Current Page: 6 of 8
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: Bendmeares ()
Date: June 29, 2011 04:54PM

I apologise. I was keen to offer my help.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Date: July 13, 2011 07:41AM

In answer to Mike Butler's question comparing an exclusive church to being like a club with rules and asking what's wrong with that, here's a link, [] on my site considering sone of the differences and why the club-church analogy isn't a reasonable comparison.

When Mike says "I do not agree with everything that all Christadelphians teach or do, but the general teachings coincide with my understanding and reading of the Scriptures." he is suggesting considerable scope for questioning exists. In practice most congregataions (at least officially) require agreement with a statement of faith that requires a rejection of other common, specific Christian beliefs as well as agreement with a list of doctrines. Baptism by Christadelphians is not simply baptism into Christ, since any candidate is first tested to esnure doctrinal compliance. Without a full agreement to the Christadelphian position baptism is not allowed and any other Christian has to first be rebaptised before being accepted.

rrmoderator, you are right. AndrewM1 was putting a spin on things to hide the real dogmatic and exclusive position of the community.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: MikeButler ()
Date: July 23, 2011 03:27AM

Hi Tim (the truth set us free) I take the point you make and perhaps it was a bad analogy. Let's personalise it. If I was so uncomfortable with some of the things that a congregation did or taught, I would find it difficult to remain. However, there are scriptural directions as to how to act. I won't use this forum to preach.

I won't go back over old ground. We discussed this at length (via facebook) and our conversations had to stop because you beleived you had the advantage over me. The conclusion was that you believe you have the Spirit and I do not, therefore I am wrong and unenlightened. I cannot have the Spirit because I am either not asking in sincerity or faith or because God is not calling me.

I believe the Truth sets us free and makes us all equal, neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male or female, all one in Chirst Jesus and no one has the preeminence over another. The possession of Spirit gifts in the early church did not mean that everyone agreed and there were still those (who had spirit gifts, who taught false ideas. This is plain from the warnings of the Scriptures in both old and new testament times. The test was 'does the teaching of those who claim to have higher or additional spirit revelation support the teaching of the Prophets of God (OT) and the the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles (NT)?' I know you do not agree with a position which you described as sola scriptura. The danger is when someone or some group claims to have higher knowledge, special revelation and uses that to lead others.

When I say 'I do not agree.....' I am simply stating a fact that there are a range of positions/understandings on some issues amongst Christadelphians. Any web search will show that. I am happy to discuss scripture, to defend Christadelphians is not my purpose. The test of what has been done or not done, whether by a cult, sect, church or any other group, is what did Christ teach? what is the counsel of God? We will be judged by Him. If people do not believe in God or the Bible then I can make no contribution other than explain why I do. The discussion should not be who is right or who is wrong but, what did Jesus teach from His Scriptures (OT). What did his apostles teach? However, this forum is not for that but to help those who have been affected by those whose actions have not been guided by the teachings of Christ. Jesus died to show that he loved the Father and that he would do what the Father commanded him. Not what Jesus thought, not what Jesus wanted, but His Father's will and words. Here is our example - to seek that out.

Moderator: I am sorry if I have gone too far here.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Date: July 24, 2011 01:19AM

Hi Mike,

Yes, you are right. A simple comparison of church authority to the rules of a club is a poor analogy because of the divine claims inherent in claiming any form of religious or spiritual authority over others. Disfellowshipping cannot be compared with a club position. The difficulty of course with very exclusive churches is that they do not equip people to easily live outside them and in the case of Christadelphians they promote separation from non believers (called the world) and also other Christians (also regarded as the world in most circles). Of course you are right that if we are uncomfortable with a church we should leave. At the same time it is equally valid to question their practices and claims to divine authority and to consider the difficulties for anyone leaving.

To put my conversation with Mike on Facebook in context to anyone else reading this forum, I run a group on facebook for "Out of Fellowship Christadelphians". Mike asked to join and like we do for anyone else I sent him a list of general aims. As a group we allow Christians, atheists and in fact anyone of any persuasion to join, but we require civility and it has been set up so it can't be hijacked by Christadelphians continually seeking to argue they alone have the truth in an aggressive manner (as happens). The purpose is to share experiences and facilitate discussion rather than to be a forum for dogmatists.

