The Big conversation – Antagonists

After Jesus brought the Good News of the Kingdom of God and had left this world his disciples continued doing what Jesus had asked them to do, to go out in the world and to tell all about the possibilities to find salvation and how to enter the Kingdom of God.

Years passed by and several people throughout the years continued spreading the Good News. Many of them associated with certain groups and tried to find a way to survive whilst doing their preaching. To be enabled to buy their food and pay for their lodgings certain preachers associated themselves forming denominations which continued to grow and divide the money received under their members.

The Life of John ThomasWhen Dr. John Thomas found a solution to protect the God loving people in the torn North America and founded the Christadelphians it never was installed to be an organisation to the following of his own personality. Some outsiders do think that Christadelphians as Thomasites or followers of John Thomas take them as their pope and prophet, but that is not so.

In that part of the world where many people came to reside because they were looking for a better world than Europe could offer them, several people had come aware that too many denominations had gone far away from the Biblical truth and that it was necessary to go back to the Source of Life and to the Source of our Salvation. they had become aware that it was God his Word and not that of priests or pastors could bring us the revelation of truth. For them it became important to go back to that infallible Word of God that says it all.

Going from one place to an other Dr. Thomas inspired many to do more Bible research and to come together in their houses to do some Bible study together. This way the coming together in each other houses like the first followers of Christ did was re-installed and ‘house churches‘ attracted more people again to come to find the truth of God. In many different states peopled joined forces and became very active Bible Students.

They had their busy life and had to work hard to survive, but always took some time to have a moment to come in close relationship with God. Daily they performed their prayers and took some time to read the Bible. In this tradition the Christadelphians went on finding others interested in their thoughts and creating families who preferred to stick to the biblical truth instead of joining mainstream denominations.

They were well aware that by the other denominations lots of people also thought that they could by the grace of our Lord, be “changed” (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Those who followed the teaching of Jesus Christ and understood the teachings of Dr. Thomas could look at those disciples who after being “astounded” at events and witnessing the “scoffers” perished as they started to “shine like the brightness of the sky above” (Daniel 12:3). The reality of this is far beyond present comprehension; how earnestly we must pray for that day to come.

By the years the community of Christadelphians could grow, but when the capitalist system offered lots of tempting gadgets to the people, less and less people became interested in the spiritual and not many wanted to give an eye or ear to godly matters. Like any other denomination we can not escape the strength of this world, the lord of this world, which is the Satan Jesus is talking about governing this world. Yes, the world has come in the hands of Satan, the contradictor of God. As adversary of the truth the ones who ignore God or do not want to know about Him try to convince people they do not need him, and many do believe those antagonists of God.

The 1st English edition of The Kingdom of God ...
The 1st English edition of The Kingdom of God Is Within You. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When forming small groups of bible believers we do have to be careful to keep looking for the truth and to share that what we do find. It is part of brotherly love to share our knowledge with others. It is also part of the agapè love not to exclude any one from that what we do have to share with each other.

What we notice is that like in any other organisation there is some form of preferred groups of contact but also some restraint to take contact with others or abstention to make contacts with certain groups from other countries or other language groups. This is really a shame. also the amount of different Christadelphian groups, not exactly schisms but still some splits, like Central Fellowship and Dawn Fellowship, CBM and Carelinks members, Pioneer Christadelphians and several other Christadelphian groups. Much too often we do find certain Christadelphian groups who like in other denominations have people who want to speculate about certain matters we do not know.

We as Free Christadelphians are not bounded to any organisation and we do not want to waste our energy in vain speculations and bootless investigation.We prefer to investigate time in what is in front of us, put in the Word of God in clarity. When we concentrate on that there is already enough to study and to keep busy with.

The Scriptures reveal that declension from the Faith is two-fold.  Some tolerate wrong doctrines and practices. Some add the traditions of men, and expect their members to subscribe to them.  Both extremes are unacceptable and an “abomination” to God. It is such attitude where Dr. John Thomas fought against and for which many of the American pioneers left the European mainland.

All of us should remember that

The narrowness of the truth is one of the obstacles to its general adoption.

