The office of The Christadelphian moved from Editor CC Walker's home in Sparkbrook Birmingham to its new location in Hall Green in July 1963. It was a move engineered by Editor John Carter, but he died the year before the move and was succeeded by LG Sargent.
Brother Carter was the last of a line of great editors stretching back to the first editor, Robert Roberts. I used to know John Carter when I was a young boy of approximately ten years of age. I heard him speak and he was mesmerising. He visited our home a couple of times and I loved his company.
Needless to say John Carter was a mentor to me; as were a few other wonderful brethren now long passed away.
So back in 1963, even as an eleven year old boy, I quickly realised that the new editor, LG Sargent, was a Christadelphian lightweight compared to my dear friend and lost mentor John Carter. In my opinion Sargent was a disaster for our religion and succeeding editors have been no better.
|The Christadelphian magazine Office|
in Shaftmoor Lane Birmingham UK
I watched in horror as the Christadelphian magazine spiralled downwards into confused rambling and empty platitudes, intellectual poverty, sanctimonious, hypocritical platitudes and general irrelevance to our community and to society at large. The growing problems in the religion were ignored or avoided by editors who had no idea how to take the religion where it needed to go.
The Testimony magazine soon took over as the leading publication of serious Christadelphian Biblical study and discussion, followed by the Logos magazine catering for those who were deeply conservative.
The lack of leadership shown by Christadelphian magazine editors since that time has damaged our religion and community almost beyond repair. Christadelphianism has become a community of white haired old duffers and younger people who are aged before their time by a religious philosophy that appears to speed the aging process at an alarming rate.
Our young people are conditioned by the elderly leadership to think and behave like pensioners. Consequently the religion has become trapped in the past with no prospect of moving forwards or relating to society in in any meaningful way.
By refusing to engage with their young people sensibly, the Christadelphian Office and CMPA have driven the religion into the ground and sent talented younger people (as I was thirty years ago) out of fellowship, or even discouraged them from being baptised in the first place.
Look at the "Faith Alive" magazine produced by the CMPA. It's looks and reads like a seniors' magazine.
This downhill slide culminated in the ten year editorship of disgraced Michael Ashton, who was eventually fired and disfellowshiped for alleged fraud at the Christadelphian Office and disorderly conduct.
You would think that things could not get any worse at the CMPA. But they compounded their error by not forgiving Mike; as is required by the Commandments of Christ:
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22)
Instead Mike was fired, disgraced, disfellowshiped and expected to sell his home to repay his debts in his and Jane's old age. Needless to say all of the trustees of the CMPA clung on to their jobs; including their Christadelphian auditors; while they hung the "Unclean" bell around Mike's neck and kicked him out into the wilderness like a modern day scapegoat. (Leviticus 16: 20 - 22)
- In my opinion, you can't go any lower than that. To openly defy the teachings of Christ when dealing with the brother who held the top job in our community. In my opinion that was wrong. May the trustees of the CMPA hang their heads in shame at what they did to Mike and Jane.
I don't greatly care any more because I am an Atheist. But I am entitled to shout "HYPOCRISY" at the CMPA; who will doubtless stop their ears and hide their eyes from my condemnation of their actions.
You either believe that religion or you don't. But don't preach that you believe it and then ignore Christ and demand a refund on your money from the brother who allegedly took it.
In accordance with the basic tenants of the Christadelphian religion and the commandments of Christ, Mike's error should have been hushed up. He should have been quietly retired with an adequate pension. He should have been told to KEEP the money that he allegedly took and the CMPA should have appointed a new editor in his place.
He should NOT have been disfellowshiped. Disfellowshiping Michael Ashton was the equivalent of chucking rocks at the body of the "woman taken in adultery". You don't do that sort of thing if you profess to follow Christ.
But those pious, sanctimonious, judgemental Christadelphians had to have a witch-hunt and wave their dirty washing in the air for the entire world to see the stains.
Michael Ashton was replaced by the CMPA by Andrew Bramhill, who has turned out to be yet another editor with nothing to offer other than to grind out the same old music from Shaftmoor Lane. He wrote to me in June of last year:
"I see my role as helping brothers and sisters to hold fast to the teachings of scripture whilst they await the return of the Lord Jesus."
- You see? No vision for the future of our community. Nothing to offer except the same old diet. Consolidation; not the innovation and progressive reform that I call for.
I asked Andrew more recently what he was going to do about the white hot Evolution debate in our community; I got this nonsense in reply:
"We are currently in the early stages of considering how to deal with the subject in the magazine, but are a long way from reaching any decisions."
- You see that? No firm leadership. Lost in indecision because he does not have the talent for the job. He should have editorial independence; but he hides behind the "We" like he had a committee of geriatric monkeys on his back - which he does.
And what of the Christadelphian magazine today? It is excruciatingly painful and embarrassing to read. While their young people are joining the Christadelphian Atheists in droves and now some of their leading speakers are leaving for our ranks, the Christadelphian magazine has been debating the arrangement of the cloth over the emblems at the memorial meeting.
Look at this random selection of air-head material from this month's (July 2013) Christadelphian magazine:
I could reproduce pages of their octogenarian rambling like this; but I won't bore you any further.
Hardly anyone below the age of retirement even reads this any more. That's why the CMPA are so heavily dependent on ecclesial contributions to keep them afloat. But is it any wonder when they are producing material like this?
I'm an Atheist, but I actually enjoy some serious, informed Bible study. I read Berea-Portal and Rob Hyndman's blog and all sorts of material with enjoyment. But you are not going to get that from Andrew Bramhill or Roger Long.
What Roger thinks he is doing with his "Signs of the Times" I do not know. After one hundred and sixty five years of failed Christadelphian predictions based on Bible prophecy we get this from him in the July 2013 Christadelphian:
WHAT is he talking about? He's so locked in the past that he even calls Istanbul "Constantinople"!!!
This is not cutting edge thinking about our religion. He's been shut up in 404 Shaftmoor Lane for so long that his mind is divorced from the realism of society outside and the world at large. Sane people don't think and talk like that any more. He's one hundred years or more behind the times himself; yet he edits "The Signs of the Times" at the Christadelphian magazine!
Christadelphian Theists: sort yourselves out. If you won't see common sense and join us Christadelphian Atheists, then at least reform your religion and put some effort and thought into what you are doing. Fire the CMPA and put them out to graze in retirement. Find some real talent within your ranks and promote them to positions of responsibility and leadership. Stop covering yourselves in shame by making yourselves and your religion look ridiculous.
If you don't have the common sense to listen to me; then at least have the brains to sort out the mess in your own religion. You are driving talent out of your doors and chasing away your most intelligent young people to Atheism with your lack of vision and your refusal to engage with what is happening outside in the real world.
|"Shut up Bedson!" |
"We LIKE our Christadelphian magazine just the way it is."