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Criticism New Apostolic Church - The false prophets in the chief apostle ministry. Are the chief apostles of the NAC false prophets or real Apostles?

New Apostolic Church Criticism
Chief Apostle Ministry – False Prophets

False Prophets

As at the beginning of the apostolic movement, in the Catholic Apostolic Church, in the General Christian Apostolic Mission (AcaM), in the Hersteld Apostolic Zendingskerk, and in the early days of the New Apostolic congregations, there was the gift of prophecy.

The Prophet Ministry

In addition to the apostle, the prophet was significantly involved in the development of the church structure, the offices, and the calling of individuals to their offices. He prophesied and designated certain people as apostles, angels (bishops), evangelists, etc. The apostle then ordained these people into their office. There were quick differences of opinion, tensions, and power struggles between prophets and apostles. This becomes very clear when further apostles were called by the German prophet Heinrich Geyer in 1860 and 1863, who were not recognized by the English apostles of the Catholic apostolic movement.

Tension between apostles and prophets

These tensions and power struggles also existed in the AcaM; one thinks of the rift of 1878 (54) – from which the New Apostolic congregation ultimately emerged – and of the power struggles in the congregations of the so-called new order under Apostle (Chief Apostle) Krebs. These power struggles were decided in the emerging New Apostolic Church in favor of the apostles. An example of this development is an incident between the apostle Krebs and a prophet: “,Oh! My apostle Krebs, you are blessed, I tell you, ‘then Krebs shouted:’ and I tell you, everything has already been said, everything has been agreed, and now it’s over. ‘ Thereupon the prophet was silent. “ (55)

Niehaus has ‘beaten to death’ the prophets

Another testimony to these power struggles is a letter from the evangelist Mütschele to the Apostle Brückner in 1919: “After all, the Chief Apostle (Niehaus, author’s note) prides himself in a letter from this year that at that time, as a regular bishop, he killed the prophets of the community with a brochure.” (56)

The prophets ministry was abolished

The prophets were abolished and it was claimed that the prophetic gift had been absorbed in the apostle office, more precisely in the chief apostle office: “The warning voices of the prophets have fallen silent … Of course, where the office of the prophet actually no longer existed or exists, a replacement had to be found. He soon found himself too. And this indirect substitute is the ‘unity ministry’ brought forth by Father Krebs, which developed into the decisive chief apostle ministry.“ (57)

In 1938 the office of prophet was still on the list of offices of the New Apostolic Church. (58) In later editions of the booklet “Questions and Answers about the New Apostolic Faith” the office of the prophet is missing from the list of New Apostolic offices. As an explanation for the lack, the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church says as follows: “The office of the prophet (Ephesians 4:11) was effective in the New Apostolic Church for as long as it was necessary for the divine plan of salvation. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, which is revealed in the work of the apostles and guiding all truth, the entire people of God are informed today. “ (59)

The Chief Apostle is now the Chief Prophet

If there are concrete statements regarding the future of the New Apostolic Apostles and especially of the Chief Apostle of the NAK, they must be assessed against the background described above. They have a prophetic character because the Chief Apostle’s office has taken on the role of prophet. Especially with regard to the claim of infallibility of the office, such ‘prophetic’ statements take on a very special weight. Even more so when they are elevated to doctrinal status, as was the case with the so-called message of J.G. Bischoff.

What follows are some ‘prophetic’ statements from New Apostles and Chief Apostles and from dignitaries of the early apostolic communities.

Angel (Bishop) Edward Irving and the Prophets of the Catholic Apostolic Movement

Edward Irving was not a Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Church. However, he had a significant influence on the nascent Catholic Apostolic movement in the early 19th century. He was never an apostle in this movement, but his influence as a charismatic preacher and later as an angel (bishop) and his internal and external impact was so great that the Catholic Apostolic Church as the sect of the Irvingians and the New Apostolic congregations as the sect of the New -Irvingians were designated. For this reason, it is legitimate to include one’s prophecies in the judgment.

