Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (6)

History was to repeat itself again in 1884-5 - this time with even more serious consequences than before. A new mould was being cast for the Christadelphian movement.

In 1876 Robert Ashcroft (1842-1921 pictured), a Congregational minister, became a Christadelphian. Two years later he founded a chain of Young Men's Mutual Bible Study Associations to train young men in the methods of Bible study and public speaking (Mutual Improvement Classes have been a part of Christadelphianism for over a hundred years).

Andrew Wilson described Robert Ashcroft's rise to eminence as ‘meteoric'. Within a short time he was recognised as a prolific writer and prominent speaker. He visited the Christadelphians in the USA on a lecture tour, his visit being regarded by the American brethren as a great success. One of them wrote to The Christadelphian that "he never listened to anything like Brother Ashcroft's discourses which move even him to tears". In 1882-83 praise for Ashcroft poured in from all over the USA, even from scholarly brethren such as Thomas Williams, and he was invited to move to the USA.

By 1883 his standing as a Christadelphian was such that he was made assistant editor of The Christadelphian magazine. One writer described Robert Ashcroft in 1885 as having ‘more moral weight in the ecclesias than any living brother'.

Roberts reacted badly to this adulation of his assistant editor. It would be difficult to say, over 100 years later, whether jealousy on Robert's part had anything to do with it; however, even in 1884 Roberts found it necessary to answer questions as to whether he was jealous of Ashcroft or not.

In September 1884 Ashcroft left Birmingham and his assistant editorship and started a magazine called The Bible Exegetist. Roberts announced Ashcroft's departure in his magazine and wished the project God-speed, saying he would rejoice in its success.

Almost immediately, however, Roberts began what a contemporary brother described as a 'campaign' against Ashcroft. He accused him of teaching a 'partial inspiration' of the Scriptures and wrote lengthy articles in The Christadelphian attacking Ashcroft.

Attempts were made by other brethren to prevent the issue from causing a division. Andrew Wilson wrote of one such attempt:

Professor D.L. Evans, who had tutored Ashcroft in Hebrew and Greek, and himself at this point a Christadelphian, visited his former student and produced a formula on the subject of Inspiration which he hoped would heal the breach. Roberts printed its text, in apparently approving terms, in the magazine.

Roberts was engaged, simultaneously, in actions which did not appear to proceed along the same conciliatory path, and which were not recorded in The Christadelphian.

In January 1885, an ecclesial meeting of the Birmingham (Temperance Hall) ecclesia was held at which an article by Ashcroft in his Exegetist was discussed*. A vote was taken, and the majority were against Roberts. The following month Roberts tried again, and at a meeting of the ecclesia a motion was adopted regarding their understanding of inspiration which said "[we] will take no action of withdrawal from any member of the ecclesia, until accusation is made against him in scriptural form, and he has been heard in his own defence".

"Three months and three days of calm passed by" (Andrew Wilson).

In May that year an ecclesia in the USA wrote a letter praising Ashcroft, and support for Ashcroft from British ecclesias began to grow. Even members of Roberts' own ecclesia invited Ashcroft to lecture on their behalf. Several ecclesias throughout Britain passed resolutions supporting Ashcroft.

Roberts invited several brethren 'to tea' and for a quiet talk on Friday 22 May. After tea Roberts dropped a bombshell asking several brethren to resign from the ecclesia, and then proposed that if the brethren present denounced Robert Ashcroft and Joseph Chamberlin all could be forgiven and forgotten. They refused.

The next day Roberts posted 'postcards' asking the recipients to sign their acceptance of Roberts' view on inspiration, and their promise to withdraw fellowship from brethren Ashcroft and Chamberlin. Roberts made it clear that he held the lease to the ecclesial meeting place "and whoever remained with him would remain in the premises".

Roberts then sent ‘tickets' to his supporters in the ecclesia, which they were to produce in order to gain admittance to the meetings of the ecclesia. Fellowship was therefore denied to anyone not holding a ticket, and a physically strong brother was put in charge of the door to bar their entry. A meeting of Roberts' supporters, possessing tickets, dissolved the ecclesia and reconstituted themselves with a new basis of fellowship including Roberts' definition of inspiration.

