Friday, April 29, 2016

Council of Ephius: The Twelve Anathemas against Nestorius

Council of Ephius
June 22-July 31 AD 431
The Twelve Anathemas against Nestorius

Anathema One

If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Θεοτκος), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, “The Word was made flesh”] let him be anathema.

Anathema Two

If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God the Father is united hypostatically to flesh, and that with that flesh of his own, he is one only Christ both God and man at the same time:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Three

If anyone shall after the [hypostatic] union divide the hypostases in the one Christ, joining them by that connexion alone, which happens according to worthiness, or even authority and power, and not rather by a coming together (συνδ), which is made by natural union (νωσιν φυσικν):  let him be anathema.

Anathema Four

If anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions (φωνς) which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Five

If anyone shall dare to say that the Christ is a Theophorus [that is, God-bearing] man and not rather that he is very God, as an only Son through nature, because “the Word was made flesh,” and “hath a share in flesh and blood as we do:”  let him be anathema.

Anathema Six

If anyone shall dare say that the Word of God the Father is the God of Christ or the Lord of Christ, and shall not rather confess him as at the same time both God and Man, since according to the Scriptures, “The Word was made flesh”:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Seven

If anyone shall say that Jesus as man is only energized by the Word of God, and that the glory of the Only-begotten is attributed to him as something not properly his:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Eight

If anyone shall dare to say that the assumed man (ναληφθντα ) ought to be worshipped together with God the Word, and glorified together with him, and recognised together with him as God, and yet as two different things, the one with the other (for this “Together with” is added [i.e., by the Nestorians] to convey this meaning); and shall not rather with one adoration worship the Emmanuel and pay to him one glorification, as [it is written] “The Word was made flesh”:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Nine

If any man shall say that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Holy Ghost, so that he used through him a power not his own and from him received power against unclean spirits and power to work miracles before men and shall not rather confess that it was his own Spirit through which he worked these divine signs; let him be anathema.

Anathema Ten

Whosoever shall say that it is not the divine Word himself, when he was made flesh and had become man as we are, but another than he, a man born of a woman, yet different from him (δικς νθρωπον), who is become our Great High Priest and Apostle; or if any man shall say that he offered himself in sacrifice for himself and not rather for us, whereas, being without sin, he had no need of offering or sacrifice:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Eleven

Whosoever shall not confess that the flesh of the Lord giveth life and that it pertains to the Word of God the Father as his very own, but shall pretend that it belongs to another person who is united to him [i.e., the Word] only according to honour, and who has served as a dwelling for the divinity; and shall not rather confess, as we say, that that flesh giveth life because it is that of the Word who giveth life to all:  let him be anathema.

Anathema Twelve

Whosoever shall not recognize that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that he was crucified in the flesh, and that likewise in that same flesh he tasted death and that he is become the first-begotten of the dead, for, as he is God, he is the life and it is he that giveth life:  let him be anathema.

First Council of Constantinople: Canons


Canon One

The Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm.  And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anomæans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.

Canon Two

The bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on the churches; but let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs.  And let not bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited.  And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being observed, it is evident that the synod of every province will administer the affairs of that particular province as was decreed at Nice.  But the Churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the custom which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers.

Canon Three

The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.

Canon Four

Concerning Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which has happened in Constantinople on his account, it is decreed that Maximus never was and is not now a Bishop; that those who have been ordained by him are in no order whatever of the clergy; since all which has been done concerning him or by him, is declared to be invalid.

