Australian Christadelphian Central Standing Committee
Unity In Australia


To the brethren and sisters of Central Fellowship ecclesias throughout Australia:

Individually and collectively, in ecclesial life and worship, we have for the past five years, enjoyed the fruits of Unity in Christ Jesus.

These fruits unto God spring from the free spiritual and social intercourse of minds, untrammelled by the tensions and stresses of doctrinal controversy. Under this stimulus, our minds bend towards the more important tasks of proclaiming the gospel to a perishing world, and of nourishing and admonishing the household to a greater understanding of the Word of God; with appreciation of spiritual values and conduct in Christ.

In expressing thanks to our Heavenly Father for this respite from long periods of household division, we are mindful that the labour and wisdom of our late beloved John Carter, expended in personal sacrifice, was instrumental in setting unity on a firm and acceptable basis in Australia. Nor can we forget the goodwill and energy of individual brethren and ecclesias of both fellowships, now united, who laboured assiduously in committee, to formulate an acceptable basis of fellowship, and to gain common assent from practically the whole brotherhood throughout Australia.

It is now felt by ecclesias generally, and by many responsible brethren throughout the Commonwealth, that the lapse of five years since the establishment of unity, calls for a comprehensive record and reminder of the principles of doctrine and fellowship, constituting the basis of Unity in Australia. Also to remind us that this unity was virtually an extension of the unity achieved in England between the two fellowships there. This made it possible for all ecclesias assenting to unity, both here and in Great Britain, to subscribe to what is known as the “Central Fellowship”.

If the booklet constitutes in some way, a memorial to the late John Carter, it is incidentally so. It is because we cannot separate unity from the rich spiritual insight that he brought to bear upon the nature and sacrifice of Christ. Unity is equally indebted to his restrained but objective approach to the personal problems involved. as well as his lucid explanation of words and terms in and out of scripture, which hitherto were surrounded with some confusion of thought.

The two outstanding addresses by Bro. Carter, delivered in Australia in 1958, under the titles, “The Atonement” and “Isaiah Chapter 53”, lifted the subject under review to a high spiritual plane and are reproduced here, as perhaps the highlight of his contribution to ecclesial unity in Australia. The beauty and profundity of these expositions are strongly commended to the brethren and sisters, for earnest study and meditation.

The several articles appearing in “The Christadelphian”, 1958, under the title “The Truth in Australia”, resulted from his visit here and are reproduced, by kind permission of the present Editor, to remind us of the actual “Basis of Fellowship” finally accepted. They also serve to show the mind of Bro. Carter on those more difficult aspects of doctrine. His humble and reverent approach to difficult scriptural passages served to avoid the more rabid and extreme interpretations of past years, which were responsible for much misunderstanding and division.

Perhaps we can never rise to a worthwhile understanding and deep appreciation of the Truth in its various aspects, until we are confronted by a challenge. This applies both to our “inward” and “outward” responsibilities in the service of Christ.

It is well said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and anything so valuable as unity in the brotherhood, achieved by prayerful labour, study and personal sacrifice, and which sustains our sacred liberty in Christ, is equally worth all of our prayers, labour and goodwill for its preservation.

In compiling this record, we have omitted certain of the matter in the articles from “The Christadelphian” where this was considered irrelevant to the end in view. It was thought desirable to include Bro. Carter’s references to “historic” controversies, which have undoubtedly assisted in leading us to a more mature and balanced understanding of the central theme of our Salvation in Christ.

It is the earnest desire and prayer of the Central Standing Committee, that this short history of unity achievement among the Christadelphian ecclesias of Australia, may stimulate each and every brother and sister to a higher appreciation of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Also that it may give us a higher sense of duty towards the preservation of those principles of doctrine and fellowship, which form the basis of our Unity in Christ.

—The Australian Christadelphian Central Standing Committee.

Sydney, August, 1963.
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