This week I came across a Christadelphian meeting place quite by chance as I was driving along a road I have not been on for quite some time. It wasn't the building which caught my attention. In fact, the building was stark and uninviting and I initially thought it was an industrial site. However, the sign caught my eye.
I guess I was initially somewhat surprised to see a Christadelphian meeting place described as a "Bible Learning Centre", as I haven't come across this before. It got me to thinking about how this name was obviously chosen because that is the main emphasis of this ecclesia - in other words, what mostly goes on here is learning about the Bible.
Interestingly, I also recently visited an ecclesia which has a very different sign. This meeting describes itself as the "Pine Rivers Worship Centre". This tells me that the main focus of this ecclesia is worship.
Do the different names tell us anything about any possible differences between these two ecclesias? I think so. I must say that I have actually visited one (the "worship centre") but not the other, so what I'm writing here is mostly just my impression from the sign.
Apart from the fact that the "War with Russia is Inevitable" sign is a dead giveaway (to a Christadelphian) that this is a Logos ecclesia (does any other kind of ecclesia flog this prophetic dead horse?), the emphasis on "Bible learning" tells me that for this ecclesia knowledge about the Bible would be the most important thing to them. On the other hand, to the folks at the "worship centre" how they worship the God of the Bible is presumably the most important thing to them.
The two signs tell me that one ecclesia is interested in matters of the head ("learning") while the other is more focussed on matters of the heart (as worship involves the emotions as well as the intellect). One ecclesia would emphasise getting their facts right, while the other would want to be in a right relationship with the One they worship. The first might help me to know about God, but the second might help me to actually get to know God. If I was looking for salvation I might get the impression from one sign that there was stuff I had to know (and with "learning" and "seminars" I might wonder about whether I would have to sit for an exam), while the other sign suggests that I'm likely to find a nurturing environment ("caring and sharing") with more group support and the potential for friendships and relationships.*
One sign tells us that war is inevitable (and to most people this is a bad thing, although the sign leaves us wondering if the people who run the seminars here think this is good or bad) while the other sign tells us that they are about "caring and sharing". One promises death and destruction, the other offers hope.
One sign tells me that the Bible contains unpleasant information (war is inevitable) while the other sign tells me that there are people who care about me (and my kids). The people at the worship centre have obviously found something which they think is good, which is why they want to worship the One who has shown them "the way, the truth and the life", and why they want to share it with me. I'm not sure why the other folks are telling me that a war is coming. Are they trying to help me avoid it (but can I avoid it if it's "inevitable"?) or are they prophets of gloom and doom? I wonder if they have long beards and wear signboards like the guys in the cartoons ("The end is nigh!")?
Neither of the two signs use many words, but in their choice of words they tell us a great deal about the different groups that meet there.
* Because I do know about Logos ecclesias - and was actually raised in one, so I know a great deal about them - I know that this ecclesia would believe that you must have all the right beliefs, down to the details, in order to be saved. Correct knowledge is a life and death matter to them, so if you get the slightest thing wrong then you would be unwelcome there.