Spanische Evangelische Kirche

(Iglesia Evangélica Española, IEE)

The Reformation was prevented from taking root in Spain by the severity of the Counter-Reformation. There were however communities of Spanish Protestants in exile in many European cities. It was for their use that the Spanish Bible was printed in Basel in 1569, and later Spanish translations of Calvin's Institution and of the Heidelberg Catechism. The Spanish Evangelical Church is a united church which is made up of congregations of different origins - Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and Lutherans. It was established in 1869 in the wake of the religious tolerance which emerged in Spain following the revolution of 1868. Its first general assembly was held in Seville in 1872, when it adopted the name Spanish Christian Church. In 1874 the title was changed to Spanish Evangelical Church. By virtue of the law of religious liberty of 1980, the church obtained for the first time legal status and has now been recognized officially by the Spanish government.

The IEE is part of the Evangelical Federation of Spain through which the agreements of cooperation with the state have been established in accordance with the constitution. These were approved by the congress in 1992, providing legal recognition and status for the Protestant churches. The IEE maintains good relationships with the Spanish Episcopal Reformed Church, with which it forms the Spanish Committee for Interchurch Cooperation, and with other Protestant groups such as the Baptists and the Plymouth Brethren.

Doctrinally, the Spanish Evangelical Church identifies itself with the tradition of the Protestant Reformation. It defines the Christian faith on the basis of four principles which it believes are fundamental and sufficient: God is love; faith in the love of God; the scriptures as only norm of faith and conduct; Jesus Christ, the Word of God, in whose love, forgiveness and grace are found hope and salvation. The church is governed by the general synod, which meets every two years and elects the permanent commission. The congregations are grouped in seven presbyteries. There are several departments, for Sunday school, women, and the training of pastors and laity. As a small minority church, the IEE is especially committed to the religious instruction of its children, and to helping its young people in the often difficult task of witnessing to their faith in a traditionally Roman Catholic, and increasingly secularized society. It gives much attention to the role of the laity. The church is actively involved in the reflection on political and ethical issues which the country and the society are facing.