Peter leads the newcomers through heaven. He shows them all the rooms there are. As the group approaches a door, Peter tells everyone to be very quiet now. When asked why, he answers: "This is where the New Apostolic live. They should continue to believe they are here alone."
With this joke, Apostle Jörg Steinbrenner started his lecture on the topic of ecumenism at the International Youth Convention - and moved him right at the beginning to say: "This does not correspond to our teachings!" God wants to help all people. This certainty expresses our New Apostolic faith, especially in its doctrine of the departed, the Millennial Kingdom of Peace, and salvation in the New Creation. Participation in the First Resurrection is thus not an exclusive, but only an anticipated salvation.
Our church understanding
The (invisible) Church of Christ is greater than the New Apostolic Church, according to the Apostle, representing the community of all the souls baptized in the name of the triune God, who profess and follow Him. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Church and the Holy Spirit works in it. Through baptism, all Christians are united in this Church.Nonetheless, the NAC has its own self-image: in the Church, Apostles gather the "bridal congregation" and prepare them for the coming of the Lord. Childhood in God is understood by New Apostolic Christians as a theological concept in the sense of firstling, without denying other christians divine afiliation.
The view of fellow Christians as part of the Body of Christ and the commandment of Jesus to seek and promote the unity of Christians lead to participation in ecumenism. The Apostle vividly explained the aims of the ecumenismon the basis of concrete examples:
- Break down mutual reservations and prejudices and approach each other. Apostle Steinbrenner reported on the design of a joint devotional chapel in Hamburg: Almost all participants agreed that a cross belongs to the church. But for the Calvinists that would already be a church decoration that is not allowed. Finally, the solution was to attach a smaller cross.
- Advocate for peace and justice. For example, we can use our musical groups for charity events.
- Share testimony to Jesus Christ together. This is gaining in importance as in some regions 95 percent of under-30s in Germany are now non-religious. Apostle Steinbrenner mentioned the example of a congregation that participated in a petition against the removal of the divine reference from the state constitution. The churches could also speak out in the abolition of Christian holidays.
12. June 2019
Text: Tobias Teuber
Images: Andreas Fürst
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