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”