Posted by Phil in our new Discussion Room - 20 June 2013
i joined the old paths christadelphians in england in early 1980, and at the time was euphoric at being part of the only "true god community".
but as time went by i began to feel uneasy. i felt there was something missing, something absolutely vital to a christian, but i could not put my finger on what it was.
it was only in later years, a long time after i had left, that i realised not only what was missing, but in fact delphism was also a chalice of poison from which i eagerly used to drink.
so in the end what did i realise? well put simply 1/ no love and 2/ blatant legalsim
the early things i noticed was the lack of outward shows of emotions and affection, in fact they were frowned upon. they said a formal handshake was the sign of fellowship among them, but to me it was the sign of a worldly business man. if you hugged a woman ( sister) you were viewed as letcherous and driven by sex. if you hugged a man ( brother) your sexuality got questioned.
i also noticed that simple clean jokes were frowned upon, so was laughter, informal dress, having worldly friends, having a hobby, mixing with anyone from other christian religions, and in fact even saying you are "christian" yourself was condemned.
and woe betide anyone who married "out of the faith"
and if anyone had a moment of lapse and had sexual contact with someone outside of marriage to another delph, you were hauled over the coals and made to feel filthy before the whole meeting, regardless of how much remorse you showed.
i soon started to rebel, but not knowing what i was rebelling against. i refused to wear a suit to the meeting saying clothes mean nothing to god and that jesus's clothes must have been grubby due to amount of rough sleeping out he must have done.......well that unleashed some wrath against me i can tell you.
i was told i was showing disrespect to god by not wearing sunday best and that i was offending all the meeting and causing bad feeling at the lords table ( breaking of bread) and that jesus's clothes were always spotlessy white.
i started missing daily readings and attending bible classes. i felt there was nothing to be gained from reading the same bible pages over and over again and that learning what the book of daniel was prophesising beared little profit when it came down to actual works of faith.
my best and most trusted and beloved friend was a non believer, and i was told i should no longer see him.
and that i was to give up writing and recording music with him as it was "of the world"
this i was simply not willing to do no matter how much guilt they laid on me
in the end i was totally ostresised ( i might have spelt that wrong, sorry)
i left in 1989 a broken man and walked away from not only delphism but god too and went my way in the world
i really went downhill, sleeping with as many women as i could meet, not bothering about my old values of mercy and compassion. doing just what the hell i wanted.
this went on for 13 years.
finally i got the internet and joined msn messenger. and by some chance i friended a woman who had been disfellowshipped by the delphs for complaining about being raped by her delph husband.
what these conversations started in me was a realisation of what i could not put my finger on between 1980-89.
lack of emotional love and blatant legalism.
in the years following 2002 until today, i now friend anyone who is christian.
i have slowly come to realise that legalism is the cancer of mankind and all organised religions are legalism.
the truth which christ preached was not doctrines, but love, mercy, charity, benevolence, forgiveness and patience.
matthew 25 vrs 31 to 45 clearly show what criteria jesus will apply at judgement to decide who lives and who dies, and none of his criteria are doctrinal issues or matters of rituals or religion.
i could write a 1,000 page thesis on the subject but i wont bore anyone here.
but i will write something i found out that might come as a shock to many.
the last supper, breaking of bread and drinking wine in memory of jesus, was never a religious thing.
jesus chose a close family and very informal occasion to introduce it.
the term "breaking of bread" we read about in the acts does not mean what we think it does.
it does not mean "hold a formal religious service" but actually was a term used in those days to mean "to share an informal meal" regardless of what type of food was eaten.
so when we read "they went about from house to house breaking bread" it actually means they frequently went to each others houses to share a meal and enjoy each others company in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
eating and drinking in memory of christ was just a quiet moment of an otherwise informal occasion.
no suits and sunday dresses, no hymns and long winded prayers, no exhortations and lectures etc.
if i break break now it is part of my meal with my wife. informal and relaxed.
legalism decided that it had to be solemn, serious, formal, and in a certain and set order.
legalism and organised religion are poisonous and murderous.
they remove the concept of grace and deceive the doer into a false sense of self righteousness and self holiness that convince the doer that salvation is something that can be earned by one's own merits.
grace, hoever, leaves us in no doubt that immortality at the judgement, is a gift which no one can earn or will be worthy of, except jesus himself
how i loathe legalism.