Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Church Armour: A Short Catechism for Young Churchmen Chiefly on the Thirty-Nine Articles

Church Armour: A Short Catechism for Young Churchmen Chiefly on the Thirty-Nine Articles

by Robin G. Jordan
Anglicans Ablaze
June 2010

This Catechism was originally written by the Rev. Dr. W. F. Taylor to familiarize children in Liverpool with the text of the Thirty-Nine Articles and to furnish them with answers "in the very words of the Church" to a number of important questions. These questions were not only important in the nineteenth century but they are also just as important today, if not more so.

I am posting Dr. Taylor's Catechism because I believe that it will also help grown-up North American Anglicans better understanding the Thirty-Nine Articles and what they teach. The Thirty-Nine Articles are the confession of faith of the Reformed Church of England and the sum of her doctrine. As the Jerusalem Declaration affirms, they are as authoritative for Anglicans today as in the sixteenth century. In Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today the GAFCON Theological Resource Group identifies acceptance of the Articles as essential to Anglican identity.

Church Association Tract 059

BY THE REV. W. F. TAYLOR Vicar of St. Chrysostom's, Everton, Liverpool

The following Catechism, written by the Rev. Dr. Taylor, is in use in several schools in Liverpool, where hundreds of children are learning it. The Catechism will be found very valuable in familiarizing the minds of young people with the text of the XXXIX Articles, and furnishing them with answers in the very words of the Church to important questions now raised.

Q. (1) Who made you?
A. "God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."-(Nicene Creed; Gen. i. 1, 26; Job xxxiii. 4; Heb. xi. 3.)

Q. (2) Are there more Gods than one?
A. No. "There is but one living and true God, everlasting, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness."-(Art. I; Mark xii. 32 ; Neh. ix. 6; Jer. x. 10.)

Q. (3) How many Persons are there in the Godhead?
A. Three; "in the unity of this Godhead there are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."-(Art. I; Matt. xxviii. 19; 2 Cor. xiii. 14; John, i. 1; Acts v. 3, 4.)

Q. (4) Who is Jesus Christ?
A. Jesus Christ is "the Son of God, who took man's nature" upon Him. and "was born of the Virgin Mary; He truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried."-(Art. II: Gal. iv. 4; John i. 14; 1 Pet. iii. 18.)

Q. (5) Why did the Son of God become man, and suffer on the Cross? A. The Son of God became man, and suffered in order "to reconcile His Father to us, and be a sacrifice for all the sins of men."- (Art. II; Rom. v. 10; 2 Cor. v. 19; Heb. ix. 26; 1 John ii. 2.)

Q. (6) Where did the soul of Christ go when He was crucified?
A. The soul of Christ went to the invisible world (Hades or Hell), and to that part of it called Paradise.-(Art. III; Acts ii. 27; Luke xxiii. 43.)

Q. (7) Did Christ's soul remain in the invisible world, and His body in the grave?
A. No; "Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again His body, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature; wherewith He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth, until He return to judge all men at the last day."-(Art. IV; 1 Cor. xv. 4; Mark xvi. 19 ; 1 Thess. iv. 16.)

Q. (8) Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the blessed Trinity; "proceeding from the Father and the Son, and is very and eternal God."-(Art. V; John xiv. 26; Acts v. 4; 1 Cor. ii. 10.)

Q. (9) What is the Rule of Faith?
A. The Rule of Faith is The Bible only or "Holy Scripture, which containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."-(Art. VI; Isa. viii. 20; 2 Tim. iii. 15; John v. 39; Deut. xii. 32; Rev. xxii. 18,19.)

Q. (10) Is the Old Testament contrary to the New?
A. No. "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man."-*. (Art. VII; Heb. i. 1, 2; Luke xxiv. 44; Acts xxvi. 22; Rom. xvi. 26.)

Q. (11) What are the three Creeds?
A. The Three Creeds are, "The Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed."- (Art. VIII.)

Q. (12) Why should we believe these three Creeds?
A. Because "they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture."-(Art. VIII; 2 Tim. i. 13.)

Q. (13) What is original sin?
A. "Original sin is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man naturally descended from Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil."-(Art. IX; Ps. Ii. 5; Rom. iii. 10-12; viii. 7.)

Q. (14) Is Man able to turn to God of himself?
A. No. "The condition of man after the fall is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God."-(Art. X; John vi. 44; xv. 5; Eph. ii. 1.)

Q. (15) What do we need in order to turn to God?
A. In order to turn to God, we need "the grace of God by Christ preventing us (i.e. going before us), that we may have a good will; and working with us, when we have that good will."-(Art. X; Jer. xxxi. 18, 19; 1 Cor. xv. 10; Phil. ii. 13.)

