Apostolic Christian Church

Last updated

The Apostolic Christian Church (ACC) is a worldwide Christian denomination [1] from the Anabaptist tradition that practices credobaptism, closed communion, greeting other believers with a holy kiss, a capella worship in some branches (in others, singing is with piano), and the headcovering of women during services. [1] The Apostolic Christian Church only ordains men, who are authorized to administer baptism, the Lord's Supper, and the laying on of hands.



The origins of the Apostolic Christian Church are found in the conversion experience of Samuel Heinrich Froehlich [2] (1803–57) of Switzerland. Froehlich was baptized in 1832 and soon founded the Evangelical Baptist Church. The first American church was formed in Lewis County, New York, in 1847 by Benedict Weyeneth (1819–87), who had been sent by Froehlich at the request of Joseph Virkler, a Lewis County minister in an Alsatian Amish-Mennonite church. In 1848 a church was formed in Sardis, Ohio. The church experienced primary growth in the Midwest, where many congregations gained membership from other Anabaptist denominations, chiefly local Amish and Mennonite churches. Though sometimes referred to as the New Amish, these believers generally called themselves Evangelical Baptist. In 1917, the church adopted a uniform name: Apostolic Christian Church.

A sketch of Froehlich; the only known surviving likeness of him. SamuelFroehlich.jpg
A sketch of Froehlich; the only known surviving likeness of him.


There are currently at least five main divisions of this church in America. In the early 1900s a disagreement arose over the practice of some European customs (namely, the wearing of a mustache) and the church split into two bodies (from 1901 to 1911). In 1932 a second schism originated from a letter sent by elders in Europe asking for greater adherence to traditional teachings and practices. Those adhering to the request of the letter separated themselves from the Apostolic Christian Church of America and became known as the Christian Apostolic Church (later the German Apostolic Christian Church). The Apostolic Christian Church of America did not retain German language preaching. It is a common misconception that German language preaching was a primary issue in the division.[ citation needed ]

Other divisions and smaller groups

The European German language bodies (Neutäufer) have also faced divisions. Although once united throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland, there are now four sides. The following two (one could say also three) sides belong to the beard (moustache)-accepting side:

The remainder of Europe is made up of independent congregations in communion:


The conversion experienced by each member varies in timing and detail, but all include repentance for one's sins, making restitution, confessing sins to God while in the presence of an elder of the church, and finding peace with God. The word "convert" is used throughout the denomination to describe anyone who begins repentance but has not been baptized into the church; it does not imply conversion from another denomination or religion, but from the carnal to the spiritual state. Once converts "receive peace from God," this is announced to the church and a baptism date is set. Converts give a testimony before the members of the church prior to the public baptism service, telling the story of their personal conversion experience. This testimony, commonly referred to as a "proving", typically takes place the night before the baptism and is a closed member meeting. Because baptism is identified with a "death to sin" in Romans 6 and other New Testament writings, congregational recognition of the convert's repentance and death to sin is desired prior to baptism. The baptism service is open for anyone to attend and is performed before the entire congregation. Before the baptism takes place, the convert makes a covenant with Christ in the presence of the entire congregation. Once the covenant is made, the convert is fully immersed in water (unless they are physically unable to do so). After the baptism service, there is a laying on of hands by one or more elders and an accompanying consecration prayer. This laying on of hands and prayer of consecration places the seal of the Holy Spirit on the life of the newly baptized. In some of the branches, such as the Nazarene branch, this service is for members and converts only.

Worship, biblical practices and tradition



Biblical practices and tradition


The all-male leadership of an Apostolic Christian church consists of the "elders" of local congregations. The term "elder" has a somewhat different meaning from that in other denominations. Most congregations have one elder, however some have none and in rare instances a congregation may have more than one. The office of elder is seen as equivalent to that of a bishop as described in the epistles of 1 Timothy and Titus. The elder of each congregation has the oversight of the local congregation but is subject to the authority of the other elders throughout the denomination. Once put in place, Ministers, Deacons and Elders can only be removed of their position by death, voluntary retirement or in extreme cases by the national elder body.


