CHRISTADELPHIAN RESEARCH

An exhaustive and authoritative investigation into the Christadelphians with links from their own sources as well as insights from former members. Complete examination of their history, organisation, theology, practices, and the challenges they face.

“High Church” Christadelphians

The following article was published in a Christadelphian Magazine,The Fraternal Visitor in May 1894 and followed “the Inspiration Controversy” when a new magazine (The Exegetist) published a consideration of how the Bible was inspired.  This eventually led to a Foundation Statement being added to the statement of faith and separating from all congregations who would not add it to theirs.  The article shows contemporary concerns by many Christadelphians to the increasing requirement to give express agreement to defined creedal positions.  The objections were about a change in the values expressed by the movement initially, rather than wide ranging variances of belief.  They wanted the movement to continue to allow greater liberality of thought in line with the initial foundational beliefs promoted.  They saw in this creedal approach the development of church authority which had been condemned initially as restrictive to the principle of independence of thought.

A sense of unease had also grown since previous creedal movements and a sense of how dissent had been handled.  Many disliked the new position towards “heretics” as the movement had been a rebellious movement anyway in promoting a free-thinking outlook.  The new authoritarianism which they saw as being led by a “one-man leadership” did not sit well with them.  This referred to Robert Roberts, who was eventually to take the majority of the movement with him.  His position was described in Sects and Society by Bryan R. Wilson as “primus inter pares” or “first amongst equals”.  In other words, technically everyone was equal as brothers, in practice he was the leader.  After his death nobody has had the position or ability to coordinate a change in the statements of faith other than to form another minority grouping, and probably no-one can now do so.

High Church Christadelphians, The Fraternal Visitor, May 1894, Page 129

High Church Christadelphians, The Fraternal Visitor, May 1894, Page 130

High Church Christadelphians, The Fraternal Visitor, May 1894, Page 131

High Church Christadelphians, The Fraternal Visitor, May 1894, Page 132

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