Mikes objection was that we didn't define what a "Christian" was. The reason we didn't is that in essence we didn't set our group up to be a church and it was left open so that it included everyone who considered themselves to be Christian. He also objected that our rules which were set up to limit dogmatism were themselves exclusive.

Whilst it is indeed true that I believe Christians are guided by God's Spirit, I did not claim an advantage over Mike. That is a position he insisted I was taking because it suits his defence of Christadelphian exclusivity to suggest all churches do the same thing. We welcome people who both believe and don't believe to join our group.

As a group Christadelphians have taken the position of church authority claiming they alone correctly interpret scripture and they do disfellowship anyone who questions that. Let's be honest here. That is not misrepresenting their position.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: MikeButler ()
Date: July 24, 2011 04:45PM

Hi Tim

You said 'Let's be honest here.' So please allow me to put my recollection of our conversation, as I understood it to be - the written word is sometimes misunderstood.

The written words you use seem to imply that that I had problems with one of your rules about being civil. I hope you do not think that. My stated intention of joining was to help those 'Out of fellowship Christadelphians', however, as you state the group is not limited to that, so perhaps the name of the group should be changed. My intention was not to be dogmatic but to discuss with those affected what the problems were and how they felt they had been treated. I admit my intention is always to have that discussion in the environment of the teachings of Scripture, I cannot apologise for that. My aim is to see what is going wrong and whether that can be addressed. My discussion of the definition of Christian, if I recall correctly, was in the context of the aims of the group - helping those who had been disfellowshipped by Christadelphians. My objection to your group rules was merely on the fact that they existed rather than their content. My contention here was that you were challenging the Christadelphian community for not allowing people to be members if they did not agree with their 'rules' yet were not allowing members into your group if they did not agree with your rules. This was the argument I was making about a group (or as I wrongly described it a 'club'). My argument was that every group for whatever reason has certain 'rules' which make for the harmonious functioning of that society. The Christadelphians are not an authoritative church, they are a group of people who meet together because they, individually, believe certain things. No one person, or one congregation has authority over another. No one has any special power, all are subject to the teachings of Christ and should seek to follow his example. It is when this is not done that things go wrong. And we know things do go wrong. Each congregation or 'ecclesia' deals with their own issues according to their own conclusions from their understanding of scripture, hence the differences between individuals and congregations.

My conversations with others are always about my understanding of Scripture, I do not seek to defend groups or individuals. I never once defended Christadelphin exclusivity in our conversations and you did claim that you were guided by God's Spirit whereas I was not, surely that means you have an 'advantage'. I believe that your comment 'it suits his defence of Christadelphian exclusivity to suggest all churches do the same thing' is both inaccurate and unfair.

In general, the main body of Christadelphians, are criticised by some splinter groups who have established their own groups because they say the main body is not dealing with the false teaching amongst them, not dealing with certain practices or behaviours which they believe unscriptural. You know Tim that there are a wide range of views and positions on a number of issues within the Christadelphian body. I believe there is enough scriptural guidance on how we deal with that. It is also true to say that Jesus and the apostles gave clear instructions on how to deal with those differences, some of which led to individuals being identified as false teachers and others being denied fellowship because of their behaviour. These are simple facts of apostolic advice and teaching. The difficulty has always been how we apply them.

You disagree with me and I disagree with you. There is no enmity in this. However, I am entitled to disagree with you and you with me. Whether we belong to the same group or church is perhaps irrelevant because our individual fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

It seems to me that your experiences have been with a specific 'type' of Christadelphian. I am sure that many of your views would be accommodated in other Christadelphian congregations. I am not saying I agree with those views but that they exist.