Canon Five

In regard to the tome of the Western [Bishops], we receive those in Antioch also who confess the unity of the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Canon Six

Forasmuch as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order, do contentiously and slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox bishops who have the administration of the Churches, intending nothing else than to stain the reputation of the priests and raise up disturbances amongst the peaceful laity; therefore it seemed right to the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled together in Constantinople, not to admit accusers without examination; and neither to allow all persons whatsoever to bring accusations against the rulers of the Church, nor, on the other hand, to exclude all.  If then, any one shall bring a private complaint against the Bishop, that is, one relating to his own affairs, as, for example, that he has been defrauded, or otherwise unjustly treated by him, in such accusations no examination shall be made, either of the person or of the religion of the accuser; for it is by all means necessary that the conscience of the Bishop should be free, and that he who says he has been wronged should meet with righteous judgment, of whatever religion he may be.  But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against orthodox bishops.  And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them].  Moreover, if there be any who have been condemned for faults and cast out of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the laity, neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the bishop, until they have cleared away the charge against themselves.  In like manner, persons who are under previous accusations are not to be permitted to bring charges against a bishop or any other clergyman, until they shall have proved their own innocence of the accusation brought against them.  But if any, being neither heretics, nor excommunicate, nor condemned, nor under previous accusation for alleged faults, should declare that they have any ecclesiastical charge against the bishop, the Holy Synod bids them first lay their charges before all the Bishops of the Province, and before them prove the accusations, whatsoever they may be, which they have brought against the bishop.  And if the comprovincials should be unable rightly to settle the charges brought against the bishop, then the parties must betake themselves to a greater synod of the bishops of that diocese called together for this purpose; and they shall not produce their allegations before they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penalty to be exacted from themselves, if, in the course of the examination, they shall be proved to have slandered the accused bishop.  And if anyone, despising what has been decreed concerning these things, shall presume to annoy the ears of the Emperor, or the courts of temporal judges, or, to the dishonour of all the Bishops of his Province, shall trouble an Ecumenical Synod, such an one shall by no means be admitted as an accuser; forasmuch as he has cast contempt upon the Canons, and brought reproach upon the order of the Church.

First Council of Constantinople: Creed

First Council of Constantinople
May to July, AD 381
Creed of the 150 fathers of Constantinople

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

And [we believe] in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us, humans, and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became fully human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried. He rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who in unity with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. [We believe] in one holy universal and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

First Council of Nicaea: Canons


Canon One

If anyone due to sickness has undergone a surgical operation, or if he has been castrated by barbarians, he is allowed to remain among the clergy. But if anyone enrolled among the clergy has castrated himself when in perfect health, it is good for him to leave the ministry. From now on, no such person should be promoted to the clergy. But since this applies only to those who willfully castrate themselves, if anyone has been made a eunuch by barbarians, or by his master, and is otherwise fit for office, church law admits him to the clergy.

Canon Two

It has occurred that men who recently converted to the faith from heathenism, after a short period of instruction, have been immediately brought to the spiritual bath and then advanced to the priesthood or even episcopate as soon as they have been baptized. Whether this has been done because of a lack of ministers or simply from impatience, it is contrary to church law. Therefore we have decided that this will not be done in the future. A catechumen needs more time for a longer trial after baptism. The apostolic saying is clear, “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become blinded and fall into judgment and the Devil’s snare?” [1 Tim 3:6]. If, as time goes on, the man is discovered to have committed some sensual (psychikos) sin, and is convicted by two or three witnesses, let him leave the clergy. Anyone who violates these enactments will imperil his own position among the clergy, as a person who presumes to disobey the great Council.

Canon Three

The great Council has stringently forbidden any bishop, priest, deacon, or any of the clergy, to have a woman living with him, except a mother, sister, aunt, or some such person who is beyond all suspicion.
Canon Four

It is most proper for a bishop to be appointed by all the bishops in his particular province. If this proves impossible, either because there is not enough time, or there is too much distance to be traveled, at least three bishops should meet together, and the approval of the absent bishops should be given and communicated in writing. Only then should the ordination take place. But in every province the ratification of the ordination should be left to the metropolitan bishop.