People do not like to be fettered either in doctrine or practice. It is also one of the causes of the active tendency to corruption which has manifested itself among those embracing the truth from the very day it was apostolically established at Jerusalem. It is inconvenient to be under restrictions in our dealings with fellow men in the truth or out of it. If it were a question of choice, we should all prefer absolute freedom. But no one recognizing Christ as the supreme teacher can think of freedom in the matter. If we make freedom our rule, we can only have the freedom of those who set Christ aside altogether, saying in the words of the wicked

“Our tongues are our own: who is Lord over us”.

None who truly know Christ would desire this freedom. All who sincerely accept Christ will recognize his law as paramount, however irksomely it may work in some of its present relations.

You are now reading articles from us who call themselves Free Christadelphians. With that specification “Free” we want to indicate that we are free from worldly connections and are not bounded to any specific worldly organisation. the freedom we indicate is our “freedom in Christ”. Jesus is our cornerstone. It is him we are following. We constructed our base in Dr. John Thomas and his co-brother Robert Roberts their writings. Robert Roberts lived to witness the long-anticipated movement for the return of Israel,  as prophesied in the Bible and written of by John Thomas in ‘Elpis Israel‘ {of which you can find extracts at our site “Messiah for all“}. In this world too many Christadelphians perhaps have forgotten those writings and have constricted themselves to their own small ecclesia, secluding themselves from others who are also eager to keep to the Biblical Truth and who also found reasons enough to believe what Thomas, Roberts and other Christadelphians of the first hour wrote.

Those man from the beginning times spend time to go around and to cover miles to see and meet other interested fellows. they also where not afraid to cross seas and to have contact with people whose original language was not English.

Today we may find a big problem with certain English speaking Christadelphians that they do not want to take contact with people from an other culture or speaking an other language. This, in our eyes, is one of the main problems of our community not growing. at the meeting of the tenth of October perhaps this “Big Conversation” should have given also some attention to the conversation between the different groups of Christadelphians. It is high time that more Christadelphians would take some more time to show their agapè love for their brethren and sisters all over the world and stretch out their hand to all the different groups of Christadelphians showing that our connection is the Unity with Christ.

In Christ Jesus we should all be united, as brothers and sisters, aiming to help each other to find and stay on the right path, the Way to God.

What is going wrong in our society is what we can see in many more small churches, namely that too many people in the group

“keep it all to them-self.”

Today there are not enough Christadelphians and other Christians who want to share with others. they are perhaps afraid not giving hands with others because they do not know them enough. But instead of trying to get to know them better, they hold distance and avoid any contact. They better should make contact. That is what our society needs. Making contact again with others, opening our mind and showing a willingness to receive them and to listen and talk to them.

History feeds the lie and our perception is that the lie is true, but it’s not. Man much too often forget that this is God’s church and not theirs.

That may sound trite if you’re struggling in trying to get people to step up and serve within the church but it is a reality that cannot be perverted or neglected. Jesus is the head of the church, not you. The Holy Spirit causes the church to live and move and have its being, not you. If something doesn’t get done, God is neither surprised nor disappointed – He’s got this. Maybe that task is just not as vital as you think. {The Best Thing You Can Do}

The killing of a church can be when a certain person or group starts having everything evolves around him or her and starts thinking they are the standard by which they measure whether something is “done right” or not;

you are the lynchpin that makes the church go round; you are the only one capable of doing things and handling issues that arise. {The Best Thing You Can Do}

is the danger point where any sowing contact may be dried up. Beforehand exclusion is the curtain closed and the lights dimmed to attract and connect with others.

Being a very small community the danger also may exist that we do try too hard to have our small community thriving.

We burn out and burn up trying to make our little church run like a big church rather than running the race set before us. Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” In other words work smarter, not harder. Don’t kill yourself chasing after what cannot be caught. {The Best Thing You Can Do}

We should be pleased that we can be a small independent community but should be willing to look and reach respectfully to other such small communities.

