An Ancient Faith, Reaching a New Generation, Lived in Holy Community
Summary of CEC Beliefs
Our CEC Beliefs
Below is a summation of our beliefs. A detailed understanding will require reading our Catechism and Canons
The International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) (also known as the Charismatic Episcopal Church, CEC ) started with only one bishop and three parishes in 1992 and now reports churches in more than twenty countries all over the world. The ICCEC currently has churches in Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Central America, and Asia.
The Charismatic Episcopal Church is not and has never been affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA or the Anglican Communion.
The ICCEC stands squarely on the historic, undisputed teachings of orthodox Christianity as taught by Jesus, spread by the Apostles, defended by the Patriarchs of the Early Church, expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and exemplified by the undivided Catholic Church during the first millennium of its existence. We believe that all these things together contain the substantial deposit of Christian Faith and Order delivered to the Church. Theologically we stand in union with all churches who profess the necessary tenets of Faith as outlined in our San Clemente Declaration of 1999, included at the end of this booklet.
The ICCEC is a church that was founded in the pro-life movement. We believe that all life is sacred from conception to natural death and that abortion and euthanasia are the taking of human life and contrary to God’s Word.
We believe in the sanctity of holy matrimony. Marriage is represented solely by the life-long union of one man and one woman. Divorce is contrary to God’s plan, but we also recognize that in our frail humanity divorce is a fact of life.
Divorced persons and those who are divorced and remarried are welcome to receive Holy Communion in the ICCEC.
We maintain the validity of God’s grace imparted through the seven traditional sacraments of the Church (i.e., Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Confession & Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Healing/Unction).
Since the ICCEC occupies a unique place between the protestant and catholic formulations of faith, our basic beliefs hold in common the essentials of orthodoxy (i.e., “that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all”) found in Eastern Orthodoxy, Western Catholicism, and the Reformed traditions. Accordingly, we cannot walk in fellowship with those who deny the essentials of faith; those who would “move an ancient boundary stone” (Proverbs 22:28).
Among those beliefs we would underscore and commend the following:
– The Holy Bible is the Word of God. We believe Holy Scripture and affirm the critical importance of preaching, public reading of the Word, and personal Bible study;
– The Sacraments impart the grace of God, particularly baptism and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist;
– A high view of the Church in affirming Cyprian’s claim that, “he who has not the Church for his mother, has not God for his Father;”
– The doctrine of saving grace by faith as reinforced by both the Reformers and the Council of Trent;
– The real and present work of the Holy Spirit through gifts and signs as imparted to believers for service and witness as rediscovered during this century by the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements. In this sense, the ICCEC is wholly orthodox, wholly evangelical, wholly sacramental, and wholly charismatic.
Summary: The Charismatic Episcopal Church holds to the San Clemente Declaration of 1999 as the minimum standard of catholicity, and seeks for theology to be not only an intellectual assent, but also a living experience with the Holy Trinity and the Church. The Church affirms the Holy Scriptures as the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
1. The ICCEC believes that the 66 universally accepted books of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God containing all things necessary unto salvation. With regard to those several works commonly referred to as the Apocrypha or Deutro-Canonical Books, we further reaffirm the position, that while beneficial for education and teaching, they are not considered part of the Canon of Holy Scripture. They may, therefore, be read in public worship, but not used to establish dogma for doctrine.
2. Bible Version: We hold that Bible translations that are translations of the original Greek and Hebrew are valid for church readings and study. Bible versions that add to or subtract from the original text are not authorized for CEC worship.
3. We hold the Authority of Holy Scriptures.
a. The Charismatic Episcopal Church recognizes the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
b. The Holy Scriptures serve as the final authority on all matters of faith and practice.
c. Scripture is to be understood in light of apostolic tradition and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
d. Where Scripture does not speak, we defer to apostolic tradition.
