The world is bigger than Christadelphia

By Phynnodderee

Growing up Christadelphian, my world was pretty small in many ways. But from the inside, the religion seemed big and important. It took me years to get a sense of perspective and realise not only that Christadelphians weren’t the authority on everything, but also just how much I’d been missing out on in terms of what the outside world had to offer.

When I was younger, Christadelphianism was my authoritative source of knowledge and moral guidance. My sense of self-worth depended a lot on being acceptable according to Christadelphian ideas of right and wrong. I thought Christadelphians were the authority on what to think and how to live. I didn’t realise that there were other ways of seeing the world, other ways of thinking, feeling and relating. This was more than just the normal human experience of growing up in a particular culture; it was narrower than that. Christadelphianism presumes to supply all the important stuff you need to know. It acts so big and important. By comparison, the society around us, its learning, wisdom and culture, were regarded as being of little value. Bible teaching trumped all human learning and experience.

This was a long time ago now, and I’ve grown up a lot. Now I can see not only how small and insignificant the Christadelphian community is on the big scale of things, but also how small-minded and narrow.

The fact is that the world is so much bigger than the suffocating environment of Christadelphianism. I don’t just mean that Christadelphians make up a tiny proportion of the world population, that it’s an obscure subculture hardly anyone has heard of, and that therefore it shouldn’t intimidate anyone. I mean that the religion contains your mind and awareness within very narrow limits, denying you so much that could be experienced and benefited from. I mean that Christadelphians are impoverished because they aren’t even aware of the intellectual and cultural wealth outside their narrow belief system. They believe all of human history is following a linear path to a predetermined conclusion, which is a simple magic solution to all the world’s problems. There’s no need to think any further, no need to seriously engage with complex issues; no need to discover how we’ve advanced in understanding them through scientific enquiry, or learn from how people have responded to the human experience through artistic expression. It’s intellectually stultifying – yet you’re meant to think ‘the Truth’ is something wonderful and huge, the biggest idea in the universe, the best news ever, the deepest understanding, the profoundest wisdom. It’s nothing of the kind. The world is so much bigger than Christadelphia.

It took me a long time to figure this out because in Christadelphia you're trained to distrust outside ideas and rely on the religion as your prime source of truth and understanding. You’re trained to believe that worldly wisdom is foolishness.

When I started mentally breaking free from the religion, it lost its power to intimidate in this way. I realised Christadelphians had no authority to tell me, or anyone else for that matter, what was true, right, or good. When I realised this, my horizons expanded. There’s a whole world outside Christadelphia, and it’s rich, satisfying and rewarding beyond measure.


  1. People once thought that the Earth was all there was. Then they discovered the inner planets. Then the solar system. Then the galaxy, and so on.

    This is a fairly good analogy for what it felt like when I started peeling back the layers trying to find out what this life was really about. Discovering more about the Bible, then other religions (past and present), then human history, then biological evolution, then the vastness of deep space, and time, and the physics underlying them... it all led to the realisation that the Christadelphians were just one tiny religion among many. And the realisation that there was just so much else going on.

    The expansion of my worldview went in two directions, both outward and inward. Not only did I learn so much about discoveries of the natural world and the incredibly vast universe, I also learned a lot about my own psychology and why I experience the world the way I do. I learned why I once believed in the Christadelphians' little clockwork world with its little God moving all the little pieces around like a child playing with dolls in a doll house. And my heart breaks when I remember the pain of trying to meet impossible demands placed on me by others and believing I wasn't good enough, and knowing that still others go through this same struggle every day.

    The spell is permanently broken now. Intellectual freedom is, like you say, rewarding beyond measure.

  2. Even so we all have face the judgment seat of Christ like it or not.

    1. I have no idea whether you are actually an ex-Christadelphian, but many ex-Christadelphians, including me, also came to reject the Bible, the only source for these threats about "the judgement seat of Christ".

      The New Testament makes it quite clear Jesus' return and judgement were expected soon. Didn't happen then, and 2,000 years later still hasn't happened. I don't think we have any reason to believe it will happen now.

    2. EC,

      Strange, other religions are telling us that you will join us in hell, or perhaps we'll all get reincarnated as a worm. It can be confusing keeping up with the latest threats from "nice" religious folk.

      Your "all-loving" deities sure have some creative ways to torture and hurt people. And for what? For not knowing whether (or which of) these mysterious, invisible beings existed? Seems a little petty. Why would they care?

      Wouldn't such "all-knowing" beings know exactly what it would take to convince every one of us? If we remain unconvinced, is it our failing or theirs? And if that belief was so important to them, why would they make humans so prone to getting it wrong?

      What a lovely picture you paint of a people living in fear, bullied into submission under threats of judgement from a being who was supposed to epitomise love.

      If you think we will face the judgement seat of Christ then you must believe that well over 99% of people in the world have been misled or deceived. Why not you?

    3. EC,

      Do you believe in the the Catholic Hell? Are you scared of burning in fire eternally. I would guess no. Well I am not scared of you supposed judgement seat of Christ.

      Just as you don't believe in the concept of Hell and are not in the least bit scared of it. I am not scared of fearful of your judgement seat of Christ. You wouldn't believe in Hell as you would say it's nonsense and has no doctrinal basis. I'm sure you don't believe in other religions end of life punishments either. I just don't believe in them or yours.

      It is very typical of Christadelphia and other regions to constantly have the end of life punishments at their finger tips and if they don't win the debate them console themselves with well they will still face the Judgement seat etc. They also love to tell the non believer this as though they have won the argument.

      I am not scared of the flying spaghetti monsters end of life punishment and am not scared of your Judgement seat of Christ.

      I see no reasonable evidence to accept what you saying and believe that everyone just views the inside of their coffin for the rest of eternity.

    4. All the documents ever written were physically produced by human beings so how can you tell which is the real special one? Is it co-incidence that the one you pick fits you

  3. It's impossible for me to reject the Bible it's just far too convincing.
    The seemingly never ending Heavens & the incredible marvels of Creation, etc.
    And after all, 2,000 years is only a couple of days in Almighty God's time frame.

    1. You're welcome to believe the Bible, but it's not going to help you with those of us who have found it a completely unreliable source.

      However, a couple of questions to think about:
      1. Even if you decide the universe shows signs of being created, how do you establish that that creator is the God of the Bible rather than some other being or force?

      2. When you talk about the size of "the Heavens", I'm assuming you're talking about what we can see from our Earth - inside this universe and bounded though very large? If so, do you think this God (who I guess lives in Heaven?) lives within this universe, or outside of it? If inside, how did he create it? And if outside, how can we know anything about him? (including giving him a gender...)

