Who are the Christadelphians?
THERE must be many people who feel that there is something outstandingly significant about the person and the teaching of Jesus Christ. Yet when they survey Christianity, both in its history and its modern forms, they find a wide variety of churches and communities, all with their differing foundations, teachings and practices. Feeling bewildered by the existence of so many groups claiming the name Christian, they may well give up the quest for the truth as hopeless.
An apostolic fellowship
At the meeting for the breaking of bread on the first day of the week there are hymns, prayers, readings from the scriptures and an exhortation. The bread and the wine circulate among all the brothers and sisters present. Voluntary collections are taken to meet all the expenses. If some of the early followers of the apostles in the first century could attend such meetings, it is believed that they would immediately recognise what was going on, for it is patterned on New Testament worship.
Like Jesus early disciples, they also proclaim his message of life to all willing to hear; they instruct their children and young people in Sunday Schools and Youth Groups, and promote the life of faith and prayer, and obedience to Christs commands, among their members.
The name Christadelphians
Since 1864 The Christadelphian Magazine has appeared monthly, issued from Birmingham, UK. It provides informative articles and contains items of news from the ecclesias worldwide. Pamphlets and books are also produced for the use of members and their friends. Other organisations throughout the world promote the preaching of the Gospel in areas where the ecclesia is small or non-existent, and there are special committees responsible for preaching the Gospel in other countries. Still another organisation circulates typed exhortations and Bible studies to those members who live some distance from an ecclesia.
The care of the infirm and the elderly has been seen as a pressing need: there are several Homes in various countries. Voluntary contributions are made to help individual members in need.
A distinctive foundation
He eventually came to an understanding of the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) which was different in a number of important points from that of the churches and other religious sects. His labours attracted the support of others who were convinced of the validity of his conclusions. This understanding of Bible truths has been rigorously tested by free enquiry for 150 years. The distinctive views of the Christadelphians today are the result of this process.
The whole Bible
It arises from the important principle that the Bible must be understood as a whole. It is easy to uphold certain teachings by accepting some parts of the scriptures and neglecting others. For instance it is popular today to dismiss much of the Old Testament. Yet these documents the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets were accepted by Jesus and his apostles as the word of the Lord. The Bible is a unity: the revelation of God for mankind begins in the pages of the Old Testament and is continued and expanded in the New. The whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) is to be derived from the whole book.
Christadelphians accept that all of the Bible is the wholly inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). They therefore read it carefully and regularly. A reading plan, called the Bible Companion, enables them to read the Old Testament once in a year, and the New Testament twice.
There is another point of great importance: if man is truly to understand the Bible, he must be prepared for the fact that it is absolutely frank about all issues, and primarily about ourselves. It is the most realistic book in the world, confronting the stark issues of life without wishful thinking. Human problems, both of the race and of individuals, are frankly assessed. The origin of the problems is explained and so is the solution to them. The Bible is the only source in the world to do this in harmony with the facts of history and of human life.
God, Creator and Father
The vital earth
God is concerned with the earth as a whole, and the nations inhabiting it. The careers of great empires are under Gods control and their fate is predicted. The severe troubles of the modern world are all foreseen, and so is their solution: the establishment by God of a new order in the earth as the only means by which the waywardness of mankind can be controlled.