God is pure spirit; eternal essence and uncreated energies, a single entity without division. God’s eternal essence transcends the created cosmos and exists outside of time and space as we know it. But the uncreated energies are immanent in the created world, existing within and throughout all matter.
We hold that our ancestors worshipped this High God long before the birth of Jesus Christ. This God is not Yahweh of the Old Testament who is a tribal God, or Guardian, of the Israelites in the same way as Woden is a tribal God, or Guardian, of the English. The High God has no name and was made known to us in history through the many Guardians and seers. This, we believe, formed the basis of the ancient religions of the Druids, the Germanic and Norse peoples as well as the ancient Vedic religion of Aryan India. We also believe that the ancient Israelites were themselves originally an Aryan people, but that they mixed with the local population against the will of God. Both they and their religion became corrupted as a result.
Jesus came into that world to restore this ancient religion, particularly amongst the remnant of true Israelites who remained in that part of the world. So the faith we call Christianity is not new. It is not an off-shoot of Judaism; it is the restoration of the older faith from which Judaism sprang. Jesus did not contradict the ancient religion of the Druids and its close relatives throughout Europe. Indeed, he came to Britain and was taught by the Druids. The two quickly merged to form British and then English Christianity. They quickly merged because they had much in common.
But our Christianity is not that of the Old Testament, which is the story of the ancient Israelites and not the Angelcyn. Our ancient traditions and beliefs were, in the main, valid insights into the will of the High God. But that religion had itself become corrupted over time. Christ’s message to us is to restore our own ancient faith in His light – not to abandon it entirely as was forced on our ancestors by the Judeao-Christian establishment. Christ’s message to all peoples is a universal one. But it is to be expressed in the context of individual folk faiths. It is a message, not an ‘all size fits’ doctrinaire religion.
Our Christianity is one of ‘strength and compassion’. It is closer to the old Germanic or Saxon Christianity of our ancestors and not to be confused with modern Judaeo-Christianity. We reject the charge that Christianity is weak; meek and mild. That it encourages the invasion of our lands and the pollution of our folk soul with nonsensical ideas that weaken our identity and destroy our heritage. This may be true of much of modern Judaeo-Christianity – but it is not true of folkish Germanic or Saxon Christianity.
But neither is our religion simply one of might is right. Germanic Christianity paved the way for the honourable tradition of the Knight, the strong man who fought for justice and what is right. Folkish Christianity certainly seeks what is good for the folk and rejects what is bad for the folk. But we believe that the true message of Christ is one of compassionate strength. That may mean fighting and defeating an enemy. It may mean killing someone in self-defence or in defence of one under your protection. But this is different to unnecessary cruelty and excessive violence. The aim of our Christianity is to live in peace and harmony with the world around us, but not at all costs and with the knowledge this aim sometimes has to be fought for.
We believe that God is all, existing both outside of creation and within it (Panenthesim). We are Trinitarian in the sense that this is a useful way of explaining the complexity of the Godhead and its interaction with this Middle Earth. But we do not believe it is the only way of explaining the Godhead and so do not see it as a precise point of doctrine that cannot be debated. We do not see the three personas of the Trinity as separate entities or persons. They are aspects of the same ‘person’ much as our own bodies, mind and spirit are aspects of our own person.
The mind of God is called the Logos, God’s inner voice of thought, reason and logic. As Tertullian put it, “Whatever you think, there is a word. You must speak it in your mind. Thus, in a certain sense, the word is a second person within you, through which in thinking you utter speech.” But the Logos, as the mind of God, is also the underlying nature of God, made up of attributes such as love, order and creativity. It is literally God’s Law. Our ancestors called this, Wyrd or Orlog, which literally means the primal law. It is the underlying nature of God which governs the cosmos. The way we interact with God’s nature affects the unfolding of creation, both positively and negatively. In this way, our past actions collectively and individually affect our present and future. It is our spiritual and moral duty to align ourselves with God’s nature to help the positive evolution of creation. It is this law that Jesus of Nazareth taught when properly understood; the nature of God, not the laws of Man.
The holy Spirit is part of God’s uncreated energies that permeate this world; the divine force that animates all life. It is this force that God spoke to our ancient ancestors, even before the birth of Jesus. The Greeks called God’s word the Christos or ‘Spirit of Truth’, who spoke to the ancient seers and prophets. God’s spirit is the divine animating force that is active within our world and permeates all of creation. Our ancient North European ancestors saw the Spirit in terms such as the Odic force and in more modern times as Vril.
The EFC teaches that God took human form in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and dwelt amongst us. Jesus was both a normal, flesh and blood, human being but was also the incarnation of the Logos. The EFC does not attempt to define exactly how God dwelt in Jesus. The importance of this doctrine is not the mechanics of how Jesus was both God and human at the same time, but why God came amongst us and what he had to say to us.
