Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What Christadelphians Believe


We are a community of believers in Christ, organized in groups found throughout the world. Wherever we exist we have a fellowship founded upon an agreed basis of beliefs. Fundamental to our faith is the principle that what Christ and his apostles taught in the first century was the truth, and it is still the truth today. The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are our sole authority.
Our community has no paid ministry, no robes or elaborate ceremonies, nor has it any "head of church" or legislative council. Our groups (or ecclesias - the New Testament word for `church') organize our own affairs, though the pattern is similar everywhere. Like the "elders" of New Testament times, members are appointed to manage the affairs of the ecclesia and to preside at its meetings. At the meeting for the "breaking of bread" on "the first day of the week" there are hymns, prayers, readings from the Scriptures and an exhortation. The bread and the wine circulate among all the "brothers and sisters" present. Voluntary collections are taken to meet all the expenses. If some of the early followers of the apostles in the first century could attend such meetings, it is believed that they would immediately recognize what was going on, for it is patterned on New Testament worship. Like Jesus' early disciples, we also proclaim his message of life to all willing to hear; we instruct our children and young people in Sunday Schools and Youth Groups, and promote the life of faith and prayer, and obedience to Christ's commands, among our members.
Our members found that to preserve our identity we had to give ourselves a name. "Christadelphians" was chosen because it means "brothers in Christ". It has been used to distinguish our community for more than 140 years.
We believe that God has a purpose with the world and that He wants men and women to find out about it by reading the Bible. The following are key Christadelphian beliefs:
1. There is only one true God. He dwells in heaven, immortal and invisible and all powerful.
(Isaiah 45:5-61 Timothy 6:15-16)
2. God created the entire universe and has a great purpose for the world.
(Genesis 1Numbers 14:21)
3. The Bible is the inspired word of God given by Him to benefit mankind.
(2 Timothy 3:162 Peter 1:20-21)
4. The Holy Spirit is the power of God which He uses to fulfil His purpose.
(Job 33:4Romans 8:11)
5. Jesus Christ is the Son of God - a divine being, and of Mary - a human being.
(Luke 1:35Romans 1:3-4)
6. Jesus overcame all temptation and died to save his followers from sin and death.
(Romans 10:9-131 Timothy 1:15-16)
7. Jesus was raised from death by God. Later he ascended into heaven but he will return to be king.
(Acts 2:22-27Acts 1:11)
8. When Jesus returns to the earth he will raise and judge the responsible dead and give eternal life to all faithful.
(Daniel 12:1-2John 5:28-29)
9. He will be King over the restored Kingdom of God in Israel and over the whole world.
(Isaiah 9:6-7Zechariah 14:9)
10. The devil is not a supernatural being but is another name for sin, destroyed only in Christ.
(Matthew 15:19-20Hebrews 2:14-15)
11. When we die we cease to exist. The only hope of life is by resurrection at Christ's return.
(Ecclesiastes 9:5-6Romans 5:21)
12. Repentance and baptism into Christ by full immersion in water and daily following Him, are necessary for ultimate salvation.
(Mark 16:15-16Romans 6:4)
What is the message of the Bible, and why is it different from popular "Christian" ideas? It arises from the important principle that the Bible must be understood as a whole. It is easy to uphold certain teachings by accepting some parts of the Scriptures and neglecting others. For instance it is popular today to dismiss much of the Old Testament. Yet these documents - the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets - were accepted by Jesus and his apostles as "the word of the Lord". The Bible is a unity: the revelation of God for mankind begins in the pages of the Old Testament and is continued and expanded in the New. The "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) is to be derived from the whole book. As Christadelphians, we accept that all of the Bible is the wholly inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). We therefore read it carefully and regularly. A reading plan, called the Bible Companion, enables everyone to read the Old Testament once in a year and the New Testament twice. There is another point of great importance: if man is truly to understand the Bible, he must be prepared for the fact that it is absolutely frank about all issues, and primarily about ourselves. It is the most realistic book in the world, confronting the stark issues of life without wishful thinking. Human problems, both of the race and of individuals, are frankly assessed. The origin of the problems is explained and so is the solution to them. The Bible is that only source in the world to do this in harmony with the facts of history and of human life.
Christadelphians know from the Scriptures that the present age of man's dominion is coming to an end. While there is still time, we invite you to examine - or re-examine the true teachings of the Bible. The Bible gives the sincere inquirer understanding of "the truth", an appreciation of a new view you will gain, both of your own life and of the world in general. You will be better equipped to face that life as it is, with its mingled joy and sorrow, fortified by faith in the power of God and in the truth of His Word, sustained by the assurance that God is a merciful Father and that Jesus is your intercessor; in this life of service and faith, you will enjoy the encouraging fellowship of others who believe the same things.
God is still calling out a people for His Kingdom. Your future depends on your response!