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The New Apostolic Church is characterized by the Apostle Ministry. Are the apostles of the New Apostolic Church apostles of Jesus Christ?

New Apostolic Church Criticism
The Apostle Ministry


The New Apostolic Church is characterized by the Apostle ministry, what is it all about, are the apostles of the New Apostolic Church apostles of Jesus Christ, as they claim of themselves? In this article, we want to investigate the question of whether the Apostle ministry of the New Apostolic Church can be justified biblically and we provide information about facts that are of particular importance with regard to the New Apostolic Apostles.

Apostles - Witnesses of the Resurrection!

Jesus says: “You shall now be my witnesses to the end of the earth!”Are the Apostles of the New Apostolic Church witnesses to Jesus Christ?

Anyone who has ever attended a court hearing will not have failed to notice when the presiding judge calls one or more witnesses into the courtroom who can have a decisive influence on the outcome of the hearing.After telling the called witness to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and that untrue statements will result in punishment, he asks him the question: Witness, what did you see, what can you report?So only the witness can be somebody who has seen something.

Only those who are eyewitnesses of a particular event can report.If you haven't seen anything, you can't report anything, so you can't be a witness.The case is clear.Witnesses can only be those who have seen something.Only seeing and experiencing an event makes someone a witness.Now Jesus says to his apostles in Luke 1: "You are now to be my witnesses, starting from Jerusalem, Samaria and to the end of the earth."  

Historical apostles are real Witnesses

After what we have said above, the apostles living at that time could indeed be real witnesses.They could because they saw the life of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, and even his ascension with their own eyes!According to Jesus' own words, this eyewitness testimony was to reach Jerusalem, then Samaria, and finally to the end of the earth.What is Jesus talking about here?Clearly about the testimony of his work on this earth.Who could testify to this ministry of Jesus?Definitely, only those who have seen the work of Jesus with their own eyes.The Apostle John later wrote to the churches in Asia Minor: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.“ – 1 John 1:1-3

So Jesus was concerned with the testimony of his work on earth by people who could testify to this work because they had seen it themselves with their own eyes.This happened through Jesus' apostles first in Jerusalem, then in Samaria through their oral testimony, and later through their written testimony, which finally spread to the end of the earth.The eyewitnesses wrote down what they had experienced with Jesus, what they had seen and heard for themselves.They knew that after their death there would be no more eyewitnesses who could claim to be true witnesses of the events of salvation.So they felt compelled to write down their testimony so that it could be shared forever.As church history shows, their testimony of the ministry of Jesus was actually spread to the end of the earth.Jesus' words literally came true.

Eye witnesses plays a crucial role

The eyewitness testimony of the New Testament apostles thus plays a crucial role.It is often claimed that there were other apostles besides the first twelve.That is correct, for example, the apostle Paul or Barnabas.Now it is said that these other apostles need not necessarily have seen the Lord.The New Testament would not prove that all apostles were eyewitnesses to Jesus.This is wrong!Perhaps the Lord had Paul write down the following sentence in view of such false claims.“Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” – 1 Cor. 15:6-8

Further Bible passages, which further support the eye-witness as a characteristic for a genuine apostle of Jesus Christ, will now follow.For his own identification as the apostle Paul, Paul especially points out that he had seen the Lord:“Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?“ – 1 Cor. 9:1 “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” – 1 Cor. 15:8 “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.“ – Acts 1:21-22

When it came to filling the gap that Judas had left in the circle of the twelve disciples, the others discussed who would now be eligible.It had to be someone who knew the Lord personally and was a witness to his resurrection.Incidentally, the decision was made here by lot and not by election or by the instruction of a person, as is the case in the New Apostolic Church, contrary to biblical practice.According to the statutes of the 'New Apostolic Church International', the so-called Chief Apostle is elected or appointed by his predecessor!The Apostles are appointed to their office by the Chief Apostle!

Were True Apostles Only Jews?

There is one other point that is easily overlooked.All of the New Testament apostles were of Jewish descent!This is a historical fact, but not yet proof that only Jews or those belonging to the people of Israel can be apostles.But the apostle Paul uses precisely this fact to legitimize himself as an apostle.The false apostles who existed in the early history of Christian communities also used this argument to justify themselves as true apostles.Why, if it didn't matter?We can read about this in the Scriptures in the following text:"Are they Hebrews (the false apostles)? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I." – 2nd Cor. 11:22 

In Corinth there were false apostles who, in order to legitimize themselves as apostles, specifically pointed out that they were Jews or Israelites.From this, it is clear that Jewish descent was a special characteristic of an apostle at that time.Paul defends himself here and also cites this characteristic for himself.In this context, however, we must also pay attention to the verse in Rom.2:29.However, this is about circumcision and externals, which are not enough to make a person a Jew.Rather, the inner attitude and the essence must be right.

The apostles of the New Testament

A compilation of the following Bible texts: ”And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. – Mt. 10:1-4

– Simon Peter
– Andrew
– James
– John
– Philip
– Bartholomew/Nathanael
– Thomas
– Matthew/Levi
– James
– Jude/Thaddeus
– Simon the Zealot
– Judas Iscariot

Additional apostles

The Holy Scriptures tell us about other apostles who do not belong to the circle of the first twelve. For example of Matthias (Acts 1:26f), of Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and of Paul. Of course Paul also saw the Lord (Rom. 1. 1f)! James, the brother of the Lord, is also called an apostle (Gal. 1:19).

With Andronicus and Junias the matter is unfortunately not as clear as with the others. The wording of the Bible text can be read differently. In the letter to the Romans Andronicus and Junias are mentioned (Rom. 16:7). In the case of Junias, one is not sure whether it is a female or a male name.

The Greek text does not allow us to decide whether the name is Junias (male) or Junia (female). In the ancient church and as late as the 13th century, it was understood to be a woman's name (cf. the couple Aquila and Priska in verse 3). Because of the different readings, depending on the translation, there are different opinions concerning the status of Junias and Andronicus in Rom. 16:7. There are two possibilities. First, they are very respected among the apostles, but not apostles themselves. Second, they are distinguished as apostles and popular among the apostles. Compare the individual Bible translations: Revised Elberfelder 1985, Schlachter 1951, Luther 1984, Elberfelder 1905, Interlinear translation.

The twelve apostles of the Lamb

„And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.“ – Rev. 21:14 

Some are of the opinion that the Lord Himself here limited the number of apostles to twelve. We cannot agree with this, because the Bible itself names other apostles (Paul, Barnabas, etc.). But if the first twelve apostles are meant here, more precisely the apostles of Jesus Christ (Mt.10.2-3), they have a special meaning, because they are called apostles of the Lamb here. So there is a distinction to other apostles! What then is the position of the other apostles among the apostles, if special reference is made here to the twelve apostles of the Lamb? The New Apostolic Church has far more than three hundred apostles! How many foundation stones would the heavenly Jerusalem have if the apostles of the New Apostolic Church were true apostles of Jesus Christ? A foundation stone can only live once, at the beginning of the construction of a building. If we stick to this image, it means that in the New Apostolic Church new foundation stones are always being added.

Already the churches in the first century are partly satisfied with false apostles:
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