    2. The problem here is that the size of the universe and the amazing contents of it, and the world/ life around us,have no need of a God to be marvelled at, and appreciated. EC has simply constructed a God for his own needs. As do all religious people.
      The Bible's teaching on creation is only convincing to the simplistic, since it offers no mechanisms or explanations whatsoever.

  4. Well, I wonder if I am alone in thinking that Christadelphians like to hide behind the judgement seat? When Christadelphians behave appallingly, it is "hand waved", and you can expect to be told that "it will all be sorted out at the judgement". Well known Christadelphian crank Don Pearce is on record preaching that the unbaptised children of Christadelphian parents get a second chance in front of the seat....
    Those who issue this type of menace/threat normally do so in such a way as to attempt to convince the recipient that they, the issuer, will be judged, but not found wanting, and will subtilly attempt to shift some guilt away from themselves.
    My late father, who was a devout Christian, simply suggested that in order to live without fear of the judgement seat, all one needed to do was live an honest life, and imagine that the judgement was imminent, and act accordingly. The policy seemed to do him no harm, and he passed away peacefully.
    I think we can safely ignore any religious person who attempts to use their God (or son of) to threaten, control, or manipulate others.

    1. You father had a wise concept, for he had his walk to the coming kingdom sensibly appraised.

      Now, if there is no God then he has still led an honorable and had a fulfilling life.

      On the other hand if there is a God, then he will be granted eternal life and "Everlasting Joy".

      Sadly the Atheist has nothing at all to look forward to, only old-age [which soon creeps up upon us all] and the designation of eternal death.

      For those who were baptized into Christ and have willing rejected him, surely there could not be a worse nightmare predicament for a mortal human being to suddenly find themselves confronted with.

    2. I wondered whether we might have Jeff back, and I think we do. These threats against those of us who improved our lives walking away from our childhood religion have been thrashed out in detail in other threads and are not helpful. In future I will seriously consider whether it is worth publishing comments from this latest alias.

    3. Jon, even before I read your thought that "we might have Jeff back", I thought on reading "his" comments, I think we may have Jeff back. Some contributors here may remember his vile comments of some time ago at the time of the Mexican earthquake.

    4. Agreed, Jon and Mancott. There is little to be gained by feeding this troll, except perhaps the expose of an ugly side of religious thinking (perhaps some Christadelphians might see how hateful it sounds and take steps to improve their own public image).

      Imagine living with that kind of bleak outlook on this beautiful world! His total disregard and detest for humanity is an extreme version of sentiments I've heard from many Christadelphians, though certainly not all.

    5. Brethren!
      Worldly public image is of no concern whatsoever to Christ and Almighty God.

      Thus Christ's words of warm comfort to those who are wise and willing to "Endure to the end" in faithfulness and obedience.

      "22 Everyone will hate you because you are committed to me. But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved."
      Matthew 10:21-22 (GW)

      [Choir singing] Halll-e-lu-yah!

    6. Just to be clear, EC, I don't hate you. I merely think your teachings are awful and don't have the evidence to back them up.

    7. Oh, and incidentally, when you use the word "Brethren": Part of the reason for my leaving was that I no longer believed in the existence of God. This annuls my baptism and means I cannot possibly be an adopted member of the family of God. This is not up for debate unless you have real evidence - Pascal's Wager does not work here.

      So the only way in which you could be a brother is by virtue of our shared humanity - and if so, I think you should be more concerned about humanity and less exultant over the danger you think threatens them.

  5. I'm wondering if the enforced lockdown across the world will cause a few CDs to re-evaluate their lives. Although they are mostly confined to their homes, especially as most are quite aged, for the first time in their lives they are away from the Sunday group reinforcement of their faith. Instead of having to dress in suits and hats and sit through yet another mind numbing memorial service, they can have a lie in or enjoy a lazy morning with an extra cup of tea. And as an added bonus, they are excused from supporting the vacuous public Bible talk later in the day.
    I'm sure the vast majority will meekly return as soon as the lockdown is lifted, but maybe the odd one will be enjoying their new found Sundays too much to give up?

    1. Judging by the comments I've seen from Christadelphians posting online it seems many of them are salivating at the sight of human suffering, thinking it's a sign that they will be soon rescued from the same being they think sent the virus.

      I'm not sure what kind of twisted person would want to worship a being that just killed 30,000+ of their fellow humans and threatens to kill a lot more, but that's the mindset of those rejoicing in this present situation. And of course that's just this disease. If we go back through history the numbers would be far higher. I've no idea why this plague is considered a sign of end-times while all the others weren't. I would very much like to save all of their posts and remind them in a year or two of what they said.

    2. Reportedly Jesus advised to "let the dead bury the dead".

      His reaction to the untimely death of people on who a tower fell was: "Change direction or you will end up like them".

      Another Reported quote: "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.".

      So it seems that possibly, from God's Viewpoint, many of those who die physically were dead already, and some who are physically dead are actually alive. This is a small example of difference in perspective between the reported creator of the universe and humanity.

      So from a Christian viewpoint 30,000+ Covid-19 deaths are not a big deal it is just another way to die physically.

      TB kills over 1.5 million a year and it is mostly preventable if humanity had the will to make it happen. Greed and a lack of love kills many more.

      God did not kill 30,000+ with Covid, any more than those killed in road accidents, wars, or other diseases were killed by God.

      This universe is a big place - 200 billion galaxies is a recent estimate. Earth and humanity are, I guess, a small detail in the creator’s plans. There is plenty of evidence to either believe in the God of the bible or not. The bible places much emphasis on faith. If definitive proof or evidence for God could be found in the bible or in any era faith would not be needed.

      If humans judge a God who is architect and creator of the universe the judgement is probably going to be flawed as it can only be relative to our level limited perspective, knowledge and evolution.

      It is both funny and sad to see so much time wasted. In this case mostly by christadlphians and ex christadelphians arguing and trying to be right often using extreme examples or distorted or partial facts.

      Life can be more than this……you all really need to get out more and put more effort into becoming the best you can be…..
      in this divine incubator called planet earth :P

      Oh and most of the other plagues like black death or Spanish flu were considered sign of end-times at the time. Technology and modern communication has slowed the spread of Covid but it has not finished yet. The repercussions and side effects on modern life and the world economy could be be significant.......time will tell.

      Problem with sites like this is that posts often get deleted rather than saved and a balanced view of the ebb and flow of discussion is often lost.

    3. "So from a Christian viewpoint 30,000+ Covid-19 deaths are not a big deal it is just another way to die physically."

      Oh well that's ok then /SARCASM (I mean, really? not a big deal?)

      "TB kills over 1.5 million a year and it is mostly preventable if humanity had the will to make it happen"

      About that - why don't people have the will to make it happen? Is this greed and lack of love part of human nature? Who was responsible for that?

      "God did not kill 30,000+ with Covid, any more than those killed in road accidents, wars, or other diseases were killed by God."

