The Christadelphians - page 3
The Way of Salvation
The way to enter the kingdom of God is by faith. This involves belief in the Bible and obedience to its requirements that men and women confess their sins, repent, be baptised and follow Jesus faithfully.
Often we are asked, "How are you different from other Christian groups?" Apart from our distinctive organisation (with no clergy or hierarchy), some of our doctrines are quite different from most churches.
We reject the doctrine of the Trinity, which developed after Jesus' death and resurrection as a result of disputes within the church (Council of Nicea, 325AD). The Bible teaches that Jesus was the Son of God but nowhere does it speak of him 'pre-existing' in heaven as "God the Son". The Trinity diminishes the work of Christ by limiting his struggle against sin and the reality of his death. For if he was God he could not be tempted, neither could he die.; ; ; ; .
We also reject the popular idea of an 'immortal soul' that goes to heaven at death. The Bible teaches that the only hope for eternal life is resurrection when Jesus returns and life forever with him in God's kingdom.; ; .
We believe that baptism is essential after a person believes and accepts the gospel. Sprinkling of babies is not baptism., ;
We also believe that the Bible uses the word 'devil' as a symbol of sinful human nature, and so we reject the doctrine of a supernatural tempter.
The Bible: guidebook for life
The Bible gives effective direction to our lives. A widespread custom among Christadelphians is to read the Bible every day using a reading plan which enables us to systematically read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. Many read much more widely than this.; ; ; .
Following the New Testament example, and Christ's instruction, we pray to God, our Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus his Son. Jesus is our advocate in prayer, knowing our weaknesses. Prayer is an important part of our lives, both individually and in our meetings.; ; ; ; .
Following the teaching and example of the Apostle Paul all Christadelphians aim to support themselves and their family by honest work. Certain professions (e.g., politics, the military, the police, criminal law) are avoided.; .
The relationship between husband and wife is parallel to the relationship between Christ and his church. Therefore marriage must be treated with utmost sanctity. Children are brought up in a knowledge of God, attending Sunday School and in daily Bible readings with their parents. The elderly are cared for both by their families and by the brotherhood., ; .
Christadelphians are, both individually and in groups, involved in charitable work and giving. For example, we own several nursing homes and hostels for the elderly.; , ; ; .
We do not require tithing (giving 10% of our income to the church) because in the Old Testament tithes were to provide for the (Levitical) priesthood--which has now been abolished. The New Testament teaching is to be generous in giving, but it doesn't specify an amount.; , , , ; ; .
Faith and Grace
We try to rely fully upon God and develop a faith which is active in prayer and good works. At the same time, however, we recognise that salvation is by grace. () With God's help, we seek to please and obey him every day, trying to imitate Christ who faithfully obeyed his Father. We therefore endeavour to be enthusiastic in work, loyal in marriage, generous in giving, dedicated in preaching, and happy in our God.
Once a week we meet to worship God, and remember the sacrifice of his Son Jesus by breaking bread and drinking wine. All baptised members take bread and wine. (; ; ).
Apart from the bread and wine, this meeting consists of prayers, the reading of two or three chapters from the Bible, hymns and songs, and an 'exhortation' (word of encouragement) based on the Bible. A different brother will speak every week. (; ; . Participation in this meeting is the focus of our religious life. In most countries this meeting is held on Sunday, though it may be on another day (e.g., Saturday in Nepal and Friday in Bangladesh) where Sunday is a working day. Children learn about the Bible in Sunday School and at home. ( ; ; ). Most local groups also hold one or more evening Bible classes during the week as well as Youth Group activities.
Christadelphians do not have theological schools or seminaries, instead Bible Schools exist for all members. Every year many Christadelphians spend a week or some weekends at a Bible School or Bible Study Camps which are held at facilities rented from other organisations. At such schools there will usually be two or three speakers who will speak on various Bible subjects.
Each 'ecclesia' is self-governing. There is no national, or international 'leadership' or 'central office'. But Christadelphians do share a fellowship worldwide based on a common faith. In this way the relations between assemblies are more like a family than in many traditional churches. This is the New Testament model.; , ). The original Jerusalem church had twelve elders responsible for "the ministry of the word" (preaching and teaching), and seven deacons responsible for "the ministry of tables" (welfare). Likewise the church in Ephesus had several overseers (literally "bishops"), meaning elders. We use the same model with a group of brothers in each ecclesia responsible for the administration of the ecclesia. We do not have paid pastors. ( , , , ).
Each ecclesia tries to preach the good news of the Kingdom and teach the name of Jesus Christ in their local area. (, ; ). Some members travel overseas to preach and assist the local brothers and sisters. These volunteers are unpaid. ( ; ). Christadelphians run series of Bible Seminars, and Bible Camps in many countries, and distribute free Bible literature and magazines. Like Paul we aim to "preach the Gospel free of charge". ).
The Christadelphians are a close-knit community working in God's service in whatever ways we can. If you would like more information, Contact us, or come along to one of our Weekly Activities.