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, [www.facebook.com
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, www.christadelphianresearch.com.
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".