The Articles of Religion in modern English (The Church
1 Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is only one living and true God, who is eternal and without body,
indivisible and invulnerable. He is of infinite power, wisdom and goodness.
He is the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible. Within
the unity of the Godhead there are three persons who are of one substance,
power and eternity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2 The Word, or Son of God, who became truly man
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, was begotten from eternity of the
Father, and is the true and eternal God, of one substance with the Father. He
took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary, of her substance,
in such a way that two whole and perfect natures, the Godhead and
manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided. Of these
two natures is the one Christ, true God and true man. He truly suffered, was
crucified, died, and was buried, to reconcile the Father to us and to be a
sacrifice, not only for original guilt but also for all actual sins of men.
3 The descent of Christ into the realm of the dead
Just as Christ died for us and was buried, so also it is to be believed that he
descended into the realm of the dead.
4 The resurrection of Christ
Christ truly rose again from death and took again his body, with flesh, bones
and all that belongs to the completeness of man’s nature. In this body he
ascended into heaven, where he is now seated until the last day when he will
return to judge all men.
5 The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is of one
substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, true and eternal
6 The sufficiency of Holy Scripture for salvation
Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation. Consequently,
whatever is not read in Scripture nor can be proved from Scripture cannot be
demanded from any person to believe it as an article of the faith. Nor is any
such thing to be thought necessary or required for salvation. By holy
Scripture is meant those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments
whose authority has never been doubted within the church.
The canonical books of the Old Testament are:
Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ecclesiastes
Obadiah Song of Songs Jonah
1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Isaiah Jeremiah Ezra Nehemiah
Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Ruth1 Samuel2
Samuel Micah Lamentations Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
The canonical books of the New Testament are:
Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians
Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John
Jude Revelation
The books of the Apocrypha, as Jerome says, are read by the church for
examples of life and instruction in behavior, but the church does not use
them to establish any doctrine. They are:
1 Esdras 2 Esdras Tobit Judith Additions to Esther Wisdom Ecclesiasticus
BaruchSong of the three children Susanna Bel and the Dragon Prayer of
Manasses 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees Nahum
7 The Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New, for in both the Old and New
Testaments eternal life is offered to mankind through Christ. Hence he, being
both God and man, is the only mediator between God and man. Those who
pretend that the Patriarchs only looked for transitory promises must not be
listened to. Although the law given by God through Moses is not binding on
Christians as far as its forms of worship and ritual are concerned and the civil
regulations are not binding on any nation state, nevertheless no Christian is
free to disobey those commandments which may be classified as moral.
8 The three Creeds
The three creeds, the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and that known as
the Apostles’ Creed, ought to be wholeheartedly accepted and believed. This
is because their contents may be proved by definite statements of Holy
9 Original or Birth-sin
Original sin is not found merely in the following of Adam’s example (as the
Pelagians foolishly say). It is rather to be seen in the fault and corruption
which is found in the nature of every person who is naturally descended from
Adam. The consequence of this is that man is far gone from his original state
of righteousness. In his own nature he is predisposed to evil, the sinful nature
in man always desiring to behave in a manner contrary to the Spirit. In every
person born into this world there is found this predisposition which rightly
deserves God’s anger and condemnation. This infection within man’s nature
persists even within those who are regenerate. This desire of the sinful
nature, which in Greek is called phronema sarkos and is variously translated
the wisdom or sensuality or affection or desire of the sinful nature, is not
under the control of God’s law. Although there is no condemnation for those
that believe and are baptized, nevertheless the apostle states that any such
desire is sinful.
10 Free Will
The condition of man since the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and
prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works for faith and for
calling upon the name of the Lord. Hence we have no power to do good
works which are pleasing and acceptable to God, unless the grace of God
through Christ goes before us so that we may have a good will, and
continues to work with us after we are given that good will.
11 The justification of man
We are accounted righteous before God solely on account of the merit of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through faith and not on account of our own
good works or of what we deserve. Consequently, the teaching that we are
justified by faith alone is a most wholesome and comforting doctrine. This is
taught more fully in the homily on Justification.
12 Good works
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow on after
justification, can never atone for our sins or face the strict justice of God’s
judgment, they are nevertheless pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ
and necessarily spring from a true and living faith. Thus a living faith is as
plainly known by its good works as a tree is known by its fruit.
13 Works before justification
Works done before receiving the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his
Spirit are not pleasing to God. This is because they do not spring out of faith
in Jesus Christ. Nor do they make people fit to receive grace or (as the
schoolmen say) to deserve grace of congruity. On the contrary, because they
are not done as God has willed and commanded that they should be done, it
is undoubtedly the case that they have the nature of sin.
14 Works of supererogation
The concept of voluntary works besides, over and above God’s
commandments, which are sometimes called works of supererogation,
cannot be taught without arrogance and impiety. By them men declare not
only that they render to God their proper duty but that they actually do more
than their duty. But Christ says: “So you also, when you have done
everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants.'”
15 Christ alone is without sin
Christ, who truly took our human nature, was made like us in every respect
except that of sin. From this he was clearly free in both body and spirit. He
came to be the Lamb without blemish who, by the sacrifice of himself once
made, should take away the sins of the world. Sin, as St John says, was not in
him. But all the rest of us, again in Christ, still offend in many ways. If we say
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
16 Sin after baptism
Not every sin knowingly committed after baptism is sin against the Holy
Spirit and unforgivable. Therefore, the gift of repentance is not to be
declared impossible for those who fall into sin after baptism. After we have
received the Holy Spirit we may depart from the grace given to us and fall
into sin, and we may also by the grace of God return and amend our
lives. Therefore, those who say that they are incapable of sinning any more
in this life are to be condemned, as are those who deny the opportunity of
forgiveness to those who truly repent.
17 Predestination and election
Predestination to life is the eternal purpose of God, whereby (before the
foundations of the world were laid) he has consistently decreed by his
counsel which is hidden from us to deliver from curse and damnation those
whom he has chosen in Christ out of mankind and to bring them through
Christ to eternal salvation as vessels made for honour. Hence those granted
such an excellent benefit by God are called according to God’s purpose by
his Spirit working at the appropriate time. By grace they obey the calling;
they are freely justified, and made sons of God by adoption, are made like
the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk faithfully in good
works and at the last by God’s mercy attain eternal happiness. The reverent
consideration of this subject of predestination and of our election in Christ is
full of sweet, pleasant and inexpressible comfort to the godly and to those
who feel within themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, putting to
death the deeds of the sinful and earthly nature and lifting their minds up to
high and heavenly consideration establishes and confirms their belief in the
eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ and kindles a fervent love
towards God. But for inquisitive and unspiritual persons who lack the Spirit of
Christ to have the sentence of God’s predestination continually before their
eyes is a dangerous snare which the Devil uses to drive them either into
desperation or into recklessly immoral living (a state no less perilous than
desperation). Furthermore we need to receive God’s promises in the manner
in which they are generally set out to us in holy Scripture, and in our actions
we need to follow that will of God which is clearly declared to us in the Word
of God.