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The 1999 Declaration on the 39 Articles of Religion

The 1999 Declaration on the 39 Articles of Religion

The Church of Ireland is part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds: which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.  Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies –the Thirty–nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons and the Declaration prefixed to the Statutes of the Church of Ireland (1870).

These historic formularies are a definition of the faith as proclaimed by the Church of Ireland, and thus form an important part of the inheritance through which this Church has been formed in its faith and witness to this day.  The formularies that have been passed on are part of a living tradition that today must face new challenges and grasp fresh opportunities.

Historic documents often stem from periods of deep separation between Christian Churches.  Whilst, in spite of a real degree of convergence, distinct differences remain, the tone and tenor of the language of the negative statements towards other Christians should not be seen as representing the spirit of this Church today.

The Church of Ireland affirms all in its tradition that witnesses to the truth of the Gospel.  It regrets that words written in another age and in a different context should be used in a manner hurtful to or antagonistic towards other Christians.

The Church of Ireland seeks the visible unity of the Church.  In working towards that goal this Church is committed to reaching out towards other Churches in a spirit of humility and love, that together all Christians may grow towards unity in life and mission to the glory of God.