“Everywhere Spoken Against” or "Christadelphians have always stirred up trouble and then bleated about it when anybody objects to their nonsense"
Over the last few days, debate has sprung up on this blog as to whether John Bedson, (blog owner) and myself Joseph Strong (author and administrator) are unduly harsh in our condemnation of Christadelphian behaviour.
Broadly speaking, I stand accused of condemning the whole of the Christadelphians for the actions of a few of their number.
We were assured here a few months ago, by a practicing Christadelphian that few brethren or sisters under the age of 30 read the works of the pioneers any more. (how they get into Swanwick Bible School without having read the pioneers work is another matter...). Hence they may not be aware that even in it's early days Christadelphianism faced opposition due to the bad behaviour of small numbers of it's membership the causing widespread condemnation of it's adherents.
In my recent reading as background for part 2 of “are the Christadelphians a cult” I re-read Roberts bleating lecture “The sect everywhere spoken against”, Robert Roberts doesn't like the fact that the great majority of the Victorian world that he lived in didn't take readily to his and Dr Thomas barmy interpretation of scripture and justifiably, I think, "spoke against them".
Note that they spoke against them, they didn't kick their heads in, burn down their meeting rooms, or chase them out of town, they just spoke against them. Now, as anybody who has had any involvement at all with these people knows, they really don't like being told that they are wrong. They get very cross indeed. Then they go away and print leaflets about it, and whine because everybody is picking on them and not reading the leaflets.
The first editor of "The Christadelphian", Sociopath Robert Roberts (who also exhibited symptoms of O.D.D in childhood) was so cross, he wrote a long lecture about it, an extract of which is presented here:
“The Christadelphians are becoming more known every day, and where known, they are "everywhere spoken against." This fact stumbles many. It need not, and will not stumble men who look at things as they are in themselves, and not as they appear, through the medium of popular rumour.
The community developed by the labours of the apostles in the first century were in a precisely similar position, as we learn from words the Jews of Rome addressed to Paul on his arrival there: "As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against" (Acts 28:22). Not only so, but Jesus gave his disciples expressly to understand that this would be their lot. "The time cometh" he said, "that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2). He further said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you . . . The servant is not greater than his Lord" (15:18, 20). No term of opprobrium could be more severe than the one applied to him: "He hath a demon and is mad; why hear him?" (10:20), concerning which, Jesus said his servants were to expect no better treatment; "If they have called the Master of the House Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household" (Matt. 10:25). So far, therefore, as this feature of being spoken against is concerned, it is in favour of the Christadelphians, and not against them.
All depends, doubtless, upon the reason why they are spoken against. In some cases, the reason may be such as can afford no satisfaction. It may be that a contentious, harsh, and arrogant spirit on the part of some bearing the name Christadelphian has given occasion for unfavourable speech. This will be regretted by none more than the true Christadelphian, who disowns everything not in harmony with the spirit of the Scriptures, which, though a spirit of faithfulness and firmness, and courage in the maintenance of the faith once delivered to the saints, is, nevertheless, a spirit of true kindness, and courtesy, and gentleness, so far as the polemics of the truth in a hostile world allow.
It is not, however, excessive zeal carried to the point of harshness on the part of a few that has led to the Christadelphians being everywhere spoken against. The cause of the antipathy is much deeper and more far-reaching than that. It lays hold of several reasons. We shall soon find some of these.”
Notice that what Roberts does is firstly establish the cultic norm of asserting the “them and us” mentality. Then he makes appeal to scripture, and identifies the Christadelphians with the (true) community of the 1st century. When Roberts eventually partially acknowledges fault on the part of some brethren for being contentious, harsh and arrogant, his advice to the brethren is to simply “regret” the actions of these contentious, harsh and arrogant brethren, and before he has even finished his sentence he is back making excuses and implying that the world is bad, just as today's Christadelphians do! At no point in his lecture does Roberts suggest that anybody take any action at all other than to “regret”.
What Roberts proceeds to do in following passages is turn the situation round onto his detractors. It is their own fault for not accepting his teaching.
“But here comes another point of objection. Our opponents, some of them, do not object to Christ being held up as the way of salvation. They say, "We rather admire that, and would say 'Amen' to that; but we object to the idea that Christ will save none but those who hold Christadelphian doctrines." Here there is a little unhappiness in the way of putting the objection. It obscures the issue to put it in that way, and raises needless prejudice. The question is, "Will any be saved but those complying with Christ's own conditions?" To this, there can be but one answer on the part of those who believe the Bible, and that answer is, No, however harshly it may appear to bear. The ways of God are unimpeachable, however hard they may seem sometimes from a human point of view, as when He destroyed the antediluvians, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, the army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, seven nations of Canaan by the sword of Israel; or as when He required His own dear Son to submit to crucifixion. It may seem to men hard, but it cannot be held unreasonable that Christ should dictate the conditions on which alone men will be saved.
The question is, what are the conditions? In answer to this, nothing is more undeniable than the fact that the very first condition is a belief of the Gospel. Friends may object to the condition, but they cannot deny that it is the condition as laid down both by Christ and his apostles. What did Christ send out his apostles to do? To preach the gospel. To what end did he wish them to preach the gospel? He answers this in what he said to them when sending them: "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be condemned." You must be aware how distinctly the apostles themselves reiterated this view, Paul speaks of the gospel as "the gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13). He says men are saved by it " they keep in memory the things" constituting it (I Cor 15:2). He says, "It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16), and that "it hath pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (it) to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).
