The Agora
Who Are the Christadelphians?

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Two events, both of which occurred in Germany at the turn of the 15th Century, marked the dawn of what is commonly called the Protestant Reformation: In 1456, Johann Gutenberg and his assistants produced the first book ever printed from movable type; and in 1522, Martin Luther, a former Catholic monk, translated that same book into the common language of the people.

The book, of course, was the Bible. And within a generation, it would be freely circulating throughout much of the continent -- made accessible for the first time by the new printing technology, and intelligible by virtue of Martin Luther's work.

Wearied by centuries of superstition and spiritual tyranny, people now turned with eagerness to the message of hope and love they discovered in God's Word. Rapidly, there sprang up communities of "Bible-believers" known by a variety of names including "Anabaptists" or "Re-baptizers", because of their belief in the necessity of adult baptism; and "Adventists", because of their firm hope in the literal return of Christ. Most commonly, they were called simply "Brethren".

Persecuted by both Catholic and Protestant "state" churches (including Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans), the "Brethren" suffered on all sides because of their unpopular doctrines, such as:

Under the steady, unremitting pressure of their enemies, congregations of "Brethren" disbanded and scattered throughout Europe, fleeing for their lives from one country to another. When apprehended, many Brethren and their children were summarily executed by Catholics and Protestants alike. Other groups of the Brethren survived persecution by modifying their doctrinal positions, continuing for some years as "Mennonites" or "Baptists" or "Unitarians". But in the process, these Brethren lost, with each passing generation, more of their unique birthright of Bible truth.

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