I am merely stating that to cover all Christadelphians with one blanket is too simplistic. I enjoy a range of challenging discussions with my brothers and sisters in Christ both on Bible teaching and more importantly, Bible living. Those conversations are stimulating, refreshing and helpful. No one claims authority but everyone must aspire to what God wants us to do, to love Him and obey Him.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Date: July 31, 2011 07:59PM

Hi Mike,

Let’s remain the context of this forum here. The question here is whether the exclusive nature of the Christadelphian community fits them into the context of being a destructive church.. It isn’t primarily about our private discussions about my facebook group that you decided to bring into the discussions.

It seems your defense of exclusivism is basically that that is simply common group behaviour. Indeed I would concur some guidelines or rules are necessary in groups. The problem is when rules create a mind set or set of conditions which make it difficult for people to make their way outside of the group. This is what we are discussing with reference to the Christadelphians. Yes, they have a “legal” right to organise in that fashion. In the case of a group like the Christadelphians they claim something more than that. They claim correct knowledge of God’s will and exclude others on that basis. In other words they make divine claims and therefore make an assertion to uphold divine authority.

The phrase “out of fellowship” for those reading this forum is a term Christadelphians and ex-Christadelphians use to refer to those once considered to be Christadelphians and no longer are for whatever reason. It is not used to refer to only those who still hold Christadelphian beliefs as Mike implies. That is a misrepresentation of how the term is commonly used. The group description clearly makes that distinction too and can be read by anyone here, [].

It is true that the Christadelphians do not have an hierarchical system. Each congregation is autonomous and those who exercise any kind of authority are put in place through a voting structure. That doesn’t mean the individual has greater freedom to question than in a hierarchical system. It just means it isn’t hierarchical. It has instead a strong group-think imposed orthodoxy instead. This does vary from place to place and infighting between “liberals” and “conservatives” is a source of never ending friction in the community. The boundaries of where differences are acceptable is broadly drawn up by the statements of faith, although the boundaries of that do get tested. In fact the lack of an hierarchical system has meant MORE empahasis than usual is placed upon orthodoxy of belief. To be accepted by other congregations requires this and those who tolerate those who dissent or question do get block disfellowshipped. Since each ecclesia is autonomous and takes different stances the community since its beginnings has suffered a considerable amount of internal strife. This is very well historically documented and sources where and how this can be checked are available on my website,

I agree with Mike that ‘whether we belong to the same group or church is perhaps irrelevant because our individual fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” That is not however a position that is widely upheld in its practises of disfellowshipping people.

Mike is right that variances exist, but they exist despite the attempts of the majority of the community to disallow them and in fact root them out. The majority of the movement as he rightly knows is very exclusive in attitude, doctrine and in the practice of disfellowshipping, which is commonly called “withdrawal of fellowship".

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: MikeButler ()
Date: August 01, 2011 05:46AM

Hi Tim

This is my last post in this.

It was you who posted your facebook link in this space and brought it into the conversation. You have again mentioned my 'defense of exclusivism'. I have never defended that here or in our facebook discussions.

The Christadelphians are a group who meet on the basis of a shared set of beliefs and help each other with that, they have never claimed to be able to help others equip themselves for life outside of that group, nor are thet themselves equipped to do so. The basis is not what it means to be a Christadelphian, but a brother or sister of Christ. Lif einside the group or ourside it should be base don that. What does God want us to do, as I have repeatedly stated. While there is such a thing as an ex-Christadelphian there is no such thing as an ex brother or sister of Christ. Whether that person is in fellowship with God is the point.

I did not say that I thought that your site was only for those who (still) held Christadelphian beliefs, but that I thought it was only for those who were once members of a Christadelphian congregation. 'Out of fellowship Christadelphian support group' does not imply or clearly state that it is for those who have never been Christadelphians or have no beliefs at all.

I disagree with the voting system you refer to, although it exists in many religious and non-religious organisations and by most Christadelphian congregations. It is not used in my own congregation.

There is no such thing as block disfellowship in the Christadelphian community and the principle is only supported by a very small minority who do not understand the Biblical principles of fellowship.

Disfellowshipping is not a scriptural principle. Recognising that someone is teaching contrary to Christ's teaching or living contrary to Christ's principles of living is not wrong. How we deal with that can be based on the many scriptural instructions on that. (I will send some in a seperate note so that the moderator can block it if deemed unsuitable for this place.) The term as used by Christadelphians is unhelpful and misleading.

