The following article was written by Dean Ministries.
One church that is fairly popular in South Africa is the Old Apostolic Church (OAC). My father-in-law used to belong to it and I’ve known people who are practising members. On the outside it appears Christian enough, but one should never go by the feeling in life! Once I was told by a follower: “I’m Old Apostolic, and no we are not a cult!” without my ever having mentioned the c-word. So let us look at what the church is about, and see why, in my view, they most definitely are!
First though, I will explain their origins, hierarchy and initial values. I’ll do my best to make it as simple as possible; you will see how this is a church born out of disagreement and still plagued by schisms (splits).
The OAC has its roots in the Catholic Apostolic Church (formed around 1831, but after its last “apostle” died in 1901 it went into decline) which followed the Nicene Creed of 325AD (Catholic) and, like the OAC, is not an offshoot of the Reformation (or, Protestantism) but of Irvingism.
There was such a movement too in Europe; notably Germany and The Netherlands. After 3 Catholic Apostolic “apostles” died in 1855, the apostolate declared there was no reason to call new ones. They called 2 substitutes (coadjutors) in 1860. But in 1862 another “apostle” was called in Germany by the “prophet” Heinrich Geyer. The “apostles” did not agree with this, so the largest part of the Hamburg congregation, along with their Bishop F.W. Schwartz, were excommunicated. From this came the Allgemeine Christliche Apostolische Mission (ACAM) in 1863. In The Netherlands it led to the Apostolische Zending, later called Hersteld Apostolische Zendingkerk(HAZK). This later became the New Apostolic Church.
In 1899, Carl George Klibbe came to South Africa to do mission work for the New Apostolic Church. He was ordained by “apostle” H.F. Niemeyer of Australia as an apostle. Due to the personality cult (when someone uses propaganda to elevate themselves) of “chief apostle” Hermann Niehaus, Niemeyer separated himself from the German branch and formed the Apostolic Church of Queensland. The South African branch also separated from the German branch, and henceforth became the New Apostolic Church (NAC). The reasons they did this:
Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Note how the verse says “whosoever” – an old word meaning “whoever”.Anybody who calls upon the name of Jesus shall be saved. If the OAC or any other church were the “only true church” and salvation were only within it, the Bible would say this. But it does not! Also worth noting is that clergy and followers are often hostile towards other churches and ministers. They believe that only the members of the OAC will go to heaven (Catechism Question 2 & 3).
Genesis 1:14-19 - And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Exodus 20:13 - Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:14 - Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:15 - Thou shalt not steal.
John 11:35 - Jesus wept.
Question 37 of the catechism asks, "Can we receive salvation and everlasting life through the scriptures?" Answer: "No..." The apostles have been set "to be a light of the Gentiles, that they should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth" (Catechism Question 11b). Question 35 asks, "Who has been sent to preach the Gospel?" Answer: "The apostles, as clearly shown in 1 Thess 2:13..."
Salvation is possible only through the apostle; for those who believe in Christ through the apostles (Catechism Question 36 & 49). To the apostles only has been given knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven (Catechism Question 5 & 50, e & f). People can only come to faith through the words spoken by an apostle: without the apostles no-one can become a believer. The church interprets Mt 10:40 to mean that no-one can see the Father or Christ if they do not accept the apostle, for, "Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me." The apostles are the only people with whom God speaks directly (Catechism Question 25), who understand the Scriptures (Catechism Question 38), who know God (Catechism Question 24), who speak the wisdom of God (Catechism Question 50c), are able to forgive sins (Catechism Question 47), and who are going to judge the earth (Catechism Question 41).
Fear not! They cannot curse you at all, nobody can. But apparently, many OAC members remain in the church because they fear being cursed. Undoubtedly this is why some followers have pressure to go to church at least three times a week.
I really recommend you visit the source as it has more information on the OAC. As you delve into their church, it is blatant how anti-Christian it really is.
Friends, the only thing which matters in life is this – do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? This is the one and only way you can get to Heaven. Know (I mean, know!) you’re a sinner and repent (feel remorse, feel the shame); know you’re deserving of Hell, know Jesus died for your sins and call on Him to save you. That’s all! Then get hold of a Bible (KJV is best for many reasons, it’s about the only thing this OAC got right! Any Bible can save you but there’s nothing better than a KJV). But not only is the Bible the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God, it will also help you to know exactly when those who profess Christianity are indeed OK, or are cults and heretics. And here we have a clear-cut cult.
1 Timothy 4:1 - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
(underlining = mine)
South Africa, howl with me. We have another wolf in our midst!
Other source (which I specifically used for details on the foundation of the OAC. I loathe Wikipedia for its bias, and a lot of the article is clearly written by an OAC follower)
Extra: information was used from witness accounts; dicussing with and questioning people I have known who are practising OAC members.