FIEC Distinctives: our Ethos Statements

FIEC churches unite around our Doctrinal Basis, but they also agree to our Ethos Statements which bring clarity to our life and ministry as a Fellowship: gospel unity; women in ministry; and same sex marriage.


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FIEC was founded in 1922 to be Independent churches united by primary gospel truths but with diversity on secondary issues.

That unity has always been defined by the FIEC Doctrinal Basis but, since 1922, FIEC churches have adopted three ethos statements about key issues which they thought necessary to take a stand. These statements are crucial to gospel faithfulness and are essential to our identity and functioning as a Fellowship:

To some extent, the statements have been adopted in response to what is happening more widely in evangelicalism or in the culture. Each year, FIEC churches recommit their agreement to these statements - churches do not have to agree with them but are free to leave the Fellowship if they have changed their position and no longer agree.

In October 2022, FIEC National Director John Stevens spoke at Bradfield & Rougham Baptist Church to a group of churches in Suffolk to explain more about the Ethos Statements followed by a Q&A:

  • What they are.
  • Why they were adopted.
  • Why we believe they are biblical.
  • What they require of FIEC churches.

00:00 - The 1922 vision for FIEC
05:47 - The statement on gospel unity
- The statement on women in ministry
- The statement on same sex marriage
- What's your position?
- Q&A

  • Is a trustee a synonym of elder?
  • How do we respond with generosity to someone who holds a different position on women in ministry
  • Do these positions have negative repercussions when stated clearly?
  • How can we support Christians who experience same sex attraction?
  • Are there churches whose leaders welcome female preachers, but whose members don't?
  • Where does 'gospel unity' fit into the local church itself?

You can download this video to show at your church for discussion:

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