While the events of 1885 have been known as the 'Inspiration Controversy' it's clear that the real issue was fellowship. The question of Ashcroft's views on inspiration were secondary. The primary issue was Roberts' dictatorial handling of the matter and whether any authority as spokesman for the whole brotherhood should rest on the office of editor of The Christadelphian. Many brethren objected to Roberts' heavy handed approach and his attempts to enforce his own views on the whole brotherhood by having them enshrined in a rigid Statement of Faith which had to be accepted as a condition of fellowship.

The controversy which followed Robert Roberts' withdrawal of fellowship from Robert Ashcroft divided the brotherhood for nearly 70 years, and its repercussions are still being felt.

* Robert Ashcroft denied that he ever intended to teach what Robert Roberts made out in regard to that article. Roberts' own brother -in-law, William Jardine, described this article as "the best article on inspiration that has appeared in Christadelphian literature".

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (5)

I referred in my previous message to an incident in 1873 when history would repeat itself.

Edward Turney (pictured) was the editor of The Christadelphian Lamp (later renamed The Christian Lamp). In 1873, two years after the death of John Thomas, Edward Turney and Robert Roberts fell out over their understanding of the theological significance of the death of Christ. Roberts, without the ascent of his "managing brethren" or the Birmingham ecclesia (of which he was a member), unilaterally announced in The Christadelphian that he "withdrew fellowship" from Turney and all who held his beliefs. Andrew Wilson in The History of the Christadelphians 1864-1885 commented that:

"By this action, Roberts established a precedent for dealing with doctrinal dissidence ... However, stirring deep in the sensitivities of Roberts's brethren was the impression that this type of action was altogether too summary and abrupt amongst a congregation of brethren. In 1885, many Christadelphians reacted to a repetition of Roberts's conduct of 1873 by forming an entirely new sub-sect, known as the 'Suffolk Street fellowship'."

The fallout for Christadelphians was significant. In 1872 more conversions to Christadelphianism (as baptisms) were recorded in Nottingham as a result of Turney's preaching than in Birmingham where Roberts was based. A similar situation occurred in Essex where all the baptisms prior to 1873 occurred at Maldon as a result of David Handley's preaching. (David Handley [1822-1886] shared similar views with Edward Turney). After 1873 the number of baptisms in Nottingham and Essex dropped off sharply, and the Christadelphian ecclesias in these areas never regained their momentum. Wilson noted that:

"Apart from the Inspiration Controversy, which came to a head in 1885, no other schism appears from official figures to have influenced the Christadelphian movement so much as the 'Clean Flesh' heresy"* (p. 345).

Turney's supporters eventually took the name "the Nazarene fellowship" and, as far as I can tell, no longer call themselves Christadelphians. The Nazarene Circular Letter published by them continues to this day with its main readership, apparently, being among the Christadelphian community, "many of whom quietly support it" according to one of its members. In his Thinking It Over (Birmingham, 1963) Ernest Brady, a previous editor of the Nazarene Circular Letter, noted from his discussions with Christadelphians on a private basis that "a large proportion of Christadelphians" were in agreement with Nazarene views.

I mention this incident in 1873 to demonstrate that a pattern was emerging in the Christadelphian community, with Robert Roberts becoming increasingly authoritarian, and removing prominent brethren who refused to submit to his authority. It began with the disfellowship of the very capable leader George Dowie in 1864, was repeated in 1873 with the ostracism of the successful preachers Edward Turney and David Handley and their supporters, and came to a head with the excommunication of the popular speaker and writer Robert Ashcroft and the 1885 division (more on that later).

The Believers Movement was changing.

* This was the name given by Roberts' supporters to Turney's views on the atonement. Turney and his supporters were sometimes called Renunciationists by Roberts' supporters as they had renounced some of their earlier ideas.

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (4)

Early on in the Believers Movement there was an emphasis on the simplicity of the Gospel, and a resistance to any attempts to define their beliefs in a creed or statement of faith. For example, in 1855 John Thomas published a letter in his magazine from a correspondant referred to only as ‘Mary B.R.’ which included a one-paragraph summary in less than 300 words of her understanding of the Gospel. She expressed a desire to be baptised. John Thomas replied:

“Mary’s confession of faith is very intelligible, intelligent, and scriptural, and reveals no reason why water should be forbidden that she should not be baptised”.
(Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March, 1855, page 69).

This confession did not speak of the mortality of man, the nature of the devil, the relationship between Jesus and the Father, the work of the Holy Spirit, or many other matters considered to be ‘fundamental’ by many later Christadelphians. Yet John Thomas commended it as ‘an intelligent confession’ and adequate for candidacy for baptism.

