I arrived slightly late to this week’s talk, so I missed a small part of Article 37. Here are several important points in the article:
The bishop of Rome (the pope) has no jurisdiction in England. This was I guess just to drive home the idea again that the Pope and Church of England were not linked.
Christians are still bound to regular laws. This is kind of setting up the idea of church and state as separate entities. We get this now, but at the time I guess it was important to spell it out.
Christians can go to war and carry a weapon. I assume this one was addressing the whole, thou shalt not kill, thing. If you are drafted into war by your country, you don’t have to protest. At least not on the Anglican church’s behalf.
In mentioning the Pope, we heard a little bit about the history of this position. I also went and looked up some stuff afterwards. Papal tradition follows in the footsteps of Peter and hinges on the following bible verse:
(Jesus to Peter)…And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
This is the basis for Peter as the first Pope of the church. Other leaders have followed him in the same tradition, according to the Catholic church. The Anglican and Episcopal churches do not see the verse as having that meaning. It extends too far and gives authority to the Pope which shouldn’t be given. An example of this is the doctrine of infallibility from the 1870 first Vatican council. The Pope can make some declarations that are ‘infallible’ and become doctrine. This is a point of contention between the Episcopal and Catholic churches.
Article 38 states that Christian men don’t need to have goods in common. This makes them unlike the Anabaptists, a group that tried to live together in a way that shares all money and goods with all members. There are still some groups in the Anabaptist tradition today. Actually, the Episcopal church does have groups which come close to this communal lifestyle. They have monks and nuns including a group called Episcopal Franciscans. The article also specifies that we are to give alms as generously as we can.
Article 39 prohibits swearing oaths frivolously. Today we would say don’t swear. I guess even back then they kinda threw around the Lord’s name carelessly. You are however allowed to swear as in court (in front of a magistrate) as long as it is true what you swear to.
Now I know you think we’re done here, but actually Father Egan skipped the article on predestination and election. That one will get an entire Sunday slot all by itself. That’s next week and that one will be the last.