|Should I stay|
or should I leave?
By Ed Hoskins
I have long had Christadelphian friends, held them in high regard, and still do, as you do, it seems. I felt that being a CD was about the very best one could do to be an authentic and faithful Christian, and still do think this in general.
But I never felt I could put myself in the doctrinal straight jacket I saw my friends in, ignoring scholarship at a deeper levels, and logic too. I am prompted to drop you a line to give you my opinion as it seems we are kindred spirits.
Dr Thomas, from the little I read about him, refused to do what CD’s do now, put themselves into a doctrinal straight jacket, which creeds and “statements of faith” are intended to do. The Birmingham State of Faith is one of the most strict ‘creeds’ I have come across. Dr Thomas rejected all creeds, but what CD’s have done by publishing a Statement of Faith, is create a CD creed, which must be adhered to, and not only that, doctrines which must be rejected.
When I studied with a Reform Jewish group for some time, the first thing the rabbi told me was, “in Judaism there are no doctrines which must be believed”. No creeds or forced belief in Judaism, just enormous amounts of writings, opinions, teachings, debates, all of which form part of the corpus total of Judaism. Creeds, forced statements of belief, are the curse of religion, in my opinion. I wonder what Dr Thomas would say about the Birmingham Statement of faith if he were alive today? You might be able to give me your opinion?
Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is an old saying which is quite true at times. Time and time again, reform movements arise which brings about change in business, politics, and religion. The Catholic Church did it with the Second Vatican Council.
As far as I know, there has not been any reform movement within CD’s, just reactionary movements. If CD’s adopted what the Jews do, follow that principal “there are no doctrines you must believe in Judaism” who knows what might happen. It could spread to other churches! CD’s of today would wholeheartedly reject that principle, but that doesn’t mean it is not a valid one. People like yourself would probably never leave Chrisdelphian communities. If one did arise, all ‘they’ could do about it would be to excommunicate those involved.
Am I up a dry creek without a paddle even thinking that such a reform would be worth while discussing? Why am I even thinking about it? - Because leaving anything, can take one into desert country so often.
I look forward to any thoughts you may care to share.
(Name changed by editor)