Mein Manue uf the Website – Link to Sitemap
New Apostolic Church - Sealing & Holy Spirit! What is the New Apostolic sacrament of sealing all about? We clarify!

New Apostolic Church Criticism
The Sacrament of Sealing & The Holy Spirit 


The New Apostolic Church implemented the sacrament of sealing as a core principle of their doctrine, during sealing the Holy Spirit is supposed to be "gifted" to the believer. What are the New Apostolic Church's further teachings and methods regarding sealing and receiving the Holy Spirit? At the end of this article you will find an interview with a real-life apostle of the Lord about this. 

According to the doctrine of the New Apostolic Church, people can only receive the Holy Spirit (sealing) by a living apostle laying on his hands and praying. This reception is put on a level with the sealing. 

From the book Fragen und Antworten (Questions and Answers): Q: "Which tasks do the apostles perform?"
A: "They seal with the Holy Spirit" Q 180 1a): "How did the first Christians receive the Holy Spirit?" A: "By prayer and laying on hands through the apostles, the first Christians were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Centurion Cornelius and his kin received the Holy Spirit without laying on hands, but in the presence of apostle Peter. God made this exception to show the apostle that also gentiles can partake in the Holy Spirit." Q 219 1b): "Who is gifting the Holy Spirit nowadays?"
A: "Just like in the ancient church, also in the New Apostolic Church Jesus' apostles are active spending the Holy Spirit." 1b)

The Holy Spirit is received in three ways

Holy Scripture gives evidence that man can receive the Holy Spirit in at least three ways:

– Firstly, by laying on hands through an apostle
– Secondly, by laying on hands and prayer of a common disciple
– Thirdly, by the Spirit falling upon believers

In any case though, it is God is who is gifting the Holy Spirit.


In the ancient churches, the apostles could in fact enable believers to receive the Holy Spirit by laying on their hands and praying: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (Acts 19:6). Another verse: Acts 8:18.

A common disciple

However, this does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that only apostles may gift the Holy Spirit because even a common disciple laid his hands on Saulus and prayed over him. Upon this action, Saulus received the Holy Spirit and regained his eyesight. We are talking about disciple Ananias. There is no evicence in the Bible that he was an apostle. Here, the Lord made use of a common disciple: "And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord." – Acts 9:10

"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." – Acts 9:17 f

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the Word

The third possibility to receive the Holy Spirit is described in Acts 10:44: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Verse 18 of Acts 8 "For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" shows that laying on hands by an apostle was not at all the own customary way of receiving the Holy Spirit. If this had been the case, as claimed by the New Apostolic Church (Questions and Answers, Q 2191b), the author of Acts would certainly not have pointed out that the Spirit had not yet fallen upon those who accepted the Word. Instead, he would not even have mentioned that because it was not intended anyway.

Bottom line

We learned that the Lord did not only gift the Holy Spirit to believing souls by apostles. He does not limit Himself to a one and only method, but works in various ways to pursue His goal of equipping believers with the Spirit. Further, a channeling of gifting the Spirit by apostles only would run contrary to the free dissemination ot the Holy Spirit as part of God's trinity. Christ himself said: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." –John3:8. I am not aware of any Bible verse claiming that the Holy Spirit was (supposed to be) gifted by apostles only. Even the first apostles did not claim that for themselves. Otherwise, Petrus would certainly not have recognized the events in Cornelius's house as devine.

God seals 

In the New Apostolic church, sealing is put on a level with gifting the Holy Spirit. They do not tell apart gifting the Spirit and consequential sealing by God. Only the Lord God can seal, not man: "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." – 2 Cor 1:21 f. "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." 2 Cor 5:5. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." 1Thes 4:8. Hence, God gifts the Holy Spirit and seals in multiple ways, He is not limited to one method alone.

When does man receive the Holy Spirit?

In the New Apostolic Church, man is supposed to receive the Holy Spirit as a newborn baby. This applies to children being born into the community, i.e. to parents who are already New Apostolic. Hence persons who cannot believe yet, who never heard the Word, and are not yet capable of comprehending the gospel to an extent that they could turn to Christ. Also adults converting to the New Apostolic Church are requested to recognize the doctrine of that church as the 'pure teaching of Jesus', and the present apostles as the representatives of Christ on earth, and thereupon receive the Holy Spirit by being laid hands on and be sealed.

What does the Bible say:

"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" – Gal 3:2

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" – Eph 1:13

Further Bible verses: Gal 3:5, Gal 3:14

For the receiption of the Holy Spirit, belief is crucial. This is clearly stated in the a/m Bible verses, and in many more. The word of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its salvaging effect must have been heard by man to begin with. Only once he starts to believe so, he is granted salvation. He receives the Spirit of God, and is being sealed by God. Just like with the forgiveness of sins, believing is what matters, the belief in our Lord Jesus Christ and not in the apostles.

A second Pentecost? –Two effusions of the Spirit?

In the first half of the 19th century, the Holy Spirit was supposedly effused in Scotland in England once again, just like at Pentecost. The New Apostolic Church is hereby, among others, referring to the Old Testament metaphor of the latter rain (e.g. in "Göttliche Verheißungen und ihre Erfüllungen“ - "Divine promises and their fulfillment" 2).