      I believe the term you're trying to avoid is "negligence". If a parent had the means to save their child but chose not to, we would say they are guilty. And yes the same applies to other diseases as well. When you have full control over a universe (regardless of whether or not you choose to use it) - you become fully responsible for what happens in it.

      Did God create coronaviruses? Did God create the conditions necessary for such viruses to exist and thrive? If so, did he do so knowing full well that people would die in the tens of thousands, and many more would suffer?

      Or alternatively, why does the world operate in exactly the indifferent way we would expect it to if it were simply driven by natural processes? Why go to such elaborate lengths to construct a god when the evidence clearly points to a universe that doesn't care about us? Maybe there is a god, but if so, where?

      "There is plenty of evidence to either believe in the God of the bible or not. The bible places much emphasis on faith. If definitive proof or evidence for God could be found in the bible or in any era faith would not be needed."

      This sounds like a contradiction. If there is evidence, let's discuss it. But if not, then why believe? There is simply no good reason for belief without evidence. To believe anyway is to fool yourself. You can believe anything you like this way. And indeed this is why we have many different, contradictory religions all claiming to have faith.

      Meanwhile, why does the bible place emphasis on faith? Why is faith considered a desirable thing? What is the difference between faith and misplaced conviction? Many people have faith that disagrees with yours. Who should we listen to?

      Should we just have faith that we were paid the correct amount of money, or should we check, just in case? Should we just have faith that we'll win the lottery next week, or is it perhaps wiser to do a little more research into the way lotteries work and the odds of winning? If you were born into a different family from a different country, would you still think you had the winning religion ticket?

      "If humans judge a God who is architect and creator of the universe the judgement is probably going to be flawed"

      This seems self-defeating. How did that flawed reasoning determine that there was such an architect and creator in the first place?

      "Life can be more than this"

      You don't say. When you're no longer constrained to the view that a person's only purpose in life is to deny their own desires and interests and devote their life to worshipping a mysterious being they can't see or detect in any way, life does become rather more open and interesting. We are free to enjoy life, search for truth wherever it leads, and we are free to withhold belief where the evidence doesn't warrant any. Intellectual freedom is something many of us embrace.

      "Problem with sites like this is that posts often get deleted rather than saved and a balanced view of the ebb and flow of discussion is often lost."

      I think we do a fairly balanced job here. Very few posts actually get deleted (unless the author themselves deletes them). We do choose not to publish some comments where there is clear abuse or where the intent is clearly not constructive and the commenter has received several warnings. Fortunately this has been very rare.

    4. All too often we ask for evidence for God and we are instead given excuses for why God could still exist despite everything looking like he doesn't. That's not evidence. You could play that game in defence of any religion (or any magical/invisible being), and people do.

      We don't suddenly believe in ghosts just because someone has cleverly explained why they have evaded us thus far. Belief is warranted only after they have been demonstrated to exist. That's a much higher bar that few believers seem interested in reaching.

    5. There is no evidence that god exists, not one verifiable fact. There are hundreds of reasons why it would be nice if god did exist. I wonder who invented them all? Maybe us, we obviously invented the vast majority, lucky if you happen to believe in the actual real one.

  6. Joseph, it might depend on how you expected the judgement to work. I always aimed to do what I considered the right thing, but because of the verses about people trying to do the right thing and getting it wrong, I was always concerned that I might end up judged unworthy. Particularly since God/Jesus didn't seem to think good deeds were the only criteria, and many Christadelphians criticised those relying on good deeds rather than, say, knowledge of the Bible.

    It does still surprise me when I hear of people who have preached for years that certain behaviours will lead to judgement and/or eternal punishment in hell, then it comes out they have been doing those things all those years. Did they ever really believe in these dire punishments, or was it just a way of controlling others? Or do they still believe it? (possible, but doesn't say much for the power of eternal punishment as a deterrent).

    But I agree with you - threats of judgement from an entity that we don't have any reason to believe exists can be safely ignored.

    1. Hmm!
      Unless of course one is wrong and one finds out to their cost and hurt, that God does indeed exist after all, and is now calling for an account of their mortal life and rejection of His "Beloved Son"?
      What then?

    2. Ask yourself whether you're worried about a Muslim hell, or being used as a football by the evil aliens from Planet Z, or Earth being demolished to make room for a hyperspace bypass. If not, you might be getting some idea why we're not worried about your particular implausible judgement.

    3. We can all be wrong, Jeff. Even you.

      Meanwhile Jon, I don't know if we should be more concerned about being demolished to make room for this hyperspace bypass or the possibility of being enslaved and forced to listen to Vogon poetry!

    4. Thom, I've always wanted to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor. But maybe not for too long :)

      I guess EC might find an infinite improbability drive handy - there must be a triumphant return of Jesus somewhere in there.

    5. Sorry, I forgot Douglas Adams already covered that:

      And lastly, a party of devout believers from the Church of the Second Coming of the Great Prophet Zarquon? Well fellas, lets hope he’s hurrying because he’s only got eight minutes left!

      No, seriously though, no seriously, no, please, please. I mean no offence meant because I know, we shouldn’t make fun of, deeply held beliefs. So I think, a big hand please, for the Great Prophet Zarquon…. where ever he’s got to.


      [Choir singing] Halll-e-lu-yah!

      A big hand please, for the Great Prophet Zarquon.

      Hello everybody. Sorry I’m a bit late, had a terrible time… All sort of things cropping up at the last moment. How are we for time? Umm -

      [The universe explodes]

  7. EC,

    Do those "incredible marvels of Creation" include the virus currently impacting the entire world? What about natural disasters?

    Of those things you find to be "convincing", how many would you consider yourself to be an expert in (and would other experts in those fields agree that you are)? Sometimes things can seem more "miraculous" the less we know about them and vice versa. It doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't a god behind it all, but we might be less hasty to make that logical leap once we understand all the facts.

    For example, people once thought the rain was literally sent by God, yet now that we understand the hydrological cycle, God's role (if any) has receded somewhat since we no longer need to invoke the supernatural to explain it. Instead people nowadays might say God set up the natural order and then set it in motion. But even this "explanation" is just the same leap but with the boundary of the unknown pushed back a little. It is known as the "god of the gaps" because such a god resides only in the gaps in our knowledge, or just beyond the boundary of scientific understanding (and that boundary shifts further back continually).

    Of course we can't yet explain everything and probably never will, but it seems that inserting "God" as the one-size-fits-all explanation for things we don't yet understand is a strategy that so far has only been proven false time and again as those "gaps" inevitably shrink. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't actually explain anything. Can you tell us "how" God created these things? If our ancestors had stopped at "God did it", would we have modern medicine and technology?

