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 Issues | Doctrine | The Thirty Nine Articles


Officially the Church of England accepts the full and final authority of Holy Scripture as the basis for all that it believes. Some of these beliefs were summarised in the historic creeds, and at the time of the Reformation the Church adopted the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as giving a concise and systematic statement of the teaching of Scripture.


The legal definition of the Doctrine of the Church of England can be found in the Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 which accords with what is also stated in Canon A5.

These state clearly that the doctrine of the Church of England is particularly to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.

Ministers of the Church of England are still required to affirm their acceptance of the Church's doctrine but the wording of the declaration is now such that many feel able to say it without meaning what a simple reading might suggest.  See the declarations below.

All members of Church Society are required to declare that they uphold the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion 'and contend for them'.

Further pages and information on The 39 Articles

The history of the 39 Articles.

The Origin of the Thirty-nine Articles. Churchman article by Mark D. Thompson (2011).

A History of Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. Churchman article by Mark D. Thompson ( 2011).

The continuing importance of the 39 Articles.

A tract by J.C. Ryle on the 39 Articles.

The Purpose and Function of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Churchman article by G. W. Bromiley (1959)

Donald Allister in a series of Articles in Cross†Way examines why the 39 Articles are still important today.

The Doctrine of the Sacraments in the Thirty-Nine Articles. Churchman article (1991) by Roger Beckwith.

The Main Purpose and Character of the Thirty-Nine Articles
by Rev Prebendary Wace (Ladies League Veritatis Viribus No 18)

The Doctrine of Salvation in the 39 Articles

Churchman Article : Recovering Confessional Anglicanism. Gillis Harp discusses how best to apply the 39 Articles in today's church after years of neglect and misinterpretation. (Churchman 116/3) (PDF file)

Church Armour - A Short Catechism for Young Churchmen, Chiefly on the 39 Articles. (C19th Church Association Tract)

The 39 Articles in Korean.


Text of Articles and some explanation.

The official text is that to be found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  A modern rendering, to be found in An English Prayer Book is also provided although this has no official standing.

The Articles cover the Doctrine of God and the human response to God's grace.

Articles 1-5 (The substance of faith)

Articles 6-8 (The rule of faith)

Articles 9-18 (Personal religion)

Articles 9-14(Doctrines connected with justification)

Articles 15-18 (Doctrines connected with sanctification)

Articles 19-39 (The Household of faith)




Articles 19-22 (The Church)

Articles 23 & 24 (The Ministry)

Articles 25-31 (The Sacraments)

Articles 32-36 (Church Discipline)

Articles 37-39 (Church and State)

Church Society sells printed versions of the Articles and a classic and substantial work on the Articles by W H Griffith-Thomas - The Principles of Theology.  See the Publications page for details. Click here for J. I. Packer's preface to The Principles of Theology.

The Text of the 39 Articles (including the modern rendering) can also be downloaded.

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Extracts from the Declaration of

His Majesty King Charles I
...the Articles of the Church of England... do contain the true doctrine of the Church of England agreeable to God's Word... no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.

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The Canons of the Church of England


Canon A5  and the wording of Section 5(1) of the Worship and Doctrine Measure 1974

The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.

In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.

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1(1) The Declaration of Assent to be made under this Canon shall be in the form set out below:


The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In the declaration you are about to make will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?


I A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by Canon.

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Related Links
The Thirty Nine Articles
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
BulletWace - Main Purpose

BulletHistory of the Articles

Doctrine Pages

Doctrine - Other Sub Issues
BulletHeads of Theology

BulletThe Three Creeds
BulletBook of Common Prayer
BulletThe Homilies
BulletAnglican theology (other)
BulletTheological Movements

BulletOther doctrine pages

Other Issues
BulletLocal Church
BulletNational Church
BulletGeneral Synod
BulletAnglican Communion
BulletOther Faiths

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