Calculation of a date for the return of Christ

Edward Irving calculated the second coming of Christ to be in 1864: “But the coming of the Lord, so often announced by prophecy and calculated by Irving himself to 1864, failed to materialize, as did the raising of the deceased ‘apostles’ before the Second Coming of the Lord. When this also did not take place in 1864, one hoped for July 14, 1877, on which day 3 ½ times or 42 years should have passed since the ‘separation of the apostles’. But the only thing that happened in 1877 was this, that on July 18 also the ‘first-called apostle’ Cardale died.” Translated with (free version) (60)

The ‘second twelve’ will not die

The prophets of the Catholic Apostolic Churches proclaimed that the newly called 12 apostles will not die until the Second Coming: “Especially damaging to their reputation and hindering their expansion was the gradual death of the twelve ‘apostles,’ of whom, after all, prophecy had proclaimed with all certainty that they would not die before the Lord came, but would be taken up alive to meet him in the air.” (61)

Edvard Irving will not die

The prophet Taplin, who was considered the pillar of the prophets, prophesied that Edward Irving would not die even though he was seriously ill. It turned out differently: “Irving himself was not to become ‘apostle.’ No prophetic voice arose for Irving, who had aged before his time through continual mental agitation and, though only a little over 40, had the appearance of an old man. The doctor advised him to go south for his rest. But the voice of the prophet Taplin commanded him to go north, to the land of his birth, where he would at the same time convert great multitudes. Willingly Irving followed the prophet’s voice, but only got as far as Glasgow. He grew weaker daily, and despite the prophecy that he would not die, he died on December 8, 1834, leaving a widow and three children. He was buried in the vault of the old cathedral church in Glasgow.” Translated with (free version) (62)

Apostle Schwarz

Apostle Schwarz, who did not yet know the chief apostle ministry, but who was considered an authority among the apostles of his time and is therefore named in the list of ‘leaders’ of the New Apostolic Church (63), was not supposed to die before Christ returned:

Jesus comes during the lifetime of Apostle Schwarz

“It is known from the New Apostolic Congregation that there were prophecies that Jesus would come while the Apostle Schwarz was still alive, after which the same hope was associated with the life of the Apostle Krebs.” (64)

“Apostle Schwarz at that time also had the – supposedly divine – promise that he would yet live to see the day of the Lord. In the ‘Book for Our Time’, written in 1872, it says with reference to Apostle Schwarz that he was sent to Amsterdam in 1863 by prophetic command of the Lord. Shortly before and at the time of his sending from the congregation in Hamburg, strange prophecies and visions took place through and among many persons, including that he would not have completed his career until the future of the Lord had taken place’. Furthermore, it is written in this book: ‘And if the promise given to the apostle F. W. Schwarz, that he should experience the day of the appearing of Christ, is true from God, then, in view of his age, the appearing of the Lord can be expected within 10 to 25 years at the most and thus still in this century.” (65)

Chief Apostle Herrmann Niehaus
Germany will be victorious in the First World War

Chief Apostle Niehaus prophesied Germany’s victory over England in World War I: “World War I became the starting point of novel developments for the New Apostolic community in various ways. At the outbreak of the war, Niehaus fully joined in the national enthusiasm for war. Loyalty to God and loyalty to the Kaiser” was the old and the new slogan. Stories and dreams left no doubt about Germany’s victory. Niehaus prophesied the downfall of England and was convinced that war-deciding impulses emanated from the apostles’ meetings.” (66)

“Oh woe to the enemies of Germany, now the ark of the Lord (Apostle Bischoff, author’s note) had come to the German army camp, but now the fate of the enemy was sealed.“ (67)

Germany lost after all

From November 11, 1918, the guns fell silent and the First World War was lost for Germany! As a result of the false prophecy of Chief Apostle Niehaus, many believers left the New Apostolic congregations disappointed. In addition, there were tensions among the ministers regarding the power of the apostles and the chief apostle. The evangelist and editor of the ‘New Apostolic Review’ KW Mütschele wrote to the Apostle Brückner: “If we had had divine, prophetic, pure testimonies, that is, the New Testament prophetic office, we would not have embarrassed ourselves so shamefully with all our war drivel.“ (68)

Chief Apostle Bischoff
"We look forward to the final victory"

Even this Chief Apostle, as a supporter of National Socialism (69), could not resist prophesying Germany’s victory in World War II. In 1941 he announced in the magazine ‘Our Family’: “As surely and certainly as we have hitherto trusted in the Fuehrer’s genius and skill as a general, we look forward with equal faith to the coming events, to the great final victory. We are aware that there are still many sacrifices to be made but we also know that all of this will not be in vain and that the great final victory will bring compensation “ (70)

“The Lord is coming in my lifetime”

As mentioned above, Chief Apostle Bischoff allegedly received the revelation from the Lord that he no longer had to die. The Lord would come in his lifetime: “The Lord comes in my lifetime to take his own.” (71)

“The ‘Guardian Voice’ wrote on April 15, 1955, that the Chief Apostle had not received this revelation through a dream, but during an encounter with the Son of God Himself. The Son stood face to face with the Chief Apostle, just as he stood face to face with Saul at that time.'” (72)

The Lord did not come in his lifetime

Chief Apostle JG Bischoff died on July 6, 1960, without the prophecy, which he had directly from the Lord, being fulfilled.

