The Christadelphian Doctrine of Fellowship by gyvwpsjkko

VIEWS: 319 PAGES: 207

									 The Christadelphian
Doctrine of Fellowship
Consisting of the unaltered expositions of original Christadelphian doctrine and practice,
                               and eye-witness testimonies —
in opposition to the alterations, misrepresentations, and misattributions of those writings
“The principle of ecclesial independence has been clearly recognized and
sacredly upheld among us hitherto as a principle vital to the objects of the
truth in the development of brethren and sisters in the simple ways of
faith, in preparation for the coming of Christ.”

                             Bro. Robert Roberts
                       The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 167
                                   (Excerpt)
Beloved brethren, human nature is always tending to extremes, and
transcending what is written. As the saying is, it will strain out gnats, and
swallow camels by the herd. It set up the Inquisition, and is essentially and
always inquisitorial, and incessantly prying into matters beyond its
jurisdiction. It is very fond of playing the judge, and of executing its own
decrees. It has a zeal, but not according to knowledge, and therefore, its
zeal is intemperate, and not the zeal of wisdom, or knowledge rightly
used. It professes great zeal for the purity of the church, and would purge
out everything that offends its sensitive imagination. But is it not a good
thing to have a church without tares, without a black sheep, or spotted
heifer? Yea, verily, it is an excellent thing. But, then, it is a thing the Holy
Spirit has never yet developed; and cannot now be developed by any
human judiciary in the administration of spiritual affairs. There are certain
things that must be left to the Lord’s own adjudication when he comes; as
it is written, “He that judgeth is the Lord. Therefore, judge nothing before
the time, until the Lord come; who both will bring to light the hidden
things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and
then shall every man have praise of the Deity”—(1 Cor., 4:5. Apoc.
11:18)—“every man,” whose hidden things and heart-counsels when
brought to light will be accounted worthy much of praise. Does not this
teach us how more important it is that brethren be more diligent in
examining themselves than in examining other brethren; and that the Lord
expects them to leave something for him to do in the way of judging,
condemning, excommunicating, cutting off, and casting out, in “the time
of the dead that they should be judged?” “Brethren, be not children in
understanding; howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be
teleia perfect.”—(1 Cor., 14:20.)

                              By bro. John Thomas
                       The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 92-93
                                    (Excerpt)
                                                                Table of Contents
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1
   Preface .................................................................................................................................................... 2
       The Berean Presentation Misrepresents Original Christadelphian Fellowship Doctrine and Practice 2
       The Berean Presentation Has Altered the Pioneer Writings ............................................................... 5
       Historical Reality vs. Berean Claims ................................................................................................... 7
       Summary of Principles ........................................................................................................................ 9
       If the Bereans Constitute The True Ecclesia… ................................................................................... 12
       Additional Material in this Publication .............................................................................................. 12
   Cross References to the Berean Presentation....................................................................................... 13
The Basis of Fellowship ....................................................................................................................17
  The Birmingham Constitution #2, 3 ...................................................................................................... 18
   A Guide To The Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias (#34) ......................................... 18
   Clause No. 16 — Statement of Faith ..................................................................................................... 18
   Tour in Scotland .................................................................................................................................... 19
   Notes (Nullifying Doctrine).................................................................................................................... 19
   + The Bible Doctrine of Life ................................................................................................................. 19
   + Letter From Dr. Thomas ................................................................................................................... 20
   + The Doctrine of Judgment and Validity of Immersion ...................................................................... 20
   + The Apostles’ Fellowship .................................................................................................................. 21
   + Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes) ............................................................................................................ 21
   + Historical Remembrances; or, Satan Rebuked.................................................................................. 22
   The Nature and Conditions of Fellowship in the Truth ......................................................................... 22
   + Answers to Correspondents (Reimmersion) .................................................................................... 25
   Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue, Birmingham. – No. 4 ........................................... 26
   Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue, Birmingham. – No. 22 ......................................... 27
Ecclesial Independence ....................................................................................................................29
  +Associations — John Kerr — The Dunkards — Trine Immersion ....................................................... 30
   Excerpt from Eureka (“this new order of things” vs. “the order instituted by the Apostles”) ............... 32
   The Ecclesial Guide #1 ........................................................................................................................... 32
   The Ecclesial Guide #20 ......................................................................................................................... 32
   The Ecclesial Guide #44 ......................................................................................................................... 33
   + Notice to the Public. ......................................................................................................................... 33
   + The Question of the Inspiration of the Bible .................................................................................... 34
   + Notes ................................................................................................................................................ 35
   + Intelligence (Australia) (Ecclesial Independence) ............................................................................. 35
   + Proposed Fraternal Gathering .......................................................................................................... 36
   + Answers to Correspondents (The Christadelphians and Their Attitude) .......................................... 36
   + The Truth in Organic Manifestation in Nottingham.......................................................................... 37
   + “It Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us” ................................................................................ 38
   + Notes (“We have no power”) ........................................................................................................... 38
   + “Pluralism” ....................................................................................................................................... 39
   + “The Christadelphian” and the Constitution of the Birmingham Ecclesia ........................................ 39
   + “The Christadelphian” in Australia ................................................................................................... 40
   + Is It to Be a Central Tribunal? ........................................................................................................... 41
   + The Christadelphian (There are Now Movements)........................................................................... 42
   + Ecclesial Representation................................................................................................................... 43
   + The Christadelphian (Ecclesial Independence) ................................................................................. 44
   + Dr. Thomas on the Subject of Conferences ...................................................................................... 45
   + Answers to Correspondents ............................................................................................................. 47
Statements of Faith..........................................................................................................................49
  +Notes (A Common Statement of Faith) ............................................................................................. 50
   + Statements of Faith .......................................................................................................................... 50
   + “The Christadelphian Statement of Faith”........................................................................................ 51
   + The Fermentation of Error ................................................................................................................ 51
   + Creeds .............................................................................................................................................. 52
Ecclesial Notices and Statements Demonstrating the Autonomy of Early Christadelphian Ecclesias,
Their Basis of Fellowship and Fellowship Practices ............................................................................53
The State of the Mortal ecclesias ......................................................................................................63
  + Eureka (“the saints are a mixed community”) .................................................................................. 64
   + Letter From Dr. Thomas ................................................................................................................... 65
   + The Flying Roll, the Ephah, the Woman, the Talent of Lead, and the Two Women…....................... 66
   + Interesting Communication From Dr. Thomas (The True Apostolic Succession) .............................. 67
   To Sardis................................................................................................................................................ 68
   + Letter From Dr. Thomas ................................................................................................................... 69
   + The Depths of the Satan as they Speak ............................................................................................ 71
   + Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 262 ........................................... 72
Excommunication ............................................................................................................................73
  + The Christadelphian (April, 1891) ..................................................................................................... 74
   Answers to Correspondents (Open Sin) ................................................................................................ 74
   + Fellowship in The Truth .................................................................................................................... 74
   The Christadelphian .............................................................................................................................. 75
   + Is It to Be a Central Tribunal? ........................................................................................................... 75
   + Answers to Correspondents ............................................................................................................. 76
   + Extracts from Correspondence ......................................................................................................... 76
Fellowship Practice ..........................................................................................................................77
  + Notes (Letter of Recommendation)................................................................................................. 78
   + Dr. Thomas and Divisions ................................................................................................................. 78
   + Answers to Correspondents ............................................................................................................. 79
   + Fellowship in The Truth .................................................................................................................... 80
   + Dr. Thomas in Scotland in 1849 ........................................................................................................ 81
   + Cross Currents in Ecclesial Waters ................................................................................................... 82
   Answers to Correspondents .................................................................................................................. 83
   + Queries Proposed by J.A.I. to Dr Thomas, For Categorical Answer................................................... 83
   + True Principles and Uncertain Details .............................................................................................. 84
   + The Christadelphian (April, 1891) ..................................................................................................... 91
   Notes (“Progress”) ................................................................................................................................ 93
   Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue, Birmingham, No. 49 ............................................ 93
   From Birmingham to New York and Back.............................................................................................. 96
   + The Question of the Inspiration of the Bible .................................................................................... 96
   + Judas, Fellowship, Debt, and Kindness ............................................................................................. 99
   Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes) (Defining Their Position) ....................................................................... 101
   Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia–No. 289 ............................................. 102
   A True Christadelphian Ecclesia .......................................................................................................... 103
   The Christadelphian ............................................................................................................................ 105
   Cross Currents in Ecclesial Waters ...................................................................................................... 107
   Our Duty Towards Error and Errorists ................................................................................................. 113
   Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 79................................................ 114
   Intelligence (United States) ................................................................................................................. 118
   Answers to Correspondents (Offender and Offended) ....................................................................... 118
   Meditations–No. XXX .......................................................................................................................... 119
   Answers to Correspondents (Division) ................................................................................................ 121
   Books, Pamphlets, MSS., &c., received during the Month. ................................................................. 121
   + Answers to Correspondents (Mortal Resurrection and Fellowship) ............................................... 121
   So-Called “Heresy-Hunting,” A Duty ................................................................................................... 122
   Letter from Dr. Thomas ....................................................................................................................... 123
   Our Great Sin ...................................................................................................................................... 128
   The Christadelphian ............................................................................................................................ 129
   The End of the Inspiration Controversy in Birmingham ...................................................................... 131
   + Notes (The Action at Birmingham) ................................................................................................. 139
Notes (Persistent Error) ...................................................................................................................... 139
Tour in Scotland .................................................................................................................................. 139
The Obedience of Christ and His Brethren .......................................................................................... 143
Answers to Correspondents (“If a brother sin” – In Doctrine or Practice) .......................................... 149
Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes)............................................................................................................... 149
Answers to Correspondents (Open Sin) .............................................................................................. 151
Answers to Correspondents (Rifle Corps Membership and Electioneering) ....................................... 152
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 223.............................................. 152
Answers to Correspondents ................................................................................................................ 153
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 81................................................ 154
Fellowship and Forbearance ............................................................................................................... 155
The Gospel and the Baptists of the Seventh Century .......................................................................... 158
Notes (Free will) .................................................................................................................................. 160
Chat With Correspondents, and Extracts From Some of Their Letters ................................................ 160
Intelligence (Canada) .......................................................................................................................... 161
A Sad Letter on the Nature of Christ and Resurrection-Judgment ...................................................... 161
Birmingham Miscellanies .................................................................................................................... 164
Intelligence (Bournemouth) ................................................................................................................ 164
Chapter XXI – Strained Relations With Dr. Thomas ............................................................................. 165
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 194.............................................. 168
Answers to Correspondents (The Christadelphians and Their Attitude) ............................................. 170
Resurrectional Responsibility and Fellowship ..................................................................................... 173
+ Parting Words from Campbellism .................................................................................................. 180
Withdrawal, and When ....................................................................................................................... 180
The Apocalypse on the Question of Fellowship .................................................................................. 181
Answers to Correspondents (The Apocalypse and the Obedience of Faith) ....................................... 182
Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue, No. 51 ............................................................... 183
Thoughts And Thoughts.—No. 2 ......................................................................................................... 184
Fellowship ........................................................................................................................................... 188
Ecclesial Fellowship ............................................................................................................................. 189
 Introduction
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh;
    but nourisheth and cherisheth it,
     even as the Lord the ecclesia.
            Ephesians 5:29




                    1
Preface
    The compiler of this material has for some time objected to the Berean presentation of pioneer
writings on fellowship. Their presentation has appeared in the pages of Berean magazines, the book The
Doctrine of Fellowship and Berean web sites. Some of this Berean material has been reused by brethren
in other fellowships, including the compiler, without knowing the altered and misleading nature of the
Berean materials. I would like to briefly address why the Berean presentation misrepresents original
(circa 1860-1923) Christadelphian fellowship doctrine and practice, and then, to list specific ways these
works have been altered.

The Berean Presentation Misrepresents Original Christadelphian Fellowship
Doctrine and Practice
   While the Berean presentation claims to represent original Christadelphian fellowship doctrine and
practice, readers should note that no effort is made in the Berean presentation to communicate these
facts:
   1. Following the Biblical model, pre-1930 Christadelphian ecclesias were each strictly self-governing
       and independent organizations. Ecclesial unions (Fellowships) had not yet developed. Following
       the Biblical model, the early Christadelphians made no attempt to create any kind of organization
       other than independent local ecclesias.
   2. Following the Biblical model, there was no standardized basis of fellowship amongst these early
       ecclesias. There was no statement known as “The Christadelphian Statement of Faith” (see
       Statements of Faith, p. 50) and all Christadelphian ecclesias were expected to either create, or
       modify and adopt an existing statement of faith which became that ecclesia’s own basis of
       fellowship. Ten years after the death of brother Thomas, a suggestion was made to brother
       Roberts which appears in The Christadelphian, 1881, p. 572. A brother suggested that a common
       statement of faith be developed and adopted by the ecclesias. This would have provided the
       ecclesias with a common and standardized basis of fellowship, but bro. Roberts rejected it (the
       note appears on page 50). If bro. Roberts’ view of the doctrine and practice of fellowship matched
       that of the Bereans, either bro. Thomas or bro. Roberts would have established a common
       Statement of Faith well before 1881. The fact that they did not do so completely overthrows all
       claims the Bereans have made about upholding pioneer practices. These early Christadelphian
       ecclesias were more than capable of withdrawing fellowship from errorists without adopting
       Berean concepts and innovations regarding the doctrine or practice of fellowship.
   3. In accepting and promoting the Biblical model, brother John Thomas denounced Associations of
       Ecclesias (Fellowships) as a mark of the apostasy. This article, see page 30, originally appeared in
       1835 and a shortened form, based on the same quote from Mosheim, appears in Eureka, volume
       2.
   4. Following the Biblical model, all ecclesias were individually responsible for deciding who they
       would fellowship or not fellowship. If an individual or ecclesia was too lax either in doctrine or
       practice, including fellowship, any other ecclesia was free to withdraw or not accept fellowship
       until and unless the offending ecclesia made appropriate correction. This also allowed
       individuals, assuming there was no fundamental error held, to freely move from an erring
       ecclesia to a sound ecclesia with nothing more than an affirmation of the new ecclesia’s basis of
       fellowship. In no way were ecclesial unions involved.
   5. Following the Biblical model, there was no Christadelphian Fellowship, no Temperance Hall
       Fellowship, no Central Fellowship, and no Berean Fellowship. There was no attempt to create an
       ecclesial union / a union of ecclesias / or a society of ecclesias and this practice was explicitly
       spoken against, out of a well-grounded fear, that such an unscriptural union would degenerate

                                                      2
   into what were known as ‘conferences’. Conferences were voluntary and often permanent
   councils or unions of neighboring churches, designed for mutual advice and cooperation in
   ecclesiastical matters. They always degenerated into dictatorial busy-bodies in the affairs of
   individual churches. Early Christadelphians precluded this by preventing the formation of ecclesial
   unions.
6. The pioneer brethren recognized there was, by the hand of Providence, a “satanic element”
   (page 64) within those mortal ecclesias which had to be resisted according to Apostolic
   commandment. While the satanic element was to be treated according to apostolic command,
   there was no attempt to create a worldwide union of ecclesias which was purified from that
   element. That is to say, there was no attempt to create a mortal super-ecclesial organization
   (a.k.a. Fellowship) on top of, or out of, the local ecclesias.
7. The pioneer brethren did not make the mistake of confusing The Ecclesia (The Body of Christ) for
   a union of mortal ecclesias (a Fellowship) for they recognized no such mortal unions. Many
   modern Christadelphians, including the Bereans, believe that they are in fellowship with
   everyone, or almost everyone, in their ecclesial union or Fellowship. This was neither an
   apostolic, nor an early Christadelphian doctrine or practice. Rather, they explicitly denied it.
8. If those issues were not already important enough, The Doctrine of Fellowship, which has been
   given to potential Berean members, fails to identify exactly what the Bereans actually accept and
   practice as a basis of fellowship. The Berean position is not what the pioneer brethren used, so if
   The Doctrine of Fellowship is a sound guide on the subject, why is this essential topic ignored? In
   The DOF we do find statements from the pioneer brethren such as “the whole truth as the basis
   of fellowship” or a more explicit comment by bro. Roberts that “The belief of the truth is not a
   sufficient basis of fellowship if it be allied with wrong-doing or nullifying doctrine.” If the Berean
   doctrine of fellowship and Berean practice matches that of the pioneer brethren, why does The
   Doctrine of Fellowship leave out the published Berean basis of fellowship?




                The Berean, 1980, p. 11-27; 1986, p. 11-27; 1996, p. 11-27; 2000 p. 11-27




                                                   3
The published Berean basis of fellowship (see The Berean, 1980, p. 11-27; 1986, p. 11-27; 1996, p.
11-27; 2000 p. 11-27 + at least 2 pamphlet printings + web sites) consists of:
    ¬ The Statement of Faith
    ­ Doctrines to Be Rejected
    ® The Commandments of Christ

And…




    ¯ The Common Constitution. Note the boldface items of the Berean “Common
    Constitution” which are published as “matters vital to fellowship” (see image above). Oddly,
    if an ecclesia met Saturday night to accommodate a special-needs situation, it would be a
    violation of a clause of the Common Constitution marked as “vital fellowship parts”.




              The Berean, 1980, p. 11-27; 1986, p. 11-27; 1996, p. 11-27; 2000 p. 11-27
    °   The Berean Restatement: Along with the previous four documents, the Bereans publish,
    under the title “Our Basis of Fellowship”, the Berean Restatement. The Berean Restatement
    claims that it is not an addition to the basis of fellowship. However, as the image above
    shows, it also states “the Berean Restatement was unanimously adopted as expressing the
    mind of the whole Body. We invite the fellowship of any who are wholly of one mind with
    us.” ‘Wholly’ is italicized in the “Restatement”. Bereans have required acceptance of the
    Berean Restatement as part of their basis of fellowship. If words mean anything, Bereans do
    not invite fellowship with anyone who does not assent to every clause of the Berean
    Restatement.



                                              4
    When it was pointed out that the 1980 publication of “Our Basis of Fellowship” included a new
addition to the Berean basis, “The Common Constitution” of which the introductory material says, it
contains some “matters vital to fellowship”, one Berean responded by saying that it was “simply an
article by Bro. Growcott”. However, this same basis of fellowship has been published in The Berean
magazine in 1980, 1986, 1996 and 2000 along with at least two publications in pamphlet form and
numerous Berean web sites publishing the same basis. Most of the republications of the Berean basis
have taken place after the death of bro. Growcott. When I personally applied many years back for details
on the Berean basis of fellowship — bro. G.V.G was then dead — other Bereans were more than happy
to provide this same 16 page booklet asking me to read it carefully and asking for my agreement.
    Why didn’t the Berean compilers of The Doctrine of Fellowship juxtapose the modern Berean “Our
Basis of Fellowship” next to the Birmingham Christadelphian basis of fellowship from bro. Roberts’ day
which consisted of the Statement of Faith, including the DTBR, and Commandments of Christ? Would
readers of the Berean presentation have noticed the obvious differences?
    It should be pointed out that the Bereans in 1960 who made the initial changes to their 1923 basis of
fellowship have violated their own constitution for Clause 3 of the constitution reads:
         “That we recognize as brethren, and welcome to our fellowship, all who have been
         immersed (by whomsoever) after their acceptance of the same doctrines and
         precepts.”
    If you look at Clause 2 of the Berean constitution, it defines those “doctrines and precepts” as
         “the doctrines and precepts of Christ, as taught in the apostolic writings, and defined
         (both positively and negatively) in the annexed Statement of Faith and
         Commandments of Christ”.
    The Constitution, or rules by which Berean ecclesias are supposed to operate, says nothing about
brothers and sisters having to accept the name “Berean”, “Berean Fellowship”, the Berean claims about
the doctrine of fellowship, the Berean Restatement, or “matters vital to fellowship” in the Berean
Common Constitution. Bereans cannot have it both ways and expect such contradictions to go
unnoticed.

The Berean Presentation Has Altered the Pioneer Writings
    As to Berean alterations to the pioneer writings, I am convinced that the reader who considers the
following points and then compares the original articles with the Berean presentation will agree that the
Berean presentation is both selective and misrepresentative of original Christadelphian fellowship
doctrine and practices. I submit to the reader the following points of Berean alteration in the pioneer
writings:
    1. It is recognized by this compiler that some of the articles needed to be excerpted to focus the
        reader’s attention. However, paragraphs, sentences and qualifying words were deleted or altered
        in the midst of the Berean excerpts.
        a. For example, brother Roberts is made to say “A loose fellowship is convenient” (The Berean,
             1953, p. 298; The Doctrine of Fellowship, p. 70) when in fact he said “A loose basis of
             fellowship is convenient” (The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 470).
        b. Extracts from an article justifying separation from those holding the non-resurrectional
             responsibility error are published in the Berean presentation, but the same article has a
             section in it in which bro. Roberts speaks of a “Plea for Uncalled-For Disunion”. All that
             material was deleted from the Berean presentation. This is another example where the
             Berean presentation focuses on withdrawal and separation rather than on fellowship and
             attempting to avoid “excesses” (RR) and “extremes” (RR).