One of the prominent brethren in the Believers Movement in Scotland was George Dowie (1824-1895), being persuaded of John Thomas's views by March 1853 (a year before the 14 year old Robert Roberts was baptised in Aberdeed, Scotland). Andrew Wilson comments about him that:

"Dowie wished to preserve the exciting, experimental debatability of issues which had existed for his peers and himself in the period 1848-1864".

History of the Christadelphians: 1864-1885, Shalom Publications,1997, p. 325)

It seems that the Scots ecclesias generally were made up of such independent-minded individuals, and Dowie (pictured) was held in high esteem. He was a close friend of the Roberts family (and his signature is on Robert & Jane Roberts marriage certificate as a witness), but by 1864 they had fallen out.

For some years George Dowie published a magazine called The Messenger of the Churches (from 1858 to 1870) which circulated both in Scotland and England. Dowie published a hymn-book for the Believers in 1864, five years before Roberts produced his Golden Harp. He also wrote and published other literature for the Believers and was regarded as something of a leader, especially among the Scots Believers' churches.

Around this time John Thomas began to publish his views on the Revelation in a 3 volume series called Eureka (volume 1 was published in 1861, volume 2 in 1866 and volume 3 in 1868). Dowie disagreed with much of Thomas's interpretations, and presented an alternative view in his Messenger. Thomas made it clear to Roberts that he wasn't pleased. Relationships between Thomas and Roberts were already "frosty" (and Roberts refers to this in his autobiography). In 1864 Roberts wrote to Dowie saying that he no longer regarded him as a brother, and shortly afterwards there was a thawing in the frost between Thomas and Roberts. Later that year Roberts began publishing his own magazine, The Ambassador (later renamed The Christadelphian).

It would be unreasonable to infer from this incident alone that Roberts disfellowshipped his old friend in order to advance his own position within the Believers Movement (soon after to be renamed Christadelphians), were it not for the fact that history was to repeat itself with the disfellowship of another prominent brother, Edward Turney, in 1873 and the popular and charismatic Robert Ashcroft in 1884. (I will write further about these incidents in subsequent messages).

What is noteworthy about the disfellowship of Dowie is that it actually had nothing to do with his interpretion of Revelation - the reason for Thomas's displeasure. In an article published in April 1864 Dowie alluded to a belief in a personal devil. This gave Roberts the excuse he needed to be rid of Dowie and to regain Thomas's approval. A fellow Scot, James Cameron, pointed out that Roberts used the 'personal devil' matter as a sudden and opportunist ground for disfellowship. Until that point this had not been a cause of disfellowship and Roberts own brother-in-law pointed out his inconsistency in that another person known to Roberts was not disfellowshipped even though they held identical views to Dowie regarding the devil.

Several years later when Roberts visited the Aberdeen ecclesia (by this time known as Christadelphians) a confrontation took place and Roberts refused to break bread there because they had not endorsed his judgment in the case of George Dowie. It seems that many were not happy with the new tightening up of doctrinal views, especially when it was largely being controlled by a magazine editor, and not by consensus of the brethren.

An interesting thing about this incident is that it was apparent that not all the Believers held the same views as Thomas and Roberts about the devil, but that they did not regard differences of opinion about this as cause for separating. Another group which grew out of, or parallel with, the Believers Movement is the Church of God General Conference, sometimes called Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith. To this day some Abrahamic Faith individuals and churches hold views similar to Christadelphians on the identity of the devil, while others believe the devil to be a fallen angel. This is not a cause for division and the two views exist happily side-by-side in the same church or denomination. (The Church of God General Conference [COGGC] also resembles the Believers Movement churches more closely than later Christadelphians in that they generally practice open communion rather than closed communion)*.

Incidentally, it seems that George Dowie died as a Christadelphian. After the division in 1885 when many ecclesias broke free of Roberts' authoritarianism he joined an ecclesia not under Roberts control.

In summarising what Christadelphians set out to be, my point # 4 is this:

Christadelphians set out to have a simple faith and to tolerate diversity of opinions on many matters.

* The COGGC holds many of the same doctrinal distinctives as Christadelphians. For example, they are non-trinitarian, believe in conditional immortality, the second coming, the restoration of Israel, and the kingdom of God on earth.

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (3)

In summarising the reasons for the early success of Christadelphianism (before 1885) Andrew Wilson commented that:

"The openness of Christadelphianism in its early days permitted brethren, once converted, to stay nominally within their churches of origin, causing a wider spread of the new views amongst those with some sympathy for them than would have occurred under tighter restrictions regulating communion."

