What is the official teaching on hell in the Church of England? (Anglican). Please include sources.

The 39 articles of faith make no mention of hell, so what other source makes statement on the doctrine of hell?

  • 1
    I'm not convinced there is an official Anglican teaching on Hell... – lonesomeday Aug 3 '18 at 20:58
  • As a work of predominantly Anglicans, the Westminster Standards would tell you a lot even though they weren't adopted by the church of England. – curiousdannii Aug 3 '18 at 22:03

Here is a list of all the official Anglican statements of belief that talk about hell:

The 39 Articles of Religion

Contrary to what you say, the 39 Articles do mention hell, in Article 3:

As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed, that he went down into Hell.

The Book of Common Prayer

The word "hell" appears in two contexts in the BCP: the Apostles' Creed (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and the three baptism services), and the Athanasian Creed:

that he went down into hell, and also did rise again the third day (Apostles)

Who suffered for our salvation: descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead (Athanasian)


And that's it. The Church of England has no other statements of faith that we can use. There are no other authoritative documents that can give an official answer. Beyond the statement that Christ descended into Hell after his death, the Church of England has no official teaching on the subject.

Obviously Anglicans (individually, and often corporately) have more complex and deeper beliefs about Hell, but these are the only official statements.

  • 2
    And many current Anglicans actually disagree with this translation of the creeds, and use modern ones which say grave or something like that. – curiousdannii Aug 3 '18 at 22:06
  • I wouldn't answer because I have no idea what anglicans believe, but if they have any statements in their creeds about views of the scripture as true, or Jesus teachings, you could indirectly show that they would affirm hell as described by Jesus in the scriptures. – L1R Aug 3 '18 at 23:48
  • @curiousdannii The modern Apostles' Creed does indeed say "descended to the dead". There is no modern Athanasian Creed: in any case, the BCP remains normative for the Church of England. – lonesomeday Aug 4 '18 at 7:44
  • @L1R I don't think that would be a valid approach, because Christian traditions/churches/denominations don't agree on what the scriptures say. Indeed, Anglicans don't agree on what the scriptures say. – lonesomeday Aug 4 '18 at 7:46
  • @lonesomeday since further study of the BCP I have found more reference to hell (see churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/…). Amend your answer with this and the points are yours sir! – David Oct 29 '18 at 10:30

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