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Reforming the Church

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Reforming the Church of England

Gilbert Burnet. The History of the Reformation of the Church of England. London, 1681

Henry, with Thomas Cromwell as his newly appointed vicegerent of spirituals, set about distancing his Church from the Roman Church and acquiring its vast wealth for the Crown. In addition, the 1530s saw the imposition of many new Church practices, required by the “Act of Ten Articles,” including the purchase of Bibles in English translation, requirements for education and moral conduct of the priesthood, and a recognition of three sacraments (baptism, penance, and the Eucharist) rather than the Roman Church’s seven. In two other critical areas the Articles differed from the Roman Church, as well as from emerging Protestant teachings: transubstantiation (the miraculous conversion of wine and bread into the blood and body of Christ) was not specifically mentioned; and the Lutheran “justification by faith alone” (the belief that God’s forgiveness of guilty sinners is granted and received solely through faith or belief, and not through any human efforts or works) was noted but not fully accepted.  


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