Last year, for the Newbury ecclesia, I gave a bible class about our Belgian situation of isolation. From the beginning of our existence we could not count on many members and can we not say we had many contacts and exchanges with worldwide members and other ecclesiae. We every year where happy to receive guests from Australia and from the Baltic States and from the United Kingdom. I myself got baptised in the brotherhood of the Christadelphians some years after I myself had got others already baptised in the Christadelphian community.
In the past as the Southern Baptist Convention adopted already a more centralized denominational church government, the Landmarkers or Landmarkists believed the local church was losing its autonomy, and eventually they withdrew in 1905 to form their own fellowship and in 1924 becoming the American Baptist Association. The Landmarkers wished to retain what they considered the “old landmarks” of early Christianity, and, therefore, they refused to cooperate or associate with non-Baptist churches and other Baptists with whom they disagreed. The non-trinitarian Baptists where open Baptists, which were from freedom of speech in the religious group. Of the American ones many knew several of the founders of the United States of America where in for such freedom of religious thought. The general thought in our community was also that nobody had the right to impose his will to others, blocking their choices, neither on the way how to worship, making it as such that every community had the right to organise its own system and to arrange services like they wanted to do it. We knew that we had to be under Christ and not under any governement be it from a state or a worldly organisation, which are all fallible. For us we did belong to the Body of Christ and had to bring or take responsibility for Christ. Following Christ had to be a ‘choice of the heart’ and not coerced by King or religious hierarchy. For us it was also not to decide about the right or wrong of the other, never to condemn some one for believing something else. (Though we could warn them about the differences in faith and try to show others the Way to God = Christ Jesus and not as such a denomination).
Having belonged to the non-trinitarian Baptists when they became so pushed into the corner by the Southern Baptist Union and Southern Baptist Convention and trinitarian Baptists in general, I followed many of the hundreds of thousands of Baptists who went to an other religious group. Though the majority of my fellow brethren and sisters went to the Jehovah Witnesses, which where on the same track as the majority of non-trinitarian Baptists, others went to the Nazarene Friends, the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, Church of God General Conference, the (Adventist) Worldwide Church of God, the Anabaptist or Mennonite Church of God in Christ, the Church of God General Conference, Restored Church of God or found their way into the Restoration Church and Restoration Fellowship, which some do consider also to be part of the Christadelphian community.
I knowing very well what to believe, in transition I first joined the ‘Vrije Christenen‘ or ‘Free Christians‘, afterwards I went for the religious group which was on the same line as my thinking, and as such I chose the Christadelphians because of what I believed and their faith being in line with mine. So not so much adaption was required from my site.
The most difficult thing to cope with for me, in our Christadelphian community, is missing the amount of churchgoers and active members joining the bible-class, plus not having such lively moving services. (Have in mind the swinging music and dancing of the Baptists, we do not see in the Christadelphian communities and I must admit somewhat miss.)
All over the world the non-trinitarian Baptists have fallen apart and most of them found their way into the different non-trinitarian communities, finding enough members at their services. Here in Belgium lots of the older members fell asleep by now and with those who found their way into the Jehovah’s Witnesses community or in the Nazarene Friends community I do not have any contact with any more.
Last Autumn we gave an insight of our ecclesia and our position in Belgium with two sessions of which you can here read the text for the 2nd session about “Isolation”
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- Three years ago and look back at several decennials ago
- Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
- United people under Christ
- Who are Christadelphians
- Laboring in the Vineyard or Sitting on the Hillside with Jonah?
- Lonely in the crowd
- Asahel Nettleton, 1783-1844
- Freedom From and For Religion
- A Brief History of Reformed Baptists
- The Unity of Grace
- Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.10)
- Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.13)
- Opposing Progressivism Is Our Patriotic Duty
- Baptist women in ministry
- If denominations took a StrengthFinder™ test