The Christadelphians

a short history

Christadelphians aim to live by faith in Jesus Christ, finding their instruction in a wholly inspired Bible. The core belief is that Christ will one day return to the Earth to establish the Kingdom of God and grant eternal life to his people.

They will not take part in any political activity nor vote in elections. However, they believe that authorities, are ultimately put there by God, and so to disobey the rulers of their country is to disobey God.

 

The Christadelphian movement was founded in the USA by John Thomas, a London doctor who emigrated to the USA in 1832, partly because he considered English society to be "priest-ridden."

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.

In 1834 Thomas founded a magazine called The Apostolic Advocate, in which he published his developing ideas of true Christian belief, based solely on his study of the Bible which he believed was inspired by God and thus error-free..

He preached that religion, as practised, was superstition, ranging from, Popery, which is superstition in excess, down to Quakerism, which is superstition in its homoeopathic proportion, invented by the thinking of sinful flesh and not that which is revealed of God.“ Moreover, he claimed that such superstition leads men to do a vast deal more than God requires of them, or less than He has appointed.

Throughout the 1840s he began to attract a following of people sympathetic to his developing views, and congregations began to grow up.

The group became a recognised movement and took their present name in 1864, 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 for this reason, the Christadelphians came into being.

Their churches, called ecclesia, are self-governing and many groups meet in halls or membershomes.

 

Brian Hatton

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