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.

The Early History of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Britain

The “Early History of the Kingdom God in Britain” was an account of those who set up new communities following the initial preaching campaign of Doctor John Thomas in Britain in 1848.  At that time there was no denominational structure since the name “Christadelphian” was not in use until 1865 when it was registered to make claims for exemption from the American Civil War as conscientious objectors.  At that time John Thomas wrote a book, “Elpis Israel” where he set out his personal views on the kingdom of God and other matters, but since he railed against creeds those who adopted many of his views did not feel they had to follow him on every aspect. 

Those who responded to his preaching campaign therefore simply called themselves “baptised believers in the kingdom of God”.   This diverse start to the Christadelphian movement was subsequently edited out of Christadelphian accounts as found in the research by Andrew Wilson.  It was only later that many became known as Christadelphian ecclesias (examples Mumbles and Swansea).  Others never embraced the name “Christadelphian” at all, were subsquently not retained as brethren, and others would not subscribe to the creedal process that had previously been advocated against.

The "Early History of the Kingdom of God in Britain" was written in 1904 by one of those early followers, William Norrie, detailing what he considered to be a movement following in the steps advocated by John Thomas and until the community tightened up its requirements through creeds was accepted as such.  In fact Robert Roberts (who was prominent in making the Christadelphian movement creedal) was married to his sister, Jane Norrie in Edinburgh.

The inevitable result of a non creedal movement without organisation was a diversity.  This threatened to be too liberal in outlook and thought for many and to limit followers to the beliefs promoted by John Thomas initial creedal steps were taken.  These were widely supported until a prominent member raised thoughts about how the Bible was inspired that led to widespread division.  Further steps to again tighten doctrinal requirements have also subsequently proved highly divisive.

“The Early History of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Britain” is in three volumes:

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