(c) 2017 Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.
Anglicans are people of two books, the Book of Common Prayer, which we use for private and public worship, and the Bible, which is the only infallible standard for salvation and life. The Book of Common Prayer quotes the Bible about 70% of the time, and the rest of the time, it summarizes or alludes to the Bible.
But what is the Bible? It is God’s revelation to us through His prophets and apostles, which means it is supernatural in origin. At one time in the USA, to win a dispute one need only quote the Bible, but today there is no authority but what the culture thinks at the moment.
The Bible is the only infallible standard for God and morality in the world. We know it is accurate because it has predicted the future, such as the birth, death, and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The bodily resurrection of Christ is historically accurate and can be easily proved.
The Bible is everlasting in duration. People have tried to burn it, destroy it, deny it, make fun of it, but it is still the number one best seller each year.
The Bible is sufficient for salvation, which means it is all we need to know God and receive the free gift of forgiveness of sins. In other words, the Bible is not only necessary, it is enough. As The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion states, which is the doctrinal standard for Anglicans (or should be), “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
The Bible is Christological in subject, meaning that the Lord Jesus Christ is the main theme of the whole Bible. We come to know Him through the pages of holy writ. Again, The Thirty-Nine Articles states, “They also are to be accursed that presume to say, ‘That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professes, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to the Law and Light of Nature.’ For the Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ whereby men must be saved” (Acts 3:12).
The Bible is personal in application, which means we can rely on it not only for our salvation but also for everyday living. God has given us the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions, and these are imminently practical.
The Bible is inspired in its totality, which means that every part is equally infallible. One passage of Holy Scripture cannot contradict another passage, so that we use Scripture to interpret Scripture.
The Church is the custodian of the Bible, protecting it from corruption, though today we have been very derelict in our duty. But The Thirty-Nine Articles states that “the Church be a witness and keeper of Holy Writ.” But that does not mean that the Church has authority over the Bible; rather, the Bible holds the Church accountable. Again, The Thirty-Nine Articles proclaims: “. . . it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither to so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” The Bible stands in judgment not only over the Church but also over culture.
In our day, both the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible have been sorely compromised. There used to be basically just one Book of Common Prayer, but today there are many versions, some that do not have the confession of sins in the worship or that compromise the prayer of consecration for Holy Communion. Then the Bible has been watered down by so many translations that are not true to the original Hebrew or Greek that many people are confused. Is it any wonder that few people take a Bible to church when most churches have not settled on a translation, or if they do use one version, it is often paraphrased. We must be of the opinion that when the Bible declares something, let all the earth keep silence, for God has spoken. AMEN.