Monday, January 17, 2011

Comparing apples to apples: Roman Church and the Church of England

One of the books that young Augustus Toplady wrote showed how plainly the Church of England’s doctrine very much rejected the original Arminianism (mixing human works with Christ’s death for salvation) that had its roots in the Roman Catholic Church.

The book was titled “The Church of England Vindicated from the Charge of Arminianism.” At one point in the book, Toplady compares some of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith from the Anglican Church with the declarations made by the pope and bishops in the Church of Rome during the Council of Trent.The result is very telling and the true Catholic or universal church clearly emerges from the comparison.

1. Church of England - The Godly consideration of predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons (Article 18 – XVIII)

Church of Rome  - No man, so long as he liveth in this mortal life, ought so far to presume concerning the hidden mystery of divine predestination as positively to conclude that he is actually in the number of the predestinate. (Session VI, Council of Trent)

2. Church of England – 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. (Article 10 - X)

Church of Rome – If any person shall say that since the fall of Adam man’s freewill is lost and extinct…Let him be accursed (Sess. V. Canon V, Council of Trent)

3. Church of England - We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and not for our own works or deservings. (Article 11 - XI)

Church of Rome – If any person shall say that men are justified, either by the alone righteousness of Christ, or for a bare forgiveness of sins. Let him be accursed (Trent Sess. V, Canon XI)

4. Church of England – That we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort. (Article 11 - XI)

Church of Rome – If any man shall say that the ungodly is justified by faith only, so as to mean that nothing else is required. Let him be accursed. (Trent Sess. V, Canon IX)

5. Church of England – Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of His Spirit are not pleasant to God. Yes, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin. (Article 13 – XIII)

Church of Rome – If any one shall say that all the works done before justification, in what way soever they are done, are actually sins, and deserving of God’s displeasure. Let him be accursed. (Sess. V, Canon VII)

6. Church of England – Good works which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification…(Article 12 - XII)

Church of Rome – If any one shall say that justification received is not preserved, and even increased before God by good works, but that these good works themselves are no more than the fruits and evidences of justification already obtained. Let him be accursed.

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