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The Christadelphians are a millenarian Christian group who hold a view of Biblical Unitarianism. There are approximately 50,000 Christadelphians in around 120 countries. The movement developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century around the teachings of John Thomas, who coined the name Christadelphian from the Greek for "Brethren in Christ".
Basing their beliefs solely on the Bible, Christadelphians differ from mainstream Christianity in a number of doctrinal areas. For example, they reject the Trinity and the immortality of the soul, believing these to be corruptions of original Christian teaching. They were initially found predominantly in the developed English-speaking world, but expanded in developing countries after the Second World War. Congregations traditionally are referred to as 'ecclesias' and would not use the word "church" due to its association with mainstream Christianity, although today it is more acceptable.
- 1 History
- 2 Organisation
- 3 Beliefs
- 4 Similarities and differences with other Christians
- 5 Practices and worship
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The Christadelphian religious group traces its origins to Dr John Thomas (1805–1871), who migrated to North America from England in 1832. Following a near shipwreck he vowed to find out the truth about life and God through personal Biblical study. Initially he sought to avoid the kind of sectarianism he had seen in England. In this he found sympathy with the rapidly emerging Restoration Movement in the United States of America at the time. This movement sought for a reform based upon the Bible alone as a sufficient guide and rejected all creeds. However this liberality eventually led to dissent as John Thomas developed in his personal beliefs and started to question mainstream orthodox Christian beliefs. Whilst the Restoration Movement accepted Thomas's right to have his own beliefs, when he started preaching that they were essential to salvation, it led to a fierce series of debates with a notable leader of the movement, Alexander Campbell. John Thomas believed that scripture, as God's word, did not support a multiplicity of differing beliefs, and challenged the leaders to continue with the process of restoring 1st-century Christian beliefs and correct interpretation through a process of debate. The history of this process appears in the book Dr. Thomas, His Life and Work (1873) by a Christadelphian, Robert Roberts.
During this period of formulating his ideas John Thomas was baptised twice, the second time after renouncing the beliefs he previously held. He based his new position on a new appreciation for the reign of Christ on David's throne. The abjuration of his former beliefs eventually led to the Restoration Movement disfellowshipping him when he toured England and they became aware of his abjuration in the United States of America.
The Christadelphian community in Britain effectively dates from Thomas's first lecturing tour (May 1848 – October 1850). His message was particularly welcomed in Scotland, and Campbellite, Unitarian and Adventist friends separated to form groups of "Baptised Believers". Two thirds of ecclesias, and members, in Britain before 1864 were in Scotland. In 1849, during his tour of Britain, he completed (a decade and a half before the name Christadelphian was conceived) Elpis Israel in which he laid out his understanding of the main doctrines of the Bible.
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Since his medium for bringing change was print and debate, it was natural for the origins of the Christadelphian body to be associated with books and journals, such as Thomas's Herald of the Kingdom.
In his desire to seek to establish Biblical truth and test out orthodox Christian beliefs through independent scriptural study he was not alone and, amongst other churches, he also had links with Adventist movement and with Benjamin Wilson (who later set up the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith in the 1860s). In terms of his rejection of the trinity, Thomas' views had certain similarities with the unitarianism which had developed in a formal way in Europe in the 16th century (although he formally described both Unitarianism and Socinianism as "works of the devil" for their failure to develop his doctrine of God-manifestation). See History of Unitarianism
Although the Christadelphian movement originated through the activities of John Thomas, he never saw himself as making his own disciples. He believed rather that he had rediscovered 1st-century beliefs from the Bible alone, and sought to prove that through a process of challenge and debate and writing journals. Through that process a number of people became convinced and set up various fellowships that had sympathy with that position. Groups associated with John Thomas met under various names, including Believers, Baptised Believers, the Royal Association of Believers, Baptised Believers in the Kingdom of God, Nazarines (or Nazarenes) and The Antipas until the time of the American Civil War (1861–1865). At that time, church affiliation was required in the United States and in the Confederacy in order to register for conscientious objector status, and in 1864 Thomas chose for registration purposes the name Christadelphian.
Through the teaching of John Thomas and the need in the American Civil War for a name, the Christadelphians emerged as a denomination, but they were formed into a lasting structure through a passionate follower of Thomas's interpretation of the Bible, Robert Roberts. In 1864 he began to publish The Ambassador of the Coming Age magazine. This was renamed The Christadelphian in 1869 and continues to be published under that name. Roberts was prominent in the period following the death of John Thomas in 1871, and helped craft the structures of the Christadelphian body.
Robert Roberts was certain that John Thomas had rediscovered the truth. Robert Robert's life was characterised by debates over issues that arose within the fledgling organisation; some of these debates can be found in the book Robert Roberts—A study of his life and character by Islip Collyer.
Initially the denomination grew in the English-speaking world, particularly in the English Midlands and in parts[which?] of North America. In the early days after the death of John Thomas the group could have moved in a number of directions. Doctrinal issues arose, debates took place and statements of faith were created and amended as other issues arose. These attempts were felt necessary by many to both settle and define a doctrinal stance for the newly emerging denomination and to keep out error. As a result of these debates, several groups separated from the main body of Christadelphians, most notably the Suffolk Street fellowship and the Unamended fellowship.
The Christadelphian position on conscientious objection came to the fore with the introduction of conscription during the First World War. Varying degrees of exemption from military service were granted to Christadelphians in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In the Second World War, this frequently required the person seeking exemption to undertake civilian work under the direction of the authorities.
During the Second World War the Christadelphians in Britain assisted in the Kindertransport, helping to relocate several hundred Jewish children away from Nazi persecution and founding a hostel Elpis Lodge. In Germany the small Christadelphian community founded by Albert Maier went underground from 1940–1945, and a leading brother, Albert Merz, was imprisoned as a conscientious objector and later executed.
After the Second World War, moves were taken to try to reunite various of the earlier divisions. By the end of the 1950s, most Christadelphians had united into one community, but there are still a number of small groups who remain separate.
The post-war, and post-reunions, period saw an increase in co-operation and interaction between ecclesias, resulting in the establishment of a number of week-long Bible schools and the formation of national and international organisations such as the Christadelphian Bible Mission (for preaching and pastoral support overseas), the Christadelphian Support Network (for counselling), and the Christadelphian Meal-A-Day Fund (for charity and humanitarian work).
The period following the reunions was accompanied by expansion in the developing world, which now accounts for around 40% of Christadelphians.
In the absence of centralised organization, some differences exist amongst Christadelphians on matters of belief and practice. This is because each congregation (commonly styled 'ecclesias') is organized autonomously, typically following common practices which have altered little since the 19th century. Most ecclesias have a constitution, which includes a 'Statement of Faith', a list of 'Doctrines to be Rejected' and a formalized list of 'The Commandments of Christ'. With no central authority individual congregations are responsible for maintaining orthodoxy in belief and practice, and the statement of faith is seen by many as useful to this end. The statement of faith acts as the official standard of most ecclesias to determine fellowship within and between ecclesias, and as the basis for co-operation between ecclesias. Congregational discipline and conflict resolution are applied using various forms of consultation, mediation, and discussion, with disfellowship (similar to excommunication) being the final response to those with unorthodox practices or beliefs.
The relative uniformity of organization and practice is undoubtedly due to the influence of a booklet, written early in Christadelphian history by Robert Roberts, called A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias. It recommends a basically democratic arrangement by which congregational members elect 'brothers' to arranging and serving duties, and includes guidelines for the organization of committees, as well as conflict resolution between congregational members and between congregations. Christadelphians do not have paid ministers. Male members are assessed by the congregation for their eligibility to teach and perform other duties, which are usually assigned on a rotation basis, as opposed to having a permanently appointed preacher. Congregational governance typically follows a democratic model, with an elected arranging committee for each individual ecclesia. This unpaid committee is responsible for the day-to-day running of the ecclesia and is answerable to the rest of the ecclesia's members.
Inter-ecclesial organizations co-ordinate the running of, among other things, Christadelphian schools and elderly care homes, the Christadelphian Isolation League (which cares for those prevented by distance or infirmity from attending an ecclesia regularly) and the publication of Christadelphian magazines.
No official membership figures are published, but the Columbia Encyclopedia gives an estimated figure of 50,000 Christadelphians. They are spread across approximately 120 countries; there are established churches (often referred to as ecclesias) in many of those countries, along with isolated members. Estimates for the main centers of Christadelphian population are as follows: United Kingdom (18,000), Australia (10,653), Mozambique (7,500), Malawi (7,000), United States (6,500), Canada (3,375), New Zealand (1,785), India (1,750), Kenya (1,700), Tanzania (1,000). and Pakistan (900). Combining the estimates from the Christadelphian Bible Mission with the figures above, the numbers for each continent are as follows: Africa (21,400), Americas (10,500), Asia (4,150), Australasia (12,600), Europe (18,950). This puts the total figure at around 67,000.
