JONATHAN BURKE DISFELLOWSHIPPED OVER EVOLUTION!

Jonathan Burke being questioned
by the Christadelphians
about his views on Evolution 
Jonathan Burke has been disfellowshipped by the Christadelphians because of his belief in Evolution. This news is contained in the Ecclesial News section of the March 2016 issue of The Christadelphian magazine.

52 comments:

  1. Rather than celebrate, how about we show a bit of empathy for him. Many of us have been there. When I was disfellowshipped I wasn't celebrating. It wasn't a nice experience. I certainly wouldn't have appreciated people laughing at me or celebrating in my face. Especially not ex christadelphians.

    I disagree with Jonno on many things, but I can't fault his passion for trying to reform the christadelphians. And this is how they thank him.

    I,for one, wish him all the best and hope he has good support around him.

    I should mention that while I have received independent confirmation that Jonno has been disfellowshipped, from a source close to him, I do not know the reason for disfellowship. My above comments assume that he was disfellowshipped regarding his beliefs /doctrinal issues. For example his acceptance of evolution.

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    1. And now I can confirm that he was disfellowshipped for his views on evolution. Whoever disfellowshipped him are cowards. Plain and simple. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

      So blinded by their particular modern interpretation of a collection of iron age texts, they refuse to accept the evidence right in front of them. Or at least it would be right in front of them if they read a science book for once in their self-absorbed lives.

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    2. I dunno, I reckon he's pretty heavily invested in the religion. I don't expect him to leave it any time soon. I expect he'll still identify as a christadelphian and the only people making a noise about his fellowship status will be those who tried to silence him. I suspect their plan might backfire too.

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  2. "Subsequent to a conversation between a sister in Taipei Ecclesia and a former member of the ecclesia in San Francisco, brother James Larsen corresponded in secret with brother Carl Parry and brother David Evans, to arrange a visit of these brothers to Taipei Ecclesia, without the request, consent, or even knowledge of its members.

    Carl and David's specific aim was to orchestrate the disfellowship of brother Jonathan Burke by Taipei Ecclesia, and the complete shunning of Jonathan and his wife sister Dianne. Brother Garnet Alchin and brother Keith Pearson were consulted on this plan, and gave it their complete approval.

    An additional visit by brother Garnet Alchin was also arranged at this time, without the knowledge of Taipei Ecclesia. During that visit the baptism of a local interested friend was hastily rescheduled to coincide with Garnet's visit, despite the friend not having completed their baptismal instruction, despite the baptism having originally been scheduled for several months later, and despite the earlier assessment by brother Carl Parry that the friend required additional instruction in first principles.

    Jonathan and Dianne were deliberately not told invited to either the interview or the baptism, which was kept secret from them, though they had known the contact for over seven years and had been instrumental in teaching her.
    We are pleased to report that the conspiracy to pressure Taipei Ecclesia into withdrawing from Jonathan and shunning him and his wife was successful, despite the objections of most members of the ecclesia. With complete disregard for the ecclesia's constitution, brothers in Adelaide wrote a new policy and fellowship statement for Taipei Ecclesia, and told the members to sign it. These brothers also wrote a letter of disfellowship from brother Jonathan, which ecclesial members were also pressured to sign. This letter was then circulated around Australia for at least a week before Jonathan was even told about it, and was made available to anyone who asked for it.
    We have repeatedly told members of Taipei Ecclesia not to contact Jonathan (who they have been told is dangerous). or Dianne, and to shun them in every way possible. Members who have subsequently contacted Jonathan or broken bread with him have been threatened until they stopped doing so. We are systematically ignoring three preaching contacts (one of whom had requested baptism and two of whom had expressed interest in attending the ecclesia with their two young daughters), and pretending they don't exist. We hope they will just give up and go somewhere else, because we have no interest in their welfare at all.

    We are confident that Christ would approve strongly of these events, and look forward to the further subjection of Taipei Ecclesia, to the point that it is reduced to the position of a colony of South Australia rather than an independent congregation. Meanwhile, we have done no preaching in Taiwan at all."

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  3. Can someone link me to the original source (Christadelphian Article)? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

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    1. I chatted with Jonno Burke directly so I kind of trust the info I received :-)

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    2. Although I'm a subscriber, the electronic copy is not yet available for download on my account. So I can't check or scan. When I can, I will. I love the story by Christa Delphi leaks though. So ridiculous it could be true. Certainly make a change from dissing people cos they haven't turned up for a while.