                                                     5
   c. Brother Roberts argues for a “readiness to insist upon the whole truth as the basis of
         fellowship” but he immediately adds “But in all things there is a possibility of going to
         extremes—ugly and hurtful extremes, and this matter is no exception—great and glorious
         though it is. We have to ‘contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints;’ but we
         may possibly do this to the destruction of the very things we are contending for.” This part of
         the quote was deleted from the Berean presentation.
2. In the re-editing process word capitalization was frequently changed. This might seem
   unimportant and one Berean claimed this was done “out of reverence for the Word”, but this
   simple alteration can change the entire meaning of a word or excerpt! For example, the word
   ‘ecclesia’ was often changed to ‘Ecclesia’ mid-sentence. The capitalized word changes what
   would be normally understood as a local Christadelphian ecclesia into the idea of The One Christ
   Body. The pioneer brethren often spoke of ecclesial issues, not Ecclesial issues. The Berean
   presentation replaces the local ecclesia with the union of ecclesias, totally changing the original
   intent. Another example: “basis of fellowship” was changed to “Basis of Fellowship”, as if some
   standardized basis were spoken of (it was not). These changes do not reflect a “reverence for the
   Word”, but rather, editing which has altered the true Christadelphian doctrine of fellowship to
   reflect Berean innovations and doctrines.
3. Titles were almost always changed. In some cases this is very understandable, but in other cases
   it is not. For roughly every 10 articles in the Berean presentation, 9 have had their original titles
   changed. And here is the real point: the new titles often reflect the Berean focus on justifying their
   practice of not fellowshipping rather than fellowshipping. For example:
                                                                           Epistles To Corinth Do Not
             Fellowship and Forbearance               became
                                                                            Justify Fellowship of Error
                                                    became the
               Withdrawal, and When                                       From Such Withdraw Thyself
                                                   unconditional
                                               was retitled, rewritten,
                  Ecclesial Fellowship       and presented as an 1892      The Doctrine of Fellowship
                                                 “HISTORIC DEFENSE” of…
           Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes)            Became                 Distance and Fellowship
        A complete table of the Berean title changes is found beginning on page 13.
        I would ask the reader to note the last title change in the table above, “Distance and
        Fellowship”. In this case brother Roberts addresses a reluctance on the part of some
        brethren to explicitly define their basis of fellowship unless they received a visit and
        interviewed the visitor. Notice in the following quote that, in relation to Christadelphian
        ecclesias, bro. Roberts uses the terms ‘ecclesia’ and ‘body’ as equivalents. He wrote,
             “An ecclesia that is not able to say whether they are in fellowship with such, but must
             wait for individual applications, is evidently in such a doubtful relation to the question as
             to prevent confidence on the part of men of straight purpose. Men do not require to
             come within so many yards of each other to know whether they are friends. Friendship
             of this circumscribed order would be a relapse to barbarism. And so a body of men
             professing to receive the truth in its uncompromised fulness and integrity, do not
             require to pay or receive visits from another body or members of it, (who are in a
             doubtful attitude) to say whether they are or are not in fellowship with it. A little
             reflection on this ought to clear honest men of all difficulty in defining their position—a
             process which had become necessary before the apostle John closed his eyes.”
        The Berean misrepresentation of this quote is found in their new title “Distance and
        Fellowship”. Some Bereans represent this as teaching that you are in fellowship with
        everyone in your ecclesial union whether you receive from, or pay a visit to, those ecclesias.
                                                       6
            However, as this book demonstrates, no such unions existed in bro. Roberts’ day. While the
            article certainly addresses ‘distance and fellowship’, the point of the article is lost under the
            altered Berean title: that brethren separated by distance do not require seeing one another
            face to face to determine if they have fellowship or not. Defining their individual basis of
            fellowship will by the very act determine if they have fellowship one with the other.
   4. There are at least 5 misattributions and one partial misattribution in the Berean presentation.
       Readers should notice the coincidence that all the misattributions go one way: the articles that
       said, or were edited to say, what the Berean editors liked, all appear under bylines of “Brother
       John Thomas” and “Brother Robert Roberts”.
                        Original Title / Actual Author                  Berean Title / Misattribution
                    So-Called “Heresy-Hunting” A Duty                     “Heresy Hunting” A Duty
                                  J. J. Andrew                                Robert Roberts
                             Ecclesial Fellowship                        The Doctrine of Fellowship
                              Frank G. Jannaway                               Robert Roberts
                       A True Christadelphian Ecclesia               The True Christadelphian Ecclesia
                               Lemuel Edwards                                 Robert Roberts
                        Fellowship / Albert Anderson                     Fellowship / John Thomas
                             A Letter / Signed by
                                                                            Separated Brethren
                   J.J. Powell, J.E.Walker and R. Roberts
                                                                              Robert Roberts
                 “on behalf of the [Birmingham] meeting”
             Judging and Not Judging / A Macdougall Notes                        Fellowship
                               / Robert Roberts                               Robert Roberts
       One Berean, attempting to explain away two of the misattributions wrote, “[those writings]
       reveal the Truth as taught by Brother Thomas” and therefore, “it is quite understandable how
       such an innocent mistake could be made”. However, one of the alterations he was speaking of
       was the article by bro. Albert Anderson, and that article did not represent bro. Thomas’
       fellowship practice in 1847!
   5. Please notice in the above table the final misattribution. This was a case where a Berean editor
       took one sentence from an article in The Christadelphian, November 1885, p. 498, written by bro.
       A Macdougall, and pasted it on top of an altered quote by bro. Roberts from two years later
       (1887)! The “new” quote was published in The Berean magazine, 1953, p. 298 and The Doctrine
       of Fellowship, p. 70 as if the quote actually came from bro. Roberts. It never did.
   This is only a summary of the alterations made to the pioneer works. Those interested in seeing how
extensive some of the alterations have been should look at a web page which documents some of the
Berean alterations: http://www.genusa.com/fellowship/BereanAlterations.html

Historical Reality vs. Berean Claims
   I would like to address one other issue in regards to the topic of ecclesial unions, that is to say, inter-
ecclesial organization or structure beyond the local ecclesia – whatever form it takes:
        1. ‘Conferences’
        2. Ecclesial unions
        3. Inter-ecclesial meetings for the purpose of “joint action”
        4. Inter-ecclesial documents that either bind member ecclesias together, or exclude non-
            participating ecclesias


                                                        7
    Brother Thomas and brother Roberts were both very careful to maintain that ecclesias should follow
the Biblical model and remain independent and autonomous. And this is what we see in the pages of The
Christadelphian. When a serious error was introduced into the community it might take years for
ecclesias to report in the Intelligence section of The Christadelphian that their ecclesia had passed a
resolution against the error. In many cases ecclesias never made these reports because the error was
never their local problem.
    If the error was serious enough brother Roberts indicated that due to the serious nature of the error,
he would only print ecclesial news from those ecclesias which were in agreement with the policies of his
private endeavor The Christadelphian magazine. Brother Roberts was very clear that The
Christadelphian was his private endeavor and not the mouthpiece of his ecclesia, other ecclesias, or a
Fellowship Institution. Brother C. C. Walker maintained this position (see the notes on pages 39 and 40).
If individuals did not like his policy, they were free to unsubscribe and/or start their own magazine
based on their own policies. Some took up their liberty and did just that.
    Bereans have been asked to provide any precedents in the pioneer fellowship actions which would justify
the Berean division. Invariably I have received two answers: Dowieism and the partial-inspiration issue.
    Readers will notice that neither bro. Thomas, bro. Roberts, or any Christadelphian, called for the
creation of an ecclesial union to deal with George Dowie. The reason was simple: there was no union of
ecclesias to start with, and both bro. Thomas and bro. Roberts saw any union as a step towards the
apostasy. What happened was that brethren, such as brother Thomas, who became aware of the false
doctrines of Mr. Dowie and his associates, warned that Mr. Dowie’s church held doctrines subversive of
the truth. Individual ecclesias, were given time to investigate and act. They could continue to associate
and fellowship with Dowie’s church, but ultimately if they refused to act, fellowship from
Christadelphian ecclesias who would maintain the truth would withhold fellowship from those who
were unwilling to do the same. This very effectively isolated both Dowie’s church and any ‘ecclesias’
which were unwilling to uphold the truth. Ecclesias individually acted in this case. The same thing was
done in relation to Edward Turney’s error of clean-flesh. This is demonstrable by looking at the Ecclesial
Intelligence section of The Christadelphian.
    When it comes to the partial-inspiration issue, some Bereans will quote the following:
          “The community as a community has become corrupt. We propose to cease our
          connection with it on this account. We will go out in the name of allegiance to the Bible
          as God’s wholly-inspired and infallible word.” (The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 303)
    This is all well and good except that the “community” referred to was a single ecclesia, the
Birmingham ecclesia! You will find this quote comes from an article titled “The End of the Inspiration
Controversy in Birmingham” (page 131) and you will see that the Birmingham “body”, “community” or
“ecclesia” dissolved and a majority reconstituted itself on a modified basis of fellowship which excluded
the belief in a partially inspired Bible. What some Bereans have tried to do is project these words onto a
worldwide basis, but this is certainly not what occurred in 1885. In fact you will find that, again, it took
years for some ecclesias to pass resolutions dealing with that particular issue. You can see two examples
of this, one from 1890 and one from 1891, regarding this starting on page 60.
    You will also find that brother Thomas used the term “community” to refer to a single ecclesia in the
article ‘The Apostles’ Fellowship’ on page 21. He used the term “a body” the same way in this article.
Bereans have represented these words as meaning ecclesial unions but the pioneer writings contradict
this misrepresentation. Brother Roberts did as well, as exemplified in The Ecclesial Guide, #1 (page 32).
    Just as some Bereans have misquoted, altered, and misattributed early Christadelphian writings, they
have misrepresented the events which occurred during the 1860-1923 era. I do not believe it is
attributable to anything other than misguided zeal and the bad fruit which was sown some 58 years ago


                                                      8
when most of the alterations to the pioneer works first began to appear – immediately after the Berean
community experienced a large exodus into Central.
   There was nothing prohibiting, and indeed, early Christadelphian ecclesias could cooperate in
addressing errors, but when ecclesias started forming exclusive associations, when they took a natural
and convenient route rather than a Scriptural route, and began to unionize, the Christadelphian
movement went astray and adopted a practice of the apostasy. Today we reap the bad fruits of these
misguided actions and the world is filled with ecclesias and brethren who share the truth but are
prevented, by this apostate system of ecclesial unions, from sharing the memorial emblems.

Summary of Principles
  1. Apostolic and early Christadelphian ecclesias (circa 1850 – 1923) were founded as absolutely
     independent self-governing organizations.
     a. The Scriptures give not the slightest hint of the early ecclesias having a common statement of
         faith. This would have provided a defined standard for their basis of fellowship. The early
         Christadelphian ecclesias did not have a common statement of faith either and the author of The
         Ecclesial Guide rejected a proposal to develop one.
     b. The Scriptures give not the slightest hint of the early ecclesias having any kind of common
         government. They received Apostolic guidance and commands, and these of course were shared,
         and they are recorded for us in the Scriptures. Likewise, the early Christadelphian ecclesias held
         independent rule as a principle “sacredly upheld” (bro. Roberts). I entreat advocates of ecclesial
         union to ponder the words of the brother who did so much to give organization and order to the
         early Christadelphian ecclesias: “sacredly upheld”.
     c. The Apostolic ecclesias were individually responsible for determining who they would have
         fellowship with and who they would not have fellowship with. That Christadelphians practiced
         fellowship this same way, to start with, is demonstrated in the section “Ecclesial Notices and
         Statements Demonstrating the Autonomy of Early Christadelphian Ecclesias, Their Basis of
         Fellowship and Fellowship Practices” starting on page 53.
     d. Determining who was “in fellowship” was not as simple a matter under the Apostolic and early
         Christadelphian arrangement, as it is today in any of the unionized Fellowships. It was not just a
         matter of which ecclesial union or “membership card” you carried, but rather, the measure was
         the genuine and only standard set forth in Scripture: faithful continuance in apostolic doctrine and
         practice. The Scriptural standard exercised by early Christadelphians is clearly demonstrated in
         the terms of the Birmingham Constitution clauses 2 and 3 (page 18) though not practiced in its
         original intent and purity since Christadelphians began accepting ecclesial unions.
     e. Both the Apostolic ecclesias and Christadelphian ecclesias have gone through a similar process of
         apostasy, though Christadelphian ecclesias have not completed the journey. Both developed
         inter-ecclesial unions, or a worldwide union of ecclesias/churches. In Christendom this union
         became known as The Church. Today, we have Central, Unamended, Berean, Pioneer-Maranatha
         and some 30 to 50 other offshoots each claiming to uphold the One Faith but wise enough, so far,
         not to claim the title of “The Church” though some have not been wise enough to refrain from
         intimating that they were the faithful Ecclesia as opposed to other unions!
     f. From my research, the seeds of ecclesial union can be seen in only a few notes from
         correspondents to The Christadelphian starting circa 1880’s. The larger the schisms were, the
         greater the instinctive push for unionization. But attempts to standardize the basis of fellowship
         and to unionize were resisted by bro. Roberts (see page 50 and also the section Ecclesial
         Independence starting on page 29).
     g. Brethren started meeting at the Temperance Hall in 1866, but the term “Temperance Hall
         Fellowship” does not appear in The Christadelphian until 53 years later in 1919 and well after
         many of the early Christadelphians had fallen asleep! Even the name Christadelphian was created,
         not for fellowship purposes, but as a way to designate the brethren who refused to participate in
                                                      9
          war (The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 105). Another name was also used, “Antipas”. This name was
          used in witnessing against Christendom, and again, not for the purposes of ecclesial union (See
          The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 52).
     h. While ecclesial unions offer convenience, they also “lay the foundations” of a powerful apostasy
          that ultimately extinguishes the truth. The added efforts required to maintain the Apostolic
          method are more than offset by the fact that brethren who are faithful in observing apostolic
          doctrine and practice have no man-made and unscriptural barriers which prevent physical
          fellowship and cooperation. The mortal Body of Christ is physically divided by the apostate
          ecclesiastical organization whereas there are no such divisions or barriers where the Apostolic
          system is practiced. Can you imagine the Apostles promoting a system that divided brethren who
          were sound in the faith and the practice thereof? Why do some brethren contend they did?
2.   Brethren are very unwise and shortsighted to argue that corruption in Christadelphia necessitates
     ecclesial unions. Such an argument suggests either a very poor familiarity with the Scriptural record of
     problems in the Apostolic ecclesias, or a willingness to turn a blind eye to the Biblical record that was
     given for our instruction.
3.   There have always been misguided brethren and fellow-laborers who have contended for loose
     fellowship practices and low standards of conduct. It is a “feature” that comes with fleshly instincts
     and a lack of Scriptural instruction. The Corinthians exhibited this misguided behavior until instructed
     in the way of God more perfectly. The Apostolic solution was not to establish a union of purified
     ecclesias but to instruct the erring brethren, and then, to accept nothing less than repentance. If this
     was the Apostolic standard, it should be our standard also.
4.   There are clear Scriptural commands regarding those who manifest intransigence in false doctrine or
     ungodly behavior. For example: Romans 16:17; 1st Corinthians 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2nd John 10. These are
     Apostolic commands and must be observed though observed with care for the Scriptures make it
     clear that the goal is repentance and restoration, to the glory of God, where possible (Galatians 6:1;
     James 5:19; Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:24; Jude 22). Circumcision is the very last but sometimes
     necessary remedy.
5.   “Separatist” Fellowships place special emphasis on one principle, withdrawal, and generally
     deemphasize other principles which are given far more attention in the Scriptures: the attitude
     exhibited in washing one another’s feet (John 13:14; 1 Tim. 5:10), self-sacrifice (Eph. 5:2; Heb 13:16),
     support of the weak (1st Cor. 8:11-12, 9:22; 2nd Cor. 11:29; 1st Thes. 5:14), patience (2 Pet. 1:6),
     bearing one another’s burdens &c. These Scriptural principles are not contradictory unless we fixate
     on a single principle, such as withdrawal. Withdrawal is a Scriptural principle, but this never negates
     the principle of embracing brethren who are sound in faith and practice – except when separatist
     Fellowship practices are engaged in.
6.   Fellowship means different things and occurs on different levels.
     a. There is a natural fellowship (1 Cor. 10:20; Ephesians 5:11) and a spiritual fellowship (Acts 2:42; 1
          John 1:3, 7). As discussed below, breaking bread is one form of fellowship, but it may only be
          earthly, and not spiritual. The two should not be confused though they often are by brethren who
          advocate ecclesial unions. Ecclesial unions tend to develop “fictitious importances” where a union
          of ecclesias, or the fellowship practiced by that union, is treated as if it were the One Ecclesia.
     b. Fellowship can mean participation with, sharing with, and an association with something or
          someone.
     c. We must be responsible for what we participate in, share in or associate with, but we become
          accountable when we fellowship with knowledge or complicity (1 Ti 5:22; 2nd John 11).
7.   Brother Thomas never taught that the breaking of bread automatically results in “having
     fellowship” with the true body of Christ a.k.a. “the apostle’s fellowship”. For example,
               From this it is evident that the distinction existed in John’s day, between “real
               christians” and “christians.” The name christian comprehended all the adherents of
               Balaam and Jezebel, whether Ebionites, Gnostics, or by whatever name or

                                                      10
                denomination of heresy they might be known. The “real christians” had no
                fellowship with such; though among them, as in Pergamos, the poison of the
                serpent might be detected. The ecclesia and “the synagogue of the Satan” were
                institutions as distinct as they are now; for in the nineteenth century a true believer
                of the gospel of the kingdom is against all who have not obeyed the same; yet a
                congregation of “real christians” may have in it some who are not true, as at
                Pergamos; these will sooner or later show themselves, for their sympathies are
                fleshly, and they become impatient of principles which they regard as “harsh,
                uncharitable, and severe.” (Eureka, vol 1, p. 270)
          Please notice that brother Thomas states, the real christians “had no fellowship with such”
          “though among them” and that an ecclesia “may have in it some who are not true”. In The
          Doctrine of Fellowship, p. 51, 2nd ed., bro. Jim Phillips quotes Eureka (as above) and then
          comments, “he is referring to those false brethren who have not yet manifested themselves
          as false”. Just so! Bro. Phillips makes the point very well. The false brethren were not in
          fellowship with the Apostles (see page 21). The true brethren were. Yet they broke bread
          together because the false brethren had “not yet manifested themselves as false”. “The ‘real
          christians’ had no fellowship with such; though among them“. This is why brother Thomas
          insisted “My fellowship is with the apostles; they had many brethren who were bewitched
          and disgraced the truth” (page 83). Also see bro. Roberts’ comments on Judas and Fellowship
          on page 99.
  8. When false brethren manifest themselves, we have Apostolically provided means by which to
     address the problem. Imposing the apostasy’s organization onto ecclesias is a short-sighted
     ‘solution’ with terribly negative consequences.
  9. Even those who initiated the Berean movement were wise enough to know ecclesial unions were
     unscriptural. Look at The Berean editor’s response to this ecclesial report:




                                       The Berean, 1928, p. 227
   Sadly that voice is no longer heard as ecclesial unions, a mark of the apostasy, are now widely
accepted.
                                                   11
If the Bereans Constitute The True Ecclesia…
    No Fellowship is without doctrinal problems. Any brother or sister striving to maintain the truth in a
mortal ecclesia, much less a mortal union of ecclesias, will know that problems exist (Acts 20:30). The
effect of the Berean alterations to early Christadelphian expositions shift those expositions towards
justifying division – with an underlying false assumption that ecclesial unions are Scriptural. Of course,
this was the intent: to remind brethren that their (non-Berean) Fellowship “holds” error, and to let them
know that the Berean community stands ready to welcome them. But a thoughtful person would realize
that the Bereans are mortal also, and therefore the Berean Fellowship ‘harbors error’, and in this case,
specifically on the doctrine of fellowship.
    But you need not take my word for it. If the Berean community constitutes the true ecclesia, as its
literature claims, then the Apocalyptic pictures painted in Revelation 2 & 3 of the Berean ecclesias,
painted by the Lord Jesus Christ, looks like ecclesias in any other Fellowship, including Central and the
Unamended. This is not my personal judgment but the judgment of the Lord concerning the state of the
ecclesial world prior to his return. “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the
earth?” (Lk. 18:8). This is not an endorsement of the Berean house, or any other.

Additional Material in this Publication
    To further demonstrate that the Berean presentation of the doctrine of fellowship has not only been
altered, but is also very selective, there are articles of a significant nature which are included in this
compilation. Materials of historical importance from bro. Roberts, bro. Thomas and bro. C. C. Walker
have been added to this compilation, and marked with a + in the title and the table of contents.
    Readers are asked to carefully note the articles which appeared in The Christadelphian from 1900 to
1912. The statements made during that time period by the editor were still more than 10 years prior to
the initial separation of 1923 and 22 years prior to the editor of The Berean magazine stating, “there is
no Berean fellowship” (The Berean, 1934, p. 131). Brethren of those days understood what brother
Walker meant in those articles, even if some of our contemporaries refuse to acknowledge the
significance of his testimony. There are additional articles from 1919 to 1924 which demonstrate a
continued resistance to unionization and centralization of any kind. I’ve placed this material in
chronological order starting on page 39. The material from bro. Walker constitutes an important eye-
witness with some important details of how ecclesias operated immediately after, and for years following,
the death of brother Roberts.
    There are two sections in The Doctrine of Fellowship I have not fully duplicated. These involve the
ecclesial actions in 1898. A large number of short quotes were assembled and interspersed with
comments. I do not see value in fully duplicating those two sections. If readers desire information on
that topic they might, with care, refer to The Doctrine of Fellowship.
    Brothers and sisters of conscience will not accept the status quo. The Berean doctrine of fellowship is
not the Scriptural or pioneer doctrine of fellowship. It has become the status quo!

                                                                                              Spring 2009
                                                                                          Stephen Genusa




                                                     12
Cross References to the Berean Presentation
                                               Title from
          Original Title                                                          Published
                                        The Doctrine of Fellowship
   The Nature and Conditions of           Fellowship Its Nature and        1977 p. 299; 1981 p. 125;
      Fellowship in the Truth                    Conditions                       1999 p. 91
                                                                           1953 p. 368; 1979 p. 156;
               None                           Bidding God-Speed            1984 p. 162; 2002 p. 166;
                                                                                 2005 p. 123
     Sunday Morning at the                                                 1956 p. 136; 1974 p. 235;
                                           Whom I Love in the Truth
   Christadelphian Synagogue,                                               1976 p. 15; 1989 p. 81;
                                      TB: Receive Him Not Into the House
       Birmingham, No. 49                                                    1993 p. 9; 1999 p. 404
From Birmingham to New York and                                             1979 p. 41; 2001 p. 138;
                                           Error and Its Treatment
               Back                                                              2002 p. 409
       Ecclesial Fellowship               The Doctrine of Fellowship             1978 p. 345
                                                                           1970 p. 227; 1987 p. 336;
   Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes)          Distance and Fellowship
                                                                           2001 p. 212; 2002 p. 355
                                                                            1953 p. 162; 1973 p. 14;
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham       Inward Peace Through Outward
                                                                                 2000 p. 247
 Christadelphian Ecclesia–No. 289                 Turmoil
                                                                               BEN: 2002 p. 110
                                                                            1954 p. 60; 1988 p. 128;
  A True Christadelphian Ecclesia      The True Christadelphian Ecclesia
                                                                                 1993 p. 314
        The Christadelphian                Fellowship and Division               1978 p. 373;
               Notes                             Fellowship                1978 p. 125; 2000 p. 264
 Cross Currents in Ecclesial Waters            Union and Unity                   1987 p. 225
    Our Duty Towards Error and
                                          Our Duty Towards Errorists             1961 p. 296
              Errorists
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham       The Complete Truth Essential for
                                                                           1976 p. 106; 1981 p. 329
  Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 79               Fellowship
            Intelligence                       Controversies               1979 p. 155; 2002 p. 104
    Answers to Correspondents              Offender and Offended                 1979 p. 189
                                                                            1978 p. 78; 1998 p. 60;
       Meditations–No. XXX               Compromise With Error Fatal        2001 p. 30; 2002 p. 68;
                                                                                 2003 p. 426
    Answers to Correspondents                      Division                      1962 p. 41
   Books, Pamphlets, MSS., &c.,
                                               Publishing Error            1979 p. 415; 2003 p. 49
    received during the Month.
                                                                           1958 p. 378; 1975 p 374;
So-Called “Heresy-Hunting,” A Duty         "Heresy Hunting" A Duty
                                                                                 1995 p. 152
                                                                           1961 p. 360; 2001 p. 96;
       The Christadelphian                  There Shall Be Division
                                                                                 2002 p. 284
     Letter from Dr. Thomas             Know No Man After The Flesh              1962 p. 259
                                                                            1950 p. 5; 1980 p. 369;
          Our Great Sin                      Divider of the Flock
                                                                                 2001 p. 112