Canon Five

As for the clergy and laity in the various provinces who have been excommunicated, the bishops should observe the provision of the canon which states that someone excommunicated by one bishop is not to be readmitted by another. Nevertheless, he should investigate to see if the excommunication has come about from excessive stringency, contentiousness, or any other ungracious attitude on the part of the excommunicating bishop.So that these matters may be duly investigated, we decree that in every province councils shall be held twice a year, so that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, all such questions may be thoroughly examined by them. In this way, everyone can see how those who have confessedly offended their bishop have been justly excommunicated, unless it shall seem fit to the general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. The first of these councils should be held before Lent, (that the pure Gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away), and the second in the autumn.

Canon Six

Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria has jurisdiction over them all, since a similar arrangement is the custom for the Bishop of Rome. Likewise let the churches in Antioch and the other provinces retain their privileges. It should be understood everywhere that if anyone is made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan bishop, this great council has declared he should not remain a bishop. If two or three bishops are prone to strife and oppose an ordination which has been duly approved by the majority in accordance with church law, then let the choice of the majority prevail.

Canon Seven

Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Jerusalem should be honored, let him, after giving due dignity to the metropolitan, have the next place of honor.

Canon Eight

As for the so-called cathari (pure), if they return to the catholic and apostolic church, the great and holy council decrees that any of them who are ordained may remain among the clergy. But it will first be necessary for them to profess in writing that they will observe and follow the teachings of the catholic and apostolic church. In particular they must commune with those who have been married twice, and with those who have lapsed in persecution but have had a period of penance prescribed for them, and a date of restoration determined, so that in all things they will follow the teachings of the catholic church. In any area where all the clergy are of this type, whether in villages or in cities, they should keep their current rank. But if they are restored to the catholic church in an area where there is already a catholic bishop or priest, it is obvious that the existing bishop of the church must continue to hold the rank of bishop; and he who was named bishop by the so-called cathars must take the rank of priest (unless the bishop agrees to allow him to share in the honor of the title of bishop). Or, if this does not prove satisfactory, then the bishop may provide for him a place as rural bishop (chorepiscopus). This way, he can remain an eminent clergyman, without there being two bishops in the city.

Canon Nine

If any priests have been promoted without a proper examination, or if during their examination they confessed crimes, but were nevertheless ordained notwithstanding their confession, church law does not allow such; for the catholic church requires that which is blameless.

Canon Ten

If some have lapsed, but then have been ordained through the ignorance of the bishops who ordained them (or even with the previous knowledge), it must not influence the decision of the church. When such men are discovered, they must be deposed.

Canon Eleven

As for those who transgressed without being compelled to do so, without the seizure of their property, without danger or the like, as happened during the tyranny of Licinius, the Council declares that they should be dealt with mercifully, though they in no way deserve it. If they truly repent, they will spend three years among the hearers, seven years as prostrators, and then for two years they may join with the congregation in prayers, but without receiving the Eucharist.

Canon Twelve

As for those who were called by grace and at first zealously threw away their military uniforms, but then later returned like dogs to their own vomit (so that some regained their military positions through bribes and gifts), let these spend three years as hearers and ten years as prostrators. But in all such cases it is necessary to carefully examine their intentions and their repentance. If they give evidence of their conversions by their actions (and not mere pretence), with fear, tears, perseverance, and good works, then they may properly join the assembly in prayers once they have fulfilled their appointed time as hearers. Beyond that, the bishop may make an even more lenient (philanthropion) decision concerning them. But those who take the matter with indifference, and who think the prescribed form of entering the church is sufficient for their readmission, must fulfill the whole time.

Canon Thirteen

As for those who are dying, the ancient church law is still to be maintained, i.e., that if any man is at the point of death, he must not be deprived of the most indispensable final Eucharist. But, if anyone is restored to health again who received communion when his death was considered imminent, let him remain among those who commune in prayers only. But in general, and in the case of any dying person, let the Bishop, after making examination, give the Eucharist to whoever asks to receive it.

Canon Fourteen

Concerning catechumens who have lapsed, the holy and great Council has decreed that, after they have passed just three years as hearers, they shall again pray with the catechumens.

