By John Bedson
Each month as I open the latest Christadelphian magazine and turn to the 'Ecclesial News' section, tears come to my eyes as brethren and sisters that I knew and loved thirty, forty and fifty years ago, are reported by their ecclesias as having died. This month I was especially hard hit by the death of Alan Hodgetts aged 91.
He was my old Sunday School superintendent. I knew his daughter Sarah well and his wife Barbara. My love to you both in your loss of a wonderful man
The death toll in this month's magazine was awful. I've never seen anything like it. Almost every ecclesia had a death. Some had two and one had three. There was also a long list of brethren and sisters who had either resigned or been disfellowshiped.
If you add together the deaths, resignations and withdrawals you certainly get one Christadelphian lost for every ecclesia over several pages of news. There was also one ecclesia closed. - Washwood Heath; I used to speak there thirty years ago. Most months they seem to close an ecclesia.
In terms of numbers they must have lost about two entire ecclesias of Christadelphians in this month's magazine alone. I only counted only three baptisms.
That means that the numbers of Christadelphians in the Advanced World must be dropping like a stone. I don't consider the thousands joining in Africa to be replacing these losses. I've worked in the Christadelphian Mission Fields forty five years ago and in my opinion those new Christadelphians are not Christadelphians as we know the word at all. I don't know what they are; but they are not Christadelphians.
The Christadelphian magazine is losing approximately 110,000 pounds per year and that figure is rapidly climbing. I know their reserves and at the current rate of attrition I would estimate that they will be bankrupt within five years. I estimate that the religion will be extinct within twenty years and possibly within ten.
When I resigned in 1985 there were an estimated 80,000 Christadelphians in the world. Now there are only 50,000. But large numbers of them are African. Their recording brethren behave like tribal chieftains. They are not Christadelphians at all. So as I see it, there are a lot less than 50,000 Christadelphians left. The real number, not counting the Africans, could be as low as 30,000.
When I resigned, ageism and demographics was not an issue in the Christadelphians. Now it is a major problem. Many ecclesias can barely function because there are no younger people left. Even Birmingham Central Ecclesia collapsed. In my time it was a massive ecclesia; you could hardly count all the cups of wine and plates of bread being sent out into the audience at the breaking of bread.
The physicist Max Planck made this observation on what must happen for innovation to occur in science; it also holds true for Christadelphianism:
"An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning."
That's what's happening here. The young have either left, or are leaving, because they have realised that their parents and the Christadelphians fooled themselves and lied to their kids. The truth of Evolution and Geology have had no impact on the elderly Christadelphians, who continue to believe the fairy stories sold by the Christadelphian office and the Logos. But they are dying fast and it is heart-wrenching to watch. Their barmy ideas about Creation are dying with them.
Forty years ago it was idiots like me who first fooled ourselves and then lied to all of these wonderful brethren and sisters who are now dying. Their heads are full of Creationism and hopes of resurrection and all sorts of rubbish. We put it there. We lied to them. It was not deliberate, because we were also misled and lied to by our own parents and Christadelphian teachers. But it was deeply wrong. We should not have done it. I'm sorry for our mistakes. I salute you who are dying and I apologise for preaching clap-trap to you.
There is no excuse for what we did. Now we seek to make recompense by speaking the truth at last. But for most of you it is too late.
For thirty years the intelligent young have not learned the truth from Christadelphian platforms. Instead they have learned it from television documentaries, school, college, university, science books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and Youtube. Now they learn it from this website and the many other websites run by Ex-Christadelphians who are exposing the religion as false.
It's like watching Germany expire in the last few months of the Second World War. Only the fanatics continued to believe that the tide of defeat could be reversed. But the odds against were overwhelming and the end was certain.
The end for this religion is certain. It always was an almighty mistake and now hundreds of Christadelphians are bravely admitting the mistake.
The choice for Christadelphians is simple: Either keep believing in the doomed cause until it is no more; or join the Allies who are overrunning your religion with truth.
As Winston Churchill said in the last year of the war "Now it's just a question of cleaning up the mess."