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    3. Electronic copies seem to be out now, and I have read the letter. Even without knowing the full facts, it seems like a sanitised version of events ("we've had problems, we're now ready to move on, unfortunately Bro Jonathan Burke refuses to move with us so we're going to hope he will change soon"). One crucial point is that it states the call for help came from Taipei rather than "help" being imposed on them from outside. That seems to be one of the most disputed points.

      However, is it really wise to publish the letter in full here? Personally, I assume the strict T&Cs of the Christadelphian allow me to interact with and comment on articles, even if that means copying some of the text, but I'm not sure I'd treat ecclesial news in the same way as it is written by a much wider group of people than the articles, and because it's more personal in nature.

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    4. JJ, It's a sad consequence of my time with the Christadelphians, that I now belong very firmly to the "mujahideen" wing of the ex-christadelphians. Lately I have behaved myself, and stayed in my cave up in the mountains, quietly contemplating and reading the excrement that pours from the mouth of Christadelphia. I do not however, belong to the suicide wing. As a "disfellowshipped member" myself, I can confirm that neither the local Ecclesia, nor "The Christadelphian" ask if you want your name, and "crime" published in their dirty little magazine. Or indeed offer a right to reply. Were Long or Bramhill to kick off over my reporting of their sick group's activities, Then they, along with their "news reporter from the Ecclesia" could expect to find my steel-toed, size 10 self, complete with solicitor at their doorstep, since i didn't give them permission to use my name. Besides, Just at the end of my street, there are a couple of retired donkeys, and when I was feeding one of them a carrot earlier in the week, he TOLD ME that it was OK, that GOD was with me!!!
      Last year UK Ecclesias disfellowshipped 8 members. 2 of which were from my former Ecclesia. One just didn't turn up for a good while. She was named and crime stated. One left and divorced his wife, abandoned his disabled child, fathered another with his GF, married her. His "crime" was not stated. Instead, some bullshit that he "still believed all the matters of the truth" was published. Why? because the "reporter" and his fellows had brought the guy up in the truth, 'cos his Dad had done the same! The "reporter" got him a job, and covered up twice when he left/got fired for his behavior!
      JJ: You belong to a sick, dirty religion. While Br Burke and his family will suffer for a short while, he is better out.

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    5. Joe: I belong to a religion which has members who do things I disagree with, and has had many splits that I strongly disapprove of. Whether that taints the entire religion and every member of it is something we have frequently disagreed about, and are likely to continue to disagree about even if I leave the religion. I don't deny that terrible things have happened. All I deny is that that is the way all Christadelphians are, as I have never personally experienced them.

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  4. The story by ChristaDelphiLeaks matches up with one side of the story I have heard, though it has a lot more detail. I have also heard the accuracy of that version strongly contested. Both accounts are third hand. What appears to be clear is that it follows the same general boundary lines as have been adopted by most Adelaide ecclesias, brethren from Adelaide were involved in the decision (whether invited or not is unclear), that there are many in Australia who are upset with both the decision and the process followed, and that the fault lines are growing between conservative and non-conservative individuals and ecclesias. Apparently at the Sydney conference this year there was a paper presented demonstrating the many different approaches to early Genesis in Christadelphian history, and condemning fellowship standards that only accept one view on it.

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  5. 1. "Daniel Lu & Joshua Chang."
    Brother Joshua knows about six words of English. Brother Daniel has much better English, but can't and doesn't write like this either. This entire notice was obviously written by a native English speaker, not the brothers whose names have been added to it.

    2. ...thankfully with the support of brethren who responded to our call for help..."
    The ecclesia never made any call for help to anyone, to settle the issue of evolution. Brother James Larsen (of Seattle ecclesia), did the inviting; he told me himself. He also told Steve Cox that the idea of a visit had been proposed in a conversation between Abraham and David Evans, and that he (James himself), had suggested bringing in Carl Parry as well. With the exception of sister Yuan, the ecclesia didn't even know they were coming until two weeks before they arrived. James deliberately invited two Australian brothers who he knew had strong anti-evolution views and who believed evolution should be dealt with through disfellowship, and who he knew had spoken out against me specifically, in public.