We call Jesus ‘the Christ’ because the ‘Spirit of Truth’ or ‘Christos’ descended on Him as a dove during his baptism. Some believe that this is the point that He became fully human and fully God. We are therefore Christian in the sense that we follow the Christos and Word of God who for a time dwelt amongst us as Jesus of Nazareth. The Christ is God’s Word, our heavenly Lord and King, who came to restore true faith and religion. As such, we do not use the term ‘Messiah’, as this is a wholly different concept rooted in a different religion.
Jesus argued with the Jewish religious leaders of His day because they followed the corrupted traditions of men rather than the true message of God. He was not teaching Judaism, but he did couch His words in the context of the Judaism of His day because that is what His audience would understand. He used their own language and doctrines to show how they differed from the Word of God. He sometimes parodied their doctrines and traditions. This is important because all too often His words are taken literally when often they were intended to explain a deeper and usually fairly straightforward point. This is why Jesus sometimes appears to say things which do not appear to make sense to our modern ears. He spoke in parables and used examples from the culture around him to make wider points. It is essential to understand the message behind His words, not to take these words literally.
The EFC teaches that Jesus died on the cross as the sacrificial lamb to atone for our sins once and for all. Our pre-Christian religion did appear to have required sacrifice, including human sacrifice such as enemy warriors being hanged as a sacrifice to Woden. However, the sacrifice made by Christ on the cross clearly puts an end to this – it is as the old English Prayer book says “a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.”
The EFC does not teach that a literal belief in the virgin birth is necessary to believe that God dwelt amongst us in Jesus. Two Gospels relate the story, two do not. Neither does Paul refer to it.
The natural law of God (Orlog) is embodied in the ancient Holy Runes. It is through the Runes that we come to a meaningful understanding both of ourselves and of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. This understanding leads us to a union with the Spirit of Truth (or Christos). It is this knowledge that Woden searches for in Mythology and which he finds in the Runes.
The holy scriptures of the Christian era contain divine wisdom and inspiration, but are not the complete and infallible word of God to be taken literally in every instance. The English Folk Church gives most weight to the four Gospels of the traditional Bible, the Gospel of Thomas which is a collection of the sayings of Christ, the Elder Eddas – especially the Havamal and Voluspa and the majority of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. The rest of the Old Testament is not relevant to the Angelcyn as it is a story of another people and their tribal God. Neither do we give particular weight to the Book of Acts and the letters of Paul in the New Testament, except where these provide context to the Gospels.
The EFC also recognises the importance of our ancient mythology and poems such as Dream of the Rood and the continental Saxon Gospel ‘The Heliand’.
Humankind is not born into a state of original sin, but rather a state of imperfection reflecting the incompleteness of creation as a whole. This condition is perfected through the teaching, healing and knowledge of the Christos that gently draws us closer to God. By leading positive lives, and responding to the Christos, we can move towards a higher level of spiritual evolution and perfection until we finally achieve wholeness in God. For most people, this process continues beyond our mortal, earthly lives.
God has created, through emanation, a great many spirit beings that permeate the natural world around us. These are our folk Gods and Goddesses and the Ælfe (or Elfs) and are separate beings in their own right but also, as emanations of the divine energies, are part of the divine whole and characteristics of the divine nature. They are referred to in the Bible as part of Elohim or the Divine Council.
Some of these spiritual beings are assigned specifically to our folk group as tribal guardians or wardens. They watch over and guard us and they can act as intermediaries with the Godhead. They also include the land and water wights – guardians of our holy places. Although sometimes confused with Angels in the popular mind, these spirit beings are not Angels as such as they have free will. Neither are they the ‘fallen angels’ of the Bible. We do not deny the existence of malign spiritual entities; our ancient tradition tells us of these too; the Deorc Aelfe for instance. But the EFC believes that dishonouring our ancient Gods as devils has been the greatest deceit the Church has forced on our folk.
The myth of the Holy Grael is a powerful part of English folklore. Legend holds that Jesus accompanied his great uncle, St Joseph of Arimathea, to the south west of modern day England as a young boy. The EFC teaches that during this time He was instructed by Druids and that this ancient British religion – a close relation of ancient Germanic religion - formed the basis of His teachings and His altercations with the Pharisees. This is because the ancient religion of our people held truth that was reflected in the ancient religion of the Israelites but had become corrupted by the Pharisees of Jesus’ days.
This process of evolutionary creation is reflected in the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It can be seen in the pattern of day following night, summer following winter and the agricultural cycle. These patterns reflect God’s own creative energies and have been expressed mythologically as Sky Father impregnating Earth Mother to create the new life. It is also powerfully reflected in the Christian story of the nativity, crucifixion and resurrection.
As folkish Christians, we believe in Separatism. Creating and living in our own folk based communities, maintaining and strengthening our identity and supporting our kin. These communities may be fully or partially Separate, they may be entirely self-sufficient or they may be dormitory communities where people can engage with the wider world to some degree.
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