Statement on Church Mission

Approved by the Consultative Assembly
October 23, 1976


  1. By the Church we mean primarily, the ecclesia or assembly which God has called out to be His people, founded by Jesus Christ organized hierarchically in a visible ministry of Bishops, Priests and Deacons by means of an unbroken line of apostolic succession, and which exists as the mystical body of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 5:23-30; Col. 1:18, 24; 1 Cor. 12:12-31; Rom.12:4), serving to advance the Kingdom of God and the salvation of mankind.
  2. In the fullest sense, the Church is the creation of God with Jesus Christ as its head and receiving its life from the Holy Spirit by whose operations its members are incorporated into one body by baptism, and its ministers are ordained through apostolic laying-on of hands.
  3. The Church is One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic assembled under the Father and united in the Holy Spirit, and which exists as the Body of Christ, mystically extended to men.
  4. She is the sacrament of the unity and union of mankind with God because of her relationship with God and Jesus Christ, its Head and Saviour. The Church is also described as the “bride of Christ”, she it was whom he “delivered and gave himself up for her that he might sanctify her... without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:23, 26-27, 32).
  5. The Church on earth is a pilgrim who goes out with faith and looks forward to the city with which he has foundation, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10) who calls all men to repentance and salvation in God, because her organization and institution constitute the method and the sacramental means which God employs in exercising His sovereignty over those who accept His Kingdom.
  6. The Church is a tract to be cultivated, the field of God (1 Cor. 3:9) on which the ancient olive tree grows. Its holy roots are patriarchs and in her, the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile was brought about and will be brought about (Rom. 11:13-26). The Church has been cultivated by the heavenly vinedresser as His chosen vineyard (Mt. 21:33-43). The true vine is Christ who gave life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is us.


  1. The Church, being called by God to be His people, is also sent. By virtue of His divine “calling” and “sending”, she is missionary in character.
  2. God, out of His steadfast love, sent His only, begotten Son to the world, “not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him”. He sent his only begotten Son to seek and save the lost and that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16; Lk. 19:10).
  3. The Son, therefore, through whom we became adopted children of God (Rom. 8:16-17), and in whom all things shall be reestablished (Eph. 1:4-5, 10) came in accordance with the will of the Father. Through Him and in Him, God revealed Himself so that the world might be reconciled to Him.

    The Iglesia Filipina Independiente has the mission of revealing, unmasking and proclaiming the One and True God “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17-28) in the hearts, minds, culture and life of the Filipino people (Acts 17:22ff). By this shall Filipinos know that He is God who created and redeemed the world, who blessed us with this country and with this Filipino Church and thus draw us unto Him.

  4. In order to fulfill the will of the Father, Christ proclaimed and inaugurated the Kingdom of God, He offered himself on the cross in obedience to the will of the Father (Lk. 22:42) that he might draw all men to himself (Jn, 12:32). The Church continues this sacrifice of the cross every time and in every place during the Eucharist, in which the unity of the Church is expressed and brought about (1 Cor. 10:17).
  5. When Christ has been lifted up from the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit from God on Pentecost in order that what He has inaugurated might be proclaimed and continued until the end of time (Mt. 28:18) and that he might sanctify her and lead her into all truth (Jn. 14:16, 16:13).
  6. By her very nature and the divine command of Christ (Mt. 28:19-20), the Church on earth is on a mission, just as Christ was sent on a mission according to the will of the Father. The Church is called and sent to follow the path of Christ to proclaim to all men and women the saving work of God “until all be fulfilled in his kingdom”, and that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10).
  7. The missionary zeal and dynamism of the Church is bestowed upon her by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is renewed and revitalized in the celebration of the Eucharist where “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7b) and in which all members of the one Body are commissioned to “go out into the world to love and serve the Lord” strengthened by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; Acts 2:17-18, 4:31, 9:31).


  1. “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations” (Isa. 42:6).
  2. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Isa. 61:1-2a).
  3. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you... Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn. 20:21-22).
  4. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt. 28:19-20).


