The History of the Christadelphians

Who are the Christadelphians? 

      The Christadelphians are a Bible based group who accept the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments as wholly inspired by God.  The only problems found in the Scriptures are due to faulty translations. We hold that the Bible as we possess it today is the only work that is to be received as God breathed, and that any later work that is claimed to be inspired should be rejected. For instance, one work that is claimed to be an inspired translation from original plates is found to have 1,339 changes since the original edition.  If the translation itself is a work of inspiration, even one change would have been tampering with the work of the Spirit of God.  Therefore, Christadelphians do not believe that any translation of the Bible is inspired but we do teach that the original writings of God’s servants through whom He sent his word were beyond doubt, a work of inspiration.

        Brother John Thomas (1805-1871), a medical doctor, migrated from England to America in 1832. The ship on which he sailed on his way ran into a severe storm, and it became apparent that the ship was in danger of being destroyed.  Finally Bro. Thomas warned one of the ship’s crew that the direction they were headed would soon run them ashore.  The man ridiculed the idea and ignored Bro. Thomas, but soon the ship was scraping the bottom of the ocean and was in danger of breaking up.  In the darkest moment, Bro. Thomas remembered exclaiming, “Lord, have mercy upon me for Christ’s sake.”  He then determined that if he ever got ashore he would never rest until he found out the truth of the matter, that he might never again be found in such an uncertain state of mind. 

Bro. Thomas set about to fulfill his promise as soon as he arrived in America.  His search lead him to the Campbellites, and for a time he sojourned in their midst.  Over a period of time his studies caused him to disagree with some of their teachings, and a series of searching questions for which he could receive no logical answer caused a rift between them. This led ultimately to the establishment of a group who later in 1864 became known as the Christadelphians, which in Greek means “brethren in Christ”. 

We do not consider that Bro. Thomas was inspired by the Holy Spirit, as were the prophets of old and the apostles of Jesus.  However, we do believe that God chose him for the work of searching the Scriptures to retrieve into one body the principles of truth that were changed and contaminated by pagan mysteries about a century after the life and crucifixion of Jesus.  

        Bro. Thomas’ search for truth recovered in one body of believers the faith “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  Some may ask why would the Truth have to be recovered?  Hasn’t the truth in its entirety been here and believed by the masses for the past 2000 years?  Protestants can’t hold that view, because the only organized religious group that traces its unbroken continuity any farther back than a couple of centuries is the Roman, “mother” church.  All other churches have a comparatively recent beginning.

        As to the question as to why the Truth had to be recovered, the Scriptures reveal the answer in an abundance of passages. First, the prophet Daniel foretold four empires that would arise in the earth (Dan.2 and Dan. 7).  In the 8th chapter, he foretold a little horn that would arise and be found among the nations in the fourfold division of the Greek, third empire.  Rome was the little horn who entered the arena at the invitation of Pergamum, who asked Rome to assist her against her enemies.  Thus, the nation that ruled the fourth empire entered into the arena.  It was foretold in Dan.8:12 that that little horn would “cast the truth to the ground.”  Jesus and the apostles lived during the first century of Rome’s reign over their empire. They all foretold of an apostasy from the truth (Matt. 24:5,11; Luke 18:8; Acts 20:29-30; I Tim. 4:1-3; II Pet. 2:1-3; I John 2:18-23; 4:1-3; II John 7-11; Rev. 17 and 18).

As stated earlier, only one church has been around with an unbroken existence for the last 2000 years.  Paul foretold in II Thess. 2 that an entity that would come up soon after the apostles departed from life and would be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming (II Thess. 2:3-8).  Since only one group has been around for these 2000 years, it’s easy to understand who is in view in the prophecies pertaining to the apostasy. 

Since the Apostle Paul declared that there would believers living at the end time (I Cor. 15:51; I Thess. 4:17), it follows that a revival of the Truth was expected near the end of the Gentile times.  We strongly feel that the Christadelphians possess that Truth, which comprised the Apostolic Faith once delivered to the saints.

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Updated last on 2023-02-07.