C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
The Christadelphians are a small community with perhaps 50,000 members across the world, most in Britain, America and Australia with smaller numbers in Canada, New Zealand, Malawi and other countries. They have no political power and as a marginal group little influence on society. So it is possible to ask, why have a site to research them?
The big value of this site is for those who are connected to the Christadelphians. Some may simply be Christadelphians who are curious about a site which has both information and perspectives about their faith they are unaware of. Others may be actively trying to gain clarification about certain doubts they have. Some will be considering joining and others leaving the community and wondering not only about doctrinal beliefs, but how it may affect their lives if they do so. A very important group are the children of Christadelphian who may be under parental and peer pressures to decide whether Christadelphian beliefs are correct or not. They will have heard how other Christians are part of a global apostasy and how political events in the world are “signs of the times” leading to the arrival of Christ and the judgments which will go against them if they are not baptised and ready. Those who do decide to leave often have huge difficulties reframing worldviews too after spending a lot of time in a closed community which advises its members not to be “friends with the world” (i.e everyone else) especially if they were born into the faith and have no pre-existing frames of reference.
This site may help clarify some of those thoughts. In practice deciding to join or leave a community such as the Christadelphians is not simple freewill. As a former Christadelphian myself I know that being brought up within a very enclosed community with a very rigid mindset shaped in part who I am and a developing understanding of some information is necessary in order to move forward. Re-evaluating and changing what worldviews we believe and subscribe to at a very deep level of ourselves is not something that we are not in complete control of. One area of law in other matters which is growing for this precise reason is that of “undue influence” and which is why I have written an article on whether the Christadelphians are a cult. Personally I think the idea of “cults” has some weight, but it tends to be too simplistic. In a way we are all exploring consciousness, freewill, truth and the meaning of life whether scientists or believers in God. Christadelphians are no different. They place weight on certain elements such as inerrant scriptures and the need for a creedal basis of organisation and they ignore elements which don’t fit so well.
In that sense those who don’t agree, who leave or who are disfellowshipped provide feedback. With time as a result society and churches change, new religious movements emerge and laws get reframed. Former positions which were previously held as unalienable truth, become undefendable dogma. Such is the difficulty that I believe the Christadelphian movement faces and which is why it is wrestling with the need for the change. This is more relevant to the young rather than the old. The old enjoy the comforts of believing they have certainty, the young have to respond to incongruities of position. Positions which originally were revolutionary become archaisms unable to resist the pressures of change. In that sense this site may help those within the Christadelphian community explore how to move forward.
This site also believes in the values of free thought and freedom of speech and the necessity of religious freedom. It therefore fully supports the legal right of the Christadelphians to uphold church authority, but it questions whether God has given them divine rights. The aim of this site is therefore to aid the further discussion of issues. In supporting the legal rights for competing groups to exert church authority, it believes greater understanding for those who leave is necessary. This site is therefore a site which believes in the value of empathy and human understanding and does not believe such is automatically humanism as many Christadelphians and other fundamentalist Christian groups believe. In short I believe emotion and human experience form part of the way we grow in understanding that is not removed by a belief in inerrant scripture or that we hold the true understanding of it.
VIEW THE MIND MAP
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)