Saturday, January 19, 2008

Do Christadelphians enjoy schism?

It's nothing new to most readers of my blog that Christadelphians are a deeply divided community, and have been since 1885, and possibly earlier. I've lost count of the various "fellowships" and splinter groups.

However, I was surprised to see that the article about Christadelphians on Wikipedia currently has more to say about "schisms" within Christadelphianism than it says about Christadelphian beliefs! (I say "currently" because wikipedia is a dynamic information site and everything could change by the time I finish writing this post).

The information appears to me to have been posted by a Christadelphian. It makes me wonder why some Christadelphians seem to take so much delight in the fact that it is a divided, troubled, conflict-riddled, argumentative community which has not only set itself against the world but against each other.

4 comments:

Cliff said...

Hi Steve

I think the root cause of all our schisms in our dysfunctional community lies at the fact that our community has an enshrined "fear" built into it, rather than having the Love of God built into it.

Our community "Fears" losing the "Truth" so any aberration from "opinions" held strongly by men motivated by ego, rather than love, is taken as a sure sign of "Apostasy" and therefore must be rooted out vigourously.

It is sad that there are so many who see the CD institution as a 5 star motel for perfect saints (like themselves, of course) rather than a hospital for sinners in need of acceptance and unconditional love.

It all becomes clear when we understand that "Apostasy" is caused by legalism which is a deadly leaven in any community... especially a fundamental religious one.

The simple "Truth" of the Bible is that God is for us... He is not against us. That knowledge frees us up dramatically to become all that we were created to be... talented, creative, compassionate Children of the One True God.

No need to fear. No schisms needed to keep the Truth pure... just uncondional love for other fallen human beings.

ntbrierly said...

Hello Steve,

I would have to say that many Christadelphians like to fight, and fighting usually leads to schisms. CDs like to focus on the differences between people, between themselves and others "not in the Truth", and between themselves and other Christadelphians.

If you believe that your salvation is dependent on doctrinal correctness, then doctrine becomes all important, and false doctrine, even a "tiny" difference, becomes a BIG deal. If THEY are not 100% correct like us, then they have "false doctrine" and therefore we need to cut them off lest they pollute us, and jeopardise our chances of getting into the Kingdom. This is called "doctrinolatry", the worship of doctrinal correctness, and not of God.

In addition many in our community have an "addiction to certainty" or a "phobia of uncertainty". Everything must be defined and settled. Anyone who disagrees, introduces an element of uncertainty, which is BAD!!

jjd said...

Hi Steve,

I see schism as one of the biggest current challenges for the Christadelphian community. Schism is dramatically increasing the risk of the community losing members - particularly young members.

I continually see young people disappointed by divisions, and sometimes turned way for good.

As previous commenters have correctly pointed out, schism is often driven by an addiction to cutting people off and exclusivity generally.

The Christadelphian community desperately needs a cleanup, otherwise it will end up being a place in which few want to be found.

A couple of final questions for consideration (for all):

Is there any situation when a follower of Christ should refuse to "fellowship" with another follower of Christ (for Biblical reasons)?

If so, what would the conditions be, and what would be the practical implications?

Do you have any previous posts which deal with this question of excommunication?

Steve said...

jjd,

I have written some previous posts about the "wrested Scriptures" (mis)used by religious purists to get rid of people who disagree with them. I have yet to deal with them all, or the ones that speak of situations where followers of Jesus might need to separate from others. It's an ongoing process and given time I will hopefully get to cover them all.

Are there any Scriptures in particular you'd like me to comment on?