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Criticism The New Apostolic Church is characterized by the Apostle Ministry. Are the apostles of the New Apostolic Church false Apostles?

New Apostolic Church Criticism
The Apostle Ministry

Churches Are Satisfied with False Apostle

The Bible tells us about people who are involved with false apostles in the churches. The following is noticeable: they do not notice the error and live excellently with these false apostles. We also encounter both of these things again and again in our conversations with New Apostolic people. They are content with their apostles and do not want anything to change. Let us take a look at what the Holy Scripture says about this:“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.” – 2. Cor. 11:4-5 “For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.” – 2. Cor. 11:20

The apostle Paul took a position here on the false apostles who were up to mischief in Corinth.

False apostles also in Ephesus and Corinth

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” – 2. Cor. 11:13 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” – Rev. 2:2

It seems to be that everywhere where true apostles are and were, that there are also false apostles! But does this allow without further ado the reverse conclusion that wherever there are false apostles, there are also found true apostles?

Some members of the New Apostolic Church admit that a few of their apostles could possibly be false apostles. This is how they try to explain how extreme injustices or inhumanities and misconduct can occur. Doctrines that are not in accordance with New Apostolic doctrine, but are proclaimed by apostles of the New Apostolic Church, also allegedly point to such false apostles. However, such apostles usually do not remain in office for very long. Especially in the past, when apostles were prematurely retired or even excommunicated for reasons mentioned above, such apostles were called false apostles!

But does this mean that there are also true, genuine apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Apostolic Church? We think we have already shown above that the apostles of the New Apostolic Church cannot be apostles of Jesus Christ. However, in order to be able to judge this even more clearly, we can apply another standard. We can place their teaching in the light of Holy Scripture and examine whether they teach what is to be taught from a biblical point of view! Or does the teaching of the New Apostolic Apostleship even contradict biblical teaching? Please read the other texts on this website.    

The Livelihood of the Apostles

We would like to mention this point only briefly and not go into it more intensively, because we are not primarily concerned with human misconduct, which can occur anywhere where people are active. We are more concerned with the spiritual teachings and influences. But we can read and recognize some things from the fruits. It is not the natural fruits - to stay with this image - that are the proof of the falseness of the teaching. But false teaching does not produce good fruit. Rotten fruits are rather a symptom. They are not the cause!

Please judge for yourself on the basis of the Holy Scriptures and compare the apostles of the New Apostolic Church with those of the New Testament. It is no secret that the so-called Chief Apostle receives several hundred thousand EUR per year as salary and the Apostles also earn several ten thousand EUR per year. Meanwhile, many thousands of members of the New Apostolic Church clean the church buildings free of charge, provide flower arrangements, and do the gardening on the church properties. Not to mention the many evenings and weekends during which the same members work voluntarily as lay preachers and deacons, sacrificing themselves physically and in terms of time for their community.

What the Scriptures say

“Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.” – 2. Cor 11:7-9

“And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.” – Phil. 4:15

“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.” – Phil. 4:17

Paul preached the gospel to the Corinthians free of charge and was not a burden to anyone there. He received his means of subsistence from the brethren of Macedonia. We further learn that Paul earned his living at least temporarily from his work as a tentmaker: “and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.” – Acts 18:3

Let Jesus send out his twelve apostles and command them: “Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.” – Matt. 10:9-10

Are There Still Apostles Today?

After everything we have explained so far, the impression might have been created that there are no "messengers of God" today. Because this is what the Greek word "apostle" means messenger. This impression would be wrong. We know very well that the Bible speaks of other apostles who were not among the first twelve apostles. God has at all times called messengers to an apostolic ministry for the guidance and edification of His church.

When we stated on this page that there are no more "apostles of Jesus Christ" today, our assertion refers solely to this unique apostleship. For this office was linked to indispensable prerequisites, such as the eyewitnesseship of the resurrection of Jesus, and consequently expired with the death of the eyewitnesses. In the following, the different groups of apostles, as they are shown to us in the Holy Scriptures, are listed.

The different apostles
  • 1. The apostle of the Father (Hebrews 3:1): This is the Lord Jesus. The Father always has only One (one shepherd, high priest, way...).
  • 2. Apostles of Jesus Christ: these are the twelve. They are the foundation for the church (Eph 2:20). Paul as an apostle did not belong to the first twelve apostles, the apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:23), but he was still an apostle of Jesus Christ because he fulfilled the requirements for this apostleship, as we have seen from the Scriptures.
  • 3. Apostles of the Holy Spirit: These are sent out by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4). One of these apostles was Barnabas (Acts 14:4), another one Silvanus (1. Thes. 2:6).
  • 4. Apostle of the church: (2. Cor. 8:23, Phil. 2:25).
  • 5. False apostles: those who say they are apostles and are not (Rev 2:2; 2 Cor 11:13).
Apostle of Jesus Christ

This page was about the apostles of Jesus Christ (group 2). The New Apostolic Church claims that its "apostles" belong exclusively to this special group. Yes, that God has re-established the "apostleship of Jesus Christ" in their midst in order to complete the supposedly not yet finished "redemptive work of Jesus Christ". Nowhere can the New Apostolic Church base this on God's Word, because according to the testimony of Holy Scripture, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ was completed through Jesus' atoning death on the cross. His resurrection and ascension and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost are God's confirmation of this completed work of redemption. The main task of the apostles of Jesus Christ was now to testify to this completed work of salvation of Jesus, which they themselves saw with their eyes (1 John 1:1-4).

