The Anglican Rule of Faith


The Rule of Faith. adopted by the Church of England, and by other classes of Protestants, is the written Word of God, or the Bible alone, according as it is understood by each particular person. That this is not the True Rule of Faith can be proved by two maxims, namely: The Rule of Faith appointed by Christ must be certain and unerring; that is to say, it must be one which is not liable to lead any rational and sincere inquirer into inconsistency or error. Secondly, this Rule must be universal; that is to say, it must be proportioned to the abilities and circumstances of all of mankind.

I begin by observing that if Christ had intended that all mankind should learn His religion from a Book, namely, the New Testament, He Himself would have written that Book, and would have enjoined the obligation of learning to read it: whereas, it does not appear that He wrote anything at all, unless perhaps the sins of the Pharisees with His finger upon the dust. (John 8:6). It does not even appear that He gave His Apostles any command to write the Gospel; though He emphatically commanded them to preach it (Matthew 10), and that to all the nations of the earth. (Matthew 28). In this ministry they spent all their lives preaching the religion of Christ in every country; everywhere establishing Churches, and commending their doctrine to faithful men who should be fit to teach others also. (II Timothy 2:2). Only a part of them wrote anything; and what these did write, was, for the most part, addressed to particular persons or congregations, and on particular occasions. The Evangelists were moved by the Holy Spirit to write their particular Gospels; nevertheless there is nothing in the Gospels which indicates that any one of them, or all of them together, contain an entire, detailed, and clear exposition of the Religion of Jesus Christ. The Canonical Epistles show the particular occasions on which they are written, and thus prove that they are not to be considered as regular treatises on the Christian Religion.



Again, in supposing our Savior to have appointed His bare written word for the Rule of our Faith, without any authorized judge to decide on the unavoidable controversies growing out of it, we must suppose Him to have acted differently from what common sense has dictated to all other legislators. For, where do we read of a legislator, who, after dictating a code of laws, neglected to appoint judges and magistrates, to decide their meaning, and to enforce obedience to the decision? It would be better to live without any law, than to have laws which all men might interpret according to their several opinions and interests.

In fact, the method of determining religious questions by Scripture only, according to each individual’s interpretation, must naturally produce, and always has produced, whenever and wherever it has been adopted, endless and incurable religious differences, and of course errors; because truth is one. It is liable to produce such differences, because the Scripture is open to all interpretations, however varying or contradictory. It cannot, of itself, decide controversies of religion, since it remains a dead letter under every interpretation. It always remains true in itself; but it is silent as to the truth or falsehood of any interpretation. That it has produced such differences, the records of history and our own observation bear witness. “See,” says St. Augustine, “into how many morsels those are divided, who have divided themselves from the unity of the Church.” “It is natural,” says Tertullian, “for error to be ever cahnging. The disciples have the same right in this matter as their masters had.”


I am unfamiliar with the Rule of Faith, adopted by the Church of England. Can you direct me where I might find it given in full?




It might be in the Book of Common Prayer.


Or, it might not. Where did you read it? Can you quote it? Was it a statement, or something longer?



It would be nice if when you claim to know something about another faith that you can actually refer to it as a statement of fact. There is no such thing as to how you are describing it in the Book of Common Prayer. Please stop trying to prove that your church is the only correct one by attempting to continously find faulth with others. I am Anglican and I find it appauling that you do this to my faith as well as others.


No, it isn’t.



That’s right. The third leg of the three legged stool in our church is reason and that doesn’t refer to each person’s own interpretation of scripture.


Perhaps I was overly subtle.



I don’t know what it means. That’s why I’m glad that the three-legged stool is just a modern extrapolation from things Hooker says and is not the Anglican rule of faith either!



The members of the Episcopal Church accept two creeds: the Apostles’ and the Nicene. The articles of the Church of England, with the exception of the 21st and modification of the 8th, 35th, and 36th, are accepted as a general statement of doctrine, but adherence to them as a creed is not required. The clergy make the following declaration:

"I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.

The Church expects its members to be loyal to the ‘doctrine, discipline and worship of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’ in all the essentials, but permits great liberty in nonessentials. It allows for variation, individuality, independent thinking, and religious liberty. Liberals and conservatives, modernists and fundamentalists, find cordial and common ground for worship in the Prayer Book, which, second only to the Bible, has probably influenced more people than any other book in the English language."


Not sure where you got the info, but Anglicans in general, to include the Episcopalians, affirm the three classic Creeds, including the Athanasian. And there is no Act of Faith, including anything found in the Articles. The clergy (not the laity) of the CoE are required to make a generally affirmation of the Articles, since the CoE is an Erastian Church, and can be required to do stuff like that, but that originates in Elizabethan politics. No Anglican is required to affirm them, elsewise. Anglicanism, as your quote suggests, is Creedal, not confessional.


Anglicanus Catholicus.



Perhaps I should have been more specific.

Q. What are the creeds?
A. The creeds are statements of our basic belief about God.

Q. How many creeds does the Church use in its worship?
A. This Church uses two creeds: The Apostles’ Creed and the
Nicene Creed.

Q. What is the Apostles’ Creed?
A. The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient creed of Baptism; it is used
in the Church’s daily worship to recall our Baptismal Covenant.

Q. What is the Nicene Creed?
A. The Nicene Creed is the creed of the universal Church and it
is used at the Eucharist.

Q. What, then, is the Athanasian Creed?
A. The Athanasian Creed is an ancient document proclaiming the
nature of the Incarnation and of God as Trinity.

Q. What is the Trinity?
A. The Trinity is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

pps. 851 and 852 of The Book of Common Prayer - 1976 edition


The Nicene Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

p.604 From the Book of Common Prayer - 1928 edition.

No mention ot the Athanasian Creed here, unless I missed it.


We are obviously not communicating with you. It is of no matter what is written in the BCP. The BCP is not confessional. Anglicanism is not confessional. And there is no Act of Faith. And if you doubt that we say and affirm the Quicunque Vult, stop by the parish on Trinity Sunday. And the Angelus afterwards will no doubt surprise you too.


Anglicanus Catholicus



Understood and thank you.


You are very welcome, my friend.



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