    2. "...the ecclesia has formally accepted a statement setting out our position on matters associated with evolution."
    The ecclesia formulated a policy on evolution late last year before anyone visited Taiwan. In fact I proposed at least five of the eight clauses. With almost no exceptions, it was simply a formal re-statement of how the ecclesia had been addressing the issue for the last few years; it was not to be taught in the ecclesia, it was not to be taught to contacts, and people who accepted evolution were not baptized. We had all agreed to it and signed it.
    This notice fails to make any mention of that policy. When brother Carl Parry and brother David Evans visited, they persuaded the ecclesia to abandon the established policy in favour of a new policy. This new policy was not written by members of the ecclesia, nor did the ecclesia come together to discuss it. It was written by native English speakers, most likely in Adelaide since it included sentences which had been taken directly from the anti-evolution statement made by a group of ecclesias in Adelaide (South Australia). Once this new policy was written, members of the ecclesia were told they had to sign it. All this was done in my absence, and no one told me that any such statement had been written.

    3. "Bro. Jonathan Burke, who had expressed his views for some time, was unable to accept this position..."
    This deliberately gives the false impression that I had been teaching my views in the ecclesia. In reality I had never taught it in the ecclesia, and the ecclesia had known of my views for two years before this, without anyone making it a fellowship issue, even those who disagreed with it.
    This also deliberately gives the false impression that the ecclesia's current anti-evolution policy was formed by the ecclesia, that I then disagreed with it, and that I was subsequently disfellowshipped as a result. In reality this policy was not formed by the ecclesia, it was written in my absence and without my knowledge, and I was not even told about it until weeks after it had been written. In fact Carl Parry had told the ecclesia they had to disfellowship me, even before this new policy was written (he said this in my presence at the last memorial meeting I attended).

    4. This notice fails to reveal that a disfellowship letter was written by a native English speaker, the ecclesia was told to sign it, and the letter was then circulated in Australia (including to anyone who asked to see it), all at least a week (and more likely more), before I even knew such a letter existed, and before I knew I had been disfellowshipped.

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    1. Really sorry this has happened. It's disgusting behaviour from the "brethren" in Adelaide and the one in Seattle. However, knowing some of them personally, I'm not surprised at their actions. They have no concern for people's wellbeing and feel that they are acting on behalf of God. When a person has that mindset, there is no act too vile that they wouldn't do. It's dangerous, and the fact these people were allowed to do this unchallenged suggests that something is very wrong with the community.

      I've heard that some in the community are starting to voice their disapproval. Let's hope sanity prevails in the end.

      Frankly I think you're better off without them, but strategically I think the Berea group has more influence while still in fellowship. It would be nice for the community to be dragged out of the iron age, but I don't see that happening any time soon. I care because my kids will be affected.

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    2. As I have said, I have heard the issue hotly disputed, and have nothing better than third hand evidence to know what happened.

      I will say that the "conspiracy theory" version that there was a big conspiracy to remove Bro Burke seems much more likely to me. The letter in the Christadelphian felt way too smooth, or, as I put it earlier, sanitised. And that's the most charitable interpretation I can put on it.

      Steve, you are quite right about acting on behalf of God. Speaking the truth in love should be the (difficult) ideal, but I notice many either lean towards truth ("We need to uphold the truth. Those who disagree with us are heretics anyway, so we'd just cause confusion if we loved them") or towards love ("It doesn't matter whether they are right or not, we've just got to keep loving them and letting them do whatever they like"). Caricatures, I know.

      As for doing it unchallenged, there have been challenges made to both the process and the conclusion. The thing is that ecclesial autonomy means no-one really has authority to challenge a decision (though attempts have been made within the ACBM as an inter-ecclesial organisation). I suspect all that is happening is that the Adelaide ecclesias involved are adding new names to their blacklist. That is, if those names weren't already on a blacklist.

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    3. Ecclesial autonomy?

      If ecclesias are truly autonomous, why did two guys from Adelaide visit Taiwan?

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    4. Precisely. That's why so much of the debate centres on whether they were asked by Taiwan to come and help (which retains ecclesial autonomy) or whether they imposed their help from outside (which is cultural imperialism).

      It's also more complicated because Taiwan is an ACBM area, and the committee responsible does have some authority as part of their oversight, though how much is not clear. In this case, I believe Taiwan is an SA area, and other states aren't meant to interfere. Again, don't have first hand knowledge of the specific facts, so can't give you much more than that.

      A lot of the debate is about semantics and whether due process was followed. I think this is attempting to avoid the debate over whether the actual decision made was correct. But it just muddies the waters. I don't think the debate can be avoided for ever, and find it hard to predict the conclusion of it (though it has "big, messy, divisive split" written all over it). Talking about divisive, I find it odd that those on the conservative side call those who present new ideas "divisive", when it is usually those with new ideas who say "We can all get along", and those who are conservative who say "Actually, we can't. You need to pick a side."

