The Things We Believe
Just what do Christadelphians believe? What distinguishes us
from others, and why do we feel we must stand alone?
Considering the almost endless variety of churches in the
world, a fairly small community with an uncommon name will naturally raise
questions. After all, in every denomination, there are people who find it
unthinkable that someone would be of another faith. Well-established and
respectable communities cannot see any justification for smaller and
lesser-known bodies; meanwhile numerous evangelical bodies, with great
enthusiasm in their own camps, differ profoundly from one another.
It is a bewildering spectacle. Faced with it, Catholics are
apt to be indignant; the larger churches, content with their own positions and
faintly amused by the variety beneath them; and that variety itself, dogmatic
and mutually exclusive. Outside it all, the perplexed inquirer might very well
conclude that if organized modern Christianity has come to this, there is a case
for doing without it altogether.
Everywhere, men of good will have recognized this dilemma. In
efforts to remove the reproach, many churches have gone so far as to disregard
almost all doctrinal differences. Many different Canadian churches have united
in just such an effort and the process of breaking down barriers continues
elsewhere (in Australia, for example).
Yet there still remain worshipers who see no possibility of
their churches taking part in such an "ecumenical" movement: they consider their
beliefs too precious to be compromised in the interests of such a "peace". These
people, who include Christadelphians, have a particular duty to explain
themselves. Inquirers have a right to ask why we continue to emphasize the
disunities of Christendom, and to remain separate from all others.
As Christadelphians, we are a community with convictions. If
we were not, compromise would be easy. Christadelphians could open their doors
to any who might care to join them. As it is, we believe Christadelphians stand
for a truth that is something precious, and we must speak and write in its
defense. Doing so must involve criticism of others; in fact, if we were not
critical, we should not be disposed to be separate. Yet any whose church is
named, or whose opinion is opposed, must realize that we intend no malice.
Anyone is free to judge whether we are right or wrong; we ask him only to accept
that we are sincere in our desire to help make the Truth known.