    Meanwhile, what is it about the vastness of the heavens that makes it any more likely to be the work of a god? One could easily conceive of arguments for a tiny universe being the work of a god, so I find your comments puzzling. A vast universe consisting mostly of emptiness and chaos seems more in line with blind natural processes to me, but I guess it's subjective.

    The Bible doesn't mention a universe. It describes heaven as literally "the sky" in Genesis 1. In those days even the outer solar system wasn't known, much less the galaxy. Only in the last 100 years have we discovered that our galaxy is just 1 among many (2 trillion is the latest estimate), and the further back you go the smaller people thought the "universe" was. I wonder if your interpretation of an iron age text might be a little anachronistic perhaps. The word "firmament" in Genesis 1 refers literally to a solid glass dome and we find support for this idea in other writings of the same time period.

    Do you find other holy books convincing too? And would you be at all surprised to find that devotees to those other books often display the same level of conviction that you hold for your book. Maybe when we see the effects that being raised in a religion has on those of other religions, we might recognise the same effects in ourselves and learn to question it more deeply. Just a thought.

  8. Yes, I believe they include the humiliating and humbling effects of the latest virus which is now afflicting mankind.

    Showing just how weak and feeble mortal man truly is, as Almighty God can bring man to his knees [including their economies] in just a few short weeks.
    Isaiah 45:6-7

    As well as 'Natural disasters' etc.
    "Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"
    Amos 3:6 (KJV)

    1. Many viruses (bubonic plague, black death, Spanish flu etc.) have afflicted mankind over the centuries and many economic crashes have also occurred in the past couple of centuries.
      But in every case, mankind has fully recovered and emerged stronger and wiser than before.
      This pandemic is no different than those that have preceded it, apart from the fact that modern science is far better equipped and experienced to deal with it.
      So if a "loving" heavenly father is attempting to bring us to our knees, he needs to try a bit harder!

    2. Don't worry, Mark, our commenter is confident that one day now God will totally get really serious and then mankind will be properly humbled. There were more verses to back that up, verses which you probably know and don't need further airing here. I haven't published the comment.

      It's funny, though, because I hear some of my Christadelphian Facebook friends talking about God setting up a kingdom of peace, and they get upset when I point out not everyone is happy with having such benevolent rule imposed on them, particularly given the amount of collateral damage involved. At least I prefer that approach to openly exulting over things going badly for humanity, no matter how many scriptures you can produce to suggest that that exulting is Biblical and a Good Thing.

      Stay safe, everyone!

    3. "Showing just how weak and feeble mortal man truly is"

      Um, isn't it your view that the same god created us? So...

      "Almighty God can bring man to his knees [including their economies] in just a few short weeks"

      I'm sure that makes him feel really tough inside. You know, like a bully.

      I wonder if there might be more appropriate ways for a truly great being to show its greatness, rather than through bullying (which in my view shows the exact opposite). I can think of several.

  9. Isn't there a verse in the Bible somewhere which says 'punishment that hurts drives evil from the heart' just asking?

    1. Anonymous, I let this through, but can't answer without more context. I don't see the relevance to this article, and it's irrelevant what the Bible says about punishment when we have no reason to take it as an authority on anything.

    2. It sounds like bronze age apologists trying to tell their followers that bad things are for their own good. And good things are good too. So therefore god is good!

    3. You mean Proverbs 20:30? Indeed it does. Although in common with most 21st century residents, Christadelphians choose not to obey this particular piece of "wisdom", and when it might be reasonably applied to their senior figures, is normally replaced by a bit of sweeping under the carpet and "downtime". Of course, they would believe it was a suitable punishment for their God inflict rather randomly on people for failing to receive/understand/obey their interpretation of his instructions.
      As Jon points out though, this has no relevance at all unless you give the instruction book that authority.

    4. There's actually a classic logic inversion mistake there in Proverbs 20:30.

      The NET says:
      "Beatings and wounds cleanse away evil, and floggings cleanse the innermost being."

      But, using the language of the verse (NET), just because *some* of the things that cleanse away evil might happen to be the result of beatings and wounds, it does not follow that all beatings and wounds cleanse away evil. The obvious counter-example is that some beatings and wounds *cause* evil.

      Or in other words, just because *some* things that bring about a positive result might happen to cause short term pain, it does not follow that all short term pain yields positive results.

  10. So sad to see how many Christadelphians relate to the rest of the world and life and humanity and human history only through the prism of their stunted, atrophied, and wasteful worldview. They blind themselves and bind themselves, no doubt, because it provides them with a sense of meaning and safety.

    But how much better to remove the scales from our eyes, and to live with clarity and self-created purpose. How much better, to be free of fairies and angels and invisible protectors in the sky, and to emerge into the sunlight of reason. Yes, it is hard to live life in that manner, but it is vastly more rewarding to do so in the end. I will not live in darkness so as to better delude myself about the reality of death when I am on my deathbed. I will not do so because the price of spending the rest of my life in ignorance and darkness -- to pay for that palliative -- is too high a price for what I will have lost during the rest of my lifetime.

    I am not trying to sound calloused, but when I am around "religious" people now, and, especially, Christadelphians, they resemble nothing so much to me as ignorant, prancing, child-like primitives, imprisoned by their orthodoxies and their fantasies. I was at a CD funeral two years ago and two CDs were perusing the coffin and discussing the "Kingdom." The lady in the packaging, an elderly spinster, had lived an entirely uninspired and drab life, in accordance with the dictates of her "faith."

    "She is already in the Kingdom," one patriarch commented. "She has already awakened and is seeing its wonders now and for all eternity." And I thought in my head: "Brother, she isn't seeing anything for eternity except the bottom of a coffin lid. And she deferred the experience of living to pay for that view."

    1. "the price of spending the rest of my life in ignorance and darkness -- to pay for that palliative -- is too high a price for what I will have lost during the rest of my lifetime."

      Yes. This is one of the (many) problems with the classic Pascal's Wager.

    2. One of the reasons I decided to question it all much more seriously years ago was that, having turned 30, I was starting to think a little more about my life. I realised that if the Christadelphians were wrong and indeed if the Bible was not the book they claimed it was, then I was giving up my (only) life for a lie, and that was a price I could not afford to pay. I began reading many books and watching online debates like my life depended on it, because in a very real sense, it did.

      I love this:

      "But how much better to remove the scales from our eyes, and to live with clarity and self-created purpose. How much better, to be free of fairies and angels and invisible protectors in the sky, and to emerge into the sunlight of reason. Yes, it is hard to live life in that manner, but it is vastly more rewarding to do so in the end."

      Could not have said it better. And similarly in the words of Carl Sagan: "Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable"

  11. Douglas BridgebainJune 21, 2020 at 1:41 AM

    "It is my take on organized religion that it merely involves the formalizing of superstition and mysticism." -- Albert Einstein

  12. To me it looks like Phynnodderee had been put on eyeballs by his own Christadelphian family and ecclesia who perhaps were not interested what went on in the world. But lots of Christadelphians have a normal job in this system of things and follow what is going on in the world.