In its early days Christadelphianism was a movement rather than a denomination, with its roots in the Believers Movement (1848-1864) and the Restoration Movement (1800 to today) before that. Christadelphians maintained their contacts with other Christians and visited other churches, or remained within them. While later generations outlawed marriage with non-Christadelphian "unbelievers", John Thomas encouraged Christadelphians to marry "amiable, well-disposed, tractable, and God-fearing" people and wrote quite sternly against those elders who wanted to make it a rule (and a condition of fellowship) that Christadelphians could only marry Christadelphians. ("Is it lawful to marry unbelievers?" The Ambassador of the Coming Age 1866 pages 91 to 97).

Consequently there seems to have a been a healthy interchange of ideas between the Believers and early Christadelphians and other Christians. John Thomas's own writings reveal that he read widely and readily borrowed ideas from commentators and Bible scholars, regardless of their denomination. He was especially influenced by Bible scholars in the Restoration Movement and groups which sprang out of it (including groups we now know as the Disciples or Churches of Christ, the Adventists, the Church of God, the Christian Connection, the Bible Students, and others). In turn, Christadelphian speakers and writers seem to have had an influence on some people in these groups, and others. As a movement within the wider Body of Christ early Christadelphians were able to share what they had learned, while continuing to modify their own views. For a time the interchange was positive, productive and healthy.

Point # 3 in my summary of what Christadelphians set out to be is this:

Christadelphians originally saw their place within the Body of Christ, and sought both to learn and to influence as they grew in grace and knowledge. They recognised and appreciated the valuable contribution of other Christians and would also endeavour to share their own perspectives in the hope that the whole Body of Christ would come to maturity.

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (2)

A classic work in analysing the history of Christadelphianism is the thesis by Andrew Wilson (himself a Christadelphian) The History of the Christadelphians, 1862-1885: The Emergence of a Denomination *. He explained his objectives in his introduction, which I quote in part:

"Between 1864 and 1885, the development of the Christadelphian community was remarkable. Numerically, it increased from a few hundred to over 5,000 brethren, with an eventual annual rate of about 400 adult baptisms; intellectually, it increased to the point where it had interested a number of notables and academics such as W.E. Gladstone, and had baptised others such as Professor David Evans; polemically, leaders of the movement had challenged or actually engaged in debate not only prominent figures in rival religious groups - ranging from Edward Hine of the British Israelites to the Archbishop of Canterbury - but also non-religious leaders of thought such as Charles Bradlaugh, and non- Christians like Louis Stern the Jew. After 1885, nothing like the same degree of interest or success, as measured in annual baptismal numbers, was registered by Christadelphians.

"The reasons why a small group should attract such interest and support within a twenty year period without one major denomination from which to draw its membership, and why its effervescence should evaporate so quickly after 1885, are the major puzzles which this study sets out to solve”.

Wilson concludes his chapter on "The History of Christadelphians: 1864-1884" with this paragraph:

"Thus, the period 1864-1884 witnessed a whole range of achievements in Christadelphia: numerical success in conversions; success in maturity in dealing with the churches and intellectuals around them, amounting to selective ecumenicism; success in the streamlining of organisation - Birmingham clearly becoming the epicentre of worldwide activity by Christadelphians. Only in Church government was Christadelphianism lacking in development. On the rock of failures in that area, the ship of success foundered in 1884-5, and much of the precious cargo was lost".

To support his claim that in 1884-85 "much of the precious cargo was lost", Andrew Wilson includes extensive statistical information to demonstrate the sudden and dramatic departure of a large number of brethren from the Christadelphian community. In overall terms the loss was between 35% and 44% of the brethren in the U.K. compared to a national annual increase in population of about 10%.

Andrew Wilson summarises the reasons for the success of the Believers Movement and Christadelphianism to 1885 and includes the following:

The original openness of the Christadelphian community and the accessibility of its creedal formulae to change based on empirical data from the Bible. This commended itself to men from a wide spectrum of orthodox persuasions whose Christianity was of an open-minded, individualist and fundamentalist-rationalist stamp.

Throughout his work Andrew Wilson names some of the academics and scholars of his day, including theologians, professors of Hebrew, and clergymen, who joined the Believers Movement or Christadelphianism in its early days but then left after the "inspiration controversy" and the division of 1884-85.

