The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are one of the three historic 'formularies' (constitutional documents) of the Church of England. Along with the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal they gave the church its distinctive identity at the time of the Reformation, an identity which has had a formative infl uence on worldwide Anglicanism. The English formularies have played an exceptionally important role in shaping the Anglican Communion and they continue to serve as reference points whenever it is necessary to think in terms of a common Anglican tradition.
In the confusion caused by recent developments, it is encouraging that in many parts of the Anglican Communion some have returned to these sources to satisfy a genuine hunger for both Anglican tradition and sound Christian doctrine. It is to meet this growing demand that this book has been written. Although the Articles have had a chequered historical career, the intention of this book is to take them as they now stand and interpret what they mean for us today. Historical circumstances cannot be avoided completely and will be mentioned as necessary, but the main emphasis here is theological. What do the Articles say about what we believe and how should they be understood and applied by us today? Read on
Gerald Bray is director of research for the Latimer Trust and research professor at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.