Downgrade in FIEC continues to concern.
New statement on separation - vehement-sounding smokescreen for further compromise.
Dumbing down the content, spicing up the tone - Steve Chalke's heresy no longer specified.

Updated 25/05/2016 

A former Secretary General once pointed out to this writer that several FIEC churches openly participate in Churches Together and other ecumenical ventures, in violation of its Statement on Ecumenism, unanimously approved by the FIEC Council in 1996. Examples of this spiritual adultery can easily be confirmed by focused internet searches. Concerns have also been raised before about close connections between some eminent FIEC, Affinity churches and WEST and the extremely ecumenical scene in Poland, and a persistent failure to investigate and lack of action in response.

On the 23rd March 2012, the FIEC published a new, lengthier Statement on Christian Unity and has withdrawn its previous position statement on ecumenism.
The new document is rich in robust and strong sounding terms, and controversy over its adoption has reportedly led to the welcome withdrawal of some more overtly ecumenical member churches. On the 23rd July, I received a reliable report that, 'The current Church Renewal Form, which has to be signed by 2 Church leaders now includes a statement to the effect that the Church does not belong to Churches Together.  As a result 13 Churches have resigned from FIEC and one has been disaffiliated.' Furthermore it is now asserted that, 'It is not now possible for an FIEC Church to belong to Churches Together.' All this is most welcome, and so is the faithful sentiment behind it, but this confidence requires the application of a patience and firmness that the FIEC has not universally manifested in the past. Nor as Poland has revealed is identification with the most extreme forms of ecumenism confined to home grown initiatives, even for names that should know much better.

It is one thing to see a long list of FIEC affiliated websites remove references to their open attachment to Churches Together, welcome though this tweaking be, it is quite another to suggest that the widespread of leaven of grassroots ecumenism and worldly 'worship and evangelism', all too evident before, has somehow evaporated, especially when the definition of the former has been blurred. The refusal to formally affiliate with an explicitly ecumenical society is hardly a ringing endorsement of faithfulness in and of itself, especially when CT has always sought to produce grassroots contacts, not formal bridge building. One FIEC church, which was readily discovered by a simple search, writes that our church is 'not a member of CT in ..., but shares the same objectives and takes part in some shared activities' with CT. We are not the watchmen for the FIEC, that is their own task, but we do appeal to brethren concerned for the purity and health of their churches in the Day of the Lord's appearing to be more vigilant.

The principal concern is that this new document dulls the edge of the old statement. Even its title seems to euphemistically weaken the primary focus. Some phrases sound impressively forthright, however what i
t adds in bulky generalities, it takes away in specific identifications. It evades reference to two heretical groups of churches and 8 specific kinds of heresy (including Chalke's), which were before considered firm justification for separation. Sadly, in the light of actual church practice in the fellowship, this new statement will not address transgression firmly. It is a further milestone in the leadership's decline from the stance of the founder of the FIEC, E.J. Poole-Connor and his companions, and much more seriously of the Lord and His commands.

We may well ask who it is that FIEC judges it to be 'confusing and unbiblical to unite in public acts of worship and outreach with'? Who exactly are the ones that 'question and deny the faith'? Is it anyone who disagrees with any point of the FIEC confession? If so, then a disagreement over scriptural sufficiency alone would justify withdrawal, and even rigorous separatists would regard that as wholly excessive. In this regard the statement is ambiguous and unclear, at a time when clarity and bold leadership are especially called for.

The full text of the old 1996 FIEC Statement on Ecumenism is reproduced here.

Some extracts and questions arising are given below:

   [S]ome of the churches and leaders with whom we are urged to unite neither believe nor preach those essential gospel truths which are embodied in our FIEC Doctrinal Basis or a similar Statement of Faith.  Some do not accept the inerrancy of Scripture, the eternal punishment of the unsaved, or that Christ died bearing the punishment due to sinners.   Some deny the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, miracles and literal resurrection.  Others teach that religious ceremonies such as baptism, the mass and the adoration of Mary have some saving efficacy.

The FIEC has always felt it to be confusing and unbiblical to unite in public acts of worship and outreach with those who question and deny the faith.  Our Doctrinal Basis, What We Believe, clearly states, "True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel."

If an evangelical church or leader unites with those of a liberal persuasion who deny essential gospel truths, or with those of a Roman Catholic persuasion who add to the gospel, then great confusion is created.  The impression is given either that the evangelical, liberal and Roman Catholic are all agreed when in fact they are worlds apart doctrinally, or that their different messages are equally valid when in fact there is only one gospel.  Not only is this confusing but it is also a contradiction of the gospel on which our FIEC churches unite.

The gospel of salvation by grace is so precious to us that we desire to stand together with all who believe and preach it.  For the same reason, we are compelled to remain separate from those who deny it.  By taking this position we are seeking to follow the commands of Scripture.  (Galatians 1:8, Romans 16:17).

Last retrieved May 18, 2010 from URL now withdrawn.

7 basic questions faithful FIEC churches should be asking.

Why are there constituent churches still publicly affirming affiliation to both FIEC and Churches Together or other ecumenical activities?

Are Roman Catholic or liberal churches now officially regarded as heretical or not?  (I am confidently informed by a friend, that they are, but the explicit written assurance has been removed.)

Why has explicit reference to them and 8 specific damnable heresies, including Chalke's, been removed, and what motivates this extraordinary removal?

For what kind of false teaching does the FIEC now require separation - that of the Jehovah's Witnesses or Muslims perhaps?

Why is the reference to participation in compassionate works, ethical restraint, and legal canvassing with unbelievers of other traditions (old fashioned co-belligerency) not framed more insightfully, given the context of deceptive attempts to camouflage full ministerial recognition and ecumenism under this guise, in the Manhattan Declaration for example?

The new statement is lengthy 1,329 words as opposed to 399, but despite nearly 1,000 extra words does anyone contest that it is a blunter and vaguer instrument than the old?

If there has been a significant downgrade in the standards set before the churches, given current pressures and the present displays of weakness, how can there fail to be a consequent downgrade in conduct also?

We appeal to the brethren of the FIEC both to maintain and reinstate their 1996 statement alongside the new, and to press both more firmly upon the congregations that adhere to the fellowship, for that alone would correct many of these problems. I am informed this is unlikely to happen, but even publication of the old statement as the authoritative, old statement would be a welcome gesture. The complete disappearance of a faithful watchman is disconcerting.

More background to downgrade in FIEC, Affinity and WEST here.

An archive of documents delineating WEST's collapse

BLQ article in 2001 on the issue of grassroots ecumenism

An article describing just how deep and compromised the links between the FIEC and Polish ecumenism have become, by courtesy of BLQ.

E.J. Poole Connor, 'That the ebb-tide now runs like a mill-race is due, more than aught else, to this damaging quiescence.'

John Owen, 'Let no man deceive you with vain pretences; hold fast the truth as it is in Jesus, part not with one iota, and contend for it when called thereunto.'V.Ev.

'To the Fellowship then, as now, "Unity is precious but truth is essential." ' FIEC website 2012.
What then of the churches who have sacrificed Truth for grassroots unity with Roman and liberal churches?
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.