    Even belonging to a very tiny group of followers of Christ does not have to mean they exclude them totally from what is going on in the world. Not being part of it does not have to mean not living in it and not wanting to know what happens in it or not to be involved in it.

    Phynnodderee writes: "Christadelphians are impoverished because they aren’t even aware of the intellectual and cultural wealth outside their narrow belief system." which is a totally narrowminded impression of a seemingly very frustrated person who might have grown up in one of the very conservative Christadelphian families and/or ecclesiae.

    I do not know how he can think that Christadelpians "believe all of human history is following a linear path to a predetermined conclusion" where there exist several Christadelphian magazines and articles from distinguished Christadelphian archeologists, scientists, historians and analytic reviewers. He also writes "which is a simple magic solution to all the world’s problems" though they often let their readers see how complicated this world can be. But true also present the solution which is offered by the Bible, Which we consider the Word of God.

    Where he gets it from that "There’s no need to think any further, no need to seriously engage with complex issues; no need to discover how we’ve advanced in understanding them through scientific enquiry, or learn from how people have responded to the human experience through artistic expression." whilst one of the major points in christadelphian si the personal research and personal examination of matters. The majority of Christadelphian writers point into that direction of "personal quest" and "personal responsibility".

    That he writes "It’s intellectually stultifying – yet you’re meant to think ‘the Truth’ is something wonderful and huge, the biggest idea in the universe, the best news ever, the deepest understanding, the profoundest wisdom. It’s nothing of the kind." is part of his loss of faith. Understandably when not believing any more in the Word of God and in the Gospel message he shall not be able to see the good things in it. Having got blinded by the world and the adversaries of God,it will be difficult for him to see that there exist such a thing we may call Truth. There also shall not be any one christadelphian who would argue that the "world is so much bigger than Christadelphia" Luckilly it is. Luckily there are lots more people in this world and good to know is that there are also many others who think likewise the Christadelphians about there only being One True God and having His only begotten son having payed the ransom price for the sins of all.

    Perhaps many who left their Christadelphian community should have had enough courage to look around in Christadelpia to come to see and to come to know much more open Christadelphians than the conservative click they grew up in.

    1. Hi Marcus, I think you may have made an incorrect assumption about my background or experience within the CD community. I certainly didn't come from a very conservative background. I had a fairly 'centrist' upbringing and most of my CD friends are on the more liberal side of the fence. I've certainly never belonged to a "conservative clique". So I'm well aware of the diversity within the community. As such, I didn't just reject the most narrow-minded form of Christadelphia, or willfully ignore the possibility of the existence of more progressive or nuanced understandings. Instead I came to the conclusion, after thinking about it for many years, that there was no reason to believe any of it.

      I'm not saying CDs are unaware of what goes on in the world. I'm saying they have a limited framework with which to analyse and understand it, a framework that tends to filter out complexity and reduce everything to a simple narrative.

      (Yes, Jon's explanation is the linear path I was referring to, and it's fundamental to CD beliefs. The Kingdom is the magical solution that CDs hope for, and the justification given for not seriously trying to understand or address the world's problems.)

    2. Marcus,

      "Luckily there are lots more people in this world and good to know is that there are also many others who think likewise the Christadelphians about there only being One True God and having His only begotten son having payed the ransom price for the sins of all"

      Who are are they, and what name take, these people who think likewise to the Christadelphians?

    3. Marcus, However many good-to-know-others there are who believe the same as Christadelphians, it doesn`t alter the fact that they, therefore, with Christadelphians, have indoctrinated beliefs and misunderstandings brought about by Dr John Thomas and perpetuated by others, and their misguidedly held beliefs don`t stand up to a careful and honest test for evidence or examination as to their being true. It is easy to continue believing what you want to believe, but hard to decide to spend the effort to make sure you are not up the belief-creek without a paddle.

    4. First of all throughout the ages there have always been non-trinitarian Christans and serious Bible Students. Today there still can be found many different Bible Students Groups, next to the two most wellknow: The International Bible Students (of the line of the Russelites) and the Jehovah's Witnesses (of the line of Rutherford) From such groups also came the Nazarene Friends.
      Then there are: the Church of God and the Restoration Church.
      Giving an opening to Jews who want to stay Jews there is the Jeshuaic movement. Though Jeshuaist groups may be working more in obscurity because in several countries they have to endure prosecution and lots of harassment from Judaic as well as Christian and Muslim direction.

    5. Marcus, many of us, including me, are aware there are a diversity of Christadelphian teachings, though some seem far more mainstream than others. However, any teaching has to be in some way justified by reference back to the Bible, and probably in some way made to fit in with a statement of faith. Without those artificial constraints we are freer to take a much wider view of the world.

      If, as I came to realise, the Bible is not a reliable source of truth, arguing about whether it teaches a Trinity or not is shuffling deck-chairs on the Titanic. Certainly in my case rejecting that had nothing to do with abandoning the concept of Truth, but following truth and discovering it didn't lie in a 2,000 year old book.

  13. Marcus, I've never met Phynnodderee, but I think you may be misgendering them. This is a problem, because I think few would argue that the male experience of Christadelphia is identical to the female experience.

    Phynnodderee's comments seem eminently reasonable to me. Fundamentally, Christadelphians require acceptance of the Bible as God's word, and usually as a primary source of guidance for believers. Yes, it can then be interpreted in more than one way - but that is still a limitation on how diverse a believer's worldview can be. A personal quest and personal responsibility are of little value if the terms of the quest have been rigged and the compass has been tampered with.

    I took Phynnoderee's reference to history as a linear path as talking about the narrative arc from the Garden of Eden to the Kingdom, both of which are fairly fundamental Christadelphian doctrines. That then does lead many - I would say most - Christadelphians to believe that the Kingdom will solve all the problems of humanity. This sounds like an unsubstantiated magic solution to me. It also leads some to determine that we can't solve any of the big problems now, and should just wait for Jesus to fix them. I see this as a problem.

  14. Marcus, your website has this page which says that all Christadelphian Ecclesias must believe this:

    IV. That the first man was Adam, whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body of The, "very good" in kind and condition, and placed him under a law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience.

    Are you saying that you know of 'open' eccliesias that openly do not believe this ? Here in the UK my understanding is that anyone would get kicked out if they openly said that they believed humans (like all species) had in fact evolved from a less well adapted species.

