History of the New Apostolic Church
The New Apostolic Church (NAK) is a Christian , Trinitarian and premillenarian religious community that sees itself as the restoration of primitive Christian conditions at the time of the biblically traditional apostles and consequently claims to be led by new apostles. Its origins go back to a revival movement around the emergence of the Catholic Apostolic Congregations (KAG) in Great Britain in the 19th century. Together with other related communities, it therefore also belongs to the denominational group of the apostolic communities .
While the NAK sees itself as the direct successor of the KAG as a result of a schism in Hamburg in 1863, this is controversial among experts: The theologian Albrecht Schröter dates the actual beginning of the (later) NAK to the year 1879, when there was a separation within the general Christian apostolic mission between the supporters around Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz and Heinrich Geyer came. Religious scholar Helmut fruit refers even to the year 1897, in which Friedrich Krebs that the New Apostolic doctrine characterizing Chief Apostle ministry created.
Separation from the Catholic Apostolic Churches
In the 1830s, an eschatological , interdenominational revival movement arose in Great Britain . Individual churches were planted in parts of this movement. Under the influence of eschatological prophecies , twelve personalities from Great Britain were called to be "apostles" whose task it was to prepare all Christianity for the second coming of Jesus . They gathered at the Albury Estate in Surrey and wrote the so-called "testimony" which they presented to various secular and ecclesiastical leaders of the world at that time. Later, the Catholic Apostolic Congregations emerged from this , which were divided into twelve different geographical tribes according to the biblical model and each cared for by an apostle. In 1855, after the death of three apostles, these gradually got into a crisis because the vacant positions were not filled again due to a lack of theological justification.
A group around the German prophet Heinrich Geyer opposed this . Most of the members of the Catholic Apostolic Congregation in Hamburg, including Elder Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz , Priest Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss and Heinrich Geyers, were expelled from the Catholic Apostolic Congregation by Apostle Francis Valentine Woodhouse in 1863 after Geyer Rudolf Rosochacki in Königsberg had also proclaimed an apostle without the consent of the English apostles. Rosochacki resigned shortly afterwards from his apostleship and returned to the Catholic Apostolic community.
The separate Hamburg congregation called itself from then on General Christian Apostolic Mission (AcaM) and was led by Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss, who was ordained apostle of this community. Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz was sent to the Netherlands as an apostle, where he founded the "Apostolische Zending" and later " Hersteld Apostolische Zendingkerk ", the Dutch arm of the movement. It was there in 1870 that he met the Protestant missionary Friedrich Wilhelm Menkhoff, who joined the movement and convinced Schwarz to turn away from the Catholic-Apostolic liturgy in favor of a Calvinist form of worship; this reverberates in the liturgy and church furnishings of the NAK to this day. Because of his attitude, Menkhoff also became an important opponent of the traditionalist prophet Geyers.
When Apostle Preuss died in 1878, a follow-up dispute broke out, which escalated during a church service in Hamburg on August 4, 1879. Geyer tried to call Johann Friedrich Güldner as the new apostle before the congregation, as he did in March 1878 and at a prayer meeting in July 1879 in Braunschweig. Violent opposition formed against this, presided over by the shepherd Eduard Wichmann. In the course of the turmoil, Wichmann, who Friedrich Schwarz already said had clear ambitions to succeed Prussia, had his wife and son summon himself to the apostle with a prophetic speech. Heinrich Geyer and Johann Friedrich Güldner left the church hall in protest and parted ways with numerous others from the Hamburg congregation under the previous name “General Christian Apostolic Mission”. The rest remained with the apostles Wichmann, Schwarz and Menkhoff as well as the elder Friedrich Krebs - initially under the name "General Apostolic Mission".
Consolidation of the (new) apostolic congregations
The congregations headed by Wichmann and Krebs (later “Apostolische Gemeinde”) in Germany and by Schwarz and Menkhoff (“Apostolische Zending”) in the Netherlands were at that time a loose association with inconsistent beliefs and practices under the leadership of Friedrich "Fritz" Krebs, who was ordained an apostle in 1881 (responsible for the tribe of North and East Germany) and thus after the separation from Geyer, who stood for the maintenance of the Catholic apostolic tradition, and the deaths of Schwarz and Merkhoff in 1895 an increasingly uniform religious community grew. Since 1896, Krebs has been referred to as the "unity father" or Chief Apostle . On July 21 of the same year he installed Hermann Niehaus as apostle for the Bielefeld area. In 1898 he named him in a divine service in Berlin as his successor in the Chief Apostle office. Cancer died on January 20, 1905, and Niehaus took office.
Under Niehaus, NAK developed strongly in terms of internal consolidation, expansion and profiling. In August 1906 the new Chief Apostle appointed the Apostle Helper and later successor Johann Gottfried Bischoff as District Apostle for Central Germany and Württemberg for the late Apostle Ruff . After the decision of an apostles' meeting in 1907, the community was named the "New Apostolic Congregation" for the first time and acquired the status of a corporation under public law in some countries of the German Empire . Niehaus appointed numerous younger ministers, regularly called apostle assemblies and in 1907 founded the church publication Apostolisches Sonntagsblatt (later New Apostolische Rundschau ) as a new weekly reading and replacement for the magazines Der Herold and Wächterstimme from Ephraim . In 1908 he published the General House Rules - and therein the first New Apostolic Creed - and in 1916 the first textbook on the New Apostolic Faith Questions & Answers . On August 19, 1909, Niehaus and Apostle Carl August Brückner were the first Chief Apostle to visit the American congregations. In 1912/1913 the influential textbook Old and New Ways was published, written by the New Apostolic apologist Emil Schmidt under the pseudonym "Salus", which gave the New Apostolic community an overall view of the Christian-Jewish history of salvation up to the NAK as the final "final church" and a renewed version of the Creed included.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the community came more strongly into the sights of regional church criticism and abuse, which was also assumed to be anti-subversive activities. Chief Apostle Niehaus and other New Apostolic apologists made their conservative-patriotic monarchism clear ; the nationalistic echoes were also echoed in sermons and songs. According to the General House Rules of 1908, New Apostolic Christians were prohibited from membership in the rising social democracy and other revolutionary movements. Niehaus supported German warfare in World War I , especially because of his hostile sentiments towards the United Kingdom, which is linked to the Catholic Apostolic Movement . The outbreak of war posed enormous problems for the religious community, as numerous honorary officials belonging to the war potential were (forcibly) recruited and sent to the front. During the war the Lord's Supper was sent to soldiers as a field post letter with a host drizzled with three drops of wine . In 1917 this practice - which is still in force today - was introduced in all municipalities. Was the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by then under the two separate figures bread and wine, so since then have found in the Eucharist communion wafers using three drops of wine were dripped onto the already during manufacturing. The defeat of the Central Powers against the Allies of the Entente represented a setback for the New Apostolic Congregation on a religious level as well: Chief Apostle Niehaus and Ernst Schärtlein, who was active as a prophet, several times predicted a final victory for the German arms. The Apostle Brückner emerged as an internal critic of this confusion .
On October 10, 1920, Niehaus appointed Bischoff as Chief Apostle Helper and on December 14, 1924 he appointed him his successor. Chief Apostle Niehaus celebrated his silver wedding anniversary on October 3, 1926 , then on January 25, 1930 an accident on the eve of the celebrations for his 25th Chief Apostle anniversary forced him to retire from his work. He did not recover, and on September 21, 1930, the Apostles Quorum retired him. He died on August 23, 1932 at the age of 84.
In 1905 Niehaus had taken over six Apostle districts with 488 parishes; At the end of its effectiveness, it had become twelve European apostle districts with around 1,600 parishes, to which 200 overseas parishes that arose during this time are to be counted. In 1925 the community in Germany had 138,000 members. The socially weaker classes, from which important officials later emerged, became essential for the growth of the community. The increasingly hierarchical church structure is characteristic of this period. From 1930 the term “New Apostolic Church” was established.