Canon Fifteen

Because of the great disturbances and disagreements that have occurred of late, we decree that the custom which prevails in certain places must be totally done away with: neither bishop, priest, nor deacon shall move from city to city. And if any one, after this decree of the holy and great council, shall attempt such a thing, or continue in any such course of action, his actions shall be utterly void, and he must return to the church where he was ordained bishop or priest.

Canon Sixteen

Churches ought not to receive priests, deacons, or other clergy, who without the fear of God and in disregard for church law, recklessly abandon their own churches. Such men should be encouraged by all available means to re-join their own parishes. If they will not return, they must be excommunicated. The ordination will be void if anyone dares to secretly ordain a man who belongs to another church without the consent of his bishop whose jurisdiction the latter has left, even if he had previously been enrolled on the list of clergy.

Canon Seventeen

Many clergymen, being covetousness and desirous for gain, have forgotten the divine Scripture which says, “He does not lend at usury” (Ez 18:8), and when lending money ask for one percent of the total as monthly interest. The holy and great council thinks it just that if after this decree any one is found to receive usury, secretly or otherwise, such as by demanding the whole and one half, or by using any other contrivance at all for filthy profit’s sake, he shall be deposed from the clergy and his name stricken from the list.

Canon Eighteen

It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great council that in some districts and cities, deacons are administering the Eucharist to the priests, even though neither church law nor custom permits that those who have no right to offer it should give the body of Christ to those who can offer it. It has also become known to us that certain deacons now handle the Eucharist even before the bishops. Let all such practices be abolished, and let the deacons remain within their own bounds, knowing that they are the servants of the bishop and at a lower rank than the priests. Let them receive the Eucharist according to their rank, after the priests, and let either the bishop or the priest administer it to them. Furthermore, do not let the deacons sit among the priests, for that is contrary to canon and order. And if, after this decree, any one shall refuse to obey, let him be deposed from the diaconate.

Canon Nineteen

Concerning the followers of Paul of Samosata who have flown for refuge to the catholic church, it has been decreed that they must by all means be rebaptized. If any of them in past time were on the list of their clergy and are found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the bishop of the catholic church. But if the examination should show that they are unfit, they ought to be deposed. Like treatment should be given in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy. We mean by ‘deaconesses’ those who have assumed the habit, but who, since they have not had hands laid upon them, are to be numbered only among the laity.

Canon Twenty

There are certain persons who kneel for prayer on the Lord’s Day [Easter] and in the days of Pentecost. But so that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere, it seems good to the holy Council that prayers should be made to God while standing during those times.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

First Council of Nicaea: Creed

First Council of Nicaea

Creed of the 318 Fathers of Nicaea

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things seen and unseen.

And in one Lord, Jesus Christ the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten, that is, of the essence of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same being as the Father, through whom all things came to be, both the things in heaven and on earth, who for us humans and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, becoming human, who suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, who is coming to judge the living and the dead.

And in the Holy Spirit.

The catholic and apostolic church condemns those who say concerning the Son of God that “there was a time when he was not” or “he did not exist before he was begotten” or “he came to be from nothing” or who claim that he is of another subsistence (hypostasis) or essence (ousia), or a creation (ktistos), or changeable (alloiōtos), or alterable (treptos).

Important Decrees, Anathemas, and Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils

Important Decrees, Anathemas, and Canons of the
Seven Ecumenical Councils
The Church receives the teachings of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church insofar as they are agreeable to scripture.

The 39 Articles of Religion

The 39 Articles of Religion

I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.

THERE is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.

The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.

As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed, that he went down into Hell.

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.

Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

V. Of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books

Genesis,                       The First Book of Samuel,                    The Book of Esther ,
Exodus,                        The Second Book of Samuel,                The Book of Job,
Leviticus,                     The First Book of Kings,                      The Psalms,
Numbers,                     The Second Book of Kings,                   The Proverbs,
Deuteronomy,              The First Book of Chronicles,               Ecclesiastes or Preacher,
Joshua,                        The Second Book of Chronicles,           Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,,
Judges,                        The First Book of Esdras,                     Four Prophets the greater,
Ruth,                            The Second Book of Esdras,                 Twelve Prophets the less.