We must see that God used the apostles of Jesus Christ for this very special and unique mission. Their testimony of the completed redemptive work of Jesus had to be recorded in word and writing for all times according to the counsel of God (Col. 1, 25). This written word of God is and remains the basis and foundation of the testimony of the completed redemptive work of Jesus Christ for now and for all eternity (1 Cor. 3, 10; Eph. 2, 20). A foundation can only be laid at the beginning of a building. Who would want to lay the foundation again shortly before it was completed? After the ministry of the eyewitnesses was completed, God called further apostles who built on the foundation that had already been laid (see group 3 and 4).

Apostle of the Holy Spirit

These apostles, sent out by the Holy Spirit, had no other message than the first twelve. Nor did they think they had new revelations beyond the written word of the twelve apostles. Paul: "not to go beyond what is written." - 1 Cor. 4:6 (ESV). Nor did they think that they were sent to preach God's "timely word" because the word of the first twelve was no longer "timely." Such a presumptuous thought would not have even have occurred to them in their wildest imagination. No, the opposite is the case: they only passed on what they had heard and received from the twelve apostles (Hebrews 2:3), namely that one is saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul also had no other message. When the jailer in Philippi asked him what he should do to be saved, Paul answered: "Believe in the apostles? No! “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31). This message was the message of the Twelve, which they had received from Jesus Himself. It has not changed until today. The apostle John warns: “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.”; (2 John 9-10). God sent men at all times and to all continents, whom He commissioned with this joy-giving message of the Gospel, to lead people to saving faith in Jesus. He sent men to plant, lead and strengthen churches and to build them up into a spiritual temple in the Lord. 

Apostles of the church

If we remember that the Greek word "apostle" has the same literal meaning as the Latin word "missionary" - both terms mean "messenger" - we have no difficulty in assuming that even today there are among us men sent by God whom we could also call "apostles" in the sense of God's messenger. However, these usually call themselves by the Latin word "missionary" because they do not want to and cannot put themselves on the same level with the apostles of Jesus Christ, the eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Jesus.

Undoubtedly, throughout the history of the church, there have been and still are people sent by the Lord for special tasks and ministries and who work for the Lord. Just think of men like Martin Luther, Hudson Taylor, Watchman Nee, Karl Studd or C.H. Spurgeon, just to name a few. So, in this sense, there has never really been a time without apostles. Consequently, the calling of "new apostles" as well as a "New Apostolic Church" in this sense was superfluous and not possible at all in the sense of Apostles of Jesus Christ.

Ministry Understanding of the NAC Apostles

At the international District Apostles' Meeting in Canada (2013), the NAC Apostles dealt with their own understanding of ministry, according to, first and foremost of course Chief Apostle Schneider: "The District Apostles' Meeting dealt in detail with the New Apostolic Church's understanding of ministry. Chief Apostle Schneider commented: 'At present, we are also very intensively occupied in the circle of District Apostles with our understanding of ministry. We want to further develop the statements that have been published in the Catechism. This requires a thorough examination of all the questions surrounding the ministry. Only then can further assignments to the responsible working group on faith issues be derived from this.'"

It is somehow strange, supposedly there are real apostles of Jesus Christ on this earth again since about 1833 and in the year 2013 one sees oneself compelled to ponder about one's own understanding of ministry. Where is the Holy Spirit, which should fill them, the NAC apostles, and give them clear information about who and what they actually are. O.k. it is already a progress, if the apostles of the NAC, who unlike the real apostles of the New Testament, are neither of Jewish descent, nor have seen the Lord himself, let alone were appointed by him personally, finally think a little about their mission.

Small hint: "Dear New Age Apostles, think about whether there can still be Apostles of JESUS Christ today, and whether they are necessary?" Didn't the real apostles of Jesus Christ leave us everything we need to know in the Holy Scriptures? Or do the NAC apostles still want to explain to us that the "contemporary Word of God", proclaimed by the NAK apostles, declassifies the Bible as yesterday's book? Yes, this is still to be found today in the new catechism of the NAK.

Was Everything Better in the Past or Not?

The NAC apostles of the past apparently had fewer problems with their self-understanding: "The messengers commissioned by Christ to lead the work of redemption on earth, the chief apostle and the apostles, have received for their task the ministerial endowment that comes from the Holy Spirit. With these gifts they are enabled to understand God's intentions, to communicate them to the faithful, and to lead those who follow them to the goal of faith in accordance with the divine will." (New Apostolic Church International, Questions and Answers about the New Apostolic Faith - Question 5, Zurich, 1990, p. 11.)

"Just imagine if the Lord had not given His children a chief apostle and an apostle! Then there would not be a single child of God on the whole earth. No one could know the will of God. No one could be forgiven of sins." (Primary source: Our Children, August 1990, Secondary source: Sylvia Kranefeld: Sekten - Aufklärung statt Therapie, The World of Books, 1994, p. 8)


The New Apostolic Church has a completely wrong and unbiblical view, not only about the redemptive work of Jesus Christ Himself, but also in particular about the apostleship. We must reject this errant view as false doctrine on the basis of the Scriptures. The "apostles" of the New Apostolic Church therefore belong to the apostles of group 5, the false apostles, of whom God's Word says that they say they are apostles and are not (Rev. 2:2; and 2 Cor. 11:13). 

© Anselm Schönfeld, Lutz Jusko

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