Declaration of Principles
The Evangelical Connexion
Free Church of England
otherwise called The Reformed Episcopal Church
The Free Church of England, otherwise called The Reformed Episcopal Church, which is a branch of the Holy Catholic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, united by Faith to Him, who is the Head over all things to the Church which is His Body, and recognising the essential unity of all who, by a like Faith, are united to the one Divine and Common Head, doth make declaration of its Principles as follows:
1. The Free Church of England, otherwise called The Reformed Episcopal Church, holding “the faith once delivered to the saints,” declares its belief in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, and the sole Rule of Faith and Practice; in the creed commonly called “The Apostles’ Creed”; in the Divine Institution of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and in the Doctrines of Grace substantially as they are set forth in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.
2. This church recognises and adheres to Episcopacy, not as of Divine right, but as a very ancient and desirable form of Church polity.
3. This Church, retaining a Liturgy which shall not be repressive of freedom in prayer, accepts the Book of Common Prayer, as it was received, prepared, and recommended for use by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, A.D. 1785, reserving full liberty to alter, abridge, enlarge, and amend the same, as may seem most conducive to the edification of the people, “provided that the substance of the faith be kept entire”.
4. This Church CONDEMNS and REJECTS the following erroneous and strange doctrines as contrary to God’s word:-
First, that the Church of Christ exists only in one order or form of ecclesiastical polity:
Second, that Christian ministers are ‘priests’ in another sense than that in which all believers are a ‘royal priesthood’:
Third, that the Lord’s Table is an altar on which the oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ is offered anew to the Father:
Fourth, that the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine:
Fifth, that regeneration is inseparably connected with Baptism.
5. In accordance with the liberty given in Article 3 of the above Declaration of Principles, this Church accepts the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, with such revisions as shall exclude sacerdotal doctrines and practices.
6. This Church, as a Reformed and Protestant Church, doth hereby reaffirm its constant witness against all those innovations in doctrines and worship, whereby the primitive faith hath been from time to time defaced or overlaid, and which at the Reformation were disowned and rejected.
7. This Church will maintain communion with all Christian Churches and will set forward, so far as in it lieth, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people.