I recall listening to a radio broadcast on RTE. The item up for discussion was President Mary McAleese receiving Holy Communion in St. Patrick’s Anglican Cathedral, Dublin. The presenter invited the listeners of the show to phone in with their views. Some of the contributors to the discussion were Church of Ireland. One lady in her 30’s made the sweeping statement, “We are all the same”, referring to the Church of Rome and the Anglican Communion. This was supported by other Church of Ireland contributors. I remember ceding with frustration at the ignorance of the contributors to the debate. The question I asked myself was ‘Why do they hold such an opinion when they claim to be members of a Reformed and Bible-based Anglican Church?
The answer is a simple one, the sad lack of Christ-centred and Bible Truth ministries. Those within senior positions of responsibility of the Church of Ireland have moved away from the Biblical teaching of our forefathers and moved towards watered down, wishy washy, ‘please all’ type sermons.
So let us look at the facts.
THE CHURCH OF ROME AND THEIR CANON LAWS CONCERNING COMMUNION AND FAITH
If any one shall deny that the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; and shall say that he is only in it as a sign or in a figure, or virtually,let him be accursed. put to death!
If any one shall say that the substance of the bread and wine remains in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall deny that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into body the outward forms of the of the bread and wine still remaining, which conversion the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation let him be accursed,put to death!
If anyone shall say that the ungodly man is justified by faith only so as to understand that nothing else is required that may cooperate to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is in no wise necessary for him to be prepared and disposed by the motion of his own will let him be accursed, put to death!
If any shall say that justifying faith is nothing else then confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ sake, of that is that confidence alone by which we are justified let him be accursed, put to death!
Let me remind the reader that none of these canons were revoked at Vatican 2 and therefore represent a threat of murder on every Protestant. This is unacceptable in the 21st Century and needs to be revoked unequivocally and without delay.
Let us look at the position of the 39 Articles of the Church of Ireland, which came down to us from the glorious Reformation and Revival, and which form an integral part of the Preamble and Declaration of the Irish Anglican Church.
The offering of Christ once made is 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.
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 deserving: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely expressed in the Homily of Justification.
For some time now those in authority in Braemor Park and Temple Rd (the addresses of Church of Ireland Theological College and th Archbishop of Dublin) have been moving to undermine the sound biblical principles of the 39 Articles. Ecumenical Liberalism within the Church of Ireland has been moving in its designs to reverse the Reformation. There is a great loathing and hatred for these Articles and indeed all sound biblical doctrine that comes down to us from the glorious reformation and revival by a certain camp. Liberal Church of Ireland ministers, with some notable exceptions, do not believe them though they swore to uphold them when they were ordained. They never preach them, and any reference to the 39 Articles only comes in the shape of an apology. They are more interested in keeping favour with a Church that has tried to destroy the Reformed faith (Ne Temere decree) and its attempted cover up of crimes against children. Thankfully, that camp was stopped at this year’s General Synod from placing “clear water” between the Church and the Articles. Thankfully, the Theological College is under new leadership and has the opportunity of a fresh start, one which is biblically faithful and culturally relevant.
The average member of the Church of Ireland knows nothing about the 39 Articles (BCP p.778) and most would certainly never hear anything of the anti-Roman Catholicism contained therein. The responsibility for us as members of the Church, is to question our ministers as to where they stand on the 39 Articles? Why are they no longer wearing the traditional dress of the Church of Ireland, black scarf and white surplice, during Holy Communion? We need to challenge them on their preaching if it is not bible based. One will find that when the authority of Scripture is removed, the sermon becomes nothing more than a life style lesson. And finally, we need to find out who are the local Church of Ireland synod representatives and enquire of their position on the 39 Articles. Don’t sit back feeling uncomfortable with what’s happening in the church. I did for many years but now I for one will speak out and challenge bad ministry with the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Standard.