The Christadelphian body consists of a number of fellowships - groups of ecclesias which associate with one another, often to the exclusion of ecclesias outside their group. They are to some degree localised. The Unamended Fellowship, for example, exists only in North America. Christadelphian fellowships have often been named after ecclesias or magazines who took a lead in developing a particular stance.
The majority of Christadelphians (around 60,000) belong to Central fellowship, named after the Birmingham Central ecclesia. This was formed in 1957–1958 as a result of a reunion between the Temperance Hall and Suffolk Street fellowships in the UK. The Suffolk Street fellowship had formed in 1885 over the inspiration of the Bible. Robert Ashcroft, a leading member, wrote an article which challenged Christadelphian belief in plenary inspiration and which, although he himself left, led to a division in the main body. One group formed a new ecclesia which later met in Suffolk Street, Birmingham. Other ecclesias throughout the world which supported them became known as the "Suffolk Street fellowship" to distinguish them from the group they had separated from, which became known as the "Temperance Hall fellowship". The main magazine of this group from 1884–1957 was The Fraternal Visitor, whose editors included J.J. Bishop and J.J. Hadley (d. 1912), then Thomas Turner, and finally Cyril Cooper (till reunion in 1957). Reunion in the United Kingdom (Temperance Hall-Suffolk Street) was closely followed by reunion in Australia in 1958 between the Shield fellowship (aligned with the Suffolk Street fellowship) and the Central fellowship on the basis of an understanding of the atonement expressed in a document called the Cooper-Carter Addendum (to the BASF). The Central fellowship in North America is often referred to as the Amended fellowship.
The Unamended fellowship, consisting of around 1,850 members, is found in East Coast and Midwest USA and Ontario, Canada. This group separated in 1898 as a result of differing views on who would be raised to judgment at the return of Christ. The majority of Christadelphians believe that the judgment will include anyone who had sufficient knowledge of the gospel message, and is not limited to baptized believers. The majority in Britain, Australia and North America amended their statement of faith accordingly. Those who opposed the amendment became known as the "Unamended fellowship" and allowed the teaching that God either could not or would not raise those who had no covenant relationship with him. Opinions vary as to what the established position was on this subject prior to the controversy. Prominent in the formation of the Unamended fellowship was Thomas Williams, editor of the Christadelphian Advocate magazine. The majority of the Unamended Fellowship outside North America joined the Suffolk Street fellowship before its eventual incorporation into Central fellowship. There is also some co-operation between the Central (Amended) and Unamended Fellowships in North America – most recently in the Great Lakes region, where numerous Amended and Unamended ecclesias have opened fellowship to one another despite the failure of wider attempts at re-union under the North American Statement of Understanding (NASU).
The Berean Fellowship was formed in 1923 as a result of varying views on military service in Britain, and on the atonement in North America. The majority of the North American Bereans re-joined the main body of Christadelphians in 1952. A number continue as a separate community, numbering around 200 in Texas, 100 in Kenya and 30 in Wales. Most of the divisions still in existence within the Christadelphian community today stem from further divisions of the Berean fellowship.
In 1942 the Berean fellowship divided over marriage and divorce with the stricter party forming the Dawn fellowship. Following union with the Lightstand fellowship in Australia in November 2007, there are now 800 members in the UK, Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Poland, the Philippines and Russia.
The Old Paths fellowship was formed in the 1957 by those in the Temperance Hall fellowship who held that the reasons for separation from the Suffolk Street fellowship remained and opposed the re-union. There are around 250 members in the UK, and 150 in Australasia.
The Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith (CGAF) has common origins with Christadelphians and shares Christadelphian beliefs. Numbering around 400 (primarily Ohio and Florida, USA), they are welcomed into fellowship by some Christadelphians and are currently involved in unity talks.
According to Bryan Wilson, functionally the definition of a "fellowship" within Christadelphian history has been mutual or unilateral exclusion of groupings of ecclesias from the breaking of bread. This functional definition still holds true in North America, where the Unamended fellowship and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith are not received by most North American Amended ecclesias. But outside North America this functional definition no longer holds. Many articles and books on the doctrine and practice of fellowship now reject the notion itself of separate "fellowships" among those who recognise the same baptism, viewing such separations as schismatic. Many ecclesias in the Central fellowship would not refuse a baptised Christadelphian from a minority fellowship from breaking bread; the exclusion is more usually the other way.
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They tend to operate organisationally fairly similarly, although there are different emphases. Despite their differences, the Central, Old Paths, Dawn and Berean fellowships generally subscribe to the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF), though the latter two have additional clauses or supporting documents to explain their position. Most Unamended ecclesias use the Birmingham Unamended Statement of Faith (BUSF) with one clause being different. Within the Central fellowship individual ecclesias also may have their own statement of faith, whilst still accepting the statement of faith of the larger community. Some ecclesias have statements around their positions, especially on divorce and re-marriage, making clear that offence would be caused by anyone in that position seeking to join them at the 'Breaking of Bread' service. Others tolerate a degree of divergence from commonly held Christadelphian views.
For each fellowship, anyone who publicly assents to the doctrines described in the statement and is in good standing in their "home ecclesia" is generally welcome to participate in the activities of any other ecclesia.
Due to the way the Christadelphian body is organised there is no central authority to establish and maintain a standardised set of beliefs and it depends what statement of faith is adhered to and how liberal the ecclesia is, but there are core doctrines most Christadelphians would accept. In the formal statements of faith a more complete list is found. For instance in the Central fellowship, the BASF, the standard statement of faith, has 30 doctrines to be accepted and 35 to be rejected.
Christadelphians state that their beliefs are based wholly on the Bible, and they do not see other works as inspired by God. They regard the Bible as inspired by God and, therefore, believe that, in its original form, it is error free and errors in later copies are due to errors of transcription or translation. Based on this, Christadelphians teach what they believe as is true Bible teaching.
Christadelphians believe that God is the creator of all things and the father of true believers, that he is a separate being from his son, Jesus Christ, and that the Holy Spirit is the power of God used in creation and for salvation. They also believe that the phrase Holy Spirit sometimes refers to God's character/mind, depending on the context in which the phrase appears, but reject the view that we need strength, guidance and power from the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life, believing instead that the spirit a believer needs within themselves is the mind/character of God, which is developed in a believer by their reading of the Bible (which, they believe, contains words God gave by his Spirit) and trying to live by what it says during the events of their lives which God uses to help shape their character.
Christadelphians believe that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah, in whom the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament find their fulfilment. They believe he is the Son of Man, in that he inherited human nature (with its inclination to sin) from his mother, and the Son of God by virtue of his miraculous conception by the power of God. Although he was tempted, Jesus committed no sin, and was therefore a perfect representative sacrifice to bring salvation to sinful humankind. They believe that God raised Jesus from death and gave him immortality, and he ascended to Heaven, God's dwelling place. Christadelphians believe that he will return to the earth in person to set up the Kingdom of God in fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham and David. This includes the belief that the coming Kingdom will be the restoration of God's first Kingdom of Israel, which was under David and Solomon. For Christadelphians, this is the focal point of the gospel taught by Jesus and the apostles.
Christadelphians believe that people are separated from God because of their sins but that mankind can be reconciled to him by becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. This is by belief in the gospel, through repentance, and through baptism by total immersion in water. They do not believe we can be sure of being saved, believing instead that salvation comes as a result of a life of obedience to the commands of Christ After death, believers are in a state of non-existence, knowing nothing until the Resurrection at the return of Christ. Following the judgement at that time, the accepted receive the gift of immortality, and live with Christ on a restored Earth, assisting him to establish the Kingdom of God and to rule over the mortal population for a thousand years (the Millennium). Christadelphians believe that the Kingdom will be centred upon Israel, but Jesus Christ will also reign over all the other nations on the earth. Some believe that the Kingdom itself is not worldwide but limited to the land of Israel promised to Abraham and ruled over in the past by David, with a worldwide empire.
Life in Christ
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The historic Commandments of Christ demonstrates the community's recognition of the importance of Biblical teaching on morality. Marriage and family life are important. Christadelphians believe that sexual relationships should be limited to heterosexual marriage, ideally between baptised believers.
Similarities and differences with other Christians
Disagreement with some mainstream doctrines
Christadelphians reject a number of doctrines held by many other Christians, notably the immortality of the soul (see also mortalism; conditionalism), trinitarianism, the personal pre-existence of Christ, the baptism of infants, the personhood of the Holy Spirit the divinity of Jesus and the present-day possession of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see cessationism). They believe that the word devil is a reference in the scriptures to sin and human nature in opposition to God, while the word satan is merely a reference to an adversary (be it good or bad). According to Christadelphians, these terms are used in reference to specific political systems or individuals in opposition or conflict. Hell (Hebrew: Sheol; Greek: Hades, Gehenna) is understood to refer exclusively to death and the grave, rather than being a place of everlasting torment (see also annihilationism). Christadelphians do not believe that anyone will "go to Heaven" upon death. Instead, they believe that only Christ Jesus went to Heaven, and when he comes back to the earth there will be a resurrection and God's kingdom will be established on earth, starting in the land of Israel. Christadelphians believe the doctrines they reject were introduced into Christendom after the 1st century in large part through exposure to pagan Greek philosophy, and cannot be substantiated from the Biblical texts.