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  6. Well Joseph Strong this year 1 person has already been this fellowshipped with many more to come I would think

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    1. Agreed, 4 got the chop in Bristol in march alone. My old mate Ronald bet get DF'in sharpish to better that score....

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  7. God's army at work, " you do not agree with us, you don't cross the line, you are out Brother "

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  8. ChristadelphileaksMarch 1, 2016 at 7:47 AM

    Christadelphian Magazine March 2016. Page 180.

    "We have had a trying time in Taipei dealing with problems associated with Evolution; but thankfully, with support of brethren who responded to our call for help we have been able to deal with the upset in our meeting and move forwards positively in a united way in dealing with the problems we faced. The ecclesia has formally accepted a statement setting out our position dealing with matters associated with Evolution.

    Brother Jonathan Burke, who has for some time expressed his views, was unable to accept this position as he hold views that do not harmonise with clear Bible teaching on the subject and on the sections of the BASF that cover these issues. Consequently we have found it necessary to withdraw fellowship from him We hope that he will reconsider his position and return to the faith that he once held."

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  9. The modus operandi sounds exactly like what I experienced in a former life.

    And surprise surprise some of the same people involved.

    In a former life, my ex wife and I moved to Vanuatu and were involved in "setting up an eccelesia". I am still a little ashamed about it all but knew no better at the time.

    When we arrived there were zero christadelphians. By the time I left the CD's there were about 32.

    The ACBM supposedly had oversight of the area, but one of the things I was very firm about was ensuring the local members ran things the way they wanted. They were supposedly an autonomous ecclesia.

    This didn't go down at all well with the ACBM heavies. A typical Sunday morning would include the use of a guitar, readings done around the group (a multilingual society so some members read french bibles, other Bislama, others various version of English bibles they could understand.)

    Very soon a carton of King James Bibles arrived with a demand that the congregation only use these versions. I was then told that Keith Pearson was on his way to sort us out in two weeks.

    So I rang him directly and asked him whether this was the plan? He denied and due to personal circumstances didn't end up coming.

    The next issue was dress. Members of the ecclesia in Vanuatu were quite happy coming to the meeting in Shorts and t shirt and thongs. Many live subsistent lifestyles in the village and wouldnt have shirts, ties, pants etc. The meeting hall had no air conditioning or cooling and it was very hot.

    This also brought a response from the ACBM. David Evans being one of the committee of course. I came under very heavy criticism for "allowing these dress standards". (I was supposedly meant to be a representative of the ACBM which means colonising developing countries, and ensuring that there are outposts of Adelaide ecclesias established.)

    Every so often the ACBM would send over "speakers" who would try and impose various adelaide conditions. Fortunately the locals weren't so gullible.

    Eventually when I was away on an extended work trip for a couple of months the ACBM flew over 2 brothers to come and do an enquiry. When I returned the ecclesia was called together (I was specifically not invited) and various "issues" were manufactured by the ACBM henchmen. This was rammed down the throats of the locals who are a very polite people.They didn't even have the courtesy to invite me to an ecclesial meeting that they had called where they were to discuss the wrong methods of worship blah blah that I had encouraged. (reading a bible in a language they can understand, wearing comfortable clothes, using a guitar etc. etc.) They then used this meeting to impose a "constitution" written solely by the colonial ACBM henchmen, which ensured everything was done in the proper 18th Century Adelaide manner. There had of course been ongoing discussions amongst members for 10 years as to what they wanted but this was brushed aside and the heavies moved in and had their way.

    There was a history of continual white anting by the ACBM henchmen until eventually they managed to get their way by brute force.

    The result of that was for me the best thing ever. I couldn't be bothered anymore, started to realise there is no god and left.

    I have seen guys like Keith Pearson, Carl Parry and David Evans at work. They are underhanded bullies who will stop at nothing to have their own way. Dangerous zealots.





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    1. A common thread in these stories seems to be Adelaide involvement (though Keith Pearson is from Melbourne). I believe different states work quite differently.

      I have worked in ACBM Victoria areas, and never seen anything like this. Ecclesias there have some of the characteristics you mention. I also know Melbourne ecclesias who have some or all of the characteristics you mention (though the Bible version is just non-KJV, not multi-lingual), and and no-one has tried to hunt them down.