    1. Hassan, Like most Christadelphians, Marcus is very unlikely to confirm for you whether or not he is a creationist, and even if he does, he won't confirm what sort of creationist he is. This is borne out of the fear of knowing that Christadelphians are overwhelmingly young earth creationists. To challenge or even accept otherwise runs the risk of being thrown out, as our own Thom Jonas has experienced first hand.
      In the UK, a large majority of ecclesias (and the CMPA) produce and publish young earth creationist material, or reference non-Christadelphian material of that nature, with Sunday schools using non-Christadelphian flood geology videos as educational material. Those who disagree are required to remain silent.
      So, Marcus, don't be shy, stand up for the "faith" that your websites drone on about. Are you a creationist, if so which type?, and if not, do you accept the scientific understanding of evolution?
      No need for long winded explanations, one word answers, "Creationist", "YEC", "EC", "yes" and "no", that way both us, and your "Brethren" will know EXACTLY where you stand.
      I'm not holding my breath....

    2. Joseph Strong I am not a creationist in the sense you understand creationism. I believe in a normal evolution and as such believe in dinosaurs but also that the human being is still evolving and changing. You only just have to look at your grandparents and your children their children and see the difference in length and structure.

      I am not at all a person who thinks of a 7 days creation of 7x24 hours, but believe it took several thousands of years before we came to the animals and human beings we can see today and shall come to have not anymore certain animals whilst finding totally new animals in the coming cnturies.

      Perhaps you could have a further look at:

    3. Hassan, and others, please find one of some Christadelphian sites which is showing there are Christadelphians believing in a sort of evolution, but this not having to agree with Darwinism (one specific way of seeing evolution - of which many non-religious scientists also disagree with).

      Please find a.o.:


    4. Hi Marcus, thanks for answering, I don't doubt that some individuals now reject that part of Roberts' booklet, and other gems in it like democracy being 'evil'. I was though asking about ecclesias as a whole, since your advice to us was not to leave but find an open ecclesia.

    5. Having spent a few minutes browsing the christadelphiansoriginsdiscussion website referenced above, I have be unable to find any ownership, it could literally be produced by anyone - its not me, but how do you know it not written by some other ex-cd that left because of those views. Its not 'open' at all.

    6. Marcus, we have seen an increase in things like average height, but that is because of better nutrition, not a change in genetics. If you're still talking in thousands of years then I think you're going to have just as much difficulty reconciling it with the scientific evidence as those believing in a 7 day creation, 6ish thousand years ago do.

      From a brief skim, the Christadelphian origins discussion website looks like it presents a fairly standard scientific view of evolution. But then it comes to this:
      "We aren’t evolution fans, we just prefer the well attested divinely created reality to human traditions taught as commandments."

      This was always one of my concerns with theistic evolution type positions: They take a fundamentally undirected process, and then try to match it up with belief in the God of the Bible, who is meant to be involved with this Earth and directing it. I don't think that is a good fit.

      So yeah, it's not that I and other commenters are unaware that there are Christadelphians who hold these kind of beliefs - the site still has links to Ken Gilmore's site, for example. But I'm not the only one here who also knows from personal experience that demonising evolution is the norm in many Christadelphian circles, and that some have faced criticism and even disfellowship for accepting it.

    7. Marcus, thank you for your replies. From the references provided, I conclude that you are either a evolutionary creationist, or that you have invented a belief system of your own that encompasses the scientific findings related to evolution.
      However, your statement of belief that does not accept a 7 day creation period places you a serious disagreement with the vast majority of authoritative figures from within your religion.
      Highly respected Christadelphian Professor, Stephen Palmer, spoke on this recently in a series of published talks by "zoom", that replaced a "creation day" In Ontario recently (normally he would have flown across the world, probably first class, to give these talks, but God's virus stopped that). If you look past the various techniques that he regularly uses to promote his authority, you will notice that he feels sufficiently qualified to "handwave" (dismiss) all ideas relating to both theistic and non-theistic evolution. He refers to all such ideas, people, etc as "ridiculous", in fact ANYTHING that does not agree with his ideas, is very easily dismissed as ridiculous. He is of course a man with whom you share "like precious faith". How do you feel about that, and how welcome do you think you would be, or feel, breaking bread at his Ecclesia?

      (if time is limited, the first of the 3 talks is the most revealing)

      Also, just this week, another senior Christadelphian, Br Kevin Talbot, made clear his disdain for evolution and those who are theistic evolutionists:

      Theistic evolution is seen as "A Threat To Bible Truth". This talk goes on to dismiss ALL evolutionary science as either faulty, dishonest, incredible,discounts all dating methods, and seeks to show creationists as victims of a conspiracy of deluded false scientists. I am forced to ask how scientists the world over get away with this? Are they all in on it?

      It has been said elsewhere, by ken Gilmore, for one, that pushing a literal 7 day recent creation agenda is a way to drive people away from the religion. I agree with him.

      If any of you have the time or inclination, watch the talks and comment back. I realise that many of you are busier than me (I have a hit/miss work pattern that affords me with an amount of "waste" time between jobs that allow me to look at this material-not everybody does.

      This material should worry Marcus. His ideas and beliefs are not Christadelphian at all, regardless of his faith.

  15. Live in the sunlight. We get to spend the rest of eternity in the darkness. Don't fear that reality, just be sure to live in the present, and to live a meaningful life.

  16. How is the comment about first class helpfull??

    1. Paul, I've just got in from work, I will give you a full and proper explanation tomorrow. In the meantime, listen to the talks, and see if you can perhaps work out the reason for my sarcasm towards Brother Palmer. It should take about 4 hours to listen to the talks and the Q&A session.

  17. Paul, you're on thin ice here. Remember, my primary concern was "short comments that don't contribute to the conversation". Your latest comment fits that precisely. Whether you like Joseph's mention of first class or not, it is clear that his comment had substance and contributed to the conversation.

  18. What are you suggesting?? that someone paid for his ticket ?? or that he enjoys the pleasure of first class.?? or both?? wheather its the Concorde or a Glider how does it matter how he travels?? Is it you think peoples free- will offerings are paying for it?? or he is using modern worldly technology/engineering.I can only assume its on of the above??

    1. Paul, an interesting response, and one that tells us far more about what you are thinking than it does about what I was thinking when I made that comment (Which was bracketed, and followed by "probably", to ensure that it could not be mistaken for either a statement of fact or belief, and was not intended as part of the main body of the comment for Marcus).
      What do you think? Does it matter how he (or other speakers) travel? Does it tell us anything about Christadelphians that they choose to send their "big hitters" around the world to preach (as Mancott puts it), to the converted?
      My apologies too, it looks as though I will be a bit busy now for a few days, so more in-depth conversation may have to wait. How are you doing with listening to the talks? Also have a read through "bibleinthenews" to get you up to speed as to the direction of my thinking.

  19. Paul, Do you hear the thin ice creaking? Best to have followed up your question with your own thoughts on the subject, whether you think Joseph`s "first class" comment is relevant as a reference to expenditure by/for someone going to preach to(usually)the converted. I have to say that I have always had reservations about the necessity for Cd`s to fly around the world at great cost, unless at their own expense. What do other contributors think?