Q. (16) What is the true doctrine of Justification?
A. That "we are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings."-(Art. XI; Rom. iii. 24, 25; v. 1, 9, 19; 2 Cor. v. 21; Phil. iii. 9.)

Q. (17) What are good works?
A. "Good works are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification. They spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, so that by them a lively (i.e. living) faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by its fruit."-(Art. XII; Phil. i. 11; John xv. 4, 5; Gal. v. 6.)

Q. (18) Are works done before justification good works?
A. No. Works done before justification are not properly good works, "nor are they pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ."-(Art. XIII; Isa. lxiv. 6; Luke xviii. 11- 14.)

Q. (19) What are works of Supererogation?
A. Works of Supererogation are "Voluntary works besides, over and above God's commandments. These cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety."-(Art. XIV; Luke x. 27; xvii. 10.)

Q. (20) Was the Virgin Mary, or any of the Apostles or Prophets free from sin?
A. No. "Christ alone was without sin. All we the rest offend in many things, and if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in as."-(Art. XV; Luke i. 47; 1 John i. 8.)

Q. (21) What is Election or Predestination?
A. "Election to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby He hath constantly decreed to deliver from wrath those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation."-(Art. XVII; Eph. i. 4; 1 Pet. i. 2; Rom. viii. 29, 30.)

Q. (22) Can men be saved by the Law or Sect which they profess, if sincere in their obedience thereto?
A. No. "Man cannot be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, for Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved."-(Art. XVIII; John iii. 36; xiv. 6; Acts iv. 12.)

Q. (23) What is the visible Church?
A. "The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the 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."-(Art. XIX; Acts ii. 41, 42, 47; 1 Cor. xi. 23-25; 1Tim. iii. 15.)

Q. (24) What authority hath the Church?
A. "The Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another."-(Art. XX; Acts xv. 2, 23; xvi. 4; 1 Cor. xiv. 26, 40; Gal. i. 8.)

Q. (25) Can any particular Church err?
A. Yes. "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."- (Art. XIX; Rom. xi. 20-22; Rev. ii. 14, 16, 20.)

Q. (26) Are General Councils infallible?
A. No. "General Councils are not infallible, and forasmuch as they are an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed by the Spirit and Word of God, they may err, and sometimes have erred even in things pertaining to God."-(Art. XXI; Acts xx. 29, 30.)

Q. (27) Why should we reject the Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, (i.e. Indulgences,) Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also Invocation of Saints?
A. Because it is "a fond thing vainly invented, grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God."-(Art. XXII; Luke xxiii. 43 ; Isa. xliii. 25; Ex. xx. 4; 2 Kings xviii. 4; Rev. xix. 10.)

Q. (28) Is it lawful for any man to take upon himself the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments?
A. No. "It is not lawful for any man to take upon himself the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the congregation, before he be lawfully called and sent to execute the same."-(Art. XXIII; Jer. xxiii; 21; Mark iii. 14; 1 Tim. v. 22; 2 Tim. ii. 2.)

Q. (29) May the public worship of the Church be in a tongue not understood by the people-say in the Latin tongue? Church Association Tract 059 Page 4 of 6
A. Certainly not; for "it is plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church."-(Art. XXIV; 1 Cor. xiv. 11,19, 28.)

Q. (30) What is a Sacrament?
A. A Sacrament is an "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ Himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."-(Catechism; Acts x. 47; 1 Cor. x. 16.)

Q. (31) How many Sacraments has Christ ordained in His Church?
A. Two only; i.e., Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.-(Catechism; Matt. xxviii. 19; Luke xxii. 19, 20.)

Q. (32) What are the five additional sacraments of the Church of Rome?
A. The five additional sacraments of the Church of Rome are, "Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction."-(Art. XXV.)

Q. (33) Why are "those five commonly called sacraments not to be counted for sacraments of the Gospel"?
A. "Because they have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scripture; but yet have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."-(Art. XXV.)

Q. (34) What is meant by the "Sacrament of Penance"?
A. A sacrament in which, it is said, "Sins are forgiven, by the priest's absolution, joined with contrition, confession, and satisfaction."-(Abridg. Christ. Doc., p. 19.)

Q. (35) Why is this doctrine to be rejected?
A. Because repentance and faith are the only conditions of forgiveness appointed by God.- (Mark i. 15; Luke xxiv. 47; Acts x. 43; xiii. 38; xx. 21; Rom. iii. 25.)

Q. (36) Were the sacraments ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or carried about?
A. Certainly not; "but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation.

Q. (37) Are all duly ordained ministers good men, and sound in the faith?
A. By no means; for, "In the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the Word and Sacraments."-(Art. XXVI; Matt. vii. 15; xiii. 25-30; Acts xx. 29,30; 2 Pet. ii. 1.)

