What is the New Apostolic Church?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is the New Apostolic Church? Is it biblical?

Apostolic Qualifications

Does the Bible tell us what the qualifications for an apostle are? Can we know who is and who isn’t qualified to be one? The answer is yes…the Bible gives us all we need to know about apostolic qualifications, and we must rest on Scripture 100%, and not on human tradition or opinion. The word apostle simply means “to send,” “from out of,” but then there are the first Apostles who were given great authority by Jesus Himself. Those are “the” Apostles. When the Apostle Peter spoke to a company of 120 people, he sought to fill the gap left by Judas who had betrayed Jesus and then had hanged himself, so Peter said, “Let another take his office” (Acts 1:20c). Now the question is, “How is one qualified to be an apostle?” One of the qualifications is that he must be “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21). That rules out everyone living today. No question about it. The man must have been with them, meaning the other apostles; “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 1:22). Again, that disqualifies us because we’re not old enough to have been with Jesus and been eye witnesses to His resurrection. Clearly, there is no one living today who can qualify to be an Apostle (capital A), according to Scripture. That is not my opinion. That is what the Bible teaches. Jesus has yet to appear to me to designate me as an Apostle, but Scripture indicates that there are no more apostles living today.

Saint Peter by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682). Public Domain.

False Apostles

There are multiple warnings about false prophets and apostles in the New Testament church. Jesus said, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” (Matt 24:4-5), and “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matt 24:11). The Apostle Paul had already encountered some of these false prophets and apostles, saying that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13). Many are doing the very same thing today. The Apostle Peter warned that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet 2:1). Many false prophets and self-anointed apostles have long since introduced another gospel, “not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:7). False gospels always involve legalism or works. The bottom line is they teach that salvation is only found in the New Apostolic Church, and through their apostles; otherwise God will not forgive their sins. Finally, they believe the dead have a second chance at salvation, so they perform prayers and sacramental rites for the deceased, and they really believe it brings salvation to the dead. Sorry, but that’s not right. The Bible teaches that after death, comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). It is not that you get another chance after death and then hope someone or others will do enough sacraments and prayers to get you out of hell. That’s close to the Catholic Church’s teaching on Purgatory.

Jesus + Something Else

As I said before, other gospels compromise the true gospel of repentance and faith. We are saved by grace alone through Christ alone, but the New Apostolic Church teaches that their apostles are necessary for one to have salvation. These new “apostles” are supposed to be gathering Christians together for Jesus’ second coming, but they have almost cult-like authority in the church, but is that what the Bible teaches about the church? Absolutely not! What is most troubling is that the spiritual leaders of the New Apostolic Church are called “apostles,” meaning they have authority, as if from God Himself, and their writings may even be considered inspired by God by some, but we already have all we need in Scripture today (Heb 1:1-2).

The Restored Church?

The New Apostolic Church believes they are the “restored” apostolic church, but they teach such heresies as baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, so baptism is necessary for salvation. For the new believer, baptism is only the first step of many on the way to becoming a child of God. This too is contrary to God’s quickening Spirit, which makes us immediately a child of God, being born again (John 3:3-7; Eph 2:1-6). Anything + Jesus = salvation is always 100% false. Whether it’s their apostles, water baptism, or any other work that one must be saved, these teachings are satanic in nature. It puts salvation on our shoulders…where it doesn’t belong! They also teach that every other denomination except them is false. The irony is, they are the ones that are teaching a works-based salvation, and so they are a false church.

Conclusion

I remember hearing that, “If it’s new, it’s not from God; and if it’s from God, it’s not new.” I think that’s right. We have all the revelation we need to be saved and to help others come to Christ revealed in the Bible, and the Bible teaches that no one living today can be considered an Apostle (capital A) because they would have had to been with Jesus and witnessed His resurrection. That rules all the living out, so beware of false apostles and false prophets, to which there is no shortage today. If someone desires to have the office of an apostle, and they self-designate themselves as one, even claiming that they heard God speak to them, be very cautious and avoid such men and their teachings. Have nothing to do with those who preach a Jesus + something = salvation. That robs God of all the glory, and the fact is, we could not have saved ourselves any more than Lazarus could have resurrected himself. We needed help. We need the Word of God with the Spirit of God to birth the child of God…but it’s all of God…and all for His glory. As the Psalmist so rightly declares, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Psalm 115:1a).

Here is some related reading for you: Is Apostolic Succession Biblical?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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