12 Divine service, acts of blessing, and pastoral care

663 What is confirmation?


Confirmation (Latin confirmatio, meaning “reinforcement”, “affirmation”) is that act of blessing in which young New Apostolic Christians take upon themselves the obligations which their parents or guardians undertook on their behalf at their baptism and sealing.


Confirmands vow to be faithful to God and publicly, that is, before the congregation, profess the New Apostolic faith.

Once confirmed, these Christians, who have now reached the age of spiritual majority, bear full responsibility before God for their life of faith.


Parents / guardians, responsibility at baptism: see Question 489→ Parents / guardians, responsibility at sealing: see Question 527→

664 What is necessary in order to be confirmed?


The first prerequisite for being confirmed is to have received the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing. Other prerequisites include regular attendance of the divine services and confirmation instruction.


Confirmands are to know the main principles of the New Apostolic faith and the Articles of Faith, and be prepared to lead their lives in accordance with the gospel.

665 How is the act of confirmation performed?


Confirmation takes place in the context of a divine service. To begin with, the confirmands assemble in front of the altar and answer the question of whether they desire to pursue their future path of life as New Apostolic Christians in loyalty to God with their “yes”. After this profession before God and the congregation, they give their confirmation vow. In it they publicly vow to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, and promise to live accordingly.

Following this, and after a prayer by the officiant, the confirmands receive their blessing. It is dispensed through laying on of hands.

666 What is the effect of the confirmation blessing?


The blessing strengthens the confirmands in their endeavour to keep their confirmation vow and profess Jesus Christ in word and deed.

667 What is the text of the confirmation vow?


The text of the confirmation vow is as follows: “I renounce Satan and all his work and ways, and surrender myself to You, O triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in belief, obedience, and the earnest resolution to remain faithful to You until my end. Amen.”

This brings to expression that the confirmands have the firm resolve to avoid all evil and ungodly things, and diligently follow the path of the gospel. They profess belief in the triune God and announce their intent to conduct their lives in faith and obedience toward God.

668 What do we mean when we talk about the act of “adoption”?


“Adoption” is an act of blessing in the divine service in which Christians from other denominations are welcomed into the New Apostolic Church.


Denomination: see Question 365→

669 What transpires in the adoption?


When Christians are adopted, they publicly profess the creed of the New Apostolic faith. After a prayer they are adopted into the New Apostolic Church in the name of the triune God. The adopted members are now entitled to partake regularly in the celebration of Holy Communion. All other acts of blessing in the Church are now open to them.

670 What is the engagement blessing?


The engagement blessing is the blessing that is dispensed when a couple gets engaged. Engagement is a serious promise of marriage. In this act of blessing, the engaged couple publicly declares before God and the congregation their intent to prepare themselves for marriage in a manner pleasing to God. Upon this they receive the blessing.

671 What is a wedding blessing?


The wedding blessing is a blessing that is dispensed after a civil marriage ceremony.

The partners are asked whether they intend to stand by each other in faithfulness under all circumstances and pursue their path of life together in love. Both of them vow this before God and the congregation by saying yes. Thereupon they receive the blessing of the triune God. The blessing is intended to help them keep this vow, to lead their life together in harmony, and master difficult situations with God’s help.

672 For which wedding anniversaries is a blessing dispensed?


At the request of the couple, a blessing is dispensed on the following wedding anniversaries:

  • silver wedding anniversary (25 years)
  • ruby wedding anniversary (40 years)
  • golden wedding anniversary (50 years)
  • diamond wedding anniversary (60 years)
  • iron wedding anniversary (65 years)
  • platinum wedding anniversary (70 years)
  • diamond wedding anniversary (75 years)


Here God’s blessing is once again placed upon the matrimonial bond and the couple is commended to God’s continuing care and guidance.

673 What happens at the dedication of a church building?


A church building is dedicated on the occasion of the first divine service conducted there. In the dedication prayer, the house of God is dedicated as the place where the Holy Spirit reveals Himself—that is, the place where God’s word is proclaimed and the sacraments are dispensed—in the name of the triune God.

The dedicated church is a place for the worship of God and a sanctuary for those who seek salvation. It is here that divine grace and comfort, strength of faith, and peace of the soul are offered in the divine services.

674 What happens when a church building is deconsecrated?


If a dedicated church is no longer being used for divine services, it is deconsecrated: in the last divine service conducted there, the purpose of the church building as a holy place of divine activity, as imparted in the dedication, is lifted. After its deconsecration, the former church is once again a regular building, which can be used for another purpose.

675 When are sacraments dispensed and acts of blessing performed?


The sacraments are dispensed in the divine service, after the forgiveness of sins and the prayer following.


