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A brief History of TACC

The Twelve Apostles Church in Christ is a direct continuation of Christ’s mission on earth. For this reason the history of this Church must be traced back to its founder and head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

It is accepted today that Jesus was born on Sunday March 1st in the year 7 BC. The date customarity celebrated as the Birthday of Jesus, December 25th, is in fact, the date of the birth of Christianity under the leadership of Apostle Peter. In AD 31, Jesus had appointed Apostle Peter in His place (Matt. 16:18-19). It was on this date that the other Apostles accepted Peter as their leader.

The early Apostles were all persecuted, firstly under the Roman Empire, which led to their mission being conducted in secret with no record ever being kept of the names of the Apostles, and thereafter, continued persecuion by the Roman Catholic Church, under charges of “heresy”, persecution that coninued for over a thousand years. Persecution directed at anybody who dared to contradict the teachings of the 'only' Church. 

The more modern roots of the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ are to be found in the Catholic Apostolic Church, founded in 1832 in England by  John Bate Cardale, Henry Dalton, Henry Drummond and others. The movement quickly spread to Europe, particularly to  Germany (the northern States) and the Netherlands. As a result of doctrinal differences in the Church, schisms took place and out of these schisms what became known as the New Apostolic Church emerged.

But the modern day roots go back even further, to 1650 in England when the 1558 Act of Uniformity was repealed and freedom of religion in England became a fact of life. With this development, Churches that had been operating in secret, e.g., the Baptists, a secret Church since 1616, could now come out into the open. At the same time several new sects emerged, importantly, sects that no longer placed emphasis on the Bible but insisted on the role of The Holy Spirit. Groups which queried the fact that the Bible is the word of God, the teachings not to be taken literally but rather be subject to interpretation. 

A word of explananation: the modern day Apostolic faith emerged in the early 1830’s in England. But there had been indications in the 1820’s. A Scottish Minister, Edward Irving started preaching to his congregation in London regarding the speedy return of Jesus Christ. Irving made teaching trips to Scotland where he preached to tens of thousands of people. He has been referred to as a modern day John the Baptist; in the same way that John was preparing the way for the One who was to follow him, so Irving was preparing the way for the rebirth of the Apostles. Similarly, in the same way as John was not a leader in Christ’s Ministry, so Irving was never a leader in the revival of Christ’s Ministry through the Apostles. Irving died in 1835, basically, just as the movement was reviving. 

There were prophetic utterances in Scotland in 1830 followed by other utterances in England and Germany. These prophetic utterances led to the appointment of the first modern day Apostles (in much the same way as Apostle Paul had been appointed by God acting through the hand of Ananias). By 1835, 12 Apostles had been so appointed. At that time there was no Office of Chief Apostle. This early Church was known as The Catholic Apostolic Church.  There were, however, differences of opinion regarding the Apostleship which led to the congregations in Germany breaking away in 1863 (the Hamburg Schism). This led eventually to the formation of what is now The New Apostolic Church (NAC). Until 1897 the Apostles all acted independently but with a Leading Apostle. Only in 1897 was the Office of Chief Apostle established.

The evangelist Carl Georg Klibbe, a former German Lutheran Pastor, arrived in South Africa from Australia in 1889; he was to begin mission work for the New Apostolic Church. His efforts at evangelising in Cape Town, where he landed, had limited success and, hearing of large numbers of German settlers in the vicinity of East London, he moved there in 1892. This was successful and the community that he founded built their own church in St Georges Road, Southernwood, an East London residential suburb. 

Klibbe was ordained Apostle by letter dated 8 July 1893 by Apostle H F Niemeyer of Queensland, Australia, who had sent Klibbe to South Africa some 4 years earlier.

In 1901, a shoemaker named Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlapphof, an immigrant from Germany, visited the congregation. Schlapphof was sealed by Apostle Klibbe on Pentecost 1902. At Christmas 1902, Schlapphof was ordained into the Deacon-Evangelist ministry and commissioned to go to Cape Town to re-establish the Church there. On Pentecost, 4 June 1906, the first church in Cape Town was dedicated by Apostle Klibbe. Colloquially, this community became known as the German Apostolic Church.

In addition to Cape Town, Apostle Klibbe also sent servants to Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. From these towns, servants were then sent to other centres such as Grahamstown, King Williams Town and Kimberley.

Unfortunately, a severe difference of opinion arose within the Church in South Africa. Apostle Klibbe had appointed G H W Schlapphof to the Bishop ministry in 1910 during a divine service, but had rescinded this appointment by 1912 and reduced it to a District Eldership. Sadly, this led to a division between Apostle Klibbe and District Elder Schlapphof. 

