New Apostolic Church USA

Two in one: the theology behind our altar

Excerpt from "Decorating the altar" from the Summer 2015 VISION Newsletter

The New Apostolic Church liturgical tradition brings sacrament and word together in one place at the altar, where they are both focal points of the divine service experience. We may contrast this to the Catholic tradition that uses an altar for sacraments and a pulpit for the word. Additionally, many American Christian churches base their approach on the Reformed Church or Calvinistic style, which does not use an altar at all.

In the Old Testament, an altar was constructed where sacrifices were made to please God. When Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, He became the altar. Nothing else can compare with His supreme sacrifice. Through His word and His sacrament, the altar now represents divine authority. The Word of God is proclaimed at the altar, reminding us of His promise and grace. The sacrament of Holy Communion is the presence of Christ’s sacrifice for us and it is also consecrated and celebrated at the altar.

Music and worship prepare us to receive the preached Word of God. The divine Word, including the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins, prepares the way for the highpoint of the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

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