The Articles of Religion

In the back of the Book of Common Prayer are a stash of pages collectively known as the historical documents. Early in my Episcopal faith, I mined them during particularly boring sermons and too-long lasting committee reports during church conventions for artifacts of our Church's relationship with our past understanding of God. These historical documents include the Creed of St. Athanasius (most likely not written by St. Athanasius, but a fairly good sermon for Trinity Sunday if you need one); the Preface from the first Book of Common Prayer (I'm still stunned there are lay and clergy who've never read and inwardly digested this); the Articles of Religion; and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (I'm still stunned there are lay and clergy who haven't memorized this).

The Historical Documents are actually more than relics of our faith; they are foundational to our Episcopal faith. They show us, as much as an edited document can, the concerns, the questions, and the hopes of our ancestors in the faith. And I argue none of these documents does this moreso than the Articles of Religion.

The Articles, 39 statements, in a way, of faith adopted (sort of) by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1801, invite us into the conversations and questions our Episcopal Church and the Christian Church as a wider body have struggled with for centuries. Not only are they worth reading, they are worth studying and struggling with.

And thankfully, Young Peoples' Theology Blog is doing just that. They have been publishing essays that invite our conversation with each of the 39 Articles. I commend them to you - the essays are engaging, informative, and challenging, just as our faith should be.

Check out this series. For those of you looking for a summer adult forum, it's an excellent subject. Pick a few articles. Read them. Learn about our faith. Agree and disagree. But, above all, know about the past and present and future of the conversations we've had with each other about how we live out this great mystery of faith.

You can find the blog here.


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