The Thirty-Nine Articles - Introduction and Resources

We've been preaching through the Thirty-Nine Articles in church over the last year and will hopefully finish them this year. I like Gerald Bray's summary of Thomas Cranmer's work in providing for the doctrine, devotion and discipline of the Church of England in the Articles, Prayer Book and Ordinal respectively (Bray, The Faith We Confess, 1).

I've noted elsewhere the lack of engagement with the Articles in the present-day Church of England and why I think it's important to change that. It seems to me that they are the historic confession of faith of our church, which we should be able to explain and affirm. They should define our Anglican identity rather than being consigned to an historical dustbin. That's why we've been preaching on them and why I'm aiming to do a series with a short blog on each Article over the coming year. I hope it might encourage us to know what the Church of England confesses and to stand up for that faith.

I'm aiming at a simple outline of the theology of each article, with a bit of present day application. It will be clear that I subscribe to a Reformed understanding of the Articles, in light of the fact that the Articles were framed by the Reformed reformers of the Church of England. Attempts to understand them in other lights seem anachronistic.

The only other thing to note here is that my blogs articles, like my sermons, are not especially original. They lean on the works of others both Anglican and otherwise. So below is a list of resources, which I will update as I consult them. These resources provide much greater depth in every area!


Bray, G. The Faith We Confess, London: Latimer Trust, 2009
Hammond, T.C. In Understanding Be Men, Fifth Ed., London: IVF, 1954
Packer, J.I. Concise Theology, Leicester: IVP, 1993
Thomas, W.H.G., The Principles of Theology, London: Church Book Room Press, 1963


Elwell, W., Toon, P. The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, London: Marshall Pickering, 1993
Grudem, W. Christian Beliefs, Nottingham: IVP, 2005
Grudem, W. Systematic Theology, Leicester: IVP, 1994
Harrison, E.F., Bromiley, G.W., Henry, C.F. (Eds.) Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1960
Milne, B. Know the Truth, Leicester: IVP, 1998

I should also note a debt to my doctrine lecturers at college, Mike Ovey, Gary Williams and David Field.


  1. What was your plan for preaching the Thirty-Nine Articles? Was it thirty-nine sermons, one for each article? Did some articles need more than one sermon? If you've got a plan with suggested Scripture readings, I'd be particularly interested to see it.

    1. I'm preaching on Article XX-XXI on Sunday. I started at the beginning of 2015, but I do a series of maybe 3 or 4 on the articles and then do something else for a bit (Griffith Thomas has a helpful breakdown - so we're doing XIX-XXII on the church for the next few weeks and then we'll be on something else up to Easter I think). I've mostly done one article per sermon. Occasionally I've done two articles in a sermon like this coming week. Quite a number could have done with more than one sermon, Article XVII being a particular case in point! However, I've consoled myself (frequently) that for us this is a starter to try and get a broad overview of Christian/Church of England theology and I'll be able to do little series on things later on. Gerald's Book is very useful - in particular he gives suggested readings at the end of the chapter on each Article, which I've used.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Re-Balancing Our Resources

The Idolatry of the Middle-Class Church Member?

Why I haven’t joined the Church Society