These events from the 1950s, known as the ‘message‘, led to great tensions and discord within the New Apostolic Church, which continue to have their effects to the present day. So many community members left the New Apostolic Church with their excommunicated apostles. To this day, the leadership of the New Apostolic Church has not been able to bring itself to consider an error by Bishop, even though there are some curiosities surrounding the message and the error is obvious.

The curiosities include B. the increasing ‘certainty of the message’. Because at first for JG Bischoff, as for many others, there was only an imminent expectation of Christ’s return; only later did this imminent expectation become more and more a certainty that he would no longer have to die until finally a direct revelation of Christ and the message should have taken place thus became the dogma of faith for all New Apostolics. (73) Another curiosity is the fact that the Lord is said to have shown no successor to Chief Apostle JG Bischoff, although he ordained District Apostle Kuhlen to the Chief Apostle’s office in 1948 (see above).

Chief Apostle Fehr

After the so-called message from JG Bischoff, the New Apostolic Church became more cautious. There was no longer any mention of a date or a finite period of time. Nevertheless, Chief Apostle Richard Fehr fueled speculation about the return of Christ during his term of office by taking office in May 1988 under the motto: “Maranatha, our Lord is coming!”

In closed hands, the hope was expressed that Richard Fehr, as the 7th Chief Apostle, would lead the people of God to perfection. After all, seven is the number of perfection, and some siblings are said to have had corresponding visions and dreams. But now Richard Fehr’s term of office is already a thing of the past. He retired on May 15, 2005.

New Apostolic Chief Apostles are false prophets

The teaching and the practice of faith of the New Apostolic Church as it is presented today is essentially based on the Chief Apostles and Apostles, Schwarz, Krebs, Niehaus, and Bischoff. These men left a lasting mark on the New Apostolic Church. It is a drama that these men turned out to be false prophets by making predictions for the future that are proven not to have come true. God tells us how to expose false prophets: “If the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and that word does not happen and does not come to pass, it is a word that the Lord did not speak; the prophet spoke out of presumption, you shouldn’t be afraid of him!“ – 5th Mos. 18, 22

Other characteristics of false prophets

There are other tests that show us whether the supposed prophet’s message is of divine origin or not. Does the prophet point to himself or to God (see Rev. 19:10)? One must also be careful when the ‘prophet’ puts visions and/or dreams in the foreground: “I have heard what the prophets say, who prophesy lies in my name and say:“ I’ve had a dream, I’ve had a dream! «How long is that supposed to go on? Should false prophecy remain in the hearts of the prophets? And the prophets, who prophesy self-invented deceit, don’t they have in mind to make my people forget my name through the dreams they tell one another, just as their fathers forgot my name about Baal? The prophet who has a dream, tell the dream; but whoever has my word, proclaim my word in truth! What does straw have in common with wheat? Says the Lord.” Jer. 23, 25-28

Do the Scriptures confirm the statements?

Another important test for prophecy and the prophet is whether the prophecy is confirmed in the scriptures and whether it is not in conflict with it: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Gal. 1, 8-10

The fruits of the prophets

Not least by their fruits, we will be able to distinguish real from false prophets: “But beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves! By their fruits you will know them.” – Matt. 7, 15-16

If we apply these biblical standards to the ‘prophets’, apostles and offices of the Catholic Apostolic Movement, to the apostles and chief apostles of the New Apostolic congregations and the chief apostles of the New Apostolic Church, we must establish that they are false prophets!

Don’t Rely on People

There are still a few points to consider with regard to the New Apostolic Chief Apostle ministry. For example, the high salaries that the Chief Apostle and the Apostles approve of themselves. There is the question of whether a Chief Apostle ‘called by God’ can retire at the age of 65 or 70. It is also questionable why every Chief Apostle was previously white and German-speaking, although the majority of the New Apostolics are now at home in Africa and Asia. We would now like to turn our attention to something else.

