Zurich. “What is church? Who is the church? What is the New Apostolic Church?” These questions and more are addressed in the new church concept. In the process of producing its new Catechism, the New Apostolic Church has arrived at some different answers than in the past. The church of Christ is bigger than the New Apostolic Church alone. It includes all those who have been baptised in the name of the triune God, who believe in Jesus Christ, and who profess Him as their Lord. This church of Christ is manifest in different ways in the Christian churches at work today—albeit not in its perfect state.
The New Apostolic Church’s understanding of church was rather different in the past. In the book “Questions and Answers”—the immediate precursor to the Catechism currently in production—Question 167 states the following on the subject: “What is the New Apostolic Church?” – “The New Apostolic Church is the church of Jesus Christ, identical to the apostolic congregations at the time of the first Apostles. As the re-established salvation work of God, it is governed by the Holy Spirit.”
The “one, holy, universal, and apostolic church”
The answer will be quite different in the new Catechism: the church of Christ is the “one, holy, universal, and apostolic church.” It is both concealed and visible. The concealed church of Christ includes all people who are baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who believe in Jesus Christ, and who profess Him as Lord. The church of Christ is not only visible in one of the churches active today, but rather in all the different churches and church institutions, to varying degrees. It is most clearly evidenced where the Apostle ministry, the dispensation of the three sacraments to the living and the dead, and the proper proclamation of God’s word are manifest.
The purpose and function of the New Apostolic doctrine of faith are derived from its goal. Accordingly, the new church concept states: “In the New Apostolic Church, believers are prepared for the return of Christ through word and sacrament.”
Introduction by way of articles and seminars
The ministers of the New Apostolic Church have received the new church concept in a Special Edition of the “Divine Service Guide”. The text will also be published for the general membership in the Church magazine “Our Family”. Beyond that, the first training sessions for ministers and other functionaries will soon begin in the various District Churches.
Part one in a series of articles on the new church concept has in the meantime also been published at Our Family-Online.
1 March 2011