150 Years

1863 - 2013: 150 Years New Apostolic Church

In 2013 the New Apostolic Church looks back on 150 years of its existence. To commemorate this anniversary, congregations around the world are planning a variety of events. Originating from a small Catholic Apostolic congregation in Hamburg (Germany) the New Apostolic Church today has more than ten million members worldwide. New Apostolic Christians assemble in over 60,000 congregations. The highlight of the anniversary year will be the Pentecost service, which Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber will hold on 19 May 2013 in Hamburg (Germany).

The roots of the New Apostolic Church date back to the 19th Century. Around the year 1830 individuals and groups in England and Scotland prayed for an “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”. These prayers expressed their hope for a renewal of Christian life within the various denominations that they felt had become formal and uninspiring. An “apostolic movement” developed which gradually turned into an organised church after twelve Apostles had been called by prophetically gifted persons between 1832 and 1835. The distinctive feature of what became known as the Catholic Apostolic Church was that it was headed by Apostles who by the laying on of hands dispensed the gift of the Holy Spirit to prepare the believers for the return of Christ, which they expected soon.

In 1863 the congregation in Hamburg separated from the Apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church. The reasons were fundamental differences of opinion concerning the role of the Apostle ministry in the preparation of believers for the return of Christ and on the possibility of completing the number of Apostles that had by then decreased from twelve to six. On 27 January 1863 Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz, the bishop in charge of the Hamburg congregation, was excommunicated from the Catholic Apostolic Church. This date is considered the birth of the New Apostolic Church.

In the early years the Hamburg congregations approached the public under various names. More congregations were founded and to avoid confusion with those “apostolic congregations” they had separated from they eventually called themselves “New Apostolic Congregations” in their official correspondence. At the turn from the 19th to the 20th century the Church was called “New Apostolic Congregation” and from about 1930 “New Apostolic Church”.

The anniversary year of the New Apostolic Church comes to an end

(31.12.2013) Zurich. The past year 2013 was an anniversary year for the New Apostolic Church. It was celebrated with numerous national and international events. Having emerged in 1863 from a small Catholic Apostolic congregation in Hamburg, Germany, the New Apostolic Church today numbers over ten million members around the world. New Apostolic Christians gather to worship in over 60,000 congregations. Following are some excerpts from a year in motion. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (15): From apostolic congregations to the New Apostolic Church

(09.12.2013) After our church had begun in 1863, its leaders used a variety names for it which reflected designations that had also been in use among the German “apostolic congregations” before 1863. So outsiders found it hard to decide if a congregation belonged to the “old” or the “new order”. Clarity was achieved through the designation “New Apostolic” which was first used in the German kingdom of Saxony. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (14): First steps under new Apostles

(02.12.2013) In Hamburg there existed an apostolic congregation without an Apostle between January and March 1863 because Apostle Rudolf Rosochacky refused to act as an Apostle. But the members clung to their great expectation: God would send out another group of twelve Apostles and through them reveal the full power of the Apostle ministry. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (13): New Apostles called in Germany

(18.11.2013) The British Apostles had come to believe that they would prepare a small number of “firstfruits” who would be taken away from this earth. After their rapture no more Apostles would be active, but archbishops bearing the title of Archangels would lead the Church. In 1860 they had once again vetoed the call of new Apostles by the Prophet Heinrich Geyer. Geyer nevertheless insisted that new Apostles should become active. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (12): An unceasing urge to complement the College of Apostles

(04.11.2013) The college of Apostles was getting smaller and smaller. In 1858 the eight remaining Apostles had agreed that God would once more take the Apostle ministry away. However, Taplin and Geyer, the two most remarkable Prophets of the apostolic church of their time, felt urged by the Spirit of God to call more Apostles to complement the college of Apostles. [meer...]

The Making of the New Apostolic Church (11): Hopes raised and dashed

(21.10.2013) On 20 May 1858, on the Thursday before Pentecost, some men gathered for a very special conference. After 22 years the Apostles had once again invited Prophets to Albury. Watched over by the Apostles the Prophets were to continue the prophetic interpretation of Scripture that had been abandoned in 1836. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (10): Changes in Germany

(07.10.2013) Apostle Carlyle died an 28 January 1855. Heinrich Josias Thiersch of Marburg, a former professor of theology, had worked closely with Apostle Carlyle. Entries in Thiersch’s diary show that he still felt close to Apostle Carlyle even years after his death. But now Thiersch had to adjust and become used to working with his new Apostle Francis Valentine Woodhouse. [meer...]

The Making of the New Apostolic Church (9): Apostles’ Council 1851: Hope and Disappointment

(05.09.2013) In the year 1846 the Apostles – ten in number – had found a compromise that enabled them to continue the work begun in 1835. However, it had become impossible to achieve the great goals they had at first hoped to reach. Apostle Carlyle felt sure that he knew the reason: The “sacred number twelve” was incomplete, so contrary to what had been expected the Apostles could not be sent out in the full power of their office. He hoped for a change at Pentecost 1851 – but did his fellow Apostles share this hope? [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (8): New horizons in northern Germany

(05.08.2013) While the crisis of the church gathered under Apostles lasted, the number of active members on the British Isles declined sharply. An upward trend began in 1847. In that year work started in other countries – and the greatest successes were visible in the north of Germany. [meer...]

The making of the New Apostolic Church (7): A crisis and a new beginning

(05.07.2013) The Apostles were waiting to be sent out. Eight of them wanted to explore the countries they would be working in and travelled there. At their return they had to face diverging views of the Church’s future course. Two Apostles went their separate ways. Did this mean that the work of Apostles had come to an end? [meer...]
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