Sacraments are fundamental acts of God’s grace. In these holy acts—which are performed by human beings upon human beings—God grants the recipient salvation. Jesus Christ instituted three sacraments: Holy Baptism, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion. “And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one” (1 John 5: 8).
Children can also receive all three sacraments.
Sexual violence occurs across all social strata and is therefore also found within the New Apostolic Church. Both perpetrators and victims could be found among the members of the Church. The prevention of sexual violence is a task for society as a whole, which the New Apostolic Church is also facing up to. There are preventive offers.
Victim protection and victim support are high priorities for the New Apostolic Church. As part of victim support, the New Apostolic Church has set up expert committees which take action and offer help when incidents become known in the Church and, in addition to this, refer victims to relevant professionals and organisations.
Sexual misconduct in pastoral care
Sexual misconduct in pastoral care—which includes sexual harassment and sexual abuse by ministers and other members who perform functions in the Church—are offences which will be strictly condemned and punished under canon law should the suspicions be confirmed. Such offences can be perpetrated by both female and male members of all age groups. They violate the personality and dignity of man.
The individual District Churches have appointed review and advisory boards to investigate any suspected cases. In accordance with its mandate, the Church offers pastoral care to both victims and offenders and refers them to qualified professionals and institutions.
The New Apostolic Church is committed to the gospel. Thus it understands its duty to engage in charitable activity that benefits all people irrespective of personal differences. This work is supported by the voluntary commitment of many helpers in the congregations, but also by providing material assistance. Within the scope of its abilities, the Church plans, promotes, and supports non-profit and charitable projects, institutions, and aid campaigns around the world. It also works with relief organisations.
Stem cell research
The New Apostolic Church endorses scientific research in accordance with the godly commission: “Fill the earth and subdue it.” The framework of this commission is defined in the Ten Commandments and the gospel of Jesus. This includes unreserved respect for human life in all its diversity.
Due to rapid developments in the field of biotechnology we can only provide an outline of the individual areas as a basis for decision-making.
- The creation or the destruction of human embryos for scientific purposes has to be rejected.
- The production of genetically identical offspring (reproductive cloning) has to be rejected. The production of genetically identical tissue for therapy purposes (therapeutic or research cloning) is likewise rejected if it involves the destruction of embryos.
- Somatic gene therapy is acceptable in principal. The medical risk is of particular consideration here. Interference with the genome of germ cells, which has unforeseen consequences even for future generations, is unethical.
Sin is everything that opposes the will of God and is contrary to His being. This includes all words, deeds, and thoughts that are contrary to the will and being of God. It is also sin to intentionally neglect to do good (James 4: 17). Human beings incur guilt with God with every sin they commit. Sin is absolute. It can therefore not be diminished. It separates from God.
By contrast we may assume that God, in His righteousness and mercy, assesses the degree of guilt an individual incurs with Him through sin differently in each case.
Sealing | Holy Sealing
Holy Sealing is the sacrament whereby the believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer of an Apostle. The believer thereby becomes a child of God with the calling to become a firstling. Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing are two distinct sacraments, however, they are closely linked to one another: by receiving both sacraments, the individual is reborn out of water and the Holy Spirit. Holy Baptism precedes Holy Sealing. The sacrament of Holy Sealing is dispensed by Apostles when they impart the gift of the Holy Spirit in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to a baptised person. In so doing they lay their hands on the forehead of the baptised believer and pray.