C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
John Thomas Promoting Exclusiveness
(From the Ambassador of the Coming Age (later renamed The Christadelphian magazine), 1866)
The following article shows the growing exclusiveness that was being promoted by John Thomas. The “Doweities” he described were a group of people who had following many of his teachings that promoted independence of thought without creeds and called themselves “Baptised Believers in the Kingdom of God” since at that time the Christadelphian name had not been coined. George Dowie was a leader in the Edinburgh church at that time and the title was used for all those congregations associated with his. Likewise the “Benjamites” had also been adherents, Benjamin Wilson having been baptised by John Thomas. Their “sin” was to not follow John Thomas fully in all his conclusions. The Storrites, Millerites, Adventists and Campellites were likewise former brethren. It should be noted that these names given by John Thomas were based upon the names of various leaders and were not denominational titles.
The characteristic of a true Christadelphian is “the obedience of faith” and a “walk worthy of God”; in other words, he first understands the things of the Kingdom of God and Name of Jesus Christ; secondly, he believes what he understands, and loves what he believes above every other thing; thirdly, his “faith, working by love” causes him to be immersed into the Divine Name; fourthly, he walks in the Truth, and is careful to do nothing to its injury; and fifthly, he will not fellowship those who do not so believe and do. This is the Christadelphian theory and practice which separates us from Dowieites with you and Benjamites and “brethren in the West” over here. Personally, I might gain by a less ridged and exclusive order of things: but then the truth would suffer; therefore I repudiate it. This is the barrier between us and certain in the West who may have obeyed the gospel; they fellowship those who have not; and for us to fellowship them, would be to let in Storrites, Millerites, Adventists, Campbellites, and such like, who, coming in like a flood with their traditions and fanaticisms, would swamp the truth, and in a very short time destroy the labors and conflict of years. I have been endeavoring to get back to apostolic distinctiveness, and to carry back as many with me as possible, and I will not stand by inertly and see knaves, hypocrites, and brethren too “charitable” for the good fight of faith, making void this endeavor. I lift up my voice against it, and though it may be little heeded, there is a satisfaction in doing the best we can.
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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)