International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches
   The International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches is an association of churches that grew out of Pietism and the Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century. It includes member churches from Europe, North America, Africa,South America, and Asia.
   The Free Church movement (Protestant in faith but free of state churches) grew through the 19th century in Switzerland from its early bases in Berne, Basel, and Zurich despite official opposition. it was characterized by strong personal faith and piety and the absence of creeds apart from the Bible. As early as 1834, these churches attempted to make common cause with similar congregations in France and northern italy.In 1910, the Swiss congregations came together as the Union of Free Evangelical Churches in Switzerland.
   A similar revivalist impulse in Sweden gave birth to the Mission Covenant Church, which spread to Denmark and Norway and was brought by immigrants to the United States. In the 20th century, the church also developed a strong mission program in Africa and Latin America, which led to autonomous churches in those regions in close association with their parent body.
   Leaders from several European free churches met in the years after world war i and were joined in the 1930s by American leaders of Mission Covenant Church. in 1948, the international Federation of Free Evangelical Churches emerged. The federation has held international gatherings at irregular intervals since that time.
   Further reading:
   ■ Walter Persson, Free and United: The Story of the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches (Chicago: Covenant Publications, 1998)
   ■ Gunar westin, The Free Church through the Ages (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1958).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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