The Agora
Who Are the Christadelphians?

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Scriptural Baptism

The Christadelphian understanding of the true gospel, something of which has been discussed above, requires of us a precise act of obedience called baptism. Paul compares baptism to the crucifixion (Rom 6:1-6), as those baptized recognize what the Lord has done by his death, and imitate his willing submission to death. In accepting baptism they also admit that there is nothing to be hoped for from the former way of life, and they are born again (Joh 3:3-5; Tit 3:3-5). But all this demands choice: intelligent, informed and humble choice. "Repent, and be baptized", cried Peter on the day of Pentecost (Act 2:38,41). Given its full implication, it is hard to understand how man can invent reasons for not accepting such an appeal.

According to our understanding of Scripture, two aspects of baptism are clear and inescapable: (1) those who were to be baptized were first taught, and then believed and repented; and (2) they were baptized, being totally immersed in water. Neither aspect is common to "Christian baptism" today. In fact, the modern practice (of Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others) of "baptizing" under the guarantee of "godparents", by pouring a little water on the head of an infant, is foreign both to the Bible and to the earliest church practice. No man has the right to anticipate or guarantee the faith of another; nor has any religious body the right to change (for the sake of convenience or any other reason) the commandments of God!

Therefore, we believe adult baptism is God's command (Mat 28:19,20; Mar 16:15,16; Act 8:12,26-40; 9:18; 10:43-48), the rite of initiation whereby men, women, and grown children enter the family of faith. Only those who share this faith and receive baptism are invited to partake of the memorials of the Lord's death with us. Admittedly, this makes Christadelphians an "exclusive" body, but not in the sense which implies: "We are good and you are wicked." Rather, Christadelphians say, "We are all sinners. Sinners must take the way that is offered, and cannot 'invent' others for themselves. God has appointed this ordinance and we have no right to tamper with it." It is not because we want to separate ourselves from others that we keep ourselves apart in worship. It is because we cannot even implicitly encourage anyone to be disobedient by allowing him to think that obedience is unimportant.

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