With the blessing of the District Apostle, the Apostle came to serve the foreign members of the New Apostolic Church, living in North China on Sunday, 5th June 2016. This was a historic event, as it was the first time that the Apostle dispensed the sacrament of Holy Sealing in North China. In addition, foreign members, in the Chinese city of Wuhan, were also connected to the divine service via the internet.
The position of the New Apostolic Church is that foreign ministerial activities, in China, should be limited to expat (foreign members) soul care and that non-Chinese (foreign) members should be separated from local (Chinese) congregations. During his recent visit to Northeast Asia, Chief Apostle Schneider had the rare opportunity to meet with the district leaders from China, who serve under the leadership of two Chinese Apostles. Over the past few years, the following Chinese Apostles have served the Chinese New Apostolic members in China:
- Apostle Hu Chin Hwa, served from 1989 to 1992 (declared missing)
- Apostle Wang Li Wei served from 2000 to 2007 (dismissed)
- Apostle Qin Ze Qun is serving since 2005
- Apostle Zeng Fan Wei is serving since 2010
Source: APWiki & Wikipedia
The number of Chinese Christians in China is estimated at 70 million and, by some projections, China will have the world’s biggest Christian population by 2030. More Christians attend church services on Sundays in China today, than in Europe. A recent study found that online searches for the words “Christian congregation” and “Jesus” are far more numerous than for “communist party” and as more people have moved from rural areas to big cities, large numbers of young professionals have turned to Christ. Missiologists say between 10,000 and 25,000 people convert to Christianity in China, every day.
Even-though the New Apostolic Church does not have a formal presence in China, it is interesting to note that in the city of Beijing alone, there are more than four legally approved foreign Christian churches with an average Sunday worship attendance of more than 1000 foreign members. Amongst these churches are the Beijing International Christian Fellowship (BICF), Beijing Baptist Church, River of Grace Church and the Congregations of the Good Shepherd. It is estimated that more than half a million foreigners are currently living in China.
The divine service was based on Jeremiah 17:10: – “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
In reference to this passage the Apostle pointed out that what lives in the heart normally comes out of the mouth. The Apostle also elaborated on three main points of the text word, namely: our heart, our mind and our actions and used the examples of David and the Apostle Paul to elaborate on the text word.
The Apostle called on the young Priest Julius (Junior) to serve. The Priest served in Chinese Mandarin and made reference to the fig tree which withered away after Jesus observed that there was no fruit on the tree (Matthew 21:19). The Priest pointed out that we are judged by the fruit that we bear. As an example: an apple tree cannot bear oranges, etc. We see this all around us in Asia and the world, where people profess that they are Christians but when you look at their behavior and action, it contradicts what they profess. We have received the Holy Spirit, therefore we must bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit and show this in our actions. We must show love to our neighbour, also in China. Our Heavenly Father will reward our actions according to the fruit that we display and apply in our everyday life.
The Apostle also called on the older Priest Julius to serve. The Priest expressed his gratitude to our Heavenly Father who has allowed the Apostle to serve the congregation in Shenyang city and expanded on the divine service by emphasizing how comforting it is to know that it is GOD, and not any human being, that looks into our heart, that GOD test our minds and that GOD will reward every one according to their actions. This knowledge is only comforting to those who have nothing to hide from God, whose minds are committed to activities which are God-pleasing and whose actions are motivated by their love for God and their neighbour. Ultimately GOD is in control of His work and we should do everything in our power to please Him and not man.
The Apostle dispensed the sacrament of Holy Sealing to baby Phoebe, the four month old daughter of Priest Julius (Junior) and his wife, Amanda. This was a wonderful spiritual experience and the Apostle conveyed to the congregation his experience of the movement in the realms of the departed souls, on this Sunday.
After the divine service the Priest extended an invitation, on behalf of the Apostle, to the members and visitors to have lunch together. This gave the members an opportunity to interact with the Apostle on a more personal level. This was indeed a most blessed and joyful experience for these foreign New Apostolic Church members in North China.