Daily Reading for January 11 • William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645 (transferred)

William Laud conducted a famous controversy with a Jesuit theologian, John Fisher, subsequently published as A Relation of the Conference between William Laud and Mr. Fisher the Jesuit (1639). Against the proposition advanced by Fisher that all points defined in the Church are fundamental, Laud insists that the term “fundamental” can only apply to the articles of the Creed. There may be many true deductions from the Creed, of which simple people are unaware, but which it may be necessary for others, more learned, to believe. But nothing is fundamental merely because the Church says it is so, but only because it is of itself. . . . Laud asserts that belief in Scripture as the word of God and infallible is a preceding, prime principle of faith to be held along with the Creed. That the Church of England’s positive articles are grounded in Scripture, he is content to be judged by the joint and constant belief of the Fathers of the first five centuries:

“To believe the Scripture and the Creeds, to believe these in the sense of the ancient primitive Church, to receive the four great Councils so much magnified by antiquity, to believe all points of doctrine, generally received as fundamental in the Church of Christ, is a faith in which to live and die cannot but give salvation.”

From The Study of Anglicanism, edited by Stephen Sykes and John Booty (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1988).

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