Why do I believe that the Churches in Germany (and in other countries) are losing members?
The reason for this thesis goes back into the 19th century. With the enlightenment, the theologians began to think of the Bible more as the word of human beings than of the word of God. They developed extremely sophisticated systems to find out what the original intention of the author was, and therefore came closer to the meaning of many, otherwise strange appearing, sections of the Bible. Many statements which were based on the cultural and historical background were left behind or re-interpreted. However, this re-interpretation did not take place in front of the congregation. It was hidden behind the walls of the colleges. As soon as a pastor was produced, he had to translate his knowledge into a statement which did not reveal the fact that the Bible is the word of human beings. In fact, he had to continue to call it the word of God. This went on until about 30 years ago, when in the 60s and 70s some pastors made statements which were rather shocking to the congregation, like that they do not believe in the Bible as the word of God. However, this statement was based on good reasons, yet never fully explained to the congregation. The congregation got to know the facts from people who began to see a strong market for this knowledge. These people were often also criticizing the churches in a way that many people felt strengthened in their desire to cancel their membership. While they got to know that what the church continued to tell them was not true, they felt betrayed and misused. The drive of cancelling membership is very much based on logical reasoning. The biggest mistake of the church is probably that it tries to remind the people of the emotional factors of being a church member, instead of enlightening them about the facts, and then searching a new approach to the facts of Christian Faith. WE need "Christian Freedom instead of Sacred Lordship."
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Churchaac_crest3warm
Autonomous Province of the world wide Anglican Communion
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church is an autonomous province of the world wide Anglican Communion. It believes in the traditional teachings of the Christian faith as laid out in the historic creeds and holds to the tenets of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888, which is an instrument of Anglican unity throughout the world. Holy Spirit, you want to give us hearts that are quite simple, to the point that the complicated things of life do not bring us to a standstill. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev.2:3) The Church "found" me!" Were this not the case, and were it not for the splendid education and guidance of the late Archbishop Dr E.S. Yekorogha and late Bishop Primus Dr Charles Dennis Boltwood, I would not be in this position of furthering an ancient and eternal work. The daily experience living among the people of other faiths and our faith in Christ gave us light to start the work based on the spiritual and social growth of The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church.We stand against oppression, injustice, violence and war in several parts of the world.Please keep our persecuted brothers and sisters in your prayers throughout the year. TIFPEC supports advocacy against sexual abuse and violence among children and youth.
We are committed to: the conversion to Jesus Christ of all people and that in the Gospel we find the liberating truth about what it means to be truly human in relationship with God and each other the intrinsic authority and trustworthiness of the Bible which is to be interpreted in context and with insights from the world-wide and historic Church working for the renewal of Anglicanism at local, national and international levels. We are open to: surprises of the Holy Spirit learning from other traditions within Anglicanism working ecumenically with other denominations positive fruit of biblical scholarship issues of justice which are integral to holistic mission the central significance of sacraments and liturgy to Christian worship learning from other faiths ordination of women to the three orders of the Church roots as part of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion we embrace the full breadth of our roots in the Christian tradition from the Apostles, the Ecumenical Councils, and the faithful witness of the medieval Catholic and Orthodox Church onwards. We value specifically our Reformation heritage, renewed in the Great Awakening, and given expression through the cross-cultural missionary movement that formed the global Anglican Communion. We affirm and uphold as the doctrinal core of our unity the Basis of Faith of the Church of England Evangelical Council (full text appended).