The survival of the church does not depends on priests, pastors or elders, but on the willingness of many people eager to be loved ones from God. Survival can be there when everybody is respectfully to recognise all capabilities of others and show willingness to share the love of Christ and to share the love of the body of Christ. It is sharing the Bible, sharing Gods Word, sharing Good News, and willingness to help each other to retain to the truth that makes our community work and sustain.

In the knowledge that it is not size alone that leads to success of any church, large or small, we should sincerely make work of it to follow Jesus and to try to take on his character, loving all around us, and giving them all a hand to go together with us.

Let us try our best to develop the strength of faith we are reading about in the Acts as we do not know how many tribulations await us, as the time of the kingdom comes ever closer. Let us remember that Jesus said,

“the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13).

May that be the case for us all.

And let us to be open minded to other people and other groups who go for the same truth as we do, looking for the right way to God. Let us not hinder each other but let us be co-workers aiming for the same goal, not working against each other but with each other.

While maintaining the cultural discipling rhythms of Investing, Involving, and Inspiring, we can find inspiration and wisdom from other missionally focused movements that might strengthen, build, and equip our own covenantal practices and understandings of them. Holding our own beliefs and practices in open form to the greater community of missional groups, not only creates a communicative dialogue between movements that would shape our own, but also open doors of collaboration and the ability for us to shape other movements around us. This is not dismissing the solidarity of our own cultural rhythms in discipleship but rather transcending them to the greater movement of the mission of God as a whole.

In the practicalities of this we need to explore the questions of what are the other missional movements around us that resonate with our own? How might we begin a dialogue with them towards mutual collaboration? Are we willing to let them speak into our cultural rhythms in the pursuit of “dreaming dreams and seeing visions”? What practices of accountability would we expect upon our leadership in participation? {Further Steps Towards The Edge – Pt. #4 – Creating an External Vision for Dreaming Dreams and Seeing Visions}

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Preceding articles:

Religious Practices around the world

Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant

Ecclesia to exist, grow and communities to have people communicating with each other

The Ecclesia in the churchsystem

Reasons to come together

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation follow up

Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church

The Big Conversation – Christadelphians in the United Kingdom

Engaging the culture without losing the gospel

Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism

Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church

Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation

Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building

Belgian Christadelphians 2013 & 2014 in review

Personal thoughts, communication, establishing ecclesia and guest writings

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Additional reading:

  1. People are turning their back on Christianity
  2. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  3. Faith antithesis of rationality
  4. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  5. A call easy to understand
  6. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  7. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  8. Do not be afraid to learn or to speak
  9. Reasons to come together
  10. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  11. Fellowship
  12. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  13. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  14. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  15. To find ways of Godly understanding
  16. Christianity to be enshrined
  17. Christianity is a love affair
  18. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  19. Who are the honest ones?
  20. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  21. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  22. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  23. Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World
  24. Some christians do have problems with the Christian connection with Jews
  25. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  26. Determine the drive
  27. Try driving forward instead of backwards
  28. Campbell, Thomas and Bijbelvorsers
  29. Looking at older articles series over Russell on the previous Bible-scholar Association
  30. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  31. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews
  32. Christadelphian people
  33. Who are Christadelphians
  34. What are Brothers in Christ
  35. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  36. Christadelphians today
  37. Keeping an ecclesia in modern times
  38. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  39. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  40. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships
  41. Love for each other attracting others
  42. What makes a consecrated Christian
  43. If you have integrity
  44. Work with joy and pray with love
  45. To know Christ is filling life with meaning
  46. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  47. Jehovah is good unto them that wait for Him

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Further reading

  1. God’s Roadmap To Peace!
  2. Little Church in the Field
  3. Full Circle
  4. A Man of Understanding
  5. Done in Love
  6. Development or Deviation?
  7. Being Raised Christadelphian
  8. A Vital time for Christadelphians to watch
  9. We can discover the Truth
  10. God’s Deliverance from Bondage was two-fold
  11. ‘Christ’s warning to Christianity ‘ Come out from the Apostate Church! The Time Is At Hand
  12. Enfield Ecclesia
  13. Bible discovery channel
  14. Pioneer Unamended Christadelphian Resources

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