6.4.2.3 The church of Jesus Christ after the reoccupation of the Apostle ministry

With the renewed occupation of the Apostle ministry in the year 1832 (see 11.3), the Lord gave back something essential to His church on earth: apostolicity was once more fully restored in the visible church. The activity of the newly called Apostles was not intended to establish another Christian denomination. Its goal was rather to prepare all of Christianity for the return of the Lord. With the reoccupation of the Apostle ministry, the proper administration of the sacraments was also restored. In addition, the proclamation of the word was given a more binding character through the authority of the ambassadors for Christ. This was especially brought to expression in that the certainty of the imminent return of Christ was kept alive. Likewise, it again became possible to proclaim forgiveness of sins through Apostles.

Thus the ministry and the proper administration of the sacraments associated with it, as well as the proper proclamation of the word, were once more fully present as essential elements of the church of Christ in its historical reality.

SUMMARY

The historicity of the church is rooted in the historicity of Jesus Christ. He lived as true Man among mankind. (6.4.2)

Just as human beings were able to perceive Jesus Christ with their senses, so too they can perceive His church. It is manifest in historical reality, specifically within the fellowship of human beings who have been baptised, who believe in Christ, and who profess Him. (6.4.2)

In its nature the church is perfect, however, it still demonstrates imperfections in its historical manifestation. (6.4.2)

With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the church of Christ began to unfold. In it Apostles and other ministers were active, the gospel was preached, and the sacraments were dispensed. (6.4.2.1)

After the death of the early Apostles this ministry was no longer occupied. Even during this time, the Holy Spirit was at work, albeit not in His original fullness. Believers continued to spread the gospel and the Christian system of values, however, the expectation of Christ's return faded into the background. (6.4.2.2)

In the nineteenth century the Apostle ministry was reoccupied. Apostolicity was thereby once again fully restored in the visible church. Thus the ministry, the dispensation of the sacraments, and the proclamation of the word are once more fully present in the historical reality of the church. (6.4.2.3)

See also