We seek to: Represent open and charismatic evangelical Anglicans in the media Articulate open and charismatic evangelical Anglican responses to particular issues Explore evangelical theologies of mission, discipleship and spirituality, church and'communion' To achieve this we will seek to: give voice to a nourishing, generous orthodoxy within Anglican evangelicalism create spaces for fair, hospitable and rigorous debate among Anglicans within which to work out disagreements develop within the evangelical constituency a strong ecclesiology, rooted in Anglicanism, which recognises that each part of Anglicanism is mutually constitutive of the'whole'The above commitments take shape in particular ways in the following three key areas: I) the inter-relationship of mission and Christian unity; II) the nature and shape of the church; and III) the inter-relationship of theology and ethics.
appendix :
1.1 Introduction: As members of the Church of England within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we affirm the faith uniquely revealed in the holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, of which the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are a general exposition. Standing in the Reformation tradition we lay especial emphasis on the grace of God - his unmerited mercy - as expressed in the doctrines which follow.
1.2 God as the Source of Grace - In continuity with the teaching of holy Scripture and the Christian creeds, we worship one God in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has created all things, and us in his own image; all life, truth, holiness and beauty come from him. His Son Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, was crucified, died, rose and ascended to reign in glory.
1.3 The Bible as the Revelation of Grace - We receive the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the wholly reliable revelation and record of God's grace, given by the Holy Spirit as the true word of God written. The Bible has been given to lead us to salvation, to be the ultimate rule for Christian faith and conduct, and the supreme authority by which the Church must ever reform itself and judge its traditions.
1.4 The Atonement as the Work of Grace - We believe that Jesus Christ came to save lost sinners. Though sinless, he bore our sins, and their judgement, on the cross, thus accomplishing our salvation. By raising Christ bodily from the dead, God vindicated him as Lord and Saviour and his victory. Salvation is in Christ alone.
1.5 The Church as the Community of Grace - We hold that the Church is God's covenant community, whose members, drawn from every nation, having been justified by grace through faith, inherit the promises made to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ. As a fellowship of the Spirit manifesting his fruit and exercising his gifts, it is called to worship God, grow in grace, and bear witness to him and his Kingdom. God's Church is one body and must ever strive to discover and experience that unity in truth and love which it has in Christ, especially through its confession of the apostolic faith and in its observance of the dominical sacraments.
1.6 The Sacraments as the Signs of Grace - We maintain that the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion proclaim the Gospel as effective and visible signs of our justification and sanctification, and as true means of God's grace to those who repent and believe. Baptism is the sign of forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Spirit, new birth to righteousness and entry into the fellowship of the People of God. Holy Communion is the sign of the living, nourishing presence of Christ through his Spirit to his people: the memorial of his one, perfect, completed and all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, from whose achievement all may benefit but in whose offering none can share; and an expression of our corporate life of sacrificial thanksgiving and service.
1.7 Ministry as the Stewardship of Grace - We share, as the People of God, in a royal priesthood common to the whole Church, and in the community of the Suffering Servant. Our mission is the proclamation of the Gospel by the preaching of the word, as well as by caring for the needy, challenging evil and promoting justice and a more responsible use of the world's resources. It is the particular vocation of bishops and presbyters, together with deacons, to build up the body of Christ in truth and love, as pastors, teachers, and servants of the servants of God.
1.8 Christ's Return as the triumph of Grace - We look forward expectantly to the final manifestation of Christ's grace and glory when he comes again to raise the dead, judge the world, vindicate His chosen and bring his Kingdom to its eternal fulfilment in the new heaven and the new earth.

A final local comment:
This brief survey of formative influences and defining features shows how Anglicanism has developed as a way of being Church which enables it to find root in many different settings and be of service to Christians from diverse parts of the Global Church. To enable this richness to serve God's purposes, I suggest two areas of awareness are necessary. Firstly, that Anglican Christianity is not monolithic. Within broad boundaries of expression, a range of spiritualities, local responses and initiatives can be developed and flourish within a single communion or fellowship. This is very useful in a setting such as the Diocese in Europe where our congregations are always marked by many dimensions of diversity. A second necessary awareness is that while we are formally part of the Church of England our sensitivity and adjustment must range much broader afield than England. It is the diversity and experience of the Global Anglican Communion that resonates well in an international church rather than those of an English parish. The extent to which we appreciate this will determine whether we consider ourselves an Anglican Church or an English Church.

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