Clause 24 below outlines the amendment made in January to the original statement of faith. The entire Christadelphian Statement of Faith includes the main document below, the Commandments of Christ , and the Doctrines to be Rejected. This paragraph was added in He hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is. That Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, begotten of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, without the intervention of man, and afterwards anointed with the same Spirit, without measure, at his baptism. That the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first man.
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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. About the Christadelphians, a non-Trinitarian Christian group patterned after the early Christian church; their beliefs, history and way of life. The Christadelphians are a non-Trinitarian, millennial Christian group whose fellowship is linked by a common understanding of the Bible and Christianity.
Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church. They describe themselves as "a lay community patterned after first century Christianity". Their name comes from a Greek phrase, Christou adelphoi , which means 'brothers and sisters in Christ'. Christadelphians have no priests, paid ministers, or central leadership, and the leadership of local ecclesias churches is shared by senior members. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but one estimate is that there are about 50, members in countries worldwide, 6, of them in the USA.
Another source suggests that there are 20, members in the UK and ecclesias. Christadelphians are not totally exclusive but they do regard themselves as set apart to serve God. Because of this they try to live to the highest moral standards and avoid activities that they regard as 'of the world'. They only marry within the faith. Christadelphians do not join the armed forces or the police, nor do they vote or take part in politics.
Christadelphians regard themselves as Christians but don't accept some mainstream Christian doctrine. For example, they believe that God is not a Trinity but the single being God the Father. They believe that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God, but was also a man as he was born of a woman, though this birth was miraculous.
They believe that Jesus now lives in Heaven, but will literally return to the earth to set up God's Kingdom. All those who have believed and been baptised will be raised to be judged by Jesus. Those who are found worthy will live in the Kingdom for ever; those who are not, or those who have not been raised, will stay dead forever. They are a millennial church and believe that Jesus will co-exist on earth with his followers for a thousand years the millennium before the final battle of Armageddon.
Due to their interpretation of prophecies and in particular the Olivet Prophecy, they believe that the day of Jesus' return will be soon. The Olivet Prophecy describes the signs that Christadelphians believe indicate the return of Jesus. The signs are described by Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13 and Luke 21 and include war, famine, "men's hearts failing them for fear" and people being more interested in themselves than in God. Christadelphians believe these signs have been fulfilled and, consequently, that Jesus will soon return.
Christadelphians base their faith on the Bible and nothing else. They regard the Bible as inspired by God and completely free of error, and the only source of knowledge about God and his plans. They believe that the Bible should be read as a whole, and understood through the plain meaning of its words.
Thomas was a doctor who had been born in London but emigrated to the USA in , partly because he thought that English society was "priest-ridden". Religion is of two kind - that, namely, which is invented by the thinking of sinful flesh; and that which is revealed of God. The former is superstition, and leads men to do a vast deal more than God requires of them, or less than He has appointed. In what is called "Christendom" most improperly Thomas was shipwrecked on his way to America, and while he was in danger he realised that he knew little about what would happen to him after death.
He decided that if he survived he would devote himself to religious studies. Thomas joined the Campbellite movement, a group that aimed to return to the early days of the Church. Later he became interested in the Millerite or Adventist movement. In Thomas founded a magazine called The Apostolic Advocate , in which he published his developing ideas of true Christian belief.
In he became a farmer in Illinois. Shortly afterwards and throughout the s he began to attract a following of people sympathetic to his developing views, and gradually congregations grew up.
Thomas founded another magazine, The Herald of the Future Age , in , and moved to Virginia where in he published A Confession and Abjuration of what he now regarded as false beliefs. This became the basis of his major work Elpis Israel , which was published a year later, following a successful speaking tour of the UK. The group became a recognised movement and took their present name in , partly as a result of the American Civil War.
Their pacifist principles meant that members wanted to be conscientious objectors and refuse to fight. They could only do this if they were members of a recognised religious group that opposed the war, and so the Christadelphians came into being.
Another important name in Christadelphian history is Robert Roberts. He was a Scot who nurtured and organised the movement. They aim to read the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament twice a year following a reading plan called the Bible Companion. Without daily spiritual food from the Bible we will die spiritually and God's Kingdom will be lost to us. If we feed on the Word of God every day then we will grow spiritually. Christadelphians also value the many books written by their founder, John Thomas, including Elpis Israel , although they do not treat them as having any particular authority.
Thomas did not believe that he had any special revelation from God and based his writing solely on the close study of the Bible. They are a lay community, so do not have priests; the only priest they recognise is Jesus Christ.