Development of the New Apostolic Doctrine
Even before the turn of the century, the doctrine of the New Light spread within the apostolic congregations , according to which the ability to make prophetic prophecies is incorporated into the apostolic office and - from the point of view of their most radical representatives - Christ is present in the apostolic office . Although this doctrine could not finally prevail in the NAK, which became clear in the split from Julius Fischer in 1902, this, in addition to the introduction of the Chief Apostle's office, had numerous effects on New Apostolic teaching .
Chief Apostle Office
After the death of Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz, the apostles placed themselves more and more under the leadership of Friedrich Krebs. In 1895 he gradually developed the concept of the Chief Apostle as the highest authority within the Apostles and thus became, according to historian Helmut Obst, the actual founder of the modern NAK. The spiritual justification turned out to be pragmatic: In order to clarify the need for uniform leadership, the apostle Niehaus at the time referred to Moses' leadership among the Israelites and the patriarchal position of men in the family.
The new office brought about a radical theological change in that the ordination of new apostles was now the responsibility of the chief apostle and no longer the calling of a prophet. If the term tribe was known from the Catholic-Apostolic division of territory, from now on it metaphorically symbolized the primacy of the Chief Apostle. The first service in which the function of head of the church was proclaimed took place at Whitsun in 1897 in Berlin. Terms such as “father” or “unified father” were still more common than the term chief apostle for a few years.
Even under Cancer, a strong personality cult developed around the chief apostle office , which should reach its climax by the time in office of JG Bischoff. The influential Apostle Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer in particular opposed this development, which later escalated into a further break under Chief Apostle Niehaus.
Expectation of return
The strongly eschatological orientation that prevailed in the Catholic apostolic community was first noticeably relativized under Krebs' leadership; also in connection with the spirit of optimism in Wilhelmine Germany . Even the important textbook Old and New Ways from 1912 did not devote a single section to the subject. In the apostolic hymns there were texts that took up the idea of the apostles as "God in the flesh"; a phrase that was coined by Chief Apostle Krebs, who described the Apostle ministry and himself at its head as the making present of Jesus Christ. It was only through prophecies about the outcome of the First World War and especially under Chief Apostle Bischoff that there was a reorientation towards the increased expectation of a second coming .
The doctrine of the New Light continues to have an impact today, as it provided a justification for the gradual suppression of some charismatic elements of the Catholic apostolic tradition (e.g. prophecies ) and the dissolution of the prophetic office. While divinely inspired visions (so-called “faces”) have been handed down into the 1980s, Chief Apostle Urwyler finally rejected the prophetic office in the NAK on October 13, 1985 in a divine service in Munich . The theological dispute over the office of a prophet in particular has repeatedly led to conflicts and divisions in the history of the NAK .
With the sharp demarcation from the theological training under Niehaus and the idea of the real presence of Christ in office, however, the NAK retained charismatic ideas in the belief in the "contemporary Word of God", according to which the Bible can only be read through the Apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit and by them commissioned public officials can be developed; Even then this was understood as a demarcation from the Lutheran principle of Sola scriptura . In this regard, for many years there were controversial statements in the NAK about the members' independent Bible study , which, in an unorthodox interpretation of 2 Cor. 3,6 LUT, was understood to be harmful. The idea of divine inspiration in the sermon, on the other hand, is an essential part of New Apostolic teaching to this day.
Claim to exclusivity
The initially deeply ecumenical conviction, which was cultivated in the Catholic-Apostolic congregations and later especially under Heinrich Geyer in the self-image of a "revival church" within Christianity, gave way to a strong demarcation over the years. The people's churches were increasingly equated with the " whore of Babylon " and the subject of polemics; consequently, in contrast to the Catholic apostolic congregations, people also called on people to leave the regional churches . Historians cite the decline in theological training of clergymen and the rejection of apostolic teachings by the established churches as reasons for this. The idea that all the baptized are part of the Church of Jesus Christ gradually began to wane in the “Apostolic Zending” under Apostle Schwarz and later especially under Chief Apostle Krebs. The NAK only turned away from this when Friedrich Bischoff changed the creed in 1951 , according to which the “ rebirth out of water and spirit ” was made dependent for the first time on the New Apostolic sealing ; From this, the NAK consolidated an absolute claim that it had held for decades . Such a doctrine was found in Apostle Menkhoff's as early as 1890, but the text Old and New Ways with the Creed of 1913 still showed a general Christian understanding.
In connection with the stillbirth of a child in 1872, Apostle Schwarz began to consider the post-mortem dispensing of sacraments. These approaches of the later dormant system only slowly gained acceptance. Initially, baptism and sealing were only given to the deceased named in prophecies, in 1874 for example to famous reformers like Martin Luther , Philipp Melanchthon and Johannes Calvin . From 1886 the Holy Communion for the departed existed and since 1898 at the latest, designated worship services have been held in the rhythm that has been maintained until today (three times a year).
The New Apostolic Church under National Socialism
The New Apostolic Church made compromises with the National Socialist regime in order not to be banned or persecuted. Even if the Christian principles of the New Apostolic Church fundamentally contradicted the worldview of National Socialism, they were not permanently banned or systematically persecuted.
In 1933 all New Apostolic congregations were banned for a short time. The then Chief Apostle Johann Gottfried Bischoff tried to establish good relations with the National Socialist regime in order to have some of the bans lifted. For example, Müller-Scheld, the head of the Hessen-Nassau state office in the Reich Ministry for Propaganda and an employee of Joseph Goebbels , wrote in a letter of recommendation for the chief apostle's son:
" Friedrich Bischoff is a party member, known to me for years and politically and personally absolutely reliable."
On the day of Potsdam , JG Bischoff preached that now “the leader sent by God has come”. He had the text of the address sent to the Reich Chancellery . In a circular to the office holders of April 25, 1933, Chief Apostle Bischoff declared that when membership requests from members it would be good to “ submit the personal details of such persons to the responsible local branch of the NSDAP for verification” and to accept them only after the NSDAP has received a declaration of no objection to carry out. In early 1934, the Hebrew word " Zion " was deleted from the title of the church's own magazine Wächterstimme aus Zion . This adjustment course was also noticed by SS-Obergruppenführer and head of the Reich Security Main Office Reinhard Heydrich . While the latter was in favor of a ban on the NAK in 1936, Hanns Kerrl , Reich Minister for Church Affairs , spoke out against it. Heydrich expressed himself in the guide booklet on the New Apostolic Congregation of the Security Service from May 1937 with skeptical appreciation:
“Since the takeover of power , she [note: the NAK] has been emphasizing her National Socialist sentiments in a downright conspicuous way. [...] [JG Bischoff] demands the same positive attitude towards the state from its members in numerous circulars, but often in a rather clumsy way. "
In 1940, on the occasion of a travel report by Friedrich Bischoff, sentences such as:
"Blacks and Jews climb higher and higher on the social ladder, with their cheap labor they displace the better-paid whites from positions that the whites alone should be entitled to [...] The colored element has gone on the attack [...] We have everything with justification rejected what was offered to the people in the cinema, theater and literature as the product of a Jewish-Marxist clique. "
Later that year it was said:
“The white man has still been able to maintain a certain predominance, but it has faltered a great deal, and it will continue to falter the more the Jew gains influence, for it is his aim to split up the peoples, she to hold down and exploit them. "
In 1941 Our Family proclaimed :
"The temple and synagogue customs of the Jews are [...] only an embarrassing spectacle for those who - for example in Warsaw - have seen them once in their purest form."
Already in May 1939 wrote Our family in connection with the inauguration of a new church in Szczecin from the "effective [n] rejection of the common abroad Jewish incitement, the magical things of church destruction and persecution of Christians able to report [...]".
Every service should - according to official requirements - end with a " Heil Hitler " at that time . Not all community leaders (especially in rural areas) have bowed to the regulations. In the course of time, individual parishes were closed again and again.
