Apostolic Church (denomination)
Logo of the Apostolic Church (in the UK)
The Apostolic Church is a Christian denomination that came from the Pentecostal movement. The term "Apostolic" represents the denomination's belief that it follows the teachings of the twelve apostles who followed Christ. With roots in the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival, it seeks to stand for first-century Christianity in its faith, practices, and government.
The purpose of the denomination is summed up by one prominent Apostolic writer as:
to make known world-wide the forgiveness of sins through the atoning death of Christ; the baptism in water by immersion; the baptism of the Holy Ghost with signs following; the nine gifts of the Holy Ghost; the five gifts of our Ascended Lord; and the vision referred to in the New Testament as "the Church which is His Body".
On 5 November 1909, William Oliver Hutchinson started a Pentecostal Church in Britain at the Emmanuel Mission Hall in Bournemouth in Dorset. It soon became the headquarters of a large network of Pentecostal assemblies, known as Apostolic Faith Church.
Rev Daniel Powell Williams became an Apostle in the rebirth of the movement.[which?] On 8 January 1916, 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). Since 1916, the two groups have developed along very different doctrinal paths.
In 1917 a second group centred on Birmingham affiliated to the ACW. The following year the Burning Bush Pentecostal Congregation in Glasgow, 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.
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 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. 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 directed them to form administrative union: Pen-y-groes was to be the administrative centre; Glasgow, the financial centre; and Bradford the missionary centre.
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 of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
- The unity of the Godhead and the trinity of the Persons therein.
- The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.
- The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ and His second coming.
- Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.
- The baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.
- The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.
- The sacraments of baptism by immersion, and of the Lord’s Supper.
- The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.
- Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.
- The possibility of falling from grace.
- The obligatory nature of 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."
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), 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.
Equippers Churches and Activate Churches
Equippers Churches, and Activate Churches form significant networks of churches within The ACTS Churches New Zealand Movement (formerly the Apostolic Church of New Zealand) that is under the leadership of Ps Sam Monk. Equippers Churches is a global network with individual churches in New Zealand, Tonga, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Philippines, the United States and Italy. The Equippers Church network comes under the leadership of Ps Sam and Kathy Monk. Activate Churches is another network within ACTS churches led by Ps Sheridyn and Jan Rodgers based in Hamilton.
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.
- Turnbull, Thomas Napier (1959). What God Hath Wrought: A Short History of the Apostolic Church. Bradford: The Puritan Press. p. 11.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-05-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- 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.
- Constitution of the Apostolic Church, p.8
- Constitution of the Apostolic Church, p.8
- Weeks, Gordon (2003). Chapter Thirty Two: Part of a History of the Apostolic Church 1900–2000. p. 140.
- Weeks, Gordon (2003). Chapter Thirty Two: Part of a History of the Apostolic Church 1900–2000. p. 228.
- Apostolic Church in the United Kingdom (official website)
- Apostolic Church in the United States of America (official website)
- Acts Global Churches in Australia (official website)
- Apostolic Church in South Africa (official website)
- Apostolic Church in Ghana (official website)
- Apostolic Church in Nigeria (official website)
- Apostolic Church in Belgium (official website)
- Ascension Fellowships in the United States of America (official website)
- Acts churches in New Zealand (official website)
- Acts churches in the United Kingdom (official website)
- Equippers Church (official website)
- Activate Churches (official website)
- City Church Christchurch (official website)