      The ACBM has a strange position, because it's a large, national organisation in a group talking about the virtues of ecclesial autonomy. It is also in a difficult position because theoretically it is supposed to be developing independent and autonomous ecclesias, but it will be blamed for problems with these ecclesias (and expected to fix them), and in order to show results and raise money it wants to take credit for any progress made. Even when an area takes the steps to become independent those who have been involved organising and managing it can find it hard to give it up and let it go. It's also distressing how in many countries white people with money have an aura of authority - an aura which is not always deserved. Particularly where individuals or ecclesias rely on ACBM money, ACBM workers have real control. They probably need that control to use the money responsibly, but definite potential for misuse.

      From memory, the ACBM fieldworker guide warns about the dangers of trying to import our culture into mission field ecclesias. But when people think that adopting their culture is the sign of a good ecclesia, it is understandable that they forget that point.

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    2. Anon, please try not to feel ashamed. We all feel sad that we wasted our lives and hopes for the christadelphians. I have stated before that a working trouser press is more important to fellowship than a love of God, and a love of ones fellows. Like all cults, indeed all religions, this behaviour is about control, not belief. Pity the Australian Christadelphians that they put up with this kind of people.

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    3. I forgot the fieldworker guide was now online.
      Contains a lot of very sensible suggestions. I think ACBM Victoria areas try to work on these principles.

      "Some meetings wear neat casual clothing. While such may not be acceptable in your home meeting it could well be appropriate in the meeting you will be working in. Conform politely to their dress standards and make no attempt to alter them. It is not your role to convert an overseas ecclesia into an Australasian Christadelphian colonial outpost."

      "As a fieldworker visiting an ecclesia it is essential that you appreciate you are a fellow-servant. You are not master, dictator or spiritual educator. Within many of the ecclesias there are members who have a very deep understanding of the Truth, are well read in Christadelphian publications, and who understand their fellow brethren and sisters well."

      "Do not be upset if you perceive that the local brethren seem to disregard protocols we hold near and dear. Punctuality, planning, organisation, decision-making may not seem to be listed in the local meeting’s behavioural profile. Don’t worry, relax, because normally, despite apparent indifference, things seem to get done."

      "Cultivate the habit of listening and observing, rather than merely hearing and seeing. Avoid the Western practice of knowing all the answers."

      "Above all, don’t imagine that your culturally based customs are part of "The Truth"."

      The only part I noticed that really supported intervention was:
      "However, whenever there is conflict between cultural norms and Scriptural principles, Scriptural principles should take precedence."

      Obviously there will be disagreement over which things are serious enough that scriptural principles need to be invoked.

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  10. I believe I spoke with Jonathan Burke under his name "Evangelion" on the www.btf.org back in 2008. I was looking for closure on what Christadelphians were up to, having just moved back into any area FULL of Christadelphians. He assured me there were very few "Logos" Christadelphians left and that this terminology was almost unheard of. I was complaining about the CD's version of Ezekiel 38 and Henry Sulley's temple and a few other things and again he reassured me, these issues were no longer important, because "Logos" types were pretty much gone.

    Well, it seems that those who disfellowshipped him are the "logos" one's I knew so well. He surely underestimated their power within the community?

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    1. "Evangelion" is the avatar of Dave Burke, Jonathan's twin brother.

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    2. Most of the videos on youtube are by Logos Christadelphians

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    3. Well, it seems that those who disfellowshipped him are the "logos" one's I knew so well. He surely underestimated their power within the community?

      No, the ones who disfellowshipped him are from the Lampstand faction.

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    4. Lampstand is not a pseudofellowship. It's a faction within the CD community.

      They are opposed to the Logos faction mainly due to Graham Mansfield's views on the atonement but also because the Logos camp enjoyed power for a long time and made good use of it in their own service at the expense of everyone else. Due to this past history I believe there are plenty of grudges on both sides.

      The Lampstand used to support Jon's work and published some of his books. They turned against him when he went public with his evolution views. Some say Lampstand is becoming the new Logos.

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    5. I don't know how to quote text on here, sorry.

      ""Are they ex-Logos who are not on the sex offender's register or what?""

      They are not ex-Logos. They consist of the brethren who run the Lampstand magazine and their allies. The one thing they have in common with the Logos faction is a fundamentalist perspective.

      ""Conscientia: Are you Ken Gilmore?""

      I'm pretty sure I'm not. I think I would know if I was.

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  11. JJ, I think the divide could almost now be described as a split. the ecclesias who won`t meet together with certain other ecclesias - it`s like a large ice floe slowly splitting into several smaller ones. Soon, the members who individually are still willing to mix won`t be able (or allowed) to jump across the division of opposing belief/understanding which is separating them. The Cd`s could end up as a disparate collection of ecclesias, all with a sign THE CHRISTADELPHIAN HALL over their premises (if any group still number enough to warrant premises), but each believing their brand of CDism is the right one, each holding that they have THE truth, and each unwilling to join with the others. In that scenario their numbers in effect will not have declined to 0, they will have declined 1.

