The Ecumenical Articles of Religion (Part 2)

Resolution of Intent—With a View to Unity” concludes with the “original resolution of intent” approved by the 1970 General Conference. It does appear on page 255 of the Journal of the 1970 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Here is how both lists appear in the 1970 Journal:

WHEREAS, it is common knowledge that the context of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (1563)—and specifically Articles XIV, XIX, XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXV, XXVIII, XXX, XXXI, XXIV—was bitterly polemical, it is of prime importance in an ecumenical age that they should be reconsidered and reassessed. … John Wesley’s hasty abridgment (1784) of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (down to twenty-four) retained seven out of ten of these anti-Roman references XIV, XV, XVI, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI in his enumeration. …

The original resolution lists ten Articles from the original Thirty-Nine Articles. Unfortunately, Article XXIV appears on the list twice. For now, we only need note that it’s listed twice. It will become clear in a moment what the final listed Article should be.

Here’s the list as a graphic:

Resolution of Intent listing from the Thirty-Nine Articles

Resolution of Intent listing from the Thirty-Nine Articles

The Resolution of Intent then lists seven Articles from Wesley’s 1784 abridgement of the Articles of Religion. Here’s a list of those seven Articles in a similar graphic:

Resolution of Intent listing from Wesley's abridgement

Resolution of Intent listing from Wesley’s abridgement

Of the above seven Articles from Wesley’s abridgement, it’s simple to determine the source of each in the original Thirty-Nine Articles. For example, Article XIV of the abridgement is titled “Of Purgatory.” Article XXII from the Thirty-Nine Articles is also titled “Of Purgatory.” We can match all of the seven listed Articles accordingly.

In graphic form, here is how the seven Articles in the abridgement match up with the original Thirty-Nine Articles:

The seven articles listed in abridgement and their sources in the original Thirty-Nine Articles.

The seven articles listed in the abridgement and their sources in the original Thirty-Nine Articles.

With our sophisticated graphical capabilities, let’s take the left part of the graphic just posted and combine it with the first graphic of this series (this will be clearer after looking at it):

The source articles compared with the original list from the Resolution of Intent.

The source articles compared with the original list from the Resolution of Intent.

These line up well. If the Resolution of Intent considers Article XXI (“Of the Marriage of Ministers.”) from Wesley’s abridgement an “anti-Roman reference”, it seems reasonable to conclude that Article XXXII (“Of the Marriage of Priests.”) also qualifies as an “anti-Roman reference”. By this reasoning, the last item on the list from the Thirty-Nine Articles should be Article XXXII.

In other words, the original text corrected:

WHEREAS, it is common knowledge that the context of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (1563)—and specifically Articles XIV, XIX, XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXV, XXVIII, XXX, XXXI, XXIV  XXXII—was bitterly polemical, it is of prime importance in an ecumenical age that they should be reconsidered and reassessed. … John Wesley’s hasty abridgment (1784) of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (down to twenty-four) retained seven out of ten of these anti-Roman references XIV, XV, XVI, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI in his enumeration. …

What about Articles XIV, XIX, and XXI of the original Thirty-Nine Articles? Graphically:

What about the first three listed articles?

What about the first three listed articles?

From page 1558 of the Journal of the 1952 General Conference of The Methodist Church (click to enlarge):

1952 Journal, page 1558

1952 Journal, page 1558

The original Article XIV “Of Works of Supererogation” became Article XI “Of Works of Supererogation.” The Theological Study Commission on Doctrine and Doctrinal Standards noted in a report approved by the 1972 General Conference that Article XI is polemical and aimed at Roman Catholics. (See page 1994 of the Journal of the 1972 General Conference of The United Methodist Church.)

From page 1560 of the Journal of the 1952 General Conference of The Methodist Church (click to enlarge):

1952 Journal, page 1560

1952 Journal, page 1560

Article XIX became Article XIII in Wesley’s abridgement, but it appears that Wesley did not include the original’s “bitterly polemical” paragraph. Article XXI was not included.

Based on the above, the Resolution of Intent omitted Article XI for some reason. Here is the original text corrected by adding Article XI:

WHEREAS, it is common knowledge that the context of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (1563)—and specifically Articles XIV, XIX, XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXV, XXVIII, XXX, XXXI, XXIV  XXXII—was bitterly polemical, it is of prime importance in an ecumenical age that they should be reconsidered and reassessed. … John Wesley’s hasty abridgment (1784) of the original Thirty-Nine Articles (down to twenty-four) retained seven eight out of ten of these anti-Roman references XI, XIV, XV, XVI, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI in his enumeration. …

With a little bit of careful attention, the above corrections aren’t that difficult to make. My next post examines whether, after 1970, petitioners and General Conferences made any of the above corrections.

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2 thoughts on “The Ecumenical Articles of Religion (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: The Ecumenical Articles of Religion (Part 3) | Attending Circuses

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