10 page paper written for Power, Culture and Ideology class. Explains the origin of the Apostolic Christian Church. Also tries to explain the beliefs, activities, and symbols associated with this faith. Includes 4 references.
Samuel Froehlich, a young seminary student in Switzerland, founded the Apostolic Christian church in the 1830's. His goal was to organize a church based on a literal interpretation of the Bible (Welcome Book). He emphasized the verse, "...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Welcome Book) Froehlich began preaching this gospel in private houses and open fields. He was constantly in danger of being jailed for this, and had to travel at night to avoid being arrested (Philtoth.com). He married, but because he did not belong to the Protestant State Church the officials did not recognize his marriage as legitimate. His wife was thrown in jail for prostitution every time one of their children was born. In 1844 he was finally banished to France (Philtoth.com). Over the next thirty-five years, 110 congregations were formed in Europe (Welcome Book).
Froehlich's attitudes and Biblical understandings were shaped in part by the Anabaptists. These were radical reformers of the sixteenth century. The Anabaptists believed that scriptures alone constituted the only true foundation for life, and they were to be strictly followed (Welcome Book). The church has continued to follow New Testament teachings, and to regard the entire word of the Bible as infallible and inerrant.
The church was known in Europe as Evangilical Baptist, but became known in America as Apostolic Christian. The name, Apostolic Christian, was chosen because the church follows the teaching of Christ and the Apostles (Welcome Book). The first Apostolic Christian church of America was established in New York in 1847. A year later, another church was formed in Ohio (Welcome Book).
The congregation first grew primarily in the farming areas of the Midwest. The church flourished as immigrants came to America from Europe. Early ministers usually came from Europe. Starting in the 1920's, most of the new Apostolic churches were founded in urban areas. This is because many people were leaving farming to look for careers in the industrial area. While most of the larger churches still exist in rural towns and villages, there is now a blend of city and rural churches (Welcome Book).
Today, the Church consists of roughly eighty congregations in twenty states. There are also two churches in Canada, one in Mexico, and two in Japan. About 20,000 people attend the Apostolic Christian Church. The total number of members is approximately 11,000. Children and unbaptized adults (called "friends of the truth") represent another 9,000 (Welcome Book).
The Apostolic Christian Church's policy is based on a literal understanding of the Bible. They believe that the sole reason of existence is to glorify God. The Bible is recognized as God-inspired, infallible, and inerrant. The church seeks to follow the standards of holiness that they find in the Holy Scriptures (Welcome Book).
The prime motive of an Apostolic Christian is to achieve the goal of reaching heaven. Believers see themselves as "pilgrims" and "strangers" in this short earthly life. They believe that they are simply walking on a "narrow" pathway to eternal life in heaven. The Scriptures use explicit adjectives such as "pilgrims", "strangers", and "narrow way," and the church takes them seriously (Welcome Book).
The church believes that only spiritual things will last forever. A believer's value system lessens the importance of material and earthly things, such as wealth and status. This is because they will eventually fade away, and they could wear down one's spiritual determination. Emphasis is placed on things that have eternal value. A believer's focus is set on the things above, not on the things of the earth...