C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
Early Creedal Flexibility of the Christadelphians
The following quote is from a footnote in the book, “The History of the Christadelphians,” page 27, by Andrew R Wilson, who comprehensively researched the emergence of the Christadelphians as a denomination between 1864 and 1885.
“There was considerable credal flexibility amongst the Baptised Believers, especially in the period before Robert Roberts became editor of The Ambassador of the Coming Age diminishing between 1864 and the death of John Thomas, much less between 1871 and the Inspiration Division (see Chapter V), and hardly at all after 1885. In the earliest of these periods, this credal flexibility concerned doctrine as well as ecclesiastical procedures. William Norrie’s Early History is replete with references to a wide variety of liturgical practices, ecclesial officers’ titles and functions, the organisation of services, the titles by which the ‘ecclesias’ were known, the credal formulae they accepted, the use to which such creeds were put, the practice of re-immersion upon a deeper understanding of the gospel, and the attitude to practical matters such as politics and insurance policies. Local minutes, ecclesial record books, ecclesial rule books, letters and other surviving documents fully support the picture as presented by Norrie. This picture of diversity was not reflected, for example, in the 58 chapters on this period of Christadelphian history written by Robert Roberts in Life Dr. T., and MDAMW. The Christadelphian past tended, here, to be written rather in the manner of the Whig historians.”
The phrase “Baptised Believers” was a widely used phrase by those who left various churches to follow the teachings of John Thomas (to varying degrees) and before the name Christadelphian was coined in 1865 and generally adopted.
The book, “The Early History of the Kingdom of God in Britain” is available on this site. To read some early Christadelphian thoughts on the increasing requirements of doctrinal conformity there is an early article on “High Church Christadelphians.”
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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)