A brief report on the meeting of 9th July 2013
Nicholas White came with his wife and two daughters and a Christadelphian friend to speak about their faith. Put simply, the concern of Christadelphians is to concentrate on what the Bible actually says. One of their heroes is the Bible translator William Tyndale, who believed in 'manifest and open Scripture'. The word Christadelphian means 'Brothers and Sisters in Christ', and the movement dates from the 1832 journey of Dr John Thomas from Britain to America. This was an eight-week voyage in which there was a tremendous storm which drove Thomas to ask deep questions about his life and faith. In America he met Alexander Campbell, and the result of detailed Bible study was the publication of The Apostolic Advocate (1835) and Elpis Israel (1848 - elpis meaning 'hope').
Christadelphians believe that God creates, cares for and sustains his creation, and that 'the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea' (Habakkuk 2.14). Nicholas said that his principle in interpreting Scripture was to accept the literal meaning unless it appeared to be symbolic or metaphorical. So he regarded Adam and Eve as real people, and the story of Noah and the flood as literally true, but the beasts and beings of the book of Revelation as symbolic. Adam and Eve fell for the 'serpent-thinking' which has plagued humanity ever since, but God mounted a rescue mission in Jesus, who was human in nature but divine in character, fulfilling the promises of God in the Old Testament. Jesus will return to establish his kingdom on earth in Jerusalem. The sign of this is the gathering of the Jewish people in their historic homeland of Israel.
During the questions and answers which followed Nicholas' talk we learnt among other things that:
• Christadelphians have no ordained clergy but members minister spiritually to one another
• they hold worship services with music and celebrate the Lord's Supper as a memorial service. This is open only to baptised believers
• believers are baptised by total immersion
• believers will not join the armed services or vote in elections
Further information about the Christadelphians can be found on their website at www.stratford-christadelphians.org