There is only one mediator

Those who rely on people for salvation are not well-advised. It is convenient to have someone telling you how and what to believe. But we run the risk of disregarding the essentials. No one can justify himself to God one day and say: “I didn’t know that, I wasn’t told.” Each of us has a responsibility, no one can transfer this responsibility to others. No Chief Apostle, no organization, no sacramental act can give you salvation and thus assurance of faith. There is only one mediator, and that mediator is called Jesus Christ: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – Tim. 2, 5

It is this one mediator who created the connection for us with the Father through his vicarious death on the cross. Every other supposed mediator is in reality not a mediator, but a damper of this biblical truth and blocks the signposts away from Jesus and towards other paths that do not lead to the goal.

Jesus Knocks

Jesus knocks on the door of your heart, have you opened the door to him yet?

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Rev 3, 20 „Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, nobody comes to the Father but through HIM. Jesus said to him,“ – Joh. 14, 6 “But to all who welcomed him he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name;” – John 1, 12

The True Vine

Come to the true source of eternal life, the real vine. Then you are directly connected to your rescuer: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – Joh. 15, 5

I wish you that with all my heart!

© Lutz Jusko

New Apostolics are also called Irvingians after Edward Irving!
Apostle Schwarz: Jesus comes supposedly during his lifetime
Chief Apostle Niehaus prophesied Germany’s victory over England in World War
Even this Chief Apostle, as a supporter of National Socialism!
In closed hands, the hope was expressed that Richard Fehr, as the 7th Chief Apostle, would lead the people of God to perfection.



55) Luise Kraft, Unter Aposteln und Propheten, Marburg, 1930, Nachwort, S. 96

56) K.W. Mütschele, Brief an Apostel Carl Brückner, 3. November 1919, zitiert nach: Obst a. a. O., S. 141

57) ebenda

58) Apostelkollegium der Neuapostolischen Kirche, Fragen und Antworten über den Neuapostolischen Glauben – Frage 175, Verlag Friedrich Bischoff, Frankfurt a.M., 1938

59) Neuapostolische Kirche Internationaler Apostelbund, Fragen und Antworten über den neuapostolischen Glauben – Frage 225, Frankfurt a.M., Verlag Friedrich Bischoff GmbH, 1981, S. 81

60) Dr. Max Heimbucher, Methodisten, Adventisten und Neu-Apostolische Gemeinde (Neu-Irvingianer), Verlagsanstalt vorm. G. J. Manz Regensburg, 1916, S. 100

61) Heimbucher, a. a. O. S. 100

62) Heimbucher, a. a. O. S. 96

63) Neuapostolische Kirche International, a. a. O., Frage 170, S. 79

64) Obst a. a. O., S. 104

65) Schwarz, Das Buch für unsere Zeit, 1872; zitiert nach: Brief der Apostel, Bischöfe und Bezirksältesten des Apostelbezirks Düsseldorf an den Stammapostel J. G. Bischoff, Düsseldorf, 6. Januar 1955, S.3

66) Obst, a. a. O. S. 9967) Witlof, Durch die Nacht zum Licht. Geschichtlicher Beitrag zur reformatorischen Bewegung innerhalb der Apostolischen Gemeinden, Dresden, 1921, S91; zitiert nach: Obst, a. a. O. S. 99

68) K.W. Mütschele, Brief an Apostel Carl Brückner, 3. November 1919, zitiert nach: Obst, a. a. O. S. 141

69) Michael König u. Jürgen Marschall, Die Neuapostolische Kirche in der N.S.-Zeit und die Auswirkungen bis zur Gegenwart, Feldafing, 1994)

70) Zeitschrift ,Unsere Familie‘, Artikel ganzer Einsatz!, 05.05.1941, zitiert nach: König u. Marschall, a. a. O., S. 23

71) J.G. Bischoff, Gottesdienst, Gießen 1951; zitiert nach: Kurt Hutten, Ein Brief an die Neuapostolischen – Die “Stunde X” ist gekommen…, Quell-Verlag der Evangelischen Gesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1960, S. 1

72) Wächterstimme, 15.4. 1955; zitiert nach: Obst, a. a. O. S. 11173) Erwin Meier-Widmer, Analytische Expertise über die ,Botschaft des Stammapostels J.G. Bischoff‘ unter Berücksichtigung Aetiologischer Aspekte, insbesondere medizinischer, Schaffhausen, 30.03.1998

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