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." – Hos 6:3

"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." – Joel 2:23

Joel 2:23 within Biblical context

Verse 23 of Joel 2 can only refer to a time before Pentecost because Joel 3:1 says: "(...) in those days, and in that time, when I shall (...)". Hence, Joel 3:1 is announcing the effusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter refers to this prophecy of the old covenant: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" – Acts2:17

The wording is almost identical to that of Joel3:1: "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem".

Therefore it is obvious that the latter rain mentioned in Joel 2:23 cannot refer to a "second" effusion of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost. Instead, it is announcing the regeneration of fertile farmlands. The commentary 3a) to the Bible displays this as follows: "In Israel, the fertility of farmlands is depending on the rainfall during winter. The former rain fell in October and November during sowing, and the even more precious latter rain in March and April when the seeds began to swell up right before the scorching summer heat."

There is no connection between Hos 6:3 and the effusion of the Holy Spirit. In its chapters the impossibility of true remorse and God's forbearance is dealt with (cf. 3b).

Clear Announcements

If the Lord announces the effusion of the Holy Spirit clearly like he does in Joel 3:1, Isa 44:3 or Ezek 39:29, why would he just use a metaphor to announce such a fundamentally important event like a second effusion? For important events, God always used corresponding words at least. E.g. for the Messiah's birth it was the comparably small detail of the birth place (Mic5:1), or that He will be offered gifts by the wise men (Psalm 72:10). No metaphors had been used for these, but they had been announced literally. Many details about the suffering of Christ, the crucification, the resurrection, the ascension had been announced by unmistakable prophecies of the Lord. A second effusion of the Holy Spirit, resulting in the anewed selection of real apostles "for the restoration of His work of redemption" which is so important to New Apostolic believers .... an event of that scope, of all the events, was supposed to be announced by God by a mere / simple metaphor?

Effects of the Spirit in the 19th century 

In the second half of the 19th century, undoubtedly there have been effects of the Holy Spirit during the revivalist movement where many people turned to JESUS CHRIST. Consequently, many gatherings took place, and a lot of congregations were founded during that time. Contemporary witnesses report prophecies, healings and speaking in tongues in their records. These effects were supposed to have already existed in the 17th / 18th century among the persecuted Huguenots 4a). Many of them were honest people searching for God's will, longing for the Holy Spirit and asking for it. Partially, they even received it - by effusion just like the believers in Cornelius' house. 

Prophecies and healings are said to have taken place also within the Catholic-Apostolic movement, the formation of which - just as the Mormon's, the Seventh Day Aventists' and the so-called Christian Science's - brought a lot of formalities upon believers back then. Comparably: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. -And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. - And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." – Acts  2:2f.

Two contemporary witnesses of the events in England and Scotland
John Bate Cardale, later an apostle of the Catholic-Apostolic movement

"In 1830, the Albury circle dealt with the Scottish events. A member, London-based lawyer John Bate Cardale, published a very positive report about his experiences in the circle's quarterly magazine »The Morning Watch« that had existed since 1829. »You can tell that these people are under supranatural guidance, be it that they make unfamiliar sounds or that they talk Spirit-filled in their own language. Generally speaking, their manners and ways of speaking are very different from their normal manners. It seems as if their organs were used by a supranatural power, and they themselves claim that this is the Holy Spirit.« In doing so, they are »completely free of any fanaticism or enthusiasm«, do not promote fanatic theology and »are far from being separatists«. Even Cardale's young wife, by nature reluctant to anything enthusiastic, »very solemnly spoke three sentences in an unknown language, and then added three English sentences as a translation«" 5).

John Nelson Darby, founder of the Brethren movement

"Full of expectation, Darby traveled to Scotland. In Row he met a circle living amidst the enthusiasm of revival. Members of the circle told him about spiritual healings; they spoke in different tongues and claimed to have received multiple gifts by the Spirit. However, the events in Scotland did not comply with Darby's notion of the presence of the Holy Spirit. He explicitly turned his back on these circles which then substantially contributed to the formation of the Catholic-Apostolic churches (cf. page 244ff.). He could not make head or tail of the enthusiastic phenomena. »At Pentecost«, so he once wrote, »the languages were understood by all, but the Irvingians' tongues by none.« 4b)

© Lutz Jusko

Translation by Kirstin Hinterleuthner

1) Fragen & Antworten über den neuapostolischen Glauben, Neuapostolische Kirche International, Zürich, 1992, (former catechism of NAC)
1a) ibidem page 84
1b) ibidem page 102
2) Göttliche Verheißungen und ihre Erfüllungen, Neuapostolische Kirche- Internationaler Apostelbund, Zürich, 1982, page 17
3) Kommentar zur Bibel, Donald Guthrie, J. Alec Motyer, 1998, 3a) page 890; 3b) page 874
4) neben den Kirchen, Rüdiger Hauth (editor), 1995, 4a) page 245; 4b) page 37
5) Seher Grübler Enthusiasten, Kurt Hutten, 1997, page 2

New Apostolic Church - Sealing & Holy Spirit! What is the New Apostolic sacrament of sealing all about? We clarify!
New Apostolic Church - Sealing & Holy Spirit! What is the New Apostolic sacrament of sealing all about? We clarify!
Folge uns auf Twitter
Folge uns auf Instagram
Folge uns auf Youtube

Copyright  2021 Projekt B