C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
John Thomas on the Bible as the only Authority
The beginnings of the movement that eventually became called the Christadelphians started by John Thomas preaching the need to dispense with traditions, creeds and religious books which in his opinion supplanted the free and independent study of the Bible. He initially contended against disfellowshipping, although it should be noted that in his later days after creating a movement he started to promote
more exclusivise bases. Today the Christadelphian community has various statements of faith, such as the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, its own traditions and whole libraries of books, including those of John Thomas. In essence the very elements which were condemned as supplanting “the Bible alone” in other churches are in place today. In examining the basis of church authority in the community and the widespread practice of disfellowshipping within the community it is worth exploring and understanding the progressions of thought involved.
The following quote is from the book, Elpis Israel, by John Thomas, written in 1849 following his first lecturing tour to Britain:
“Search the scriptures with the teachableness of a little child, and thy labour will not be in vain. Cast away the traditions of men, and the prejudices indoctrinated into thy mind by their means; make a whole burnt offering of their creeds, confessions, catechisms, and articles of religion; and, after the example of the Ephesian disciples, hand over your books of curious theological arts, and burn them before all. These mountains of rubbish have served the purposes of a dark and barbarous age; the word, the word of the living God alone, can meet the necessities of the times”
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PAGE VISITS FROM 16/09/13
THE TRINITY HURDLE
NOVEL: HOLY BIBLE
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)