One criticism of the Christadelphian movement has been over the claim of John Thomas and Robert Roberts to have "rediscovered" scriptural truth. However, although both men believed that they had "recovered" the true doctrines for themselves and contemporaries, they also believed there had always existed a group of true believers throughout the ages, albeit marred by the apostasy.
The most notable Christadelphian attempts to find a continuity of those with doctrinal similarities since that point have been geographer Alan Eyre's two books The Protesters (1975) and Brethren in Christ (1982) in which he shows that many individual Christadelphian doctrines had been previously believed. Eyre focused in particular on the Radical Reformation, and also among the Socinians and other early Unitarians and the English Dissenters. In this way, Eyre was able to demonstrate substantial historical precedents for individual Christadelphian teachings and practices, and believed that the Christadelphian community was the 'inheritor of a noble tradition, by which elements of the Truth were from century to century hammered out on the anvil of controversy, affliction and even anguish'. Although noting in the introduction to 'The Protestors' that 'Some recorded herein perhaps did not have "all the truth" — so the writer has been reminded', Eyre nevertheless claimed that the purpose of the work was to 'tell how a number of little-known individuals, groups and religious communities strove to preserve or revive the original Christianity of apostolic times', and that 'In faith and outlook they were far closer to the early springing shoots of 1st-century Christianity and the penetrating spiritual challenge of Jesus himself than much that has passed for the religion of the Nazarene in the last nineteen centuries'.
Eyre's research has been criticized by some of his Christadelphian peers, and as a result Christadelphian commentary on the subject has subsequently been more cautious and circumspect, with caveats being issued concerning Eyre's claims, and the two books less used and publicized than in previous years.
Nevertheless, even with most source writings of those later considered "heretics" destroyed, evidence can be provided that since the 1st century CE there have been various groups and individuals who have held certain individual Christadelphian beliefs or similar ones. For example, all the distinctive Christadelphian doctrines (with the exception of the non-literal devil), down to interpretations of specific verses, can be found particularly among 16th century Socinian writers (e.g. the rejection of the doctrines of the trinity, pre-existence of Christ, immortal souls, a literal hell of fire, original sin). Early English Unitarian writings also correspond closely to those of Christadelphians. Also, recent discoveries and research have shown a large similarity between Christadelphian beliefs and those held by Isaac Newton who, among other things, rejected the doctrines of the trinity, immortal souls, a personal devil and literal demons. Further examples are as follows:[original research?]
- The typical Old Testament belief in unconsciousness till resurrection, instead of the immortality of the soul, has been held marginally throughout the history of both Judaism and Christianity; such sources include certain Jewish pseudepigraphal works, rabbinical works, Clement of Rome,[dubious ] Arnobius in the 3rd to 4th century, a succession of Arabic and Syrian Christians from the 3rd to the 8th century including Aphrahat, Ephrem, Narsai, Isaac of Nineveh (d.700), and Jacob of Sarug, Jewish commentators such as Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092–1167), Maimonides (1135–1204), and Joseph Albo (1380–1444), and later Christians such as John Wycliffe, Michael Sattler, and many Anabaptists, long before Martin Luther challenged Roman Catholic views on heaven and hell with his teaching of "soul sleep".
- The Christadelphian denial of the pre-existence of Christ, and interpretation of verses such as "I came down from heaven" (John 6:38) as relating to the virgin birth and Christ's mission only, are found in the teachings of: the early Jewish Christians,[dubious ] the Ebionites, the Nazoreans (or Nazarenes),[dubious ] the Theodotians of Theodotus the Cobbler (who believed Jesus was supernaturally begotten but a man nonetheless), Artemon, Paul of Samosata, the Pseudo-Clementines, and Photinus (d.376); naturally however, given that non-Trinitarian beliefs were punishable with death from the 4th century to the 17th, it would be foolish to expect to discover any consistent line of people or groups holding such beliefs. Such attempts become possible only after the Protestant Reformation. Christadelphian Christology is found from the publication of Lelio Sozzini's commentary on John (1561) through to the increasing resistance to the miraculous among English Unitarians after 1800.
- Affinities with the Christadelphian concept of the devil and/or demons are found in a range of early Jewish and later Christian sources such as: Jonathan ben Uzziel (100s AD); Joshua Ben Karha (135-160); Levi ben Gershon (d. 1344); David Kimchi (1160); Saadia ben Joseph (892-942); Shimon ben Lakish (230-270), Joseph Mede (1640), Jacob Bauthumley (1650), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Lodowick Muggleton (1669), Dr. Anthonie van Dale (1685), Balthasar Bekker (1695), Isaac Newton; Christian Thomasius (1704), Arthur Ashley Sykes (1737), Nathaniel Lardner (1742), Dr. Richard Mead (1755), Hugh Farmer (at least in the account of Christ's temptation; 1761), William Ashdowne (1791), John Simpson (1804) and John Epps (1842)
Organised worship in England for those whose beliefs anticipated those of Christadelphians only truly became possible in 1779 when the Act of Toleration 1689 was amended to permit denial of the Trinity, and only fully when property penalties were removed in the Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813. This is only 35 years before John Thomas' 1849 lecture tour in Britain which attracted significant support from an existing non-Trinitarian Adventist base, particularly, initially, in Scotland where Arian, Socinian, and unitarian (with a small 'u' as distinct from the Unitarian Church of Theophilus Lindsey) views were prevalent.
Practices and worship
Christadelphians are organised into local congregations, that commonly call themselves ecclesias, which is taken from usage in the New Testament and is Greek for gathering of those summoned. Congregational worship, which usually takes place on Sunday, centres on the remembrance of the death and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ by the taking part in the "memorial service". Additional meetings are often organised for worship, prayer, preaching and Bible study.
Ecclesias are typically involved in preaching the gospel (evangelism) in the form of public lectures on Bible teaching, college-style seminars on reading the Bible, and Bible Reading Groups. Correspondence courses are also used widely, particularly in areas where there is no established Christadelphian presence. Some ecclesias, organisations or individuals also preach through other media like video, podcasts and internet forums. There are also a number of Bible Education/Learning Centres around the world.
Only baptised (by complete immersion in water) believers are considered members of the ecclesia. Ordinarily, baptism follows someone making a "good confession" (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12) of their faith before two or three nominated elders of the ecclesia they are seeking to join. The good confession has to demonstrate a basic understanding of the main elements - "first principles" - of the faith of the community. The children of members are encouraged to attend Christadelphian Sunday Schools and youth groups. Interaction between youth from different ecclesias is encouraged through regional and national youth gatherings. Many ecclesias organise holidays for young people, the most popular form in the UK being camping holidays and Youth Weekends such as Swanwick and others locally organised by different ecclesias.
Christadelphians understand the Bible to teach that male and female believers are equal in God's sight, and also that there is a distinction between the roles of male and female members. Women are typically not eligible to teach in formal gatherings of the ecclesia when male believers are present, are expected to cover their heads (using hat or scarf, etc.) during formal services, and do not sit on the main ecclesial arranging (organising) committees. They do, however: participate in other ecclesial and inter-ecclesial committees; participate in discussions; teach children in Sunday Schools as well as at home, teach other women and non-members; perform music; discuss and vote on business matters; and engage in the majority of other activities. Generally, at formal ecclesial and inter-ecclesial meetings the women wear head coverings when there are acts of worship and prayer.
There are ecclesially-accountable committees for co-ordinated preaching, youth and Sunday School work, conscientious objection issues, care of the elderly, and humanitarian work. These do not have any legislative authority, and are wholly dependent upon ecclesial support. Ecclesias in an area may regularly hold joint activities combining youth groups, fellowship, preaching, and Bible study.
Most Christadelphians do not vote in political elections, as they take direction from Romans 13:1-4, which they interpret as meaning that God puts into power those leaders He deems worthy. To vote for a candidate that does not win an election would be considered to vote against God's will. To avoid the risk of such conflict, Christadelphians abstain from voting.
Hymnody and music
Christadelphians are a non-liturgical denomination. Christadelphian ecclesias are autonomous and free to adopt whatever pattern of worship they choose. However, in the English-speaking world, there tends to be a great deal of uniformity in order of service and hymnody.
Christadelphian hymnody makes considerable use of the hymns of the Anglican and British Protestant traditions (even in US ecclesias the hymnody is typically more British than American). In many Christadelphian hymn books a sizeable proportion of hymns are drawn from the Scottish Psalter and non-Christadelphian hymn-writers including Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Cowper and John Newton. Despite incorporating non-Christadelphian hymns however, Christadelphian hymnody preserves the essential teachings of the community.
