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Adventist Influences

The Christadelphian founder lived in a time in America where there was a strong expectation by many on the imminent return (or Second Advent) of Christ. This is not a new belief and there are many references in the New Testament which show early Christians believed Christ would return soon too. Many groups through history have focused on the advent as the prime focus of scripture (particularly in times of abrupt change) and the 1800s was a period of intense speculation about the date of Christ’s actual return to the earth. Using time periods referred to in the books of Daniel and Revelation and using principles of “a day for a year” and various starting points, various dates were suggested for when he would return. One in particular was an event now called The Great 

Disappointment when thousands believed Jesus would return in 1844.

Many new denominations, including the Adventist movement, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Worldwide Church of God and the Christadelphians have links to this period and the various movements which emerged from it when the expected return never occurred. In the case of the Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses belief in a spiritual (or invisible return of Christ have emerged) that has been fitted into date scenarios to explain why Christ never returned at certain times expected.

In “The Rise of the Cults,” Branson Hopkins, a former Christadelphian has researched some of these links in detail and has documented the fact that many of the leaders of the various emerging denominations had links, corresponded with each other and were sometimes in the same churches. I suggest a huge amount more work will subsequently be necessary to fully understand major links. Many of these will be found because all of these movements have significant archives of material relating to their origins.






Christadelphian Quotes

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)