J.C. Ryle on the 39 Articles of Religion (Part 8) “Churchmanship”

As you will see from this brief excerpt of Ryle’s next point, he certainly thinks that one’s churchmanship can be tested by his view of the Thirty-Nine Articles:

(3) In the third place, I advise all who read this paper to test all Churchmanship by the test of the Articles. Be not carried away by those who talk of “nice Church views,” “Catholic ceremonies,” “holy, earnest parish priests,” and the like. Try all that is preached and taught by one simple measure,-does it or does it not agree with the Articles? You have an undoubted right to do this, and no English clergyman has any right to object to your doing it. Say to him, if he does object, “You publicly read and subscribed to the Articles when you accepted your cure of souls. Do you or do you not abide by your subscription?”

This is the simple ground we take up in the various Societies which, amidst much abuse, obloquy, and opposition, are labouring to maintain the Protestant character of the Church of England. They are not intolerant, whatever some may please to say. They do not want to narrow the limits of our Church. But we do say that any one who holds preferment in the Church of England ought to be bound by the laws of the Church of England, so long as those laws are unrepealed. Repeal the Act of Parliament called the 13th of Elizabeth, and cast out the Thirty-nine Articles, and we will cease to oppose Ritualism, and will concede that a Churchman may be anything, or everything, in opinion. But so long as things are as they are, we say we have a right to demand that respect should be paid to the Articles.

In the next post, we will see Ryle’s final thoughts on the Articles of Religion.

This post originally appeared at the Prydain website. It is republished here with Will Prydain’s permission.

Will Prydain lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and attends an Anglican church nearby. By conviction and training he tends to look at things from an evangelical, Reformed Anglican perspective.

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