The extent to which National Socialist views were disseminated and attitudes adjusted and whether this was done out of coercion through the policy of conformity , fear of reprisals or of one's own accord is still a point of contention between members and critics of the church.
According to the NAK, it was possible, with great difficulty, to reverse some of these bans. This was also pointed out by the other measures taken against the NAK: the Nazi government had charged the NAK with unusually high taxes, caring for the youth had been suppressed, the purchase of land and the construction of chapels had been refused, the victims were no longer allowed The publication of the church's own magazines had been banned, Bibles and hymn books were no longer allowed to be printed. The members of the community of Jewish descent were not repelled, but were supported in every possible way.
This attitude was explained in 1996 by the then Chief Apostle Fehr and further elaborated in a lecture in 2003 by Public Relations Spokesman Peter Johanning. Johanning reproduced an article from the “Jugendfreund” from July 1933, in which shortly after Hitler came to power, “allegiance” was called for. By referring to Sir 10 EU, the text legitimizes the relationship between state and church. "One may perceive that as naive today, the time at that time brought other conclusions to light." At that time, the church officials were called in the guidelines of 1933 to abstain from politics. "This commitment to the apolitical work of the church" signaled "unmistakably the ideal of the church leadership" to "abstain from any political statement, even if the reality looked different here and there". In addition, the press spokesman then repeated Richard Fehr's remarks on this subject from 1996, according to which the church leadership had been adjusted for the purpose of "continuing to follow the preaching of the gospel."
The British historian Christine E. King, who published the first known treatise on New Apostolic Nazi history, advocated the thesis that the spiritual leadership of the NAK emphatically supported National Socialism. According to their argumentation, this indicates that Chief Apostle Bischoff campaigned for the acceptance of uniformed SA men in New Apostolic divine services even before he came to power in 1933 , as Helmut Obst also pointed out. Furthermore, she also cites events of direct, local support from party organs and the integration of the Hitler salute into the liturgy . King and others see the same evidence in the fact that the NAK also represented its pro-regime stance abroad or that articles such as Adolf Hitler's program publication Mein Kampf or SA-Stiefel were distributed via the periodicals of Friedrich Bischoff Verlag . Nevertheless, King admits that clergymen of the NAK also used the National Socialist rhetoric "knowledgeably" to keep church opponents from the NSDAP at a distance.
In 2017, the New Apostolic historian Karl-Peter Krauss denied the master's narrative , which has been held for a long time by the NAK, and that the church had grown extraordinarily in terms of members during the Nazi era. In doing so, he states that the membership figures from church archives for the years 1933 to 1945 remain well below those of the much-cited Nazi sources whose political objectivity is in doubt; This also includes the Leitheft published by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler on the New Apostolic Congregation, according to which the NAK grew from 240,000 to 290,000 members between 1933 and 1936, while the church's own records assume 257,561 at the end of 1937. Compared to the development of NAK membership in neighboring countries such as Switzerland, to that of other Christian fringe communities within Germany, as well as the increased number of exits in the pre-war years, there would be no such dynamic growth during the Nazi era. He further substantiated his hypothesis with a case study on the membership development of the NAK in Baden-Württemberg , which was strongly dampened by the advertising ban from 1933. Dominik Schmolz relativized this representation with the objection that the NAK with a birth surplus could still achieve moderate growth, while the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church in Germany had to cope with a significant decline.
An apology for the external approval of the Nazi regime by the church leadership at the time, analogous to the Stuttgart confession of guilt by the Evangelical Church in Germany , has not yet been given.
Relationship to the GDR state
The New Apostolic Church describes itself as politically neutral and remained largely unmolested in the GDR . "We express the hope that in the future the cooperation between the Magistrate of Greater Berlin and our church, as before, will remain a very beneficial one for both parties." She proved her devotion to the new regime, for her loyal ones Work earned her praise from political authorities. She also tried to signal her alignment with real existing socialism by citing that Max Reichpietsch and Albin Köbis - major protagonists of the naval unrest in the summer of 1917 - belonged to the NAK.
In order to clarify allegations, it was part of the official mandate of the History of the New Apostolic Church , installed by Chief Apostle Richard Fehr , to give priority to researching the GDR past. According to the NAK, the internal inspection of files in church archives did little to shed light on this overall problem. There were official letters to the GDR government, but neither an "ingratiation" of the church leadership in the east at that time nor any benefits for the church from the GDR regime could be derived. An official statement from the New Apostolic church leadership on the cooperation between the NAK and the Ministry for State Security of the former GDR is still pending.
Olaf Wieland, on the other hand, mentions the construction of the church building in Berlin-Lichtenberg by the State Security and the form of correspondence between District Apostle Wilhelm Pusch and the Minister for State Security, Erich Mielke , as indications of the good relationship between the NAK and the regime . Chief Apostle Fehr's positive portrayal of the GDR state was often criticized in relation to the then SED central organ Neues Deutschland . In the archive for Christian-Democratic Politics there is a report by the CDU Association Frankfurt an der Oder, which also suggests a positive attitude of the NAK towards the regime:
"We find the greatest openness with regard to the politics of our state [note: the GDR] among the officials and members of the New Apostolic Church"
The State Secretary for Church Affairs , Dr. Klaus Gysi , according to a documented statement, the NAK is said to have been extremely friendly. Furthermore, there are indications that some high-ranking clergymen of the NAK were involved as informers in the security apparatus of the GDR in order to also convert Jehovah's Witnesses , who were persecuted by the SED as enemies of socialism due to their apolitical attitude and their alleged American influence . to denounce .
The more recent research in the field of church politics in the GDR brought to light sources that also point to conflicts between the NAK and the regime; for example with building permits or through the attitude of the church towards youth consecrations .
Dispute about direction in the post-war period
The supremacy of the Chief Apostle's Office experienced the greatest resistance in the post-war period up to then due to the supportive attitude of the church leadership towards the Nazi regime and the warfare of the Wehrmacht, which was propagated by the church's own media abroad. The cut off communication channels during the war and later sanctions against German clergymen, e. B. Entry bans , and the resulting difficult management of the foreign communities. Especially with spokesmen from Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Saarland, according to Schmolz and the AG history of the NACI, this led to disputes with Chief Apostle Bischoff and apostles close to him on various levels:
- The introduction of an age limit for all apostles, including the chief apostle, with a term limit
- The introduction of a democratic collegiality principle within the church leadership; The Swiss District Apostle Ernst Güttinger represented this concern in particular
- Higher competencies of the circle of apostles compared to the chief apostle, e.g. B. in the control of the Friedrich Bischoff Verlag, which District Apostle Peter Kuhlen in particular urged
- Regional special and autonomous rights, e.g. B. in office ordinations, church magazines
- Partial conflicts about teaching, e.g. B. eschatology , understanding of the sacrament , prophecies
Central sources of conflict were the statutes of the Apostle College and the person Peter Kuhlen . After Chief Apostle Bischoff withdrew his initial consent to the introduction of a general age limit in 1938 and a regulation for his successor failed even during the war, the majority of the apostles at the time began in 1946 to set up such a limit without Bischoff's knowledge. Although his role in this finding process was reproduced contradictingly, it is certain that the German apostles agreed on Peter Kuhlen as the recommended successor. Through the mediation of the then apostle Walter Schmidt , the initially snubbed Chief Apostle Bischoff agreed to the installation of Kuhlen as his successor after he was elected in the second ballot of an apostles' meeting in May 1948. On August 1st, Chief Apostle Bischoff Kuhlen ordained "in the name and on behalf of the College of Apostles" as Chief Apostle and his successor. He was to serve as Chief Apostle Helper until he was unable to serve or died. Bischoff later described this ordination as having taken place "without God's will" and as having been forced to do so by the majority. For the time being, however, the internal influence of Kuhlen as Chief Apostle Helper increased, and the majority in the Apostle Circle, who pressed for reform, implemented a more collegial distribution of competencies in a constitutional reform in 1949, according to which the Chief Apostle had to act as Primus inter pares .