Q. (38) What is the Sacrament of Baptism?
A. "Baptism is a sign of Christian profession, and also a sign of regeneration, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive it rightly are grafted into the Church; and the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed." -(Art. XXVII; Rom. vi. 4; Gal. iii. 26, 27; Rom. iv. 11; Acts xxii. 16.)

Q. (39) Is Infant Baptism lawful?
A. Certainly; as "most agreeable with the institution of Christ."-(Art. XXVII; Gen. xvii. 10; Mark x. 14; Acts xvi. 15, 33; 1 Cor. vii. 14.)

Q. (40) What is the Lord's Supper?
A. "The Lord's Supper is a sign of Christian love, and also a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death."-(Art. XXVIII; 1 Cor. x. 16, 17; xi. 24, 25.)

Q. (41) What is Transubstantiation?
A. "Transubstantiation is the (supposed) change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of the Lord."-(Art. XXVIII.)

Q. (42) Why is the doctrine of Transubstantiation to be rejected?
A. Transubstantiation is to be rejected because "it cannot be proved by Holy Writ, is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."-(Art. XXVIII; 1 Cor. xi. 26; Acts iii. 21; John vi. 62, 63; Acts xix. 26.)

Q. (43) How is the Body of Christ received and eaten in the Supper?
A. "The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith"; for, "the natural Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ are in heaven and not here."-Art. XXVIII. and Decla. Com. Service; John vi. 35. 63; Acts iii. 21; 1 Cor. v. 7, 8.)

Q. (44) Do such as are void of a living faith partake of the Body of Christ in the Sacrament?
A. Certainly not. "Such as are void of a living faith are in no wise partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing."-(Art. XXIX; John xiii. 27; 1 Cor. xi. 27-29; Heb. xi. 6.)

Q. (45) Should the minister alone drink the Cup?
A. By no means. "The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay people."-(Art. XXX; 1Cor. x. 17; xi. 26.)

Q. (46) Is there any repetition or continuation of the sacrifice of Christ in the Lord's Supper?
A. No. There is neither repetition, continuation, or renewal of the sacrifice of Christ in the Lord's Supper, but only the commemoration of "the one oblation of Christ, once made and finished upon the Cross."-(Art. XXXI; 1 Cor. xi. 24; Heb. ix. 28; x. 10-12, 14, 18.)

Q. (47) What then are the sacrifices of Masses?
A. "The sacrifices of Masses in which it is commonly said, that the priest offers Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, are blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."-(Art. XXXI; Heb. x. 1, 2, 11; 2 Pet. ii. 1-3.)

Q. (48) Is the doctrine of Clerical celibacy according to the Scripture? A. No; for "Bishops, Priests (i.e., Presbyters), and Deacons are not commanded by God's law to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage."-(Art. XXXII; 1 Cor. ix. 5; 1 Tim. iii. 2; iv. 1-3.)

Q. (49) Is it necessary that the Traditions (Customs) and Ceremonies of the Church be always the same?
A. No; "it is not necessary they should be in all places one; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word."-(Art. XXXIV: 1 Cor. xiv. 26, 40.)

Q. (50) Is it right for any one to break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church by his own private judgment?
A. No. He that doth so "ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like."-(Art. XXXIV; 1Tim.v. 20; Rom. xvi. 17,18.)

Q (51) How should we esteem the Book of Homilies put forth by the Church of England?
A. As containing "a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, and therefore to be read in Churches, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people."- (Art. XXXV; 2 Tim. i. 13; 1 Tim. iv. 13.)

Q. (52) Is the Ordinal of the Church of England to be received by us? A. Most certainly; for it "hath nothing that of itself is superstitious and ungodly; and therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according thereto we judge to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated or ordered."-(Art. XXXVI; John xx. 21-23; Luke xxiv. 47; 2 Cor. v. 18, 19.)

Q. (53) How many orders of Ministers are there in the Church of England?
A. Three. For "it is evident to all men diligently reading the Holy Scriptures and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's Church; Bishops, Priests (i.e. Presbyters), and Deacons."-(Phil. i. 1; 1 Tim. iii. 1, 10; v. 19-22; Titus i. 5; Pref. to Ordination Serv.)

Q. (54) What is meant by the Royal Supremacy?
A. That "the Queen's majesty has the chief power in this realm of England, and other her dominions, and should rule all estates and degrees committed to her charge by God, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal"-(Art. XXXVII; 2 Chron. xxiv. 5; Isa. xlix. 23; 2 Chron. xxxi. 2; xxxv. 1, 2; Ezra vii. 27; Rom. xiii. 1.)

Q. (55) Should the supremacy of the Pope be admitted?
A. By no means; for "the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England." Nor is he the Vicar of Christ or successor of Peter, but rather is by many believed to be the predicted "Man of Sin," who should sit in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.-(Art. XXXVII; Preface to English Bible, Auth. Vere. 1611; Canons of 1606; 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4.)


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