Are you a New Apostolic? I was too! What I want to tell you
Today I am addressing you in this perhaps unfamiliar form. I am very concerned about everyone who is a member of the New Apostolic Church. My love for you and my Lord Jesus Christ drives me to write these lines down for you.
I was a New Apostolic myself for over thirty years. Now you will probably ask, what does he want from me. I will explain this at once.
What if you …?
Have you ever thought about whether the path you are going is the right one? If so, how did you check whether you were following the truth? Well, imagine if you were born as a Jehovah’s Witness, a Muslim, an atheist or a Buddhist. From your current perspective, you would be lost forever if you did not check your faith and then turn to the New Apostolic Church. Because without apostles, sealing and the forgiveness of sins, according to the New Apostolic Church, no salvation is possible.
Well, you may be thinking, I don’t need to check, I’m a New Apostolic, I’m on the right path. But remember, this is what members of other communities say too. If the New Apostolic doctrine of faith is biblical and true, then it need not fear a review under the written word of God. Faith would only become stronger, joy greater, and devotion more intense.
The Bible encouraged us to examine
In order to really know reliably that you are on the right track, you have to check. In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke refers to the Christians in Berea, who not only checked what others told them, but even checked the preaching of the Apostle Paul using the scriptures (Old Testament):
“But these were friendlier than those in Thessalonica; they accepted the word willingly and searched the Scriptures daily to see whether it was like that. “Acts 17, 11
The apostle Paul also writes to the Thessalonians:
“But check everything and keep the good”1 Thess. 5, 21
Another passage that clearly encourages examination of the doctrines of those who teach the doctrines is:
“… so that you can check what is best, so that you are louder and unobjectionable for the day of Christ”Phil. 1, 10
You see, the apostles urge you to examine, because even then people with false doctrines were out to deceive. For example, Johannes writes B .:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. “1 John 4, 1
The right yardstick
How should you check? Can feelings and experiences be a yardstick? I don’t think so, because feelings can be very deceiving. E.g. when you fell in love for the first time, you might have believed that you could no longer live without this person. Then it turned out quite differently and it went on. Can experiences serve as evidence of the truth? Here, too, we have to be careful, because members of other churches have experiences of faith and answers to prayer. We have to be very careful because the devil is out to seduce people with all sorts of miracles:
“But the evil one will appear in the power of Satan with great power and lying signs and wonders and with every seduction to injustice in those who are lost because they did not accept the love of the truth that they would be saved.”2. Thess. 2, 9-10
The Holy Scriptures
But where is there an objective, reliable yardstick by which we can orientate ourselves? There is only one answer to this: the written word of God, the Bible. Why should the Bible be reliable? Well, there are very reasonable reasons to assume that the Bible is authentic (2) and that it is inspired by God (2) (3). I cannot go into all the details here, but I would like to point out a few points. On the one hand archaeological finds (3) prove the historical credibility of the Bible, on the other hand the fulfillment of the 3268 prophetic verses (3) (4) shows its supernatural origin.
More recent scientific findings (5) show that the Bible itself describes with astonishing accuracy what we observe in nature in the areas of creation (6) and physics (7). Who would have B. at that time the innumerable number of stars (Jer. 33, 22) or the cycle in the atmosphere (Ecclesiastes. 1, 6) be able to prove and explain? There could be many other reasons to show why we can assume that the Bible is the word of God, but now I would like the Holy Scriptures to have their say:
“For all scriptures, inspired by God, are useful for teaching, for correction, for improvement, for education in righteousness”2. Tim. 3, 16
“Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will not pass away. “Mt. 24, 35
Scripture is God’s word
It is precisely in the Gospels that we read the words of Jesus, quoted by the evangelists! The Lord Jesus himself emphasizes the importance of every single word and letter of the Old Testament:
“For verily, I say to you: Until heaven and earth pass away, the smallest letter will not pass away from the law, until it all happens.”Mt. 5, 18
“… and the writing cannot be broken.”John 10, 35
So he not only taught inspiration (John 14, 26; 16, 13), but also the preservation of the Holy Scriptures. But what does all of this have to do with the New Apostolic Church? It becomes clear that the written word of God, the Holy Scriptures, cannot and must not be relativized by a spoken so-called ‘contemporary word of God’. On the contrary, it is still highly topical and binding. That is why everything was tested by the first Christians on the basis of the Holy Scriptures and today everything has to be viewed under the light of the Bible and every preaching has to withstand it.