Deacons and ministers

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mennonites</span> Anabaptist groups originating in Western Europe

Mennonites are groups of Anabaptist Christian church communities of denominations. The name is derived from the founder of the movement, Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings about Reformed Christianity during the Radical Reformation, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders, with the early teachings of the Mennonites founded on the belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus, which the original Anabaptist followers held with great conviction, despite persecution by various Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant states. Formal Mennonite beliefs were codified in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith in 1632, which affirmed "the baptism of believers only, the washing of the feet as a symbol of servanthood, church discipline, the shunning of the excommunicated, the non-swearing of oaths, marriage within the same church", strict pacifistic physical nonresistance, anti-Catholicism and in general, more emphasis on "true Christianity" involving "being Christian and obeying Christ" however they interpret it from the Holy Bible.

Presbyterianpolity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the presbytery or classis; presbyteries can be grouped into a synod, and presbyteries and synods nationwide often join together in a general assembly. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheran church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA was officially formed on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran church bodies. As of 2021, it has approximately 3.04 million baptized members in 8,724 congregations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church of the Nazarene</span> Evangelical Christian denomination

The Church of the Nazarene is a Christian denomination that emerged in North America from the 19th-century Wesleyan-Holiness movement within Methodism. It is headquartered in Lenexa within Johnson County, Kansas. With its members commonly referred to as Nazarenes, it is the largest denomination in the world aligned with the Wesleyan-Holiness movement and is a member of the World Methodist Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Schwarzenau Brethren</span> German Anabaptist group founded 1708

The Schwarzenau Brethren, the German Baptist Brethren, Dunkers, Dunkards, Tunkers, or sometimes simply called the German Baptists, are an Anabaptist group that dissented from Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed European state churches during the 17th and 18th centuries. German Baptist Brethren emerged in some German-speaking states in western and southwestern parts of the Holy Roman Empire as a result of the Radical Pietist revival movement of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church of God in Christ, Mennonite</span> A Christian Church of Anabaptist heritage

The Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, also called Holdeman Mennonite, is a Christian Church of Anabaptist heritage. Its formation started in 1859 under its first leader, a self-described prophet named John Holdeman (1832-1900), who was a baptized Mennonite. The Church of God in Christ, Mennonite is Conservative Mennonite in doctrine but has stayed away from other Conservative Mennonites because of its one true church doctrine. In 2013 the church had 24,400 baptized members.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)</span> Christian religious denomination

The Church of Jesus Christ is an international Christian religious denomination headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, United States. The church is a Christian Restorationist church, the third-largest church to believe in the Book of Mormon as scripture. The church considers itself the gospel restored, or the original church and good news as established by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, restored upon the earth. It also claims to be the spiritual successor to the Church of Christ, organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830. The church sees Sidney Rigdon as Smith's rightful successor following the assassination of Smith because Rigdon was Smith's first counselor in the First Presidency. The church is not officially affiliated with any other church, organization or denomination.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catholic Apostolic Church</span> Christian denomination founded 1830s

The Catholic Apostolic Church (CAC), also known as the Irvingian Church, is a Christian denomination and Protestant sect which originated in Scotland around 1831 and later spread to Germany and the United States. The tradition to which the Catholic Apostolic Church belongs is sometimes referred to as Irvingism or the Irvingian movement after Edward Irving (1792–1834), a clergyman of the Church of Scotland credited with organising the movement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minister (Christianity)</span> Religious occupation in Christianity

In Christianity, a minister is a person authorised by a church or other religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister. In some church traditions the term is usually used for people who have been ordained, but in other traditions it can also be used for non-ordained people who have a pastoral or liturgical ministry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Apostolic Church</span> Church that split from the Catholic Apostolic Church

The New Apostolic Church (NAC) is a Christian church that split from the Catholic Apostolic Church during an 1863 schism in Hamburg, Germany.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reformed Churches of New Zealand</span> Christian denomination in New Zealand

Reformed Churches of New Zealand is a Calvinist denomination in New Zealand. The denomination is constituted of 21 member churches, the first seven of which were formed in 1953. Total membership as of 2020 stands at 3,283.