                                                   13
                                               Title from
          Original Title                                                          Published
                                        The Doctrine of Fellowship
                                          Principles of Fellowship—
       The Christadelphian               Withdrawal Not Judging, But              1981 p. 327
                                         Protection of Self and Truth
     The End of the Inspiration
                                             Separated Brethren                   1981 p. 51
    Controversy in Birmingham
                 Notes                         Persistent Error            1980 p. 378; 2003 p. 405
                                       Contend Earnestly For the Faith
         Tour in Scotland                                                   1950 p. 83; 1983 p. 312
                                                TB: Fellowship
 The Obedience of Christ and His       The Truth as Expounded by Bro.
                                                                            1981 p. 69; 1984 p. 374
           Brethren                           Thomas A Finality
   Answers to Correspondents                   If A Brother Sin            1978 p. 128; 1995 p. 261
                                              Loose Fellowship              1980 p. 85; 1985 p. 12;
           Intelligence
                                                TB: Fellowship             2001 p. 355; 2003 p. 405
  Part Second; Chapter 1— The
Gospel of the Kingdom in Relation           The One True Gospel            1960 p. 355; 1971 p. 355
   to Israel and the Gentiles.
                                                                           1980 p. 161; 1995 p. 175;
   Answers to Correspondents          Withdrawal Not Excommunication
                                                                                 2003 p. 297
   Answers to Correspondents             Fellowship and Withdrawal               1952 p. 363
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham                                           1979 p. 79; 1986 p. 170;
                                           Brother Thomas' Work
 Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 223                                               2002 p. 369
                                                                            1961 p. 200; 1988 p. 18;
      Letter from Dr. Thomas                      Neutrals                 1992 p. 351; 1995 p. 110;
                                                                                 1997 p. 320
                                                                           1953 p. 176; 1971 p. 184;
   Answers to Correspondents            Why Did Jesus Tolerate Judas?
                                                                           1977 p. 167; 1978 p. 146
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham      One Thing Only Can Separate Us
                                                                            1965 p. 169; 1977 p. 47
  Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 81                From God
                                      Epistles To Corinth Do Not Justify   1976 p. 106; 1981, p. 330;
   Fellowship and Forbearance
                                             Fellowship of Error                 2002 p. 117
 The Gospel and the Baptists of the
                                         "Cry Aloud, and Spare Not!               1976 p. 121
          Seventh Century
               Notes                  Fellowship: Coercion or Freewill?    1980 p. 157; 2003 p. 262
  Chat With Correspondents, and
                                           Fellowship and "Tares"                 1981 p. 48
Extracts From Some of Their Letters
            Intelligence              “Revelation All Future” – A Heresy           1981 p. 48
     Birmingham Miscellanies           Judge, Judge Not, and Fellowship           1977 p. 336
                                         The Truth Concerning Christ's
           Intelligence               Offering For Himself First—Made A    1978 p. 423; 1984 p. 169
                                         Matter of Fellowship in 1898
 Chapter XXI – Strained Relations         Strained Relations With Dr.
                                                                                 1966, p. 105
        With Dr. Thomas                      Thomas, Chapter XXI
                                                   14
                                                Title from
          Original Title                                                           Published
                                         The Doctrine of Fellowship
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham
                                         "Charity" or Unfaithfulness?       1952 p. 300; 1980 p. 55
 Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 194
              To Sardis                             To Sardis                Not Printed in Berean
    Answers to Correspondents                The Ecclesia of God                  1979 p. 156
  N/A – this article consists of an   Resurrectional Responsibility—Bro.    1976 p. 212; 1981 p. 418;
         amalgam of quotes             Roberts' Fellowship Stand in 1898           1987 p. 81
  N/A – this article consists of an    Resurrectional Responsibility and
                                                                                  1980 p. 264
         amalgam of quotes                         Fellowship
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham
                                      Contentiousness Is Not Faithfulness          1980 p. 52
 Christadelphian Ecclesia, No. 194
  N/A – A sentence from an 1885
article by bro. A Macdougall pasted
                                                  Fellowship                      1953 p. 298
to a modified quote of bro. Roberts
             from 1887.
         Withdrawal, and When           "From Such Withdraw Thyself"              1995 p. 189
                                                                            1978 p. 297; 1982 p. 136;
   Answers to Correspondents           Fellowship and Breaking of Bread
                                                                                  2004 p. 195
The Apocalypse on the Question of      The Apocalypse and Fellowship,
                                                                                  1975 p. 130
           Fellowship                         November 1897
                                                                            1953 p. 368; 1979 p. 156;
              None                          Fellowship, Oct. 1891           1984 p. 162; 2002 p. 166;
                                                                                  2005 p. 123
                                        Fellowship and the Nature and        1978 p. 81; BEN 2007 p.
      The Sacrifice of Christ
                                              Sacrifice of Christ                      305
 Answers to Correspondents (The
                                       The Apocalypse and Fellowship,
Apocalypse and the Obedience of                                             1976 p. 98; 1991 p. 386
                                               August 1872
              Faith)
      Sunday Morning at the
                                             Union Without Unity                  1979 p. 190
Christadelphian Synagogue, No. 51
    A Guide To The Formation and        A Guide To The Formation and
    Conduct of Christadelphian           Conduct of Christadelphian                   n/a
             Ecclesias                            Ecclesias
                                          No Peace Without Purity,          1955 p. 334; 1974 p. 195;
  Thoughts and Thoughts – No. 2
                                            Christadelphian 1892                   1998 p. 74
            Fellowship                           Fellowship                        1994 p. 21
Clause No. 16 — Statement of Faith    Clause No. 16 — Statement of Faith              n/a
              Notes                        Progress and Fellowship          1980 p. 230; 1990 p. 428
                                                                                The “Common
               N/A                        The Common Constitution             Constitution” a 1980
                                                                                  innovation
  The Commandments of Christ            The Commandments of Christ                    N/A


                                                   15
16
           The Basis of Fellowship
         This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you,
                        that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
                         But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
                             we have fellowship one with another,
                and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
                                           1st John 1:5-7




                                               17
The Birmingham Constitution #2, 3
                                                 (Excerpt)
   2.—That we accept and profess the doctrines and precepts of Christ, as taught in the apostolic
writings, and defined (positively and negatively) in the annexed Statement of Faith and Epitome of the
Commandments of Christ.
   3.—That we recognise as brethren, and welcome to our fellowship, all who have been immersed (by
whomsoever) after their acceptance of the same doctrines and precepts.

                                            Compiler’s Note
Notice that the “doctrines and precepts of Christ” are defined both positively and negatively. They are
defined positively in the section of the Statement of Faith titled “Truth To Be Received”. They are
defined negatively in the section “Doctrines to Be Rejected”. Finally, notice that the Commandments of
Christ, which are the precepts we are to walk by, are included as part of the basis of fellowship.




A Guide To The Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian
Ecclesias (#34)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                                 (Excerpt)
Basis of Fellowship
    Examination implies a recognised basis of fellowship; that is, a definition of the doctrines that are
recognised as the truth. Examination would be objectless if there were no such definition recognised,
whether written or understood. It is necessary to have the truth defined. It is not enough for an
applicant to say he believes the Bible, or the testimony of the apostles. Multitudes would profess belief
in this form who we know are ignorant or unbelieving of the truth, and, therefore, unqualified for union
with the brethren of Christ. The question for applicants is, do they believe what the Scriptures teach? To
test this, the teaching requires definition. This definition agreed to forms the basis of fellowship among
believers, whether expressed in spoken or written words.
    The history of creeds, which have supplanted the Scriptures in past ages, naturally leads some to feel
an objection to this basis in a written form, but it is obvious that there are advantages in connection
with a written form that outweigh the sentimental repugnance inspired by ecclesiastical precedents. A
mere understanding as to the definitions of truth to be received is apt to become dim and indefinite,
and the way is open to the gradual setting in of corruption. So long as it is understood that the written
definition is not an authority, but merely the written expression of our identical convictions, there is not
only no disadvantage, but the reverse, in reducing the faith to a form that shuts the door against
misunderstanding.


Clause No. 16 — Statement of Faith
    XVI.—That the way to obtain this salvation is to believe the gospel they preached, and to take on the
name and service of Christ, by being thereupon immersed in water, and continuing patiently in the
observance of all things he has commanded, none being recognised as his friends except those who do
what he has commanded (Acts 13:48; 16:31; Mark 16:16; Romans 1:16; Acts 2:38,41; 10:47; 8:12; Gala-
tians 3:27-29; Romans 6:3-5; 2:7; Matthew 28:20; John 15:14).
                                                      18
Tour in Scotland
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1867, p. 269
                                                 (Excerpt)
   Nothing short of fidelity to the whole truth can be accepted as a safe policy. “The things concerning
the kingdom of God,” and “those things that concern our Lord Jesus Christ,” in their scriptural amplitude
must be the measure and standard of fellowship. Those who go for less than this must be left to
themselves; in this they are not judged; they are only subjected to the action of another man’s
conception of duty, and are left at perfect liberty to organize themselves on whatever they may
conceive to be a scriptural basis.


Notes (Nullifying Doctrine)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1892, p. 484
   W. S.—The belief of the truth is not a sufficient basis of fellowship if it be allied with wrong-doing or
nullifying doctrine. We are commanded to withdraw when that is the case, as you know, and from those
who would countenance the wrong even if they would not themselves perpetrate it. You would
recognise this in the case of drunkenness, or the denial that Jesus came in the flesh. There are various
forms of wrong-doing and spiritual leaven. When your discernment is quickened, you will see that the
doctrine of partial inspiration (or the toleration of it in fellowship) is in the category.


+ The Bible Doctrine of Life
                                     The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 244
                                                 (Excerpt)
    Now, any man or woman, before he or she can be immersed into the Name of Jesus the Christ, must
understand what immersion teaches to us in the present time, and what—which is of paramount
importance—it points forward to, or typifies, in the future. Understanding this, then,—that is, “As many
of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death. Therefore we are buried with him
by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of life; for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we
shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:3–6.)—if we
understand this, I say, we must hold unflinchingly and unequivocally that for anyone to be immersed
without a correct knowledge of the doctrine taught in the ordinance itself, is merely to perform a
ceremony of going under water, which comes as near the obedience which the gospel demands, as does
the infant-sprinkling of our day. It will avail such an individual nothing, whatever he may learn or unlearn
afterwards—for the command is to believe first, afterwards be baptised. God has left us in no doubt
here; but His Word is plain, and absolute, and unconditional. We cannot escape from it: and in believing
it in ourselves, we must contend for it earnestly before all, and demand from those with whom we
fellowship an unqualified agreement with us.




                                                      19
+ Letter From Dr. Thomas
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                                    The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 206
                                                (Excerpt)
   I hope that all things are rectified in a certain direction. It is a monstrous conceit that “the only
discipline the Ecclesia can enforce in these times is against false doctrine, and not against immorality of
conduct.” Such a rule as this, approved by any society of professors, would make it a fellowship of
inquity. For myself, I would not belong to such a body of evil doers. The conceit is itself false doctrine,
and, therefore, a matter of discipline. Such a dogma is symptomatic of immorality in the holder. An
ecclesia should, at least, aim to keep itself free from the corruptions that are in the world through lust,
though it may not succeed to the extent desired. To fellowship iniquity knowingly, and without rebuke,
makes us partakers in the guilt.


+ The Doctrine of Judgment and Validity of Immersion
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1874, p. 234
                                                (Excerpt)
    D.P.—No baptism is valid except the baptism of a believer. And his belief must extend to the whole
testimony concerning Christ. The first of these assertions is proved by the association of baptism with
belief in the original commission of Christ to the apostles and in their uniform practice of baptising
believers only, when they went out on their work. The second is shown by common sense and the
reimmersion of the twelve Ephesian believers (Acts 19:5) whose faith at their first baptism was limited
to John’s preaching. The testimony for Christ, set forth in the gospel, includes the declaration that he is
the appointed judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42), and this declaration is shown by the
testimony as a whole (Luke 19:15) to mean that Christ at his appearing, convokes the responsible who
are alive, and the responsible who have lived and died, and whom he recalls from their graves for the
purpose, to “give to every man in body according to that which he hath done—good or bad” (2 Cor.
5:10)—eternal life to those who have sought it by a patient continuance in well-doing (Rom. 2:7, 13),
and shame suffering and corruption to those who have been contentious and flesh-servers.—(Gal. 6:8;
Rom. 2:8; Dan. 12:2.) Now any man denying the simultaneous arraignment of good and bad at the
appearing of Christ, denies the judgment that is taught in the Scriptures, and, therefore, denies one of
the elements of the testimony concerning Christ in the gospel, and to that extent, he is unready for the
act of baptism which is prescribed for those only who believe the gospel in its entirety. And if in that
state, he is immersed, and comes afterwards to see the truth, no doubt his desire to place the validity of
so grave an act beyond question, would prompt him to imitate the example of the Ephesian twelve, and
be baptised again. If he do not come to see the truth of the matter, the responsibility of his position
must lie with himself. He cannot be surprised if the friends of the whole truth feel themselves compelled
to stand apart from the fellowship thereof. (Accept this in lieu of a letter for which the time fails.)




                                                     20
                                      And they continued stedfastly in
                     the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread,
                                              and in prayers.
                                                Acts 2:42


+ The Apostles’ Fellowship
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                       The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1851, p. 58-59
                                                 (Excerpt)
    To have fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, men must have fellowship with the
Apostles. This is accomplished only by believing and doing the truth promulgated by them. This is styled
"walking in the light as God is in the light, by which we have fellowship one with another" (1 John 1:3, 6,
7). A man might be in approved fellowship with all "Christendom," papal and protestant, church and
dissenters, and yet have no fellowship with God; "for if we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in
the darkness (ignorance) we lie, and do not the truth." Hence Papalism, and Protestantism are a great
lie; mere antagonist evils claiming fellowship with God, while they are mantled in the darkness of human
tradition, and pervert and persecute the truth." It is the duty, therefore, of all who would embrace the
Christianity of the Bible to lay hold of the things we have already indicated, to separate themselves from
all papal and protestant sects [for they are but the aggregations of all worldliness, and fast asleep], and
either to maintain their own individuality, or, if sufficiently numerous, associate themselves together as
A COMMUNITY OF WITNESSES "who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus
Christ" (Rev. 12:11-17). Such an association would be entitled to the scriptural appellation of
                                              "THE LAMB'S WIFE,"
    Which is called upon to prepare herself for the approaching consummation (Rev. 16:15; 19:7-8). She
must be sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water by the word," that she may be "holy and
without blemish." Such a body must "edify itself in love" (Eph. 4:16); and meet every Lord's day to
commemorate his death and resurrection, to show forth the praises of God, to make their united
requests known to Him through Jesus Christ, to proclaim His goodness to the children of men, and to
convince them of the judgment which has come upon the world at last.

Notice that in the above article brother Thomas uses “a community”, and “a body” as synonymous with
a single ecclesia. Also, brother Thomas’ point concerning “the Apostle’s fellowship” is significant. A man
may break bread but not have fellowship with the Apostles, Jesus Christ, the Father or his saints. This
principle is also touched on in the section The State of the Mortal ecclesias on page 63.




+ Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 423-424
   We direct attention to the first article in this number of the Christadelphian. It deals with a subject on
which a clear and Scriptural understanding is essential to ecclesial peace. As a brother there remarks,
very lax ideas with respect to it are prevalent among those who have recently submitted to the truth—
say within the last ten years—such as have not known the early struggle for purity in the basis of

                                                      21
fellowship. Even among some of those of whom a more advanced spiritual understanding might have
been expected, astonishing sentiments are entertained, to the effect that error of any kind is not only
not to be objected to in fellowship, but rather encouraged as a useful counterfoil and provocative of
truth, and that the only thing justifying separation is immorality of conduct! This would be a very
convenient doctrine to hold; but it is impossible for anyone in harmony with the apostolic writings to
receive it. The truth is the root of ecclesial existence; and the whole spirit of apostolic precept is to be
jealous of any departure from it, and to contend for it earnestly against the corruptions of all who creep
in unawares, to the extent of turning away from the corrupters if they cannot be won over to the right
way.
    The effort to restore fellowship in Birmingham has not yet succeeded. There is hope, it may. All
depends upon whether the New Street brethren finally consent to make the doctrine of complete
inspiration a first principle in their midst. If they do, we may work together as two separate bodies in
harmony. If not, we must wait as we are. An unfortunate impression prevails to the effect that the
question is an affair of personal emulation and not of principle. Let reasonable men among them discard
this surmise (which is absolutely unfounded as regards the Editor of the Christadelphian), and there will
be no difficulty. If they hold to it, they are victimised by a delusion that will not be to their honour in the
day of account. Of course, we do not insinuate that it will be a knowing victimisation on their part: but
that will not alter the fact. We hope all may yet be well.


+ Historical Remembrances; or, Satan Rebuked
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                         The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1859, p. 84
                                                 (Excerpt)
   As to fellowship, we fellowship all who can prove by the word that they have believed and obeyed
the gospel of the kingdom prophesied of by Moses and the prophets, and preached by Jesus and the
apostles; but as President Campbell and the Arcadian brothers, Joseph and Nathaniel, cannot work out
the demonstration, we cannot admit that they are anything more than a theoretical improvement upon
Millerism.


The Nature and Conditions of Fellowship in the Truth
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 385-389
    The truth is professedly and confessedly a “narrow” thing. Jesus declares this in saying “Strait is the
gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.” This “way” he afterwards speaks of as “the truth,”
saying, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;” and also, “every one that is of the
truth heareth my voice.”
    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
recognising 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


                                                       22
freedom. All who sincerely accept Christ will recognise his law as paramount, however irksomely it may
work in some of its present relations.
     It is one of the narrownesses of the truth that it demands of those who receive it that they “contend
earnestly for it,” even if an angel from heaven oppose it or corrupt it (Jude 3; Gal. 1:8–9), and that they
maintain it intact and unsullied among themselves as the basis and association among those who
profess it, refusing to walk with a brother who either disobeys its precepts (2 Thes. 3:14; Rom. 16:17), or
refuses consent to its teachings in vital matters (2 Jno. 10; 1 Tim. 6:3–5). This policy is so contrary to
natural friendliness that it is easy to drift away from it, and to invent theories that will relieve us from its
unpleasant obligations.
     The controversy on inspiration has forced the re-consideration of this question upon us. We say re-
consideration: for it was considered and debated in the beginnings of things connected with the truth in
this generation, and satisfactorily disposed of for a time. The principal cause of our trouble in the
present situation has been the divergence of view that has prevailed at the bottom on this fundamental
question. Many who have allowed the entirely inspired character of the Scriptures, have not been able
to see the necessity for insisting upon that truth in our basis of fellowship. They have been inclined to
leave it as “an open question.” This is the result of a dim or faulty perception of the apostolic doctrine of
fellowship (a common sense doctrine) which requires agreement on fundamentals as the first condition
of walking together, or co-operating, associating, or fellowshipping together in the prosecution of the
objects of the truth. As a brother writing on the question says:

        “There is prevalent at the present time a lamentable looseness in regard to what must
    constitute the basis of fellowship. It arises partly from ignorance and partly from an over anxiety to
    increase numbers, and keep together divergent elements. This must inevitably result in serious
    trouble or general declension. . . The truth’s interest is at stake, and no doubt much depends upon
    our action, as to whether it is yet to be maintained in its purity and simplicity, or lapse into
    laodiceanism. The crisis is, doubtless, the most acute that has taken place since it was brought to
    light in these latter days. It has been brewing for past years. You were reluctant to believe it, and
    laboured to stave it off. A too long course of loose discipline and slackness in dealing with wrong
    principles in doctrine and practice has, no doubt, intensified the evil and made it all the more bitter,
    and grievous and hard to bear. I am persuaded that good will result in the case of those many or few
    who will outride the storm by keeping a firm grasp of the anchor of the soul, by coming out of this
    ocean of suffering as gold tried in the fire.”

     With a view to the thorough ventilation and effectual exhibition of the Scriptural principles of
fellowship, we append a double series of propositions in which there is some attempt to formulate them
in their bearing upon the question which has been troubling the ecclesias. We should be pleased to
receive and publish enlightened criticisms that may be offered thereon; or any other capable endeavour
to amplify or illustrate Scriptural principles in the same direction.

                                                The First Series
     I. “Fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” consists in walking in the light, as God is
in the light.
     II. “Fellowship one with another,” depends entirely upon our conformity to this first and necessary
principle of all fellowship, which John so emphatically lays down in 1 Jno. 1:6, 7.
     III. “Light” is a figure of speech—a metaphor for divine wisdom, true knowledge, and accurate
understanding.
     IV. God is the fountain-head of these incomparable powers. Hence “God is light, and in Him is no
darkness at all.”


                                                        23
     V. His light is manifested to us in three ways—first, in Christ; second, in the Scriptures; and third, in
His saints.
     VI. In Christ:—“I am come a light into the world, that whosever believeth on me should not abide in
darkness.”
     In the Scriptures:—“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
     In His Saints:—“For ye were sometimes in darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as
Children of light,” (Eph. 5:8).
     VII. These points being hereby established, they constitute a chain connecting God and man, not one
link of which can be removed, or in any respect impaired without endangering the whole sequence and
breaking the harmony of the divine relations to us individually. Take away Christ and you destroy all
possibility of fellowship with God. Tamper with that Bible which He approved, and you equally render
divine recognition of you hopeless, while you remove the only means in visible existence among men
which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among them who are sanctified; you destroy
the foundation of the righteous, and dissolve in so doing the household of Christ.
     VIII. “Walking in the light,” therefore, means “believing ALL things that are written in the law and the
prophets,” as Paul affirmed he did (Acts 24:14), as well as the subsequent writings in the New
Testament: exercising hope towards God as embodied in “Christ our hope,” and following
“righteousness, faith, love, peace with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
     IX. Without the patient and faithful observance of these things, fellowship with the Father and with
His Son Jesus Christ is impossible, and in consequence fellowship one with another is likewise
impracticable.

                                                    Again
    Is it not a commandment of God that we should receive His word—His oracles—the Scriptures—as
supreme? Does not Christ enforce it in his “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39) and elsewhere? Does not
Paul teach it in many ways, in regard to both the Old Testament and the New?
    Admitting this unavoidable conclusion and reading it in the light which 1 John 2:3, &c., throws upon
the conditions of true fellowship, namely, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his
commandments. He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar and the truth is
not in him. But whoso keepeth his word in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that
we are in him.” “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk so in as he walked.” Must we
notexact Christ’s estimate of the Old Testament, and Paul’s of both the Old Testament and his own
writings, as a necessary condition to be recognized in our “fellowship one with another,” if we wish to
secure the end for which we are working, namely, “fellowship with the Father, and with his son, Jesus
Christ?”
                                             The Second Series

  1.   —In the accomplishment of its mission among men the truth acts by separation and association.
       a. It separates men from the world: “Come out from among them and be ye separate.”
       b. It associates those so separated: “Ye are all one . . . forsake not the assembling of
            yourselves together.”
          It produces these results by the creation of scripturally derived ideas in the minds of those
                operated upon. By these ideas they are dominated and controlled. They become
                mentally new creatures, and manifest the change in their altered relations to men and
                things around them.
  2.   —But the association of those separated by the truth, is governed by conditions, that sometimes
       interrupt that association. Hence, “Have no company:” “withdraw:” “turn away”—are apostolic
       commands concerning some who have been actually separated by the truth.

                                                       24
  3.    —The conditions of association relate to two departments of our standing in Christ which may be
        expressed as conviction and character . . . Unity of conviction and mutuality of conformity to a
        certain standard of action, are the two conditions out of which association and fellowship grow,
        and by rupture of which, it is necessarily interfered with.
  4.    —This rupture may be only partial in either department and yet be sufficient to cause suspension
        of association in fellowship. Apostolic examples:—
        a. Refusal to recognise that Christ had come in the flesh was made a reason for not receiving
            men who believed in God and the Kingdom, and a number of other elements of truth.
        b. Idleness was declared a ground of disfellowship where men had otherwise submitted to the
            commandments of Christ.
  5.    —That the first condition of association is the belief of the truth, apart from the perception and
        reception of which, there is no basis of fellowship.
  6.    —That the truth forming this basis is made up of a number of items or elements, that are each
        essential to its integrity as a whole.
  7.    —That it is a matter of duty to require the recognition of these at the hands of those claiming
        association with us in the truth.
  8.    —That we are not at liberty to receive any one who denies or refuses to believe any of them,
        because the receiving of such would open the way for the currency of their principles among us,
        with the tendency of leavening the whole community. The elements of the truth are so mutually
        related that the displacement of one undermines the foundation of the whole.
  9.    —A man himself believing the truth, but willing to wink at its denial among those in fellowship in
        any of its essential elements, becomes, by this willingness, an offender against the law of Chist,
        which requires the faithful maintenance of the whole. Faithful servants of Christ cannot unite
        with such, on the ground that though he hold the truth himself, such a man is responsible for
        the error of those whom he would admit, and therefore becomes the channel of a similar
        responsibility to those who may endorse him in fellowship:—“He that biddeth him God-speed is
        partaker of his evil deeds.”
  10.    —That it is the duty of the friends of the truth to uphold it as a basis of union among
        themselves by refusing to receive either those who deny any part of it, or those who would
        receive those so denying.
  11.    —Paul commands withdrawal from “any man” who “obeys not his word,” “delivered by
        epistle.” He commands the brethren to hold fast the traditions taught by him, “whether by word
        or epistle.”
  12.    —Paul teaches by epistle that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.
  13.    —We are bound to hold fast by this, and to refuse association with any man refusing
        submission to this apostolic tradition.
  14.    —The doctrine of partial inspiration is a nullification of this apostolic tradition; and a doctrine
        consequently, from the holders of which, we are bound apostolically to withdraw.
  15.    —That the highest sanction of reason supports this apostolic obligation, since logically, the
        doctrine of partial inspiration, when worked out, deprives us of confidence in the only access we
        have to the divine mind in our age.


