NCW 26, December 1995
Q. I understand that whilst the New Covenant Church does not accept as (primary) canonical any book outside the Bible for the sake of unity with the Body [other Christian churches] that you do, in fact, accept other ancient books as inspired. Could you name these more specifically, please, as this will help me in understanding the spirit of your Church, and dispell any notions that many of your accusers have made that you believe in heretical works containing "secret anti-Biblical doctrines" which are reserved for members of the Holy Order? Some say that you are a New Age Church in disguise, the local Colonies being just a "front" to snare unsuspecting Christians.
There are several historically attested early Christian writings belonging to the sub-apostolic age [the age immediately after the first apostles] which we accept as genuine and inspired, but not canonical in the local Colonies. They are as follows:
(1) The [First] Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.
(2) The Epistles of Ignatius Theophorus of Antioch to:
(i) The Ephesians
(ii) The Magnesians
(iii) The Trallians
(iv) The Romans
(v) The Philadelphians
(vi) The Smyrnaeans
(vii) Bishop Polycarp
(3) The Epistles of Polycarp of Smyrna to:
We do not, as some have intimated, accept the Didache, erroneously styled anciently as "The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles, through the Twelve Apostles". Though much of this document is inspired, there is strong evidence to suggest that it has been tampered with since its original penning in about A.D. 150. It is interesting historically because, amongst other things, it reflects a time before bishops became distinguished from presbyters or pastors when traveling missioners (missionaries) were still the chief officers of the Church following the death of the apostles. Possibly the inspired parts of the Didache will be extracted and published by us at a later date.
(i) The Philippians
Neither do we accept the so-called Epistle of Barnabas which, though containing many truths, is definitely not the work of the apostle and represents an extreme view of the Gospel which tried to discredit the Old Testament as a means of establishing the New. There is little or no literature produced by Christendom after the middle of the second century A.D. which is accepted by this Church as it is too tained by heretical doctrines and practices.
The New Covenant Church of God has consistently denounced the New Age Movement as anti-Christian and has preached Biblical doctrine in all its Orders. We do not deny that in the past we have studied and researched other books of scripture claiming to be of God, or even had sympathy with some of them for a while, because we consider this to be one of the calls of the Holy Order. It is, admittedly, a risky business investigating extra-biblical texts purporting to be inspired, but we are very careful and feel the risk is worth it if some spiritual gem can be found to enhance what we already know to be true.
Ask anyone who knows us well and they will tell you whom it is we serve. Better still, come and find out for yourself.
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Last updated on 8 May 1998
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