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Catholic Apostolic Church.

1. Also known as Irvingites. Originated under the preaching of the Scot.Presb. pulpit orator E. Irving.* The soc., pol., and religious upheavals of 1790–1820 in Eur., esp. the Fr. Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, led many to look for the immediate return of Christ. But they felt that the ch. was not ready for the Lord's coming, because it did not have the NT charismatic gifts. Irving believed that the return of Christ was dependent on the presence of a living and active apostolate. He held that the premillennial coming of Christ was impossible as long as the ch. continued in the crime of neglecting to reestablish the 5-fold office of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers according to Eph 4:11. He interpreted Acts 1:11 to mean that there must be 12 apostles at Christ's return as there were 12 at His ascension. In 1830 a number of individuals claimed to have 0received apostolic charismatic gifts, e.g., speaking in tongues, the gift of prophecy, and divine healing; this raised the hope that soon also 12 apostles would be appointed by the Holy Spirit. On July 14, 1835, twelve men who claimed to have been appointed as apostles were commissioned to inaugurate the real apostolic mission to the Gentiles, of which Paul, as one born out of due time, 1 Cor 15:8, had only barely made the beginning. The first apostles were J. B. Cardale,* Henry Drummond* (1786–1860), Spencer Perceval (son of prime minister Spencer Perceval), Henry Dalton (d. 1871), Thomas Carlyle (1803–55), Francis V. Woodhouse, Nicholas Armstrong, William Dow, Henry King (d. 1865), Duncan Mackenzie (d. 1855), Frank Sitwell, John Tudor. In London 7 congs. were organized according to the pattern of the 7 Asiatic congs.; a manifesto was issued by the hierarchy to the heads of the Eur. states to prepare for the Lord's imminent coming and the establishment of the millennium by accepting the decrees of this newly formed hierarchy and submitting to the “holy sealing” by the apostles as a condition of salvation. Romanizing trends were introduced in the cultus (elaborate vestments), in doctrine (the Lord's Supper a sacrifice, transubstantiation), and in ch. govt. (a hierarchy with presumptuous claims). The movement spread to the Continent, particularly Germany. But when one after another of the “twelve apostles” died before the Lord's return, a sharp division of opinion arose as to the number of apostles, some contending that there were only 12 in the NT ch., so there can be no more or fewer than 12 in the end period. This party believed that as the first apostolate was unable to prepare the world for the millennium, so also the apostolate of the 19th c. was unable to cope with the wickedness of the world. This party, now known as the Cath. Apostolic Ch., has no “living apostles,” the last having died 1901 and no ordinations to the priesthood or the episcopate being possible today. The local chs. are governed by “angels” and “priests,” and the mems. await patiently and inactively the Lord's further directions.

2. In Ger., F. W. Schwartz (d. 1895) and his successors, Fritz Krebs (1832–1905) and Hermann Niehaus (1848–1932), headed a group which contended that as apostles were added to the original 12, e.g., Paul, Barnabas, and Silas, so the Holy Spirit may at any time inspire new selections “through the spirit of prophecy.” Later Schwartz, Krebs, Niehaus, and others in Saxony, and John Erb (d. 1942) of Chicago were selected as apostles. This group was later called New Apostolic Ch. and has the New Apostolic Ch. of N. Am. as a branch. Their theol. centers in the belief that an apostolate is essential to the church. The apostles are viewed as spiritual canals that supplement the Bible with their teaching, complete the work of the atonement, govern the ch., give efficacy to the sacraments, impose the tithe as due Christ the High Priest and Chief Apostle, and through the laying on of hands, the “holy sealing,” prepare men for Christ's final coming.

See also Scotland, Reformation in, 5.

P. E. Shaw, The Catholic Apostolic Church (Morningside Heights, New York, 1946). FEM.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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