CBM threatened to "close down" an ecclesia in Africa

Can you find the CBM Christadelphian
in this picture?
By John Bedson

"The next ecclesia had severe problems, theft of money, immoral behaviour, and a split amongst the brotherhood existed that led to shouting and recriminations between two groups. There had been threats of violence to brothers, and the number of members had dropped from 80 to 17 as members drifted away from the unhealthy situation. An ecclesial business meeting was held and a new Rec Bro chosen. A warning was given by CBM that unless a radical change of behaviour was seen during the next year then the ecclesia would be closed down..."

What gives the CBM the right to close ecclesias down? Where do we read in the 'Ecclesial Guide' that black African Christadelphians are not allowed the principle of 'ecclesial autonomy'? Where do we read in the New Testament that a Christadelphian papacy can dictate to black ecclesias, but not to white? If members of a white Birmingham ecclesia in the UK started assaulting each other who would close it down? No one. Other ecclesias would distance themselves from it, but it goes against Christadelphian theology to have an outside authority controlling the ecclesias at a distance, or even on another continent.

At the present rate of expansion we might soon see the majority of Christadelphians on the planet under CBM control because the ecclesias in the Developed World are fast contracting as the elderly die and are not replaced by the young.

The CBM dictates what these ecclesias must believe and how they must behave. But CBM thinking does not necessarily reflect what is happening in the non-CBM ecclesias in the Developed World. In many of the white non CBM ecclesias, marriage and divorce, marriage outside the faith, voting, jury duty, going to law and even going to law against brethren and sisters (for example the Christadelphian Office seeking to coerce Christadelphians to not replicate their material because of legal copyright), belief in Evolution, belief in the great age of the Earth, disbelief in the Noah's Global Food myth and many other things are all allowed to the whites, but not to CBM controlled black African ecclesias and Christadelphians.

This extends to Chinese Christadelphians. Two Australian ACBM white brethren recently flew to Taipei ecclesia in Taiwan to arrange the disfellowshipping of brother Jonathan Burke for believing in Evolution; something that would be tolerated and is tolerated in many white ecclesias.   

Black African ecclesias need to wake up to this Christadelphian apartheid. They ARE treated differently to the white Christadelphians. The CBM and ACBM religion is NOT the same thing as the Christadelphian religion. It is more extreme and unforgiving.

Look at the picture from the CBM website at the start of this article showing a white CBM Christadelphian standing aside from the black Christadelphians. This picture shows what is going on inside the minds of white CBM Christadelphians. It's a selfie of a white brother standing near, but not with, the natives, to show to his white ecclesia back home and to upload to the CBM magazine and website.

This Victorian British, colonial, racist, 'white man's burden' approach to religion is not healthy. Black African Christadelphians should revolt against CBM rule and establish their independence. Black lives matter within the Christadelphian religion and racial equality must prevail over CBM dictates and discrimination.


  1. John,
    Whilst I was reading a copy of "Elpis Israel" the other day (alongside my Bible readings of course!). I came accross this Quote in the preface by the publisher (Logos), on why it is so good:

    "The Value of El pis Israel
    Firstly, let every candidate for immersion be requested prior to immersion
    (preferably), but definitely after, to read in conjunction with his daily
    portion of Scripture, Elpis Israel. All whom God has privileged to bring
    out of Gentilism into Christ, and who desire their work to withstand the
    fire of Christ's scrutiny, have a a definite duty to perform. Babes in Christ
    should receive parental control until they can walk safely alone. Thus,
    the reading and study of Elpis Israel will build them up and establish
    them in the general ethics of God's Word, placing them on a more solid
    foundation, guarding them against false doctrine, stimulating them to
    withstand the darts of the evil one. — R. Roberts.

    Fairly clearly, the CBM consider themselves "The Privileged Ones", who have led these Africans out of Gentilism, and are treating them as "Babes".

    If the CBM can threaten them, then clearly they are controlling them. Since Africa is a long way from the UK,the control method is most likely to be financial. UK Ecclesias are both organisationally and financially independent of central control. As you suggest, they can do as they LOCALLY please.

    With regard to your comment on numbers, CBM already do control more Christadelphians in Africa than there are in the UK. Across the UK, in 2015 there were 32 converts, in 2016, 20 converts, as derived from information published in "The Christadelphian", and these are upper-limit figures where a family relationship could not be seen. Anecdotally, and from some published figures, there are between 6000 and 9000 Christadelphians left in the UK, and they are dying or going senile at a high rate.
    You can't offer funeral expenses, medical expenses, payment of school fees, food aid and the like in the UK,and thus such tactics will not work. I suspect such tactics would work in Africa, and be very cheap indeed.

