Zurich. The conception of the realms of the departed has traditionally had great significance in the New Apostolic Church. For more than 50 years, New Apostolic Christians have celebrated divine services for the departed three times annually. Thus it is rather astounding that there is so little available literature on the subject.
A new elaboration entitled "Belief in the Afterlife for New Apostolic Christians", which has been commissioned by the Church administration, will soon appear in the form of a brochure in both German and English (see our report at www.nak.org/news/20050210-108-gb.html). It will replace all previous elaborations on the subject, such as "Einblicke in das Totenreich" ("Insights into the realms of the dead") by Hermann Niehaus or "Das Leben nach dem Tode" ("Life after death") by Friedrich Linde.
The new elaboration is in line with the current state of our doctrine. Its contents are based on statements from the Holy Scripture and pertinent revelations of the Holy Spirit. Accounts of personal experiences or dreams were intentionally not included in the work, as their significance for generally accepted doctrine is relatively low. This is because they most often relate to special situations and bear a strong personal character.
The new elaboration does not claim to provide exhaustive answers to all questions about the beyond, nor does it seek to impart any conclusive knowledge. It is not intended to be a critical analysis from the perspective of medical, natural, or social science, nor does it seek to discuss the literature of Christian churches or other religions. It is simply meant to shed light on important relationships within our conception of the beyond - with the understanding that our knowledge is still preliminary and fragmented.
"Belief in the Afterlife for New Apostolic Christians" will be available from the publishers, Friedrich Bischoff GmbH (www.bischoff-verlag.de) in both German and English later this year. Rectors will be the first to receive a free copy for each congregation.
24 February 2005