  1. Mission is primarily of God. It is God’s action in the world in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. It is God’s activity in which the Church participates by the power of the Holy Spirit to baptize, (Eph. 1:10) so that God’s Kingdom shall be proclaimed and established for all times and in all places.
    Just as the “word (Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14) so the IFI’s mission is primarily incarnational. The IFI should bear in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8). So the Church has to incarnate herself into where the people are. She has to take seriously the context where she is situated and wherever the Spirit of God leads her.
  2. It is from the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit that the Church takes her origin according to the will of God the Father. It is God through the Holy Spirit who initiates mission. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church (1 Cor. 3:16) is her life and power for mission (Mt. 28:20; Acts 1:16). What the Church hopes, therefore, is not her work but the work of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Mission is also the incessant flow of the edifying love of God revealed and expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This divine human activity in which the Church participates is essentially the proclamation of and witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This mandate concerns basically:
    1. Man – his life and the imperative need for conversion to Christ; and
    2. The building of the Kingdom of God.
  4. Christ sent the Holy Spirit from the Father that the saving work of God in Him might be constituted beginning from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 18). It is this same Holy Spirit that came down upon the apostles on Pentecost to remain with them forever. It is the same Spirit that impels the Church to mission, just as Christ is impelled to the work of His ministry when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism (Lk. 3:22, 4:1; Acts 10:38).
  5. He who made all things also wills to sum up all things in Him (Eph. 1:10) so that God may be everything to everyone (1 Cor. 15:28). He sent his son who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8) in order that through the Son, we might be saved and delivered from the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13). Through the Son, we might be liberated from slavery in which sin has subjected us: hunger, misery, oppression, ignorance, injustice and hatred, all of which originate from human selfishness; and that his Son, might reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).



  1. Worship is the offering of our total self to God in Christ that involves participation in the proclamation of the Life, Death and Resurrection and the Second Coming of Christ to the end that faith may be awakened and made alive in all men. It is Kerygma in action and must be the spontaneous outcome of the “new life” in Christ as experienced in the breaking of the bread (Eucharist) and the fellowship of sharing (Koinonia).
  2. The Sacred Liturgy is the proclamation of the whole drama of Redemption from the Fall to the Incarnation: the Cross, Resurrection, Ascension and Second Coming of Christ. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
  3. It is the nature of the Church to “declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). At the same time, an essential task of missionary activity is to plant and nurture the Church where she has not yet taken root. The chief means of implementation is the proclamation in word and deed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nourishing it with His body and Blood in the Eucharist.
  4. In order to carry out and fulfill its task of evangelization, the Church (IFI) must seriously consider the joys, anxieties, aspirations, grievances and sufferings of humankind. It behooves the IFI to scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel, so that she can respond (mission) to the questionings of humankind and make present the saving work of God by her charity, service (Diakonia) and solidarity to the world, especially to the poor, the oppressed and those in any way afflicted.
  5. In her task of evangelization, the Church has to educate, especially those who have more than enough, that they may learn to share with the poor (Deut. 15:7-11, 14-15; Job 29:16; Prov. 14:31; 19:17) what God has bestowed upon them (Prov. 22:22; 1 Sam. 30:24; Lk. 3:11; 2 Tim 2:6; Heb. 13:16) until misery exists no more (Deut. 15:4). After all, the problems of poverty, oppression and affliction are direct results of greed in all its forms.
  6. Evangelization also serves to show Christ who saves through His Death and Resurrection (Acts 2:23-24;3:13-15) to men and women so that they be born anew (Jn. 3:7) and confess Christ as Lord and Saviour (Rom. 10:9).

B. Human Development

  1. The Church missionary presence in the world is her being the Salt, the Light, the Leaven (Mt. 5:13-15), in the same presence and manner that “they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b).
  2. Human development of people by the Word of God is nourishing them with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist; to develop the potentialities God has bestowed upon them; to enjoy the new life in Christ and have it abundantly; and, to enable them to share such abundance with their fellow beings.
  3. It is therefore an essential missionary task of the Church to promote the good of everyone, of the whole person and of the whole human community that they may grow into “mature manhood in Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
    This concern for human development is an expression of our faith. We believe that man’s humanity is God’s gift and it is our responsibility to God to preserve and uphold it.

    In the minds of the founding fathers of the IFI, concern for human development has always been there. Their cry and struggle were for liberation from the bondage of colonialism slavery, oppression, degradation, injustice, human indignity and dependence. The IFI, as an act of loyalty and remembrance, must carry on with passionate zeal that aspiration her founders had and for which they offered their lives. She can only continue this if she remains not being of this world even as Christ her Lord was not of the world (Jn. 17:16). Her security and kingdom is not with any socio-economic and political institution but with God.
    However, let it not be forgotten that the proclamation of the IFl was through the group of laborers led by Don Isabelo de los Reyes, Sr., the Father of Philippine labor movement.
  4. As the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation, she has to continually effect and bring forth the abundance of that new life. This entails:
    1. The celebration of the Eucharist, in which the bond between God and man is effectively recalled and proclaimed, also demands commitment to justice, freedom and truth;
    2. The progressive elimination of hunger, disease and physical deprivation which suppress human freedom;
    3. Solidarity with the poor and the oppressed as an act of active obedience to Christ; and
    4. The progressive transformation of society by the power of the Gospel and the conversion of people to Christ.