    1. Don't you mean "El Piss" Israel? :)

      As for the number of Christadelphians in Africa, the Africans themselves have told us, (after being bribed to talk by me giving them free laptops) that the CBM numbers are fiction and most of the ecclesias have no members. There are probably fewer Christadelphians in Africa than the number of CDs in the UK, and most of those African Christadelphians are also Pentecostals after the CBM people end their brief visit and return to the UK.

      The more religions they can join, the more welfare and free stuff they can take from the English and the Americans.

      It's all about money. The more fake CDs the local CBM representative can report to his CBM link man back in the UK, the more welfare money he can claim for invisible Christadelphians and Pentecostal/Christadelphians.

    2. I am sad to say that the report by the CBM is gut bustingly funny. Firstly they get fleeced by the local bank, then one of the clowns goes down with malaria (surely a "warning" from God of the wrongness of what they are up to), then they consult a local doctor (surely prayers would be more effective?),the malaria stricken brother thinks he is going to die (and be whisked off to the "Kingdom"?)then they figure out how cheap it is to pedal their snake oil to the locals for months in advance,then they abuse the hospitality and trust of the local Presbyterian pastor (who wasn't digging up evil objects from peoples gardens),and found out that (surprise, surprise,)they had "tremendous reverence for the word of God"then they happen upon an Ecclesia with "theft of money" (just like the CMPA/Shirley was?) and immorality(well take your pick here given thet Christadelphians choose what immorality is on the fly to suit their own lust), then they visit some cripples (who back home would be looked after by the secular state welfare system), and then on to witness the baptism (not sprinkling) of a 92 year old illiterate (who doubtless was fully clued up on "El Piss" Israel by her informer). God bless her on her carriage to the kingdom....Then we round of with some more "students" that Jesus is about to save. Yea right, some decent healthcare and education might do a better job.
      I can barely believe I am reading this sh*t in the middle of 2017..

    3. It's well known that RR had an unhealthy regard for the work of Dr Thomas. From memory, his endorsements of Eureka were equally nauseating. It is sad that this spirit of trusting the pioneers and the KJV has stayed round into the 21st century. Obscurantism is not a virtue.

      Quote from a public Facebook post I recently saw:
      "Once again we reassert where the truth lies by calling upon the faithful words of Brother Roberts. Let us not be discouraged by the overwhelming tide of heresy - our work is to hold fast and contend for the faith as honest stewards of the most precious legacy known to man - the word of Yahweh - which he has magnified - even above his name.

      It is their choice and responsibility when they oppose the faithful labours of the pioneers. They PREFER a lie - and Yahweh sends them strong delusion as punishment (2 Thess 2:1)."

  2. John, it does not surprise me that CBM is not a perfect organisation. I have done mission work, and the reality isn't as simple as it seems from the outside.
    However, while I don't have personal experience working with CBM, it would surprise me if they are as bad as you paint them. In your position as editor of this site it is highly likely that you will hear the bad stories and not the good stories. If so, you will get a biased picture. Personally, I hear some good reports, in particular for the areas of Africa where CBM and Agape in Action work together.

    I do have a lot of personal experience with the ACBM, and it is not as bad as you paint (or as good as its supporters would expect).
    You assume the ACBM is exactly the same as the CBM based on precisely one case: the disfellowship of Jonathan Burke. You would find that many Christadelphians in your home state of Victoria agree with you that things were handled badly, including people heavily involved in ACBM Victoria. There were lengthy discussions over whether due process was followed, and I included some of the details I knew on the comment thread last year.

    As I understand it, Taipei is considered part of the ACBM SA area, and a lot of the push came from individuals in Adelaide who wished to impose the same standards as they have in Adelaide. I believe that has led to much more division over evolution in Adelaide than in Melbourne. This also means that it is not done on any arpatheid principle: the divisions happened in the western world before they were then exported to an ACBM country. There is a lot of worry in certain sectors of the Christadelphian world about even tolerating evolution, and it doesn't matter what nationality or colour of skin the supporters have: they are considered anathema.

    The action was still probably contrary to ACBM fieldworker guidance and principles. ACBM Victoria were trying to get ACBM SA to investigate it based on this, though I never heard whether it actually happened. In last year's comment thread I also highlighted a few areas of the official ACBM fieldworker guide that prohibited cultural imperialism. I think they are mostly followed in ACBM Victoria areas, but I can't speak for other areas. They seem reasonable principles, at least.


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