In 1950, however, the balance of power changed significantly as a result of the newly ordained apostles who were loyal and devoted to Chief Apostle Bischoff, as well as the change of sides between Apostles Schmidt and Weinmann. The competencies of Chief Apostle Helper Kuhlen were repeatedly curtailed, the renewed statutes were reversed and the leadership position of Chief Apostle was strengthened. Another decisive factor was the influence of the church magazine Our Family , which was under the editorial management of Friedrich Bischoff and Gottfried Rockenfelder. If in the previous years they tried to underpin the extraordinary position of the Chief Apostle and to demand an unconditional successor to him, strategic action was taken in 1950 against Chief Apostle Helper Kuhlen: In the annual calendar published in November they launched an article according to which God Chief Apostle Bishop “still has none Successor shown “; thus the legitimation of the ordination of Kuhlens in 1948 was unequivocally denied. As a result, Kuhlen resigned from his position as Chief Apostle Helper and designated successor to Chief Apostle Bischoff only days later. While Kuhlen remained a relatively influential member of the Apostle College until his expulsion in 1955, other critics found themselves isolated, were already expelled or separated from the NAK, e.g. B. the Dutch Lambertus Slok, the Swiss Apostles Ernst and Otto Güttinger and the Saarland Herbert Schmidt.
At Christmas 1951, Chief Apostle Johann Gottfried Bischoff announced in a divine service in Giessen that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would take place during his lifetime. This proclamation has become known within the church under the term "message", whereby Bischoff has been actively advocating it since 1950. The Chief Apostle later traced it back to an immediate, personal revelation through Jesus Christ as well as revelations from other members brought about by him. The exact circumstances under which Bischoff claims to have received this revelation are still unclear and sometimes contradictory.
The proclamation of the “message” resulted in a New Apostolic status confessionis . Accordingly, in many places it was mandatory that one confessed one's personal belief in these during seals, ordinations or other church activities. As a result, the New Apostolic Church went through a deep crisis, from which several new groups emerged (see Association of Apostolic Congregations ).
When Bishop died in 1960 and the Second Coming of Christ did not occur, the College of Apostles stated that God had "changed his will (expressed by Chief Apostle Bishop)" and granted humanity another "grace period". The New Apostolic Church left this view untouched for a long time. In 1996 the then Chief Apostle Fehr expressed in the church magazine Our Family that the non-fulfillment of the message “ultimately cannot be explained with the mind”, but that this does not question “its divine character”. On May 13, 2013 Chief Apostle Leber published the first statement on the “Message”. On November 29, 2014, representatives of the NAK and the Association of Apostolic Congregations (VAG), including Chief Apostle Schneider , signed a joint declaration of reconciliation in Düsseldorf . In both documents, the NAK stated that from the biblical point of view, in principle, every divine prediction must be fulfilled and that the assessment can therefore be derived that Bischoff's message was not of divine origin. Therefore, from today's perspective of the church, the message “should not have found its way into teaching and preaching in this form”.
The historian Dominik Schmolz sees possible reasons for the emergence of the message in the global political context of the post-war period , in the theological assessment of the simultaneous internal church conflicts by Bischoff and in his personality. Helmut Obst starts from a maneuver to get rid of the succession plan around Peter Kuhlen with apparently divine legitimation . Other observers see a driving force behind Friedrich Bischoff , who is said to have promoted the conflict in order to protect his control over the Friedrich Bischoff publishing house .
Self-isolation and obedience structure
Until the middle of the 20th century, due to the understanding of authority and the socially conservative climate, it was common to obey a higher-ranking official. This attitude found its way into New Apostolic teaching under the biblically-based terms discipleship , obedience of faith or childlike faith . An official teaching statement in the textbook Questions and Answers on the New Apostolic Faith stated:
"By obedience of faith we understand the subordination of human will to the divine will, which is revealed for the New Apostolic Christian in the word and teaching of the apostles."
In connection with this, it was therefore also expected to question officials about personal life decisions and to obey their decision, as this would correspond to the divine will. Willful failure to attend a service is described in the same textbook as a "grave sin" that results in the deprivation of divine blessings . With a high time requirement due to several church services that are regarded as binding, a close-knit relationship with the “pastor” of a household and everyday rules - such as going to the cinema , carnival and discotheque , dancing, television, membership in non-church associations, for women were wearing Trousers as well as beards or long haircuts for men frowned upon or forbidden by pastors for decades - the NAK exercised a high level of social control over its members.
When the political zeitgeist changed in Germany with the 1968 generation , this development passed the NAK by due to the withdrawn "hedgehog position". A tightly hierarchical and authoritarian structure remained until the 1980s. This was criticized by religious scholars as well as by former members ( partly until today ), because the demand for obedience to the instructions of the Chief Apostle, Apostle and subordinate offices was linked to the rapture at the second coming of Christ and the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit as a means of pressure . Until 1986, it was also common practice to exclude members from Holy Communion if, in the view of senior officials, they withdrew from church morality. Another sparkling feature was seen in severe antagonistic rhetoric against the outside world and outsiders as sphere of influence of the devil and constant temptation that the individual by a way of life in the obedience of faith "overcome" must. Critics such as the psychologist Olaf Stoffel described this form of conveying content as a classic means of indoctrination and brainwashing and complained about the favorable circumstances for the disease of ecclesiogenic neuroses . In addition to numerous others, Stoffel also accused the NAK of urging believers to sacrifice time and money within this religious structure of obedience and in front of the alleged threat.
Other points of criticism concerned the absolute claim , the role of women , non-transparent or inadequate handling of church funds , homophobia and sexual violence , the chief apostle cult and the attitude of the NAK to its NS and GDR history .
Historians and denominational scholars see reasons for isolation from the outside primarily in the way the NAC dealt with the failed "message" , the subsequent criticism from outside and the crisis of faith among Chief Apostles Schmidt and Fahrtisen . In the official gazette in 1962, the church leadership symbolized its attitude with the sentence:
"We see ourselves surrounded by enemies and only have one free way forward!"
Chief Apostle Schmidt also contributed to this self-chosen isolation from 1967 onwards by expanding church teaching for children and young people, which he also justified with protection from the influence of the outside world in the form of religious instruction in schools . In sermons and the official gazette, there are prominent quotes from leading clergymen from the time of Bischoff's death until 1978, which urged belief in the imminent second coming and absolute obedience to faith , while doubts about it as a threat to one's own soul or a reason for the postponement of the second coming of Christ were stylized.
The multi-award-winning documentary Alias by director and protagonist Jens Junker about his search for his biological father, which was released in 2010, also addresses New Apostolic pastoral care under the influence of dogmatic obedience .
The first steps towards opening up the Church began with Chief Apostle Urwyler . So in 1982 he turned against the social ostracism of excluded members. In 1986 he brought a change in doctrine and practice by removing the exclusion from Holy Communion by ministers and making participation in the sacrament a matter of personal discretion. Subsequently, he coined the principle of “personal responsibility”, which was also differentiated under Chief Apostle Fehr in a changed attitude towards the way of life of the members and a new role of personal pastor. Despite these internal dynamics, the NAK faced strong criticism in the 1990s - especially from former members - in the media, public discussion events, relevant book publications and the Internet. The group "Friends of the Pure Teaching of Jesus" around the Schaffhauser Dr. Erwin Meyer-Widmer, who criticized the NAC in general and Chief Apostle Fehr in particular in numerous open letters; the church entered into dialogue with him several times through the “committee for special affairs”.
