Bert was New Apostolic, his account of coming out, now he is free and enjoying the freedom.
I keep thanking God for allowing me to wake up ….
Thank God, I’m free!
Now five years after leaving the New Apostolic Church, I would like to tell “my story”, perhaps in order to finally find peace, but also to encourage others to finally do what one is afraid of, namely to seriously question the NAC doctrine.
Actually, I don’t know when the inner break with doctrine came. Perhaps as a child (instinctively) when going to church on Sundays became a gauntlet for me, as a short-shaven member of the special community in the village, in front of my schoolmates. During the week I was shunned and not infrequently deeply insulted (pig priest etc.). Or when I was shocked to learn in religion class (Old Testament) that millions of people died in the name of God and that the most cruel wars were waged.
Then in Sunday School we sang at the top of our lungs that God was love, for me at that time it didn’t go together. Later as a religion teacher I was to teach this joyfully myself, I always had a bad feeling about it. Perhaps the break came when I, as a 35-year-old subdeacon and father of three children, always working under full load in the work of God, heard the sentence from my wife: “I can’t and don’t want to anymore, we are separating, you take the children”. Eventually it would be my turn, she said. It was like a shot in the neck.
I ruminated for days and weeks, desperately searching for explanations. I often thought of a statement made by my overseer that he would understand by ‘being connected’ in the Brethren circle, “If one gets hit, all the others must cry ouch.” In retrospect, that sounded like a mockery. Because now if anyone was getting ‘hits’ it was me. There was nothing at all of brotherly charity. People avoided me, some even changed sides of the street when they saw me. I felt like the proverbial ‘hot potato’ being dropped.
Helplessness and anger
It came as it had to come. First I questioned what had happened, then the doctrine of the New Apostolic Church, because everything did not fit together. I researched on the Internet, went to this website countless times, compared the biblical passages cited. The framework of faith that had held me up all these years came crashing down on me. The feeling of helplessness and rage when the ground is pulled out from under your feet is impossible to describe. But anyone who has come this far as a ‘faithful NAC’er’ knows it.
Often, even today, the film of my life of faith plays out before me. My strict upbringing was shaped by the (I say deliberately) HerrSCHAFT of the district of Apostle Shoemaker. That meant no TV, no radio, no sports activities of any kind outside of school, no football on the street either, after all the apostle wouldn’t play football either. Result see above. To this day I can still feel the resounding slaps I got just because my father found Mickey Mouse magazines under my pillow again. I can still remember how indignant I was the first time I saw young people wearing their hair over their ears after confirmation at the district youth choir.
Everything revolved around the NAC
His adolescence was similarly stuffy and out of touch with life. At 19 not-really-lived-lengends, I met my wife. As was proper, they were soon married. Quickly, and above all unnoticed, the drama mentioned elsewhere began: countless ironed shirts, countless evenings spent alone, and countless conversations not held. My wife was a single parent 95% of the time. Everything revolved around the church in our house. The evenings, Sundays anyway, even some of the Saturdays belonged to the NAC.
The Holy Spirit is speechless
If one had time off after services for the deceased or the like, there was singing in some hospital. I always found the moments when I was called to serve as a subdeacon dramatic. I stood at the altar like a trembling heap of misery. My eyes would go black and I could not get a sound past my lips. I had never imagined that the Holy Spirit could be speechless. Once I accidentally said goodbye instead of amen.
Learning to live anew
My NAC existence ended with me staying away from the services with my children after a short time. Three years later I officially left the church.
What has remained? More and more I thought about it, searched the internet for similar stories, which there are heaps of. I wish I had someone to talk to so I could process what I’ve experienced, but I don’t. There are no support groups in my area. My current wife is very understanding, but being Protestant she has no idea what ‘went on’ in my past. In retrospect, I feel I was a cruelly manipulated being who had to learn to live anew. I wasn’t used to making decisions on my own. But I kept learning and learning more. There is no more feeling guilty about not being able to offer a tithe or not being able to buy out a ‘blessing hour’ for work reasons. Now I live the life God has given me and I do it gladly. I no longer long for any home, for I already have it on earth, the circle of my family.
Today I pray more intensely
I keep thanking God for allowing me to wake up. Today I pray more intensely than ever before and have a much more relaxed relationship with Him, because He is no longer presented to me as an ever-punishing One whose blessings must be purchased with monetary sacrifices. John 3 verse 16 states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You can read the Bible to the end, nowhere will you find that you have to be New Apostolic because of it. No denomination will be able to claim the Holy Spirit for itself, for He blows with power through all ranks. I could never imagine that I, a poor sausage, should have it better than Mother Theresa.
Thank God, I’m free!
I also think back to times when I felt comfortable in the community of ‘God’s children’. But it just so happens that feelings say nothing about the rightness of a thing. If you inject yourself with a dose of heroin, you supposedly feel good too, it’s just not right by any means.
Lord knows the road I’ve been on since I got out hasn’t been easy. I’ve been silently crying and moping a lot. I know now what a struggle it is to get off a drug, but it was worth it!
Thank God, I’m free!
Already the old Reformers said: SOLA SCRIPTURA – Only the Scriptures count.
Bert L. from M.
*The names and places have been changed!
We recommend the translation of the Bible by Franz Eugen Schlachter in the 2000 version