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  12. The last part of my last sentence should have been "declined TO 1.

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    1. Mancott, If you read "the Christadelphian" and read the "big conversation" article in January, you will realise as I do, that the UK position is bad enough, without a destructive divide over evolution. To me, the numbers presented suggest that the CD's will be irrelevant in the UK within 30 years. For comparison, there are 26 times as many JW's as CD's. If you read the letters page, you will have noted the almost unbelievably crass, destructive atitudes that some CD's hold- a fact that will of course hasten their decline. So while I would sympathise with Anon (Peter Forster?), I do not think our lifetimes will see the end of them, but I do think we will see a retreat into an insignificant "house church" type of set-up.
      The comment ( from the article):
      "We draw highly from within
      our community for its continued
      growth. As we reduce in size, this
      becomes increasingly challenging
      and conversely if we are to grow
      there needs to be a significant
      increase in membership from
      outside our current community"

      Is typically obtuse. Growth cannot come from within the community, unless they have loads of kids who all fall for it. There is no growth, just decline. Only 32 joined from outside last year (and that is not really clear). The letters page calls for increased separateness, and an end to evangelism.
      It seems to me that they are a busted flush.

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    2. ....I forgot to say that in 30 years, if i am still alive, I will of course myself be insignificant too...:)

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  13. I don't know Jonathon Bourke but I have met one of the "caring" people who shafted him - not at all surprised with the way they acted against him.
    Its going to help bring the whole disfellowship thing against evolution forward and hasten the exit of many people which in the long run will be a good thing. Thankfully the younger ones that I know are very much questioning it all as they are happy to actually think and to question rather than just accept. Hopefully they do this before they get caught up in the religion and life in the bubble as it is then very hard to leave in some cases

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  14. If you accept evolution, or you don't turn up for a few weeks, you are out for good. If you lie, cheat and steal, to the tune of £100's of 1000's, for a decade or more but keep your head down for a year or two and you will be back in, at the table of the Lord, and ready to plunder from the apostates in the coming Kingdom: The Christadelphian, March 2016:

    "We welcome back into
    fellowship Bro. Michael Ashton after
    discussion and agreement with Shirley,
    his former ecclesia. We pray for the
    Father’s continued blessing to be with us
    all as we await the Lord’s return".

    What a sad bunch of losers. So desperate for sale of books they take this type back into the fold but reject those who they think have the wrong doctrine or read the wrong translation. I do hope the CMPA now print not just a full confession, but also an explanation of just why Ashton felt theft for a decade was the right thing to do. Saying "sorry, I repent" is easy. Putting things right is another matter altogether.

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    1. which page of the magazine is this on? also which meeting

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  15. Joseph, Are you being a little harsh about MA ? If you were kicked out for believing in evolution then said you were sorry and had, as you thought, got it wrong, you could be accepted back. We don`t know the state of MA`s mind when he did what he did. It`s not normal behaviour, especially over so long a time. There may not be an explanation. Yet. And I think I`m correct in saying that MA has, or will, engage in restitution of the funds taken. Let`s not fall into the same mindset of the Cd`s in judging before we know a full story. It was previously agreed on this blog, if my memory serves me correctly, that we would let the MA story RIP, and not rip.

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    1. Mancott,
      I do not think I am being harsh. Br Ashton systematically stole from all of his brethren and sisters. At the time, I was in fellowship, and hence donations that were being made were being misdirected into his pockets.I think that gives me the right to ask for an explanation. The state of his mind at the time is not particularly relevant. He was editing a magazine, writing books, and giving exhortations and lectures. It went on for a very long time. We live in the UK, not Outer Mongolia, mental health treatment is readily available, in confidence. If he were skint and helped himself to a few quid to eat, then I would understand.
      It may be an old principle, but in order to repent, you first need to confess to what you have done, and if it is the law that you are dealing with, then you are required not only to admit to the crime, but also to say WHY you did it, and do so on the record. This is a very painful process that by keeping the matter in-house, has been avoided by Br Ashton.
      I would have expected the announcement of of his restoration to have been accompanied by an explanation of what WAS in his mind at the time, if it was not what it looks like (personal greed).

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  16. Meanwhile, sales of "The Exiles Return" will no doubt rocket...

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  17. There are a few different points here, but I'll make them all in one go.

