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A Christadelphian Church

The above photograph is interesting because we see here a Christadelphian meeting place expressly calling itself a “church.” For most of its history this would not have happened. The reasons for that position are its historic associations with forms of Christianity that the Christadelphians rejected.

Christadelphians historically didn’t call congregations a church. They have called them “ecclesias.” This is explained within the The Ecclesial Guide here:

1.—The Term “Ecclesia.”

To help in the development, and give scope for the exercise of this faithfulness, obedient believers were required to form themselves into communities, which, in Greek, were called ECCLESIAS. There is no exact equivalent in English for this term Ecclesia. It means an assembly of the called. “Church” (by which it is translated) has not this meaning, and has become objectionable through association with unapostolic ideas and institutions. Consequently, the original term has to be employed.

The buildings that Christadelphians have met in have generally been called “Christadelphian Halls,” although in its earliest days some called themselves “Christadelphian synagogues.”

Across the Christadelphian community there are lots of signs that words that have been historically rejected as being associated with mainstream Christianity are being more widely used and adopted. Christadelphians are more likely to call themselves “Christians” and speak of a “pastor” giving a talk. We also find in Care Groups a willingness to adopt psychological words, approaches and beliefs once defined as “humanism” and in its preaching and management methods using words more familiar to the business world. Talks are given promoting the worldly accomplishments of its speakers as “scientists,” “doctors” and so forth, something which would also once have not happened.

Despite the mental rigidity required by followers in general, there are signs the movement is altering and there is little will to maintain the historical thinking on all aspects.

In fact a complete adherence to Biblical terms is probably impossible. Most people don’t speak Hebrew or Greek and we have to use words relevant to situation. In fact much Christadelphian terminology in regards to organisation comes from the forms of committee that were prevalent in nineteenth century Victorian times. We don’t read of a “presiding brother” or “recording brother” or “secretary” in the Bible.

More on Terminology here.






Christadelphian Quotes

You lay a great stress upon facts throughout your letters, and are incessant in your demand that I should attend to them. This is good; but facts have to be rightly put together, and then you must have all the facts. I do not think you put the facts rightly together, and you leave out some, I am sure.

(Robert Roberts, a Christadelphian Pioneer, quoted

by Ruth McHaffie in Brethren Indeed)

The Spirit of liberty, based upon the law of faith, is the Spirit of Christ; and this spirit all the Sons of God are privileged to possess, and having it, to breathe. I claim the right of exercising this privilege, as well as my contemporaries; and I require of them that they should do to me as once they loudly required others to do to them…

(written by John Thomas, the founder of the Christadelphians, when he was against creeds in 

The Apostolic Advocate magazine, August 1836)

(John Thomas, from Apostacy Unveiled, p. 137,

quoted in The Christadelphian Magazine, January 1906)

Must a man never progress? If he discovers an error in his premises, must he for ever hold to it for the sake of consistency? May such a calamity never befall me! Rather let me change every day, till I get right at last.

(from a letter written by John Thomas in 1848, quoted by Robert Roberts, in Dr. Thomas: His Life and Work)

Do what is right; be valiant for the Truth; teach it without compromise, and all lovers of the Truth will approve you. For all others you need not care a rush!

(from a letter written by John Thomas to Robert Roberts and published in The Christadelphian magazine, February 1866)