Apostolic Church (denomination)

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Apostolic Church
Apostolic Church Logo.JPG
Logo of the Apostolic Church (in the UK)
Ammanford, Wales
Members15,000,000 (2014)

The Apostolic Church is a Christian denomination and Pentecostal movement that arose from the Welsh Revival. The term "Apostolic" represents the denomination's belief that church government is to be exercised through the New Testament ministry of apostles (working in conjunction with New Testament prophets) in order to experience the same kind of leadership as that exercised by the original apostles who followed Christ. Gaining world-wide attention in the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival, it seeks to stand for first-century Christianity in its faith, practices, and government.[1]


The Apostolic Temple, Pen-y-groes
The Apostolic Church School of Ministry, Pen-y-groes

In 1911, William Oliver Hutchinson founded the Apostolic Faith Church denomination, in Bournemouth, England.[2]

On 8 January 1916, Daniel Powell Williams and a number of the Welsh assemblies separated from Hutchinson and the Apostolic Faith Church over doctrinal matters, creating the Apostolic Church in Wales (ACW).[3][4] Since 1916, the two groups have developed along very different doctrinal paths.[clarification needed]

In 1917 a second group centred on Birmingham affiliated to the ACW. The following year the Burning Bush Pentecostal Congregation in Glasgow,[3] came into co-operation with the ACW but remained independent. In the same year, a group using the name "Apostolic Church" in Hereford also came into co-operation with the ACW.[3]

In 1920, Ben Fisher, who was the leader of an independent Pentecostal congregation in Belfast, Northern Ireland, invited Williams to minister in his church. The group then affiliated to the ACW becoming their first mission field.

H V Chanter was the leader of the Apostolic Church of God (ACG); a large group of Pentecostal congregations headquartered in Bradford. During 1921, Chanter attended the Christmas convention of the ACW in Pen-y-groes, Carmarthenshire. A prophetic word[clarification needed] given in Bradford directed the leaders to invite the Welsh leaders to join them for a meeting. They met 1922, with another wider meeting arranged for Easter. At the Easter convention, leaders from most of the ACW congregations and those affiliated with them met in Bradford.

The 1922 Easter meeting in Bradford was the beginning of the Apostolic Church.[citation needed] Four main groups attended: the Apostolic Church in Wales; the Burning Bush congregation; the Apostolic Church in Hereford; and the Apostolic Church of God. A prophetic word[clarification needed] directed them to form an administrative union: Pen-y-groes was to be the administrative centre; Glasgow, the financial centre; and Bradford the missionary centre.

In 2016, the denomination had 15 million members in 90 countries.[5]


The Apostolic Church views the Scriptures as the supreme authority and understands them to be the inerrant Word of God. The soteriology of the Apostolic Church is neither uniformly Reformed nor Arminian. Ecclesiology has taken a prominent place in the theology of the movement. The Church is defined as the Body of Christ and the headship of Christ is given prominence. Christ is seen to express his headship through the ascension ministries (a reference to Ephesians 4:7-11)[clarification needed] [6]of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

Its theological beliefs are summarized in its confession of faith, known as the Tenets, which read as follows:[7][8]

  1. Jesus is God the Father in creation (Genesis 1:1), He is the Son in redemption (John 14:18), and the Holy Ghost in re-generation (Acts 2:38). (Deut.6:4; Isa.41:4, 42:8, 43:11, 44:6, 45:5, 46:9, 47:10, 48:12; Col.1:13-19, 2:9; James 2:19).
  2. The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.
  3. The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ and His second coming.
  4. Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ by receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost by the evidence of speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance(ability).
  5. The baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.
  6. The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.
  7. The sacraments of baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of sins, and of the Lord’s Supper.
  8. The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.
  9. Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.
  10. The security of the believer as he remains in Christ (not to be mistaken as the false once saved always saved doctrine).
  11. The privilege of paying tithes and offerings.

The Constitution of the Apostolic Church in the United Kingdom states that "These Tenets shall forever be the doctrinal standard of the Apostolic Church and shall not be subject to change in any way whatsoever."[9]

Annual conference[edit]

Ablaze UK (formerly The International Apostolic Convention) has taken place annually over the first week in August since 1916. Until 2002 it was held in Pen-y-groes, Carmarthenshire. From 2003 to 2011 it was held in Swansea, and from 2012 the convention has taken place in Cheltenham.


Pen-y-groes is the site of the Apostolic Church School of Ministry (founded as the Apostolic Church International Bible School in 1933),[10] the oldest Pentecostal college in Great Britain. The College is currently closed and the facilities are now being used by a Korean Church as a Bible College. It has also been used as a rehab centre for Teen Challenge.

There are now also Bible Schools in eleven other countries.[11]


In the past the standard hymnal of the Apostolic Church has been the Redemption Hymnal, which was produced by a joint committee from the Apostolic Church, the Elim Pentecostal Church, and the Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland. Molwch Dduw was the hymnal used in Welsh language Apostolic assemblies and contained many hymns by D.P. Williams and other early Apostolic figures. Another hymnal, Hymns at the Holy Table, was produced by Ian MacPherson for use in the Apostolic Church and other British Pentecostal assemblies at the Breaking of Bread. Chorus books, such as Gospel Quintet Choruses, Gates of Praise, and Glorious Vision Melodies, were also frequently published during the course of the 20th Century.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Turnbull, Thomas Napier (1959). What God Hath Wrought: A Short History of the Apostolic Church. Bradford: The Puritan Press. p. 11.
  2. ^ Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2013, p. 101
  3. ^ a b c Kay, William K. (2002). "Apostolic Church". In Stanley M. Burgess (ed.). The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. pp. 322–323. ISBN 0310224810.
  4. ^ William Kay, Anne Dyer, "European Pentecostalism", BRILL, Royaume-Uni, 2011, p. 44
  5. ^ Marcus Jones, Apostolic Church celebrates 100th anniversary, premier.org.uk, UK, July 30, 2016
  6. ^ Hirsch, Catchim, Alan, Tim (2012). The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
  7. ^ Constitution of the Apostolic Church, p.8
  8. ^ The Holy Bible
  9. ^ Constitution of the Apostolic Church, p.8
  10. ^ Weeks, Gordon (2003). Chapter Thirty Two: Part of a History of the Apostolic Church 1900–2000. p. 140.
  11. ^ Weeks, Gordon (2003). Chapter Thirty Two: Part of a History of the Apostolic Church 1900–2000. p. 228.

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