The earliest hymn book published was the "Sacred Melodist" which was published by Benjamin Wilson in Geneva, Illinois in 1860. The next was the hymn book published for the use of Baptised Believers in the Kingdom of God (an early name for Christadelphians) by George Dowie in Edinburgh in 1864. In 1865 Robert Roberts published a collection of Scottish psalms and hymns called The Golden Harp (which was subtitled "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, compiled for the use of Immersed Believers in 'The Things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ'"). This was replaced only five years later by the first "Christadelphian Hymn Book" (1869), compiled by J. J. and A. Andrew, and this was revised and expanded in 1874, 1932 and 1964. A thorough revision by the Christadelphian Magazine and Publishing Association resulted in the latest (2002) edition which is almost universally used by English-speaking Christadelphian ecclesias. In addition some Christadelphian fellowships have published their own hymn books.
Some ecclesias use the Praise the Lord songbook. It was produced with the aim of making contemporary songs which are consistent with Christadelphian theology more widely available. Another publication, the "Worship" book is a compilation of songs and hymns that have been composed only by members of the Christadelphian community. This book was produced with the aim of providing extra music for non-congregational music items within services (e.g. voluntaries, meditations, etc) but has been adopted by congregations worldwide and is now used to supplement congregational repertoire.
In the English-speaking world, worship is typically accompanied by organ or piano, though in recent years a few ecclesias have promoted the use of other instruments (e.g. strings, wind and brass as mentioned in the Psalms). This trend has also seen the emergence of some Christadelphian bands and the establishment of the Christadelphian Art Trust to support performing, visual and dramatic arts within the Christadelphian community.
In other countries, hymnbooks have been produced in local languages, sometimes resulting in styles of worship which reflect the local culture. It has been noted that Christadelphian hymnody has historically been a consistent witness to Christadelphian beliefs, and that hymnody occupies a significant role in the community.
- 'The Christadelphians, or brethren in Christ...The very name 'Christadelphian' was coined by the founder of the movement, John Thomas, at the time of the American Civil War principally to provide a distinctive nomenclature for the use of the civil authorities [...] At the time of the American Civil War, Thomas coined a name for his followers: Christadelphians -- brethren in Christ. The exigencies of the situation in which the civil authorities had sought to impress men into the armed forces had accelerated the tendency for those religious bodies objecting to military service to become ore definite in their teaching and conditions of membership.' Bryan R. Wilson, Sects and Society (London: William Heinemann, 1961), p. 219, 238
- 'Christadelphians (or Brethren in Christ)...Congress had exempted from war service the members of any religious body which was conscientiously opposed to bearing arms. In order to go upon record in a manner that would secure this exemption, the name [Christadelphian] was adopted and certified to by Dr. Thomas, in August or September, 1864.' 'Christadelphians' in John McClintock and James Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature Supplement, Volume 1 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), p. 937
- Thomas preferred the name Brethren in Christ, but settled on Christadelphian. He once wrote in a letter, "I did not know a better denomination that would be given to such a class of believers, than Brethren in Christ. This declares their true status; and, as officials prefer words to phrases, the same fact expressed in another form by the word Christadelphians, or Christou Adelphoi, Christ's Brethren. This matter settled to their [i.e., the civil authorities'] satisfaction ... " (Carter, John (May 1955). "Our Name". The Christadelphian 92: 181.).
- '...conscientious objectors had to demonstrate membership in a recognized religious group that prohibited participation in war activity...Hence in 1864, Thomas settled on the name "Christadelphian" (from the Greek for "Brethren in Christ") in order that his adherents might provide the necessary credentials for exemption from military service.' Charles H. Lippy, The Christadelphians in North America (Edwin Mellen Press, 1989), p. 52
- Vincent L. Milner, Hannah Adams Religious denominations of the world 1875 "CHRISTADELPHIANS. (BRETHREN OF CHRIST.) The distinctive name Christadelphian is derived from two Greek words — Christos (Christ) and Adelphos (brother) — and has been chosen as a fit representation of the intimate spiritual connection ....2, "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ."
- "Dr Thomas: His Life and Work. Chapter 3: Emigration to America". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Dr Thomas: His Life and Work". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- John Thomas was baptised by Walter Scott of the Disciples of Christ in 1832 and again in 1847 (probably by John Tomline Walsh, according to Peter Hemingray John Thomas—His Friends and His Faith 2003 p.145) after publishing A Confession and Abjuration in which he renounced previously held beliefs as false.
- "Faith In The Last Days". Antipas.org. 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Wilson, AB op cit
- Evans, Christmas. The Christadelphian 1956–63
- Norrie, William "Early History of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Britain" Earlston 1904
- John Thomas, Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God with reference to the time of the end and the age to come (London: 1849). Available online[dead link]
- Thomas, J. (1869). Phanerosis: An Exposition of the Doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, concerning the Manifestation of the Invisible Eternal God in Human Nature. Birmingham: published by Robert Roberts, p. 11.
- 'The Lecturer [John Thomas] commenced by denying a statement which had appeared in many of the London and country newspapers, and amongst them, one made by a religious Editor in this town, to the effect that he assumed to himself the true, infallible, prophetic character, as one sent from God, verbatim. He would appeal to his writings -- and he had written a great deal in twelve years -- and to his speeches, whether he had ever claimed to be such, in the remotest degree whatever. He believed truth as it was taught in the scriptures of truth...' "The Destinies of the Cities, Countries, and Empires". Nottingham Mercury (Nottingham, UK). 13 July 1849.
- Peter Hemingray, John Thomas: His Friends and His Faith 2003 p. 235
- Bryan R. Wilson, Sects and Society (London: William Heinemann, 1961), p. 241
- The Christadelphian is published by The Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association Ltd (Birmingham, UK)
- Andrew Wilson writes of Roberts that "The organising ability of Robert Roberts was very important: he gave the movement its rules, institutions and much of its literature". Andrew Wilson, History of the Christadelphians 1864–1885: the emergence of a denomination 1997 p.399.
- "Kinderball piano score". Imperial War Museum. Archived from the original on 27 January 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Morrell, Leslie. "The Christadelphian Response to the Holocaust" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- April 1941 in Berlin.Bogner, Gustav. Geschichte der Christadelphians in Deutschland (2) http://www.projekt-glauben.de/?p=205
- "History of the Christadelphian Bible Mission". Cbm.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- see http://www.chsn.org.uk http://www.caregroup.org.au http://www.caringnetwork.ca
- Based on figures from CBM Worldwide Guide 2006, Christadelphian Bible Mission (UK), 2006
- Example: Constitution of the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, Midland Institute c.1932-onwards
- This list as published by The Christadelphian Magazine contains 53 paraphrases of Bible verses which were originally read weekly as part of the service at Temperance Hall ecclesia. Other versions, of unconfirmed origin, exist with the list expanded to 100 including some verses justifying division.
- Robert Roberts, A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias (Birmingham: 1883), Sections 32, 35–36
- Robert Roberts, A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias (Birmingham: 1883). Available online
- Robert Roberts, A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias (Birmingham: 1883), Sections 17–27
- Robert Roberts, A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias (Birmingham: 1883), Sections 35–38, 41–42
- For example: Christadelphian Heritage College, Cooranbong and Christadelphian Heritage College Sydney, Kemps Creek.
- 'Christadelphians', The Columbia Encyclopedia
- CBM Worldwide Guide 2006, Christadelphian Bible Mission (UK), 2006
- Ecclesias Around the World from Christadelphia World Wide
- UK Christian Handbook 2004, as quoted in 'Focus on Christadelphian Community', Multicultural Matters, October 2004 (London: Building Bridges, 2004).
- P. J. Hughes, M. Fraser and S. B. Reid, Australia's Religious Communities, Facts and Figures: From the 2011 Australian Census and Other Sources (Victoria: Christian Research Association, 2012), p. 38
- "Mozambique". Cbm.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "Malawi". Cbm.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "Christadelphians". The Columbia Encyclopedia. Education.yahoo.com.
- "Christadelphians". The Canadian Encyclopedia. thecanadianencyclopedia.com.. Note that the numbers for the US and Canada include approximately 1,850 members of the Unamended Fellowship.
- 2006 Census figures from Statistics New Zealand (link opens Excel file)
- CBM Worldwide Guide 2013, Christadelphian Bible Mission (UK), 2013
- "Kenya". Cbm.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Tanzania". Cbm.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Estimate from CALS directory and national statistics in the Adherents section of this article.
- The first use of the term "Birmingham (Central) fellowship" in The Christadelphian magazine was in volume 70, 1933, p. 376. The term was used to distinguish those ecclesias in fellowship with the Birmingham (Central) ecclesia from those in the "Suffolk Street fellowship". By 1939 the word "Birmingham" was dropped and the term "Central fellowship" was thereafter used with some regularity (342 times between 1939 and 2000) in The Christadelphian magazine
- Verified figure, Ecclesial Directory 2006. Parts of grouping currently involved in unity talks with Central.
