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.


  1. "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."

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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."

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

  6. 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."

  7. 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.

    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.

    2. 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.

  8. I believe I spoke with Jonathan Burke under his name "Evangelion" on the 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?

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

    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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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".

  16. 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.

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

  17. 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"

  18. 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

    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.

  19. 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.

    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.

  20. Replies
    1. I don't know - I haven't heard anything about him for years. But then, I quit myself that same year, so it's much less likely I'd hear about it now.

    2. Mr. Burke is reportedly back in fellowship. As an aside, I was yesterday watching by coincidence a CD service in Canada. How morose and somber they all looked. How serious and depressed and lifeless. I had an urge to slap them all across their faces. We have such a short time to dance in the sunlight in this life. What a curse, to spend it wallowing in the bullshit of superstition and oppressive religiosity.

    3. Jon has said that he doesn't know. Internet searches do not yield much about him (Burke) post 2013-2016. 2020, Jim Cowie referred to him as "brother Jonathon Burke", multiple times during this talk, (released publicly by Christadelphian authorities during August 2023)

      The references start at around 17:30 for those who don't wish to watch the whole talk. What is not clear is if he is referring to him as a brother at the time of his writing, or at the time of quoting. At no point does he refer to him as "former brother" though.
      For his sake though, I sincerely hope that he has not been re-fellowshipped.
      Please note though that I do not wish to debate the TE/Creation debate here, I was only watching the video as I have been made aware recently that SOME ecclesias are "holding" evidence of TE thinking/acceptance to be used later on for dis-fellowshipping purposes, when the real reasons for dis-fellowshipping would bring the brethren/ecclesia into disrepute. A fig leaf if you will, to hide their own negligence and lack of Christian thinking and behaviour.
      If you have the time, watch the video. I watched it whilst enjoying breakfast and building a 12v power supply, so little of my time wasted!

    4. I have always understood that even one who is Disfellowshipped is still termed a brother (or sister), "brother so-and-so, who is currently out of fellowship".

    5. Could well be correct that, Mancott. Although if so, then it only serves to emphasise how important being in control is to these people-even when it is they that have put people out of fellowship.
      Hope you watched the whole video!

    6. No, Joseph, I didn`t watch the whole of the video, just enough to decide that I didn`t want to sit through all of it. The problem is his indoctrination. He says, "God wrote the Bible", and referring to the two Creation accounts in Genesis, he insists that the real reason for there being two, is because God tells us different aspects of Creation in the two accounts. Almost every single educated literary researcher of the text knows that the two Creation accounts in Genesis are the work of two different authors, each leaning on the oral and traditional stories of their (different) time to write what they did. And, "writing as they did" -- apart from differing in their order of the story of Creation -- also indicates that the two accounts are written in quite different literary styles, emanating from different geographical areas and from different periods of time.

    7. The video really just informed me that nothing ever changes with those people, and never will, and yes, with that level of indoctrination, they do become blinkered.
      One thing I do agree with him on though, is that believers in TE do, or have invented it as a means to keep a foot in both camps as it were, to rationalise the ridiculous.
      One thing for sure is that the matter of TE continues to severely divide the "community", and as Ken Gilmore stated a decade ago, gives younger better educated people a very good reason not to get involved, whilst swelling the ranks of "zombie Christadelphians"- those who no longer believe, but stay silent for family unity reasons only.

    8. Brainwashing is a terrible thing. In my family, a gay member left the sect, but remained in hiding about her sex life -- knowing no one would approve of it. Others, having also defected, continued to take orders from the sect itself and family members remaining in the sect. They might as well just have stayed in it! Around other CDs, they sat silent when hearing things with which they disagreed -- and even followed some of the sect's precepts they'd rejected!

    9. I've seen him on YouTube doing a debate with sir Anthony Buzzard about Satan

  21. Anon, I`m not sure I follow what you are saying here, and how you are saying (if you are) that the gay member was "brainwashed". However, any member of a strict sect who decides to leave, whether straight or gay, can/will have a difficult time. It is usually the case, for example with Christadelphians, that making friends "outside" is not encouraged, unless it is for the specific purpose of bringing them into The Truth. So, on leaving, it is usually the case that a member`s social life pretty much ceases, and it is understandable that a member might stay within a social group of believers and hides their true feelings from them.