Much of this openness within the brotherhood and "the accessibility of its creedal formulae to change" was due to the considerable influence of John Thomas whose own views on doctrinal matters changed with increasing maturity, and who steadfastly resisted all efforts to dogmatise the faith in a creed or Statement of Faith. He was challenged on one occasion for having changed his mind yet again, to which he wisely replied, “Must I ever hold to one belief for the sake of consistency? May such a calamity never befall me. I will change my mind every day if need be until I get it right at last.”

If we take the early success of the Believers Movement and Christadelphianism as our benchmark, then point # 2 in my summary of "what did Christadelphians set out to be?" is this:

Christadelphians set out to have open minds. They set out to study, read, learn and mature in their faith and would change their minds frequently in the process. They set out to be "teachable" and open to new ideas and eager to explore and discuss them.

* Andrew R. Wilson B.A., M.A., A.R.Hist.S., Shalom Publications, 1997 (fp 1985).

What did Christadelphians set out to be? (1)

It's clear that Christadelphians cannot be defined by whether or not they subscribe to a particular Statement of Faith. The "Central fellowship" Christadelphians accept the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF) as "a true definition" of the first principles of the faith. The Unamended Christadelphians reject this statement of faith and go with an earlier ("unamended") version (BUSF). Yet both "amended" and "unamended" Christadelphians, while not accepting each other in fellowship, consider each other to be Christadelphians. This is evident from the fact that when individuals move from one fellowship to the other (as they frequently do) they don't need to be re-baptised. Their baptism is considered to be legitimate, regardless of whether they believed the amended or unamended version of the statement of faith at the time. The same is true of people moving from the Dawn fellowship to the Central fellowship, and vice versa, or the Berean, Old Paths, or the score or more of other 'fellowships'.

Over many years I have come in contact with hundreds of Christadelphians who have never seen a statement of faith, and were certainly not asked to endorse it when they were baptised. Many ecclesias throughout the world, even those in the "Central fellowship" either have their own statement of faith or they operate without one at all.

From the formation of the Believers Movement (in 1848-1850 - the community which eventually became known as "Christadelphian" in 1864) to the major division in 1884-85 there was no widespread use of any statement of faith. In fact the Birmingham statement of faith was not written until 1873, and even then was not universally accepted. So for more than 20 years the Believers Movement and early Christadelphianism functioned and grew steadily (say would say dramatically) without any statement of faith at all.

So Christadelphians cannot be defined by a statement of faith.

Over ten years ago I wrote a series of articles called "Christadelphians - where are we headed?" which were published in Christadelphian Forum (from October, 1992, to April, 1993).

The following quote comes from this series.


John Thomas has been described as "a pioneer, a discoverer ... What appealed to him was to wriggle free of what he considered the mental shackles imposed by orthodoxy, so he could soar high in the spiritual etherea and see vistas, within the Bible, of God's past, present and future plans”. *

While writers such as Robert Roberts and many others have done a service to our community by simplifying some of the difficult writings of John Thomas, few have approached the Scriptures with the same spirit of discovery. A notable exception would be Harry Whittaker who was possibly the most prolific writer the Christadelphian community has seen. To have this spirit of discovery is to not be afraid of finding something in the Scriptures which may challenge our preconceived notions or traditionally held ideas.

We need to build on the work of the ‘pioneers' like John Thomas and look closely at what the Scriptures say on matters which they did not write about in detail. The range of subjects here is vast, but some important work needs to be done on matters such as the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life; the role of women in the church; our relationships with the wider community; communicating the Gospel to the world; prayer; structuring our community for optimal spiritual growth; and many more. There are always risks associated with pioneering or discovering. We may have to make some changes which will be uncomfortable for some at first. We can be certain, however, that the benefits will far outweigh any imagined disadvantages.

* Andrew R. Wilson B.A., M.A., A.R.Hist.S., The History of the Christadelphians 1864-1885, Shalom Publications, 1997 (fp 1985).
This "spirit of discovery" was one of the hallmarks of the Believers Movement and early Christadelphianism, and was undoubtedly one of the main factors in the early growth of the community.

John Thomas wrote:

"Search the scriptures with the teachableness of a little child, and thy labour will not be in vain. Cast away to the owls and to the bats the traditions of men, and the prejudices indoctrinated into thy mind by their means; make a whole burnt offering of their creeds, confessions, catechisms and articles of religion; and, after the example of the Ephesian disciples, hand over your books of curious theological arts, and burn them before all. These mountains of rubbish have served the purpose of a dark and barbarous age; the Word, the Word of the Living God alone, can meet the necessities of the times."

