C H R I S T A D E L P H I A N R E S E A R C H
A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias
The following Christadelphian Statement of Faith is from an 1877 edition of the Birmingham Statement of Faith taken directly from an original 1877 Ecclesial Guide I have in my possession. It is the first statement of faith adopted as a common statement of faith amongst Christadelphians and represented a significant step forward to having a standardised set of doctrinal requirements. Agreement with it became compulsory for inter-church fellowship and co-operation and it reduced the scope for variances that congregations could allow in terms of belief. It later went through a number of minor alterations when various schisms ocurred leading to the Birmingham Amended
(There is reference to what seems to be an earlier Birmingham Statement of Faith with earlier wording on some Christadelphian websites such as Christadelphian Resources, an Unamended Christadelphian website. It has 1877 at the top, but says lower down it is a reprint of a statement of faith adopted by Birmingham in 1873. This and other statements show that the adoption of statements of faith has not been a totally rigid process with inconsistencies to be found to the broad rulings followed.)
A Statement of the Doctrines forming the Christadelphian Basis of Fellowship
I.—That the only true God is He who was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by angelic visitation and vision, and to Moses at the flaming bush (unconsumed) and at Sinai, and who manifested Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the supreme self-existent Deity, the ONE FATHER, dwelling in unapproachable light, yet everywhere present by His Spirit, which is a unity with His person in heaven. He hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is.
II.—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.
III.—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.
IV.—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” in kind and condition, and placed him under a law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience.
V.—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.
VI.—That God, in His kindness, conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction, and people the earth with sinless immortals.
VII.—That He inaugurated this plan by making promises to Adam, Abraham, and David, which were afterwards elaborated in greater detail through the prophets.
VIII.—That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing the condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself, and all who should believe and obey him.
IX.—That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God.
X.—That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh—yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman, of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression, including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature.
XI.—That the message he delivered from God to his kinsmen, the Jews, was a call to repentance from every evil work, the assertion of his divine sonship and Jewish kingship; and the proclamation of the glad tidings that God would restore their kingdom through him, and accomplish all things written in the prophets.
XII.—That for delivering this message, he was put to death by the Jews and Romans, who were, however, but instruments in the hands of God, for the doing of that which He had determined before to be done—viz., the condemnation of sin in the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as a propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin.
XIII.—That on the third day, God raised him from the dead, and exalted him to the heavens as priestly mediator between God and man, in the process of gathering from among them a people who should be saved by the belief and obedience of the truth.
XIV.—That he is a priest over his own house only, and does not intercede for the world, or for professors who are abandoned to disobedience. That he makes intercession for his erring brethren, if they confess and forsake their sins.
XV.—That he sent forth apostles to proclaim salvation through him, as the only name given under heaven whereby men may be saved.
XVI.—That the way to obtain this salvation is to believe the gospel they preached, and to take on the name and service of Christ, by being thereupon immersed in water, and continuing patiently in the observance of all things he has commanded, none being recognised as his friends except those who do what he has commanded.
XVII.—That the gospel consists of “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.”
XVIII.—That the things of the Kingdom of God are the facts testified concerning the Kingdom of God in the writings of the prophets and apostles, and definable as in the next 12 paragraphs.
XIX.—That God will set up a kingdom in the earth, which will overthrow all others, and change them into “the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ.”
XX.—That for this purpose God will send Jesus Christ personally to the earth at the close of the times of the Gentiles.
XXI.—That the kingdom which he will establish will be the kingdom of Israel restored, in the territory it formerly occupied, viz., the land bequeathed for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his seed (the Christ) by covenant.
XXII.—That this restoration of the kingdom again to Israel will involve the ingathering of God’s chosen but scattered nation, the Jews; their reinstatement in the land of their fathers, when it shall have been reclaimed from “the desolation of many generations”; the building again of Jerusalem to become “the throne of the Lord” and the metropolis of the whole earth.
XXIII.—That the governing body of the kingdom so established will be the brethren of Christ, of all generations, developed by resurrection and change, and constituting, with Christ as their head, the collective “seed of Abraham,” in whom all nations will be blessed, and comprising “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets,” and all in their age of like faithfulness.
XXIV.—That a law will be established, which shall go forth to the nations for their "instruction in righteousness," resulting in the abolition of war to the ends of the earth; and the "filling of the earth with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea."
XXV.—That at the appearing of Christ prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, the responsible (faithful and unfaithful), dead and living—obedient and disobedient—will be summoned before his judgement-seat “to be judged according to their works”; and “receive in body according to what they have done, whether it be good or bad.”
XXVI.—That the unfaithful will be consigned to shame and “the second death,” and the faithful, invested with immortality, and exalted to reign with Jesus as joint heirs of the kingdom, co-possessors of the earth, and joint administrators of God’s authority among men in everything.
XXVII.—That the Kingdom of God, thus constituted, will continue a thousand years, during which sin and death will continue among the earth’s subject inhabitants, though in a much milder degree than now.
XXVIII.—That the mission of the Kingdom will be to subdue all enemies, and finally death itself, by opening up the way of life to the nations, which they will enter by faith, during the thousand years, and (in reality) at their close.
XXIX.—That at the close of the thousand years, there will be a general resurrection and judgement, resulting in the final extinction of the wicked, and the immortalisation of those who shall have established their title (under the grace of God) to eternal life during the thousand years.
XXX.—That the government will then be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the “All-in-all;” sin and death having been taken out of the way, and the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity.
Doctrines to be Rejected in the Christadelphian Ecclesial Guide
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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)