    1. I was never comfortable when I noticed them flying in freeloading Brothers from Britain or Australia to exhort at bible schools, bible camps, or just to travel from ecclesia to ecclesia, spreading their words of insight and wisdom. This freeloading included their airfare and lodging expenses. I found it patronizing, condescending, and annoying, and it was also my impression that most of these lecturers were self-important asses. Once, at the Wilbraham Christadelphian Bible School in New England, some pompous Brit was busy flatulating in an auditorium, and two very young girls sitting in the hall began whispering to one another. The fool actually stopped his lecture to angrily rebuke them, and I remember being appalled. They made these visitors feel so feted that the following year, one of the gentlemen, who had been sitting at our table in the bible school's cafeteria, came to roust me out of bed one morning when I overslept. He did not perform this task pleasantly; he performed it as if some terrible sin had occurred. I remember asking one of my siblings later: "Who the Hell does he think he is? Our tuition paid for him to be here."

      So often, you give such people a little bit of power or celebrity, and they go wild with it. Most likely because they have nothing that constitutes a real life back where they actually live.

    2. To my mind, "Is it a good idea to fly in international speakers?" is a very different question from "If international speakers are being invited, should they be required to cover their expenses as well as donating their time?" There is probably no need for international speakers (though, as I note below, it may increase the prestige of an event and thus increase the value to many attendees). However, once the decision has been taken to invite them then it shows their work is considered of value, and thus there should be serious consideration of paying expenses. I take issue with calling this "freeloading".

    3. Most of the speakers, in my experience, were older, retired and financially secure people who did not need the subsidies for lectures that were provided to them by Christadelphians sometimes working as waitresses, barbers, or subway car cleaners. It was probably gracious to cover their airfare and lodging expenses, but some of the ecclesias to which I belonged paid a daily stipend for meals and ground transportation, and on one or two occasions, paid what appeared to be small honorariums. "Spending money" is what I believe they called it. These monies came from very limited resources.

      Many of the lecturers weren't especially impressive, and some were pretty damn horrible. I would sit in the exhortations and think "Someone paid airfare for this?"

      In our city there were many attractions for foreign visitors -- and the lecturers usually availed themselves of them -- and eventually it just felt like we were sponsoring vacations. It wasn't a happy feeling. But love is blind, as they say, and religiosity (for lack of a better word) is even blinder. There was no sounding out of the lecturers' finances; if the lecturers believed they were doing God's work, they could have been reasonably expected to pay for a substantive portion of their lodging expenses, their transportation costs, etc., especially when they brought along spouses. There were people who actually did largely pay their own way, but many others didn't.

      In time, it came to feel like just another facet of what one of my relatives called "the Christadelphian racket."

      Time, like "work," is also of value. If the lectures were a service to God's will, the lectures shouldn't have been regarded as "work." And in regard to "Time spent," think of all of the thousands of hours and days we invested in shuffling into ecclesial halls to listen to what in hindsight was clearly gobbledy-gook. Where can we get compensated for that? Can we get a partial subsidy for that?

      One of the greatest crimes of cults, sects, perhaps religion in general, is that whatever constructive things they may do, they also use up the most precious resource that humans have: Time. Those are days of your youth that you will never retrieve again. Those are hours you could have spent putting up the new garage, or playing with your children. You won't get your children or those hours back. Instead, you spent them listening to Alan Eyre flatulating for two hours on whether or not the Israelites literally or figuratively spent forty years in the Sinai.

      If I could unearth Alan, I'd happily punch him in the face.

    4. I was once sent to the other side of the world (London, to be precise) for work. Airfare and accommodation was covered. There are many great tourist opportunities there, and I was able to take some of them and enjoyed it. However, I also had to do the work I was sent there to do, and if I had truly been on holiday in London I would have spent my time differently.

      At least in principle, I think the same applies with visiting international speakers: Yes, they may take some opportunities to tourist, but they are (hopefully) doing the job it was agreed for them to do, and if they were purely there on vacation they would probably have spent their time differently.

      That doesn't mean every speaker is a model of virtue, or that such payments and such travel opportunities are never abused. But I'm not sure that saying "Could you please do us a service - and, BTW, we expect you to pay for the privilege of serving" is a great message.

      Also, just because you didn't get value from the talks by international speakers doesn't necessarily mean others there got no value from it. Maybe I'm an oddity here, but I did tend to enjoy Bible talks (though, like Mancott, often from relatively unregarded "local" speakers, and not always from noted "international" speakers). I found benefits in the community. If I had known in my teens what I'd known now then I expect I would have left sooner and probably been better off as a result. But that doesn't make it a complete waste of time: Like it or not, it has had a big influence on making me who I am today, doubtless including things that I like about myself and things that I don't.

      There are a range of experiences in Christadelphia, and if someone like me who ultimately quit could have some good experiences I imagine there are plenty who stay in who have good experiences.

    5. Making peace with the past is a good way to move on. I can't go as far as you and say I enjoyed it, I have made a conscious effort over the past few years to unshackle myself from the upbringing and accept it for what it is. Like you I can see that it has had an influence of who I am, not all bad. I have family in the religion, but we get along.

  20. You might be shocked, but i dont think any preacher should be paid. Should have a job and if they want to preach, do it for free. If at their own expense no problem with first class

    1. Paul, no I'm not shocked, that is the expected position from Christadelphians (I don't know if you are one), I am a little more flexible, for multiple reasons. One consequence of the "amateur" approach of the Christadelphians is that it results in inconsistent preaching standards, and inconsistency of beliefs being preached as truth, since it is often the loudest voice that wins, and no system of checks and balances.
      Do you think Jesus would have travelled first class? I think so.

    2. Paul, Just a thought, John Thomas preached for free, but only wrote books by subscription, i.e. you had to pay up front, and when he had enough up front payments, he wrote the book, thus ensuring he never took any financial risk himself. Good financial plan, but hardly a demonstration of confidence in what he was writing don't you think?

    3. Paul, one more thought and then I'm off out to work. OK that you don't think preachers should be paid, but how do you feel about Christadelphian "businesses" (I say that as many are registered as such in the UK, at companies house), do you think it is OK for them to claim tax relief on income by means of being a charity? Is this not a back door method of getting "paid" for their preaching?

    4. Paul, I could not agree with you more. Too many people rake a living or a "subsidy" off their religious activities. If this is your passion or your calling, don't reach into my pocket to pay for it. Subsidize yourself.

  21. Let me be clear, i dont think any preacher from ANY religion should be paid.In any shape or form.Thats just my opinion.In the big mega Churches or the likes of faith healers, its miracles for sale. They flog thousands off people for false miracles etc. And i dont think Christadelphians should be paid to fly. around the world to preach either.As i said earlier run a business or have a job. Then go for it at your own expense if you want.