4. We hold the San Clemente Declaration of 1999.
a. In earnest anticipation for a future revelation of the fullness of the unity of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church adheres to these articles of unity exemplified by the undivided Catholic Church during the first eleven centuries:
b. The Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the written Word of God, the chief witness to apostolic teaching, the source of the Church’s nourishment and strength.
c. The Apostles’ Creed as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
d. The Seven Sacraments of the Church, including Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Confession/Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Healing/Unction.
e. The historic episcopate in Apostolic Succession, the gift of Christ’s authority to the Church and the trustee of the Church’s fidelity to apostolic teaching.
5. We hold the spirit of the Family.
a. That all life is sacred.
b. That marriage is between a man and a woman: that it is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman and God.
c. That marriage is a sacrament ordained by God.
d. That marriage is a divine picture of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church.
e. That all children are a blessing from God.
6. We hold the Spirit of Theology.
a. The Charismatic Episcopal Church recognizes that doctrine is not only intellectual assent but a living relationship with Almighty God and His Church.
b. It is incumbent upon the leadership of the Charismatic Episcopal Church to develop and maintain an atmosphere of growth and understanding in theology and doctrine. We adhere to the classical statement of ecumenicity: “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” While celebrating the diversity within orthodoxy, we also strive to avoid a schismatic spirit which would elevate nonessential or nonconsensual beliefs and practices above the Father’s will that there be a spiritual and visible unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The objective of consensus government is to hear the voice of the lord for the church, whether the local Church, the National church, or the International Church.
The Church belongs to God. The Church is the Household and family of God, the Body of Christ, and the Bride for the Bridegroom, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. As such she is “the pillar and foundation of truth.”
Consensus Government is a process, which will be difficult to codify, that opens men and women of God to hear and discern the mind and will of God for His Church. In other words, the Church is not led by men but by the Holy Spirit. The men who are called to sit in Council must, therefore, be men who have proven by their lives and ministries that they are of such Godly character that they can proclaim with Paul – follow me as I follow Christ.
Paul writes, “Fulfill my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2.2-5)
Consensus Government relationship with Christ and with each other is essential. Jesus tells his disciples not only to remain in Him and in His love but gives the disciples the command of the New Covenant to love one another. It is by the following of this command that the world will recognize the apostles as followers of Him.
Consensus government believes that god chooses a man and not a committee or elected board to govern the church. Scriptures tells us that the man who attempts to lead alone with fail. Rather wisdom is found when one is in council with other men. (Pro. 12.15, 11.14, 15.22, 24.6) Overwhelming evidence suggests that Bishops were appointed and consecrated based on those who held the apostolic and prophetic authority, meeting in consensus. St. Ignatius writes St. Polycarp encouraging him to take counsel with others and actually to call a Council of the Church to make appointments. “It becometh thee, most blessed Polycarp, to call together a godly council and to elect someone among you who is very dear to you and zealous also, who shall be fit to bear the name of God’s courier.” It is clear in the early father’s that council was the government of the Church.
In the case of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church then it is the Patriarch that governs the international Church, the Primate governs the national Church, an Archbishop governs the Archdiocese, the bishop governs the diocese, and the Rector governs the parish. The governing authority calls anointed men to sit in Council with him and help him govern the Church through hearing the voice – will and mind – of the Lord. It is ultimately the one chosen to govern who will determine if the council or conciliar group has heard the voice of the Lord. Implementation is then delegated.
The Council is not advisory but conciliatory. But it is not a group that meets to hear opinions or thoughts but rather a group that seeks the mind and will of God. This can only be accomplished if the group is submitted to the Lordship of the Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit who we received in Baptism.
Only through submission to the Holy Spirit can unity occur. Our unity is not found in man but in Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12.12-13, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free – and have been made to drink into one Spirit.” Unity does not mean unanimity. There is room in consensus government for disagreement. Rather unity implies submission to the mind and will of the Lord as given by the Holy Spirit. It is not a matter of position, opinion, or thought.
Cyprian, who believed in Council, believed that no man should set himself as “bishop of bishops.” Yet, he also talked about a “first among equals.” It should be noted that in the ordination rite of the Church, particularly in the West, the Bishop addresses the candidate for ordination to the priesthood or diaconate as “my son.” In the consecration of a bishop, the presiding bishop or chief consecrator refers to the candidate as “my brother.” It is clear then that in the government of the Church the bishop is called to related to the presbyterate as a father relates to a son, while in that same time relating to his bishops as brothers.