- The Sydney Ecclesia, Australia had already "disfellowshipped" 10 members for denying this in 1883. The Christadelphian Magazine 1884, ecclesial news p.90 and editorial comment p.382
- For example: Website claiming views held by Amended community were original Christadelphian beliefs Versus Website claiming views held by Unamended community were original Christadelphian beliefs.
- "North American Statement of Understanding". Nasu.ca. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Berean Ecclesial News entries, also Bereans and Berean Christadelphians
- Phillips, Jim, The Berean Christadelphians: Why the Bereans? From the Formation of the Bereans to the Restatement (1923–1960), Our last 30 Years
- Andrew Longman (2007-01-05). "The Dawn Christadelphian Homepage". Dawnchristadelphian.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
• "A Dawn Christadelphian's Website". Dawnchristadelphians.org. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- The Dawn Christadelphian Magazine, January 2008
- Estimate undergoing review. Please see Talk pages – on the Discussion tab at page head
- "Old Paths Fellowship (Australia)". Gospeltruth.info. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
• "Old Paths Fellowship (UK)". Christadelphians.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Figures updated by Old Paths members in Australia 12.2009
- e.g., c. 1935 the Nazarene Fellowship 3?; 1933 Ecclesia of Christ 40?; 1954 Remnant of Christ's Ecclesia 20?; 1971 Apostolic Fellowship (Nottingham Eton and Dartford) 20?; Apostolic Ecclesia (Dartford and Cupar) 15?; others.
- "Christadelphian Watchman Fellowship". Christadelphian-watchman-fellowship.org.
• "Only True God | A Witness To The God Of The Bible | Watchman Christadelphians". Onlytruegod.info. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Companion Christadelphians". Companion Christadelphians. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "Pioneer Christadelphians". Pioneer Christadelphians. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- Cleveland CBH statement of faith CGAF Niles statement of faith
- From CGAF directory.
- See Wilson op.cit.
- Oates & Pearce Fellowship and Withdrawal (doc) 1957
• "Biblical Fellowship". Christadelphianbooks.org. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
• Perry, Andrew. Fellowship Matters, Willow publications, 2nd edition, 1996
- "Dawn Christadelphians". Dawn Christadelphians. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Bereans.org BASF With some exceptions including the Lampasas Texas Berean Ecclesia. Some have an amendment in the Doctrines to be Rejected which prohibits a person being a police constable.
- Birmingham Unamended Statement of Faith. Available online
- See, e.g., the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith
- Hyndman, Rob (1999). The Christadelphians (Brothers and Sisters in Christ): Introducing a Bible-based Community. Beechworth, VIC: Bethel Publications. ISBN 81-87409-34-7.
- Bull, Mike. The Bible—The Word of God. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-52-5.
- "The Christadelphian Statement of Faith". Christadelphia.org. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "True Bible Teaching Home". Truebibleteaching.com. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "True Bible Teaching Teaching". Truebibleteaching.com. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Drabbenstott, Mark (2000). God Our Father. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-64-9.
- Flint, James; Deb Flint. One God or a Trinity?. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-61-4.
- Jesus: God the Son or Son of God?. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012.
- Tennant, Harry. The Holy Spirit—Bible Understanding of God's Power. Birmingham, UK: CMPA.
- Broughton, James H.; Peter J Southgate. The Trinity: True or False?. UK: The Dawn Book Supply. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011.
- Whittaker, Edward; Carr, Reg. 'Spirit' in the New Testament. The Testimony., p. 117,132,145
- Pearce, Graham. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit Gifts. Logos., p. 27-29. Also see the collated quotations from various other Christadelphian authors in pp. 71-83 of Pearce's book.
- 'I believe that the Holy Spirit is the only Authoritative, infallible, efficient, and sufficient teacher of the Christian religion, in all its parts. If I be asked, what is the manner in which he teaches this religion, I reply in the same way that all teachers convey instruction to their pupils; by words, either spoken or written. ... Now Paul says that the sacred Scriptures are able to make us wise to salvation, by the faith (or gospel) which is through Jesus Christ. What more do we want than wisdom in relation to this matter? If the sacred Scriptures are able to make us wise, we need no other instrumentality. The Holy Spirit by the word, without infusing a single idea into it more than it actually and ordinarily contains, and without any collateral influence, teaches us all wisdom and knowledge that is necessary ...' John Thomas, The Apostasy Unveiled, as quoted in G. Pearce, The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit Gifts, pp. 71-2
- Zilmer, Paul. Who is Jesus?. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-68-1.
- Tennant, Harry. Christ in the Old Testament: Israel's True Messiah. Birmingham, UK: CMPA.
- Do You Believe in a Devil?. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Wilson, Shiela. The End of the World: Horror Story—or Bible Hope?. Birmingham, UK: CMPA.
- Scott, Malcolm. Christ is Coming Again!. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-34-7.
- Morgan, Tecwyn. Christ is Coming! Bible teaching about his return. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Hughes, Stephen. The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth!. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers. ISBN 81-87409-55-X.
- Owen, Stanley. The Kingdom of God on Earth: God's plan for the world. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Watkins, Peter. The Cross of Christ. Birmingham, UK: CMPA.
- Flint, James; Deb Flint. Salvation. Hyderabad: Printland Publishers.
- Why Baptism Really Matters: What must we do to be saved?. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, Doctrine to be Rejected no 24 'That the gospel alone will save without the obedience of Christ's commandments'.
- After Death – What?. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Raised to Judgement: Bible Teaching about Resurrection & Judgement. Birmingham, UK: CMPA.
- M. Israel: God's People, God's Land. Birmingham, UK: CMPA. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- See What is the true Gospel?, available online
- "The Christian Life: Marriage—"Only in the Lord"". Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Homosexuality and the Church: Bible Answers to Moral Questions (Birmingham: Christadelphian Magazine and Publishing Association). Available online
- Doctrines to be Rejected, retrieved August 29, 2012
- Doctrines to be Rejected—an appendix to the Christadelphian Statement of Faith
- Answering Common Questions about the Christadelphians from Christadelphian Info
- Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, written 1862, Lecture 1: 'Do you mean to say, asks the incredulous enquirer, that the Bible has been studied by men of learning for eighteen centuries without being understood? and that the thousands of ministers set apart for the very purpose of ministering in its holy pages are all mistaken?' (He then goes on to suggest that social conditioning, self interest by the clergy and an incomplete reformation prevented its rediscovery.)
- In an article 'A Glance at The History and Mystery of Christadelphianism', a contemporary of John Thomas, David King, from the Restoration Movement 1881, argues that a complete losing of truth would have been unlikely. Available online
- 'An arrangement of this sort was absolutely necessary for the preservation and protection of the One Body, witnessing for the truth against "the worshipping of the daemonials and idols", in the midst of the nations, and "before the God of the earth;" the weapons of whose warfare were civil disabilities, and the infernal tortures of anti-heretical crusaders and inquisitions.', John Thomas, 'Eureka' (1915 edition), volume 2, chapter 11, section 2.1
- 'Thus, the history of the ages and the generations of the unmeasured Court is in strict harmony with this prophecy of the witnesses. For a period considerably over a thousand years after Rome renounced its old gods for the ghosts, dry bones, and fables of the catholic superstition, the Spirit had provided himself with Two Witnessing Classes, to whose custody he providentially committed the truth, and its judicial vindication by fire and sword.', John Thomas, 'Eureka', volume 2, chapter 11, section 2.2
- 'Though the apostles died, their work continued, and the generation of believers that went to the grave with them were succeeded by other believers who maintained the integral structure of the temple of God, founded in Europe. True, the work was marred and corrupted by the apostasy of the mass: still, a real work—a real temple, existed, consisting of the remnant of true believers preserved by God as His witnesses in the midst of the prevailing corruption.', Robert Roberts, 'Thirteen Lectures On The Apocalypse' (4th edition 1921), page 98
- "Brethren In Christ Contents Contents". Antipas.org. 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Alan Eyre, 'The Protestors', page 8 (1975)
- Alan Eyre, 'The Protestors', page 11 (1975)
- Alan Eyre, 'The Protestors', pages 11–12 (1975)
- E.g., both of Eyre's works were criticized by Ruth McHaffie 'Finding Founders and Facing Facts' (2001), in which evidence was presented suggesting that Eyre had misread a number of his sources, and that some his claims could not be supported from (and were often contradicted by) the available historical evidence. Also see James Andrews, Ferenc Dávid and the search for Bible truth in Transylvania
- 'But some, though having neither time nor opportunity to search archives, knew enough to realise that the claims were exaggerated, however praiseworthy the intention. Moreover, misgivings increased as the years passed and when members examined the subject more closely for themselves. As explained in the November 1993 issue of The Endeavour Magazine, Brother Ron Coleman in 1986, when preparing an address for the Oxford ecclesia to commemorate the 450th anniversary of William Tyndale's death, not only sought information from The Protesters but also from Tyndale's own writings. He was surprised to find serious misrepresentations in our community's publication.', Ruth McHaffie, 'Finding Founders And Facing Facts' (2001), page 8
- 'In 1989 when an article by Brother Alan appeared in The Christadelphian containing a number of inaccuracies on the hymn writer Isaac Watts,, editor of The Christadelphian, and subsequently corresponded with Alan in the manner which becomes Brethren. Scholarly evidence to disprove Ron's criticisms was not forthcoming with regard to either Tyndale or Watts, and the editor was requested to publish a short note of amendment on both writers, but there appears to have been no response.', Ruth McHaffie, 'Finding Founders And Facing Facts', (2001), page 8
- Rees, Thomas. (1818). The Racovian Catechism: With Notes and Illustrations, Translated from the Latin; to which is Prefixed a Sketch of the History of Unitarianism in Poland and the Adjacent Countries, p. 7.
