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Christadelphian History

Christadelphians would in general present the claim that they are a modern day restoration of the first century faith and that every person individually has come to their beliefs through independent searching of the Bible. The suggestion is that if only other Christians would read the Bible more carefully and put aside their preconceived ideas they would see Christadelphians have “the Truth.” The assumption here is that they do not suffer from this problem and that history, social conditioning and environment play at best a minor role in the operation of the Christadelphian community. By looking at their history we can understand some of the forces that have influenced the development of the movement.

A brief consideration of the traditional claim that the founder of the Christadelphians “rediscovered the Truth,” how that has shifted and the significance and necessity in theological terms of having an explanation for a new movement.

An examination of possible formative influences behind the start of the movement in America in the nineteenth century.

A look at the life of the founder of the Christadelphians, John Thomas, and how he came to believe he had recovered the long lost faith of the Apostles. This is important in understanding the spirit of the community today.

The story of how a movement centred around the beliefs of one man became set into a denominational form through a schismatic process and the establishment of a defined creedal system.

An examination of where the Christadelphians are today, the difficulties that lie ahead and what options are open to them.






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)