Thanks for your contributions on this subject Tim.

God Bless


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: MikeButler ()
Date: August 01, 2011 05:51AM

Moderator, here are the passages I referred to. I understand if they are unsuitable for here. Thanks Mike

Rom 16:17

The instruction is specifically to identify those which cause divisions and offences which is opposite to the doctrine or edification of the ecclesia and unity of the spirit. It does not say to separate. But to mark them out as the wolves, false teachers and protect the sheep. Not condemn them all and leave them to the mercy of the false teachers.

1 Cor 5:11-13
This instruction again, is specifically about dealing with the brother who lives a life of bad practice, a fornicator who had taken his father’s wife. The ecclesia had not recognized it and had allowed it to continue. They should have acknowledged that his actions demonstrated he was no longer in fellowship with God and therefore could not share the bread and wine with them.

Gal 1:6,8,9
Paul is addressing the issues in Galatia which was the battleground with the Judaisers. It is the same condemnation as in Rom 16. To separate them out and identify them as false teachers. This was the earliest epistle of Paul from prison. There is another decision at the Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15) where rather than excommunicate them, or leave the congregation themselves, a compromise was reached.

2 Thess 3:6,14
Again directed at how to deal with those who walk disorderly and specifically, with those who had given up their jobs (initially because they believed Christ was coming immediately) but were now relying on the ecclesia to support them and their families. It is not dealing with teaching. Even if it did, the insistence that ‘withdraw’ and ‘have no company’ means excommunication or desertion of the congregation cannot be true because v15 says admonish him as a brother. Again the command is ‘note that man’ separate him out, identify him but treat him as a brother. Although it does not rule out an eventual recognition that he is not in fellowship with God if his misbehavior persists.. (1 Cor 5)

1 Tim 6:5
The phrase here is arguably not in the original, most commentators ignore it and the RSV omits it. However, we will treat is as it reads and the context of the action is the same as previous passages, separate them out and identify them for what they are. Men who will preach and present perverse arguments for financial gain. Using ‘godliness’ as a source of income, paid ministers who say what the hearers want to hear rather than the truth. Timothy was to flee these things (v11) but not leave his ecclesia but work as a bishop, supporting the ecclesia in Ephesus, teaching them how they ought to behave and pointing out those who were walking disorderly or preaching false doctrine.

2 Tim 3:5
I would contend that while describing the last days, these people existed in Ephesus and the advice to Timothy was the same as in the first epistle. He was to mark them out but 6:5 ‘watch thou in all things, endure afflictions (not flee from them), do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of they ministry.

Tit 3:9,10
This is not the usual word for heretic but means ‘oncer’. Here was a leader of a faction. Paul has dealt with false teachers in chapter 1, here he deals with those who cause factions and tells Titus to reject their divisiveness. In reality what usually happens is that if the ecclesia withstands them the schismatics leave the ecclesia to set up their own groups.

2 John 10-12

This refers specifically to the antichrist, he who says that Christ has not come in the flesh, the sister who was receiving such was commanded not to receive them into her house (which was also where the ecclesia met) or bid him Godspeed. The antichrists were many (1 John1) and because they could not get their way in the ecclesia they left (1 John2:19)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Date: August 02, 2011 06:04AM

Hi Mike.

I can understand you not wishing to repost again, because we an elastic quality to your words which is deliberately misleading. That has been a constant feature of Christadelphians on this thread who do not seem to want to be upfront about how things really work.

If we go back it was clearly you who first referred to our facebook conversations as anyone who reads back can see. My first link was to my website. Perhaps you confused the two. No matter, let’s deal with the points raised.

To put this conversation here in context you joined the conversation precisely at a point when we were discussing the superior position Christadelphians have that they alone have the truth. Andrew1 who preceded you tried to suggest this was not true and your intervension in saying, “no one has to be a Christadelphian and while we, generally, share the same beliefs it is daft to think that those with different beliefs would want to belong” was clearly intended to support an exclusive position. It is disingenuous at best to suggest otherwise.