  22. This is the problem with anons, a few posts and nobody knows which anon is which, So I am addressing anon 11/9, or 9/11 depending where you are from
    I think that the anon of 9/9/23 is making the observable (and observed) point, that some (I emphasise some) people who leave the group, continue to dance to their tune, even long after they left. My guess is that since much of this crap is about control, they are so conditioned to accepting it that they are not mentally capable of letting go completely, or believing fully that they are free of it., which is a particularly worrying state of affairs. Christadelphians will keep voting in AB's for decades, even when a blind man on a galloping horse can see that they have done nothing positive whatsoever for the group, and that they are running the group down. Those that leave sometimes still cannot fully escape the forest of nonsense.
    I knew a brother who continued to "speak" ( i.e. preach) , at Bible camps, the claptrap of the Christadelphians, just a few weeks before he abandoned his wife and disabled daughter for his pregnant lover. (who he subsequently dumped when he did the same again). What he did was his business, nobody else's, but his outlook on life, morality, and sense of purpose was entirely shaped by brethren who still hold control over his former Ecclesia, and who have guided, and continue to guide, others along the same path.
    Christadelphians are best observed from a distance, much like any other dangerous creatures.

    1. Joseph, only one Anon. The second Anon 11/9 was me. I thought I had posted as Mancott, but, apparently not.

    2. Glad "Pastor" Burke as he liked to call himself is gone. He was a contentious subversive false brother whose pride was his downfall.

    3. Anonymous, I do not know Jonathan Burke, though I did read his Living on the Edge many years ago. But it would surprise me if he'd called himself "Pastor", just because he seemed to still want to stay within the Christadelphian community, and pastors aren't looked on favourably.

      As for the rest, pretty much every word seems to translate to "I didn't agree with him".
      "Contentious" - He didn't toe the party line, and wouldn't keep quiet about it or accept being put in his place.

      "Subversive" - Not only didn't he toe the party line, but by daring to talk to others about it he was undermining our pure fellowship from within.

      "False brother" - We have constituted ourselves the arbiters of what makes a True Christadelphian (spoiler: It may just involve toeing the party line), so in spite of Jonathan Burke calling himself a Christadelphian, preaching many Christadelphian doctrines, and interacting with other Christadelphian writings, from the time of our glorious Pioneers to more recently, he just doesn't make the cut.

      "Pride" - He dared to think that he could study scripture and the natural world and understand them in a different way from what we tiny remnant expressly chosen by God have done. How much more prideful can you get?

      "Downfall" - In our wisdom, we refuse to associate with Jonathan Burke, and try to pressure others not to associate with him, and we make judgemental comments about him in person and online. How much worse could the punishment be?

      Am I getting your perspective correctly?

      The Christadelphia I grew up with emphasised the importance of seeking out truth for yourself. This has, in principle, been a part of the Christadelphian ethos from the days of John Thomas, though it is also true that division and disfellowship has been part of the ethos from early on. For me, and for some other commenters on this site, that spirit led us to reject not just traditional Christadelphian teachings but also the Bible and the existence of God. For Jonathan Burke, it led to questioning some of the Christadelphian teachings that I presume he grew up with, while still holding on to others. I do not see pride in that, just an attempt to reconcile the Bible he believed to be the word of God with the world around him that he believed to be the work of God.

    4. What an excellent comment from Jon :)

  23. So what's new? In what little sect/cult do these things NOT generally occur? My former husband was excommunicated from the Arlington, Virginia ecclesia because he married me without his group's knowledge or consent. (I was not a member of your sad, puny religion.) Others in the ecclesia had done the exact same thing, and had never had the emblems withdrawn from them. The bottom line: the members didn't like my husband, and were itching to kick him out. He was too unconventional, and called out foolishness when he saw it. When he pointed out other members who hadn't been excommunicated for the same marital behavior, they then immediately changed the reason for the expulsion to his having been "too long absent from the table of the Lord." What bullshxt. He'd been the sole care provider for two elderly relatives who could not be left unattended even for him to attend services. No one had offered him any assistance (as in offering to bring the emblems to him, or sending someone to sit with the old people), but they didn't hesitate to bum rush him to the door.

    Mega-hypocrites, they be. Let them baste in their own juices, until they've cooked themselves.

  24. All very interesting, Joseph, and it raised a question in my mind. Iranians are joining the C of E, the Church of Scotland, the Baptists, the Salvation Army, and in increasingly large numbers, and these organisations too, supply their tracts and bible verses translated into Farsi. As each of these religious organisations have a different slant on "faith" from each other, and Iranians are drawn to all of them (all those I`ve come across so far), it can`t be that they are drawn to join the Christadelphians because of finding Cd "Truth" to be special. Can it? But that wasn`t the question I had in mind. Which was and is, do any of these other religious organisations engage in disfellowshipping? (I think the US Southern Baptists do.) And a supplementary question, have any Iranians been disfellowshipped from any Cd ecclesias?

