4. The Statement of Faith
Attached to the ecclesial constitution is most
likely “A Statement of the Faith of the Christadelphians”.
Christadelphians have from their beginnings felt it necessary to define their
distinctive beliefs in an orderly, logical fashion — so as to make plain
the difference between ourselves and the various churches around
The Bible does not formulate its teaching in the
form of a Creed; and because men have laid hold of isolated statements as the
basis of their teaching the authority of the Bible has been claimed for very
contradictory views. Thus, two men could each say, “I believe what the
Bible teaches”, and yet hold absolutely opposing ideas.
The Lord Jesus expounded the Scriptures and gave
an infallible interpretation of them; but his opponents did not accept that
interpretation. They searched the Scriptures to establish their own peculiar
beliefs and misused the texts they relied upon to prove those erroneous views.
This has also been the state of things throughout the history of Christendom:
the trinitarian and the immortal soulist both quote their own favorite Bible
passages, and both are very much mistaken.
But everyone who speaks or writes in exposition
of the Scriptures is attempting to define its meaning. Those who object to a
Statement of Faith make a statement of their own faith in their own teaching,
which they seek to sustain by Scripture testimony. It is, therefore, not
sufficient that a man say, “I believe such a passage of Scripture”;
what is required is a declaration of what in his view Scripture means. A man,
then, and also a community must define the beliefs held. Only then can there be
set forth the teaching for which the community stands.