+ Answers to Correspondents (Reimmersion)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1872, p. 39
   J. A. N.—You doubtless did right in making sure your standing in Christ in reimmersion. The doctrine
that Christ will judge the living and the dead at his appearing is one of the elements of the gospel—
                                                      25
(Rom. 2:16; Acts 10:42; Heb. 6:1) the lack of which at a former immersion it is dangerous to tamper with
as a possible invalidation of our position. And what is necessary to give validity to immersion is
necessary as a basis of fellowship. No believer could, therefore, remain connected with a body
repudiating this element of truth. But there is a difference between the rejection of a truth and a
defective knowledge of it. Men may have believed that Jesus will perform the office of judge at his
appearing, without having perceived that it involves the appearance of the righteous before him in an
unglorified state. This, as a matter of detail, and subsequent growth in knowledge, may have escaped
their recognition, while fully receiving Christ as the appointed arbiter of human destiny. It is well,
therefore, to leave it to individual conviction as to whether re-immersion is requisite in such cases.
Where, as in some cases, the doctrine of judgment was unknown or distinctly rejected, there is no
alternative to the position you have taken up, but where as in other cases, it was believed without being
thoroughly understood, it is well to waive objection where the truth is now received, leaving it with
every man to decide for himself whether, upon doubtful ground, he is prepared to face the momentous
problem of the judgment seat.


Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue,
Birmingham. – No. 4
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                      The Christadelphian, 1868, p. 76
                                                 (Excerpt)
    And we are here this morning to realise and recognise the object which John here asserts to have
been the very object of their declaring all these things. For we must ever remember their proceedings
had an object. They did not go abroad to declare the resurrection of Christ simply because they privately
knew it to be a fact, and wanted other people to know it as an interesting fact. They had a palpable and
intelligible and very definite object in view, and it is upon that object that we must concentrate our
attention, for our belief of their testimony, apart from the object they had in delivering the testimony, is
altogether vain. We had better never know what they taught if we fail to realize the object they had in
view in teaching what they taught. Here John declares that object: “That ye may have fellowship with us,
and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ.” Now what does this mean? It
means something very much more than the technical fellowship known to the language by which we
define our ecclesiastical relations in this present imperfect state. To have fellowship with, is to be a
fellow of, in the sense of being identical in mind, faith, disposition, principle, practice, taste and
intention, and also in nature and relation. To have fellowship with the apostles, is to stand in their
position, and their position John defines to be one of fellowship with the Father and his son Jesus Christ.
To call men into this position is the object of the truth, but there are two stages in the attainment of it.
The first relates to state of mind now, and the second to order of being at the full manifestation of the
divine purpose. The first is the one we have more especially to concern ourselves with on the present
occasion. John here says that a man has no fellowship with God if he walks in darkness. “If we say we
have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” John is here addressing
himself to those who believe the truth. He gives us to understand that a person who merely knows the
truth intellectually—who merely believes there was such a man as Jesus Christ, and that he rose from
the dead, and is theoretically offered as the salvation of God, but walks in unrighteousness, is none the
better for his knowledge, and deceives himself, if he imagine he is a son of God. The mere knowledge of
the truth will never secure for any one an entrance into the kingdom. The truth is but an agency; the
gospel is but a means; and unless the end is realised, the means are a failure. Now the end proposed in
the first instance is to give us fellowship with the Father. To do this, it must cause us to walk in the light
                                                       26
John speaks of “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” We are not to read these terms darkness
and light literally. There is nothing more conspicuous throughout the whole course of the scriptures
than the metaphorical use of “light” and “darkness.” In this use, “light” is not a brightness to be seen by
the physical eye, but a state of enlightenment—an intellectual and moral light.


Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue,
Birmingham. – No. 22
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1870, p. 203-204
                                                 (Excerpt)
    Meanwhile, we have to determine our position, and shape our course by the instruction left us by
the apostles. Some part of these we have in this chapter. We are to walk in the light. “This,” says John,
“is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no
darkness at all. It we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not
speak the truth.” This is a very important item of knowledge. We know that God is light, in a visible
sense, for He dwelleth in light no man can approach; but He is light in the sense opposed to the moral
and intellectual darkness from which Jesus sent Paul to turn the Gentiles.—(Acts 26:18.) Besides having
knowledge, He is holy, and just, and truthful, and merciful, gracious, long-suffering, and wise. This
aspect of the light has come—“the true light now shineth.” John says that light has come by Jesus. It
shines, as it were, in his face.—(2 Cor. 4:6.) In him is light, and the light is the life of men. What we have
to do is to look at that light, and walk in it, that we may be children of the light.—(John 12:36.) If we
walk in darkness, we are not in the light, whatever knowledge of the truth we may have as a theory. “If
we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not speak the truth.” This is a
test of comparatively easy application. Walking in darkness is living in opposition to the divine character.
This may be done in various ways, ever remembering that disobedience in one line is as fatal as in all. A
man who is in the habit of lying, which is an established habit in the world, walks in darkness, though he
may “give much alms to the people.” A man who loves not, and is destitute of deeds of kindness, walks
in darkness, though he may know all things; for God is love, and kind to the unthankful and the evil. A
selfish man walks in darkness; so does the vindictive man, the quarrelsome man, the proud man, the
dishonourable man, and whoever else behaves in opposition to the mind of Christ. Such have no
fellowship with the Father, however much they may know of the Father’s affairs. They walk not in the
way He has made known for men to walk in, and are, therefore, none of His. He wants “obedient
children.” He has no use for such as are not “conformed to the image of His Son.” How lamentable it
would be if it were otherwise! What an ugly state of things it would be for the kingdom to be filled with
ungodly theorists; men of “doctrinal” skill, but of selfish and unprincipled hearts.




                                                       27
28
             Ecclesial Independence
   "Associations" are unscriptural. The congregations of Christ in early times, were entirely
independent, none of them being subject to any foreign or extraneous jurisdiction, but each governed
by its own Rulers, and the Apostolic laws. No peculiar set of men, associated under any exclusive title,
had any juridical authority, or any sort of supremacy, or the least right to enact laws under any pretence
whatever. Nothing, on the contrary, is more evident than the perfect equality that reigned among the
primitive churches; nor does there even appear, in the first century, that association of provincial
churches from which councils and metropolitans derive their origin. It was only in the second century,
that the custom of holding councils commenced in Greece whence it soon spread through the other
provinces of the Roman world.
                                            Bro. John Thomas
                                    The Apostolic Advocate, 1835, p. 121
                                                  (Excerpt)




                      The principle of ecclesial independence has been clearly
                                           recognized and
                                 sacredly upheld among us hitherto
                           as a principle vital to the objects of the truth
                 in the development of brethren and sisters in the simple ways of
                                                  faith,
                              in preparation for the coming of Christ.
                                           Bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 167
                                                 (Excerpt)




                                                      29
+Associations — John Kerr — The Dunkards — Trine Immersion
                                         By bro. John Thomas
                        (excerpt from The Apostolic Advocate, 1835, p. 121-123)
    On Sept. 2d I returned to Richmond after an absence of five weeks. During this period I travelled
about six hundred miles, and spoke twenty-six times on the Christian Institution to a total of some three
thousand people. On July 30th I arrived at Flat Rock in company with Bros. Jeter and Walthal. Here we
found many of the brethren from various parts of Lunenburg and the adjacent counties. They had met
here as delegates to, and spectators of, the proceedings of an Association, now probably defunct, called
the Meherrin Association. We were respectfully invited to a seat. We appreciated the motive of our
friends, but the invitation was not accepted. As far as we could learn, we believe there was not a single
delegate, that was not fully impressed with the unscriptural character of these assemblies. Indeed, a
vote was unanimously passed, that the churches be advised to dissolve the body. It is probable,
therefore, that we were spectators of its demise. No "funeral was preached" over its corpse; may its
ashes, however, rest in peace, and never rise again.
    "Associations" are unscriptural. The congregations of Christ in early times, were entirely
independent, none of them being subject to any foreign or extraneous jurisdiction, but each governed
by its own Rulers, and the Apostolic laws. No peculiar set of men, associated under any exclusive title,
had any juridical authority, or any sort of supremacy, or the least right to enact laws under any pretence
whatever. Nothing, on the contrary, is more evident than the perfect equality that reigned among the
primitive churches; nor does there even appear, in the first century, that association of provincial
churches from which councils and metropolitans derive their origin. It was only in the second century,
that the custom of holding councils commenced in Greece whence it soon spread through the other
provinces of the Roman world.
    The meeting of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts xv.) is commonly considered as the first Christian
council or association. But this notion arises from a manifest abuse of the word council. That meeting
was only of one church, and, if such a meeting be called a council, it will follow that there were
innumerable councils in the primitive times. But every one knows that a council is an assembly of
delegates, deputies or commissioners, sent from several churches associated by certain bonds in a
general body, and thus the said supposition falls to the ground.
    Although the Christian assemblies in the first century were unassociated in any other bonds than
those of love, in process of time, as HUMAN POLICY gained the ascendant, all the churches of a province
were formed into one large ecclesiastical body, which, like confederate States, assembled at certain
times, in order to deliberate about the common interests of the whole. This institution had its origin
among the Greeks, with whom nothing was more common than this confederacy of independent States,
and the regular assemblies which met, in consequence thereof, at fixed times, and were composed of
the deputies of each respective State. But these ecclesiastical associations were not long confined to the
Greeks; their great utility in subserving the ambitious views of a rising priesthood was no sooner
perceived by the clergy, than they became universal, and were formed in all places where the Christian
religion had been planted. To these assemblies, in which the deputies or commissioners of several
churches consulted together, the names of SYNOD was appropriated by the Greeks, and that of councils
by the Latins; and the laws that were enacted in these general meetings, were called canons, i. e. rules.
    "These councils," says Mosheim, "of which we find not the smallest trace before the middle of the
second century, changed the whole face of the church and gave it a new form; for, by them the ancient
privileges of the people were considerably diminished, and the power and authority of the bishops
greatly augmented." Prudence indeed prevented the clergy assuming all at once the power with which
they were afterwards invested. At their first appearance in these general councils they acknowledged
that they were no more than the delegates of their respective churches, and that they acted in the
                                                     30
name, and by the appointment of the people. But they soon changed this humble tone, imperceptibly
extended the limits of their authority, turned their influence into dominion, and their counsels into laws;
and openly asserted, at length, that Christ had empowered them to prescribe to his people authoritative
rules of faith and manners. Another effect of these councils was, the gradual abolition of that perfect
equality which reigned among all bishops in the primitive times. For the order and decency of these
assemblies required, that some one of the provincial bishops, meeting in council, should be invested
with a superior degree of power and authority, and hence the rights of metropolitan bishops derive
their origin. In the mean time the bounds of the church were enlarged; the custom of holding councils
was followed where ever the sound of a corrupted gospel had reached; and the universal church had
now the appearance of one vast republic, formed by a combination of a great number of little States.
This occasioned a new order of ecclesiastics, who were appointed in different parts of the world, as
heads of the church, and whose office it was to preserve the consistence and union of that immense
body, whose members were so widely dispersed throughout the nations. Such were the nature and
office of the patriarchs, among whom at length, ambition, having reached its most insolent period,
formed a new dignity, investing the Bishop of Rome, and his successors, with the title and authority of
Prince of the Patriarchs. (Mosheim, vol. i. p. 60.)
    Such is the testimony afforded us by history of the origin and usurpation of associations. History is
the experience of past ages, and is able to make us wise in the conduct of the future. The embryo
assemblies out of which arose the councils of Nice, Nicomedia and Trent, claimed to be nothing more
than "advisory," which is the main plea by which it is attempted to sustain them among the Baptists at
this time! Advisory! yes, indeed, even to the excommunication of churches from Christian fellowship.
The designs of ambition are generally masked under a show of moderation and humility. These have
been well played off among the Baptists until the people are cajoled into the belief of their scriptural
and apostolic character. We rejoice, however, that in Lunenburg the knell has been sounded and the
requiem of these antichristian assemblies chaunted [old spelling of chant] perhaps forever.




                            H. P. Mansfield, Logos, 1972, Pioneer Supplement, p. 106


                                                      31
Excerpt from Eureka (“this new order of things” vs. “the
order instituted by the Apostles”)
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                   (Excerpt from Eureka, Tribes of Israel's Sons, volume 2, p. 321-322)
    Scarcely any two things can be more dissimilar than this new order of things, and the order instituted
by the Apostles nearly 300 years before. Mosheim speaking of the episcopal presbyters, or overseeing
elders, of the apostolic ecclesias and those of the second century, says: “Let none confound the bishops
of this primitive and golden period of the ecclesia with those of whom we read in the following ages. For
though they were both designated by the same name, yet they differed extremely in many respects. A
bishop during the first and second centuries was a person who had the care of one christian assembly,
which at that time was, generally speaking, small enough to be contained in a private house. In this
assembly he acted not so much with the authority of a master, as with the zeal and diligence of a faithful
servant. The ecclesias, also in those early times, were entirely independent; none of them subject to any
foreign jurisdiction, but each of them governed by its own rulers and its own laws. Nothing is more
evident than the perfect equality that reigned among the primitive ecclesias; nor does there ever appear
in the first century, the smallest trace of that association of provincial ecclesias from which councils and
metropolitans derive their origin.”


The Ecclesial Guide #1
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  (Excerpt from The Ecclesial Guide #1)
     The Term “Ecclesia”
    To help in the development, and give scope for the exercise of this faithfulness, obedient believers
were required to form themselves into communities, which, in Greek, were called ECCLESIAS. There is no
exact equivalent in English for this term Ecclesia. It means an assembly of the called. “Church” (by which
it is translated) has not this meaning, and has become objectionable through association with un-
apostolic ideas and institutions. Consequently, the original term has to be employed.

                                           Compilers Note
Please notice that in the very first statement of The Ecclesial Guide bro. Roberts states, “obedient
believers were required to form themselves into communities”. Obedient believers were not required to
form themselves into a single worldwide community or union of ecclesias. Each ecclesia was an
autonomous local community which interacted with, or withdrew from, other autonomous communities
after the Biblical pattern.


The Ecclesial Guide #20
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  (Excerpt from The Ecclesial Guide #20)


   Ecclesial Control
   It is next important, in making this choice, that the right of the whole ecclesia to control proceedings
should not be absolutely surrendered into the hands of those chosen. To do this would be to appoint

                                                      32
masters and not servants, and lay a foundation for the evils that have come from clerical domination.
While appointing special brethren to special offices, the ecclesia ought to retain a power of regulation
and control. This is done by making the proceedings of the arranging brethren subject to the periodical
approbation of the general body. Let the arranging brethren report their acts once in three months to
the general body, and if there is anything objectionable in those acts, it is in the power of the ecclesia to
repudiate them. Yet, since the decisions of the arranging brethren must often refer to matters requiring
immediate attention, it is necessary that their decisions should be valid, without the consent of the
general body; and that such acts should not be subject to repudiation. The two necessities are met by
giving the arranging brethren the power to carry out their decisions at once; and the general body the
power of veto only as regards the future.

                                            Compiler’s Note
Please notice that there is no mention of any controlling authority outside of self-government regulated
by the general body of the ecclesia itself.




The Ecclesial Guide #44
                                            By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     (Excerpt from The Ecclesial Guide #44)
    To form “unions” or “societies” of ecclesias, in which delegates should frame laws for the individual ecclesias,
would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with the free growth and the
true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious importances, which tend to suffocate the
truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.

                                               Compiler’s Note
    Any union of ecclesias violates Clause #44 of The Ecclesial Guide. Would advocates of ecclesial unions
have us believe that unions or societies of ecclesias are acceptable just as long as delegates are not
involved in framing laws for the individual ecclesias?! Does anyone believe that delegates are the only
evil? Brother Roberts speaks of delegates laying the foundation of a collective, that is a unionized,
despotism and “collective machineries”. These things are generated whether by delegate or by mutual
ecclesial agreements. As modern day ecclesial unions have demonstrated, they “create fictitious
importances” by imagining themselves to be the One Faithful Body, or at least a superior Body in
comparison to other any other Christadelphian union of ecclesias. And, as history demonstrates, they
“tend to suffocate the truth” through their authoritarian tendencies at legislating every problem
whether local or worldwide, and through their collective, a.k.a inter-ecclesial, fellowship actions –
actions which individually considered may, or may not, be correct in themselves. It is the collective
power to do right, whose very existence sets the stage for collective power to do wrong which is
despotism. New Testament ecclesias were not a unionized Fellowship but autonomous ecclesias.


+ Notice to the Public.
                                             By bro. John Thomas
                          The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1860, p. 260
   WE do the public in general to wit, that the truth advocated in the Herald of the Kingdom, nor we
ourselves, are to be held responsible for what may be taught in any other periodical extant; nor for the
                                                           33
practices of churches nor individuals. We have no authority over them, and therefore cannot enforce
what we know to be right; and it is not just that responsibility should be exacted in the absence of
power. We wholly disapprove of many things we see and hear. The Kingdom of God in its doctrine
bearing fruit "is righteousness and peace and joy in a holy spirit." We have no fellowship for mere
theorists. If men believe the truth, they must practise it, or be condemned to the “shame and contempt"
of the judgment hour.


+ The Question of the Inspiration of the Bible
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 165
                                                 (Excerpt)
    3. It is very proper for an ecclesia to “resist interference with its ecclesial affairs.” The determination
on this head, which the resolution expresses, is, however, somewhat ambiguous in its bearing. It is
aimed at the Editor of the Christadelphian, of course; but it is hard to see how it applies, unless it refer
to the conducting of the Christadelphian. The Editor of the Christadelphian has never interfered in the
affairs of the Birkenhead ecclesia, or any other ecclesia. He has several times attended ecclesial
meetings in various parts of the country, by request, to take part with them in the disentanglement of
ecclesial difficulties: but this could not justly be characterised as “interference.” It was co-operation in a
perfectly brotherly spirit, with brotherly results, and with the reverse of gratification to us in every case,
except in so far as good was achieved. If it refer to the conducting of the Christadelphian, the complaint
is still more destitute of reasonable ground. The Editor in all cases has only exercised the lawful
prerogative of an editor. He has “edited” the contents of the magazine from the point of view of the
objects at which it aims. This cannot be held to be an interference in any ecclesia’s affairs. Each ecclesia
does its own untrammelled part; and the Editor of the Christadelphian does his. It will be an
unspeakable relief when the need for either part has ceased in the manifestation of the personal
superintendence of the appointed judge; but while the need continues, what reasonable man would
object to its faithful exercise in the spirit of mutual respectful independence and consideration? A paper
cannot be conducted by many hands. Under any arrangement, the ultimate management falls into a
single pair. Editing by committee is a performance which must end in abortion where it is not a
pretence.
    4. The last point has two features, only one of which calls for serious notice: that is, the proposal that
“a conference of delegates from the various ecclesias should meet and undertake the responsibility of
directing the interests of the truth.” It is impossible to offer too strenuous an opposition to such a
proposal. It is a proposal that will not be accepted by enlightened believers in Christ who discern the
true mission of the truth in its present stage; the nature and difficulty of the situation in which its work
has to be done in these latter days; and the tendencies involved in the unapostolic and ambitious
machinery proposed. The principle of ecclesial independence has been clearly recognised and sacredly
upheld among us hitherto as a principle vital to the objects of the truth in the development of brethren
and sisters in the simple ways of faith, in preparation for the coming of Christ. The abandonment of this
principle—the surrender of self-government into the hands of a “conference,”—would be a long further
stride towards that apostacy from apostolic principles which many fear is already begun in our midst. To
consent to such a machinery would be to create an abstraction which would work mischief in a variety
of ways. It would divert the minds of the brethren from the simple regulation of their own affairs: and
introduce an outside source of debate and appeal. The “conference” would be before their minds in all
their dealings, giving scope to unruly spirits to gratify their love of contention in the complicating of
affairs that ought to be simple. And, worse still, it would put into the hands of those who are at home in
the carnal arts of factious organisation, and manipulating of votes, a machinery which would inevitably
                                                          34
work for the corruption and destruction of the truth in its faith and practice. It would organise a tyranny
over ecclesial and individual life. It, at the same time, would open out a sphere at present closed to
ecclesiastical ambitions. “Presidents” and “secretaries” would acquire a factitious importance that
would soon ripen into the pretensions of clericalism; and the simple ways of the truth, which afford
scope only for pure-minded, self-denying service, would soon be overwhelmed and destroyed by the
flesh-glorifying and unapostolic officialism which prevails with such fatal effects in all branches of the
ecclesiastical world from which we have been delivered. Faithful men will refuse to be compromised in
such a plausible device. It may find favour with such as either lack experience in the working of spiritual
things, or who have a defective sympathy with truly spiritual objects. Men of another stamp will say
with brother Sulley: “For me, no compromise with ‘conference’ plan; it means spiritual death.” It is all
very well for brethren to meet as spiritual units, to hold intercourse on the basis of the truth alone, on
the model of fraternal gatherings such as frequently take place: in this there is advantage and profit.
Introduce the “delegate” feature, for the organic assumption of “responsibilities” that already (and in a
healthy form) rest on every individual shoulder that bears the yoke of Christ, and you introduce a leaven
of corruption that will slowly work destruction and death.
    The following paragraph from the Guide embodies the view heretofore accepted among the brethren
on this subject: Sect. 44.—“Fraternal Gatherings from various places.—These are beneficial when
restricted to purely spiritual objects (i.e. let the brethren assemble anywhere, from anywhere, and
exhort or worship or have social intercourse together): but they become sources of evil if allowed to
acquire a legislative character in the least degree. Ecclesial independence should be guarded with great
jealousy, with the qualifications indicated in the foregoing sections. To form ‘unions’ or ‘societies of
ecclesias’ (and it may be added, ‘conferences’) in which delegates should frame laws for the individual
ecclesias would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with the free
growth and the true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious importances,
which tend to suffocate the truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.”


+ Notes
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 572
   C.E.B.—We fear there is little prospect of resumption of fellowship at Birmingham. The brethren in
the Exchange refuse individual assent to the proposition put forward as the basis of agreement.



+ Intelligence (Australia) (Ecclesial Independence)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1892, p. 158
    Beware of sacrificing the principle of ecclesial independence. Any number of brethren may profitably
come together to hold intercourse on a spiritual basis; but if they begin legislating, they will begin
mischief. This is the lesson of all experience. Dr. Thomas was dead against it. Each ecclesia must legislate
for itself. A conference of delegates may easily become an incubus on ecclesial life.




                                                      35
+ Proposed Fraternal Gathering
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1872, p. 225
                                                 (Excerpt)
   IT has frequently happened that special occasions (such as the recent discussion with the Jews), have
brought together a number of brethren at Birmingham, from divers parts of the country. This has given
opportunity for mutual acquaintance and encouragement which have been found serviceable in the
subsequent operations of the truth. These and many individual and detached visits to Birmingham have
originated the question:—Why should there not be a stated opportunity for a gathering of brethren
from different parts? The same question has been put by some who have never been out of their own
immediate circle, but to whom the advisability of such a thing has suggested itself. The desire for mutual
acquaintance and encouragement is reasonable, and if practicable, there could be no objection to its
gratification, provided the gathering was simple and spiritual in character, and kept free from anything
involving organization, or legislation, or interference with the independent action of ecclesias. The truth
must be left to work its own work in the minds and consciences of believers. We must set up no
authority. We must preserve, in its most untrammelled form, the liberty of voluntary fraternal
association and co-operation, requiring, as our only condition, the belief and obedience of the truth. On
subsidiary matters, we must preserve absolute independence of each other. We must beware of taking
a step towards ecclesiastical law-making, which while intended for good, has in all the history of the
world, worked evil. The beginnings are insidious, and have to be guarded against. If we are to meet, let it
be as brethren merely, seeking to help each other in the work of preparing to meet the Lord.