Their organisational structure seeks to follow the way they believe the early Christians organised themselves. The guiding principles are a commitment to equality among believers and regarding 'leaders' as servants. Those taking leadership or administrative roles are not paid. Such central organisation as there is consists of various committees who organise missionary, educational and caring work, and offices that publish magazines and books.
The primary unit of organisation is a local group of like-minded believers who come together to form an ecclesia. Ecclesia comes from a Greek word; it means 'assembly of the called out', which refers to those who have been called out both from the world and from the mistaken institutions of conventional Christianity.
Members call each other 'Brother' or 'Sister'. Members of an ecclesia take on various administrative functions for the group.
They are chosen by election. The only practicable basis of order in the circumstances existing in our dispensation is that of mutual consent, expressed in the process known as voting, which literally means voicing, or speaking your mind. This follows the Christadelphian understanding that in the early church elders were appointed with the consent and approval of each individual congregation. These members regard themselves as servants rather than masters, and so are called 'serving brethren'.
They are not paid. The ecclesia does not appoint masters, but servants. In principle, the ecclesia is the doer of everything; but, as it is impossible in its collective capacity to do the things that are to be done, it delegates to individual members the duty of doing them in its behalf.
Blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; not a novice; moreover, he must have a good report of them that are without.
Membership of the Christadelphians is restricted to those who have been baptised by immersion after accepting and professing the doctrines and precepts of Christ as defined in the Statement of Faith.
The Statement of Faith was written by Robert Roberts and is a set of Christadelphian beliefs, or doctrines, with supporting references from the Bible. Christadelphian worship is modelled on what they believe was the pattern followed by the early Church. They meet for the 'breaking of bread' every Sunday "the first day of the week". Services are simple, with hymns, prayers, readings from the Scriptures and an 'exhortation' sermon. There may be a Sunday School for children, a meeting on Sunday evening and other meetings during the week for Bible study and prayer.
Some Christadelphians meet in their own halls, but worship can take place anywhere, and often takes place in the home of a group member.
Christadelphians don't worship with other Christian groups because they don't believe it appropriate to do so with people who don't share a common doctrine. A consequence of this as that they believe that they should be 'the most law abiding citizens of the country in which they live'. This is because they believe that all authorities, including those of the state, are ultimately put there by God, and so that when a person disobeys the rulers of their country, they are really disobeying God.
Christadelphians believe that they should have nothing to do with violence, because the Bible tells them to love their enemies.
They won't join the armed forces or police or prison services, nor will they work in security or the armaments industry. Those who become Christadelphians after joining the military or police are expected to try to leave by legally and scripturally appropriate means. If Christadelphians are called up for compulsory military service they will refuse to fight, no matter how serious the situation for their country.
Christadelphians will not take jobs that require them to swear an oath of allegiance to anyone other than God. Christadelphians will not take political office, nor will they vote in elections or take part in any other political activity. We will understand that God has chosen our rulers, even though we may not be able to understand His reasons for doing so.
If we vote against the elected candidate, then we shall be voting against the one God has chosen! What we do know is that eventually Jesus Christ will establish God's Kingdom on earth. It is for that time that we hope and pray. Christadelphians don't actually prohibit these, because they are not forbidden in the Bible.
But they do use them rarely if at all, because they are an indulgence and can lead to a loss of self-control. Christadelphians do not regard marriage as a sacrament, but they do regard it as a highly spiritual thing that should be firmly based on God's principles and involve husband and wife working in partnership to the glory of God and his son Jesus Christ.
Christadelphians only marry other Christadelphians - they believe that "marriage with the alien is an offence against the law of Christ", and would result in the partners pulling in different spiritual directions. A brother ought not to marry a woman who is not a sister: a sister ought not to marry a man who is not a brother. The marriage of a believer ought to be "only in the Lord".
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Is theistic evolution or evolutionary creation as we prefer able to be reconciled to the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith BASF which is the most commonly used statement of faith for Christadelphians? Christadelphians historically recognise the statement of faith is a product of the time, human rather than inspired and should not be read at a word for word level eg see here. However, in response to Christadelphians accepting the reality of evolution, some have promoted new and narrow ways of reading the statement of faith to try and exclude evolutionary creation. The first principle must be that any statement of faith is read through the lens of the Bible, not the other way around. The meaning must be derived from the Bible, lest we add to it.
This paragraph was added in He hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is. That Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, begotten of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, without the intervention of man, and afterwards anointed with the same Spirit, without measure, at his baptism. That the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first man. That the first man was Adam, whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body of life, "very good" [Publisher's Note: Gen. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken-a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity, until the coming of Christ.