(07.06.2014) Who are the children of God? This question was discussed with around 200 interested listeners, by the Speaker Peter Münch. He is a member of the "Apostolic History eV Network", established since 2008, studied Protestant theology and is currently working as a secondary school teacher.
Peter Münch dealt with the career and Change of baptism and ecclesiology in the New Apostolic Church. Over the centuries there have been some exciting developments.
He posed the question, 'Who are the children of God', at the beginning, before a thesis of the English Apostles from 1863. They also were of the opinion that the church of Jesus Christ is a community of all baptized Christians with water. With the career and work of Heinrich Geyer, this assumption already changed already. He saw in the water baptism, the baptismal service, which was carried out on children, that the Apostles' laying on of hands was performed only in adults.
The preparation of all Christians for the second coming of Christ was his intention. Apostle Schwarz, who was active at the time, already baptised with water and the Spirit, both also performed in children. The focus, for him, was however on only one Church, the New Apostolic congregation.
In the period 1878-1905 Heinrich Geyer left the community. The effective time of Friedrich Krebs, the next Apostle then began. In this phase, the understanding of baptism varies greatly. Water baptism was understood as liberation from original sin as well as for inclusion in the church. The sealing act (in meaning of dispensation the Holy Spirit), you could see as a pledge of future glory. Only Apostolics sealed by this understanding, had hereditary claim to the kingdom of God.
In the joint time of Herrmann Niehaus and J.G. Bischoff, water baptism became less important while Sealing grew in importance. Niehaus characterised the concept of God's relationship, that should emerge from sealing.
In the long period from 1930 to 2006, relatively little changed to the baptismal understanding. Factors that can be cited are: Water baptism is part of the rebirth and is therefore a pre-requisite. From this period comes the phrase: "Baptism is the covenant of a good conscience with God." However, the essential part is the sealing of an apostle. From this phase, stems the statement of JG Bischoff, that only New Apostolic Christians are children of God.
In 2006, a change in the teaching occurred. Water baptism is now understood as the incorporation into the Church and the Body of Christ. The result is an initial close relationship with God but sealing is still required. Water baptism is no longer dependent on an apostle. The validity of baptism performed in other Christian churches, is now recognized.
Since 2010, the New Apostolic Church sees itself as a work of God in the Church of Christ. Here, all the faithful are baptized. The apostle ministry must feed into all parts of the church.
Peter Münch interprets the statements of the new Catechism of the New Apostolic Church, to the effect that the children of God are only sealed when they are faithful New Apostolic Christians. At the conclusion of his presentation, Münch speculated on what the future might look like for the baptismal and understanding of the New Apostolic Church. He sees development areas in the water baptism and in being a child of God - and would like the acknowledgement of non-Apostolic offices.
He sees Development potential in the Apostle-office or the New Apostolic Church and in the ecumenism. In this context, he quoted Albrecht Schröter, who once said about the work of the Apostles: "An apostle is also there for those who do not recognize him."