Gathered under Apostles? A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Gathered under Apostles? A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Gathered under Apostles? A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Gathered under Apostles? A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Synopsis

This book presents the history and theology of a remarkable body of Christians, formed as a result of the revival of interest in the prophetic Scriptures stimulated by the events of the French Revolution. Here we have an example of a charismatic renewal within the mainstream Churches, which was rejected by them, and which hence led to a worldwide body, governed by 'restored apostles', and with its own structure, liturgy, doctrine, and hierarchy of ministers. It was a movement directed towards the reunion of the Churches, uncompromising in its adherence to Scripture, its typological interpretation of the Old Testament, and in its longing for the Parousia. It sought to bring together all that was best in the various Christian traditions, Eastern as well as Western, in preparation for the return of the Church's Bridegroom in glory. The strong ecumenical purpose of this body; its approach to the reunification of Churches and clergy; the breadth and beauty of its liturgy; its resolution of internal tensions between the charismatic and established hierarchical ministries; and its emphasis on eschatology: all these are of especial relevance to Christians today.

Excerpt

Most existing accounts of the Catholic Apostolic Church contain serious errors and distortions, often due either to brevity or selectivity. This work (which derives from an Open University doctoral thesis) is designed to provide an extensive account of this unique body based upon authoritative primary sources. It is hoped that it will fill a gap in the current literature: most other recent works on the Catholic Apostolics deal with individual aspects of the body, and hence cannot adequately indicate either its overall nature or the way in which its various features are interrelated and underpinned. Because the relevant sources are extremely difficult to access (and becoming increasingly so), and because it is necessary to show the precise terms in which Catholic Apostolic theology and practice were expressed, it has been deemed essential that primary source extracts be a significant feature of this present work. the ‘history’ of the body has been presented by others: it is included here for completeness and in order that a number of errors of fact and certain misunderstandings can be corrected. the chapter on ‘ecclesiology’ deals, for the first time in depth, with the Catholic Apostolic understanding of the nature of man and the ministries deemed necessary for his spiritual welfare, and distinguishes between the different types of prophetic witness. the chapter on ‘liturgy’ considerably extends existing scholarship by providing fresh insights into the typological background of Catholic Apostolic worship on a wider basis than the Eucharist alone. the chapter on ‘eschatology’ provides a new analysis of the sources of Catholic Apostolic eschatology (for the first time including an examination of the work of Lacunza) and of the eschatological understanding of the body’s rites. in the final chapter, the underlying common themes are brought together to expose the strengths and weaknesses of the body, the question of its debt to Eastern Orthodoxy is examined, and its current significance is considered. a classified bibliography (not otherwise generally available) has been provided, and an appendix gives the contents of the Catholic Apostolic service book.

Cambridge 1991

C. G. F.

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