New Covenant Church of God: The third and final stage of the spiritual evolution of the New Covenant (or B'rit Chadashah) which began in Oxford, England as the RCF -- Restoration Christian Fellowship (1986-88) and developed into the Independent Church of Jesus Christ (1988-92) and the NCCF (NPKF) -- New Covenant Christian Fellowship (1992-6) in Norway. Organised in Bergen, Norway, on 6 April 1996 with two Central Colonies (independent congregations) in Oslo and Bergen (Norway), and two Missions in L'viv (Ukraine) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Runs two orphanages in southern India and has co-operative ministries with the Church of Christ (India), the International Centre for the Spiritual Development of Moldova -- Christian Prison Mission, and various Baptist and Pentecostal churches in Eastern Europe. Is now actively involved in Internet ministry and hopes to soon start radio and TV broadcasting.
Beginning as an off-shoot of the Restoration Movement, the New Covenant gradually shed its Restoration roots during the NCCF period (1992-6) and claims to be a wholly new apostolic Christian tradition. Its primary canonical scriptures consist of the Holy Bible (Protestant Canon) with a secondary canon consisting of parts of the Apocrypha (Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, 1 & 2 Esdras), Pseudepigrapha (Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs, Joseph & Asenath), the Epistles of the Sub-Apostolic Fathers (1 & 2 Clement, 1-7 Ignatius, Polycarp, Marcion & Diognetus), the Epistles of the 12 Apostles of the New Covenant, and the Olive Branch (an extract from a growing body of over 1,000 modern revelations, prophecies, visions, etc.). The preferred Bible translations are the Authorized King James Version, the New International Version, and the Jewish New Testament by David Stern. Restoration scriptures are no longer used though the truths within them have been restated in the New Covenant's own revelations. The Book of Mormon, the foundational text of the Restoration, though not regarded as an historical document, is regarded as a semi-inspired 19th century American evangelical Christian novel (see Official Statement).
The Church is organized with a Quorum of Twelve Apostles, of whom three constitute the Patriarchate or Church Fathers who are presently Christopher C. Warren, Gunnar Mj°lsvik and Herman Rustad. Two types of colony (congregation) exist -- Firstborn Colonies (maximum of 12, each led by an apostle), which live the financial law of "all things in common" (United Order), one of which is presently being established in Scandinavia -- and Local Colonies, which live the Law of Tithing. All are called to the Holy (Melchizedek) Priesthood which has two main divisions: Elders (& Eldresses) and Deacons (& Deaconesses), with several sub-divisions. Men and women hold different but complimentary Priesthood offices.
Though there are no formal Articles of Faith the central tenets of the faith are contained in the Apostles' Creed and full members are expected to uphold the Church's Constitution. The Church's christology is basically evangelical Christian. Some Restoration beliefs (e.g. pre-existence, eternal marriage), which accord with the Bible and the experiences of the leadership and members, have also been assimilated. Claims to authority are based on the collective spirituality of the people and not on externals like apostolic succession -- "the Church is as true as its members". All members have received a personal call from God, through revelation, to join the Church. Those who have not are referred to other churches where they can better spiritually progress.
Whilst the Church regards itself as a part of the wider Body of Christ and is happy to co-operate with other denominations, it also believes it has the unique call to build up small firstborn colonies centred on temples which will survive the Great Tribulation and provide the nucleus for the patriarchal theocratic government in the Millennium. To this end it is rapidly shedding gentile Hellenistic forms of the Gospel (which prevail in nearly all churches, including the Restoration) and is returning to its Hebrew roots. Local colonies are temporary gathering points for eventual location to firstborn colonies and reflect an admixture of local and New Covenant culture.
Baptism is by full immersion for those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and have been called into the New Covenant by the Holy Spirit. Candidates must normally be eight or older. This is followed by a probationary or catechumenical membership lasting, on average, for one year, which is followed by Chrism (confirmation), the Lord's Supper and Priesthood ordination for men and women alike. A Temple School program is given all priesthood officers teaching them the deeper esoteric mysteries of the Christian faith and which leads finally temple admission. The temple is used for instruction, entry into priesthood covenants, marriage, prayer and solemn worship. Apart from a washing and anointing ordinance there are no similarities whatsoever to Restoration temple traditions.
Initially conceived of as a "reformation of the Restoration" (much as the early 19th century restorers regarded themselves as "reformers of the Reformation"), the New Covenant, which was replanted within Orthodox Christianity in 1992 in order not to be seen as a Restoration-derived Church with its many assumptions on authority, doctrine and structure which are incompatible with New Covenant beliefs, today regards itself as the beginning of the final unfolding of the Christian Gospel in its complete and final Millennial form to which all Christian churches, Restoration as well as Orthodox, will eventually flow. Whilst owing a debt of gratitude to the Restoration for its many valuable insights which helped propel the New Covenant in its formative years, the Church believes it has outgrown the Restoration paradigm into something infinitely more spiritually enlightening, fulfilling and meaningful. The New Covenant now views the Restoration much in the same way as the Restoration views the Protestantism which formed it.
This article was prepared at the request of Restoration: The Journal of Latter Day Saint History for inclusion in its 1996 Yearbook, and is reflective of NCCG's position at that time.