Monday, June 22, 2009

The Lambeth Articles

At the University of Cambridge, in the year 1595, during the
reign of Elizabeth I, a controversy developed among some of
the divines about certain points of Christian doctrine. The
matter became serious enough that it was referred to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, who after
consulting with some other learned men, published the
following nine "propositions" which, in a cover letter,
he himself judged to be "true", directing that nothing
be taught at the university which would be contrary to
them. He made it clear that the nine propositions were
in complete accord with his private judgement and that
they corresponded to the "doctrine professed in this
Church of England and established by the laws of the
land". The propositions were drawn up by Dr. Whitaker
and signed by Archbishop Whitgift, by Dr. Richard
Fletcher (Bishop of London), by Dr. Richard Vaughan
(then Bishop Elect of Bangor) and others. The then
Archbishop of York, Dr. M. Hutton, affirmed that all
the propositions could be "plainly collected or
fairly deduced from the Scriptures and the writings
of St. Augustine".

The propositions have come to be called The Lambeth
Articles. They were accepted at the Dublin Convocation
of 1615 and became part of the articles of the Church
of Ireland (i.e. the Anglican Church in Ireland).
This is how they read:

1. God from eternity hath predestinated certain men
unto eternal life; certain men he hath reprobated.

2. The moving or efficient cause of predestination
to life is not the foresight of faith or of
perseverance, or of good works, or of anything
that is in the person predestinated,
but only the will and pleasure of God.

3. There is predetermined a certain number of the
predestinate which can neither be augmented
nor diminished.

4. Those not predestinated for salvation shall be
necessarily damned for their sins.

5. A true, living, and justifying faith and the
Spirit of God sanctifying, is not extinguished,
falleth not away, it vanisheth not away in the
elect either finally or totally.

6. A man truly faithful, that is, such a one
who is endued with a justifying faith,
is certain, with the assurance of faith,
of the remission of his sins,
and of his everlasting salvation by Christ.

7. Saving grace is not given, is not granted,
is not communicated to all men,
by which they may be saved if they will.

8. No man can come unto Christ unless it shall
be given unto him, and unless the Father shall
draw him and all men are not drawn by the Father
that they may come to the Son.

9. It is not in the will or power of everyone
to be saved.

What is, of course, compelling about this is
that Archbishop Whitgift and the other learned divines
of the Church of England were solidly Calvinist in
their understanding of salvation, and clearly saw
the above propositions as being in entire accord
with the 39 Articles of Religion which, of course,
they are.

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