In the ICCEC, it was determined at a meeting of the Council of Archbishop’s meeting in Normandy, France, in 1997, that we would create an office of Patriarch. This title was chosen because we believed that the Lord told us to have a “father to the fathers.” Thereby implying that the relationship of all the Bishops to the Patriarch as one of “father to son.” In our ordination rite to the episcopate, all bishops took a vow of obedience to the Patriarch. We rejected the idea of a presiding bishop or a president, a metropolitan, or a papacy and concluded that the position of Patriarch was relational, familial, and rooted and grounded in love. This relational aspect was to be then modeled at all levels of government.
Because Consensus Government is based in relationship grounded and rooted in love it requires that each member of a council is honest, open, transparent, and vulnerable. It requires the full participation of all members. This can only occur if the members of the council are in relationship outside of meetings. It is important for members of the council to visit with their governing authority and to be in genuine fellowship. Acts 2.42 says the devoted themselves among other things to “fellowship with the apostles.”
It is this relational aspect that is behind the tithe. All members of a council should be tithing to their governing authority. Non-tithers should not be members of the council for they would not be able to hear the voice of the Lord.
Consensus is part of the sacrament of ordination and we are called to be an offering as bread for the people of God.
Sanctity of Life
1) Life begins in the mind of God and he alone has absolute dominion over all human life, and over the process by which it comes into being. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of fertilization, that is, the union of an ovum and sperm. The respect and protection of ALL innocent human life is necessary for the establishment and maintenance of a moral civilization.
2) The Church has the duty and the obligation to proclaim to all the earth the sanctity of human life, the dignity of human life, and respect for human life.
3) Human life begins at conception and ends with natural death.
4) The deliberate and direct destruction of innocent persons, preborn or born, through all forms of direct abortion, infanticide, euthanasia or any other means is considered to be unethical, immoral, evil and sinful. Nutrition and hydration are considered “ordinary care” not “medical care” and cannot be withheld.
5) Therefore, we affirm that no government has the right to alter the law of God.
a) Any legislation by any government that demeans or goes contrary to the law of God concerning the sanctity of life is immoral.
b) We affirm the teaching of Holy Scripture and the tradition of the church throughout the centuries that God is the giver of life and thus human life belongs to Him.
c) We affirm that this declaration on the sanctity of human life, which is rooted in the teaching of the church and the Holy Scriptures, is not in conflict with good and moral science.
6) Human life, beginning in the mind of God, is sacred from the moment of conception – the union of the human egg and sperm, referred to as fertilization. The ending of this life through abortion is considered by the church to be immoral and sinful and is contrary to the Scriptures as well as the consistent teaching of the historic church.
7) The public support of or participation in the intentional violation of the sanctity of human life by a member of the Charismatic Episcopal Church will result in an automatic referral to the Diocesan Bishop. This would especially include being employed by having or holding the ownership of an abortion facility, or running for a public office as a pro-abortion or pro-choice candidate, or working in any such campaign to promote the agenda of abortion. Refusal or failure to take part in a process of reconciliation and restoration may result in excommunication by the Bishop. This statement, though containing punitive elements, should never be used as a hindrance to any communicant seeking and receiving the mercy and forgiveness of Christ and His church through the ministry of repentance and reconciliation.
8) Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous”. The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.
9) The purpose of defining and clarifying the deep commitment to the sanctity of human life must always be redemptive in order that mercy and truth would meet one another. (Psalm 85)
Ordained clergy in the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church may participate in worship services and ceremonies with members of other conservative trinitarian Christian denominations. Participation includes not only active leadership roles such as celebrant, con-celebrant, assisting clergy, preacher, and lector, but also participation as a member of the congregation or audience. While we respect those, who embrace other religious traditions than our own and desire to reach out to them with the love of Christ, we must ensure that our relationships with them honor and uphold our own religious tradition. Since CEC clergy minister in relation to, and with the permission of, their ecclesiastical authority, the Bishops are the final arbiters of these policies and procedures.