- Pope, Hugh (1912). "The Catholic Encyclopedia" 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- 'Socinianism' in Ologies & -Isms (The Gale Group, 2008). Available online
- See, e.g., Joseph Cottle, Essays on Socinianism (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1850), p. 10; Edward Hare, The principal doctrines of Christianity defended against the errors of Socinianism (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1837), p. 37
- Snobelen, Stephen D. (1999). "Isaac Newton, heretic : the strategies of a Nicodemite" (PDF). British Journal for the History of Science 32 (4): 381–419. doi:10.1017/S0007087499003751.
- The Christadelphian understanding of Daniel 12:2, etc.
• ‘Barr is surely right to stress that the Genesis story as it now stands indicates that humans were not created immortal, but had (and lost) the chance to gain unending life.’, Wright, ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’, p. 92 (2003); Wright himself actually interprets some passages of Scripture as indicating alternative beliefs, ‘The Bible offers a spectrum of belief about life after death’,Wright, ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’, p. 129 (2003)
• ‘In contrast to the two enigmatic references to Enoch and Elijah, there are ample references to the fact that death is the ultimate destiny for all human beings, that God has no contact with or power over the dead, and that the dead do not have any relationship with God (see, inter alia, Ps. 6:6, 30:9–10, 39:13–14, 49:6–13, 115:16–18, 146:2–4). If there is a conceivable setting for the introduction of a doctrine of the afterlife, it would be in Job, since Job, although righteous, is harmed by God in the present life. But Job 10:20–22 and 14:1–10 affirm the opposite.’, Gillman, ‘Death and Afterlife, Judaic Doctrines Of’, in Neusner, ‘The Encyclopedia of Judaism’, volume 1, p. 176 (2000)
• ‘ “Who knows whether the breath of human beings rises up and the breath of an animal sinks down to the earth?” (Eccles 3:21). In Qohelet’s day there were perhaps people who were speculating that human beings would enjoy a positive afterlife, as animals would not. Qohelet points out that there is no evidence for this.’, Goldingay, ‘Old Testament Theology’, volume 2, p. 644 (2006)
• ‘The life of a human being came more directly from God, and it is also evident that when someone dies, the breath (rûaḥ, e.g., Ps 104:29) or the life (nepeš, e.g., Gen 35:18) disappears and returns to the God who is rûaḥ. And whereas the living may hope that the absence of God may give way again to God’s presence, the dead are forever cut off from God’s presence.241 Death means an end to fellowship with God and to fellowship with other people. It means an end to the activity of God and the activity of other people. Even more obviously, it means an end to my own activity. It means an end to awareness.’, ibid., p. 640
- 'In the first place, there have not been a few, both in ancient and modern times, who have maintained the truth of a "Conditional Immortality".', McConnell, ‘The Evolution of Immortality’, p. 84 (1901).
• 'At the same time there have always been isolated voices raised in support of other views. There are hints of a belief in repentance after death, as well as conditional immortality and annihilationism.', Streeter, et al., ‘Immortality: An Essay in Discovery, Co-Ordinating Scientific, Psychical, and Biblical Research’, p. 204 (1917)
• 'Many biblical scholars down throughout history, looking at the issue through Hebrew rather than Greek eyes, have denied the teaching of innate immortality.’, Knight, 'A brief history of Seventh-Day Adventists', p. 42 (1999)
• 'Various concepts of conditional immortality or annihilationism have appeared earlier in Baptist history as well. Several examples illustrate this claim. General as well as particular Baptists developed versions of annihilationism or conditional immortality.’, Pool, ‘Against returning to Egypt: Exposing and Resisting Credalism in the Southern Baptist Convention’, p. 133 (1998)
- 'However, Strack and Billerbeck, noted authorities on Rabbinic literature, suggest that the pseudepigraphal references to eternal punishment simply denote everlasting annihilation. See Hermann L. Strack and Paul Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (Munchen: C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Oskar Beck, 1928), 2:1096.', Fudge, ‘The Old Testament’, in Fudge & Peterson, ‘Two views of hell: a biblical & theological dialogue’, p. 210 (2000)
• 'Psalms of Solomon 3:11-12; Sybilline Oracles 4:175-85; 4 Ezra 7:61; Pseudo-Philo 16:3. Other presumed annihilation texts may be found in Fudge, The Fire That Consumes, 125-54’, Walvoord, ‘The Metaphorical View’, in Crockett & Hayes (eds.), ‘Four Views on Hell’, p. 64 (1997).
- ‘Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish as well as his colleague Rabbi Yannai, said that there is no such thing as the popular concept of a hell, gehinnom, lasting a long time, but that at the time when G'd passes out judgment the wicked will be burned’, Chananel, et al., 'Hut ha-meshulash', p. 183 (2003)
• ‘Thus we have one Rabbi denying the very existence of hell. "There is no hell in the future world," says R. Simon ben Lakish.’, Darmesteter, ‘The Talmud’, p. 52 (2007)
- Edward Fudge, Robert A. Peterson Two views of hell: a biblical & theological dialogue p184
- ‘Some have believed in the annihilation of the wicked after they should have undergone just punishment proportioned to their sins. This supposition has had a considerable number of advocates. It was maintained, among others, by Arnobius, at the close of the 3rd century, by the Socini, by Dr. Hammond, and by some of the New England divines.’, Alger, ‘The Destiny of the Soul: A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life’, p. 546 (14th ed. 1889).
• ‘The theory of annihilationism in which the wicked pass into nonexistence either at death or the resurrection was first advanced by Arnobius, a 4th-century “Christian” apologist, according to standard reference works such as Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (p. 184).’, Morey, ‘Death and the Afterlife’, p. 199 (1984)
• ‘Already in the fourth century Arnobius taught the annihilation of the wicked.’, Hoekama, ‘The Bible and the Future’, p. 266 (1994)
- ‘others arose in Arabia, putting forward a doctrine foreign to the truth. They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together.’, Eusebius (a contemporary), ‘Ecclesiastical History’ (6.37.1), NPNF2 1:297
• 'It is unclear if Arabian thnetopsychism [‘soul death’] is related to the Syriac tradition of the soul’s dormition [sleep] espoused by writers like Aphrahat (d. ca. 345), Ephrem (d. 373), and Narsai (d. 502), according to whom the souls of the dead are largely inert, having lapsed into a state of sleep, in which they can only dream of their future reward or punishments.’, Constas, ‘”To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”: The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature’, in Talbot (ed.), ‘Dunbarton Oaks Papers’, No. 55, p. 110 (2001)
• ‘Gouillard notes that variations of thnetopsychism [‘soul death’] and hypnopsychism [‘soul sleep’] existed alongside the views of the official church until the 6th century when they were resoundingly denounced by Eustratios.’, ibid., p. 111.
• ‘Thnetopsychism [‘soul death’] continued to challenge the patience and ingenuity of church officials, as evidenced by writers such as John the Deacon, Niketas Stethatos, Philip Monotropos (Dioptra, pp. 210, 220), and Michael Glykas, all of whom are keenly interested in the survival of consciousness and memory among the souls of the departed saints. John the Deacon, for example, attacks those who “dare to say that praying to the saints is like shouting in the ears of the deaf, as if they had drunk from the mythical waters of Oblivion” (line 174).’, Murray, ‘Symbols of church and kingdom: a study in early Syriac tradition’, p. 111 (2006)
• ‘The Syriac tradition of the soul’s “sleep in the dust” (Job 21:26), with its links to the Old Testament and Jewish apocalyptic, stands as a corrective to overly Hellenized views of the afterlife, and was canonized at a Nestorian synod in the 8th century (786–787) presided over by Timothy I (d. 823), who rejected anything else as blatant Origenism.’, ibid., p. 111.
