By linking salvation to works, the New Apostolic Church breaks from orthodox, biblical Christianity. The New Apostolic Church, begun in the 1800s, gives modern day "apostles" significant authority to access God's forgiveness, sacraments, and even salvation.
The New Apostolic Church – What is it?
Founders of the New Apostolic Church claimed they had discovered the truth, which Christian churches had strayed from. Its doctrine, though based on accurate church history and belief in the Trinity, introduces falsehoods. Such an intermingling of truth and error is a common tactic of Satan and can make it more difficult for us to spot error (Matthew 4:5–6).
The New Apostolic Church grew out of the Catholic Apostolic Church which began in England in the 1830s following a prophecy God was reestablishing apostolic succession through the church's founders. These founders, known as apostles, were said to be the only ones who could be used of God to grant the gift of the Holy Spirit to others. Now, the New Apostolic Church claims 10 million members, mostly in Europe, with about 250 congregations in the United States.
The New Apostolic Church holds to many erroneous, non-biblical doctrines. These include requiring water baptism for the forgiveness of sins; requiring several steps (including baptism) for a person to become a child of God; that baptism, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit can be administered by an apostle only; and that prayers and sacramental rites for the dead can bring them salvation.
The New Apostolic Church requires adherents to follow the teachings and leadership of the New Apostolic Church to gain salvation. Its Eighth Article of Faith states, in part: "'Childhood in God' is that condition of a human being before God which is characterized by receiving all the sacraments and aligning one's life by the return of Christ, in accordance with the proper proclamation of the gospel. The future effect of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is to attain the status of firstling. However, the sealed believer has not yet acquired the status of firstling, but through the baptism of the Spirit, he has received the prerequisite for attaining it. If the believer strives for the day of Christ, he can belong to the bridal congregation, or the 'community of the saints'. Sealed believers have been assigned the task of following Christ continually and allowing themselves to be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ through word and sacrament."
This heretical doctrine relies on works for salvation and for a believer to reach the highest spiritual level – the "community of saints." That these works must be authorized and certified by the so-called apostles makes the New Apostolic Church a cult.
The biblical view of salvation is much more clear and simple. "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12–13). Other scriptures, such as 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:29–30, and 1 John 3:1, among others, put the onus squarely on God. Salvation is a gift of God. Believers in Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14). All believers are part of the family of God and part of the Church universal, which is the Bride of Christ. Salvation is not some nebulous thing to be attained by our own efforts or through some elite spiritual group of humans. Salvation is a gift of God, due to His grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone (Ephesians 2:8–9; John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Additionally, water baptism in orthodox Christianity is a symbolic expression of a believer's acceptance of Christ's death and resurrection. It is an important act of obedience following faith, but it in no way acquires forgiveness nor is it a requirement for salvation (Romans 3:23–25; Acts 8:34–38; 10:44–47).
The true gospel of Jesus Christ offers the free gift of salvation (John 3:16; Acts, 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 1:6–9).
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