloved Sinners such as yourselves, becomes intimately acquainted with this part of the Bible which, along with less significant Scriptures such as the Gospels, was crucified so that Our Loving Father might enjoy eternity mercifully torturing those who’ve never read it.

The first key to developing a doctrinally pure understanding the Articles is the realization that they should only ever be referred to in Roman numerals, or by writing their number out in full. Mere numbers (e.g. “39”) are a sure-fire sign of someone having trodden upon the slippery-slope of liberalism on their way to hell-in-a-hand-basket (and every other loving cliché for those whom we caringly brand “revisionists”): if a Bible Teacher isn’t referring to them by their Scriptural Title of “Thirty-Nine” (note the capitals) a believer ought to keep their tithes in their pocket and later send them to an Orthodox Teacher – preferably me.

Of secondary note is the argument advanced by some respected Conservative Theologians that using a hyphen between “Thirty” and “Nine” is optional: far be it from me to cast aspersions concerning weaker brethren on account of their pathetic ignorance in regard to this matter. In the past many fine and otherwise Orthodox believers have also been ensnared by this deception, and it’s hardly appropriate to discount everything else they say because of what false teachers would claim is not an issue of prime soteriological importance.

That said, my own conviction is that God included the hyphen for a reason, and simply because that reason may not be immediately obvious to a few sin-encrusted wolves-in-sheep's clothing is hardly sufficient excuse to disobey His Commands. That something may seem trivial to an unredeemed mind hardly justifies the foolishness of believing we can elevate ourselves above Scripture. Humanity was created to serve the Bible, not the other way around, just as we were also made for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

Incidentally, in these apostate liberal days few people are also aware that the Sabbath has always been celebrated on Sunday, despite what a few thousand years of Jewish practice might misleadingly suggest. Which just goes to prove how the early church never changed anything, and interpreted Scripture and Tradition through precisely the same hermeneutic filter that Orthodox Anglicans (particularly those of a Reformed Evangelical persuasion) use today.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

14 comments :

The Postulant said...

My dear Father Christian, I never fail to learn from you, as of course is only to be expected when one sits at the feet of Anglicanism's greatest Bible teacher. Since to my mind Roman numerals might be a snare to weaker brethren on account of their (the numerals') association with Papist superstition, I shall henceforth refer to the Blessed Articles always as "the Thirty-Nine Articles," not forsaking the hyphen, as is the habit of some.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

As wise decision indeed, my child. I know for a fact the accounts of many Bible believers of a Reformed inclination (some of whom were even clergy!) who as a result of failing to exercise proper caution when handling Roman numerals ended up believing transubstantiation, papal infallibility, and - worst of all - clerical celibacy. One can never be too safe when it comes to those things which may lead lesser Christians than myself astray.

Besides - they don't call them XXX rated movies for nothing.

Revd Ivan Ackeroff said...

I am writing an article on a Baptist Diocese whose staunch faith is built upon the Biblical 3-9 Articles. Do you think I should put their loss of $160 million in Roman Numerals?

Bruce said...

Now I must revise my entire systematic theology to include a chapter on "The Hermeneutic of the Hyphen." Seems my work is cut out for me! Thanks Fr Xn!

Rick+ said...

     I always chuckle wickedly when I read your postings!

Fr Craig said...

Bruce has a point. I think we'll start reciting those XXXIX articles in lieu of the Nicene Creed... we could make a snappy litany out of them! I know that the Royal Navy read their Articles of War at their Sunday Divine Service on ships at sea at least once per month, so that there would be no excuse from the sailors that they were unaware of what they could be flogged and hung for. Of course, that was in the 18th-19th century, but after all - as our orthodite experts clearly would agree - the older the better!

David |Dah • veed| said...

Be careful Rick+, God may smite your grass!

Erika Baker said...

Fr Craig
you mean you haven't already been reciting the Blessed Thirty-Nine Articles twice daily?
They should be incorporated in your morning prayer and in your Compline.
Like the Lord's Prayer they should be said twice during each Communion Service.

I am slightly shocked that you do not appear to know this.

Bruce said...

And, Erika, they can be set to numerous Anglican chant tones and are particularly appropriate for flagellants' processions. Highly recommended.

keith nethery said...

Father Christian

Given your impeccable credentials and unmatched standing in the Anglican World, would you do us mere mortal preachers the favor of posting a Book of Homilies (Father Christian style) that would I'm sure be automatically recognized by The Anglican Communion as equal in status to those required to be preached by the XXXIX Articles (as well as Wrestlemania and the Superbowl) and we who are so unworthy could share your brilliance as ordered by the Sacred Articles of our Faith

Fr Craig said...

Not to belabor the point... (well, why not..?) anyone who is interested might vist http://Clayboy.co.uk/
a brit, who has published several articles re: the XXXIX articles. Please God I never have to preach on the (presumably original) No. 14 - Acts of Supererogation! For that matter, I pray I never have to set it to Anglican chant...

Anonymous said...

I thought The Collected Works of Jean Cauvin were the center of the Anglican Orthodox faith.

Doorman-Priest said...

We Lutherans were always taught that there were originally 40. Something about the compulsory nature of lace fringes in a surplus....

scott said...

Poor Luther. When he left Rome, he had to leave behind his surplice and make due with a mere surplus. Thus the continuing liturgical envy Lutherans have towards Anglicans! ;)