Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Abrahamic Religions » Christianity » Church Divisions » Anabaptist » Mennonite » Apostolic Christian Church

The Apostolic Christian Church is included here because, although it does not have historical ties with the Anabaptist movement, it shares many similarities with other conservative Mennonite groups. The Church body began in Switzerland in the 1830s, under the leadership of Samuel Froehlich, who was influenced by the Anabaptists and their teachings. Formerly a Protestant minister, Froehlich was excommunicated when he refused to implement a newly introduced catechism that he objected to. Froehlich was later banished to France, while many of his followers migrated to America in the 1840s. Apostolic Christian Church congregations are generally rural, and the Church takes a cautious approach to higher education. Doctrinally, they teach complete sanctification upon conversion, after which new converts testify to their conversion experience, and are baptized by immersion. There is a laying on of hands from an elder of the Church, which is viewed as a confirmation or sealing of the presence of the Holy Spirit within the new convert. After conversion, it is expected that there will be a change in a convert's behavior and lifestyle. The Church holds to the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and literal interpretation of Scripture. Members avoid taking oaths, and are pacifistic. Men dress simply and keep their hair short, while women are urged to avoid ornamentation and cosmetics. There is no prescribed dress code, but members tend to wear modest, plain clothing, while women often wear a flowered prayer veil. Church buildings are plain, and most congregations use a cappella singing. Men are seated separately from women during services, and women keep their heads covered. Ministers are chosen from the congregation, receive no ministerial training, and serve open-ended terms. Sermons are conducted without notes or references, and the Bible is often opened at random to provide the minister with material for his message. The Church is often referred to as the "New Amish."



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