|Samuel is confused as to why they are leaving|
What follows is an open letter from an Ex-Christadelphian (myself), to Brother Samuel Brown of the Preston Ecclesia in the UK. Brother Samuel is the person behind the Swanwick Family Bible School Recordings website. We are genuinely grateful for brother Samuel's work in this area since it allows us a current insight into Christadelphian thinking, very interesting for those of us “coals” who fell from the fire a long time ago. At this time of year I usually download the talks and listen to them on my daily 3-4 Hr commute to and from work, it makes for light relief from news and current affairs. Normally I listen to the talks at least 4 times each, as it is easy to become distracted.
This year Brother Samuel had the duty of giving the “signs of the times” talk himself, and it is this that is the prime motivator for this letter, since it touches on areas that are of direct import to ourselves as editors and providers to this site. To understand the content,you will need to listen to Br Samuels talk here. But please don't waste your time on the first 40 minutes.
Dear Brother Samuel,
Greetings in the name of the Ex-Christadelphians!
I listened to your Swanwick 2016 talk today on the way to and from work, earlier this week I listened to Br Bowen's talks, but have yet to work my way through Br Palmer's in any detail, however I note that he continues his rather anti-education and information theme that he made so much of at last year's creation day. I don't wish to discuss the early part of your talk- all that prophecy coming true stuff is only of passing interest to me now, it never seems to change and, very much seems to me to be used to tickle the ears of the brethren, and maintain flagging interest, rather than be of any real importance.
The part of your talk dealing with “the big conversation” was very interesting, and fleshed out the information given in “The Christadelphian” earlier this year, but it must be no real surprise that you have lost nearly 50% of your members since 1985, or that 67% are over 50? Look around you and you can see that 25% are over 75, and if you can't see them, look how many fall asleep in the care homes. You didn't mention it in your talk but from adding up the numbers given in the 2015 issues of “The Christadelphian”, only 32 new members came in from the “outside”, and just 52 from “inside”. Deduct that from the 168 who died (yes, they died) and you have a net loss of 84, or about 3 ecclesias, which seems to be what the magazine records, with the loss of Derby Mill Hill, Netherton, Cheltenham and Scunthorpe. Sitting as I do, on the outside, it is clear that the religion has a problem....even though you and others have pointed out that the numbers don't matter.
I read in "The Christadelphian" that although a lot of people were "sensitive" to the subject, it was conducted in a "Christlike way". I could not decide if that meant that the Brethren kicked off over the new mosque being built, tipped over the market stalls, broke up some families, smashed up St Edmunds Church (known to the local as "the vatican"), or just sat about while prostitutes wiped their hair on their feet....
I am sure you will have heard the saying “when there is trouble at home, stress the threat from abroad”?, it is a technique much beloved of politicians.
Here is what you say about your own people:
“Like it or not, pressure from the world affects the way they think. This is what the world is like, isn't it, vain in their imaginations, their heart is darkened, they think they are wise but they have become fools, why? Because....they...they've given up on God, they have made the image of God, like corruptible man, and birds, and four footed beasts, It's talking about the belief in evolution, and humanism, God gave them up to uncleanness, there is nothing stopping them, he wants to ditch God, and his principals, there's no reason, no fundamental basis, for any of their morals, so we can't trust anything the world tells us, unless we can back it up from the scriptures.”
We note that you make reference to our website, and you quote from this article. We are sad that you could not bring yourself to read some more of our content. Your faith must be very weak indeed if it scared you so. You imply that we had some role to play with this young man's non-acceptance of your beliefs. I would point out to you that at the age of 14, and of Christadelphian parents, he would have been at Sunday School for some 10 years, he would thus have had about 520 lessons, he would have heard the daily readings in excess of 3700 times, and on each occasion would have had a Christadelphian father to explain them to him, and build his faith. He would have been exposed to hundreds of lectures, fraternals, family days, special efforts and the like, and would have been surrounded by “uncles” to help him as and when he needed.
Our editor, John Bedson, has stated many times, that we have no desire to de-convert Christadelphians. We do not have any form of outreach. By contrast Christadelphians have all the Aces, a captive audience, and yet STILL you cannot convince even your own offspring. Rugby Christadelphians produce hours of material EVERY DAY, much of it offensive, false or just plain cranky, with seemingly no editorial control at all. Bury St Edmund's produce articles that savagely attack all denominations, and seem to rely on a constant stream of BBC website content to “prove” their speculation. This is very much a problem that you need to deal with internally. We are a forum for those who have left, and for those who wish to challenge our position. Nothing more. We do not care if you de-convert, or continue in your delusion. You offer eternal life, the chance for vengeance against anyone who has “affected” your children, 10 years of “refining” sat on chaise lounge singing hymns, a role in renewed animal sacrifices, and rule over towns and cities. But you can't convince them, so they come to us, when all we can offer is an everlasting death, and it's all our fault!
Perhaps you would care to explain to us why you think this is?
You go on to give us a description of some Christadelphians, presumably from experience?:
“....and why does one person out of that 33 leave the faith on average every 5 years? These things, these trends are signs of the times in themselves. Here are the scriptural predictions, we know these words well, we won't go through them, people departing from the faith, and taking notice of false ideas that seem plausible, people being hypocritical, appearing good Christadelphians when they are with their brethren and sisters, but who knows what they get up to in their private lives? Having their conscience cauterised, they numb themselves ultimately to the normal pricks of conscience.”
On this point Brother Samuel, we find ourselves in agreement. My decision to leave the Christadelphians came about from the actions of several such as you describe. You may recall that when I wrote an article here about my disfellowshipping, I used an image of a bowl of pears by illustration, looking good on the outside but rotten from within. It seems you have seen likewise.
Why do you think they behave like that when they believe themselves to be "The Saints"?, and that God is watching their every move and will use it to judge them at the Judgement seat. It looks a bit to me like they don't actually believe it at all wouldn't you agree? Or is it that they think themselves so superior to the rest of us that they can get away with it?
You go on to tell us how there are Christadelphians who don't go to meetings, and don't think they should either, (why not just disfellowship them for long absence?)and Christadelphians who vote in elections (I didn't realise this was a problem until I read the article in “The Christadelphian” in May this year). You mention that there are websites where Christadelphians attack the idea of creation, and mention us too. For the record, we don't oppose creation as such, we just ignore it because we don't believe in it, and see too much good scientific evidence to the contrary. We laugh at talks from your brother Don Pearce because we, like many brethren who sit silent, realise that nobody dare tell him to shut up and sit down because he is making a fool of himself peddling nonsense that not only goes against the founders beliefs, but is easily disprovable by a well educated child. If you find websites run by Christadelphians that attack creation, then it is up to yourselves to do something about it-It has nothing to do with us.
I would love to see some good evidence for creation, and for God's existence. My faith would be re-kindled. But I don't, and it won't be. You may be surprised to learn that my children still go to Sunday School, and I don't oppose that, but it saddens me that they have to listen to flood geologists, and the hypocritical brethren and sisters that you have described to us. We still give thanks for our food, and a copy of Luke 12: 22-31 hangs on the kitchen notice board lest we should forget how well off we are. But I don't believe a word of it any more.
I have left you a number of simple questions. Perhaps you could answer them in the comments box below, or if you would like us to publish a longer explanation please email us.
Yours, not in Christ,