Word of the Month

A Year of Profession

January 2013

My dear brothers and sisters,

The year 2013 is an anniversary year. The prophetic calling of Apostles 150 years ago—who were not recognised by the Apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church—is considered the birth of the New Apostolic Church. In gratitude and admiration we look back to the witnesses of faith of that time. The beginnings were certainly difficult, and it must have required a great deal of courage to profess one’s membership in such a small group of believers. Looking back on the events of that time leads me to pronounce the year 2013 as the “year of profession”.

At the heart of our profession is the far-reaching statement of the Lord Jesus: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10: 32). These words show how important it is to testify. Testifying is even a characteristic of the church of Christ. In our Catechism we read that the church of Christ “is the assembly of those who are baptised, who follow Christ in their conduct of life, and who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord”.

Scripture contains some marvellous examples of testifying:

  • In response to the Lord’s question as to who the disciples thought He was, Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matthew 16: 16).
  • Peter and John declared the following to the high council: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4: 20).
  • Paul said the following to Felix the governor: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets” (Acts 24: 14).

From these examples we can derive the defining features of genuine profession, namely

  • not to retreat in crucial moments, but to stand up for what we believe;
  • to take a clear and unmistakable position on our conviction without looking for a way out;
  • to be fearless and to dismiss all fear of being disadvantaged in any way.

Let us testify of our Lord and of our faith in such a manner!

The further course of church history also attests that believing men and women clearly professed their faith in God. Although there is some historical dispute surrounding this event, Martin Luther is said to have spoken the following words before the Imperial Diet of Worms: “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

These powerful professions stand in stark contrast to professions of pure lip service. It is quite clear that we must stand behind our profession of faith with all our being.

Proper profession of our faith requires:

  • deep conviction of faith,
  • love for the work of God,
  • courage, and
  • the firm resolve to act.

The last point includes looking for opportunities that will allow us to testify of our faith.

The only thing remaining now is the question that is put to each individual: “How will you profess your faith?” If we have failed here and there, the following reference to Peter will serve as comfort. After all, Peter was just mentioned as an example of profession. Nevertheless, Peter denied the Lord three times. In other words, he did not profess Him. But Peter learned from his mistake.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us profess that we have found the Lord in His Apostles. Let us testify that we await the return of the Son of God every day! May we all experience how the Lord also confesses us in the new year! I bind my faith to this—that is my joy.

To this end I wish you all a richly blessed new year.

In heartfelt unity and love to all, I remain

Yours truly,

Wilhelm Leber