Every denomination has its own unique jargon, for instance, most liturgical churches use words like "nave," "vespers," "transubstantiation" and "processional," etc. that would confound those not brought up in that church. The Apostolic Christian Church has its own set of jargon as well. This brief guide will have you understanding Apostolic Christian words and phrases in no time!
Some of the words and phrases listed here may be familiar to evangelical Protestants, but others may not be. Some words take on different meanings than might be expected (the more common definitions are not listed here). In alphabetical order.
age of accountability n 1 : The age when a young person can be held fully accountable for his actions and has the mental faculties necessary to allow him to make a full commitment to follow Christ and obey His commandments. Only those who have reached the age of accountability can be considered for church membership. The age in years varies, depending on the person, but generally is reached by age 12 or the onset of puberty, whichever is latest.
Anabaptist n 1 : A church following the beliefs of the Protestant Anabaptist movement started in 1524 by Felix Manz and Conrad Grebel. Main tenets of the faith include sola scriptura (a church based on the Bible only); baptism & church members of only committed adults; the existence of free will and consequently, personal responsibility; and non-resistance (i.e., the belief that a Christian should not kill another person, even during wartime). The Apostolic Christian Church has been aligned with the Anabaptist movement from its beginning. 2 : A person following Anabaptist beliefs. Click on the History page above for details on the history and beliefs of the Anabaptist movement.
announcement n 1 : The announcement of a wedding engagement, typically given after the Sunday morning worship service. 2 : A declaration of upcoming church activities, etc. given by the minister, typically after the Sunday morning worship service.
assembly hall n 1 : The room immediately outside of the sanctuary where parishioners meet before entering the sanctuary. Also used as an area to talk with one another before, after or between services.
brother n 1 : A male church member. Originates from the New Testament epistles where female church members are referred to as sisters and male church members as brothers.
closed communion n 1 : The practice of restricting membership, church offices and holy communion to only those who have demonstrated a true conversion and a commitment to Christian discipleship. This is based on the guidelines for holy communion and church organization set in the New Testament and is necessary to keep the church pure and viable so that it can continue to bring others to Christ.
conference n 1 : An annual meeting where elders from all of the Apostolic Christian churches get together to discuss church matters. The elder meetings are followed by church services open to all church members in the denomination. It is an inspirational event that church members look forward to.
convert n 1 : One going through the process of repentance, with the hope of joining as a member of the church.
convicted adj 1 : Feeling the guilt of sin and the need to make things right with God.
deacon n 1 : The church office of a minister that is responsible for assisting the church elder with his duties. Usually only found in larger church congregations where such help is required. Loosely based on the office of deacon in the New Testament ("an attendant" according the Greek root of the word).
elder n 1 : The minister ultimately responsible for overseeing the church. Originates from "elder," "bishop," and "presbyter" (as the words are translated in the King James version) in the New Testament, which all refer to the same office of a church overseer. In some cases an elder may oversee more than one church. Elders are generally required to conduct communion and ordination services and baptisms; they are also responsible for conducting church discipline.
fellowship n 1 : Time spent before and between morning & afternoon church services and after church services talking informally to fellow members and friends. 2 : Time spent talking and sharing meals with other church members and their families at church functions, at their homes and other places.
fellowship hall n 1 : A separate building built by the church for activities like wedding receptions, family reunions, charity work and the like. It allows church members to conduct these kinds of meeting without having to resort to unsavory venues like American Legion and Rotary clubs (typically reeking of smoke and alcohol) and the like which may be the only facilities available for large meetings in rural towns.
finish up vt 1 : To end a meal with a silent prayer.
friends see "friends of the Truth" below.
friends of the Truth n 1 : Adults who attend Apostolic Christian Church services, but who have yet to the make the commitments necessary for membership. Unlike some denominations, there is more required for church membership than being born by parents who attend that church or showing up for Sunday services or signing one's name on a membership roster or contributing financially to the church.
greetings n 1 : Act of greeting a fellow member (with a kiss, if of the same sex) and following by saying, "Greetings, brother" or "Greetings, sister" if a sister. 2 : Brothers visiting from other Apostolic Christian churches will announce "greetings" from their church at a time reserved for it after the Sunday morning or midweek service; it lets other members know who is visiting, which is particularly helpful in large churches where visiting members may be easily overlooked by some in the congregation.
holy kiss n 1 : A kiss that is exchanged as a greeting between church members of the same sex. Based on New Testament commandments to greet fellow church members with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26 & 1 Peter 5:14).
