Marriage and the XXXIX Articles

As has been pointed out, by Father Tobias Haller, in his comment on the ‘Thinking Anglicans’ article referring to the recent Statement by the Anglican Church of Nigeria about the requirement for Anglican Communion Churches to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles in the Book of Common Prayer as one of the 3 basic criteria for membership of the Communion; there are difficulties in trying to reconcile the Church of Nigeria’s stance about the sacramental nature of Marriage with that shown in the Articles.

Here is the text from Art.XXV:
‘Of the Sacraments’:

“MATRIMONY (is) not be counted for (a) Sacrament of the Gospel, being such as (has) grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly (a) state of life allowed in the scriptures; but yet (has) not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for that: (IT HAS) NOT ANY VISIBLE SIGN OR CEREMONY ORDAINED OF GOD”.

If the GAFCON Primates really do accept the XXXIX Articles; then Marriage has not the sacramental valuation they would attribute to it; having other interpretations for its use.

Many Anglicans in the modern world no longer put our faith in the totality of the XXIX Articles; seeing them rather as 39 artifacts, only some of which are acceptable in today’s Church & World.

So, in addition to details in my previous post on this subject; this fact about (1) the non-sacramental nature of Marriage as stated in the 39 Articles – together with the fact that (2) non-Gafcon Provinces of the Church do NOT subscribe to the separatist ‘Jerusalem Statement’ of faith, peculiar to the Gafcon Primates – this effectively scuttles 2 of the 3  ‘requirements’ by Nigeria and the other Gafcon Provinces – as basic for membership of the A. Communion.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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