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Q: So what makes the Christadelphians different?
They have attempted to get back to the faith and character of the early Christian church in New Testament times.
Q: What does Christadelphian mean?
The name “Christadelphians” has been in use for nearly 150 years. It comes from two Greek words and means “Brethren in Christ”.
Q: How big is your church?
It is thought there are 50,000 members in 130 countries throughout the world with large groups of Christadelphians in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, North America, India, Asia and Africa.
Q: What are your churches like?
Most Christians call their building a church, whereas we tend to call it a “hall” or “meeting room”. Like the early Christians, we meet in homes, or rented rooms (and today often in community centres). In some cases (as in Bracknell), we have our own unornamented hall. We hold both regular talks and special events in our halls.
Q: What kind of management do you have?
Each group of Christadelphians is called an “ecclesia” (the Greek New Testament word for church). Patterned after first century Christianity, we have no paid clergy or church hierarchy and all are involved in organising our activities. Members contribute their time, resources and energy voluntarily in service to God.
There are separate Christadelphian charities which are run to provide aid to the third world and emergency disaster relief. We have committees to organise promotion of the Bible message. In the UK we have nine care homes and one hospital for our elderly members. We also have several schools around the world.
Q: What do you make of the Bible … And which version?
We accept the whole of the Bible as God’s message to us and don’t acknowledge any other religious writings. Instead, we try to uncover the original meaning and interpretation that the writer intended. We don’t insist on any particular version of the Bible but the KJV (King James Version) is widely used.
Q: How do I become a Christadelphian?
It is most important that you share the central beliefs of Christadelphians (some times referred to as first principles). That’s why we interview applicants at length before they join us. Membership is offered to those who have been baptised (fully immersed in water) after sharing these beliefs. Only then can they share the bread and wine with us at the memorial service.
Q: So what is the History of the Christadelphians?
Many believers down the ages have held the same faith as today’s Christadelphians. There have been countless independent communities and individuals around the world who have eagerly studied the Bible and accepted its simple teachings. The Christadelphian faith is nothing new.
“The Christadelphians” as a distinct movement have their origin in the 1830s, when John Thomas (a medic) emigrated to America from England. Crossing the Atlantic by ship in a storm so fierce that he feared for his life, Thomas realised that he didn’t know what would happen to him after death. He resolved that he would find out if he was spared. Bible study followed, and John Thomas soon found others who shared his understanding of the Bible. He spread what he had learned giving public talks to capacity audiences and publishing periodicals.
In Britain a journalist named Robert Roberts took up the same cause in the magazine “Ambassador of the Coming Age”. Neither Thomas, Roberts, nor any Christadelphians today have claimed to have received any vision or personal revelation – only to try to be honest students of the Bible.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 those Christian groups who did not fight were required to register with the Union government. Needing a name for their distinctive community, the name “Christadelphian”, or “Brethren in Christ” was registered.