Hymns of Zion n 1 : Hymnal published by the Apostolic Christian Church. It consists of traditional hymns familiar to those in most Protestant denomination and a few hymns authored by church members. Used for Sunday School services, church services and in singings.
leader See song leader.
member n 1 : A person accepted into the church. This requires evidence of a changed life and dedication to Christ, baptism and a commitment to support fellow church members and uphold the Truth as found in the Bible. Children born to church members are not automatically considered as church members as in some denominations; each individual must make a heartfelt commitment of his own volition. Young children are not permitted to be members as they do not have mental capability to make a full commitment to Christ (see "age of accountability" above).
member meeting n 1 : A meeting, usually after Sunday afternoon church services, to conduct church business such as election of trustees and Sunday School teachers or to discuss building projects or to announce a decision made regarding church discipline. Only church members are invited to member meetings.
memorandum n 1 : A written record of the conclusions reached by the elders at the annual conference on matters of church doctrine and current issues. It is distributed to all Apostolic Christian churches.
minister n 1 : A brother in the church responsible for conducting worship services, giving sermons, tending to church business, etc. This office is the same one referred to as the "pastor" or "reverend" in other denominations, but no such title is given to ministers (other than the title of "brother" shared by all male church members) in the Apostolic Christian Church as they believe that there should be no divide between the clergy and the parishioners in the church. Ministers are generally elected by church members and hold their post for life, or as long as they are able to do their ministerial duties. Ministers are not compensated for their services and must have other full-time jobs to make a living. In all but the smallest of churches, there are several ministers, which is exactly the way the Christian church was organized by the Apostles; it also makes the workload manageable for the ministers.
peace n 1 : An emotional experience where one feels release from guilt and the forgiveness of his sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In other words, one feels at peace with God. This experience is required of all those seeking admission into the church.
proving n 1 : A closed meeting where a convert gives his or her testimony to the church. The church elder will also ask rudimentary questions of the convert to demonstrate his or her knowledge of fundamental Biblical precepts and to demonstrate their conversion and evidence of a life devoted to Christ. It is believed the word "proving' originated from the German word "prufen" meaning to examine or to search one's heart. At the end of the meeting, all church members in attendance must signify that the convert has demonstrated to their satisfaction that he or she has been truly converted and are committed to Christ; failure of even one member to do so means that their baptism and church membership will be delayed until all members are satisfied with their sincerity and conversion. In reality, such delays are highly unusual because the elders and other ministers work with converts during their conversion and do not bring the convert to a proving until they are satisfied that he or she is ready.
repent v 1 : To feel sorrowful for sins and to seek forgiveness from God for them.
repentance n 1 : A time and process required of all Apostolic Christian converts, which includes making amends with those you may have seriously hurt or offended previously, much prayer, seeking of forgiveness from God and searching the Scriptures.
Scriptural adj 1 : Following the commands, precepts and precedents set in the Bible, especially the New Testament.
silent prayer n 1 : A prayer where no words are spoken out loud. All present will close their eyes and bow their heads for a moment of personal prayer.
singing n 1 : A meeting where church members get together to sing hymns. It is most commonly held at homes of church members or fellowship halls; sometimes accompanied by the piano or organ (but always a cappella if held in the church building). Usually such meetings are followed by the reading of a chapter from the Bible by a brother and then a prayer by another brother.
sister n 1 : A female church member. Originates from the New Testament epistles where female church members are referred to as sisters and male church members as brothers.
song leader n 1 : As all singing in the church is a cappella, there needs to be a person to lead the singing. The song leader is responsible for selecting the correct pitch using a pitch pipe and then singing the soprano part of the melody; the rest of the congregation will then follow his lead in four-part harmony. Only brothers are song leaders, a concept based on New Testament principles of church leadership (1 Corinthians 14:34).
song service n 1 : The singing of hymns before the ministers preach at a worship service. Generally, there are around 15 minutes reserved for singing before the sermon.
taken up vt 1 : To give one's testimony and be accepted into the church and/or to be baptized. There is disagreement on the origins of this phrase; some say it originates from taking a convert up to the front of the church to give his testimony or from the convert being taken up to the front of the church for baptism; or it could mean both as generally a convert gives his testimony on a Saturday evening and is then baptized the next day.
trustee n 1 : Members elected by the church to attend to church finances; building, grounds & cemetery maintenance; building additions and the like. Unlike most denominations, ministers generally have little to do with the financial matters of the church.
veil n 1 : A prayer veil, usually made of lace netting. Worn by female members of the church based on the Biblical command that no woman should pray with her head uncovered (1 Corinthians 11:5).
worldly adj 1 : A practice that accommodates the unbelieving world. This is to be avoided as the Bible insists we should be "unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).
Zion's Harp n 1 : The official Apostolic Christian Church hymnal. It was commissioned by Samuel Froehlich (founder of the denomination) in 1853.