6.4.3 The church of Jesus Christ and ministry

The Fourth Article of Faith refers to the unity of the church and the Apostle ministry: "I believe that the Lord Jesus rules His church and thereto sent His Apostles, and until His return still sends them with the commission to teach, to forgive sins in His name, and to baptise with water and Holy Spirit."


Jesus Christ rules His church. In the time of its founding–as in the time of the bride's preparation for His return–He sent Apostles to the earth through whom His regency was to be felt. The Apostle ministry has been given for the church of Christ as a whole. Its commission is to work its way into all parts of the church.


The Apostles have been sent to all nations in order to teach and baptise them. They call upon all human beings, both non-Christians and the baptised who believe in Jesus Christ and profess Him as their Lord, to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and be prepared for the return of Christ.


The Apostles testify of Jesus Christ as the One who is and was and who is to come. They thereby also disclose future events in the history of salvation. The focus on a future in direct fellowship with God represents an important element of the nature of the church of Christ. It is the primary task of the Apostles to proclaim the imminent return of Christ and to lead the bride to the Lord (see 10.1.2→).


The bride of the Lord–also known as the "community of the saints" in the narrower sense–are those believers who have been reborn of water and the Spirit, who have allowed themselves to be prepared by the Apostles of Jesus Christ for the day of the Lord, and who have been accepted by Him.


The original ministry is the Apostle ministry. Only this ministry was instituted by Jesus Himself. All other ministries have come forth from the Apostle ministry. Concerning this, the Fifth Article of Faith states: "I believe that those designated by God for a ministry are ordained only by Apostles, and that authority, blessing, and sanctification for their ministration come forth out of the Apostle ministry."


Jesus Christ rules His church. At the time of its establishment and in the time in which the bride of the Lord is being prepared for His return, He has sent Apostles. Their primary tasks are to proclaim the imminent return of Christ and lead His bride to Him. (6.4.3→)


The Apostle ministry has been given for the church as a whole with the commission to work its way into all parts of the church. (6.4.3→)


The original ministry of the church is that of the Apostle. It is from this ministry that all other ministries have come forth. (6.4.3→)