Introducing the Anglican Church: 8. Church Traditions

We are looking at some of the key teachings of the Anglican Church as found in the 39 Articles, one of the foundation documents of the Anglican Church of Australia. This is a simple modern English version (the original 16th and 17th century version is in the Prayer Book).

Article 34. About the Traditions of the Church

It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies are the same in every place. They have always been different. They may be changed for different countries, times, and cultures, as long as nothing is ordained against God's Word. Anyone who, because of their private opinion, purposely and openly breaks the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which are not against the Word of God, and are approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly (so that others may fear to do the same). This is an offence against the common order of the Church, which hurts the authority of the government, and wounds the consciences of the weak.
Every national Church has authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies of the Church which are ordained only by human authority, so that everything results in edifying.

This Article is related to Article 20.  At the time of the Reformation it stated the view of the Church of England over against that of the Roman Catholic Church which claimed to have authority over all churches in every country.

The Article also stated the view of the Church of England over against the individualism of some of the Protestant groups.
The authority of national churches to make decisions about ceremonies is limited by the scriptures and by the principle of what is edifying. This is an important issue in our day as the scriptures are no longer regarded as authoritative by all members of the church.