+ Answers to Correspondents (The Christadelphians
and Their Attitude)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1878, p. 226
                                                 (Excerpt)
    The statement that the Christadelphians claim to be “the ecclesia” (“church” is no less Greek, though
of longer standing in English usage, and ecclesia is more convenient in consequence of the prostitution
of the word “church,”) may be allowed to pass, if understood in the right way. As individuals, or as a
human organisation, they make no pretence whatever to a divine appointment or standing. Their
contention is that the truth of the gospel calls the believers of it from out of the world to be the servants
of Christ, and that all who yield to the call become the called by virtue of their belief and obedience, and
candidates for the favour of Christ at his coming. They claim to know and believe this truth. They do not
claim “authority;” they do not attach any virtue to their organisation, except the advantages of
edification to come from peace and order to its members. They do not set themselves up as an official
body. They are merely an aggregation of men and women believing the truth of God, and striving to
walk in the odedience of His commandments, hoping in the mercy of God for that eternal life which He
has predicated on such a course. They have no ecclesiastical pretensions or desire for ecclesiastical
recognition. If others believe in the same truth and walk in the same obedience, they are glad of and
claim their company under the law of Christ. If any demur to the truth, or decline from that obedience,
they withdraw from their company under the same law, not as a judicial act towards the withdrawn
from, but as a washing of their own hands of complicity with evil. Thus, they rest everything on the
truth, and nothing on their individual or corporate prerogative. The departure of the truth will be the
departure of the ecclesia, even if the individuals remain in company one with another. The truth with
                                                      36
them makes or unmakes: the organisation is an accident of the truth merely, and not its governor or
even official medium. Understood thus, the Christadelphians admit that they claim to be the ecclesia, a
claim, however, in which they admit all to participate who can prove that they are walking in the belief
and obedience of the truth.

                                             Compiler’s Note
Reader: Please carefully digest the opening sentence of this article from 1866.


+ The Truth in Organic Manifestation in Nottingham
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 52-53
                                                (Excerpt)
    THE obedient believers in “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” at
Nottingham, having lately come through a trial which has left them purified and strengthened in faith,
though slightly reduced in numbers, have resolved on placing their church organization on a basis which
will secure ecclesiastical individuality and efficiency, and at the same time conserve the faith upon which
they are built, so far as organization is capable of doing such a thing. They have adopted the
“constitution” which was devised and adopted by the ecclesia in New York in 1853, and published in the
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to come for January, 1854, in which, as the reader will see from a
perusal of the document subjoined, the master strokes of Dr. Thomas’s pen are clearly evident. This
constitution we have been requested by the brethren in Nottingham to publish, so that their position in
respect to all parties may become known. The name adopted by the Nottingham brethren as the
designation of their association on the basis of the constitution, differs from that chosen twelve years
ago by the New York brethren, which was “The Royal Association of Believers, &c.” This name was
intended to express the future bearings of the high calling in respect to the position to which the
brethren of Christ will be exalted as kings and priests in the age to come; but it has since appeared to
the New York brethren, under the guidance of our beloved brother and teacher Dr. Thomas, that it is
more expedient to adopt a designation expressive of the present attitude of those who are called in
Christ, in relation to the outer world of darkness against which they are called upon to testify and
towards which it is their duty to exhibit the light, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. In
accordance with this view, they have taken upon themselves the title of “The Antipas Association of
Believers,” &c. For a vindication of this designation, which is the one adopted by the Nottingham
brethren, we refer our readers to the first paragraph of the subjoined document which, in our judgment,
is unanswerable. Our readers are not unaware that the name Christadelphian has also been employed
to distinguish the genuine professors of the gospel of Christ from the great mass outside claiming to be
considered “Christians.” This designation, which was devised to meet the contingencies of the brethren
in America in a time of war, is not set aside by ‘Antipas,’ but continues to be the individual designation
of those holding the truth in purity and righteousness, while the other is a collective name importing the
hostile attitude assumed by Christadelphians as a community towards the professing churches of the
day. Christadelphian is a private or family name and Antipas a public name. The one defines the relation
Christwards of those accepting the designation, and the other their relation worldwards. Brethren of
Christ and witnesses for the truth are the two ideas expressed in the phrases. In plain Saxon, these
phrases would be acknowledged and claimed by every section of the Great Babylon of apostasy which
reigns supreme from the Pope in the chair of St. “Peter” to the Mormon elder, declaiming his lustful and
blasphemous doctrines from a wooden rostrum. They would therefore define nobody in their Saxon

                                                      37
form. But in the form above set forth, they are repudiated by everybody except those intelligently and
courageously holding the faith once for all delivered to the saints.


+ “It Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us”
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                  The Christadelphian, 1899, p. 112-113
    These were the terms in which “the apostles, and elders, and brethren” communicated to the
ecclesias of the Gentiles the will of God concerning the “necessary things” for them to observe and do.
There are no “apostles and elders” now; there is no gift of the Holy Spirit, such as Peter referred to
when citing the case of Cornelius’ household. There are no miracles such as Barnabas and Paul declared
“God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. No community, council, or “conference of delegates”
could make the least pretence to speak with any such authority. And the citation of this testimony in
conjunction with the suggestion of such a “conference” is like the offer of a stone for bread. Who would
not joyfully and thankfully avail himself of access to a real fountain of “the word of the Lord”? But on the
other hand, who, with his eyes open to the reality of the present “famine” (Amos 8:11), and the history
of the assumptions and corruptions of the apostacy, could yield for a moment to any such suggestion.
From the first it has been recognised in the latter day revival of the truth, that anything tending to invest
men with fictitious authority, was to be carefully avoided. Dr. Thomas was clear on this; and the late
Editor also insists on it as one of “the lessons of thirty years’ experience” in section 44 of the Ecclesial
Guide, where, speaking of “Fraternal gatherings from various places,” he says:
    “These are beneficial when restricted to purely spiritual objects (i.e., let the brethren assemble
anywhere from anywhere, and exhort, or worship, or have social intercourse together); but they
become sources of evil if allowed to acquire a legislative character in the least degree. Ecclesial
independence should be guarded with great jealousy, with the qualifications indicated in the foregoing
sections. To form ‘unions’ or ‘societies’ of ecclesias, in which delegates should frame laws for the
individual ecclesias, would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with
the free growth and the true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious
importances, which tend to suffocate the truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.”


+ Notes (“We have no power”)
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                     The Christadelphian, 1900, p. 526
   A.E.F.—According to constitution of the Birmingham ecclesia, we “recognise as brethren and
welcome to our fellowship all who have been immersed (by whomsoever) after their acceptance of the
same doctrines and precept.” But we have no power to deal with disputes in a far country. The principle
of ecclesial independence of action is a thing to be strenuously guarded. The blunders that are
frequently made are nothing in their evil to what the establishment of a fictitious central power would
be. There is nothing to be done but wait for Christ from heaven.




                                                      38
+ “Pluralism”
                                          By bro. C. C. Walker
                                 The Christadelphian, 1907, p. 506-507
    A brother asks: “Seeing that the ecclesia of Christ is one, would there be any objection or
inconsistency in a brother being enrolled as a member of two ecclesias simultaneously”?
    ANSWER.—There are objections. A brother cannot be a member of two ecclesias simultaneously. The
ecclesia of Christ is one truly, but the oneness remains to be revealed when Christ comes, when every
member of the “one body” will be manifested in his or her perfect place. Meanwhile we are in a
partitive or disjointed condition in a Gentile interregnum (1 Cor., 13:9–12). But even so, some order and
organisation is allowed, and must be preserved. And though “the church of God” is one, the “one body”
now (in the totality of members in process of development), as in the apostolic days, is composed of
many ecclesias. The Lord dictated seven epistles to the seven churches in Asia, holding each severally
responsible for its handling of the truth. The apostles likewise ministered to and wrote to several
ecclesias, as we see in the epistles. And in these God had set ministers as we read in 1 Cor. 12:28—
apostles, prophets, teachers, &c. The apostles truly had authority from Christ in all the Churches as Paul
insists, and as he beseechingly bids them remember, for edification and not for destruction. But some of
the prophets were none too spiritual, as Paul had to remind them (1 Cor. 14.). And there were “false
apostles” and brethren who were “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” Now supposing some of these
latter had been simultaneously members of the ecclesias of Ephesus and Laodicea. They would have
been “voting” against John in Ephesus, and for some Hymeneus or Philetus at Laodicea, and their evil
influence would have had double the scope that it ought. As a matter of fact in the outworkings of
apostate Christendom, men of corrupt minds did seek and obtain dominion in this way, and one of the
abuses that has been, and is being checked by law in this country is what is called “Pluralism,” or the
holding of more than one benefice by one clergyman. Of course this is far removed from the thoughts or
view of our correspondent; but it is the beginnings of things that have to be watched, and the principle
of ecclesial independence is a thing to be most jealously guarded, especially in view of the history of
Christianity. Of course there cannot be the slightest objection to any brother in his business migrations,
travels, and so forth, helping any number of ecclesias in a purely spiritual manner by lectures,
exhortations, or counsel; but he ought not to have a voice in the control of more than one meeting at a
time. The question has been discussed frequently in years gone by, and the wisdom of the course above
indicated will commend itself to our correspondent upon further study and investigation.


+ “The Christadelphian” and the Constitution of the
Birmingham Ecclesia
                                          By bro. C. C. Walker
                                 The Christadelphian, 1911, p. 471-472
    A brother in New Zealand, having written to the Arranging brethren of the Birmingham ecclesia
complaining about the omission of certain intelligence, and asking for some enlightenment concerning a
clause of the constitution, the following reply was sent by the Recording brother:—
    DEAR BROTHER TINGEY, —Your letter, February 26th last, was duly laid before the Arranging Brethren of
this ecclesia, and I was directed to send you the following reply:—
    The Christadelphian is a private undertaking, and is not in any way conducted by the Birmingham
(Temperance Hall) Ecclesia, though the magazine is in full sympathy and harmony with our Constitution
and basis of fellowship.

                                                     39
    The ecclesia is not in any way responsible for the acceptance or rejection of any correspondence
addressed to the Editor, to whom all complaints on this head should be directed.
    The Arranging Brethren very much sympathize with the editor (who is one of their number) in the
bewildering complications arising through ecclesial cross currents throughout the world.
    With regard to your request for an explanation of Clause V. of our Constitution, we submit it in the
following terms. The clause in question reads as follows:—
    V.—That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return
to the ground from whence he was taken—a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his
being, and was transmitted to all his posterity (Gen. 3:15–19, 22–23; 2 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2–4;
Rom. 7:18–23; Gal. 5:16–17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4).
    The expression “a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being” receives
illustration from the scriptures quoted. Paul speaks of himself and his fellows as having “the sentence of
death in ourselves” (2 Cor. 1:9); that is, they were not only mortal, but “despaired even of life” (5:8), by
reason of the troubles and persecutions of the times. Paul speaks in Rom. 7:24 of “this body of death.”
Such was Adam after transgression, but before transgression he was not “a body of death,” and had no
“sentence of death in himself.” The case of Gehazi and his leprosy is an illustration. Before Elisha’s word
there was no leprosy in Gehazi; but after he had pronounced the sentence the word took effect in
Gehazi’s body, and he went out of the prophet’s presence “a leper, white as snow” (2 Kings 5.). So Adam
had no “law of sin in his members” (Rom. 7:23), until he transgressed, but after he had transgressed, the
sentence took effect upon his body as really and physically as in the case of Gehazi. Paul says “In this
earthly house, we groan . . . earnestly desiring . . . that mortality may be swallowed up of life” (2 Cor.
5:2–4). Adam before transgression could not say this, having no experience of “groaning” and
“mortality.” After transgression he had both. It is this truth that brother C. C. Walker is insisting on in
The Christadelphian, 1906, p. 320. No one, so far as we are aware, has said that “sin” is a literal element,
that was, as it were, hypodermically injected by God into Adam after he had sinned; but evil in the flesh
being the result of sin, flesh itself is metonymically called “sin” as we see in 2 Cor. 5:21. “He (God) hath
made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” David says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did
my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51:5), and Job says, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not
one” (Job 14:4). These are some of the scriptures quoted in support of our clause V. When some in
Sydney thought fit to substitute “degraded” for “defiled,” and to suggest that their statement should be
“THE Christadelphian Statement of Faith,” in our estimation they acted unwisely. In saying, as the Shield
did say, that the Lord Jesus was “undefiled in every sense” (a saying which we believe has been
modified), they appeared to be taking a step, at least, in the direction of denying that “Jesus Christ came
in the flesh.” And we think that no ecclesia has authority to set forth a statement as “THE
Christadelphian Statement of Faith.” The statement appended to our constitution has done duty for this
ecclesia (and for many others) for many years, and in our estimation does not need revision. But we
have willingly given this explanation in hope that it may be of some assistance to you in the trouble that
has arisen.
    We are handing a copy of this reply to brother Walker, with the request that he will publish the same
in The Christadelphian.


+ “The Christadelphian” in Australia
                                          By bro. C. C. Walker
                                    The Christadelphian, 1912, p. 117
   The attempted justification of this extraordinary procedure appears to lie in the following
sentence:—
                                                      40
    “It (The Christadelphian) has innocently and unintentionally usurped the functions and duties of
ecclesias by becoming, as it were, the standard of ‘Christadelphianism.’”
    Does the brother know what he is talking about? We are glad of the testimony as to the innocence of
our intentions; but “usurped the functions and duties of ecclesias”! and “by becoming the standard”!
Would he have us become the standard of diabolism? Is he not himself trying to set up the standard of
Christadelphianism? What are “the functions and duties of ecclesias”? Are they not covered by the
scriptural formula: “Fear God and keep his commandments”? Whenever did The Christadelphian
“usurp” these “functions and duties”? And whenever did it seek to “lord it over the assemblies”? If there
is one principle that the magazine has upheld more emphatically than another in relation to ecclesias, it
is that of the independent responsibility to the Lord of each ecclesia—the principle of ecclesial self-
government, whether in Birmingham, Melbourne, or elsewhere. It was upon this principle that we
objected to the promulgation of a creed by an ecclesia (no matter which) under the title “THE
Christadelphian Statement of Faith,” because no ecclesia has authority to issue a document to be
binding upon the whole household of faith throughout the world. But there is no comparison between
such a document and The Christadelphian. This magazine has never demanded subscription thereto,
either in money or assent to policy, as a condition of recognition of brotherhood in Christ. As a matter of
fact the majority of Christadelphians do not subscribe to it; but that makes no difference either to its
aims or policy.


+ Is It to Be a Central Tribunal?
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                  The Christadelphian, 1919, p. 461-462
    We have received a few letters relative to a circular entitled “The Right Way and the Wrong Way,”
sent out by the London Standing Committee. A note at the head thereof, addressed “To Ecclesial
Secretaries,” says that “a copy should be handed to every member.” It is right to explain that we were
asked to print and publish this circular and declined, feeling that the anonymous case involved in the
fragmentary correspondence quoted, which certainly does not lay bare all its facts, was one that should
by no means be obtruded upon all the ecclesias, but should be left for the ecclesia concerned to deal
with on its own responsibility to the Lord. Upon our refusal to publish the correspondence the seven
London brethren published it themselves.
    Now all these seven brethren are by us “esteemed very highly in love for their work’s sake.”
Nevertheless we have grave misgivings as to the course they now appear to be taking. Do they wish all
ecclesias in the United Kingdom, and all “members” thereof, to consider them a permanent ethical
tribunal, to whose judgment as to “right ways and wrong ways,” in such cases as that under
consideration, all must bow under pain of excommunication? Surely the answer must be in the negative.
Where would our jealously guarded ecclesial independence vanish to if such an idea were tolerated?
Some time ago brother F. G. Jannaway was alluded to in the press as “the head of the Christadelphians.”
Of course, he only smiled. Some time ago the editor of The Christadelphian had to answer the question
of a Court of Law as to whether he was “the recognised head of the Society of Christadelphians.” He
said, “I am not ‘the recognised head of the Society of Christadelphians,” neither is there any such
recognised head upon earth.” Then came the question: “Have you been authorised by the Ruling Body
of the Society?” (The matter in question did not concern the body generally.) The answer was: “I have
not been ‘authorised by the Ruling Body of the Society,’ because no such Ruling Body exists.” Then, for
the information and guidance of the Court, the following statement was made: “Our Society in the
United Kingdom consists of a number of churches (or ‘ecclesias’ as we call them), each of which is


                                                     41
absolutely independent and self-governed. And this is the order of things in the U.S.A., Canada, the
Australasian Overseas Dominions, and other countries.”
   These answers appeared to us to be right and true, and after the pattern of the “seven churches in
Asia,” alluded to in the book of Revelation. The Lord did not charge Ephesus, or “the angel” therein, with
the supervision of the spiritual affairs of all the rest of the Churches, though all the faithful would
naturally love and respect that “church” and its eldership. Sardis and Laodicea were responsible to the
Lord and not to Ephesus. So let it be still in these “remote islands of the Northern Seas.” One brother
says he is distressed with this circular. On the data set forth he really cannot judge of the merits and
demerits of the case in question, and does not see why he should have it presented to him. Another says
bluntly, but it seems to us not untruly: “These brethren are not the keepers of my conscience.” As to the
case in question, we do not presume to judge. It is perhaps due to readers to say that it is not in
Birmingham, as might, perhaps, be supposed by some. Such is the disadvantage of anonymous
communications. One brother thinks he knows three cases, to any one of which the correspondence
might apply. Very likely he is wrong in all the three, who can say?
   The craving for authority is very natural. We are all waiting for Authority in the return of the Lord to
judge us all. But while thus waiting, let us be careful how we begin to set up authorities ourselves. All
ecclesiastical history is a terrible warning in this direction. It seemed a far cry from “the seven churches
in Asia” to Rome; but it was not so very far after all! If we set up a Central Tribunal there will soon be
more than enough for it to do, what with rising labour troubles, questions of trades-unionism, munitions
making, and perhaps “Drink” and “smoke” thrown in. And we sadly fear that such discussions would
make, not for unification and edification, but for division and strife.


+ The Christadelphian (There are Now Movements)
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                     The Christadelphian, 1922, p. 549
                                                 (Excerpt)
   The past fifty-nine years of records in this magazine constitute an irrefragible testimony to the
outworking of the eternal purpose of God in the earth, and the aim and object of this magazine, now as
always, is to help in the making ready of a people prepared for the Lord. In the following out of this aim
the endeavour is so far as possible to preserve “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3),
an increasingly difficult problem in such a world as this, and in the “perilous times” of its “last days.” The
Christadelphian in present hands stands for the independence of the ecclesias, and their individual
responsibility to the Lord. Its present editor agrees with the late editor, who, in sec. 44 of the Ecclesial
Guide, spoke of “Fraternal Gatherings” as follows:—
                                   Fraternal Gatherings from Various Places
   These are beneficial when restricted to purely spiritual objects (i.e., let the brethren assemble
anywhere from anywhere, and exhort, or worship, or have social intercourse together); but they
become sources of evil if allowed to acquire a legislative character in the least degree. Ecclesial
independence should be guarded with great jealousy, with the qualifications indicated in the foregoing
sections. To form “unions” or “societies” of “ ecclesias, in which delegates should frame laws for the
individual ecclesias, would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with
the free growth and the true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious
importances, which tend to suffocate the truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.
   Pioneer days are long past, and the tendency of ecclesiastical and all other history is to repeat itself.
Consequently there are now movements quite opposed to the spirit of this sound advice, and even with
regard to The Christadelphian itself some would like to see its editor put under the control of some
                                                       42
“committee.” One brother quaintly objected to this: “You would only substitute seven devils for one!”
The editor, while denying the soft impeachment involved, admits the cogency of the argument in the
abstract. If he become a sufficiently objectionable diabolos he is quite easily disposed of by the simple
expedient of all readers withdrawing their support, and leaving him to perish in his own devices. But
who but the Lord himself could deal with those “seven”? In our judgment it will not be easy to improve
materially upon the admittedly imperfect conditions and endeavours of the past half-century and more.
In fact, it is far easier to spoil things than to improve. No one is more deeply impressed with present-day
imperfections than is the editor of this magazine; but it would be affectation to deny (and in the
presence of much generous encouragement from all parts of the world at such a time as this) that some
measure of success has attended the work. We call readers to witness that we have never exploited
“the praise of men.” But an apostle does say: “I praise you, brethren” (1 Cor. 11:2); and we are not
insensible to the praise of good men, nor, we trust, to the blame of such, where necessary. Finally, it is
for the Lord to praise or blame as he will. We hope for his favour in that day.


+ Ecclesial Representation
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                  The Christadelphian, 1923, p. 122-123
                         (He is not ashamed to call them brethren.—Heb. 2:11.)
    As was explained in our issue for December last, The Christadelphian in present hands stands for the
independence of the ecclesias and their individual responsibility to the Lord. We agree altogether with
the late editor and what he said in Section 44 of the Ecclesial Guide:—
    To form “unions” or “societies” of ecclesias, in which delegates should frame laws for the individual
ecclesias, would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with the free
growth and the true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious importances,
which tend to suffocate the truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.
    Present-day developments tend to emphasise the truth of these observations. The Birmingham
ecclesia withdrew from a small minority of disorderly brethren and sisters. As a result of agitation by
these, certain other individuals and ecclesias have sought and are seeking to disallow the judgment of
the Birmingham ecclesia in the case. But the Birmingham ecclesia is not responsible to any outside
authority in the matter, and will not be.
    There now comes from the north of England a proposal from a brother who is himself at variance
with the ecclesia in his town, to form just such a Council or Judicial Body as is objected to in the extract
from the Ecclesial Guide reproduced above. Twenty-five ecclesias are mentioned, and many names
suggested, but neither Birmingham nor London figure on the list. Probably we cannot do better than
reproduce here the remarks of brother Sulley in reply to this circular.
    Dear Brother,—While sympathising with you in the distress which you feel in consequence of the
cloud which impends over us, I must say that your proposal to select delegates to consider the dispute
that has arisen between the two meetings there referred to, is quite out of harmony with those
instructions that are found in the Word for our guidance. Such a proposal if carried into effect would
divest those who are called according to God’s purpose of their freedom of choice, which God the
Father has bestowed and imposed upon them. Those who selected delegates would be appointing a
tribunal of judges to act for them, in place of exercising their own judgment as to whom they should or
should not hold in fellowship. This heritage of full choice and responsibility to Him should not be
renounced on any account whatever. Since, therefore, I am not willing to part with my loyalty to my
Lord, I am not willing to ask anyone else to act in that way, and could not consent to ask anyone else to


                                                      43
represent me, and to act for me in a matter upon which I must come to my own conclusions after having
carefully sought and found the evidence which would enable me to form a decision.
    Further, I would not consent to be a representative in any ecclesia for such purpose, even if
appointed.
    The instructions contained in Matt. 18. and amplified in the apostolic writings, if carefully applied to
any question in dispute should be sufficient to enable brethren to steer the ecclesial ship through the
troubled waters. Although the terms of the instructions apply to individual differences they have an
important bearing upon congregations, for what is a congregation but a number of individuals
associated together for a common purpose? What is good for a single individual is equally estimable for
a congregation, even though the method of application may require to be in a measure modified to fit
the larger issue. Just as the rising sun dispels the morning mist, so the observance of the law of Christ
will dispel the fog enveloping the body of Christ, and show the truth shining in radiant splendour.
    Another matter; you suggest that brethren should be selected because of their ability and long
experience to signify their decision by ballot after prayerful invocation for guidance; such decision to be
accepted as final and binding upon others. Permit me to point out that nowhere in the Gospels or
apostolic writings do we find any injunction or example to warrant such a course of procedure. On the
contrary, when the Apostle Paul warned the believers against the wolfish leaders who would arise in the
Church, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them, he did not advise the brethren to
consult men “because of their ability or long experience,” but commended them to God and to the
Word of His grace, as able to build them up and to give them an inheritance amongst all that are
sanctified (see Acts 20:29–32). Similarly, he referred Timothy to “the holy scriptures, which are able to
make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. . . . That the man of God may be
perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15–17). He also instructed Titus to “hold fast
the faithful word as he had been taught, that he might be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to
convince the gainsayers, in opposition to unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” (Titus 1:9, 10.)
    In the case of the apostles who possessed the gift of the Holy Spirit, and whose commandments were
to be observed by the disciples (2 Pet. 3:2), even their decisions were not promulgated without the
concurrence of the brethren, who assembled when the question of circumcision or no circumcision for
the Gentiles was considered (see Acts 14).. But in these days we have no divinely inspired apostles to
guide us, and must one and all come to our decisions after sifting any evidence put before us through
the finely graded sieve provided in the Word of God.
    Further, the suggestion that a vote secured “after prayerful invocation for guidance” should be
binding upon the brethren, implies that divine guidance will be given to those who have been chosen to
act as delegates. This would be a very presumptuous claim if acted upon, and would establish a self-
constituted synod. The method of procedure suggested by the Apostle Paul is altogether different. He
said, “If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness” (Gal. 6:1). The selection of “brethren of ability and long experience” to sit in judgment upon
their fellows as representatives of an ecclesia, is more calculated to develop the spirit of pride than
humility, and the next step after selecting representatives would be the selection of a Pope, to the hurt
of the brotherhood and to the destruction of that liberty with which Christ has made us free.


