The Patristic Faith of King James  

Posted by Joe Rawls

James I of England, also known as James VI of Scotland (1566-1625), was, unlike many Supreme Governors of the Church of England, genuinely interested in religion and theology.  His greatest accomplishment in these areas was his sponsorship of the Authorized Version of the Bible.  His high-church tendencies can be seen in his appreciation of the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes and in his largely futile efforts to maintain episcopacy in the resolutely Presbyterian Scottish kirk.  A statement of his personal faith is found in A Premonition to All Most Mighty Monarchs, Kings, Free Princes, and States of Christendom (1609), reprinted in The Anglican Tradition:  a handbook of sources (GR Evans and J Robert Wright, eds, 1991 SPCK/Fortress.  It appears on pp 206-207 in the latter source.


I will never be ashamed to render an accompt of my profession and of that hope that is in me, as the apostle prescribeth.  I am such a Catholic Christian as believeth the three Creeds, that of the Apostles, that of the Council of Nice [Nicaea], and that of Athanasius, the two latter being paraphrases of the former.  And I believe them in that sense as the ancient Fathers and Councils that made them did understand them, to which three Creeds all ministers of England do subscribe at their ordination.  And I also acknowledge for Orthodox all those other forms of Creeds that either were devised by Councils or particular Fathers, against such particular heresies as most reigned in their times.  I reverence and admit the Four First General Councils as Catholic and Orthodox.  And the said Four General Councils are acknowledged by our Acts of Parliament, and received for orthodox by our Church.  As for the Fathers, I reverence them...For whatever the Fathers for the first five hundred years did with an unanime consent agree upon, to be believed as a necessary point of salvation, I either will believe it also, or at least will be humbly silent, not taking upon me to condemn the same.  But for every private Father's opinion, it binds not my conscience...every one of the Fathers usually contradicting others.  I will therefore in that case follow St Augustine's rule in judging of their opinions as I find them agree with the Scriptures.  What I find agreeable thereto I will gladly embrace.  What is otherwise I will (with their reverence) reject.  As for the Scriptures, no man doubteth I will believe them.  But even for the Apocrypha, I hold them in the same accompt that the Ancients did.  They are still printed and bound with our Bibles, and publicly read in our Churches.

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Very interesting!

October 16, 2015 at 5:37 AM

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