13.5.1 Position regarding the state

The New Apostolic Church attaches importance to open and constructive relations with governments, public authorities, and religious denominations. It is politically neutral. Its activity conforms to the laws of each respective country, in accordance with Romans 13: 1: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (cf. Titus 3: 1 and 1 Peter 2: 13). However this does not imply that all directives from the "authorities" are from God because they can fail in their tasks, and even grossly mishandle them. Even the power of the state must be measured against divine commandments.

The Church fulfils its legal obligations under the laws and regulations of the respective country. In return it expects its position to be respected and accepted.

The Church also expects its members to keep the laws and fulfil the civic duties of their country, as long as they are in harmony with the divine commandments. The account of Peter and John in Acts 4 can serve to provide orientation in this: when they were forbidden to teach in the name of Jesus, they considered their duty to obey God to be greater than their duty to obey the authorities: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge" (Acts 4: 18-19). Later they gave account of their actions before the council with the words: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5: 29). From this it is clear that, although Christians are, in principle, subject to the authority of the state, the authorities of the state are in turn subordinate to the divine laws. This position is expressed in the Tenth Article of Faith: "I believe that I am obliged to obey the worldly authorities provided no godly laws are thereby transgressed." This means that there may be points of conflict between human laws and divine commandments. In such cases, the individual must decide, on the basis of his conviction of faith and in personal accountability to God, whether he will resist prescribed regulations that violate divine laws. "Prescribed regulations" are to be understood as orders issued by higher authorities.

See also