At the beginning of Chief Apostle Fehr's term of office, the NAK signaled little enthusiasm for reform, which is why the wave of criticism was decisive for the continuation of Urwyler's course. The NAK critic Heinz-Peter Tjaden has numerous quotes from the period from 1988 to 1990, which document a strict requirement of religious obedience. The Berlin District Apostle Fritz Schröder turned harshly against public criticism of the NAK in 1994. One of Fehr's statements became notorious and could be read in 1991 in the magazine Our Family :
“The word 'criticism' is nowhere in the Bible. So it has no place in the work of God [Note: what is meant is the NAK]. "
1996 pointed Fehr numerous points of public criticism in the Our Family detail back, but excused himself first in his post for past mistakes of the Church in the pastoral care and confessed this publicly in 1997 in a church one. With the ecumenical opening process initiated under Fehr , the NAK changed guidelines for pastoral care and many doctrinal statements (the latter especially later under Chief Apostle Leber ), in some cases drastically. Both Chief Apostles once again made friendly rapprochements with other apostolic communities . In 2000 and 2001, for example, Fehr invited to the first and so far only apostolic councils in Zurich, at which the inter-church relationship and theological similarities were discussed and recorded in final declarations.
According to the Protestant Weltanschauung commissioner Annette Kick, the "desectification" of the NAK was also expressed in the fact that, in the course of the opening process, it clearly rejected and / or rejected earlier claims of the infallibility of the apostles with regard to the doctrine of the "contemporary " preaching of the words and the importance of modern revelations compared to biblical traditions. have relativized.
Approach to other churches
The first documented contact between the NAC and the ecumenical movement came about in 1963 through the World Council of Churches . Chief Apostle Schmidt turned down a request at the time because he feared external influences and internal conflicts. In 1993 the NAK published a statement under Chief Apostle Fehr , which ended with the sentence: “The New Apostolic Church distances itself from the ecumenical movement. She does not see in her a suitable way to be one in Christ. " In 1998 he relativized this attitude for the first time. A year later, the New Apostolic Church International founded the Ecumenical Project Group in order to check the compatibility of the ecumenical movement with the New Apostolic teaching, and thus also initiated the opening process theologically. To date, the NAK has come closer to the ecumenical movement at the national level (in Germany, for example, in the Working Group of Christian Churches ).
The first significant change in teaching in the direction of ecumenism took place at an information event in Uster near Zurich, at which Chief Apostle Leber expressed the unreserved recognition of Trinitarian baptisms . This was often interpreted as a milestone, since the recognition of baptism in the event of a conversion of a baptized Christian of a different faith to the NAC had to be promised beforehand by an apostle. In 2010, the revision of the Creed resulted in a new understanding of the Church of Jesus Christ that comes close to that of the Charta Oecumenica . Also in 2006 the New Apostolic Church International published its first official declaration on ecumenism.
The first notable contacts with the Roman Catholic Church came with the condolence of Chief Apostle Fehr on the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, whom he praised as a “person of the Christian faith valued all over the world”. Even the Chief Apostle came several times with the Holy See in friendly contact.
A noticeable change in attitude towards the Reformation movement can also be observed in the NAK literature . While the previous point of view was divided and viewed the Reformation as a failed attempt to restore early Christian conditions, since 2015 there have been among others a. with reference to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation , content with a very appreciative attitude. The previous point of view is no longer present in the official consideration in the catechism.
The ecumenical opening of the church met with internal resistance several times in the recent history of the NAC. In 2001 the NAK in Lower Saxony took part in an ecumenical divine service in Bovenden , which was prohibited a week later by a circular from Chief Apostle Fehr and which still applies to common sacred acts to this day. District Apostle Klaus Saur , in particular, stood out as a skeptic of an excessively strong ecumenical connection with the NAK. The US District Apostle Richard C. Freund stressed in an internal circular that he did not want to give up the standpoint of exclusivity . The connections between the NAK Northern Germany and the Anskar Church under District Apostle Wilhelm Leber were also viewed critically later in the conflicts over the congregation in Hamburg-Blankenese that became known in 2007 .
In the course of the history of the New Apostolic Church or the direct predecessor communities "Apostolic Congregation" and "Apostolic Zending", there have been many splits due to differing views in doctrine, conflicts over office succession or regional autonomy as well as personal differences between influential clergymen, of which the most of them happened in Germany and the Netherlands. The most important are:
|Community||Year of separation||Geographic focus|
|Old Apostolic Congregation||1886||Central Germany|
|Hersteld Apostolic Zendingkerk||1897||Netherlands|
|Apostle ministry of Judah||1902||Brandenburg, Silesia|
|Old Apostolic Church||1913-1926||South Africa|
|Reformed Apostolic Church Federation||1921||East Germany|
|Hersteld Evangelische Apostolische Gemeente||1925/1926||Netherlands|
|Nieuwe Hersteld Apostolic Zendinggemeente||1930||Netherlands|
|Christian Apostolic Congregation||1933||Berlin, Pomerania, East Prussia|
|Association "Christians of Our Time"||1949||Baden, Hesse|
|Apostolic Congregation of the Saarland||1952||Saarland|
|Gereja Kerasulan Pusaka||1953||Indonesia|
|Association of Apostolic Christians||1954||Switzerland|
|Apostolic Community||1955||North Rhine-Westphalia|
|Apostolic Church of South Africa||1955||South Africa|
|Union des Chrétiens Apostoliques||1955||France|
|United Apostolic Church of India||1974||India|
|Apostolic Congregation Wiesbaden||1988/89||Hesse|
|Apostolic Community in Nederland||circa 1990||Netherlands|
|Indian New Apostolic Church||2013||India|
The teaching of the New Light led several times to divisions from the NAK. A group around Julius Fischer , a particularly radical proponent of doctrine, even emphasized that the physical return of Christ would no longer take place, since Christ had already returned in the apostle ministry of the church. This led to a first split and the establishment of the apostolic office of Judah in 1902. Only a few years earlier, in 1897, in contrast, the Hersteld Apostolische Zendingkerk (HAZK) separated from Krebs under Martinus van Bommel , the other resolute opponent the doctrine of the New Light and proponents of the prophetic office cared about. Apostle Rockenfelder jun. and Walter Heubach went their own way with the Wiesbaden Apostolic Congregation from 1989, due to the disappearance of the office of the prophet and other Catholic apostolic traditions in the NAK .
The dwindling influence of the prophetic office, but above all the differences over the chief apostle office, also played a role in the conflicts between Hermann Niehaus and Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer , which in 1911 led to separate paths (but not an actual schism ) between the NAK and the already existing Apostolic Church of Queensland (ACQ). After an apostle meeting in Germany, the Australian apostle Hermann Niemeyer was temporarily suspended as a member of the ring of apostles on his way home . He called for autonomy rights for Australian communities, which Niehaus did not allow; In addition, there were conflicts over Niemeyer's attempts to recruit new Australian emigrants from Germany . After Niemeyer refused to place himself under the leadership of the younger Niehaus, the latter had all the apostles express their confidence in Bielefeld on September 21, 1921 and joined them in a separate association, the Apostle College of the New Apostolic Congregations in Germany . The apostle for South Africa, Carl Georg Klibbe, who called for independence from the Chief Apostle in the regional leadership, renounced his Old Apostolic Church by 1926 . Since this community numbered one million members in 1931, it could be the largest split in the history of the NAK.
A particularly tense conflict occurred between Chief Apostle Niehaus and Apostle Carl August Brückner , whom he originally saw as his successor in the Chief Apostle office. Since 1917 he had turned against the leadership, increasingly guided by dreams and visions, which he also made responsible for the failed prophecies about the outcome of the First World War , the claim to power and the cult of personality surrounding the office of Chief Apostle ; in addition, he was also an opponent of the New Light teaching . If the then apostle JG Bischoff initially confirmed his attitude, Brückner soon found himself alone in the dispute with Niehaus. Helmut Obst assumes that it was Bishop who advised Niehaus against reconciliation with Brückner and was ordained as Chief Apostle Helper himself in 1920. The conflict with Brücker finally escalated, so that on April 17, 1921, he and numerous others were expelled from the Church. Together with Apostle Max Ecke and around 6,000 followers, he founded the Reformed Apostolic Congregation Association .