+ The Christadelphian (Ecclesial Independence)
                                           By bro. John Carter
                                     The Christadelphian, 1945, p. 43
   We pointed out last month that ecclesial independence is something to be maintained jealously; and
that such independence is the counterpart of ecclesial responsibility to the Lord. The price of that
                                                      44
independence is constant vigilance and a recognition of their duties by Arranging Brethren and ecclesias.
We also drew attention to the fact that there were no representative assemblies of ecclesias, and no
unions or larger units than the ecclesia, provided for in the Scripture; nor in fact did any exist in the first
century; and that the growth of conferences coincided with the decline from the Truth in the second
century. In the words of Mosheim:
   “These Synods or Councils, of which no vestige appears before the middle of the second century,
changed nearly the whole form of the church. For in the first place, the ancient rights and privileges of
the people were, by them, very much abridged; and on the other hand, the authority and dignity of the
bishops were not a little augmented. At first, they did not deny themselves to be the representatives of
their churches, and guided by instructions from the people; but gradually they made higher pretensions,
maintaining that power was given them by Christ himself, to decide upon rules of faith and conduct for
the members of his church.”—Ecclesiastical History, III., 116.




+ Dr. Thomas on the Subject of Conferences
                                 The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 167-169
                     Reprint from The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1861
    Among the last of Dr. Thomas’s utterances in his editorial capacity, was an article which might almost
have been written with reference to the proposal referred to in the foregoing remarks. We give such
extracts as are suitable to the present case:
    “We have never known an effort in modern times to bring men back to ‘the simplicity which is in
Christ’ in faith and practice, which has not either been embarrassed or defeated by parties superficially
instructed in the principles sought to be scripturally developed, introducing under the speciosity of
‘doing good’ and saving precious souls, a paraphernalia of expediencies in the form of ‘conferences,’
‘evangelists,’ ‘periodicals,’ and divers sorts of printings. These things, got up by clergymen and printers,
ruined the originally well meant intentions and endeavours of the late Walter Scott, and his more
tactical co-labourer, A. Campbell. These may be supposed to have been the only persons of their
peculiar sphere who had a deep and thorough understanding of the principles of what they afterwards
designated ‘this reformation’ with its ‘ancient gospel and order of things.’ All that was really necessary
for the wholesome illumination of their contemporaries in what they regarded as ‘the truth,’ were their
statements, illustrations, and proofs imparted orally and through the press. They may be supposed to
have understood the teaching they had originated better than any others proselyted second, third, or
fourth-handed to their theory. No doubt they did; Walter Scott better than Campbell; and both these
better than any of their disciples. The nearer the spring head the clearer the water; the further off, the
muddier, and the more encumbered with extraneous matters in solution.
    “But the purity of Scotto-Campbellism (if any thing emanating from the thinking of the flesh may, for
the sake of the example even, be called pure) was soon defiled. Ambitious clergymen, who in their own
sects would ever have remained in obscurity, saw that it was a rising sect; . . . and though mere novices
in its principles, set up for full fledged birds, or preachers and leaders at once! Alas for the people when
led by such!
    “But these were not the only ones who brought Scotto-Campbellism to a dead lock. A set of needy
printers, who had picked up a smattering by the wayside, seeing, as they supposed, that Campbell was
‘making a good thing of it’ with his Mill. Harbinger and other works, and having a prudent eye to the
main chance; under this inspiration, and upon the universal plea of ‘doing good,’ concluded to relieve
him of some of his burden in the way of profits, and to carve out of his reformation business for their
offices but scantily furnished with that indispensable. Thus, what with lay and clerical Episcopalians,
                                                       45
Baptists, Presbyterians, and Universalists proselyted to ‘baptism for remission of sins,’ and enterprising
printers in search of business, Scotto-Campbellism became a hodge-podge of wild traditions; and was
crucified in the house of its pretended friends. Its inventors, who, though themselves clericals,
denounced the clergy, ‘the one man system,’ colleges for theological purposes, ‘the benevolent
institutions of the day,’ as Bible, missionary, tract, and other societies, had to succomb to this
inundation of barbarians; and unless they shook them all off and began again, had to fall in with these
old expediences which they had rebuked. The consequence is that the Scotto-Campbellite sect is but
another daughter of Babylon, with all the paraphernalia in which the children of Jezebel delight. Its
‘literature’ is Campbellism homœopathically diluted, until scarcely discernible in the periodicals, or
printers’ speculations, of the sect.
     “Now, to all these things we, and, as far as we know the views of the brethren in this country, with a
few exceptions, are utterly opposed. We have no ‘conferences.’ . . Their influence is evil in the absence
of divine authority and wisdom to enlighten and keep things straight. They are ecclesiastical schemes for
the promotion of the hireling system, and for the working out of lay and clerical speculations. We
protest against them all as incipient tyrannies. Let every church manage its own affairs; let its members
exert themselves in their own spheres for the diffusion of the truth; and if any can publicly ‘preach the
word,’ let him go forth as we do without stipulation, and trust to the appreciation of his labours by his
brethren, for his expenses and support. . . If a man be really devoted to the truth he will not wait for
money to be raised to send him out. When by his earnest and self-denying labours he makes his
influence felt, means will come in with the labour to extend its field. An ‘Evangelist’ who waits to be sent
out by subscription, is just the man who should stay at home and take care of his own household.
Conferences and committees and subscription lists, cannot make ‘Evangelists;’ they can make public
talkers for the lucre’s sake, but not Scriptural Evangelists. . . .
     “It is our present intention to suspend the Herald, and therefore we feel free to speak of these
things. We have held off in a good degree hitherto, lest it should be said that we opposed conferences
and printing speculations because we wish to concentre all things in New York City. We have never
manifested this disposition, nor felt it. We have heralded what many believe to be the truth (and it is to
such only we speak now) according to what we considered the necessity of the times demanded. We
found universal darkness, and we suspend leaving some ‘light in the Lord.’ We have laboured to exorcise
their minds from all traditions and speculations and customs not in harmony with the word; and we are
unprepared to see them spoiled again by the inventions and devices of those who know not the truth, or
who are but superficially acquainted with it. We suspend, leaving no representative behind us in Britain
or America. One periodical, and no more, if any be needed at all, is all that the real interests of the
brethren require. The voice uttered will then be certain and unconflicting. If such a periodical make its
appearance we shall give it all our support wherever it may be published; and we shall not resume the
Herald to divert any of its receipts into our receptacle. But it must contend for the truth without
coquetting with errorists; it must not be afraid of the clergy; it must have no sneaking kindness for those
who ‘invent lies and love them,’ however respectable and respected among men; it must not be tame,
flat, and insipid; its writing must not be twaddling and its matter without point; it must be a teacher, and
not ‘ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth’—a mere vehicle for the yea and nay
opinions of parties who presume to criticise and teach before they have rightly learned ‘what be the first
principles of the oracles of God.’”—Herald, 1861.




                                                      46
+ Answers to Correspondents
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1867, p. 223-225
                                                (Excerpt)
    A “church” is the pillar and ground of the truth, in proportion as the people composing it are clear-
headed and hearty advocates, defenders, and lovers of it; and, unquestionably, it is “their duty in
admitting members, to see that they have the right faith, and that they continue in the faith and
practice of the truth,” but this does not involve the conclusion that they possess spiritual power or
jurisdiction. They see that candidates for immersion have the right faith, because Christ has made the
validity of baptism depend upon the right faith, and not because they have power to make baptism valid
or invalid. They see that the members continue in the faith and practice of the truth, not because they
have authority to dictate or interfere in other men’s matters, but because the countenance in fellowship
of that which is opposed to Christ’s will would work evil, and involve them in condemnation. These
functions they can perform without the existence of rule and authority in their midst. In fact, under
existing circumstances, an ecclesia burdened with such an element could not properly discharge those
functions. How are such duties to be performed? Only by the collective will of an ecclesia. Does a
candidate apply for immersion? The mind of the ecclesia must be taken, and the result must abide their
decision. Is an offender to be dealt with? The ecclesia must concur in any course proposed, or the
proposal falls through. But if there were established in their midst, a class of men invested with power
to use their authority, there would be an end to this system of management. Fraternal deliberation
would be set aside by the ipse dixit of authority. The collective voice would disappear before individual
dictum. An odious dictatorship would be established in the place consecrated to mutual service and
brotherly co-operation, and the general interest and enterprise of the brotherhood would be repressed
and extinguished by the knowledge, that after all said and done, the individual at the head, who might
happen to be stupid and self-willed, would have his own way. In fact, to countenance such an
institution, in any shape or form, would be to lay the germ of the system which has cursed the world
with Popes and inquisitions. While absolutism is the best system of government when allied to infallible
wisdom and magnanimity, it is the very worst possible in the absence of the spirit, when the poor
resources of human nature are all we have to fall back upon.
    But our correspondent enquires: How can a society exist without rule or authority? We have
indicated the answer to this question. A mutual submission to the collective judgment is the basis on
which vaster societies than the ecclesia will ever become, are established. Under such a system, official
brethren are not rulers, but officers. They merely carry out the wishes of the rest. They give effect to the
decision to which the brethren have come. They act as servants of the ecclesia, not as its governors.
Authority is impossible with them. Authority is no authority unless a man can say, like the Roman
centurion, “Do this,” and use power to enforce his command. Who would assume such a position among
those united in the truth on terms of absolute equality? No wise man would consent to accept such a
position in the house of God, even if requested to fill it, unless indeed God commanded. The spirit of the
entire institution of the ecclesia excludes it. The only remedy against recalcitrants is the passive one of
withdrawal. We are not yet entrusted with authority. We are on trial for it, and have, meanwhile, to
show ourselves worthy of it, among other qualities, by an utter destitution of inclination to exercise it.
    But brother Mowatt calls attention to Paul’s words to Titus: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that
thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had
appointed thee.” He also refers to 1 Tim. 3. in which Paul defines the qualities of the men to be selected
as bishops or overseers, and lays especial emphasis on Paul’s language to the elders of Ephesus in Acts
20:28, where he exhorts them to “feed the flock of God over the which the Holy Spirit hath appointed
you overseers.” Now, the argument intended by these references is answered in the passages
                                                      47
themselves. The overseers set over the ecclesia in early times were appointed, not by the ecclesias
themselves, but by the spirit operating in Paul and those who co-operated with him in the work of
ecclesial organization. This gave the elders an authority, which (divinely constituted) they could wield
without presumption or offence. Their appointment by the spirit was a guarantee to the ecclesias that
they were fit to be entrusted with authority, and commanded for their word a deference which enabled
them to rule with effect, while the gifts of the spirit which they individually possessed, were an evidence
of their divine station which none could gainsay or resist. The fact that natural qualifications were
requisite, is only a proof that the right men were appointed, and that the men so appointed were men in
whom the ecclesias could confide, and to whose authority they could submit without danger or
humiliation. Doubtless, there are men in our own day possessing those qualifications, but where are the
inspired men to appoint them? There are no Pauls, no Timothies, no Tituses, through whom the spirit
can signify their election. The spirit is voiceless in our day, except so far as it is heard in the things
already written for our instruction. We are, therefore, left to do the best we can. “What our churches
want more than anything else,” says brother Mowatt, “is proper rule and authority.” No doubt of it; and
the brethren, as a whole, would hail with joy the establishment of “proper rule and authority;” No doubt
of it; and the brethren, as a whole, would hail with joy the establishment of “proper rule and authority;”
but how can such things be realised in the absence of the spirit to appoint individuals to exercise
authority; Brother Mowatt might say “Paul defines the qualifications; we have only to select the men
possessing them;” but here’s the point; who is to judge as to whether the qualifications are possessed in
a given case? Two sections of the same ecclesia might disagree very much on a point like this. One part
might think a certain brother too partial, too excitable, and too little influenced by the teaching of the
word to rule, while another part might think him eminently qualified for the office, and how could such
a difference be reconciled? The finger of the Spirit would command the submission of all, but when left
to natural judgment, so long as men are differently constituted in mind and disposition, there would be
an utter impossibility of agreement on such a point. To establish such a principle of appointment would
be to import into the pale of an ecclesia the elements of disturbance and contest. Twenty men may be
qualified to act as President of the United States, but only the man who is chosen by a popular voice
receives the submission of the nation. So there may be men among the brethren capable of ruling the
ecclesia, but in the absence of the spirit’s token, it is impossible to command adhesion to the
appointment of any of them to such an office, and from the great liability of putting a wrong man in, it is
highly inexpedient to sanction his appointment by any other means. All we can do is to bring wise
counsel to bear on the collective deliberations, and thus give to the collective determination all the
value of a wise individual authority. In this way, the wise men of an ecclesia, who, in the days of the
spirit-dispensation might have been chosen to rule, will give the ecclesia the benefit of their
qualifications. Authority itself is out of the question. It is child’s play to assume it where there has been
no appointment; it is something worse, for the exercise of it will either create rancour or drive away
intelligence and independence from the meeting. “Oppression maketh a wise man mad.” This is true in
all its degrees. The brethren would submit to any appointment God might make, but the airs of a man of
limited intelligence and narrow mind, who might take it into his head that he is called upon to use
authority, would be a nuisance which men of ordinary mental parts would feel to be intolerable. He who
is the most fitted to govern has the least disposition to dictate to others. The most that can be done is to
appoint officers to perform the duties arising out of an ecclesia’s operations. These require the spirit of
service, and do not admit of “the element of rule and authority.” In the present state of things, so far as
the management of an ecclesia’s affairs are concerned, there can be no authority but the collective
voice expressed by vote. The republican constitution of things is the only one practicable; and this is
quite serviceable (though not so effective as a spirit-delegated authority would be) for the main object
in view, viz., the promotion of each other’s welfare in things spiritual and temporal. – August 9th, 1867.


                                                      48
Statements of Faith
 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness
                    Romans 10:10




                          49
+Notes (A Common Statement of Faith)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1881, p. 572
    “JUSTICE.”—Your proposal for the simultaneous adoption of a common statement of faith by all the
ecclesias is made with the best of objects; but it could not accomplish the end you seek. It is not possible
in the present state of things to bring all to harmony and stop the mouths of talkers. If the Apostles did
not succeed in this, none else need hope to do so. We can but do our best and let things take their
course.


+ Statements of Faith
                                            By bro. C. C. Walker
                                   The Christadelphian, 1903, p. 412-413
  [Note: This article contains the 3rd time since the magazine was started in 1864 that the phrase “the
 Christadelphian statement of faith” appears. The first was in 1884 by a correspondent, the 2nd in 1902]
    There is a movement at the Antipodes to minimise the wreckage caused by ecclesial strifes, by the
introduction of a uniform Statement to be called “The Christadelphian Statement of Faith.” As explained
by brother Wauchope, of Adelaide, in The Shield for June: “The proposal is to establish a code of
propositions and endorse them as a basis for fellowship. Where or to whom,” says he, “shall we look?
Already the Christadelphian world has a document known as “The Birmingham Statement of Faith,”
which has been very largely adopted. What is required, however, is not a local statement of faith, but
one to operate generally, and therefore let that be designated “The Christadelphian Statement of Faith,”
as a foundation for fellowship, comprised of the present Birmingham Statement of Faith, together with
the Commandments of Christ, and the doctrines to be rejected.” It will be seen that the substance of the
Statement in question is accepted as good and true. The only thing objected to is the name,
Birmingham. The brother has no sympathy with this objection, but would remove it “because it is looked
upon as objectionable by many.” That is not sufficient reason. Nazareth was “looked upon as
objectionable by many,” so that one said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Yet “Jesus of
Nazareth” became the recognised definition of the Lord—not Jesus of Bethlehem, nor Jesus of
Jerusalem. And “the sect of the Nazarenes” became the description of the despised brethren of the Man
of Sorrows. What if history repeats itself in the latter days, and gives the clerical scribes and Pharisees of
an apostate world the opportunity of sneering at “Brummagem religion”? If it had pleased God to make
the centre of the truth’s radiations Jerusalem, Rome, Oxford, or Cambridge, He could have done it, and
one or other of these names would then have naturally become prominent in that connection. It is
suggested that the Birmingham brethren might meet the objections named by removing the word
Birmingham. The answer is they have no authority to speak for any community but their own. They say
over the head of their propositions: “A Statement of the Faith, forming our Basis of Fellowship.” They
cannot say “The Statement . . . forming all the ecclesias” Basis.” They would soon be reminded of this if
they attempted it. There are several “churches” in England who have different but equivalent
statements. There is no reason why this should not be so; neither is there any reason why an ecclesia
should not adopt the “Birmingham Statement” if it sees fit to. The mere objection to the name is
unworthy of respect, and will so appear in the day of judgment. Supposing the Christadelphian world
had a Uniform Statement of Faith; how much better off would it be on that account than the Church of
England with the Thirty-nine Articles, which no man regardeth? What is wanted to secure unity is
uniform faith and obedience, and this is only to be developed by the word of God and patient
continuance in well doing. Some have said they want no statement but the Bible; but, of course, that is

                                                       50
not enough, for all sorts of people would accept that, who do not know the Bible, and, consequently, do
not believe and obey. Here the trouble would be, not the lack of a common document, for all would
have the Bible, but the lack of a common faith and obedience; and it is so in all cases. Dr. Thomas, many
years ago, gave us in The Revealed Mystery his summary of the Christianity revealed in the Bible. This we
accept as good and true, and believe the “Birmingham Statement” to be in harmony with it. Some
ecclesias in the Colonies took as a basis The Declaration of the Truth. This was never intended for such
use; but only as a pioneer pamphlet, introducing the main features of the truth. In the inevitable
frictions that have arisen from time to time in the one body throughout the world, the one great
desideratum has been unity of mind in affectionate desire to know, and earnest determination to do,
the will of God in this age and generation. This is only produced by the Word, and will never be universal
this side of the Kingdom of God. In every age the true servants of God have been a mere handful in the
midst of professors. We are not to suppose that it will be different in the latter days. And however
distressing it may be, it is to be met not so much by new Statements of Faith, as by the patient striving
after a new heart and a new spirit, after the example of holy men of old. Our brethren under the
Southern Cross will no doubt receive these remarks in the spirit in which they are made.


+ “The Christadelphian Statement of Faith”
                                          By bro. C. C. Walker
                                    The Christadelphian, 1904, p. 113
    Brother R. W. asks us to countenance the movement at the antipodes to “give up the word
‘Birmingham’ and substitute ‘Christadelphian.’” Our answer must be as before: We have no authority so
to do. Neither has anyone else. The Birmingham ecclesia can only speak for itself; and it is so with every
other ecclesia. We entirely sympathise with every godly effort for unity on a pure basis; but it would be
a mistake to issue a document under the above title, because it would imply the right of the issuers to
speak for the whole household of faith, which right does not exist. The principle of ecclesial
independence must be jealously guarded, and it is the beginnings of things that have to be watched.
There is no desire on the part of the Birmingham ecclesia to impose its form of words on any ecclesia;
but there can be no valid objection to any ecclesia adopting it if it sees fit. But to adopt this statement
and give it a universal title that the Birmingham ecclesia conscientiously refrains from giving it, does not
seem to be right at all. If a group of Australian ecclesias desires a common statement, let them
accurately define its scope and limitations. We are happily agreed as to the “one faith,” but let us be
careful about our definitions. Ecclesiastical history is a warning to us in this respect.


+ The Fermentation of Error
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                     The Christadelphian, 1911, p. 31
                                                (Excerpt)
   This list forms part of The Constitution of the Birmingham Christadelphian (Temperance Hall)
Ecclesia, in the opening of which they say:—
   1.—That we are a Christadelphian ecclesia.
   2.—That we accept and profess the doctrines and precepts of Christ, as taught in the apostolic
writings, and defined (positively and negatively) in the annexed Statement of Faith and Epitome of the
Commandments of Christ.
   3.—That we recognise as brethren, and welcome to our fellowship all who have been immersed (by
whomsoever) after their acceptance of the same doctrines and precepts.
                                                      51
    As to the “Statement of Faith” in question, they call it “A statement of THE FAITH forming their basis
of fellowship.” They do not call it “THE Christadelphian statement of faith” because they have no
authority so to do, nor has any other community. But the apostolic requirement is that Christ’s brethren
be “all of one mind” on first principles of faith and practice, and the Lord himself has told us that he is
not displeased with intolerance of error and errorists (Rev. 2:2). Longsuffering and patience is one thing,
and latitudinarianism is another. Some of the “Doctrines to be Rejected” are cropping up here and there
to be accepted. Numbers 4, 5, 17, 27, and one or two others are examples. We shall not give place to
these, whatever epithets may be hurled at our heads. We know the history of the Truth sufficiently well
to realise how easily it may be lost; and we have no other aim than to “keep the truth” and help others
with ourselves to be saved in the Kingdom of God.—ED.


+ Creeds
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                     The Christadelphian, 1924, p. 29
    Some well-meaning brethren are exercising themselves in making new “Christadelphian Statements
of the Faith.” We do not refer to any particular instance in these remarks, and the aims and objects are
in some cases highly respected by us, though not in others. We do, however, object to any individual or
ecclesia issuing a document called “THE Christadelphian Statement of Faith.” There are several such
current and none of them with the slightest authority. We should have to have a sort of œcumenical
council like the Roman Catholic Church to produce such a document. And when we had got it, how
much better off should we be? It is quite open to any ecclesia (as the Birmingham ecclesia) to issue “A
Statement of the Faith forming their Basis of Fellowship.” And it is quite unobjectionable for others to
adopt the same with or without modifications that do not materially affect its spirit or substance. But do
not let any of us suppose for a moment that any such adoption or adaptation is going to make much
difference in our troubles. It is the “one mind” on the Word of God that is the great desideratum. It
never has obtained upon earth and never will obtain until the Lord abolishes sin and death. Years ago
(Feb., 1905, The Christadelphian, pp. 78–80) we made some remarks “Concerning Creeds” in reply to the
late Mr. J. B. Rotherham. They are worth reading again now, but are too long to reproduce here.