And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:

The Third Book of Esdras,                   Baruch the Prophet,
The Fourth Book of Esdras,                 The Song of the Three Children,
The Book of Tobias,                              The Story of Susanna,
The Book of Judith,                              Of Bel and the Dragon,
The rest of the Book of Esther,             The Prayer of Manasses,
The Book of Wisdom,                           The First Book of Maccabees,
Jesus the Son of Sirach,                       The Second Book of Maccabees.

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

VII. Of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwith-standing, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

VIII. Of the Creeds.

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.

IX. Of Original or Birth Sin.

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, φρονημα σαρκος, (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

X. Of Free Will.

The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

XI. Of the Justification of Man.

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

XII. Of Good Works.

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

XIII. Of Works before Justification.

Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.

Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

XV. Of Christ alone without Sin.

Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.

Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

XVII. Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to ever-lasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wrethchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

XIX. Of the Church.

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

XX. Of the Authority of the Church.

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.

[The Twenty-first of the former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles.]

XXII. Of Purgatory.

The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.

It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.

XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.

XXV. Of the Sacraments.

Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments are not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.

Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

XXVII. Of Baptism.

Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.

The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.

The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

XXX. Of both Kinds.

The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.

The Offering of Christ once made in that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices* of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.

Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.

That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath the authority thereunto.

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.

It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.

Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

XXXV. Of the Homilies.

The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.

Of the Names of the Homilies

1 Of the right Use of the Church.
2 Against Peril of Idolatry.
3 Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
4 Of good Works: first of Fasting.
5 Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
6 Against Excess of Apparel
7 Of Prayer.
8 Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
9 That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
10 Of the reverend Estimation of God’s Word.
11 Of Alms-doing.
12 Of the Nativity of Christ.
13 Of the Passion of Christ.
14 Of the Resurrection of Christ.
15 Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
16 Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
17 For the Rogation-days.
18 Of the State of Matrimony.
19 Of Repentance.
20 Against Idleness.
21 Against Rebellion.

[This Article is received in this Church, so far as it declares the Book of Homilies to be an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals. But all references to the constitution and laws of England are considered as inapplicable to the circumstances of this Church; which also suspends the order for the reading of said Homilies in churches, until a revision of them may be conveniently made, for the clearing of them, as well from obsolete words and phrases, as from the local references.]

XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.

The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this Church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.

XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.

The Power of the Civil Magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the Civil Authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.

XXXVIII. Of Christian Men’s Goods, which are not common.

The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

XXXIX. Of a Christian Man’s Oath.

As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet’s teaching in justice, judgment, and truth.

A Further Outline of the Faith: Commonly called the 1979 Catechism

A Further Outline of the Faith

Commonly called the 1979 Catechism

On Human Nature

Q.     What are we by nature?
A.     We are part of God’s creation, made in the image of God.

Q.     What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
A.     It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God.

Q.      Why then do we live apart from God and out of harmony with creation?
A.     From the beginning, human beings have misused their freedom and made wrong choices.

Q.     Why do we not use our freedom as we should?
A.     Because we rebel against God, and we put ourselves in the place of God.

Q.     What help is there for us?
A.     Our help is in God.

Q.     How did God first help us?
A.     God first helped us by revealing himself and his will, through nature and history, through many seers and saints, and especially through the prophets of Israel.

Of God the Father

Q.     What do we learn about God as creator from the revelation to Israel?
A.     We learn that there is one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

Q.     What does this mean?
A.     This means that the universe is good, that it is the work of a single loving God who creates, sustains, and directs it.

Q.     What does this mean about our place in the universe?
A.     It means that the world belongs to its creator; and that we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God’s purposes.

Q.     What does this mean about human life?
A.     It means that all people are worthy of respect and honor, because all are created in the image of God, and all can respond to the love of God.