The split of the Apostolic Genootschap in the Netherlands was based not only on doctrinal alienation tendencies, but also on war-related animosities and leadership conflicts with the German church leadership. The exclusions and separations between 1952 and 1955 in Germany, Switzerland, France, South Africa and the Netherlands can be traced back to the preaching of the “message” by Chief Apostle Bischoff in addition to the aftermath of the dispute over the direction from 1946 and individual factors . These communities later joined together with other apostolic communities under the umbrella of the Association of Apostolic Congregations (VAG). District Apostle Peter Kuhlen marked the most energetic resistance to the dogmatization of the message and the associated radicalization among the members with an open letter to the Chief Apostle in January 1955. After a direct confrontation at an apostles' meeting on January 23, 1955 in Frankfurt, he was absent with two apostles and numerous officials from his Rhineland area were excluded from the NAK.
Structurally, the distribution of membership has shifted significantly. Whereas in 1960 the NAK was still a German-European community with branches in some non-European countries, in 2005 only about five percent of its members were in Europe; The vast majority of New Apostolic Christians now live in Africa (over 80%) due to the successes in missions under Chief Apostles Urwyler and Fehr. In Germany, however, it was observed that a number of municipalities were closed or merged ; Since the turn of the millennium, the number of German municipalities has already decreased by over 40%.
In 2014 the 1st International Church Congress of the New Apostolic Church took place in Munich, which was attended by over 50,000 believers. In addition, as part of its ecumenical opening , the NAK has also taken part in some Protestant church days in recent years . In 2019 the first global youth convention with around 30,000 believers took place in Düsseldorf.
The term of office of Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider also includes historical innovations such as official declarations of reconciliation with split-off communities , for example in 2014 with the Apostolic Community and in 2017 with the Reformed Apostolic Congregation Association . This was preceded by several regional initiatives. However, the controversies surrounding the evaluation and handling of the NAK with embassy time continue to this day.
Under the leadership of Chief Apostle Schneider, further innovations can be identified, some of which are in contrast to the Church's previous self-image. In 2018, Schneider presented the first strategic positioning of the NAK. In it he expressed himself critical of what he considered to be the excessive position of the church as an institution in relation to the importance of the gospel in the past, as he has repeatedly done before. Compared to his predecessors in office, Chief Apostle Schneider also expressed himself more clearly on socio-political issues such as B. on the social influence of social networks , environmental protection ( preservation of creation ) and the refugee issue .
At Pentecost 2019, the NAK has fundamentally renewed its official hierarchy . The further ordination in priestly offices from evangelist to bishop is omitted without replacement, as has been the case for the District Apostle ministry since 2017 . In addition, Chief Apostle Schneider announced a statement and decision regarding the ordination of women in the course of these changes .
- Erhard Ludwig: On the effectiveness of religious ideologies among citizens of the GDR, demonstrated using the example of the New Apostolic Church in the Erfurt district . Dissertation, Humboldt University Berlin 1969, .
- Christine E. King: The Nazi State and the New Religions: Five Case Studies in Non-Conformity. Studies in Religion and Society 4. New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1982.
- Michael König & Jürgen Marschall: The New Apostolic Church in the Nazi era and its effects up to the present. 2nd edition, Feldafing 1994.
- Helmut Obst : Apostles and prophets of modern times - founders of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-55438-9 .
- Johannes Albrecht Schröter: The Catholic Apostolic Congregations in Germany and the "Geyer Case". Tectum Wissenschaftsverlag; Edition: 3rd, verb. (October 15, 2004), ISBN 3-8288-8724-4
- Network of Apostolic History : The apostolic congregations in transition - 1863 to 1900. Edition Punctum Saliens , Nürtingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-939291-03-9 .
- Network of Apostolic History: The Church on the Way - the Apostolic Communities through the 20th Century. Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-939291-06-0 .
- Olaf Wieland: From the blessings of working together. The adaptation strategy of the New Apostolic Church in the GDR (= Free Church Research. 21). Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-934109-13-1 .
- Volker Wissen: The conflict between Bischoff and Kuhlen . Remscheid, Re-Di-Roma-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-86870-463-1 .
- New Apostolic Church International: Festschrift for the anniversary “One Faith - One Goal. 150 years of the New Apostolic Church ” (PDF). Edited by Wilhelm Leber , Zurich 2013.
- Dominik Schmolz: A Brief History of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition, Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 .
- Karl-Peter Krauss: The membership development of the New Apostolic Church in the Nazi era: decoding of a master’s story? . Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, 2017, ISBN 3-631-73539-1 .
- New Apostolic Church: Festschrift for the Jubilee “One Faith - One Goal. 150 years of the New Apostolic Church ”. Editor: Wilhelm Leber. P. 16.
- Johannes Albrecht Schröter (1998): The Catholic Apostolic Congregations in Germany and the "Geyer Case" . Tectum-Verlag, pp. 228-241
- Helmut Obst (1996): New Apostolic Church - the exclusive end-time church? . Friedrich Bahn Verlag, pp. 39–40.
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 24-44 .
- ibid., P. 39
- Helmut Obst (2000): Apostles and Prophets of the Modern Age . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, p. 74
- Lothar Gassmann : The Geyerianer. In: Handbook Orientation. Retrieved April 25, 2014 .
- Helmut Obst (2000): Apostles and Prophets of the Modern Age . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, pp. 97-98
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 48/52.
- pamphlet Defense of the patriotically loyal New Apostolic Church against enemy attacks , which was published between 1906 and 1910, testifies to this ; compare Obst (2000) apostles and prophets of the modern age ; P. 112 ff.
- Peter Johanning: Lecture on the history of development: "Suspect, because apolitical". In: nak.org. February 7, 2003, accessed November 22, 2019 .
- Helmut Obst: Apostles and prophets of the modern age. Founder of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries . 4th edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-55438-9 , pp. 121 .
- NEUAPOSTOLISCHE RUNDSCHAU Journal for the promotion of the religious life of the New Apostolic congregations at home and abroad. 24th year. No. 40 Sunday, September 29, 1918
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 58.
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 1st edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2013, p. 60 .
- Helmut Obst (2000): Apostles and Prophets of the Modern Age . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag. P. 55.
- Mathias Eberle (Network Apostolic History): "You, Jesus in the Apostle, ..." - the teaching of the New Light. Lectures on Church History - Part 6, held on February 21, 2013 in Brockhagen
- Text of a discussion event on the topic: New Apostolic Church. Manfred Gebhard, February 9, 1997, accessed November 24, 2019 .
- Der Herold , July 1897, pp. 3-4.
- Fruit, Helmut. New Apostolic Church: the exclusive end-time church? . Friedrich Bahn Verlag, 1996; P. 41
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 1st edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2013, p. 45-48 .
- Helmut Obst: Apostles and prophets of the modern age. Founder of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. 4th edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-55438-9 , pp. 132-133.
- Mathias Eberle (Network Apostolic History): "You, Jesus in the Apostle, ..." - the teaching of the New Light. Lectures on Church History - Part 6, held on February 21, 2013 in Brockhagen
- His Last Word , edited by the College of Apostles, 1905, p. 10
- z. B. in Unter Männer (1989) by Burkhard Schröder on the conflicts in the Apostle district of Wiesbaden
- Tobias Mai: The teaching of the New Apostolic Church in the light of Holy Scripture . 2nd Edition. Christian Media Service Hünfeld, 2011, ISBN 3-939833-29-0 , p. 197 .
- Helmut Obst: Apostles and prophets of the modern age. Founder of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. 4th edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-55438-9 , pp. 115-121.
- In the church magazine Wächterstimme of October 1, 1956, for example, the written word of God (i.e. the Bible without the help of the apostolic sermon) was referred to as “stale cistern water”, which should clarify the contrast.
- Harald Lamprecht: Understanding the Holy Scriptures - 7th meeting between the Evangelical and New Apostolic Church in Central Germany. In: confessio.de. April 28, 2016, accessed November 24, 2019 .
- MÜNCH, P. (2013). Baptism theology and understanding of the New Apostolic Church in the past and present. MD. Material service of the denominational institute Bensheim , 64 (3), pp. 47–52.