• ‘In virtually every period of Byzantine history, critical voices denied that the souls of the dead could involve themselves in the affairs of the living or intercede on their behalf in heaven. Based on a more unitive, materialist notion of the self as irreducibly embodied, some thinkers argued that the souls of the dead (sainted or otherwise) were largely inert, having lapsed into a state of cognitive oblivion and psychomotor lethargy, a condition sometimes described as a state of “sleep” in which the soul could only “dream” of its future punishment or heavenly reward. Still others argued for the outright death of the soul, which, they claimed, was mortal and perished with the body, and which would be recreated together with the body only on the day of resurrection.’, Constas, ‘”To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”: The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature’, in Talbot (ed.), ‘Dunbarton Oaks Papers’, No. 55, p. 94 (2001)
• ‘Till the end of the sixth century and beyond, Christians in Nisibis and Constantinople, Syria and Arabia adduced Leviticus 17:11 which states that “The soul of the whole flesh is the blood” to argue that the soul after death sank into non-existence, that it lost its sensibility and stayed inert in the grave together with the body.’, Samellas, ‘Death in the eastern Mediterranean (50-600 AD.): the Christianization of the East: An Interpretation’, Studien Und Text Zu Antike Und Christentum, pp. 55-56 (2002)
- 'The doctrine of the 'sleep of the soul' after death, a Syrian tradition held in common with Ephrem, Narsai and others', Murray, ‘Symbols of church and kingdom: a study in early Syriac tradition’, p. 279 (2006)
- 'On the subject of the fate of souls after death. Aphrahat insists - as does Ephrem - "that as yet no one has received his reward. For the righteous have not inherited the Kingdom, nor have the wicked gone into torment" (8.22; fc. 20). At present, the dead simply "sleep" in their graves, which are collectively referred to as Sheol, or the underworld. Their capabilities for activity and experience are, apparently, almost non-existent, "for when people die, the animal spirit is buried with the body and sense is taken away from it, but the heavenly spirit they receive [i.e. the Holy Spirit, given in baptism] goes, according to its nature, to Christ" (6.14). Aphrahat, however, seems to ascribe to the dead a kind of anticipatory consciousness of their own future which is akin to dreaming in earthly sleep.', Daley, ‘The hope of the early church: a handbook of patristic eschatology’, p. 73 (1991)
• 'The wicked will be sent back to Sheol, the real of Death under the world (22.17.24; cf. 6.6), where they will be punished in the measure and the way that their sins deserve - some in "outer darkness," others in unquenchable fire, others by simple exclusion from the presence of God (22.18-22).', ibid., p. 73.
- 'Ephrem, too, conceives of the time between our death and the second coming of Jesus as a "sleep," a period of inactivity in virtually every aspect of human existence. Because his anthropology is more highly developed than Aphrahat's, and because he is so insistent - in contrast to Bardaisan and other earlier, more dualistic Syriac writers - that the human person needs both body and soul to be functional, Ephrem seems to imagine that this sleep as [sic] deprived even of the "dreaming" Aphrahat mentions. For Ephrem, the soul without the body is "bound," "paralyzed" (CN 476.6); it is like an embryo in its mother's womb or like a blind or deaf person: "living, but deprived of word and thought" (HP 8.4-6).', ibid., p. 74
• 'Because of his insistence on the positive role of the body in human life and its necessity for a full human existence (e.g., CN 47.4), Ephrem sees eschatological reward and punishment as delayed until the resurrection of the dead. Resurrection will begin when souls are "awakened" from their sleep by the angel's trumpet and the commanding voice of God (CN 49.16f.).', ibid., p. 75
• 'Ephrem's picture of Gehenna is less detailed and more traditional than his picture of heaven. The damned there seem to suffer most from their awareness that they have lost all hope sharing in beauty and happiness (HP 2.3f.; 7.29).', ibid., p. 76
- 'Following in the tradition of Ephrem and Aphrahat, as well as that of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Narsai assumes that the souls of the dead do not receive the reward or punishment for their deeds until they are reunited with their bodies in the resurrection; until then, they must all wait in Sheol, the earthly place of the dead, in a state of conscious but powerless inactivity that Narsai refers to as a "sleep."', ibid., p. 174
• ‘The Nestorian Narsai described the soul and the body as a pair of inseparable lovers who could not live the one without the other. From the moment that her lover deserted her, he recounts, nephesh lost her speech and fell into a deep slumber. In spite of this, even in this state of forced inertia, she maintained her essential characteristics: her galloping intellect, her acute judgement, the emotions that open up a view in the world. The reason that all her faculties had ceased to function is that they had no more any purpose to serve, since the body for the sake of which they operated was no longer there. Nephesh recovered her sentience and her speech at the end of time when, together with the body, she rose to give an account for her deeds. Till then she felt no pain or joy. The vague knowledge she had of what was in store for her scarcely disturbed her peaceful sleep.’, Samellas, ‘Death in the eastern Mediterranean (50-600 AD.): the Christianization of the East: An Interpretation’, Studien Und Text Zu Antike Und Christentum, pp. 56-57 (2002)
- '"Isaac," too, is convinced that the final reward and punishment for human deeds awaits the resurrection (e.g., Bedjan 724.4 from bottom). Then those who died in "peace and quiet" with the lord will find eternal peace (Bedjan 276.15), while sinners will be banished to a darkness far away from God (Bedjan 117f.). Gehenna, the kingdom of the demons (Bedjan 203.4 from bottom), is a place of fire, and on the day of judgment this fire will burst forth from the bodies of the damned (Bedjan 73.4.; 118.3-7). Until the resurrection, the dead must wait in Sheol, which the author seems to imagine as a collective grave (Bedjan 366.3 from bottom; 368.5; 369.4). Some passages in the corpus suggest that the dead continue to act, in Sheol, as they have during life (e.g., Bedjan 90.13; 366.10-18). Others declare that action for good or ill is no longer possible after death (e.g., Bedjan 392.4 from bottom), and even envisage Sheol, before the judgment, as a place of fire ruled over by Satan (Bedjan 93.4f.).', Daley, ‘The hope of the early church: a handbook of patristic eschatology’, pp. 174-175 (1991)
- 'His eschatology remains within the Syriac tradition. Thus he speaks often of death in personified terms, as the captor of an enslaved human race or as an insatiable glutton; although Sheol, where the dead now exist, is a dark place of sleep. Jacob also describes the experience of death as a dangerous journey across a sea of fire.', Daley, ‘The hope of the early church: a handbook of patristic eschatology’, p. 175 (1991)
• 'On the influence of hypnopsychism on the theology of Jacob of Sarug see M. D. Guinan, "Where are the dead? Purgatory and Immediate Retribution in James of Sargu," in Symposium Syriacum 1972, pp. 546-549.', Samellas, ‘Death in the eastern Mediterranean (50-600 AD.): the Christianization of the East: An Interpretation’, Studien Und Text Zu Antike Und Christentum, p. 56 (2002)
- 'But Ibn Ezra held that the souls of the wicked perish with their bodies.', Davidson, ‘The Doctrine of Last Things Contained in the New Testament, Compared With Notions of the Jews and the Statements of Church Creeds’, p. 139 (1882)
- 'Maimonides claims that since the greatest punishment would be to lose one's immortal soul, the souls of the wicked are destroyed along with their bodies.', Rudavsky, 'Maimonides', p. 105 (2010)
- ‘Maimonides’ views are reasserted by Joseph Albo (1380–1444) in his Book of Principles.’, ibid., p. 206.
- ‘During the pre-Reformation period, there seems to be some indication that both Wycliffe and Tyndale taught the doctrine of soul sleep as the answer to the Catholic teachings of purgatory and masses for the dead.’, Morey, ‘Death and the Afterlife’, p. 200 (1984)
- ‘He has written at length on psychopannychism, the doctrine of soul sleep, widely held in the sixteenth century by such diverse figures as Camillo Renato, Michael Sattler, and for a while, Martin Luther.’, Williams, Petersen, & Pater (eds.), ‘The contentious triangle: church, state, and university: a festschrift in Honor of Professor George Huntston Williams’, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, volume 2, p. (1999)
• ‘It appears that Sattler came to hold the doctrine of psychopannychism, or sleep of the soul’, Snyder, The life and thought of Michael Sattler’, p. 130 (1984)
- 'Many who became Anabaptists also believed that the soul is not naturally immortal but "sleeps" between death and the final resurrection. Some affirmed, further, that only the righteous would be resurrected, while the unrighteous would simply remain dead. Many denied hell. The Venice Synod affirmed soul sleep and rejected hell (ibid., pp. 871-72).', Finger, ‘A contemporary Anabaptist theology: biblical, historical, constructive’, p. 42 (2004)
- ‘The belief that the soul goes to sleep at the death of the body to await eventual resurrection was held by both Martin Luther and William Tyndale’, Watts, ‘The Dissenters: From the Reformation to the French Revolution’, p. 119 (1985)
- Hagner, "Jewish Christianity", in Martin & Davids (eds.), 'Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments' (2000)
- Wright, "Ebionites", in Martin & Davids (eds.), 'Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments' (2000)
- 'They called Jesus the Son of God (→ Christological Titles 3.3), accepted his virgin birth, but rejected his preexistence as God', Merkel, 'Nazarene', in ), Fahlbusch & Bromiley (eds.), 'Encyclopedia of Christianity', volume 3, p. 714 (1993-2003)
- 'He came from Byzantium to Rome under Pope *Victor (c.189–198), proclaiming that Jesus was a man who was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism and thus became Christ. He was excommunicated by Victor. His disciples, who were known as ‘Theodotians’, included his namesake, ‘Theodotus the Money-changer’ (early 3rd cent.)', Cross & Livingstone (eds.), 'The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church', p. 1614 (3rd ed. rev. 2005)
- 'Adoptionist heretic. He is mentioned twice by *Eusebius, who says that *Paul of Samosata revived his heresy (HE 5. 28 and 7. 30. 16 f.)', ibid., p. 113
- 'It is clear that in his Christology Paul was an *Adoptianist, holding that in the Incarnation the Word descended on and dwelt in the man Jesus, who thus became ‘Son of God’.', ibid., p. 1250
- R.P.C. Hanson (1916–1988), Lightfoot Professor of Divinity The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318–381 (9780801031465): 1973 "Christ, Photinus said, did not exist before Adam, but Adam before Christ. The sayings about Christ's celestial origins do not refer to his person, but to his teaching and his character."
