C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
CHAPTER 2: The Sectarian Process
This pattern that can be seen within the establishment of the Christadelphians is typical of most reforming movements and sects and follows the following steps:
THE PROMOTION OF REFORM
Established traditions and church authority is rejected. A basis for reform is suggested, which in the case of the Christadelphians was the Bible alone and independence of thought. There is a call for reform, pointing out traditions, the status quo and institutionalisation. This can be shown to be the driving force of the challenge John Thomas presented to the churches of his day. The reformation they sought he claimed never went far enough.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SYSTEM
Some form of organisation is recognised as necessary with systems and procedures established. These become more and more complex with time as various difficulties and situations emerge.
THE INSTITUTIONALISATION STAGE
This is when a church is no longer true to the principles connected with its initial establishment and has adopted many of the principles and systems it initially rejected. At this stage it has developed a status quo and its own set of traditions which determine its thinking. It becomes hard to change and often has many internal contradictions. However these become difficult to confront because it enters a state of denial about them. At this stage it becomes ripe for reform.
CHANGE OR DECAY – POSITION TODAY
At this stage the movement becomes in danger of decay as it has developed too many internal contradictions that have become ingrained. In addition many of its own members also cannot overlook inherent weaknesses, although they may not voice them. The difficulty is that the movement can lack the will, honesty or mechanisms to recognise and tackle the elements which hold it back. They can become institutions that go through motions and procedures which no longer are congruent to the concerns and issues of its members. The movement starts to lose adherents and struggles to gain more.
CHAPER 3: Lay Organisation
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)