It would not occur to me to write this book if I did not have my doubts about the teaching of the New Apostolic Church. Shaken by God’s intervention in my life, one day I began to look at the doctrine of the faith from the Bible. Unfortunately, I found that there are many teachings in the New Apostolic Church that contradict the statements of Jesus, the teaching of the New Testament apostles and the practice of the early communities. A lot can be asserted, so I would like to add an example to substantiate my assertion and to encourage you to read the scriptures yourself in this regard.
As we know, the apostles and the chief apostle of the New Apostolic Church teach and practice sealing. Only through the laying on of hands of an apostle of the New Apostolic Church can a person receive the Holy Spirit. But in the Bible we read of a simple disciple named Ananias who laid his hands on Saul:
“And Ananias went and came into the house and laid his hands on him and said, Dear brother Saul, the Lord has sent me … that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately it fell from his eyes like scales, and he saw again; and he got up and was baptized“Acts 9, 19-18
The spirit falls down
Scripture also tells us that the Holy Spirit falls on believers:
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.”Acts 10, 44
The Holy Spirit is free
In the Gospel according to John we learn (John 3, 8) that the Holy Spirit is free in his work. There a comparison is made with the wind that blows where it wants. So God is free and sovereign in his actions and with the gift of the Holy Spirit does not bind himself to a certain group of people who channel it, because it is God who seals:
“But it is God who fixes us together with you in Christ and anointed and sealed us and gave the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”2nd Cor. 1, 21-22
God himself gives the Holy Spirit
“Whoever despises this does not despise people, but God, who gives his holy spirit in you.”1 Thess. 4, 8
“But he who prepared us for this is God, who gave us the spirit as a pledge.”2nd Cor. 5, 5
Of course there are also passages in the text in which apostles lay hands on. But nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that this can only be done through apostles. Even if it has recently been taught that apostles are ‘only the tools’, the fact remains that the reception of the Holy Spirit is linked to the apostolic office of the New Apostolic Church. As we have seen, this is contrary to Scripture.
This is only one example that I can admittedly only sketch here (8). But it should show how necessary it is to take a closer look at whom we believe what, because the way is narrow and narrow, the gate that leads to life (Mt. 7, 14).
I ask you to examine the teaching which you follow and which is announced to you in the written word of God. Also do not take over what I have written without checking it in the Bible.
I don’t want to take anything away from you
Dear reader, please don’t get me wrong, maybe you are worried now. I don’t want to take anything away from you, do I? Yes, I would like to take away from you a false security that was given to you (us) in the New Apostolic Church. I would like to help you with that. The only security that scriptures give us is faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Neither belief in apostles nor in miracles or signs is offered to us as security by the Bible, but only belief and the personal devotion of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord knocks
In Joh. 1, 12: “How many welcomed him (Jesus), to whom he gave power to become God’s children …” Did you do this? If you seek him sincerely and honestly, the Lord has a wonderful gift ready for you: the gift of reconciliation through the only mediator Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2: 5). Turn to him alone, for he is the way, the truth and the life. Ask him to come into your life and guide you. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus tells us: “See, I stand at the door and knock. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I’ll go in “ .
I wish you that you will open the door of your heart to Jesus. If you do that, Jesus himself will come to you. Why? Because he promised.
“For no one can lay any other foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”1 Cor. 3, 11
I wish you freedom and confidence, hope and strength through and in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Lord bless you
© Lutz Jusko
References to literature
(1) All Bible texts are translated from the Bible Dr. Taken from Martin Luther in the revised version from 1984
(2) That’s how it is written. On the truthfulness and authority of the Bible, Werner Gitt, Hänssler-Verlag, 2000
(3) This is how the Bible came into being, WJJ Glashouwer, CLV-Verlag, 1997
(4) The Bible in Test, Josh McDowell, Hänssler-Verlag, 1997
(5) Questions to start with – The logic of creation, Don Batten (HRSG.), CLV-Verlag, 2001
(6) Did God create through evolution ?, Werner Gitt, CLV-Verlag, 1994; Creation or evolution, Ralph O. Muncaster, Verlag CM Fliß, 2002
(7) Origins and future of humans, AE Wilder Smith, Hänssler-Verlag, 1984
(8) You can find many other examples discussed in detail here on our website and / or in the following writings: Are there again Apostles, Lothar Gassmann; Apostles and prophets of modern times, Helmuth Obst; Seer Brooding Enthusiast, Kurt Hutten; Apostle of Jesus Christ and the New Apostolic Church, A. Schönfeld / L. Jusko