At the same time there was a difference of opinion between Apostle Niemeyer (and his son Bishop Niemeyer) of Australia and Chief Apostle Niehaus in Germany, to the extent that Apostle Niemeyer left the New Apostolic Church and founded the Apostolic Church of Queensland. The Niemeyers then visited South Africa and Germany. Subsequently Apostle Klibbe severed all contact with the Chief Apostle, even returning all mail unopened. This difference led to the involvement of District Elder Schlapphof who was invited to Germany to bring clarity to the situation. On 21 September 1913, whilst in Germany, District Elder Schlapphof received the Apostle Ministry from Chief Apostle Niehaus. Apostle Klibbe was excommunicated from the New Apostolic Church by the Chief Apostle but refused to accept the ruling. 

A little known, but crucial fact is that these differences between Apostle Klibbe and ‘Germany’ arose regarding the handling of tithes. Apostle Klibbe refused to accept a ruling that all tithe money received from South African congregants be paid over to the Church in Germany as Head Office and refused to comply despite severe pressure and threat of excommunication. This policy remains a policy of TACC today. Tithes collected in congregations outside South Africa remain in the country where they were collected for the benefit of the congregations there. 

Another factor was the fact that when Chief Apostle Niehaus died, Apostle Krebs apointed himself successor to Apostle Niehaus without consultation with all other Apostles. A fact that certainly Apostle Niemeyer took exception too and in view of the friendship between Apostles Klibbe and Niemeyer, probably antagonised Apostle Klibbe as well and probably contributed to the problems between Germany and South Africa.

From 1913 onwards, there were 2 Churches in South Africa, both operating as the “New Apostolic Church”, the one led by Apostle Klibbe, the other by Apostle Schlapphof. This dispute and the bitter conflict between the two Apostles was only settled in 1926 by a Supreme Court Ruling that Apostle Klibbe had vastly differed from the teachings of the New Apostolic Church and was, in future, to continue his activities under the name “The Old Apostolic Church of Africa”.

Apostle Klibbe died on 22 May 1931. He was succeeded by Apostle C.F.W. Ninow who was the first Apostle to appoint a black Apostle, Apostle S Hlatshwayo in 1953. Apostle S. Hlatshwayo, together with his wife, founded the women’s movement in 1954. 

In 1966, Apostle Ninow was succeeded by Apostle Ndlovu, who had been anointed in 1961. The presence of black Apostles led to acute problems in what was predominantly a “white” Church during the apartheid era of South African history and there were many difficulties and much resentment towards both Apostle Hlatshwayo and Apostle Ndlovu. These problems resulted in attempts being made to charge Apostle Ndlovu with fraud and to have him removed from office. In 1968 he had a revelation, which led to him founding “Twelve Apostles Church of Africa”. 

In 1972, Apostle Ndlovu anointed Siqu David Pakathi as an Apostle and the two Apostles worked well together until 1978 when Apostle Ndlovu was convicted in Mozambique by the Frelimo Government on a charge that he was financially draining the country by the illegal export of currency. During this period of time, there were, however, disputes within the Church arising out of the Church Constitution in terms of which the Church General Secretary purported to be Acting Head of the Church in the absence of the Chief Apostle. 

This led to a schism within the Church and in 1978 Apostle Pakhathi moved away from Twelve Apostles Church of Africa and formed Twelve Apostles Church in Christ. This church was registered in 1979. Despite this schism, the personal relationship between the two Apostles remained good, even so that on the release of Apostle Ndlovu from prison, the leadership role of Apostle Pakathi was handed to him but, unfortunately he could not accept.

Apostle Pakathi was succeeded by Apostle C Nongqunga in 1995. 

Apostle Nongqunga leads the church today with an estimated 4,5 million members. 

In 2010, Apostle Nongqunga and his wife re-created the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ Women’s League with emphasis on the role of women in the community. The members are encouraged to initiate and/or support projects in their communities for the alleviation of hardship and to make families self-supporting.

In recent years the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ has expanded internationally and there are now congregations in many countries, not only in Africa but also in Europe and the United States. A recent African addition being Nigeria where complete Churches have joined TACC.

Very recently, evangelism has taken TACC to Ghana, India, Kenya and DRC. Sub-pages will be published shortly giving details of the work that is being done in those countries in particular.

References:

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Apostolic_Church

http://www.wikipedia.org (numerous other references)

http://www.nac-sea.org.za/history.html

The Apostolic Church Revealed

The History of the Restored Apostolic Mission Congregation www.ramc.org.au/history 

The Compact History of TWELVE APOSTLES’ CHURCH IN CHRIST by C Nongqunga

 

INDIA

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