Cory Anderson


Samuel Fröhlich; Samuel Froelich; Apostolic Christian Church of America; Apostolic Christian Church Nazarean; Nazarene; Zion’s Harp; Repentance; Head covering; Religious ritual; Serbia; New Evangelism; German language; Religious division; Swiss Reformed Church


The Apostolic Christian Churches descend from the religious revivals instigated under the leadership of Samuel Fröhlich in 1830s Switzerland. Fusing Anabaptist thought into his revival through contact with Mennonites, Fröhlich’s movement constitutes a distinct religious tradition within the larger Anabaptist movement. Research about this Anabaptist tradition has remained sparse. This article helps introduce the Apostolics to a scholarly audience. It reviews the movement’s recent history in North America, tracing the history of both the largest body—the Apostolic Christian Church of America—and several smaller, generally more conservative, factions. In addition to establishing links between the Apostolics and other Anabaptist branches, this article also outlines their distinctive properties, including not only their ritual forms but also four overarching, generalized socio-religious characteristics. These include: true repentance and death of the old man; gentle, reasoned pleading; affectionate fraternity of the repentant; and the personal leading of the Spirit through the Church.


I am grateful to the many Apostolics who welcomed my wife and I into their midst.



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