The acts of blessing generally take place after the celebration of Holy Communion. Since confirmation has a direct relationship with the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing, it is performed before the celebration of Holy Communion. Since it entitles one to partake regularly in Holy Communion, the act of adoption likewise takes place before the celebration of Holy Communion.

676 When are ordinations, appointments, reinstatements, and retirements performed in the divine service?


Ordinations—in which a spiritual ministry is imparted—as well as appointments of congregational rectors or district rectors, reinstatements of ministers to a ministry, and retirements of ministers take place after the sacraments have been dispensed. They thus take place after the celebration of Holy Communion.


Ordination: see Questions 462→ et seq.

677 How is the ordination performed?


Ordinations are performed exclusively by Apostles. After an address by the Apostle, those to be ordained are asked whether they are prepared to accept the ministry. They are also asked whether it is their intent to serve God faithfully, stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and exercise the ministry in accordance with the New Apostolic Creed. They are further asked if they are prepared to exercise the ministry in the mind of Jesus Christ, in love for the believers, and in obedience of faith.

They vow this before God, who calls them into His service, and before the congregation, by saying “yes”. While kneeling, they then receive the ministry through the laying on of hands and prayer of the Apostle.

678 What is the function of music in the divine service?


The purpose of music in the divine service is to bring praise and glory to God (cf. Psalm 150). It therefore has a serving function.

It can deeply move the soul, prepare the congregation for the proclamation of the word, and underscore the word of God. Singing—be it by the congregation or the choir—and instrumental music expresses and imparts courage, strength, and confidence. In times of sadness and hardship, music can provide comfort.

Music and silent worship before the divine service help those attending the divine service gather their thoughts, and prepare the way for the proclamation of the word. In the singing of the congregation, all present are actively involved in the divine service experience.


Before the celebration of Holy Communion, the congregation can attest to their feelings of repentance in a hymn. In the hymn sung during the celebration of Holy Communion, they express their love and gratitude toward God.

679 How is the divine service concluded?


At the end of the divine service, all those who are present receive the blessing of the triune God. Together with the Trinitarian opening formula, the concluding benediction forms the framework that embraces the divine service event. This makes it clear that everything which occurs in the divine service emanates from the triune God.


Trinitarian: see explanation of Question 490→

680 What is the text of the closing benediction?


The closing benediction is imparted to the congregation with the words from 2 Corinthians 13: 14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!”

681 What is it that causes the believers to attend the divine services regularly?


Believers desire to worship God in fellowship with one another. They know that their faith and hope in the imminent return of Christ will be strengthened through the sermon in the divine service. They allow themselves to be prepared for this event in every divine service. Furthermore, they have a longing to have their sins forgiven and receive Holy Communion. Beyond that, they are blessed in the divine service.

682 What are the consequences of not attending the divine services?


Those who thoughtlessly neglect the divine services lose out on the blessing, grace, and powers contained in the word of God and in Holy Communion.


Those who frequently abstain from attending the divine services without compelling reasons run the risk that their faith will diminish and their longing for the word of God will fade.

It is a sin to consciously reject or despise the divine service and the grace of God.

683 Are there acts of blessing that do not occur in the context of a divine service?


Yes. The dispensation of the prenatal blessing is always performed outside of the divine service. As a rule, it takes place in the family circle.

684 What is the prenatal blessing?


The prenatal blessing is the first visible act of God upon an as yet unborn human being. This blessing serves to benefit the unborn soul, and is performed upon the mother-to-be. Through the prenatal blessing, God strengthens the mother in her endeavour to promote and cultivate the faith life of her child during its prenatal development.

The prenatal blessing is associated with God’s help during the time of pregnancy and for the birth of the child. This does not imply the promise of a problem-free pregnancy or the birth of a healthy child, however.

685 What is a church funeral?


The church funeral is a divine service that provides comfort and strength to the bereaved. This comfort consists primarily of hope in the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead in Christ associated with it, and the future reunion with them (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18).

The word proclaimed in the funeral service also applies to the immortal soul of the departed, which is commended to the grace of God.

The mourners assembled for the funeral service surround the bereaved in order to demonstrate their sympathy and impart a feeling of security. Beyond that, they thereby pay their last respects to the deceased.

686 What happens at a church funeral?


In the funeral service, the life of the deceased is honoured in appropriate fashion. The soul and spirit of the departed are commended to the love of the Redeemer Jesus Christ with the blessed reassurance that He may preserve them until the resurrection to eternal life. The soulless body of the deceased is surrendered to the earth.

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3: 19

687 Does the funeral have any impact on the resurrection of the dead?


The question of whether, or in what manner, a body is interred is of no consequence for the resurrection of the dead.