Statement on Ministry
KOINONIA is the life of the Triune God from, which emanates the communitarian dimension, and dynamism of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente that impels her to the work of DIAKONIA. This dimension and dynamism is what which inspires her to live out Jesus Christ’s ministry and mission in the world. KOINONIA (fellowship) and DIAKONIA (service) is our ministry rooted in the words and works of Jesus Christ.
We, the Bishops and Priests of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, gathered in prayerful study to contemplate on the meaning of our ministry against the backdrop of the concrete historic and human situations, and to make our vocation more relevant and responsive to the exigencies of our times, do hereby affirm that:
JESUS CHRIST IS THE SOURCE, MEDIUM AND MESSAGE OF OUR MINISTRY. The scriptures attest that Jesus is first and foremost a prophet. He lived a life of a prophet announcing the coming of the Reign of God, not only consoling, but challenging people to surrender themselves to the requisites of the Kingdom. Jesus proclaimed the good news of the Reign of God in concrete historical and human situations; announcing “liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, setting the oppressed free and the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4. 18-19).
Heir to the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament, he “dwelt in the midst of his people” (Jn 1. 14) sharing their pains, anxieties and hopes; and as a testimony of his liberating love he “offered his life” (Jn 15. 13) for them. As a prophet he embodies in his ministry the pastoral work of fellowship and service. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente proclaims Jesus the Prophet as the source, the medium and the message of her ministry. We affirm that our ministry, which is the ministry of Jesus, is prophetic that needs to be lived out amidst the alarming social and political situations in which the People of God are situated.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente shares the Prophet Isaiah’s concern for Filipinos whose fields have been added to another field to constitute one hacienda, whose houses have been joined with another house to become homeless wanderers and unemployed in the streets of Metro Manila and in other parts of the Philippines (Isa 5.8). She also shares Prophet Amos concern for the “righteous who are sold for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes, and the poor who are trampled at the head into the dust of the earth, and the maiden whom a man and his father went into” (Amos 2.6). The Iglesia Filipina Independiente awaits the Lord’s justice when he will “press the guilty down in their place as a cart full of sheaves presses down, when flight shall perish from the swift and strong shall not retain his strength nor shall the mighty save his life.
JESUS CHRIST ENTRUSTED HIS MINISTRY TO THE EKKLESIA. Jesus entrusted his ministry and message to the Church, “Go and preach, ‘The Reign of God is near! Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leprous and drive out demons” (Mt 10. 8). The Iglesia Filipina Independiente understands this to be a mandate of servanthood to the people, particularly to the ptocos, the poor. Jesus requires us to “observe the weightier matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Mt 23. 23). The Iglesia Filipina Independiente, faithful to this mandate of ministry, is committed to journey with the marginalized people of God for the transformation of the oppressive structures and systems of our society for the attainment of an “abundant life” (Jn 10. 10).
Our own history attests of this ministry to our marginalized brothers and sisters. As Christian Church, we are conceived as part of the advocacy and aspiration of the people to liberate themselves from social and political slavery for hundreds of years. The present social and political maladies stemming from the dehumanizing effect of now half a century of foreign political control and landlessness compel us more than ever to live out our ministry of koinonia and diakonia with the struggling People of God.
MINISTRY IS FOR THE SERVICE OF THE REIGN OF GOD. Our ministry is the concretization of our spirituality, a spirituality which flows out from our animated anticipation of the coming Reign of God. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente is guided by the Holy Spirit in carrying out the mission and message of Jesus her Lord and Liberator. It is the God’s Spirit that inspires us to work for the attainment of God’s Kingdom.
Our ministry is grounded in deep spirituality, nonetheless, not the spirituality that is confined to passive asceticism. Our spirituality is that which leads us to the progressive activity of renewing the human person and rebuilding the human community. Our spiritual life is a life inspired by the Holy Spirit. Our ministry is doing the work of the Holy Spirit who “anointed Jesus to proclaim the good news to the poor” (Lk 4. 16ff).
Our ministry affirms the wholeness of the human person, thus our advocacy for the basic rights of peasants and workers, among the rest of the society, is a ministry of restoring the wholeness of the human person. We see Jesus associating the coming of the Reign of God with restoring the well beingness and wholeness of the human person. Jesus did not even once associated the Reign of God merely and solely with the salvation of souls, the salvation he offers is integral and does not compartmentalizes the human person into physical and spiritual.
We, bishops and priests, acknowledge our purpose and ministry within the Iglesia Filipina Independiente as your servants, for even He who has lead us to liberation and life comes “not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10. 45). We rejoice in God for calling and consecrating us into this vocation, and yet, we recognize our human frailties and failures. We humbly confess before God and God’s People our sins, our unfaithfulness, our unworthiness, and ask you, brothers and sisters, to pray for us so that in the midst of our weakness we may continue our witness the life giving and liberating love of Jesus Christ. Today, we renew our commitment to the mission and message of Jesus Christ, to his ministry of koinonia and diakonia; and as we pray for the Holy Spirit to renew the whole of creation, we also pray to Him to recreate in us chaste and clean hearts.
We call on to the clergy and laity of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente to faithfully live out the prophetic ministry of Jesus, that we, as the People of God, may reach in the end our ultimate hope and future – the Kingdom of Him who called and consecrated us to the ministry and mission of His Son. Amen.