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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reformed Theology at its best, 20 Sep 2008
By 
Ian Drew-jones (Swansea, South Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It seems these days that the term 'Anglican' is vacuous. If a person denominates him or her self as Anglican, it necessarily follows that further clarification is needed to establish what type of Anglican they may be: Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, Liberal etc. This concise little book reminds us that there was a time in which being an Anglican meant subscribing to a doctrine, based on Holy Scripture and enshrined in the Thirty-Nine Articles, that was precise and highly specific, i.e. when the term 'Anglican' had substance. Packer and Beckwith throw down the gauntlet arguing that the Articles need to be placed at the heart of theological education. They do not challenge us by asking what type of Anglican we are - rather, they ask are we Anglicans at all? A must read for clergy, ordinands and lay readers alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clarifies the basis of disagreement, 3 Dec 2011
I bought this book because one of our parishioners stated an objection to the church having departed from the 39 articles in many ways. During my college training we had had a course on what we, as Christians, are supposed to believe and in my research for the essay I had discovered the 39 articles and been astonished that they hadn't been mentioned in the course. So I wanted to know what they're about, and have we indeed departed from them?

This book would certainly agree with our parishioner that the church has moved away from most of the articles. I think that, in general, he makes his point quite validly as he argues that while the church could change, it should be aware of change and that it should be building on the previous rather than just dropping laws. The author reminds us that Jesus came, not to destroy the Jewish Law, but to fulfil it. On that basis we should not be dropping our existing law but adding to it.

The problem with that is that the early church would have had to continue with all of Jewish Law if they had worked on those principles. I found as I read through the various articles, that I was glad to know what they were, on what basis the Anglican Church had been established - but very glad indeed that it no longer maintained an adherence to these articles. It became very clear to me that if the church today was based on these articles, I would not belong to it. In fact, I don't think very many of us would belong to it. The tone of the book was closer to the Evangelicals of today's church than to the liberals (which includes me) but from my placement in an Evangelical Church during my training I'd say they don't comply with these Articles any more than the mildly Anglo-Catholic church where I am part of the ministry team.

This is not the place to show my disagreement with the Articles themselves but I did think it was very useful indeed to be reminded of what they were so that I could disagree with them. I had considered lending the book to the parishioner who's query led me to buy it, now that I have read it I think I will still do that, but it gives me the opportunity to answer the query - to go through the Articles one by one and demonstrate what sort of church we would have today if we did abide by them.

All in all, however much anyone may disagree with the Articles or with the arguments in support of them that are given here; it is extremely useful to be clear with what one is disagreeing. And on that basis I appreciate this book for it's clarity.
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The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today
The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today by Roger T. Beckwith (Paperback - 30 Sep 2006)
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