Q.     How was this revelation handed down to us?
A.     This revelation was handed down to us through a community created by a covenant with God.

Of the Old Covenant

Q.     What is meant by a covenant with God?
A.     A covenant is a relationship initiated by God, to which a body of people responds in faith.

Q.     What is the Old Covenant?
A.     The Old Covenant is the one given by God to the Hebrew people.

Q.     What did God promise them?
A.     God promised that they would be his people to bring all the nations of the world to him.

Q.     What response did God require from the chosen people?
A.     God required the chosen people to be faithful; to love  justice, to do mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

Q.     Where is this Old Covenant to be found?
A.     The covenant with the Hebrew people is to be found in the books which we call the Old Testament.

Q.     Where in the Old Testament is God’s will for us shown most clearly?
A.     God’s will for us is shown most clearly in the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments

Q.     What are the Ten Commandments?
A.     The Ten Commandments are the laws given to Moses and the people of Israel.

Q.     What do we learn from these commandments?
A.     We learn two things: our duty to God, and our duty to our neighbors.

Q.     What is our duty to God?
A.     Our duty is to believe and trust in God;
                I     To love and obey God and to bring others to know him;
               II     To put nothing in the place of God;
             III     To show God respect in thought, word, and deed;
             IV     And to set aside regular times for worship, prayer, and the study of God’s ways.

Q.     What is our duty to our neighbors?
A.     Our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves, and to do to other people as we wish them to do to us;
               V     To love, honor, and help our parents and family; to honor those in authority, and to meet their just demands;
             VI     To show respect for the life God has given us; to work and pray for peace; to bear no malice, prejudice, or hatred in our hearts; and to be
                       kind to all the creatures of God;
            VII     To use all our bodily desires as God intended;
          VIII     To be honest and fair in our dealings; to seek justice, freedom, and the necessities of life for all people; and to use our talents and possessions
                       as ones who must answer for them to God;
              IX     To speak the truth, and not to mislead others by our silence;
               X     To resist temptations to envy, greed, and jealousy; to rejoice in other people’s gifts and graces; and to do our duty for the love of God, who has called us into fellowship with him.

Q.     What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?
A.     The Ten Commandments were given to define our relationship with God and our neighbors.

Q.     Since we do not fully obey them, are they useful at all?
A.     Since we do not fully obey them, we see more clearly our sin and our need for redemption.

Of Sin and Redemption

Q.     What is sin?
A.     Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.

Q.     How does sin have power over us?
A.     Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when our relationship with God is distorted.

Q.     What is redemption?
A.     Redemption is the act of God which sets us free from the power of evil, sin, and death.

Q.     How did God prepare us for redemption?
A.     God sent the prophets to call us back to himself, to show us our need for redemption, and to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Q.     What is meant by the Messiah?
A.     The Messiah is one sent by God to free us from the power of sin, so that with the help of God we may live in harmony with God, within ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.

Q.     Who do we believe is the Messiah?
A.     The Messiah, or Christ, is Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God.

Of God the Son

Q.     What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the only Son of God?
A.     We mean that Jesus is the only perfect image of the Father, and shows us the nature of God.

Q.     What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?
A.     God is love.

Q.     What do we mean when we say that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became incarnate from the Virgin Mary?
A.     We mean that by God’s own act, his divine Son received our human nature from the Virgin Mary, his mother.

Q.     Why did he take our human nature?
A.     The divine Son became human, so that in him human beings might be adopted as children of God, and bemade heirs of God’s kingdom.

Q.     What is the great importance of Jesus’ suffering and death?
A.     By his obedience, even to suffering and death, Jesus made the offering which we could not make; in him we are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God.

Q.     What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?
A.     By his resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened for us the way of eternal life.

Q.     What do we mean when we say that he descended to the dead?
A.     We mean that he went to the departed and offered them also the benefits of redemption.