    Firstly, I've seen various complaints here about the detail included about some disfellowships. I'm not sure those details are necessary, and I'm also not sure details are necessary here. Technically, it isn't even a CMPA matter, though that's where the crime was committed. It's between Shirley and Woodgate. I don't know what discussions were had, but can well imagine that there would have been discussion, and that there would have been clear acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Who to, I don't know, but does it really need to be aired to the world? I don't see anything in scripture that entitles me to know about Bro X's or Ecclesia Y's dirty laundry.

    Secondly, to the book. I think I've commented before that I read "The Exiles Return" long before Michael Ashton's fall from grace, and it seemed reasonable. To the best of my knowledge, none of the words re-arranged themselves on the page after he was disfellowshipped, so if it truly was reasonable then it still is. It may not be wise continuing to sell books by someone who has been disfellowshipped, but the events of one day changed nothing about the books written and printed years ago.

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    1. I am not saying there should be zero responsibility. Just that there is room for middle ground between "just accept him back whatever" and "recantations and repentance should be published to the world".

      As to the copyright matter, I think I would agree with you. A common assumption in Christadelphian circles is that any Christadelphian work is fair game to be used by anyone for anything as it's all advancing the kingdom and we're all brothers here. Many such authors would probably be happy with that. But I don't think "We're doing it for the right cause" is sufficient excuse for disregarding the law, especially when explicitly requested not to do it.

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  18. John/JJ: Another thought. If the Cd`s distribute any of John`s books/pamphlets to anyone who is sufficiently influenced by their content, and is then baptised, and joins the CD`s, surely that person has been seriously misled, because the CD`s know full well that the author does now not support the beliefs and thoughts expressed in the books/pamphlets? If the author could speak to the person reading the book or pamphlet they would say, "Look here, I don`t now believe what you are reading can be supported in fact, and you should know that I now think and believe differently". So, is this a form of dishonesty by those in the CD`s continuing to distribute John`s writings?

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  19. I think it's wrong to keep printing a book when the author has asked nicely for it not to be used. But I don't think it's dishonest to use a book written by a former believer, so long as it reflects current beliefs. If the person who gives out the book/pamphlet has taken the trouble to read it and believes its contents reflect their views, it doesn't necessarily matter what the original author thought then or thinks now. I see it as the same as the question "Should you give out books written by a Trinitarian?" If you agree with the points in such books, then absolutely you can. You may want to be more cautious evaluating it, and you may want to consider the risk of leading someone astray if they do look up the author, but ultimately you're giving away the words on the page, not a personal relationship with the person who wrote them. (I think in this I'm at least consistent with my comments on "The Exiles Return").

    What we do have to be careful of is not trying to judge a person's current belief based on what they wrote in the past. For example, before Rob left I heard people say "I know Rob Hyndman doesn't believe in evolution, because he wrote that he didn't 10 years ago." In that case, the blog post from three months before should have been taken as a more reliable statement of his current position than a book from 10 years ago, just like this blog should be taken as a more reliable statement of John's current position than a book written 30 years ago.

    As for Rob's works, I would guess the most popular right now is the Way of Life. I think it is one of the better presented doctrinal (and practice) books around, with helpful discussion and long lists of useful quotes. My version has certainly been well thumbed over the years. The situation with this book is a little more complicated, as Rob acknowledged: "I have mixed feelings about my books being used for proselytising. The Way of Life involved several contributors, and I do not feel that I can withdraw it from circulation when other authors are involved." The majority of the contributors are still committed Christadelphians living in Melbourne. When I read a specific chapter, I don't know whether Rob was the author of the first draft, or who were the main contributors in the discussion that made the chapter the way it is now. But it doesn't particularly matter, because when I read that chapter I will use the pieces I agree with, and not use the pieces that I don't agree with or don't fit my purpose.

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  20. I think John`s (or any other author`s) books/writings which express beliefs which they do not now accept, when expressly distributed by the CD`s as supporting CDism, should contain a note to explain the author`s current position on the writings, or be withdrawn. Otherwise I cannot see that this is not a dishonest position by the distributors. They are not sending out these simply for readers` interest. They are actively seeking to influence readers to the CD understanding of the truth of the bible (as they still see it but not the author), and using information which they know full well is not supported by the author, and in some cases authors may have asked that the writings be withdrawn. I`m still reasonably gruntled about this, but I`m in danger of adding a "dis".

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  21. We MUST protect our eclessias. People like this will go to a smaller eclessia somewhere and poison them with deadly venom. Thankfully brethren are looking after the welfare of Taiwan.

