A new educational edition of the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church (CNAC) in question and answer format has been launched.
Speaking during the launch on Christmas day at Chaisa congregation in Lusaka, District Apostle Charles Ndandula said the book will be useful in seminars and Church instruction.
“This book has been in existence since December 2012 - was first published on 1 September 2015. This reference work in question-and-answer format will be put to use primarily in training seminars and Church instruction,” he said.
Soon after the publication of the CNAC, the Church leadership expressed the desire to have the reference work available in an edition expressly tailored for instructional purposes.
The content of the textbook was divided into 750 questions and answers. The language is formulated in as simple a manner as possible without the use of too much technical terminology. In addition, the new edition of the Catechism includes complete Bible quotations, instead of mere Bible references, to support and illustrate important elements of content.
The Catechism of the New Apostolic Church starts off with some remarks on the self-revelation of God and Holy Scripture (Chapter 1). This is followed by an explanation of the New Apostolic Creed (Chapter 2) and an explanation of the doctrine of the Trinity of God (Chapter 3). Some central positions of Christian faith, which are valid across denominational borders, come to expression in the chapter on the Trinity. Presented here is the belief in God, the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth, the belief in God, the Son, who became human in Jesus Christ, who died and resurrected from the dead, as well as the belief in God, the Holy Spirit, through whom sanctification and the new creation are effectuated.
This is followed in Chapter 4 by statements on the condition of mankind before God, which also remark on the fall into sin and the necessity of redemption. In this context there is also commentary on the functions of the Mosaic Law and its relationship to the gospel. The remarks on the Ten Commandments (Chapter 5) make it clear that Christian faith is not a purely internal matter, but that it also has practical implications for conduct in life.
Believing sinners who have been made righteous by God practise their faith in the church, that is in the fellowship of the baptised, who believe in Jesus Christ and profess Him as their Lord. Chapter 6 describes the church of Jesus Christ and its various forms, and explains how the New Apostolic Church perceives itself within the one church of Jesus Christ. Ministry - the significance of which is presented in Chapter 7 - is also part of the church of Christ. Here the Apostle ministry is understood as the source of all other ministries. This brings a pivotal element of the New Apostolic faith to expression: Church and Apostle Ministry belong together.
Chapter 8 contains remarks on the sacraments, namely Holy Baptism with water, Holy Communion, and Holy Sealing, that is the baptism of the Spirit. They are fundamental to the New Apostolic faith.
The chapters on "Life after death" (Chapter 9) and "The doctrine of future things" (Chapter 10) deal with individual and universal eschatology, respectively. Every human being is confronted with questions as to what transpires after death, what form of relationship exists between the departed and God, and whether there are still opportunities for attaining salvation after death. Also presented here is the New Apostolic Christian goal of faith. Here we are given a glance into the future in accordance with God's plan of salvation.
These statements concerning the New Apostolic doctrine are supplemented by others that relate to the history of Christianity and the New Apostolic Church (Chapter 11) as well as to divine service (Chapter 12), and general practice in life (Chapter 13).
District Apostle Ndandula said the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church in question and answer format takes into account earlier portrayals of the New Apostolic faith, but goes beyond previous publications of our Church in terms of both language and development of the contents of faith.
“Our bond with the fundamentals of faith of all Christians becomes evident in our acknowledgement of the early church creeds. The path to salvation in Christ is described in accordance with the stipulations of current understanding,” he said.
District Apostle Ndandula further said the Catechism will not only serve as a basis for Church instruction and ministers' meetings but will also bring greater uniformity to doctrinal statements while taking other languages and cultures into account.
“In this manner, the
content will also serve to deepen the knowledge and strengthen the
faith of New
Apostolic Christians. The New Apostolic doctrine is also to become
clear in its
relationship to the doctrines of other Christian churches.
"Thus the Catechism presents both sides, namely that which binds us together and that which distinguishes us. The presentation of these differences is not intended to exclude others or close ourselves off to them, but can rather be a starting point for fruitful dialogue with other Christians,” he said.
The Catechism is a call to all New Apostolic Christians to occupy themselves intensively with the content of their faith. Beyond that it is also an invitation to all other interested parties to become acquainted with the New Apostolic doctrine of faith.
The book can be used in class by students and teachers and is a good tool for self-study.
In our District Church, this book has been translated in 11 languages (Bemba, Chewa, Kaonde, Lozi, Luvale, Lunda, Ndebele, Nyanja, Shona, Tumbuka and Tonga) and the translated version is expected in circulation within the first quarter of 2016.