Q.     What do we mean when we say that he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
A.     We mean that Jesus took our human nature into heaven where he now reigns with the Father andintercedes for us.

Q.     How can we share in his victory over sin, suffering, and death?
A.     We share in his victory when we are baptized into the New Covenant and become living members of Christ.

The New Covenant

Q.     What is the New Covenant?
A.     The New Covenant is the new relationship with God given by Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the apostles; and, through them, to all who believe in him.

Q.     What did the Messiah promise in the New Covenant?
A.     Christ promised to bring us into the kingdom of God and give us life in all its fullness.

Q.     What response did Christ require?
A.     Christ commanded us to believe in him and to keep his commandments.

Q.     What are the commandments taught by Christ?
A.     Christ taught us the Summary of the Law and gave us the New Commandment.

Q.     What is the Summary of the Law?
A.     You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Q.     What is the New Commandment?
A.     The New Commandment is that we love one another as Christ loved us.

Q.     Where may we find what Christians believe about Christ?
A.     What Christians believe about Christ is found in the Scriptures and summed up in the creeds.

Of The Creeds

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

Q.     How many creeds does this 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 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.

Of The Holy Spirit

Q.     Who is the Holy Spirit?
A.     The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church even now.

Q.     How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the Old Covenant?
A.     The Holy Spirit is revealed in the Old Covenant as the giver of life, the One who spoke through the prophets.

Q.     How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the New Covenant?
A.     The Holy Spirit is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow in the likeness of Christ.

Q.     How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
A.     We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our
         neighbors, and with all creation.

Q.     How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy Spirit?
A.     We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit when they are in accord with the Scriptures.

The Holy Scriptures

Q.     What are the Holy Scriptures?
A.     The Holy Scriptures, commonly called the Bible, are the books of the Old and New Testaments; other books, called the Apocrypha, are often included in the Bible.

Q.     What is the Old Testament?
A.     The Old Testament consists of books written by the people of the Old Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to show God at work in nature and history.

Q.     What is the New Testament?
A.     The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the New Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.

Q.     What is the Apocrypha?
A.     The Apocrypha is a collection of additional books written by people of the Old Covenant, and used in the Christian Church.

Q.     Why do we call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God?
A.     We call them the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible.

Q.     How do we understand the meaning of the Bible?
A.     We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.

Of The Church

Q.     What is the Church?
A.     The Church is the community of the New Covenant.

Q.     How is the Church described in the Bible?
A.     The Church is described as the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head and of which all baptized persons are members. It is called the People of God, the New Israel, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and the pillar and ground of truth.

Q.     How is the Church described in the creeds?
A.     The Church is described as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Q.     Why is the Church described as one?
A.     The Church is one, because it is one Body, under one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q.     Why is the Church described as holy?
A.     The Church is holy, because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, consecrates its members, and guides them to do God’s work.

Q.     Why is the Church described as catholic?
A.     The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.

Q.     Why is the Church described as apostolic?
A.     The Church is apostolic, because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people.

Q.     What is the mission of the Church?
A.     The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Q.     How does the Church pursue its mission?
A.     The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.

Q.     Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
A.     The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.

The Ministry

Q.     Who are the ministers of the Church?
A.     The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

Q.     What is the ministry of the laity?
A.     The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.

Q.     What is the ministry of a bishop?
A.     The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act
         in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry.

Q.     What is the ministry of a priest or presbyter?
A.     The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.

Q.     What is the ministry of a deacon?
A.     The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.

Q.     What is the duty of all Christians?
A.     The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.

Of Prayer and Worship

Q.     What is prayer?
A.     Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words.

Q.     What is Christian Prayer?
A.     Christian prayer is response to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Q.     What prayer did Christ teach us?
A.     Our Lord gave us the example of prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer.

Q.     What are the principal kinds of prayer?
A.     The principal kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition.

