Sunday, July 10, 2005

Do Christadelphians need to be "set free"?

Christadelphians claim to have "the Truth". In fact, many Christadelphians refer to their denomination as "the Truth" and instead of saying "I became a Christadelphian five years ago" they will usually say "I came into the Truth five years ago." If a Christadelphian marries a non-Christadelphian they are regarded as marrying "out of the Truth" and if they join another denomination it will be reported that "they left the Truth".

Jesus said that if we know the truth "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). If Christadelphians have "the Truth" then they should all be "free". Yet I know many Christadelphians who are in bondage. By that I mean that they feel trapped by their religion. They do not have the freedom to explore or adopt new ideas, or they may be "disfellowshipped" from their denomination. They cannot challenge the decisions of their "Arranging Brethren" or they may be disciplined. In some Christadelphian churches ("ecclesias") the Arranging Brethren make rules about what sort of clothing must be worn, the style of music their members can listen to, even which Christadelphian ecclesias they can attend.

Even Christadelphians in the more "liberal" ecclesias which do not impose as many restrictions on their members often feel that they do not have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to grow in their relationship with God. If they attend other churches they may be disciplined or disfellowshipped (excommunicated). They are discouraged from reading non-Christadelphian books, especially Christian ones, or listening to non-Christadelphian music, especially contemporary Christian music. Different styles of worship are rarely tolerated. Prayer meetings are often discouraged, and sometimes forbidden. Members who want to experiment with different styles of worship, or introduce more contemporary music into meetings, are prevented from doing so. In infrustration they sometimes leave the Christadelphian community but because they have been taught that Christadelphians alone have "the Truth" and the rest of Christendom is "astray" from the Bible, they have no where to go.

So does the Christadelphian "Truth" set people free? If not, is it really the truth?

In future posts to this blog I want to explore what Jesus really meant when He said "the truth will set you free" and suggest to Christadelphians who may feel trapped how they can truly be liberated in Jesus Christ.

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