When you have read this information you will know the answers to these questions:
- What is the religious background of the Christadelphians?
- What do Christadelphians believe?
- How can I get the most out of my own Bible study?
Who are the Christadelphians?
The name ‘Christadelphian’ was chosen because it describes the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. The New Testament was written in Greek. ‘Christadelphian’ is made up of two Greek words, adelphos and Christos, and means ‘Brethren in Christ’. This phrase is found in the Bible, in Colossians 1:2.
John Thomas, a 19th century preacher, decided on the name ‘Christadelphian’. He travelled widely in both the USA and Britain, preaching the gospel. His clear understanding and explanation of the Bible message led to others being convinced that he preached the truth. They were baptized into Christ and became members of the Christadelphian community, meeting together in worship. At first, they were to be found mainly in the USA and Britain, but there are now Christadelphian communities on every continent. It has truly become a worldwide fellowship.
The really distinctive feature of theChristadelphians is that they trust in the Bible as their only source of beliefs and authority. All its words, in both the Old and the New Testaments, are inspired by God and are given to men and women for their salvation. As a result of this emphasis, Christadelphian beliefs are identical to those taught by Jesus and the apostles in the first century.
Christadelphians read the Bible every day. Using a plan, they read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice, every year. One of the many benefits of this is that every day they can personally check their beliefs against the authority of Scripture. This plan is available at the following websites: www.christadelphia.org/readplan.htm, www.dailyreadings.org.uk
What do Christadelphians believe?
Christadelphians ask you to compare their beliefs with Bible teaching. You will benefit most if you take the time to look up and read the Bible passages given. Because Jesus was “The Truth”, his own words are quoted below, as often as space permits.
- God is the eternal Creator of the universe. He created life on earth, and made man in His own image (Genesis 1:1, 27; Acts 17:24-28).
- The Bible is the wholly inspired Word of God (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
- Angels are immortal beings who carry out God’s will (Hebrews 1:13, 14).
- God’s plan is to fill the whole earth with His glory (Numbers 14:21; Habakkuk 2:14).
- Man (Adam) was given a choice by God. He could obey God, and live, or disobey Him and die. Adam sinned by disobeying God. He was sentenced to death (Genesis 3:17-19).
- We are all descended from Adam. Because he sinned, and died, all men and women have been born mortal. However, we “all have sinned”, and we deserve to die on our own account (Romans 3:23; 5:12; 6:23).
- Like Adam, we are all responsible for our own actions. If we were not, a fair-minded God could not call our wrong actions ‘sin’. We cannot blame a supernatural devil. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14-16). Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, fornications …” (Matthew 15:19).
- God was, and still is, the Father of Jesus Christ. God used His Holy Spirit so that Mary “conceived in her womb”. Jesus was, therefore, both Son of God, and Son of man (Luke 1:30-35).
- Jesus is not equal with God. He said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), and “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God” (John 20:17).
- The Holy Spirit is God’s power, to use as He chooses (Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 61:1). It is not a separate person.
- Jesus could have sinned, but he did not.
- He “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself… so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for him, he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:26-28).
- Because of his perfect obedience to the will of God, Jesus was raised from the dead. He was given everlasting life. He said, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26).
- Jesus, after his resurrection, still had a body. He said to Thomas, one of the 12 apostles, “Reach your hand here, and put it into my side” (John 20:27).
- If we are found faithful, and granted immortality, Jesus will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
- After his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11). He now acts as our Lord and mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus was victorious over sin and death. By God’s grace, all who believe and faithfully follow him will receive the blessing of everlasting life (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Peter 5:4).
- The blessing of everlasting life will be given at the judgement. This will take place after Jesus returns and raises the responsible dead. Jesus said, “All who are in the graves will hear his voice, and come forth- those who have done good to the resurrection of life” (John 5:28, 29).
- Jesus tells us many times that he will return to the earth. “The Son of man will come in the glory of his Father, with his his angels, and then he will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). Note the order of events:
- Jesus returns;
- he raises the dead;
- the judgement takes place;
- he gives everlasting life to his faithful followers.
- When Jesus comes, he will be “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). Kings will bow before him (Psalm 72:11). The Bible calls this time ‘The Kingdom of God’. The faithful believers, made immortal saints, will help Jesus. He promised that his twelve apostles would “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).
- Men and women must acknowledge that they are sinners. They must believe the Gospel, repent and be baptized. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).
- Jesus told his disciples, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We must follow his example of obedience to God and practical service, and remember him by breaking bread and drinking wine regularly, “till he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
- Finally, we must remember that God chose to reveal Himself to the Jewish nation. He made promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David and to the nation of Israel. Many of these promises will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to the earth. Watch Israel! (Genesis 12:2, 3; 13:14-17; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Ezekiel 36:22-24; 37:21, 22).
What advice can you give me, to help me get the most out of my own Bible study?
There are some simple, but very important, rules for Bible study:
- Pray before you read;
- Look carefully at the exact words you are studying; examine the context – that is, look carefully at what is being said before and after the the passage you are studying.
- Look at similar words, phrases and situations in other parts of the Bible and compare and contrast them.
- Think about them all—often!
Important Bible teachings are always mentioned many times. The return of Jesus, resurrection, judgement, everlasting life for Christ’s faithful followers, and the Kingdom of God on earth must be true: they are all taught in so many different places. Read this article, with your Bible, to test all your beliefs. If what you currently believe cannot stand careful examination, give those ideas up. Faithfully following God’s word leads to eternal life. It is God’s greatest gift to mankind. “Give me understanding that I may learn thy commandments” (Psalm 119:73).