Q.     What is adoration?
A.     Adoration is the lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God’s presence.

Q.     Why do we praise God?
A.     We praise God, not to obtain anything, but because God’s Being draws praise from us.

Q.     For what do we offer thanksgiving?
A.     Thanksgiving is offered to God for all the blessings ofthis life, for our redemption, and for whatever draws us closer to God.

Q.     What is penitence?
A.     In penitence, we confess our sins and make restitution where possible, with the intention to amend our lives.

Q.     What is prayer of oblation?
A.     Oblation is an offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, in union with Christ, for the purposes of God.

Q.     What are intercession and petition?
A.     Intercession brings before God the needs of others; in petition, we present our own needs, that God’s will may be done.

Q.     What is corporate worship?
A.     In corporate worship, we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer, and to celebrate the sacraments.

Of The Sacraments

Q.     What are the sacraments?
A.     The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.

Q.     What is grace?
A.     Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.

Q.     What are the two great sacraments of the Gospel?
A.     The two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church are Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

Of Holy Baptism

Q.     What is Holy Baptism?
A.     Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.

Q.     What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
A.     The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Q.     What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
A.     The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.

Q.     What is required of us at Baptism?
A.     It is required that we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Q.     Why then are infants baptized?
A.     Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God.

Q.     How are the promises for infants made and carried out?
A.     Promises are made for them by their parents and sponsors, who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow him.

Of The Holy Eucharist

Q.     What is the Holy Eucharist?
A.     The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.

Q.     Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
A.     Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.

Q.     By what other names is this service known?
A.     The Holy Eucharist is called the Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion; it is also known as the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering.

Q.     What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?
A.     The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command.

Q.     What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
A.     The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.

Q.     What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
A.     The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.

Q.     What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
A.     It is required that we should examine our lives, repentof our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.

Of Other Sacramental Rites

Q.     What other sacramental rites evolved in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
A.     Other sacramental rites which evolved in the Church include confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.

Q.     How do they differ from the two sacraments of the Gospel?
A.     Although they are means of grace, they are notnecessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism and the Eucharist are.

Q.     What is Confirmation?
A.     Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.

Q.     What is required of those to be confirmed?
A.     It is required of those to be confirmed that they have been baptized, are sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith, are penitent for their sins, and are ready to affirm their confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Q.     What is Ordination?
A.     Ordination is the rite in which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those being made bishops, priests, and deacons, through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops.

Q.     What is Holy Matrimony?
A.     Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life‑long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.

Q.     What is Reconciliation of a Penitent?
A.     Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Penance, is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.

Q.     What is Unction of the Sick?
A.     Unction is the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind, and body.

Q.     Is God’s activity limited to these rites?
A.     God does not limit himself to these rites; they are patterns of countless ways by which God uses material things to reach out to us.

Q.     How are the sacraments related to our Christian hope?
A.     Sacraments sustain our present hope and anticipate its future fulfillment.

The Christian Hope

Q.     What is the Christian hope?
A.     The Christian hope is to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God’s purpose for the world.

Q.     What do we mean by the coming of Christ in glory?
A.     By the coming of Christ in glory, we mean that Christ will come, not in weakness but in power, and will make all things new.

Q.     What do we mean by heaven and hell?
A.     By heaven, we mean eternal life in our enjoyment of God; by hell, we mean eternal death in our rejection of God.

Q.     Why do we pray for the dead?
A.     We pray for them, because we still hold them in our love, and because we trust that in God’s presence those who have chosen to serve him will grow in his love, until they see him as he is.

Q.     What do we mean by the last judgment?
A.     We believe that Christ will come in glory and judge the living and the dead.

Q.     What do we mean by the resurrection of the body?
A.     We mean that God will raise us from death in the fullness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of the saints.

Q.     What is the communion of saints?
A.     The communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise.

Q.     What do we mean by everlasting life?
A.     By everlasting life, we mean a new existence, in which we are united with all the people of God, in the joy of fully knowing and loving God and each other.

Q.     What, then, is our assurance as Christians?

A.     Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.