Thursday, March 19, 2015

39 Articles Lent Course Session 4 notes

 Articles 19–36: The Church
            Articles 19-21: The church and its (limited) authority
            Articles 22-24: Some errors to be avoided in the church
            Articles 25-31: The sacraments
            Articles 32-36: The discipline of the church

Article 19: Of the Church

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

The visible church is not simply the Roman Catholic church. The Pope does not define the church.
Distinguish invisible and visible church. Invisible church: all true believers. We cannot see into people’s hearts. Some who belong to the visible church may not be members of the invisible church. Cranmer said the visible church included “all who are baptized in Christ, who have not openly denied him nor been lawfully and by his Word excommunicated”.
“Congregation” (coetus) can mean a group of people of whatever size, not necessarily a local congregation cf. Ex 12:19; Josh 22:18; Ps 74:2.
“men” used generically, of course.
“faithful” means those who profess the Christian faith. Cf. Article 26.
Two marks of the church. Mt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:23-25; Acts 2:37-42; Eph 2:20.
“pure”, not with the addition of erroneous human traditions.
Some added church discipline as a mark of the church.   
Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch are the 3 historic patriarchates of the Eastern Church.
Contrast the fallibility of churches and the infallibility of Scripture.
 Some of the errors of the church of Rome are pointed out e.g. in Articles 32, 24, 30, 6, 14, 22, 25, 28.
Papal infallibility did not become a dogma of the Roman Catholic church until 1870, but in the 16th C the church held it was “indefectible”, preserved from error.  

Article 20: Of the Authority of the Church

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

Against some Protestants who objected to the church going beyond Scripture and against the Roman Catholic church which was said to have ordained things contrary to Scripture.
 In the Jewish church the festivals of Purim and the Dedication seem to have been added without direct divine authorisation. Mt 23:2-3; 1 Cor 11 inc. v16; 14:27, 34, 40; 1 Tim 2:12. The church is not simply to repeat the Bible – it needs to be explained and applied. The creeds and the articles are an example of this. Titus 1:9, 13; 2 Tim 2:2.
A limited authority of the church. The supreme authority of Scripture. The unity & consistency of Scripture – it is the Word of God, God does not contradict himself. A harmonious reading must be possible. E.g. the Bible’s teaching on Christ’s humanity must not be used to rule out his divinity; Predestination must not be used to take away human responsibility; faith and works. The sufficiency of Scripture (article 6).

Article 21: Of the Authority of General Councils

General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.

Roman Catholics often appealed to the authority of councils e.g. for the number of sacraments, transubstantiation and denying the cup to the laity. Some hoped a General Council of the church could heal the divisions of the Reformation. Pope Paul III called the Council of Trent in 1545 and it continued to meet until 1563 – tensions with Emperor Charles V over this. From 1377 to 1529, 86 provincial councils were called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, only 6 of which were not summoned by royal writ.  
“General” = international / ecumenical council of the whole church.
The calling of a general council is probably not an issue for us today!
Church state relations. The king is not a priest – can’t preach a sermon nor administer the sacraments. In England the Queen as Supreme Governor. Jesus the head of the church!  
OT kings: 1 Chron 28:1; 1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chron 15:9, 29:4; 34:29.
General councils are made up of sinners and sinners err!
Examples of erring councils: Arimunum (350), Arianism; Ephesus (449), Eutychianism (Christ’s humanity swallowed up by his divinity); Nicaea II (787), sacred imaged could be adored; 4th Lateran Council (1215), transubstantiation; Constance (1414), Communion in 1 kind; Florence (1439), purgatory, 7 sacraments.

Article 22: Of Purgatory [etc.!]

The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, 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.

Follows on from articles 21 and 22 as examples of wrong things the church had taught.
According to Bray the doctrine of purgatory was not taught before the 12th Century and is unknown in the Eastern churches.
“Fond” = credulous, foolish. “Vainly” = pointlessly / without purpose.
RC church taught that Christ dealt with the eternal punishments for our sins, but that we are still due temporal punishments which if we do not pay in this life (by penance, sorrow, suffering etc.) we pay for in purgatory. Ecc 11:3; Lk 23:43; Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:1; Heb 9:14; 10:10, 14; Rev 14:13; Jn 8:21, 24. Undermines the sufficiency and efficiency of Christ’s saving work. Contradicts justification by faith alone. BCP burial service: “the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity”.
“Pardons” = indulgences (article 14) – part of the purgatory industry!
“worshiping and adoration, as well of images as of relics” – Images forbidden in the OT: Ex 20:4-5; Dt 4:25-28; Ps 97:7; Is 40:18-21; Ez 6:3-7. NT: Rm 1:25; 11:30; Acts 7:41-42; 14:15; 15:20, 29; 17:30; 1 Cor 12:2-3; Gal 4:8-9; 1 Thess 1:8-9.
“invocation of the saints” as holy people who are in the presence of God but who sympathise with us. Why would you want to pray to the saints? God can and should be prayed to directly. God’s love and power and promise to hear his people. Mt 5:45; Ps 147:9; 36:6; Lk 12:7; 21:18; Is 65:24; Heb 4:16; 10:19-23. The saints wouldn’t like it! Acts 14:8-18; Rev 19:10, 22:8-9. Undermines the role of Christ as mediator and intercessor.
NT: all God’s people as holy ones, “saints” – Eph 1:1; Jude 1

Article 23: Of Ministering in the Congregation

It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.

Against radical protestants.
“lawful” according to the law of God.
“congregation” = ecclesia, church.
Not just a matter of feeling an internal call of the Spirit.
Rm 10:15; Jn 20:21; Acts 13:1-3; 14:22-23; Eph 4:11-12; Phil 1:1; 2 Cor 5:20; 6:4; 1 Cor 4:1; Col 1:25; Tit 1:5, 7; Acts 20:28; Heb 5:4; 1 Tim 3:4, 14; 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim 1:6; 2:2.

Article 24: Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.

Against the Roman Catholic practice of having the service in Latin not in the vernacular. Use of a low tone. Spectator event. The Mass was held to have power even if not understood, like a charm on adders. Council of Trent Chapter 9 of the 22nd session, Canon 9 (Sept 1562) anathematized the view that the mass should be celebrated in the vulgar tongue. English prayers in England from 1548. Mary restored Latin; Elizabeth restored English. A vernacular service promotes unity and edification. 1 Cor 14:7-8, 26-27.
Speaking in tongues in New Testament times – languages the person has not learned Acts 2.
They thought the gift of tongues only belonged to New Testament times.  
2nd Vatican Council Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963) section 36 allowed for services in the mother tongue.  

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