It was 1964 and for two years the Christadelphian community was on fire debating the theory promoted by brother Ralph Lovelock (from the Watford ecclesia in the UK) that we all descended from apes. The witch-hunt was on in earnest and the fire was being stoked for the victim. Eventually Watford ecclesia disfellowshiped the hapless Lovelock and the Christadelphians put away their pitchforks and returned to their hovels.
Almost fifty years later the cry of 'Heresy' has gone up over the same issue; especially here in Australia. Ken Gilmore has pushed his luck with his theory of Evolutionary Creationism and sparked a major row.
On the main Christadelphian Facebook page discussion forum the Christadelphian Fideists have woken up to the fact that Ken has also invented a new doctrine of atonement to allow the humans descended from apes and not from Adam to obtain salvation. Click here to read how Ken explains how Romans 5:12 if there were already several million Homo Sapiens roaming the Earth at the time of Adam.
Like his theory of Evolutionary Creationism, Ken's new version of Christadelphianism is a convoluted rethink of CD dogma. Fortunately for him it is possible to prove anything you want from the Bible; so he has no difficulty finding Scriptural support for his Gilmore Amended Statement of Faith.
How will it all end? I don't know. Fifty years ago Ken and the Berea Portal team would have been excommunicated along with Ralph Lovelock. But with the CMPA shamed and discredited by the Michael Ashton scandal they are in no position to pontificate or lead the brotherhood. The Logos guys are also weakened by scandal. The great Christadelphian thinkers and leaders of my time in the religion have all passed away. In their place are inept and incompetent brethren who know not what to do.
I would imagine that the Christadelphian Fideists will have the numbers to pressure Kedron Brook ecclesia and others to withdraw from the brethren who are proposing this new theory. The majority of Christadelphians are YECs and Fideists. This new theory is devastating to their entire way of looking at the Bible. If Genesis can be radically reinterpreted like this, then anything is possible.
Most Christadelphians believe in absolutes (the Bible is inerrant etc.) and nothing is going to upset their simple-minded faith that everything in the Bible is literally true. Moreover I can't see them buying into the idea that Romans 5:12 does not mean what it says.
So I expect a year or two or three of increasing friction followed by a big disappointment for the Christadelphian intelligentsia who will end up out of fellowship.
My advice to them is to get out now and to start their own movement. Because that's how all this will end. But I am the last person they are going to listen to. So the Christadelphian civil war will continue.
If I were still a believer I would be with Ken and the Berea-Portal team and their followers. Their new theory makes some sort of sense of the contradiction between science and religion and a new doctrine of atonement would be required to explain how humans who came out of Africa and not out of Eden are going to get eternal life.
But I'm not a believer any more. I see it all as a very silly fight between some who ignore science and worship the inerrant Bible; and some who acknowledge the reality of Evolution and therefore need to shoehorn sensible science into a book that is actually explaining origins in terms of five thousand year of Sumerian religious cosmology
Very sad. A complete waste of time and effort by everyone concerned. There is nothing that I can do to help them except to keep our witness of Christadelphian Unbelief and rational thinking alive at this blog; as an encouragement to those who become sick of the whole thing and want out.