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- Our Family interviews Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber: "This method of handling it seemed the most sensible to us"
Zürich. The Church magazine "Our Family" will publish an interesting interview with Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber in its April edition. In it, the church leader states his reasons for beginning a new chapter in the Church's communication policy with the information evening that took place in Uster, Switzerland on 24 January.
"Our Family" is the name of the magazine of the New Apostolic Church. The international publication appears once each month. The edition of 5 April 2006 will publish a comprehensive interview with Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber. In the course of this interview, the president of the international church explains, among other things, why the book "Questions and Answers" will be replaced with a more exhaustive catechism over the next few years. In extensive detail, he also elaborates on his expectations of this new work on the principles of our faith, and explains how he envisions its presentation.
With the kind permission of the editors of Our Family, we share a few selected passages from the interview here:
Why were only ministers, retired ministers, and teachers invited to the information evening? How are the rest of the members to be informed? Chief Apostle Leber: In the preliminary stages we had actually thought about involving all the members right from the start. However in the circle of the district apostles we finally chose to inform the ministers and teachers first because it is very demanding and because it is important that they understand it first. There are various ways in which the members can be informed: they can read the official positions on these subjects at www.nak.org, and in addition, there are two articles that will appear in the Our Family magazine in March and April, which deal with the subject matter. This method of handling it seemed the most sensible to us.
Would the subject matter be suitable for a so-called discussion panel? Chief Apostle Leber: Yes, absolutely, with the proper preparation. The subjects could also be further explained in the context of a congregational evening. Nevertheless we must take into account that only a limited number of our members would likely be interested in the details of this subject matter and go into it deeply. For such members, a discussion panel would be a good additional opportunity. [...]
When you develop doctrine you need a particular mode of expression, otherwise you couldn't declare any doctrinal statements or any doctrine at all. If emotionality was the only thing that mattered, we wouldn't need this, would we? Chief Apostle Leber: Emotionality is admittedly not everything. In addition we must see that there are new developments. This is evident, for example, in our teaching materials. The book Questions and Answers was a product of its time. Today these answers would in many cases no longer suffice. [...]
Is the NAC on its way to becoming a "normal church"? Chief Apostle Leber: What is a "normal church"? For years it has become clear in many respects that we are capable of dialogue. If you regard having dialogue and discussing things with one another as normality then, yes, in this respect I would go along with that. But on the other hand we don't want to create the impression that all the contours are being blurred to make room for one big "unity stew". [...]
Earlier you mentioned the book Questions and Answers. In the meantime work has progressed on a new catechism. What do you expect from this work? Chief Apostle Leber: I would like it to portray a sound basis for our faith. The manual Questions and Answers was written in the context and depth of its time. Today our doctrine must be put on a different level where it is very precisely defined and supported. For this we must also ask and answer many detailed questions that arise in Christianity and society in our time. In other words, we have to do much more than we have in the past. [...]
How does this time schedule look, and would you introduce this catechism in a manner similar to your presentation of the subjects of exclusiveness and following? Chief Apostle Leber: We aren't that far yet. The idea is to publish the new catechism in the year 2008. It will be splendid if we manage that. Then we would have to contemplate how best to present it. I could certainly envisage a presentation such as the one we just had. [...]
The entire interview is contained in the "Our Family" edition of 5 April 2006. You can link to the magazine's website by clicking here.
20 February 2006