Why, then, should the Christadelphians be spoken against, for maintaining that men cannot be saved without believing in the gospel? They maintain only what the apostolic writings reveal. It is popular objection that is in fault. It opposes what the apostles teach.”
Notice the very cunning way in which Roberts equates acceptance of the teaching of the Christadelphians with gospel “truth”, everybody else is wrong, speaking out against Christadelphianism is speaking out against the gospel itself. Opposition to Christadelphianism was brought upon itself, by it's own behaviour, but it holds it's opposer’s guilty because they do not meekly agree with it! Notice too that Roberts only scriptural appeal is to judgmental, violent and destructive side to God. He is blind, as are today's Christadelphians to the merciful, loving side of their God. This is why modern day Christadelphians constantly use the words "warning" and "punishment", the religion has taught them to think this way, and treat everybody in this way. Love is entirely lacking from their viewpoint. Everything that happens in the world appears to them as a warning, punishment or sign that it is nearly time for them to join in with the punishment.
The modern version of this is all too apparent. Look at this post from Burton Christadelphians In the UK:
“The second reason: Christadelphians are convinced that the only way to find out the Truth of the Scriptures is to read them. As often as possible. (“The Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” 2 Timothy 3v15.) And to talk about them, discuss them, test ideas in Scripture by comparing them with other verses, and think carefully about what verses are telling us. Not merely to listen to charismatic speakers, or wait for a miracle to happen. Christadelphians are one of the few (only?) church groups who are guided solely by the Bible, and not by a Pope, vicar, priest, pastor, alternative writings, or society’s trends. If the Bible is the standpoint for absolute truth, then surely this approach must be right."
When you feed this text through the Ex-Christadelphians bullshit removing translating engine you get this:
We are Convinced.
Reading the Bible lots make it true.
Reading the Bible makes you clever.
Look at lots of bits of the Bible to see a pattern.
Don't listen to anybody else.
Only Christadelphians understand the Bible.
Society is bad.
The Bible is true.
We are correct.
Congratulations! you have been successfully converted, you will be baptised on Saturday. We will order sandwiches and cakes. Say goodbye to your family.
Quite apart from the very obvious absurdity of the suggestion that reading the Bible can prove it true, the writer once again asserts their superiority over other denominations - a direct echo of Robert's writing, and as daft now as it was in Robert's day, and every bit as likely to cause the same reaction. Christadelphians still think that only they have the only way. The links to other articles on that site demonstrate likewise.
When apologists for the Christadelphians accuse us of condemning all of the religion because of the action of a few, they forget that that is what Christadelphians do on a day by day, week by week basis. It is also readily forgotten that when the "98% good" Christadelphians that John and I do not know, or do know, but fail to act when the "2% bad" that we do know do some very bad things, they are simply doing as Roberts taught them.
They may well "regret" the actions of their brethren and sisters, but this "regret" has no physical manifestation at all. It is a thought, tucked deeply away in the back of the mind.
I have written of the Suffolk Christadelphians before, but reading again this article from their writing team should demonstrate that they condemn the whole of the Catholic and Anglican churches and their traditions and practices (I cannot quote from their site because of legal restrictions relating to IPR placed upon us by Br Peter Banyard, who is not a writer but represents the Ecclesia on such matters). Please note from this article also that children are only holy when one or other of the parents are believers (i.e. “in the truth”) and hence my children, as determined by the Christadelphians are “unholy”. I would agree that they make an unholy mess, eat an unholy amount of food, and make an unholy noise but really, children unholy?
|"Hi-I'm a Catholic,|
fancy coming to Mass?"
"Err, I'd love to,
but I have Bible Class at 7"
Rugby Christadelphians constantly upload material attacking any denomination but their own, and this example of the Bible Magazine (link to a large PDF) is stuffed full of anti Catholic drivel, as is the Testimony magazine, constantly calling the Church (i.e. the members of it) “The Babylonian Harlot”.
Notice how in this reference Nigel Bernard switches from the symbolic whore of Babylon, of Revelation, to the literal whores of Proverbs and back to the symbolic whore, besmirching 1.5 billion Catholics as he goes, his revolting attack fuelled only by the deranged ramblings of a Victorian doctor who once challenged an opponent to an intelligence contest based on the shape of their heads!
So, this is how Christ has called out his people to behave is it? Somehow I doubt it, and thus their errors and bad behaviour will continue to be called out, as and when needed by the writers on this site.
Is this a hate site? No it is not, it is a painful truth site.
Do we hate Christadelphians? No, we do not.
Will we be nice to the Christadelphians? Unlikely!
Will we "respect" Christadelphians? Not, we will not, we will try to be polite to them but they must accept that sometimes their brethren and sister's behaviour has caused such offence as to have permanently affected our view of them as a group. We "regret" this in the way that Robert Roberts wrote.
Are the Christadelphians a cult? Read my previous article and those to follow.
Will the Christadelphians ever come to their senses? This is very unlikely because of the permanent brain damage that groups like this cause.
Will we educate young people on the foolishness of the Christadelphians? Yes, it is one of our most important tasks.
How many Christadelphians does it take to change a lightbulb? Lightbulb? There is no scriptural evidence for lightbulbs.
Why are the Christadelphians so scared of the world? Like everybody, they know that one day they will die, but they like to kid themselves and anybody who will listen to them that they can somehow dodge the reaper, and that an eternal life awaits them if they can only work out what is required of them and they are prepared to act in a very foolish way during the course of their normal life, but they can't, and none of us can.