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Preaching the Signs of the Times

This is a well known Christadelphian speaker and preacher, Duncan Heaster, preaching the signs of the times for them in 1983.

Writing about this on a Facebook forum, Christadelphians Worldwide, he now advises a newer Christadelphian to be more wary than he was:

Thanks Wim but I think the implication of your position is that if we study hard enough we can come to a predicted chronology of events in the last days and then just watch it happen. But nobody has yet come up with it- most prophetic predictions by our community have not come true. A few guesses have, but the vast majority of expectations related to events and prophecies have proven wrong. Secondly, if there is a cast iron set of events to happen, then what about the freewill of Israel and the nations to repent or not? What if Israel immediately and totally repent at the preaching of the latter day Elijah? The prophetic program is going to look different. Just as Nineveh repented, and so the program looked different.

As a young man I was of the dogmatic persuasion that we were to preach prophecy, in those days it was about Russia and the USSR, and 'the return of Christ is imminent' but those things never happened- the USSR broke up and didn't invade Israel. Here's a picture of me in London's Hyde Park in 1983. I was a well meaning and sincere false prophet... along with most of Christadelphia... I just mention this to show that in making my comments about your position I do not place myself above you in any way, my point is that I made the same mistakes, but we have to learn from them.

Duncan Heaster, Christadelphians Worldwide, 31 August 2013

In a change of emphasis to the historical Christadelphian approach of seeking to convert people using current events interpreted as fulfilling Bible prophecy and leading to the imminent return of Christ he now writes:

This is not to say that world events are not very interesting in their alignment with Bible descriptions of the last days. We are to live as if Christ will return any moment. I'm simply saying that we cannot dogmatically predict that He will in terms of Bible prophecies. The overall picture I get is of Israel being overrun by their Arab enemies which leads to their repentance, and yes there is ample evidence that scenario is all set up.

What's important is to spread the Gospel worldwide and mature spiritually as a community so as to 'hasten the coming' ; this week we baptized a Hindu Brahmin in Prague, Czech, and a former JW from Ust Ilimsk in far northern Siberia... that kind of thing I'd say is the bigger sign of the Lord's return.

Duncan Heaster, Christadelphians Worldwide, 31 August 2013

The question it leaves begging though is this: If Christadelphians could have been so wrong about aspects which are visible and have been tested by time and have failed, how can we be so sure that their interpretations of doctrine are correct? For the elements of the community that disfellowship people too we have to ask also by what authority this has been done. Has it been the divine will of God or on the 

basis of their fallible interpretations of the Bible? And what about the social, emotional and spiritual harm this has caused many folk?

It is good to see that the community though is beginning to acknowledge some of its past failures and Duncan Heaster deserves credit for his honesty here.

Here is another picture from 1983 showing a billboard proclaiming the imminent return of Christ:






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)