    1. Mancott, I haven't looked at what other denominations are publishing for Iranian asylum seeker lately, but will endeavor to do so as time and inclination permits,
      This site, "explains" why Iranians are so particularly drawn to the Christadelphians:

      The key point being:
      "A proportion of this migration has come to the Christadelphians, in particular, because our teaching of Christ as “the Son of God” rather than “God the Son” accords more instinctively with their cultural heritage in the Islamic faith".
      Now, as I'm sure you are aware, I am a cynic, and to me this is either BS or "word salad" with little substance at all, to justify what is in effect a begging letter from UK Christadelphians to a US charity.
      Choosing a new religion on the basis of teachings from a religion and a culture from which you have "fled", and is at odds with the majority in the country onto the mercy of which you have thrown yourself, seems a very strange course of action to me...
      While you are there, have a look at the numbers quoted. That 12,000 Christadelphians in the UK number looks grossly inflated from the numbers the CDs have previously come up with themselves.
      I cannot speak for the others, but Anglicans, Baptists and Methodists here do not engage in disfellowshipping, unhappy members will tend to move to another congregation of their own accord, even across those denominational lines, and even Catholicism, that is the case. (my lived experience).

    2. Joseph, they (Cd`s) are referring (when they say "a proportion of this migration . . . in the Islamic faith") to those coming from Iran, which it seems that they do, then have they not understood that in Islam Jesus is not considered to be either the Son of God or God the Son, but "simply" a revered prophet. They don`t believe (and I need to check this) that Jesus was crucified, they believe that a substitute was crucified in his place. This doesn`t seem to square with them being drawn to the Christadelphians for reasons of similarity in a shared belief.

    3. Mancott, I am looking into this, but progress is slow, and, if I am to be honest, I am fearful of asking my Muslim contacts about this for fear of disrupting friendships that have nothing to do with religion, and that I would rather stay that way.
      Of the few (two actually) Christadelphian books that I retained after leaving "The Truth" one was "The Bible And Islam", by John Thorpe. I shall endeavor to re-read it at some point . I retained it because it seemed, at the time at least to be rather useful.
      Other material that I am looking at is from what is now known as "far right" sources, and thus demands even closer attention before quoting, lest I should be "tagged" as such.

    4. Mancott and Joseph, I know of at least a verse along those lines:
      "And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allāh." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain." (Sura 4:157)

      My problem with quoting the Quran is that I lack the context. I've seen the verses quoted to present Islam either as a religion of inherent violence or a religion of peace. I can't make any comment about whether either collection of verses represents the "real message" of Islam or how it's practiced today (but I do know I could with ease present more violent verses from the Bible without people going "Clearly Christianity is inherently a religion of violence").

      For what it's worth, I've heard Christadelphians I trust talking about discussions with Muslim colleagues. There were no conversions either way, but it did sound like they were more accepting of a Jesus who wasn't God.

  25. I can talk about the C of E, being married to a C of E priest. We are not a membership church, so as laity its impossible to join and its therefore impossible to be kicked out. The nearest thing to membership is being on the electoral role, but everyone in England has the right to be on their parish's electoral role, as far as I know there is no lawful mechanism to remove this right. Priests and Deacons are ordained (that is they are members of an order), they cant be un-ordained, but they can have their licence removed, via a Clergy Discipline Measure. This is used in cases of abuse.

    Baptists do govern their churches using a membership, but all the Baptist churches I have been involved with are open, being a member or not makes no difference apart from whether you can vote in church business meetings.

    Unlike most other Christian denominations, The Salvation Army does not observe the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. They believe it is possible to experience the inward grace of which the sacraments are outward signs, without the need for the rituals themselves. So I am not sure what you get barred from. But apart from that I know little about them.

    From what I hear, it seems there is a move among the more progressive CDs not to DF, since they cant avoid the hurt it causes. The logical conclusion is to be open to anyone, since if you don't chuck people out for being delinquent in some way, then there is no need to test for it in the first place.

    1. Bob, thank you for your kind and informative comment. I thought about it for a few days ( I now think in a rather glacial timescale), and wondered if perhaps the closest thing to membership of the C of E is (or perhaps was), confirmation? considering the matter of confirmation (to) the C of E, and had a look at my copy of "In his presence", given to me by my Bishop in 1977.
      My brother, a C of E minister, now preaches to a Baptist congregation, and my cousin, a Baptist minister, now attends an anglian church, whilst myself, a a former Christadelphian, now orbits in the "Kuiper belt" of Christianity, just faintly under the influence of a distant and dim sun.

    2. Joseph, confirmation is very old, probably a thousand years older than the CofE. As the early church grew baptism got split into two parts - the water bit that anyone can do, and the spirit bit that only a Bishop can do, by the laying on of hands. I rather like the idea of of apostolic succession and did decide to get myself confirmed, for me it had nothing to do with membership, I already had lay leadership positions in the church. We say our theology in the CofE, and one of the things we say is the creed - We believe in the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and 'there is one baptism..' If its anything then confirmation completes the baptism and enters you into that one church. My wife was baptised as an infant and confirmed by the Roman Catholic Church. She was ordained by the Church of England. Even if she wanted it the CofE would not officially re-baptise or re-confirm.

      Anyway, all very interesting or not, long story short, as you said mainstream Christianity does not DF, I think because unlike the CDs they do not try to get unity by imposing uniformity.


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