Whilst it is true that “the Christadelphians are a group who meet on the basis of a shared set of beliefs” due to a creedal structure it does take up a very exclusive position in regards to other churches. By all means defend that, but let’s be honest about it and answer the questions it raises.

In looking at this we have remember in many countries (including the UK) most new believers were brought up within the faith (you are an exception). They are brought up to develop a mindset which frequently locks them into a way of thinking. This is why a lot of former Cds struggle to move forward after leaving or being disfellowshipped. Yes, you are right that Christadelphians “have never claimed to be able to help others equip themselves for life outside of that group, nor are they themselves equipped to do so.” This is what makes its exclusive system damaging for many. Freethought or reasessment can lead to exlusion, disfellowship and isolation.

I am glad we agree that in the final analysis God is the judge. Nevertheless Christadelphians do judge and disfellowship and the kind of verses you quote are used to assert a claim to some kind of apostolic authority. In practice much is down to how the Bible is interpreted and “balanced”.

If you re-read my face book group description again you will find it is clearly for former Christadelphians and also provides support for those who are on the edges because leaving is a continuum. That does not mean they hold Christadelphian belief or by extension “for those who have never been Christadelphians or have no beliefs at all.”.

Unfortunately Mike there is such a thing as “block disfellowship” in the Christadelphian community. It may not be described that way by yourself, but it does exist. Various congregations are not accepted by others. It can otherwise be called schism and historically has been far greater than it is today. If disfellowshipping individual members is right to preserve the “purity of the faith” then by extention to do it to a whiole congregation who don’t maintain some perceived important aspect is consistent.

Since each congregation is able to set up its own structure, it is quite possible Mike does not have a voting system. In fact an early Christadelphian, Robert Roberts called voting a “necessary evil” in a guide to setting up a congregation that is the basis of how most congregations work. That does not mean that no ones takes an authoritative position when it comes to maintaining the exclusive position cds adopt. In fact even if we give Mike the benefit of the doubt and allow he is more liberal, more compassionate and less judgemental other congregations will not accept that.

This is all very well historically documented as previously referred to.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Christadelphian HELP PLEASE
Posted by: MikeButler ()
Date: August 04, 2011 06:14AM

Hi Tim

I apologise for not keeping my word about my last post. You accused me first of 'defending exclusivism', which I have not. Now you say I am 'deliberately misleading'. What I have tried to do is put forward the scriptural position on these matters, not defend Christadelphians, not justify what happens. The Spirit you claims guides you does not manifest the Spirit of Christ. Try some humility. Yes we disagree. Yes things go wrong. Yes I am trying to understand and not fall into the same mistakes and help where I can. The condemnation of Christadelphians in general is unhelpful as Jody stated, but inside the community there are individuals, most of whom are trying to do the right thing. Because you disagree with them you cannot write them all off, especially judging them because they come from Christadelphain families and you believe they are incapable of thinking for themselves.

Rather Tim
.... if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
(Php 2:1-5 ESV)

I agree with some of your criticisms of how some have been treated. Block disfellowship as you call it is only supported by splinter Christadelphian groups who do not understand the principles of fellowship, as I have already stated. God is my judge and knows my heart as he does yours and we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. It is to him we must answer.

But "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you." Job 12:2,3 ESV

I am not running away but think that conversing with you is unhelpful. I am not trying to win an argument here or get the better of you just trying to say what I think and believe the Scriptures teach. It is for others to decide if Christadelphians are a cult. Frankly, I don't care about badges if that is how we are viewed then so be it. I am concerned about mistreatment of brethren and sisters in Christ and what God says is the Truth and how He wants us to act.

You now have free reign to respond as you wish. I will not reply any further. Thank you to all those who have read my posts. Once again my apologies and sympathy to all who have been treated in an un-Christlike manner by my brethren and sisters in Christ.

Trust in the Lord
...........for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"
(Heb 13:5-6 ESV)

God bless and goodbye

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 6 of 8

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.