The Apostolic Way by Anthony Mangun

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The works done by the apostles in the book of Acts are the history and beginning of the early church. Because of persecution and false teaching, the foundation of the Apostolic church was severely tested. Contrary to popular belief, the first century Church was not the Catholic Church. The first century church was Apostolic, which started in the Upper Room in Acts 2. The Catholic Church came out of the Apostolic church much later.

The answers above define the Apostolic Church, but not an apostolic church. Many Christian denominations today accept the Nicene Creed, declaring the church to be one holy catholic apostolic church. (Apostolic meaning tracing its teachings, beliefs, and linage of leaders or elders back to the apostles, but not necessarily all the fundamental elements of the Apostolic Church).

The word “apostolic” actually means “Like the apostles.” So an apostolic church is one that preaches the messages that the apostles preached beginning at the day of Pentecost – Such as salvation by repentance, water baptism into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost as initially evidenced by the speaking in other tongues. (See Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, and 19). In the Apostolic Church there is a strong emphasis on the Oneness of God. Because the original apostles were monotheistic, believers in One God only, so the modern apostolic church holds to this knowledge as well.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…” (Acts 2:42)

Apostolic doctrine, therefore, is not the new and novel teachings of someone who calls themself an apostle. Apostolic doctrine is the message of Jesus, His redemptive work, and His call to selfless discipleship that is found in the 27 books of the New Testament.

The “apostles’ doctrine” of Acts 2:42 is a reference to the original eyewitness accounts of Jesus by the 12 apostles. This “doctrine” consisted of their first-hand reports of His life, teachings, death, and resurrection. This was, at first, an oral message spread by the Twelve and those that heard them. It was later written down in what we know as the four gospels. Paul’s writings were later added to this original testimony and, with the addition of James, Jude, Hebrews, I,II Peter, I,II,III John , and Revelation there came into existence what we know as the New Testament canon.