                                                     52
     Ecclesial Notices and
Statements Demonstrating the
       Autonomy of Early
Christadelphian Ecclesias, Their
    Basis of Fellowship and
      Fellowship Practices




                53
                                     The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 52
    THE obedient believers in “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” at
Nottingham, having lately come through a trial which has left them purified and strengthened in faith,
though slightly reduced in numbers, have resolved on placing their church organization on a basis which
will secure ecclesiastical individuality and efficiency, and at the same time conserve the faith upon which
they are built, so far as organization is capable of doing such a thing. They have adopted the
“constitution” which was devised and adopted by the ecclesia in New York in 1853, and published in the
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to come for January, 1854, in which, as the reader will see from a
perusal of the document subjoined, the master strokes of Dr. Thomas’s pen are clearly evident. This
constitution we have been requested by the brethren in Nottingham to publish, so that their position in
respect to all parties may become known. The name adopted by the Nottingham brethren as the
designation of their association on the basis of the constitution, differs from that chosen twelve years
ago by the New York brethren, which was “The Royal Association of Believers, &c.” This name was
intended to express the future bearings of the high calling in respect to the position to which the
brethren of Christ will be exalted as kings and priests in the age to come; but it has since appeared to
the New York brethren, under the guidance of our beloved brother and teacher Dr. Thomas, that it is
more expedient to adopt a designation expressive of the present attitude of those who are called in
Christ, in relation to the outer world of darkness against which they are called upon to testify and
towards which it is their duty to exhibit the light, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. In
accordance with this view, they have taken upon themselves the title of “The Antipas Association of
Believers,” &c.

                                The Christadelphian, 1874, p. 388 (Excerpt)
   GLASGOW – Brother Smith adds: “Brother Nelson has requested us to intimate that an ecclesia has
been formed at Airdrie, meeting on the same basis of fellowship as ourselves. It is composed of brother
Nelson, Chapelhall, near Airdrie, brother Robert Russell, brother Robert Kerr, of Coatbridge, William
Hunter and sister Forsyth, of Airdrie. I have also to mention the death of sister Nelson, wife of brother
Nelson, of Chapelhall, who fell asleep on the 23rd of last month, strong in faith, and fully realized that
though the body be consumed in the grave, yet in her flesh she shall see God.”

                                     The Christadelphian, 1874, p. 436
    NOTTINGHAM.—Brother Burton reports that at a special meeting of the ecclesia, held Aug. 2nd, the
following resolution was unanimously passed:—“We the immersed believers of the kingdom of God and
the name of Jesus Christ, meeting in the Mechanics’ Lecture Hall, Nottingham, recognising the
scripturalness of the statement of the one faith, recently issued by the London ecclesia, and the
desirability of having such a defined statement of our faith, hereby adopt the same as our basis of
fellowship.” The lectures during the month have been as follows:—Aug. 2nd, “Baptism for the remission
of sins” (brother Hodgkinson.); Aug. 9th, “Scripture teaching concerning Jesus of Nazareth” (brother
Burton); Aug. 16th, “The great salvation” (brother Richards); Aug. 23rd, “The next dispensation”
(Brother Roberts.)

                                     The Christadelphian, 1875, p. 525
   SHEFFIELD.—Brother Boler reports: “Our ecclesia here has been disturbed for several months, through
brother John Savage endeavouring to force upon the brethren the doctrine (from Halifax) which we
believe is contrary to the teaching of the word, viz., that Christ had not a free will in the least degree in
the matter of his obedience; that he was righteous because he could not be otherwise, from which the
                                                      54
rest of us argued that his temptations, and his sufferings, and his obedience were in that case a mockery
and not an example to us in any form whatever. Brother Savage was entreated to drop the subject, but
he would not be prevailed upon to do so. Therefore, we considered it indispensably necessary to adopt
a basis of fellowship containing the following definition:”—
    “Christadelphians believe and teach that Christ was the Son of God by Mary, a virgin of the house of
David, and therefore, God manifested in the flesh, by the Spirit, yet having, as an individual, a seperate
and independent will from the Father which he used as intelligently in compliance with his Father’s will
as we are asked to use ours, but that, though thus possessing the abstract capability to sin, he rendered
a perfect obedience through the strength belonging to him as the Son of God, and was thus fitted to be
that sacrifice of a sinless son of Adam which the righteousness of God required, in order that sin might
be condemned in a sinless possessor of the very nature of him that offended in Eden, and a propitiation
be thus provided for our approach to God from whom sin had severed us.” This basis brother and sister
Savage did not agree to after it had been passed, consequently they went out from us. There are also
three who have not finally decided what course they will take; also another whom we fear has gone
back into the world, and brother McDermott has removed to Halifax, where he is meeting with the
brethren, in the Assembly Rooms, Harrison road. The following are the remaining faithful brethren and
sisters:—John Dobbs, Joseph Boler, Ann Boler, James Skinner, Henry Leah, John Neale, Henry Graham,
Miriam Sorby, Sister Wray, and John Waller.


                                    The Christadelphian, 1876, p. 431
    SWANSEA. — Brother Messenger reports the immersion of WALTER RENDELL (23). The all important
choice of putting on the the saving name of Christ was made early on Sunday morning, the 8th inst., in
the presence of several brethren and a few interested friends. Brother Rendell was formerly connected
with the Baptists, among whom he was an earnest and regular Sunday School Teacher, and a zealous
and popular open-air preacher. The channel through which God’s blessing in bringing brother R. to the
knowledge of the truth was conveyed, was the sincerity and constancy of brother Evans’ advocacy of the
truth. We hope the truth in his hands will command a fair hearing among the crowds who listened so
willingly and patiently to his advanced views whilst a Baptist.
    From another communication it appears that the division caused some time ago, by the refusal of
certain to consent to the adoption of a complete definition of the faith on which they stood, (a division
which had been recently healed,) has again ensued from an attempt on the part of those who objected
to the statement, to get rid of the statement which had been adopted. Those who abide by the whole
truth stated and professed as the basis of the fellowship, are associated with brethren Randles and
Evans. The others cannot complain if the friend of the truth elsewhere takes sides with the truth where
unmistakeably professed, to whatever personal issues it may lead. For people to say they make the Bible
their basis, is not in this day of religious confusion to say enough as regards indicating their
whereabouts. Every religious person says he makes the Bible his basis: we find out the truth of his
profession by putting to him a definition of what it teaches, and where people are against either putting
or submitting to such a definition, it is a sign there is something unsatisfactory at the bottom. At all
events, those who take such a position cut themselves off from the faithful friends of the truth.—ED.]

                                 The Christadelphian, 1877, p. 332-333
    OLDHAM.—Brother Hatton reports that the brethren here have adopted the Birmingham basis of
fellowship. They number six: brother and sister Clalford, brother Watson and sister Watson, and brother
and sister Hatton, earnestly waiting the appearing of the Master, and praying that they may find
acceptance at his hands.
                                                     55
                                  The Christadelphian, 1881, p. 456-457
                                                                                    Jersey City, New Jersey,
                                                                                           June 20th, 1881.
    DEAR BROTHER ROBERTS,—I am directed by this ecclesia to forward to you a copy of our “Statement of
Faith and Basis of Fellowship,” and to accompany the same with a statement explanatory of our action
and position.
    The members composing the Christadelphian body in this city, after having given up their place of
meeting in Franklin Hall, as you are aware, connected themselves with the body meeting in Lundy’s Hall,
West Hoboken. Continuous disorder and dissension was the result of this fusion, which, while
deleterious in its effects and disheartening to all true brethren of Christ, was patiently but painfully
endured, in the hope and desire that matters ultimately might improve. This hope was manifestly not
well founded, matters waxed worse and worse, until forbearance ceased to be a virtue.
    In addition to this, efforts, which many agreed should be made on behalf of the truth, were opposed,
and last, but not least, there were false and defective doctrines held and advocated by some. Matters
continuing in this condition, it was apparent beyond all doubt, in the interest of peace and harmony, and
for the preservation of the truth in its purity and completeness, that a change should be effected, and
that a separation from the contentious was absolutely necessary.
    Accordingly, on Sunday, March 6th, a meeting was called on March 13th, “for the purpose of taking
measures for the formation of an ecclesia which shall, in Name and Doctrine fully conform to the
Representative Christadelphian Ecclesia, in Birmingham, England.” After an informal expression of views
by the several brethren, a committee (composed of Bros. Johnson, Scott, Vredenburgh, Coddington,
Washburne, and Seaich) was appointed, “to prepare a statement expressive of our faith, (the same to be
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth), that is, the unadulterated, unqualified, and
uncompromised truth of the gospel of our salvation, viz.:—the ‘One Faith,’ once for all delivered to the
saints, and in complete harmony with the doctrine believed and proclaimed by our late brother, Dr. John
Thomas (of revered memory), and the Representative Christadelphia Ecclesia, in Birmingham, England,
the same to be submitted to the ecclesia for their consideration, which, if approved, shall be recognised
as their ‘Statement of Faith and Basis of Fellowship,’ and shall receive their assent, agreement, and
signature; and shall also require and receive the same from each and all others who shall seek to
fellowship with them.”
    In accordance with these directions, the said committee, on March 27th, formally presented a
document, which, having been fully considered, was duly accepted, and unanimously adopted, and
received the signature of every member present. (This document was what might be called an act of
incorporation). It set forth, that, “We, the undersigned, do hereby form ourselves into an association,
which shall be known as ‘The Christadelphian Ecclesia of Jersey City, New Jersey,’ for the purpose of a
weekly remembrance of the Lord Jesus, in the breaking of bread; for the proclamation of ‘the things
concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus the Christ;’ and for mutual spiritual edification
and encouragement; and to this end to herewith acknowledge the following ‘Statement of Faith’ to be
our ‘Basis of Fellowship,’ to which we give our unqualified assent, agreement, and signature.”
    Here follows a statement of faith and basis of fellowship, “largely compiled,” as the secretary
observes, “from the Record of the Birmingham Ecclesia; statements and epitomes made at various times
in various published works.” (Any one applying to Bro. Joseph Seaich, Jun., 47, East 31st Street, New
York City, N. Y., will be furnished with a printed copy). With the leading features of it our readers are
familiar. We subjoin a few extracts of a special character:—
    Faith and Obedience must be accompanied with and manifested by good works, for as “the body
without the spirit (breath) is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
                                                      56
    “It is incumbent upon us to render willing obedience to those (secular rulers) who are in authority
over us, in all matters which do not conflict with the commandments of our Heavenly Father, when in
such event it is our imperative duty to obey God rather than men.
    It is contrary to the teachings of Christ and his inspired apostles to resist evil, or to take up arms for
any purpose whatever.
    WE REJECT the following theories and dogmas, as making void the Word of God, and being altogether
contrary to the “form of sound words” recorded in the scriptures of truth, and we hold no fellowship
with any who believe, advocate, or sympathize with them:
    ‘The Trinity—the Eternal Sonship of Christ—the Personality of the Holy Spirit—the Personality of the
Devil—the Immortality of the Soul—No Judgment at the coming of Christ—Immortal Emergence of the
just—Bestowal of Incorruptibility or Immortality before Judgment—that Jesus suffered and died as a
substitute for man, to appease the wrath of an offended Deity—Heaven the abode of the Righteous—
Eternal Torment of the Wicked—Salvation out of Christ—Universal Resurrection—Universal Salvation—
Infant Salvation—Infant Baptism—Salvation achieved by Works—‘Renunciationism’ of every form and
colour.
    ‘All intelligently immersed believers in the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of
Jesus the Christ.’ who ‘walk worthy of the high calling to which they have been called,’ and who shall
give their unqualified assent, agreement, and signature to our ‘Statement of Faith and Basis of
Fellowship’ shall be eligible to membership in this Ecclesia.
    ‘All persons of good report, resident in this city, or visitors from abroad, who have been immersed
upon an intelligent profession of their faith, in the ‘things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name
of Jesus the Christ,’ who shall give their unqualified assent, agreement, and signature to our ‘Statement
of Faith and Basis of Fellowship,’ are cordially invited to participate with us in our order of worship. No
persons shall be entitled to, or receive our fellowship in the truth, who, while they may themselves
believe and ‘declare the whole counsel of God,’ and are in every respect unobjectionable in their own
persons, yet join themselves to, or fellowship with others who ‘consent not to wholesome words, even
the words of our Lord Jesus, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness,’ (from whom we are
commanded to withdraw ourselves), and reject or deny any portion of our ‘Statement of Faith and Basis
of Fellowship.’

                                      The Christadelphian, 1882, p. 45
    Grantham – Brother Brooke, whose immersion was notified last month, goes to Wolverhampton. It
has been decided to have “Finger Posts” down monthly, and stamp the name of the room on them. We
are continuing the lectures as heretofore, with the assistance of Bro. Richards, of Nottingham, and Bro.
Royce, of Peterborough. I omitted to notify that we sometime back adopted the London Basis of
Fellowship; we find it very useful when examining candidates.—JOHN T. HAWKINS.

                                      The Christadelphian, 1882, p. 94
   SYDNEY.—Brother Hawkins reports the obedience of ARCHER O’TOOLE (18) and LAURENCE O’TOOLE (20),
sons of Brother and Sister O’Toole, JOHN EVAN GOFF (48), formerly lay preacher in a “Gospel Tent” (an
auxiliary mission); he was very difficult to convince that his gospel was not the Gospel of God, but at last
he saw the light; JULIA GOFF (22), daughter of the above, and HENRY HOWELL (32), son of Bro. D. Howell.
(These cases of obedience were reported in a previous communication, but in some way overlooked.)
Since our last writing, MARGARET REID (24), now wife of Brother W. Ferguson, and, lastly, SUSAN KENNEDY
(40), have obeyed the truth.


                                                       57
    Our number has also been increased by various removals to Sydney, viz., Brother R. G. Burton, from
Dunedin, N.Z.; Brother and Sister J. S. Hawkins, from Burrawang, N. S. W.; Brother Samuel Hawkins, from
the same place; and Brother W. H. Payne, and Sisters S. A. and L. S. Bower, from Birmingham, who safely
arrived here September 22nd. So the Sydney ecclesia now numbers over fifty souls, and our basis of
fellowship is identical with that of the Birmingham ecclesia. We still meet at the Masonic Temple,
Clarence Street, morning and evening.
    About a month ago, a discussion came off between a Mr. Picton (Cambellite) and Brother Bayliss, on
the question, “Has the Kingdom of Heaven come?” and a week after, another on the question, “Did
Jesus Christ exist before his birth of the Virgin Mary?” Mr. Picton affirming, and the present writer
denying. The attendance each night was about 200, and no doubt these efforts attract some attention
to the truth.—J. J. HAWKINS.

                                  The Christadelphian, 1882, p. 330-331
    Abergavenny – There is a small ecclesia, numbering about thirty, at this place, meeting in the
Christadelphian Synagogue, erected by themselves, some two or three years since. Believing that the
“Declaration” sets forth, in a concise form, the leading features of the faith which justifies, and,
accepting this as an epitome of their basis of fellowship, there has for some time past been a growing
desire on their part to be in co-operation with the brethren and sisters of whom the Christadelphian is
the recognized periodical. This has now taken a definite shape. Brother Henry Turner, of Birmingham,
being in the neighbourhood, on his business rounds, met the leading brethren, by appointment, and,
after some conversation, there was found to be no barrier to fellowship. He, therefore, broke bread
with them, on Sunday, May 20, and lectured in the evening to a good audience. The ecclesia will be glad
if any lecturing brethren passing to or from South Wales, via Abergavenny, will call.—W. BEDDOES.

                                  The Christadelphian, 1882, p. 330-331
    Dundee – We have rented a Hall in a central part of the town (72, Overgate), where we meet every
first day for worship, and will be glad to have the fellowship of any honest minded brother or sister, who
at any time may be in this neighbourhood. We have adopted the Edinburgh basis of fellowship, and their
rules for ecclesial affairs for our guidance so far as practicable in our circumstances. We have also a mid-
week meeting on Thursday evenings at eight o’clock, for the study of the Scriptures, and a school for
children on Sunday afternoons, which will help to keep us profitably employed while waiting the Great
Deliverer.—J. MORTIMER.

                                    The Christadelphian, 1882, p. 480
    LOWELL (MASS).—“I have to report the formation of an ecclesia here, consisting of the following:
Brethren Henry Hoyle, Samuel Evison, Robert Judd; Sisters Mary Evison, and Ellen Judd. Bro. Hoyle is, I
believe, the first who has been brought to a knowledge of the truth in Lowell. He was examined and
immersed Sunday, August 13th, by Brother Evison in the presence of Brother Gray, of Lawrence; several
brethren and sisters came to admit him to fellowship. We held a meeting on Wednesday evening and
adopted the New Jersey statement of faith and basis of fellowship, and resolved to meet at 10.30 a.m.
every first day for breaking of bread at Brother Evison’s, where any brother or sister, coming this way,
will be welcome.”—ROBERT JUDD.




                                                      58
                                       The Christadelphian, 1883, p. 96
    SPOTTSVILLE (KY.)—Brother R. C. Green writes:—Dr. Thomas introduced the truth here some 30 years
ago. The good seed soon sprang up, and prospered till the no judgment doctrine came. This caused
great trouble among the brethren at the time, and came very near destroying the influence of the truth
in a public way. A few, however, remained who, though not in harmony, continued to meet and break
bread. A great effort was made on the part of some to hush the matter and prevent further discussion,
and thus things have remained, with only an occasional outbreak, until recently. The question of the
nature of Jesus, which created so much trouble in England in “1873,” created some little stir, but was
not regarded as a matter of much importance, the brethren for the most part, however, inclining to the
free life theory. Since “1879,” the two subjects have again been brought before the ecclesia, causing
some of us to resolve to unite ourselves on a surer basis of fellowship. With a view to this end, on the
eighth of October, 1882, an agreement was presented to the brethren, setting forth that we, the
undersigned, agree that the (published) statement of the “one faith” upon which the Birmingham
ecclesia is founded, is true and Scriptural, and that the fables specified therein should be rejected, that
the above should constitute the basis of fellowship among believers of the truth, and that we hereby
withdraw from fellowship with all who will not endorse the above by signing this agreement. This was
signed by Jas. W. Griffin, L. M. Griffin, E. J. Griffin, A. T. Green, W. J. Green, R. C. Green, Mary J. Griffin,
Sallie E. Lester, Patsie M. Griffin, E. W. Pruitt, Elizabeth Butler, Virginia A. Butler, Sue F. Green, Bettie
Cosby, Oma Griffin, J. E. Griffin, W. J. Connaway, G. P. Pruitt. Since the recent agitation previonsly
mentioned, the following named brethren, becoming dissatisfied with their former immersion, have
been reimmersed: J. E. Griffin, Jas. W. Griffin, E. J. Griffin, G. P. Pruitt, E. W. Pruitt, Elizabeth Butler,
Virginia A. Butler, Bettie Cosby, Omia Griffin. Brother Jas. W. Griffin, who has been a devout member of
the ecclesia since its earliest existence, made a very interesting and impressive address at the water’s
edge, explanatory of his present action. Brother Pruitt and Sister Elizabeth Butler expressed themselves
in a similar manner privately.

                                      The Christadelphian, 1883, p. 144
   BOSTON (MASS).—Brother Mackellar reports the return of Brother Edmund Edgecomb; also Brother
Philip Brown, who came from Edinburgh, Scotland, nine months ago, but who was led to believe that we
were not sound in doctrine, and that there were among us certain that were not fit to associate with.
“Brother Brown has come to the conclusion that his informers have been misleading him, and he now
rejoices in being united to the body of Christ in Boston; also Sister Elizabeth Seaborn, who met with us
on Sunday for the first time since her return from Canada. We are truly grateful to the Deity for the
above results, especially as there has been an enemy among us who have tried to cause schism. We are
keeping the truth before the Boston public. Several are reading Twelve Lectures. We have adopted the
statement and basis of fellowship of Birmingham, as the rules, with slight alterations, are better suited
to our circumstances.”

                                      The Christadelphian, 1884, p. 479
   AUCKLAND.—We have received a copy of the Ecclesial Guide, and are pleased to find in its pages such
an amount of useful information in so concise a form. We think it will supply a want very much felt in
these far distant parts of the world, and at our half-yearly meeting we resolved to use it as our rule
book, as far as it meets our ecclesial requirements, and also as our basis of fellowship the statement of
doctrines contained in it.—We are not growing very fast in numbers as our means for spreading the
truth are very limited, and on account of the great distance we live apart, we only meet once a week,
but still we have occasion now and then to rejoice over some one obeying the truth. Yesterday we

                                                        59
assisted ELIZABETH ANN WRIGHT (23), to put on the saving name in the appointed way.—At the present
time New Zealand is in the throes of a general election, and we cannot help noticing the clayey element
of the ruling power now-a-days. May the time soon come when we shall have the power concentrated
in one despot, holy and true, who will nominate his own assistant rulers.—ALBERT TAYLOR.

                                  The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 376-377
   Birmingham.—During the month obedience has been rendered to the truth by BEATRICE BETTS (20),
formerly a Campbellite. Bro. J. Thomas has removed to Newport, Mon., where the brethren are
delighted to have his company and help in the truth. During the month we have been visited by sister
Barton, sen., of Sydney, Australia, and her husband. It is 30 years since they emigrated from Mansfield.
They return to New South Wales in a few months.—A proposal has been made that the Temperance Hall
brethren should recognise those who are separated from them, in an ecclesial capacity. The way will be
open for the favourable consideration of this if the latter should see their way to accept the complete
inspiration of the Scriptures as a first principle in their basis of fellowship, which they will not
compromise by association with partial inspiration.—The Sunday School is suspended for July.—Our
next tea meeting is on Monday, August 3rd (brethren and sisters only), followed, on Wednesday, August
5th, by the Sunday School treat, Sutton Park. The children on this occasion will take tea in the park and
return to the Temperance Hall for the distribution of prizes about 8 o’clock.



                                     The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 356
    Cardiff – On Sunday, August 10th, after the lecture, a meeting of the ecclesia was called (at which not
more than half the members attended) to consider and decide upon an amended declaration as a basis
of fellowship, which had been proposed by myself. In this declaration, the Scriptures, as originally given
by God, were recognised as wholly inspired and infallible in all their parts, and our Bible accepted as a
fair representation of these Scriptures, and a requirement made that assent to the above be given by all
seeking their fellowship. The presiding brother announced that the managing brethren recommended
that no change be made in the existing resolution. It was proposed by brother Collins, and seconded by
brother Searles (their secretary), that my resolution be adopted. An amendment was proposed and
seconded that no change be made. This amendment was adopted, with three dissentients, after a
desultory discussion, in which it came out that the managing brethren were perfectly contented with
the existing state of things, and considered a change now would be a reflection upon the past, and that
a great objection was felt to the introduction of the word “infallible,” because it “emanated from
Birmingham, and was not a Bible term.” And so we have the melancholy spectacle of brethren
professing privately their belief in a wholly inspired and infallible Bible, stultifying themselves as an
ecclesia, and proving conclusively thereby that their professed belief in the infallibility of the Scriptures
is at least not very deep-seated. We shall now endeavour (God willing) to establish an ecclesia in Cardiff
upon a proper basis. For the last two months I have antagonised the Mormons (who have a considerable
following here), and the noisy, frothy members of the Y.M.C.A., and proclaimed the Truth every Sunday
evening (when the weather permitted) in a large open space in Canton Street, to big crowds who had
never heard it before, and much interest has been excited and opposition provoked by the clear, plain
statements of the Bible. May Yahweh grant that the seed sown bring forth fruit to His honour and glory,
and that the Son of His love be quickly revealed, taking vengeance on His enemies, and rewarding His
servants the prophets and them that fear his Name.—E. GRIMES.




                                                      60
                                     The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 33
   Cannock (See Dudley) – Brother Jackson reports that the following have been compelled to make a
stand in defence of the entire inspiration and infallibility of the Bible:—Brother and sister S. Dawes,
brother and sister Jackson, senior (the latter after several weeks neutrality), brother and sister Jackson,
junior, brother and sister Barker, sister Morgan, sister Cooper, brother Rider. These have made the
Birmingham statement their basis of fellowship, and are meeting at brother Jackson’s house to
remember Christ and to help one another in the race for life. Brother Jackson says: “The result is a trying
and sorrowful one, supplemented as it is by a trial of (especially to myself) a far more searching
character. I allude to the sudden death at the Birmingham tea meeting of the one who has shared my
joys and sorrows and been my companion in the truth for about 17 years, which event happened only a
few days after she had decided not to tolerate corrupt doctrines concerning the Scriptures. The blow is a
staggering one to me, and requires a supreme effort of faith in the reality of the ‘far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory’ to enable me to look upon it as a ‘light affliction.”




