My wife and I were both raised in the New Apostolic Church (NAC), and we both come from families that have been in this denomination for four generations. We attended Sunday School classes faithfully, sang in the choir, attended religious instructions classes, attended confirmation classes, were confirmed and were active in the New Apostolic youth groups where we met each other, and we were submissive to those in authority over us, our "bearers of blessing."
I have held various ministries in the NAC. I was ordained as a sub-deacon and then a deacon. I taught Sunday School, religious instruction, and confirmation classes. I directed local and district choirs for many years. Then I was ordained as priest and began a ministry of conducting "divine services," teaching, and dispensing the sacrament holy communion. Fully versed in the New Apostolic doctrine and all New Apostolic writings and teachings, the one item that sadly never had an interest in studying was the Holy Bible. Sure, I read it when I had to and pretended to know what was in it. As a minister in the NAC, I had to make members believe that I knew what I was talking about biblically even though I had never studied it in detail; this is common practice for NAC ministers. Sure, I read a few verses from the Bible when prompted to do so by the "Word of Life," which was a monthly publication for the ministers of the NAC, but I never felt the need to really study it because I really only needed to listen to the NAC apostles, or so I thought. Never having a reason to doubt that my bearers of blessing were leading me in Christ's stead along the narrow way to salvation, I never felt compelled (nor did I think it necessary) to study the Scriptures in depth.
As a priest and a teacher, however, I felt responsible for the material and decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. Feeling more than ever the need to learn the Bible in order to effectively teach it, I began to study the Scriptures in detail, which is when I started to notice the inconsistencies between the principles outlined in the Scriptures and the doctrine of the New Apostolic Church.
As I studied the Scriptures more, questions started to come up about the text. The Bible, if taken literally and studied thoroughly, is quite easy to understand. The difficulties come when trying to change your own life in light of its truth. As I raised these questions to the NAC leadership, they simply insisted that I follow them instead of the Scriptures. Claiming that the Scriptures were too difficult to understand, they insisted that I obey the NAC leadership without question, and although I was supposed to know enough about the Scriptures to conduct a divine service, I was strongly influenced by the NAC leadership to not act on the truth of the Scriptures. In reality, the NAC leadership taught me to obey the commandments of men instead of the commandments of our Father in Heaven. This paradox compelled me to study the Scriptures even more.
The NAC leadership claimed to be the sole source of scriptural understanding, yet the NAC leadership was generally quite ignorant of the Bible's contents. I started to realize that the NAC leadership claims to have more authority than the scriptures. Is this why they did not teach the real second commandment?
Even as a minister in the NAC, I struggled with many of my own sins, which included adultery, coveting, drunkenness, and even murder (i.e. chemical birth control). Why wasn't I strong enough to overcome these besetting sins? Clearly, the apostles' message did not give me enough strength to overcome these sins. Yet, I did not overly concern myself with these sins because I knew that I would hear the "absolution" on Sunday morning. I was covered and had no need for concern, or so I thought. Yet, as I studied more and more, I started to realize the very bad situation I was truly in. A true phony, I was on my way to hell, and the apostles of the NAC could not save me. It was not until I realized that Yahushua Messiah (known by Christians as "Jesus Christ") was the only one who could save me that he took my sins upon Himself and rescued me from them. Broken before him, trembling in fear, I repented and begged for true forgiveness and true deliverance from these sins. By giving my life to Him, Yahushua took my sins away, and these sins have been overcome through Him!
Although my wife and I are saddened that our families continue in the damnable sin of idolatry by following the NAC apostles, we are eternally joyful that we have been saved out of a destructive and manipulative cult.
May everybody in the NAC study and believe the Scriptures, our TRUE authority!