C. Social Action

  1. Social action is an activity inherent to the Church’s calling. It is sending out in the service of the Kingdom of God to promote an atmosphere where people can enjoy a bigger share of the gifts of civilization for the development and fulfillment of their potentials as human beings.
  2. Social action is a pastoral activity of the Church. The IFI will always be one with groups, organizations and communities that promote the welfare of people and of the human community, and the building up of the Kingdom of God.

    Thus the IFI stresses the importance of Christian education to encourage and educate believers, that they may grow to “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, so that they may no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine...” (Eph. 4:13-15).
  3. In pure pastoral activity we do not equate or confuse temporal progress in the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, the former “to the extent that it can contribute to the better ordering of human society” is vital to the Kingdom of God.

    The IFI has always been loyal to the cause of Her founding Fathers in promoting the welfare and dignity of the common man, especially the laborer. She must, in all times and in all places, extend her pastoral ministry to workers and laborers with whom she was identified since the beginning. This demands the organization of a social action institution to carry this out.

D. Ecumenical Life

  1. We believe that there is only one Body of Christ with Himself as the Foundation, i.e., the Church. It confesses one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:5-6).
  2. It is in this oneness that we confess, affirm and seek to establish and renew the unity of the Church: unity in faith under the Fatherhood of God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ and who continues to call us into the unity by the power of the Holy Spirit. At the same time we respect with humility the diversity of beliefs and practices of different religious faiths.

    We believe these different religious belief and practices are part of human life and therefore should be given due respect.

  3. We treat these diversities with respect and acknowledge our unity in diversity in seeking to discern the realm of God and the workings of the Holy Spirit here and forever. We hold to that unity which Christ prayed for “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us...” (Jn. 17:21).

    These diversities with their consequent questions shed a new life and light in the understanding of the Church’s teaching to make them understandable and thereby fortify the faithful.

    “When this the Church withdrew from the Roman Catholic Church, it repudiated the authority of the Pope and such doctrines, customs, and practices as were inconsistent with the Word of God, sound learning and good conscience. It did not intend to depart from Catholic doctrines, practices and disciplines as set by the council of the undivided Church. Departures that occurred were due to exigencies of the times, and are to be corrected by official action so that this Church may be brought to the stream of historic Christianity and universally acknowledged as a true branch of the Catholic Church”, (Art. of Religion #17)
  4. We shall be one in witness with those whom we promote the Reign of God, the Reign of Love, Peace, Justice, Freedom and Truth.
    Opportunity is to be sought for closer cooperation with other branches of the Catholic Church and cordial relations shall be maintained with all who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

E. Renewal and Reconciliation

  1. “Renewal and reform of the Church are necessary because the Church consists first, of human beings, and second, of sinful human beings”. Though she can be described as “without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:27)”, yet she is never finished and complete. In her pilgrimage, she is always beset with crises, which not only threaten her unity but also deform her.
  2. As one doctor of the Church said, “whenever in my books I have described the Church as being without spot or wrinkle, it is understood that she is already, but she is preparing herself to be so when she too will appear in glory. For in the present, because of ignorance and weakness in her members, she must confess afresh each day ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ ”.
  3. That the Church may be glorious, without spot or wrinkle, is the final goal to which we are leading through the passion of Christ. It will be also only in our eternal home, not in our journey there during which if we said we had no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, as we are told in the First Epistle of John.
  4. In so far as she is deformed, she has to be reformed. The Church has to continually renew herself, giving herself a new form, a new shape in history, adopting a new order to make the Gospel alive to all men. 
  5. The present demands that the IFI develop new forms of liturgy in order that her life may be renewed and made alive.
  6. In the light of the questionings of mankind and the emerging aspirations of men, she has to rethink and renew her teachings.
  7. In the midst of sinful humanity, she is called and sent by God to be the agent of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). God first reconciled her to Him, in his body of flesh and death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, “to make expiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).
  8. Our reconciliation with those who are separated from us is based on the fact that God in Christ first reconciled us to Himself. It is our sorrow that many of our people have left the IFI, and it is with humility and repentance that we shall seek the reconciliation of all.

“We do not wish to put anyone in history on trial; we shall not seek to establish who was right and who was wrong. Responsibility is divided. We want only to say, “let us come together, let us unmake and undo our divisions”.

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