- z. B. Article 3 of the Statutes of the General Christian Apostolic Mission of 1866
- Johannes Albrecht Schröter: The Catholic-Apostolic Congregations in Germany and the "Geyer Case" . Tectum, 2004, p. 263 .
- At a lecture by the Network Apostolic History in Brockhagen in 2012 , the New Apostolic historian Manfred Henke was able to point out various sources that reveal the critical view of Christianity as a whole as secular and apostate (“Babylon”) in Catholic-Apostolic writings. At the same time, however, their clergy never saw themselves in hostility to the established churches and advocated temporary residence in the respective ancestral or preferred churches.
- Helmut Obst: Apostles and prophets of the modern age. Founder of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. 4th edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000, p. 123.
- Müller-Bahr, Sebastian: Sacramental acts on the dead in the apostolic congregations , in Eberle, Mathias [ed.] Construction, expansion, separations - The development of the apostolic communities in the first third of the 20th century , Nürtingen, 2009, p. 190 -227, ISBN 978-3-939291-04-6
- File RKM 23418 Federal Archives Potsdam
- Helmut Obst (1996): Obst, Helmut (1996). New Apostolic Church: the exclusive end-time church ?. Friedrich Bahn Verlag. Pp. 52-53; Quoting from: König, M., & Marschall, J. (1994). The New Apostolic Church in the Nazi era. P. 6.
- In: Our family of April 5, 1940.
- In: Our family of April 20, 1940.
- In: Our family from July and September 5, 1941.
- On the blessing of working together. NAK is supposed to deal with the past in the GDR and National Socialism. In: religionsreport.de. Retrieved November 30, 2014 .
- The New Apostolic Church from 1938 to 1955. (PDF) Developments and problems. (No longer available online.) December 4, 2007, archived from the original ; Retrieved April 25, 2014 .
- Peter Johanning (2003). "Old and New Times": A contribution to the history of the development of the New Apostolic Church . Lecture at the academy conference: “Return to the ethnic religion? Faith and Nation in National Socialism and Today ”, held on February 1, 2003.
- Mathias Eberle (October 7, 2011): The New Apostolic Church and National Socialism - a sketch of a reappraisal . Lecture given in Elstal.
- Helmut Obst (2000): Apostles and Prophets of the Modern Age . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, p. 51
- ibid., P. 53
- In Our Family of December 17, 1933, the mentioned sales advertisements can be found on pages 35 and 38.
- Christine E. King (1982): The Nazi state and the new religions: five case studies in non-conformity . New York; Toronto: E. Mellen Press; P. 136
- Karl-Peter Krauss (2017): The membership development of the New Apostolic Church in the Nazi era: Decoding a master's story?
- Armin Hoffmann: The New Apostolic Church in the Nazi Era - The Example of Württemberg (February 11, 2016). In: Forum Fasanenhof. February 2016, accessed December 5, 2019 .
- Michael Koch: The gray tones of the NAK under the brown rule. In: Glaubenskultur.de. February 20, 2016, accessed December 5, 2019 .
- In: Oldenburger Sonntagsblatt of November 21, 1954.
- Kurt Hutten: seers, brooders, enthusiasts: the book of traditional sects and special religious movements. 15th edition. Quell-Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-7918-2130-X , p. 477 f.
- Erhard Ludwig: On the effectiveness of religious ideologies among citizens of the GDR demonstrated using the example of the New Apostolic Church in the Erfurt district. (PDF; 1 MB). Dissertation. 1969, p. 11.
- Statement by the church leadership: dealing with the GDR era is serious! In: nak.org. July 9, 2004, accessed on April 23, 2014 (comment as a result of "excited Internet discussions").
- Olaf Wieland: From the blessing of joint work. New Apostolic Church and the Ministry for State Security (MfS) of the former GDR. Berlin Dialog. Information and viewpoints on religious encounters, BD 31, July 2014, .
- Olaf Wieland (2014): “From the blessing of common work”: New Apostolic Church (NAK) and the Ministry for State Security (MfS) of the former GDR . In: Berliner Dialog 31.
- Olaf Wieland (May 8, 2016): “The devil adapts to the times” : Report with constructive-critical comments on the evening in the New Apostolic Church in Merseburg “The New Apostolic Church in the GDR” on April 12, 2016.
- SPIEGEL (October 30, 1995): Sects: Extremely strict ; accessed on February 1, 2020
- Archives for Christian Democratic Politics of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Sankt Augustin, VII-011 No. 1557; In: Olaf Wieland (May 8, 2016): “The devil adapts to the times”: Report with constructive-critical comments on the themed evening in the New Apostolic Church in Merseburg
- Olaf Wieland: From the blessing of joint work. The adaptation strategy of the New Apostolic Church in the GDR , in: Free Church Research 21, Münster 2012, p. 317.
- IN THE Apostle. High-ranking representatives of the New Apostolic Church were informers. In: naktuell.de. July 14, 2004, accessed on April 23, 2014 (article from the evangelical weekly newspaper “Die Kirche”).
- Huber, A. (2018). On the history of the New Apostolic Church in the GDR. Evangelical Theologie , 78 (3), pp. 193-206. DOI: 10.14315 / evth-2018-780305
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , pp. 113–130.
- The New Apostolic Church in the period 1938–1955. Developments and Problems , Working Group History of the New Apostolic Church International, written on November 6, 2007
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , pp. 146–152.
- The New Apostolic Church in the period 1938–1955. Developments and Problems , Working Group History of the New Apostolic Church International, written on November 6, 2007; P. 22
- ibid .; Pp. 27–28, footer
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 1st edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2013, p. 131-145 .
- 'Guardian Voice' from April 15, 1955
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 1st edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2013, p. 159-175 .
- The last one. NEW APOSTOLIC. In: SPIEGEL. September 14, 1960, accessed August 7, 2019 .
- Johann Gottfried Bischoff, Susanne Scheibler; Friedrich Bischoff Verlag Frankfurt am Main, 1997 edition, 1997 edition, page 119 ff
- 'Our Family', Volume 56, Number 2, Page 19
- Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber comments on the “message”. In: New Apostolic Church International (NACI). Retrieved January 31, 2015 .
- Joint declaration of reconciliation signed. In: New Apostolic Church International (NACI). Retrieved January 31, 2015 .
- Obst, H. (1996). New Apostolic Church: the exclusive end-time church? . Friedrich Bahn Verlag. P. 57
- The New Apostolic Church in the period 1938–1955. Developments and Problems , Working Group History of the New Apostolic Church International, written on November 6, 2007; P. 21
- A famous slogan from Chief Apostle Ernst Fahrtisen was: "Succession to the end - everything else is idle!", Quoted from Schmolz (2016): Brief history of the New Apostolic Church , 4th edition, Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen, ISBN 978-3- 939291-08-4 , p. 192
- New Apostolic Church International: Questions and Answers about the New Apostolic Faith, Friedrich Bischoff Verlag, Frankfurt oJ (1992), question 253
- Gloria Geissler: Away from the dictatorial. In: Augsburger Allgemeine. January 3, 2017, accessed December 8, 2019 .
- Dannwolf, Siegfried (1997). God's lost children: an ex-priest of the New Apostolic Church accuses . Poppy Publishing.
- New Apostolic Church International: Questions and Answers about the New Apostolic Faith, Friedrich Bischoff Verlag, Frankfurt undated (1992), p. 156, question 239
- One example is the publication Dangers for Body and Soul for Church Youth in the Hamburg District , which was published in March 1993 ; published on wächterstimme.org; accessed on February 3, 2020.
- Sects: Extremely strict. In: Der Spiegel. October 30, 1995. Retrieved November 29, 2019 .
- Nina Magoley: "I have been ruined": New Apostolic Church controversial (Part 1). In: WDR. June 3, 2013, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Jens Joachim: Leber relies on continuity and change. In: naktuell.de. May 18, 2005, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 185 .