  22. Paul, the apostle, not he of one line posts, said "If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?" So I see no problem if CDs want to lavish expenses on their visiting preachers, because despite what Paul clearly says CDs dont believe preachers should be paid in actual money. In the words of Mr Ashton's booklet - if you have paid clergy you get financial impropriety - ha ha. Why single out preachers? Should those who fix the Ecclesial Hall roof also not be paid for their labour, or those who edit a magazine...

    1. Thanks for the reminder of the one line posts. What i mean by getting paid is wages , hourly rate/salary etc. That to me is a no no. If a visitor speaks from overseas and members want to give him a few bucks for travel etc so be it. To me that is gifting. But he should not be told if you go to say the states for example, we will pay you x amount.

  23. When I did missionary work, I took some unpaid leave and covered my own air fares and many of my expenses, so I have some sympathy with Paul's argument. But it does make the burden fall more heavily on individuals who would have to give both their time and money in service, and will surely exclude some completely from that service.

    OK, let's reframe it: Organisers of some important (in Christadelphian circles) Bible camp approach an international speaker and ask "Would you please use some of your annual vacation time to come and speak at our Bible camp to make it more prestigious and attract more attendees? Oh, and by the way, we expect you to pay for the privilege of fulfilling our request". Does that sound reasonable?

    For that kind of situation, to me it's a simple matter of economics: If potential attendees value the kind of camp that has international speakers, then they should pay the higher camp fees required to have those international speakers. Depending on the situation, it may attract more attendees and thus increase the financial consequence of the camp. And if enough people don't value that, then it will probably stop being a camp that invites international speakers in an attempt to reduce costs.

    That said, looking beyond Christadelphia, the vast majority of preachers are not making millions leading megachurches. It is a profession that they have spent years training for (which makes it at least less likely that they will butcher Hebrew and Greek like many Christadelphian speakers do). They have also had to pay for this qualification (are you expecting theological seminaries to be providing free training? Should their teachers also provide their services free of charge? How far out does it stretch? Should we just not pay doctors and tell them they should be glad for an opportunity to serve?)

    Finally, it's not just any profession: It is a demanding profession that burns many out, and it involves a lot more work than just, say, preaching on Sundays (definitely includes components of social work and counselling - are they allowed to be paid for that?)

    Basically, though, my take would be that paying expenses for visiting speakers can certainly be abused, but that doesn't make it wrong. If you demand people to be willing to give both their time and their money, the load will fall unequally. Some will be unable, some will be unwilling. If you value people's services, pay them for it, or at least make sure they're not worse off for the service you've requested of them. As Hassan has said, there's even a Bible verse to support this...

    1. Jon, My brother spent three years at Cambridge University doing his masters in theology degree, after three years reading for his BA in geography at London, and a year looking after the homeless.
      Spare room Christadelphians who surround themselves with CD books, and little else, who claim to know what church ministers do and don't do and know just make me laugh.
      Never, ever has he felt the need to list out his qualifications after his name, before speaking (preaching), even though HIS are relevant to his subject, unlike the pompous string of letters that certain Christadelphians do, even when said qualifications are not in that field at all.....

  24. Subsidies (or payment in full) for the spreading of theological fantasies. Better to pay for an actual dog and pony show. I remember I got to the point where ten minutes into an exhortation I wasn't listening to one word being uttered. I shared this confidence with a friend, who said, "Don't worry. No one else is listening either."

  25. At the Wilbraham Academy sometimes a very popular lecturer would appear. His name was Wylie, I believe (but I'm not certain of his surname). He would mesmerize the attendees with his wisdom and wit, and often leave them laughing in the aisles with his clever witticisms. On the lecture circuit, he was regarded as a genuine luminary. Yet not long after his fame hit its zenith, I recall that he was ousted from Christadelphianism, reportedly for adultery or fornication with his cleaning lady, or some such misbehavior. Star material, he was apparently NOT.

  26. Thinking back, to all of the "Swanwicks" and similar I attended, I didn`t care, or necessarily know in advance who the speakers were going to be, and I simply looked forward to meeting with friends, and maybe hearing something worth listening to. I`ve listened to many "local" speakers who had far more to say of interest and import than many of the so-called top-notch speakers, who were seemingly rather full of their own importance.
    Cd`s have a tendency to almost revere or worship these so-called Stars of the speaking circuit.

  27. One of my most cringeworthy memories of this little cult was the "all day meeting" we would occasionally hold, so that some foreign gas bag could gas all afternoon. There'd be Sunday School, the regular service, a lunch, and then one or two lectures by the interloper. The regular services were horrible enough, without making the misery an all day event. I recall sometimes the audiences wouldn't remain for the "all day service," and then the firebrand in charge of the ecclesia would follow people into the parking lot to berate them because they needed "to get their priorities straight." He actually tried to prevent us on one occasion from attending a sibling's birthday party. She was not a member of the sect. "Tell her to go jump in a lake," was his advice.

    1. I am going a bit off thread. This highlights an issue with the kind of church leadership where a local church is autonomous from all others with no external oversight. I am sure most CD churches are not cults, but with no overseer (what the orthodox churches call bishops) its impossible to stop some being taken over by 'firebrands'. So CDs like to claim they are not a cult - of course Christadelphianism per se is not a cult - as there is no central body or leader to exercise power over local CD congregations, but for sure some CD churches like the one Jody had the misfortune of becoming involved with are cults, and most have some cultish attributes - the ABs exercise power over members by threatening withdrawal.

  28. YES. These autonomous churches or ecclesias become the tiny kingdoms of whatever Alpha male can impose his authority on them. And in that way, they certainly become cult-like. Sometimes it is a group of several men who take charge. Sometimes it is one person. But this can create some very ugly situations, wherein church members are treated in entirely partisan and subjective manners. The "discipline" one member may receive may be entirely different when other members of the church engage in the same behavior. The firebrands favor their own relatives, make their own rules, etc. All of this discussion brings to my mind one very unpleasant individual who regularly kicked members' asses around -- and he was so intimidating that no one would stand up to him, and today, even though he is dead, no one will say anything critical about his very destructive behavior. He upbraided one of my siblings for wearing blue jeans to church, even though blue jeans were the only clothing she had at the time (she'd just gone out on her own, to live independently). He verbally assaulted two distant relatives of mine, for smoking outside the chapel's doors, in view of people passing by. He would ambush people when he didn't like their behavior, showing up at their homes unannounced to discuss their perceived misbehavior with them. He was a bully and a punk and a thug, despite having an important job and being the Alpha male in our meeting. No, it take it back. He was yet another CD monster.

  29. And there is nothing anyone can do in such situations -- they are usually impossible to fix.


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