The New Century Hymnal is a comprehensive hymnal and worship book published in 1995 for the United Church of Christ. The hymnal contains a wide-variety of traditional Christian hymns and worship songs, many contemporary hymns and songs, and a substantial selection of "world music" selections origin, a full lectionary-based Psalter, service music selections, and a selection of liturgies from the UCC Book of Worship (1986). Generally speaking, the hymnal is theologically within the mainline Protestant tradition, with a slant toward liturgical forms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Divine Service (Lutheran)</span> Lutheran liturgy

The Divine Service is a title given to the Eucharistic liturgy as used in the various Lutheran churches. It has its roots in the Pre-Tridentine Mass as revised by Martin Luther in his Formula missae of 1523 and his Deutsche Messe of 1526. It was further developed through the Kirchenordnungen of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that followed in Luther's tradition.

The Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarene) ("Nazarene" can be alternatively spelled as "Nazarean") is an Anabaptist Christian denomination aligned with the holiness movement. It was formed in the early 1900s as the result of separating from their sister church, the Apostolic Christian Church of America. The Nazarene faith is widely spread across the globe, with congregations in Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, Africa, Israel and Oceania. This church should not be confused with the Church of the Nazarene or the Pentecostal Apostolic Church which are entirely different denominations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church</span>

The Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church, also called Wenger Mennonites, is the largest Old Order Mennonite group to use horse-drawn carriages for transportation. Along with the automobile, they reject many modern conveniences, while allowing electricity in their homes and steel-wheeled tractors to till the fields. Initially concentrated in eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, their numbers had grown to 22,305 people resided in eight other states as of 2015. They share the pulpit with the Ontario Mennonite Conference but have some differences in Ordnung.

The Apostolic Christian Church of America is an Anabaptist Christian denomination, based in the United States, and a branch of the Apostolic Christian Church. The denomination consists of approximately 90 congregations in the United States, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amish religious practices</span>

Amish religious practices are reflective of traditional Anabaptist Christian theology. The Old Order Amish typically have worship services every second Sunday in private homes. The typical district has 80 adults and 90 children under age 19. Worship begins with a short sermon by one of several preachers or the bishop of the church district, followed by scripture reading and prayer, then another, longer sermon. The service is interspersed with hymns sung without instrumental accompaniment or harmony. This is meant to put the emphasis on what is said, not how it is being said. Many communities use an ancient hymnal known as the Ausbund. The hymns contained in the Ausbund were generally written in what is referred to as Early New High German, a predecessor to modern Standard German.

<i>Lutheran Worship</i> Lutheran hymnal

Lutheran Worship (LW) is one of the official hymnals of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Published in 1982 by Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri, it is the denomination's third English-language hymnal and was intended to replace The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH). Additional hymns and service music are contained in the companion, Hymnal Supplement 98.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Weaverland Old Order Mennonite Conference</span>

The Weaverland Conference, also called Horning Church or Black-bumper Mennonites is a Christian denomination of Old Order Mennonites who use cars.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church membership</span>

Church membership, in Christianity, is the state of belonging to a local church congregation, which in most cases, simultaneously makes one a member of a Christian denomination and the universal Christian Church. Christian theologians have taught that church membership is commanded in the Bible. The process of becoming a church member varies based on the Christian denomination. Those preparing to become full members of a church are known variously as catechumens, candidates or probationers depending on the Christian denomination and the sacramental status of the individual.


  1. 1 2 3 Kurian, George Thomas; Lamport, Mark A. (10 November 2016). Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 112. ISBN   9781442244320.
  2. Mead, Frank S; Hill, Samuel S; Atwood, Craig D, Handbook of Denominations.
  3. HarvestCall
  4. AC Counseling and Family Services .
  5. Klopfenstein, Perry, Marching to Zion: A History of the Apostolic Christian Church of America.
  6. "Home". acelderletter.blogspot.com.
  7. 2017 and 2018 ACCA Elder Body Memorandums