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    1. I think this comment shows more about you than it does about Jonathan Burke.

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  22. I grew up with both David and Jonathan Burke
    Both of them have always had enquiring minds and together with their whole family are two of the most intelligent and brilliant people I have known it's ok to believe in people turning into pillars of salt a talking ass a talking snake a prophet using gods power to turn a bear on youths to harm them but question how we came to be when we're given very little detail other than were made from the dust of the earth? Wow how was this achieved how did God do this we're not told are we? Eve was made from a rib sounds like modern day genetic manipulation and surgery to me!
    Keep questioning jonno " the truth is out there"

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  23. I have witnessed shocking behaviour in a lot of ecclesias! Christadelphians are no different to " the world" the" truth" is available to all who read the bible and each will interpret a different truth
    Any follower of any religion believes " we are right" all who pray in any religion believes their God answers or doesn't answer their prayers
    Who are christadelphians to judge others?
    " work out YOUR OWN SALVATION with trembling and fear" although I always question why you would have to fear any deity!
    Perfection cannot create imperfection, research gods attributes in the bible and you will see a reflection of humanity , love, jealousy, anger , wrath, etc etc holy wars perpetuated by man in the name of God under Gods banner , religious zealots have existed since man worked out what power and influence was, and don't get me started on human sacrifice!! We condemn all but one instance. In short believe what you need to find salvation and ignore the " righteous" brothers who feel they are the warriors of God after all isn't God in control of his chosen people? Apparently not in some circles

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    1. Anonymous, I agree that the Bible is open to many interpretations. But, assuming you still accept the Bible, I'm curious how your view of each person having their own truth matches with words like Paul's in Galatians 1:6 - 9.

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  24. Jakarta Jack, I'm not sure how my words "each will interpret a different truth" matches "being preached to".as so strongly expressed in Galatians.
    at the time of his temptation
    Jesus was was led away into the wilderness by a spirit.which one?his spirit? the holy spirit ? an evil spirit ?
    If he just decided to do it on his own wouldn't he be tempting God? after all why put yourself in that situation just to test yourself? after all he was just a man like us and could have failed.
    in short interpret it how you like, mans interpretation of what is truth has nothing to do with salvation, there are three things I know that save us and those three things are what Christ requested
    repent (turn away ) believe in him as the saviour and be baptised.
    I dont see a gross requirement for extensive knowledge of the bible (see the story of the jailor and his family) I dont see the requirement for man made rules to be followed.
    i dont see extensive public grillings at baptisms and the requirement to follow the BASF mentioned in the bible either however this makes sense because why would christs requirements be that simple , surely he didnt mean that we need to accept his teachings as a child accepts things, no that must have been a mistake.
    though I say this only as one having authority it is man who has complicated the simplicity of what God offered right from the start, remember they all but one, deserted Christ and then became experts later on?
    remember it was christs disciple who didn't like the fact that "another is casting out demons in your name"
    Christ was ok with it but thats pretty easy to forget when you believe that you're the only religion with the truth, as quite obviously the men who jesus described as ye of little faith thought so ,so long ago.

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    1. OK, let's go over this. I agree with your lists of very specific Christadelphian traditions that they generally don't have a Bible basis, but are by and large traditions of men. You can make connections to scripture (like, for example, Timothy making the good confession in the presence of many witnesses), but there is a big jump from that to the specific rules that have accumulated. When I was a Christadelphian, I accepted those traditions as a reasonable way to keep the peace and work together without believing them the one and only true way.

      The Galatians quote is in a very specific context: the debate over whether circumcision was required for the Gentiles. But to me the words Paul uses suggests he is talking about something broader. However you define "the gospel of Christ", Paul is saying that it is something non-negotiable. He taught it one way, and that is the way it must be accepted. No distortion is permitted. If you meant your "different truth" statement as broadly as I thought you did, then I suspect it would come under Paul's "different gospel" condemnation.

      Certainly in the context of the Jonathan Burke debate, this is not just a "traditions of men" question. Rightly or wrongly, many people believe that he has left the Bible to preach a different way to truth, and that he is corrupting fellow believers to do the same. Paul uses some extreme language throughout Galatians, which sets an example that others feel obligated to follow. Maybe we should just be glad that we're slightly more civil about disagreements today.

      Also, given the extensive quotations from Jesus' words, it's probably worth bearing in mind Luke 12:49 - 53. Or John 2:14 - 17. One of the reasons I see the Bible as open to many interpretations is that it is often possible to present completely contradictory views depending on which sections you focus on.

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