- Wulfert De Greef The writings of John Calvin: an introductory guide 2008 p253 "Lelio Sozzini's Brevis explicatio in primum Johannis caput appeared in 1561, which marked the beginning of the Socinian phase among the Italian..."
- R. K. Webb "Miracles in English Unitarian Thought" Essay, chapter 6 in ed. Mark S. Micale, Robert L. Dietle, Peter Gay Enlightenment, passion, modernity: historical essays in European Thought and Culture 2007 p120
- The Baptist theologian John Gill (1697–1771) acknowledged that early Jewish teachers interpreted 'satan' as a reference to the natural inclination people have to sin, the 'evil imagination'; "...they often say, "Satan, he is the evil imagination", or corruption of nature...", Gill on 12 Corinthians 12:7 in An Exposition of the New Testament
- Carus P. History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil
- Snobelen, Stephen (2004). J.E. Force and S. Hutton, ed. "Newton and Newtonianism". Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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- An attempt to shew that the opinion concerning the devil or satan, as a fallen angel, and that he tempts men to sin, hath no real foundation in scripture. By William Ashdowne. 1791, printed by J. Grove; and sold by Johnson, in St. Paul's Church-yard; Marsom, bookseller, Holborn; Bristow, Canterbury; and Ledger, Dover (Canterbury)
- e.g. see Greek of Acts 5:11; 7:38
- Ecclesia. Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Online). 3 February 2009.
- Examples of lecture titles on Handsworth Christadelphians website
- For example: Learn to Read the Bible Effectively
- For example: This is Your Bible Archived March 31, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- For example: Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society (CALS) videos, Williamsburgh Christadelphian Foundation (WCF) videos, the Christadelphians of Southern California's videos, and Christadelphian YouPreach on YouTube.
- For example: Washwood Heath Christadelphians' podcasts, Bible Study Podcasts and Search for Hope podcasts.
- For example: Open Bible Forum, Bible Discussion Forum and Bible Truth Discussion Forum
- For example, the Bible Learning Centre in the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, Nottingham (UK); Solihull Bible Learning Centre (UK); Dandenong Bible Education Centre, Melbourne (Aus.); Castle Hill Bible Education Centre, Sydney (Aus.); Liverpool Bible Education Centre, South-western Sydney (Aus.); the Mustard Seed Bible Education Centre, Adelaide (Aus.); Urbana Bible Education Center, Champaign County, Illinois (USA); Durban Bible Education Centre (SA). There are also other BECs in SA, Cambodia and India.
- Ashton, Michael, Women Priests? The Bible Answer to the Current Debate, Birmingham: CMPA
- Norris, Alfred. The Gospel and Strife. Birmingham, UK: Christadelphian Magazine and Publishing Association.
- Watkins, Peter. War and Politics: The Christian's Duty. Birmingham, UK: Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society.
- 'They are characterized by holding a firm belief in the inspired status of the Bible and place enormous emphasis upon biblical study', Evans, John S, 'The Prophecies of Daniel 2', page 251, USA:Xulon Press (2008)
• 'Christadelphian devotion centers on daily Bible study and weekly meetings', page 421, Fahlbusch, Erwin and Bromiley, Geoffrey W, 'The Encyclopedia of Christianity', USA:Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1999)
• 'Christadelphians are devoted students of the Bible, which they believe to be the infallible and inerrant word of God', Edwards, Linda, 'A Brief Guide to Beliefs', page 421, USA:Westminster John Knox Press (2001)
• 'Daily Bible study is enjoined', Powles, Lilian V, 'The Faith and Practice of Heretical Sects', page 23, Michigan:Mothers' Union (1962)
- "The BBC Website". Bbc.co.uk. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- 'Hymnody was an important part of Christadelphianism from its beginning, and, along with the journal, The Christadelphian, gave independent ecclesias a broader fellowship. Hymns reflected the essential doctrines and principles of their faith. These principles were anti-Trinitarianism. They also believed that God would establish his kingdom on earth through the return of Jesus to reign a thousand years in Jerusalem', Wesley Roberts, Professor of Music, Campbellsville University, Kentucky, in the magazine 'Hymn', July 1997
- Hocking, Rachel (2000, 7). A Study of Christadelphian Hymnody: singing with the spirit and with the understanding. Check date values in:
- Andrew Wilson, History of the Christadelphians 1864–1885: the emergence of a denomination 1997 p. 326
- Peter Hemingray, John Thomas: His Friends and His Faith 2003 p. 195
- Ambassador of the Coming Age Vol. 6, P. 148
- "The CMPA online bookshop". Thechristadelphian.com. Archived from the original on 24 June 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Praise the Lord (Hoddesdon Christadelphian Service, 1993, 2000)
- "Worship". Worship Book Committee, NCC, 2008, 2010. Theworshipbook.com.
- An example is the Christadelphian folk rock band Fisher's Tale (albeit this is a witness project as opposed to being for the purpose of church worship)
- e.g. Liedboek van de Broeders in Christus (Netherlands, circa 1980)
- 'Considering the scope of hymnic literature by Christadelphians, we might conclude that few branches of Christianity can claim such a close relationship between hymn writing and their own religious development, and such a high percentage of hymnists in their membership. As their hymns become better known, this close relationship will reveal that the heritage and faith of Christadelphians has been enhanced through a strong emphasis on hymnody, from their beginnings to the present day', Wesley Roberts, Professor of Music, Campbellsville University, Kentucky, in the magazine 'Hymn', July 1997
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- Bibliography of Christadelphians
- Fred Pearce, Who are the Christadelphians? Introducing a Bible Based Community (Birmingham: CMPA). Available online
- Stephen Hill, The Life of Brother John Thomas – 1805 to 1871 (2006).
- Peter Hemingray, John Thomas, His Friends and His Faith (Canton, Michigan: The Christadelphian Tidings, 2003 ISBN 81-7887-012-6).
- Andrew R. Wilson, The History of the Christadelphians 1864–1885 The Emergence of a Denomination (Shalom Publications, 1997 ISBN 0-646-22355-0).
- Charles H. Lippy, The Christadelphians in North America Studies in American Religion Volume 43 (Lewiston/Queenston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989 ISBN 0-88946-647-5). 1-895605-32-6.
- Lorri MacGregor, Christadelphians & Christianity (Nelson, B.C.: MacGregor Ministries, 1989 ISBN 1-895605-32-6).
- Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray: Popular Christianity (Both in Faith and Practice) Shewn [sic] to Be Unscriptural, and the True Nature of the Ancient Apostolic Faith Exhibited: Eighteen Lectures [on Christadelphian doctrine], Originally Published as 'Twelve Lectures on the True Teaching of the Bible' (Birmingham, Eng.: C.C. Walker, 1932).
- Harry Tennant, The Christadelphians: What they believe and preach (Birmingham, England: The Christadelphian, 1986 ISBN 0-85189-119-5). Also titled What the Bible Teaches (see 'Foundations' on thechristadelphian.com).
- Bryan R. Wilson, Sects and Society: A Sociological Study of the Elim Tabernacle, Christian Science and Christadelphians (London: Heinemann, 1961; Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961).
- BBC article, Religion & Ethics—Christianity: Subdivisions: Christadelphians. Available online
- Rob Hyndman, The Christadelphians (Brothers and Sisters in Christ): Introducing a Bible-based Community (Beechworth, VIC: Bethel Publications, 1999 ISBN 81-87409-34-7). Available online
- Rachel Hocking, A Study of Christadelphian Hymnody: singing with the spirit and with the understanding, 2000. Available online
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