Pentecostal Church Mannheim
Message from the Monthly Flyer from November 2009
Concerning the question, whether the Apostolic–Pentecostal Church Mannheim, in the following called APG M supposed to be a sect, the following is to be stated:
In general there are several criteria that identify a sect as such. At first, there should be a statement concerning the leadership of a sect: Sects always are under the control of exclusive people in charge and leading people, who hold unlimited power in wide areas. This is not the case with the APG M, here there is a pastor as in most Christian communities. He doesn’t take a position of authority that exceeds a measure established in the Bible. The pastor also doesn’t claim for himself infallibility, as is common in a sect. The only centre of a Christian church body is Jesus Christ. Nobody, no pastor or other leader, can take this position. By the way, the APG M is an acknowledged non-profit association, in which synods are held on a regular basis where votes are taken concerning matters of the community.
As another criteria for a sect, isolation, respectively radical separation, should be mentioned. A dialog with other churches is not declined by the APG M, but rather welcomed. There should not arise division and dispute with other churches. A friendly interaction, even if a different understanding of the Bible exists, should be the goal of a true Christian.
Additional characteristic traits of sects are the interpretations that claim to be exclusively binding, which are in most cases only given by one body of the association. The APG M orients itself strongly with the apostolic doctrine, but grants each Christian to maintain or receive a personal interpretation, respectively revelation that is not contrary to the Holy Scriptures. God does speak to mankind in multiple ways. There are much more criteria that are typical for a sect, but we want to address here at this point only the financial exploitation. All donations, which are collected during the Sunday Service, including all private offerings, are on a strictly voluntary basis. There are neither regulations about a specific amount of an offering, nor is there any control. Everybody is welcome, the one who gives and the one who does not give, but most importantly the one who is not able to give. The Bible hereto contains many statements, which need a more diligent interpretation and which are difficult to discuss. rw