Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches

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Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches Logo.png
ClassificationProtestant
OrientationEvangelical
TheologyEvangelical
PolityIndependent
LeaderJohn Stevens
AssociationsAffinity[1]
Regionmainly United Kingdom
FounderRev Edward Joshua Poole-Connor[2]
Origin1922 as A Fellowship of Undenominational and Unattached Churches and Missions
Congregations639
Members50,000
Official websitefiec.org.uk Edit this at Wikidata

The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) is a network of 639 independent evangelical churches mainly in the United Kingdom.

History[edit]

The FIEC was formed in 1922 under the name A Fellowship of Undenominational and Unattached Churches and Missions.[2] It was later renamed The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. The Fellowship brought together many independent churches and mission halls, which had been somewhat isolated. [3]

Statistics[edit]

By February 2021, the FIEC has come to include 639 churches across Great Britain and the Channel Islands[4] and 50,000 members.[5]

Beliefs[edit]

The FIEC is in the Independent Evangelical tradition.[6] According to the National Director of FIEC, "An ‘Independent’ church is self-governing. Each individual local church has ultimate control over its own affairs. It does not belong to any external body or institution which has control over it."[7] The FIEC leadership claims it exercises 'something comparable to the sub-apostolic' ministry of Timothy and Titus.[8] Some trace the routes of Independency to separatists, such as Robert Browne in the time of Elizabeth I and James I of England, but "separatism" may be an unhelpful term to use in the present day to describe FIEC, because although a church has to be autonomous and self-governing to affiliate to the FIEC, one of the main purposes of the FIEC is that local churches should work together to share resources as they seek to advance the Christian Faith. However, it is correct to note that a number of churches joined FIEC when they separated from a denomination that moved away from what they considered to be historic orthodox biblical Christianity. For example, Westminster Chapel, a leading church in the Independent tradition, joined the FIEC when the Congregational Union merged with the English Presbyterian Church to form the United Reformed Church denomination (URC). Many Independent churches within the FIEC are Baptist churches but the FIEC is open both to churches that only baptise adults and also to churches that baptise the children of believers.[9]

The FIEC believes the classical Complementarian view which recognises that the distinctive calling to be a pastor or elder in the local church, and to be the head of the home, is a calling for men. It also recognises and encourages a wide calling of ministries within the church for women and men.[10] [11]

FIEC Practical Services[edit]

FIEC Limited is a registered charity and trust corporation working under the title FIEC Practical Services. It holds church property in trust for many churches and also provides legal advice to churches and other charities. In most cases where it holds property in trust for churches, its role is limited to acting in accordance with the lawful instructions of the church for which it holds the property, although in some cases, it does also have decision making powers concerning the use of the property.

Leadership[edit]

The FIEC is led by a team of directors. The senior director is the National Director, John Stevens. Other directors are Adrian Reynolds (Training), Andy Patterson (Mission), Johnny Prime (Pastoral), Andy Hunter (Scotland), Gemma Adam (Practical Services) and Trevor Archer (London).[12]

Relations with other churches[edit]

FIEC is the largest corporate partner of Affinity, which was previously called the British Evangelical Council.[1]

They also believe that Ecumenism in the form of Churches Together is not a positive move, citing various reasons including the liberal stance of other churches.[13] The Trust Board has recently affirmed that formal membership of Churches Together (CT) is inconsistent with the FIEC Statement on Ecumenism.[citation needed] However a number of fellowships publicly profess their affiliation to CT.

Issues raised by the Bible League Quarterly from 2009 to 2012[edit]

Allegations of engagement in ecumenism by a missionary to Poland of Carey Baptist Church have also been made in articles in the July 2009[14] and January 2010[15] issues of the Bible League Quarterly,[16] a journal once edited by the Fellowship's own founder, Rev E. J. Poole-Connor,[2] which now has a circulation of just over 1000 copies per issue.[citation needed] This issue is regarded by some as controversial as it is alleged to be a violation of the Fellowship's own statement in 1996 opposing ecumenism.[17] As an association of autonomous churches, the FIEC has defended the responsibility of Carey's elders to examine the allegations, but declined to examine them independently. The concerns were first raised in November 2008.[18] On 23 March 2012 a modified statement on ecumenism was published,[13] and the old withdrawn.[17] Further concerns about connections between prominent FIEC personalities and the Polish ecclesiastical scene were raised in 2012 by the same journal.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Affinity. "The FIEC is the largest constituent member body of those which make up Affinity." Archived 2006-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c Fountain, David (22 March 2005). Contending for the Faith: E. J. Poole-Connor – A Prophet Amidst the Sweeping Changes in English Evangelicalism. London: Wakeman Trust. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-870855-32-7.
  3. ^ Tola Mbakwe, Network of churches FIEC marks 100th anniversary with 100 gospel initiatives, premierchristian.news, UK, 27 Nov 2022
  4. ^ "Welcome to the Family (February 2021)". FIEC. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  5. ^ Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, Who we are, fiec.org.uk, UK, retrieved November 5, 2022
  6. ^ "Beliefs".
  7. ^ "Independent but not alone | Strand Blog | What we do | Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches". www.fiec.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2013-07-16.
  8. ^ Stevens, John (1 November 2014). Independent Church. 10P Publishing. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-909611-65-8.
  9. ^ "All in the Family – Baptism 1 | Strand Blog | What we do | Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches". www.fiec.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-21. Retrieved 2010-03-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Supporting Women in ministry". Archived from the original on 2007-12-04.
  12. ^ Churches, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical. "Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches". FIEC. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  13. ^ a b "FIEC's policy on uniting with other churches and groups". FIEC statement on Gospel Unity, official website. Archived from the original on 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  14. ^ "More downgrade in the FIEC" (PDF). Bible League Quarterly. July 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-25. Alt URL
  15. ^ "Deepening Downgrade In The FIEC" (PDF). Bible League Quarterly. January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-25.
  16. ^ Bible League Quarterly Archived 2010-02-17 at the Wayback Machine retrieved May 18, 2010
  17. ^ a b the 1996 FIEC Council Statement on Ecumenism
  18. ^ Published appeal for action retrieved August 6, 2010
  19. ^ "Continued FIEC Cooperation with Polish Ecumenists" (PDF). Bible League Quarterly. October 2012.

External links[edit]