Many believers since the apostles have held the same faith as the Christadelphians. There have been countless independent communities around the world who have eagerly studied the Bible and accepted its simple teachings.
The Christadelphians as a specific movement trace their history to the mid-1800s. In 1830, an English physician named John Thomas sailed to America. On the voyage, the ship met some unexpected bad weather and nearly sank. For the first time, Dr Thomas faced the reality of his own mortality and was dismayed to discover that he was not sure what lay beyond death. In the midst of the storm he vowed that, should he survive, he would not rest until he had found a satisfactory answer. He did survive and kept his vow, beginning a life-long search for Biblical truth.
It soon became evident that many of the doctrines that were popularly taught and believed were inconsistent with the Bible. Dissatisfied, Dr Thomas devoted himself to a careful independent study of the Scriptures. He made no claim to any vision or personal revelation.
The work of Dr Thomas attracted the support of others in America and Britain who were convinced of the truth of his conclusions. Together they formed the Christadelphian community. Since then, Christadelphian communities have been established in many countries all over the world.
The Christadelphians are a small religious body who have attempted to get back to the faith and character of the first-century followers of Christ. The name “Christadelphians” comes from two Greek words and means “brothers (and sisters) in Christ” (Col 1:2; Heb 2:11).
We accept the Bible as our only guide and believe it to be the inspired word of God. Membership is extended to those with similar beliefs after being baptised (fully immersed in water).
We are located in many countries throughout the world with large groups of Christadelphians in Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, South, East and South-East Asia and Africa. We meet in church halls, homes, and rented spaces such as classrooms, perhaps in a similar way to the early first century Christians. (Acts 1:13-14; 2:46-47; 18:7; 19:9; 28:30)
We are a lay community generally patterned after first-century Christianity. Each congregation (church or ecclesia) is independent without any paid clergy or church hierarchy. Each local church elects a small management committee to organise church activities but the committee is accountable to the local church members.
All members contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God. A strong common belief binds our community together (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:4-27; Gal 3:28).
OUR WAY OF LIFE
The Bible gives effective direction to our lives. We try to rely fully upon God and develop a faith which is active in prayer and good works. At the same time, however, we recognize that salvation is by grace.
With God’s help, we seek to please and obey him every day, striving to imitate Christ who faithfully obeyed his Father. We, therefore, endeavour to be enthusiastic in work, loyal in marriage, generous in giving, dedicated to preaching and positive in our approach to living in the modern world under God’s guidance.
A widespread custom amongst Christadelphians is to read the Bible every day using a reading plan which enables us to systematically read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. Of course, many read much more widely than this.
We may also attend one or more evening Bible classes each week. Every Sunday, we attend a service we call the “Memorial Meeting” or “Breaking of Bread”. This is similar to the “Communion” of some churches. All members partake of bread and wine and an ‘exhortation’ or encouragement is given based on the Bible. Attendance at this service is the focus of our religious life.
We also have Sunday Schools, Children’s groups and Youth Groups; a weekend away at a Bible Study camp is always popular with Christadelphian young people.
We hold church retreats for weekends or for a week, as well as much larger gatherings such as regional, state or national conferences.
Some members travel overseas on mission work; others care for the elderly in our nursing homes and hostels. Members support community groups which assist those less fortunate in places such as Africa, Eastern Europe and the Pacific Islands. Many of our members also volunteer in the wider local community. There are a small number of private schools run by our community.
Members donate to the activities of the church as they see fit and can afford, without set requirements such as tithes. No members are paid for their church work since all are lay preachers and volunteers.
The Christadelphians are a close-knit community working in God’s service in whatever ways we can until Jesus Christ returns to set up his Father’s kingdom.