(Elpis Israel 14th Edition, Birmingham, 1970, pp 5-6. fp 1848. My emphasis.)
In later works John Thomas emphasised that he was opposed to "creeds and denominations" - something which he had apparently adopted from Alexander Campbell and the Restoration Movement (Disciples/Churches of Christ) - and it's noteworthy that the first statement of faith was not adopted until after his death. If acceptance of a statement of faith defines someone as a Christadelphian, then John Thomas wasn't a Christadelphian.

So point # 1 in my summary of "what did Christadelphians set out to be?" is this:

Christadelphians set out to be people with a spirit of discovery; people who are guided by the Word of God but who reject creeds and statements of faith as having any authority; people who have a pioneering drive and ambition to find the truth for themselves and in allowing the Bible to interpret itself.

What is a Christadelphian?

I have removed the three messages which I posted during the past week under the heading "What is a Christadelphian?"

I will, however, be reposting edited and revised versions very soon.

The need for a revision came when I realised that what I was describing was what Christadelphians set out to be, what they could have been, and what some Christadelphians are. There are, however, many kinds of Christadelphians and my generic description could certainly confuse a non-Christadelphian who read it and then expected to find a whole lot of Christadelphians matching the description.

Before launching back into the series I need to explain a few things, mainly about Christadelphian history.

Many articles say that Christadelphians were founded by John Thomas in 1848. In fact, the name Christadelphian was coined by John Thomas in 1864 during the American Civil War. The movement which began around 1848-1850 had no denominational name for many years, and, as its roots were in the Restoration Movement (which began with the preaching of Alexander Campbell) which resisted all forms of denominationalism, the churches which were later to be called Christadelphian also resisted a denominational name. Throughout the USA and Britain these churches went by the names of Believers, Baptised Believers, the Royal Association of Believers, Baptised Believers in the Kingdom of God, and other similar names. They generally referred to each other simply as "believers". Strictly speaking there were no Christadelphians prior to 1864, although many of the Believers and Believers' churches which existed between 1848 and 1864 later adopted the name Christadelphian. In the past when I have referred to "early Christadelphians" I have sometimes had this 1848-1864 movement in mind, but to avoid any confusion in future I will endeavour to refer to it as the Believers Movement, and to individual members as Believers (with a capital B), rather than as Christadelphians.

The other point I need to make is that there are a wide variety of Christadelphians today. There are, of course, several different "fellowships" and sub-groups within Christadelphianism all claiming to represent "true" Christadelphianism. But even within some of these groups there is considerable diversity of thought and attitudes.

What I will be writing about in the subsequent series of messages is not so much what a twenty first century 'typical' Christadelphian looks like (if there is such a thing as a typical Christadelphian), but rather:

  • What kind of community the Believers set out to build
  • The attitudes which contributed to the success of the Believers Movement (1848-1864) and early Christadelphianism (1864-1885)
  • The strengths of the Believers Movement and early Christadelphianism which have continued in some parts of the Christadelphian denomination and which, if revived, could see a change in fortunes for the wider Christadelphian community
  • What went wrong? Why is the Christadelphian denomination today so different to the Believers Movement?

Why do I refer so much to history? We're almost all probably aware of the quotation "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana in 1905). The more I look at Christadelphian history the more I see it repeating itself. Perhaps by looking again at the lessons to be learned from the past we can make a difference for the future.

I am also changing the heading for the series from "What is a Christadelphian?" to "What did Christadelphians set out to be?"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Back from holidays

Well, I'm back. We just enjoyed two weeks of holidays ("vacation" as the Americans would say) and some much-needed rest and recreation. It was a great opportunity to catch up on some reading and to clear my head. I had very limited internet access over the past two weeks, hence the absence of any posts on my blog for a while.

Anway, I'm recharged and ready to get back into it. I plan to post some messages on the threads I started last year, including the series I promised to commence on "Build my church", as well as some more on "Characteristics of Christian leaders" and "Intimacy with God". I also plan to do a short series on "What is a Christadelphian?" which should be a bit different to the usual approach to this subject (that shouldn't surprise you). I also plan a couple more posts on "The Lord's table" (typing up some lose ends). That should keep me busy for a while, and maybe out of trouble (or maybe not).