- Georg Schmid: Who jumps out of the ark back into the flood? Leaving end-time churches as a psychological and social problem. In: relinfo.ch. 1995, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Torsten Graef (2000): The socialization of children and young people in totalitarian sects from a developmental psychological point of view, using the example of the New Apostolic Church and Jehovah's Witnesses . Diploma thesis in the social work department, Koblenz.
- RELIGIONS AND SECTORS: "I have been mentally abused". In: world. Springer Verlag, March 9, 2014, accessed on November 29, 2019 .
- Olaf Stoffel: Accused: the New Apostolic Church: Experiences of a dropout . Gütersloher Verl.-Haus, Gütersloh, ISBN 3-579-01139-1 , p. 97-100 .
- Nina Magoley: "Hey, do we want to talk?": New Apostolic Church controversial (Part 2). In: WDR. June 8, 2013, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Rainer Brandes: New New Apostolic Church: Slow opening of the previously exclusive religious community. In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur. July 27, 2013, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Official Journal (1962), p. 53; cited by Dominik Schmolz (2016)
- Susanne Scheibler: Walter Schmidt (official church biography), Friedrich Bischoff Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1997 edition, p. 78; Quoted in Schmolz (2016): Brief history of the New Apostolic Church , pp. 186–187.
- Schmolz (2016): Brief History of the New Apostolic Church , 4th edition, Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 183; 190-191
- Felicitas Kock: "Someone who is another". Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 14, 2011, accessed on August 12, 2019 .
- Cinema trailer alias by Jens Junker (2010). YouTube, September 28, 2010, accessed August 12, 2019 .
- Official Journal - bi-monthly publication for the officials of the New Apostolic Church. 56th year No. 19, October 1, 1982, pages 151-152 and No. 20, October 15, 1982, pages 153-154.
- Andreas Rother: The father of the principle of "personal responsibility". In: nac.today. February 20, 2015, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- Andreas Fincke: The New Apostolic Church in transition: Between growth and reform backlog. (PDF) Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauungsfragen (EZW) Berlin, November 1998, accessed on November 29, 2019 .
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 224-231 .
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 219-220 .
- On their fruits (with Walter Krappatsch), 1990
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 220-221 .
- Richard Fehr in: Our Family , No. 12 of 1991, June 20, 1991.
- Our Family , 20, 1996; quoted from Schmolz (2016): Brief history of the New Apostolic Church .
- New Apostolic Church International: The youth asks - The Chief Apostle answers. In: waechterstimme.org. 1997, accessed November 29, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church International: Council of Apostolic Communities in Europe (September 2, 2000)
- New Apostolic Church International: Working meeting of apostolic communities (May 16, 2001).
- Dr. Harald Lamprecht: Ecumenical. The New Apostolic Church according to the Catechism. In: confessio. July 24, 2013, accessed August 7, 2020 .
- New Apostolic Church International - Project Group Ecumenism: New Apostolic Church and Ecumenism of December 8, 2007 (revised version)
- "New Apostolic Church and Ecumenism", Volker Kühnle, January 3, 2008, p. 8/14
- "Maran Atha - Our Lord is coming", Verlag Friedrich Bischoff GmbH, Frankfurt, 1998, pp. 84–85
- Katja Rakow: Recent Developments in the New Apostolic Church: A Documentation of the Opening Process . Weissensee Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89998-036-0 , p. 47-109 .
- NAK International: Statement: Understanding Baptism and Sealing in the New Apostolic Church. (PDF) In: nak.org. January 24, 2006, accessed August 29, 2019 .
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 1st edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2013, p. 244 .
- Dr. Harald Lamprecht: The shift in exclusivity. New Apostolic Church presents a new understanding of the church. In: confessio.de. Evangelical Association of Saxony, April 14, 2011, accessed on August 29, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church International - Ecumenical Project Group: Instructions for the participation of the New Apostolic Church in ecumenical events of May 12, 2006
- Richard Fehr: Letter of condolence on the death of Pope John Paul II. (PDF) In: Neuapostolische Kirche International. May 4, 2005, accessed August 23, 2019 .
- NAK International: Chief Apostle congratulates Pope Benedict XVI. In: nak.org. April 13, 2007, accessed August 23, 2019 .
- Wilhelm Leber: Chief Apostle congratulates the new Pope Francis. (PDF) In: nak.org. March 14, 2013, accessed August 23, 2019 .
- NAK International: Questions and Answers about the New Apostolic Faith . Friedrich Bischoff Verlag, 1992 (questions 156-162).
- Peter Johanning: Reformation means change - thoughts on Reformation Day. In: nac.today. October 31, 2016, accessed September 10, 2019 .
- Peter Johanning: Martin Luther - a man of the church. In: nac.today. October 31, 2015, accessed September 10, 2019 .
- NAK Catechism, Section 11.2.4
- ideaSpektrum: “We can learn a lot from other churches”. (PDF) In: ethikinstitut.de. 2006, accessed August 29, 2019 .
- Jens Zimmer (October 2003): Issues Management Church Public Relations - On how the public relations officers of the New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia deal with the topic of ecumenism . On: naktuell.de; accessed on January 31, 2020.
- NAK International (July 12, ): Official announcement: Participation in ecumenical events ; accessed on January 31, 2020.
- Michael Koch (June 15, 2004): Uprising of the North American. Belief culture
- Michael Koch (January 16, 2007): The Hamburg question: Blankenese is facing a difficult situation - the NAK too . Belief culture; accessed on January 31, 2020.
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 49-50 .
- Network Apostolic History (2015): Unrest in Hessen - Motives and Development of a Church Split ; held in Merseburg on September 1st, 2015.
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 54-56 .
- ibid., P. 57
- Helmut Obst: Apostles and prophets of the modern age. Founder of Christian religious communities in the 19th and 20th centuries . 4th edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-55438-9 , pp. 194-200 .
- ibid. Pp. 65-78
- Michael Koch: The Birth of a Myth - Part 11: Divergent tendencies in the NAK of the post-war years. In: Glaubenskultur.de; published on December 22, 2011
- Dominik Schmolz: Brief history of the New Apostolic Church . 4th edition. Edition Punctum Saliens, Steinhagen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939291-08-4 , p. 131-176 .
- The emergence of the dogma that the Lord would come during Johann Gottfried Bischoff's lifetime - A reflection of the years 1945–1952 by Michael Koch. In: Church on the Way - the Apostolic Communities through the 20th Century. , Edition Punctum Saliens, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-939291-06-0
- Bernd Schuknecht: Youth Day in Düsseldorf: 30,000 young believers celebrate at the fair. In: RP Online. June 5, 2019, accessed December 1, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church and the Apostolic Community are reconciled. In: oekumene-ack.de. Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany (ACK), December 11, 2014, accessed on December 1, 2019 .
- Peter Johanning: Reconciliation after 96 years. In: nac.today. March 13, 2017, accessed December 1, 2019 .
- NAK International: "We want to make people followers of Christ". In: nak.org. June 24, 2018, accessed September 21, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church Chief Apostle Schneider Q&A On Current Church Doctrine. In: YouTube. Retrieved September 21, 2019 .
- ejt: current journal of May 24, 2009, page 6; Quote: “I can well understand that some of you do not like the overall NAK package. Traditions and traditional rules can be thrown away, but keep Christ, that is the most important thing. ”, Uttered during the European Youth Day 2009 in Düsseldorf.
- New Apostolic Church: Social Media - A Question of Dealing. In: YouTube. July 14, 2017, accessed September 21, 2019 .
- Chief Apostle Schneider in the divine service on November 16, 2014 in São Paulo, from Our Family 3/2015.
- Andreas Rother: Three times in action as a counterpart. In: nac.today. December 3, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church: Chief Apostle calls for help for refugees. YouTube, September 6, 2015, accessed September 21, 2019 .
- New Apostolic Church: Understanding of Ministry - The Chief Apostle Video. YouTube, April 9, 2019, accessed September 21, 2019 .