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 Issues | 39 Articles | Articles 19-22

The Thirty-Nine articles of Religion.  Text of the articles (with a modern rendering) and links to other information on each article.

Articles 19-22 : The Church

 

Articles 15-18 (previous page)

Article 19  The Church

Article 20  The authority of the church

Article 21  The authority of general councils

Article 22  Purgatory

Articles 23-24 (next page)

(Also see Donald Allister's Cross†Way article on Articles 19-22)

 

XIX. Of the Church.
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith

19.   The church
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of believers in which the pure Word of God is preached and in which the sacraments are rightly administered according to Christ's command in all those matters that are necessary for proper administration. As the churches of
Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria have erred, so also the church of Rome has erred, not only in their practice and forms of worship but also in matters of faith.


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XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

20.  The authority of the church
The church has authority to decree forms of worship and ceremonies and to decide in controversies concerning the faith. However, it is not lawful for the church to order anything contrary to God's written Word. Nor may it expound one passage of Scripture so that it contradicts another passage. So, although the church is a witness and guardian to holy Scripture, it must not decree anything contrary to Scripture, nor is it to enforce belief in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation.

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XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.

21.  The authority of general councils
General councils may not be gathered together without the command and will of rulers. And when they are gathered together (since they are an assembly of men, among whom not all are ruled by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God), they may err. Indeed they sometimes have erred, even in things elating to God. Therefore anything commanded by them as necessary to salvation has no power or authority unless it can be shown to be taught by Scripture.


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XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

22.  Purgatory
The Roman doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, worshipping and adoration (both of images and of relics) and the invocation of saints is a futile thing foolishly conceived and grounded on no evidence of Scripture. On the contrary this teaching is repugnant to the Word of God.

 

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Related Links
The Thirty Nine Articles
BulletIntroduction
BulletImportance of the Articles

BulletArticles 1 - 5
BulletArticles 6 - 8
BulletArticles 9 - 14
BulletArticles 15 - 18
BulletArticles 19 - 22
BulletArticles 23 - 24
BulletArticles 25 - 31
BulletArticles 32 - 36
BulletArticles 37 - 39

BulletSalvation in the Articles
BulletRyle on the 39 Articles
BulletDonald Allister on the Articles
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