                                                     61
62
The State of the Mortal
       ecclesias
  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who
 should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate
 themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up
    yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Keep
  yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus
     Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a
difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating
                  even the garment spotted by the flesh.
                                 Jude 18-23




                                     63
+ Eureka (“the saints are a mixed community”)
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                                     (Excerpt from volume 5, p. 80-82)
    In all the "times of the Gentiles" the saints are a mixed community, in which are found fish of all
sorts, good, bad, and indifferent. The good are answerable to the "few who are chosen," and find
eternal life (Matt. 20:16; 7:14): while the bad and indifferent are those who "begin in the Spirit" and end
in the flesh—those who at the outset of their career seemed to "run well," but were hindered from a
"patient continuance in well-doing," or "obeying the truth," in being "bewitched" by the sorcery of
designing knaves, who "by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Gal. 3:1,3,7;
Rom. 16:18). In our generation, as in that of the apostles, the ecclesia, or general assembly of the many,
who are called, is composed of these heterogeneous materials. It has been thus in all generations before
and since Satan, in the days of Job, mingled with the Sons of the Deity, when they presented themselves
in the Divine presence (Job 1:6). The satanic element has ever been among them with its "depths as they
speak" (ch. 2:24), corrupting and perverting the weak. In the wisdom of the Deity, Satan has been
permitted to practise, and to deceive the hearts of the simple, who are "ever learning, and never able to
come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7), without judicial interference. The Satanic element in
an ecclesia is always prompt and vivacious for mischief. If it fears to attack openly the most prominent
advocate of the truth, it has recourse to underhanded and secret influences. Handling the word of the
Deity deceitfully, "deceiving, and being deceived", are its characteristics. While inspired with personal
hatreds, it affects zeal for the truth in destroying it, or making it of none effect, by the traditions of its
monstrous ignorance and folly. Yet "the Judge of the living and the dead" is profoundly silent save in the
word of his law and testimony. There are reasons for this. The truth as it is in Jesus is entrusted to the
ecclesia, or House of the Deity, which is "the Pillar and foundation support of the truth". The members
of this house are held responsible and accountable for their relations to this, as a treasure committed to
them to be contended for earnestly, and to be upheld at all hazards, in their day and generation. This
house being furnished with vessels of all sorts, some to honor and some to dishonor, the truth receives
a characteristic treatment at the hands of each sort. The vessels fitted to capture and destruction set
forth traditions, or heresies, which nullify the Word. If men speak or write upon the things of the Spirit,
they are commanded to do so "as the oracles of the Deity;" and if they disobey this injunction, it is
because "there is no light in them". Nevertheless, they will give utterance to their folly. This cannot be
helped. Fools will be fools come what may. From these premises it is inevitable that, as Paul says, "there
must be heresies among you". They are permitted to exist, though not approved. Their existence
arouses the flagging energies of sterling and faithful men, "who are able to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:2). It
sets them to contending more earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 2), which
manifests them as the approved, who are grounded and settled in the faith, and not moved away from
the hope of the gospel (ICor. 11:19; Col. 1:23).
    This manifestation of the approved after this process is one reason why Yahweh keeps silence, and
permits Satan to continue their operations among the Sons of the Deity, without any present judicial
interference. There is also another very good reason for present non-intervention, and this is, because
He has appointed a set time, styled by that infallible and incomparable exponent of the truth the Lord
Jesus, "a Day of Judgment," hemera kriseos (Matt. 12:36); and by the no less accurate Paul, "THE DAY
when the Deity shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel" Paul preached:
"therefore," saith he, "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come; who will both bring to light
the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts;" and "who will judge
the living and the dead at his appearing and kingdom" (Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:1) and styled by
the earnest and faithful Peter, "the Day of Inspection", hemera episcopes (1 Pet. 2:12) "the time that the


                                                       64
judgment begins at the house of the Deity" (ch. 4:17); when, as James testifies, the saints shall be
judged by the law of liberty (ch. 2:12).
    These are two all-sufficient reasons why the Satan should be Providentially tolerated among the sons
of the Deity, until the Ancient of Days come. "Now is the day of salvation," says Paul; but this, in effect,
the Satan denies. He turns it into a day of judgment, saying, that there is no other day of judgment for
the saints than this. Satan, of course, exceedingly dislikes the idea of being judged, and rewarded
according to his works. He does not approve of the doctrine of eternal life based upon an inspection of
faith and practice after resurrection. He demands resurrection with immortality, not resurrection unto
eternal life. He wants to spring out of the dust immortal, and no questions asked; for he knows very
well, that neither his faith nor his practice will bear the light. Be this, however, as it may, his pleasure
and satisfaction will not be consulted. Inspection and its consequences begin at the house of the Christ:
and Satan, who had received the one talent, and was afraid of the truth, and hid it in the earth, is
purged out as a wicked and slothful servant from among the sons of the Deity; and cast into the
darkness of the outer world, where weeping and gnashing of teeth are the order of both day and night
(Matt. 25:14-30; Apoc. 14:11).


+ Letter From Dr. Thomas
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                                   The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 222-223
                                                 (Excerpt)
    They have a custom in Norfolk and Richmond in the memorializing of the bringing into force the
Abrahamic covenant by the death of its Mediatorial Testator, which is peculiar to themselves. The table,
say they, is the Lord’s, not their’s. He brake the bread and GAVE it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat.
Christ not being here in person to break it. “His body, the Ecclesia,” breaks it instead—takes and eats.
Each one rises, walks to the table, and helps himself. By this custom, they relieve themselves of the
responsibility of handing the elements to those who might be improper persons. Whoever rises and
takes it does so on his or her own responsibility. If unworthy, they eat and drink to their own
condemnation, not to the condemnation of those who protest against the fitness of persons eating who
are not in the faith; or who, being in, do not walk worthy of God and the high vocation to which he has
called them. With them, therefore, the breaking and eating is not a test of fellowship. They hand it to no
one, and withhold it from none. If traitors to the faith like Judas, or immersed sinners, eat it, so much
the worse for them; their test of fellowship is not the eating of bread, but “walking in the light as the
Deity is in the light, and so having fellowship one with another” (1 John, 1:7, ) which is the only true
ground of fellowship exhibited in the word.
    I returned to Baltimore on July 25th, and spoke next evening at Entaw Hall. On the Friday following, I
left for New York. The next Sunday I spoke at 24, Cooper Institute, and afterwards assisted at the
baptism of three men and three women. I am now at home for a few days; and if I were to follow my
inclination, I would leave it no more until death or the Lord come. I like to be with faithful brethren; but
to talk to a stupid, besotted, and gainsaying world on divine things is like fruitlessly squandering one’s
vitality and time and beating the air. Next week I am off for Toronto; thence to Detroit, Milwaukie, Ogle
Co., Illinois, Henderson, Ky., Hayfield Pa., and then home about the first week in October, to resume the
preparation of Eureka III.
    As to your enquiry how I am “off financially,” I reply that brethren in divers remote parts of the earth,
under the conviction that I cannot write, speak, travel, and exist on air alone; and that if I could, there is
no obligation resting upon me so to sacrifice time, strength, and information for their benefit, without
their enjoying the privilege of co-operation, in what they regard a work of faith and labour of love,

                                                       65
furnish me occasionally spontaneous and unprompted supplies, which, on the principle you note, that “a
lot of littles make a mickle,” have hitherto been sufficient. As yet I have had no occasion to make
spermological appeals to the brethren, such as I see in the Auld Reekie Messenger for July, and trust I
never shall. I do not sit at home compounding quack lozenges or salves, taking “a view of the idea of
trying to present the gospel to the city of Boston,” or any other city! What an unsubstantial view! The
brethren at large have more sense than to enter upon such a speculation. If I had occupied the past
thirty years in “having a view of the idea of trying to present the gospel,” I should not have been able to
answer your question as above. Without waiting to “interest the brethren at large,” in such a ghost of an
idea, I communed not with flesh and blood, for I had no brethren at large, but went at the work, which
developed what you know and see, and hear on every side. A creature that waits for cash, merely
viewing an idea, is not fit for any good work. If the truth be really in a man, he will be up and doing as
opportunity serves. His self-denying labour will commend itself, and he will be sought after, and have
more work than he can do. We have no hirelings among us in this country. By us, I do not mean
Adventists, “the brethren in the West,” and such like. I mean among Christ’s brethren. I do not know of
any; nor do I think they will fall into such an error. All effort is spontaneous, and without bargain,
recompensed according to the sense of benefit received, and not the self-assessed, supposed ability of
the receiver. The brethren in Worcester will look after Boston when the time comes. If “the brethren at
large” wish the gospel introduced into that city of the Pharisees, they cannot do better than to
communicate with them, rather than hiring a mere self-seeking speculator in ghostly ideas. There had
better continue to be no gospel at all in a city if the gospel is to be disgraced and put to shame by
unreliable and conceited pretenders.
    I perceive that G. Dowie, at length in effect, confesses the true character of The Messenger of the
Churches. He says: “There have been so many papers of late on out-of-the-way, weird topics, of which
the present number of the Messenger contains a full share,” &c; that he calls for articles “of a sunnier
character.” It is truly a weird concern! Weird signifies “skilled in witchcraft” Weird topics are subjects of
discourse, skilled in witchcraft. This is the meaning of the phrase as nearly as it can be got at. It may
indeed be expressed by the word sorcery, which is divination by the assistance, or supposed assistance,
of “evil spirits.” Weird topics in their elaboration are divination by evil spirits. The evil spirits are the
writers; and the divination their guessings and conjectures, in which they “discuss everything and settle
nothing.” We learn from the said Dowie that his miscalled Messenger of the Churches is full of sorcery—
therefore a Messenger of Sorcery! Surely I have not been uncharitable in styling it the Messenger of
Satan! If sorcery do not belong to Satan, to whom is it to be assigned? Sorceries belong to the rest of the
men who repent not (Rev. 9:20, 21, ) and by which they deceive the people.—(Rev. 18:23.) “Churches”
that endorse and sustain a messenger full of weird topics are deceived communities, and no better than
“the names” of which the Gentile scarlet-coloured beast is full.—(Rev. 18:3.) Surely such a messenger if
he were ever alive, should be put to death according to the law in Lev. 20:27.


+ The Flying Roll, the Ephah, the Woman, the Talent of
Lead, and the Two Women…
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                      The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1858, p. 125-126
                                                 (Excerpt)
   But in John's day, the Jews of the Church were divisible into two classes; first, those who were Jews
inwardly, without regard to flesh, and secondly, those who said they were Jews, but were liars. The first
class were in scriptural fellowship with the apostle, but rapidly falling into the minority, so that in Sardis,
for example, only "a few names" remained undefiled. It was the second class of Jews that constituted
                                                       66
the great majority of those who passed current by the name of Christian. It was these who labored
indefatigably in building a house for the Harlot of the Ephah. They became a powerful political faction in
the land of the enemy, and having found a warrior to their mind in Constantine, they placed themselves
under his leadership, and in A.D. 324 became the sole ruling power "in the land of Shinar," as defined.


+ Interesting Communication From Dr. Thomas (The
True Apostolic Succession)
                                    The Christadelphian, 1869, p. 44-45
                                                 (Excerpt)
   Paul saith “the ecclesia of the living God is the pillar and firm support of the truth.” What are styled
“the churches” and “the church” by professors and non-professors, are not the ecclesia of the Deity:
they are not therefore, “the pillar and support of the truth.” The ecclesia is an association of individuals,
who having received an invitation to God’s kingdom and glory, have accepted it, in being immersed “into
the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Being thus called out from among the
Gentiles, it is Scripturally styled ecclesia—the body of Christ’s Brethren, joint heirs with him of God’s
kingdom and glory. This, the One Body, is the true and only apostolic succession; the divinely provided
instrumentality for the proclamation of the gospel, in all the generations, from “the end of the age,” to
the appearing of Christ again in the day of his power.” All societies called churches, beyond the pale of
the ecclesia, are nothing else than “synagogues of Satan,” whose orders “say they are apostles, but are
not; having been found liars by brethren of the Ephesian type—Rev. 2:2; and had these spurious
apostles reigned in past ages, without the antagonism and active opposition of the “faithful men” of the
ecclesia of the living God, “able to teach others” the Pauline gospel, “the truth as it is in Jesus” would
have been as non-existent in all the world, as it is now at the Royal Chapel at Windsor, the St. Peter’s of
the Seven Hills, or in all the “Names and Denominations of Christendom,” apocalyptically styled “Names
of Blasphemy,” and “Harlots and Abominations of the earth.”—(Rom. 17:3, 5.) “The Christadelphians,”
of whom our divine friend and teacher of Greek, does not seem to think much, are the last of the
generations of the ecclesia of the Living God, in its conflict with the Laodicean apostacy in Romish and
Protestant manifestation. The Christadelphian body contains within its pale “faithful men who are able
to teach others” the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments. Like as it was in the apostolic ecclesias,
there may be within its pale “unreasonable and wicked men”—men of “good words and fair speeches,
whereby they deceive the hearts of the simple;” but then, these do not give character to a body, any
more than a few rotten teeth determine the corporeal soundness of an individual. All genuine Christians
who breathe the breath of life, are of this body, although they may not have heard of the name
“Christadelphian;” nevertheless, they cannot be genuine Christians and be ignorant of the thing
imported by the word. Can such a Christian be adduced who is yet ignorant that he has the high honour
of being a son of the Lord God Almighty, and therefore a brother of Jesus Christ? This is the import of the
Anglicised Greek name Christadelphian. Our divine friend, the teacher of Greek, will therefore perceive
that Christadelphians are not of recent appearance in the world. On the contrary, they were coeval with
the apostles. The apostles themselves were Christadelphians before “they were called Christians at
Antioch.” Hence, the Lord Jesus said, in effect, that he would be with Christadelphians to the end of the
age. And has he not been with them ever since? Yea, verily; their living and active, and anti-clerical
existence in this cloudy and dark day, is a demonstration of it in fact. The earnest and faithful men of the
Christadelphian body, who walk not after the flesh, are the true apostolic succession in this the
nineteenth century generation of it. “Christ dwells in their hearts by faith” (Eph. 3:17)—by an intelligent
belief of the truth concerning him who is the truth—therefore they know that Christ is “with them;” and
being with them, they are not afraid to do battle with the false apostles of the apostacy, with all their
                                                      67
tail of Beast and Image-worshippers; and with all the teachers of Chinese, Icelandic, and Greek, who may
figure in the coccygeal extremity thereof. They can do all things necessary to be done in this war
through the spirit, which is the spirit that strengtheneth them.—(Phil. 4:13; 1 John 5:6.) The testimony
which they bear is the last effort of the ecclesia of the Deity—the last warning voice before the epiphany
of Christ. As for the clergy, their case is hopeless. They cannot believe, because they seek not the
honour that cometh from God only.—(John 5:44); the goats whom they lead into the ditch, even “the
last ditch,” cannot believe, because they are not of Christ’s sheep—(Jno. 10:26); his sheep know his
voice, and a stranger will they not follow.—(v. 4.) This voice is the truth. The clerical hirelings, and those
who pay them to prophesy smooth things to them, have no ears; that is, they are deaf to his voice,
because they are not of God.—(John 8:47.) Christ gives eternal life to as many as the Father has given
him, and to no more.—(John 17:2.) The clergy and their co-worshippers of the beast are not included in
this divine donation, because there hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the
Lamb’s book of life the names of such,—(Rev. 13:8; 21:27.) The names of those that have been inscribed
there, are of those who know the Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent,—(Jno.
17:3); or as Paul expresses it, “who know God, and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,”—(2 Thess.
1:8); all not of this class are workers of abomination, lovers and inventors of lies,—(Rev. 21:27; 22:15);
and for such, the lake of fire burning with brimstone, will be kindled when judgment shall be given, and
executed by the saints: woe betide the clergy then!—(Rev. 20:15; 19:20; Dan. 7:22.)


To Sardis
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                               Thirteen Lectures on the Apocalypse, p. 23-24
    "He that bath the seven Spirits of God "—the symbolic affirmation of omniscience—has little to say in
the way of commendation to the brethren in Sardis. "Thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead."
Men knew the reputation of the Sardian ecelesia: the possessor of "the seven stars "—the seven Spirit
lights kindled in the seven ecclesias, knew their state. "I have not found thy works perfect before God."
Jesus watches and discerns the developments of probation. He requires not to bring men to the
judgment seat to know, though he will bring them there to reveal them.
    There were a few exceptions in Sardis: "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled
their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy;" from which we learn that
membership in a dead ecclesia will not interfere with individual acceptance where worthiness exists.
Even those who are lacking have an opportunity which they are exhorted to use. "Be watchful, and
strengthen the things that remain which are ready to die,
    “Repent." There is this encouragement to repentance: "He that overcometh, the same shall be
clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his
name before my Father and before His angels." The white investiture is readily recognizable in that
clothing of the mortal body with immortality from heaven, of which all accepted saints are to be the
subjects at the Lord's coming. The righteousness of the saints is said to be the meaning of the " fine
linen, clean and white," with which the symbolic bride is arrayed ; but this cannot be the meaning of the
white raiment, because the white raiment is promised as the recompence of the righteousness (or
overcoming), and, therefore, cannot be the righteousness itself. It is a fit symbol of the pure
incorruptible that will result front the transforming action of the Spirit of God upon the mortal bodies of
the saints who stand before Christ accepted. Of course it is not literal; white raiment of this sort could
be purchased at the milliner's. There may, however, be a blending of the symbolical and the literal. That
is to say, the immortalised saints may wear white clothing. The angels, to whom they are to be equal,
almost always appeared habited in white (Matt. xxviii. 3; Acts x. 30, &c.), and the garments of Jesus in

                                                       68
transfiguration, became "white and glistening, so as no fuller on earth could white them." The apparel of
the immortal state is an interesting matter of detail, but not of practical moment. The thing that is of
practical moment is the fact that it is possible for a man's name to be blotted from the book of life, that
is, expunged from the divine recognition as an heir of eternal life, after having once sustained that
relation. Jesus promised to the Sardian ecclesia that this should not happen in the case of such as
overcome, but that they should be confessed by him before the Father and the angels. This is an honour
the greatness of which we cannot estimate because it is yet unseen, but which will be appreciated at its
true greatness when the hour arrives for the muster of the chosen and the inauguration in glory in the
presence of multitudes of the angelic host and the manifested glory of the Father.

There were a few exceptions in Sardis: "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled
their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy;" from which we learn that
membership in a dead ecclesia will not interfere with individual acceptance where worthiness exists.




+ Letter From Dr. Thomas
                                            By bro. John Thomas
                                    The Christadelphian, 1866, p. 204-205
                                                  (Excerpt)
                                                                 WEST HOBOKEN, HUDSON Co., NEW JERSEY,
                                                                                       JULY 30th, 1866.
     DEAR BROTHER ROBERTS,
     Yours of March 5th and April 24th have been duly received; also the Ambassadors to July inclusive,
and the report of your discussion with one of Satan’s ministers. Many hindrances have interposed,
preventing an earlier reply. To shew you, however, that the delay was not through indifference, I may
state that I took the said letters with me on my visit to Philadelphia and Baltimore, intending to answer
them while there; but the weather was so intensely hot—from 95° to 100° in the shade—that it was as
much as I was equal to, to do what public and private speaking turned up, without the fatigue of sitting
at a desk or table to think of many things, and to condense much that might be said into as few written
words as possible. Therefore, I brought the letters home again unanswered; and, as the heat has
moderated, and being stationary a few days, I have determined to make an effort to do what may
present itself to be done. The doing of it, however, will not be as pleasant as I could wish, owing to an
hereditary disability affecting my left arm and hand, developed since 1862. You may see from the
uncaligraphic evidence before you the nature of the affection. The mechanical operation of guiding the
pen is positively disagreeable. It is a nervous affection of the arm that makes writing exceedingly
burdensome.
     I entirely agree with you in your graphic description of the barrenness of Christadelphia. Yet dry and
withering as things appear within its limits, all exterior to it is scorched and destitute of any vitality at all.
The Christadelphian Body in the days of the apostles abounded with professors whose hearts were but
little attuned to the faith and hope they professed. Peter styles them washed hogs; and Paul, as little
complimentary of them as he, terms them, “liars, evil beasts, and slow bellies.” These were creatures
who had “crept in unawares,” and “spoke evil of those things which they understood not;” clouds they
were without water, carried about of winds of doctrine, and sporting themselves with their own
deceivings, by which they beguiled unstable souls, and brought “the way of truth” into disrepute. The
influence of these, who passed themselves off for Christadelphians, was more disheartening to the
apostles, and the rest of the real brethren of Christ, than all the opposition that Satan could bring to
                                                        69
bear upon them from without. Their influence was great, yea, strong enough to turn multitudes from
the truth to fables, even to old wives’ fables; and, as a consequence, to alienate them from the apostles,
who had before turned them from pagan darkness, and the power of Satan. They were an element of
the One Body, answering to sin in the flesh, which cannot be eradicated till this corruptible shall put on
incorruptibility, and this mortal shall put on immortality. They were the occasion of great vexation and
mortification to the apostles, whose work of faith and labour of love they neutralized, and rendered, to
a great extent, ineffectual. They were zealous. They “zealously affected” the brethren, “but not well.”
Their zeal was not for the honour and promotion of the truth as taught by the apostles; but for the
development of a theology that should be more acceptable to flesh and blood, and profitable to
themselves. “The truth as it is in Jesus” was too exclusive and uncharitable for their piety and liberality
of soul. It was too “sectarian;” and they were terribly afraid of being made responsible for those
characteristics deemed odious by the fashionable religionists of their day, which were inseparable from
“the sect everywhere spoken against.” The way of salvation taught by this sect was too narrow for them.
They wanted a broader way, whereby some good, pious souls might be saved, who did not belong to the
apostolic sect or party. The apostles were too sectarian for their benevolence and universal
philanthropy. Their large hearts could not be bounded by so sectarian a dogma as, that only those could
obtain eternal life who affectionately believed the gospel of the kingdom, were immersed, and
continued in the teaching of the apostles. This made no provision for babes and sucklings, and pious
Jews who assented to the truth, but did not approve of so sectarian an institution as baptism. Were all
these to be damned because they didn’t see things as Paul did; and because they had not been dipped?
He that believeth the gospel and is baptised shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be
condemned. This is the oracle of the Founder of the Sect. It is eminently “sectarian;” and whoever is
faithful to it must, and can only be sectarian; and so sectarian were the apostles, that they turned all
over to cursing, when the Lord comes, who did not believe and do according to the principles of the
sect. “They lost their lives in labouring to establish, in all its alleged exclusiveness, illiberality and
sectarianism.”
    Do you expect poor, decrepid, human nature to evolve holier influences now, than it was socially
capable of under an apostolic ministration of spirit? I believe you do not. It would be very pleasant if
there were none in Christadelphia but the called, the faithful, and the chosen; all of one mind, and “with
one mind and one mouth glorifying God.” If all understood the truth, and were governed by it, who
profess to believe it, there would be a very different state of things to what has obtained in any age or
generation, past or present. But ecclesiastical perfection is not to be expected in the absence of Christ.
Till he comes, the wheat will be mingled with the tares in such proportion as to keep the faithful in
tribulation and the exercise of patience. The kingdom of the heavens preached is still, parabolically, a
net cast into the sea, and gathering all sorts of fish, good, bad, and indifferent. When the net is full, it is
landed on to shore, and its contents are sorted by the master. All the good fish are gathered into vessels
for his use, but the bad are cast away. This arrangement cannot be altered. The good and bad fish will
continue to swim in the same waters until the end comes, and that end, it is to be hoped, is very near;
for it is by no means pleasant or comfortable to swim in waters full of sharks and serpents of the sea.
    I am glad you like Eureka II. It is a satisfaction to know that one’s labour is not altogether ill-
bestowed. There are many who profess to be interested in the Apocalypse, who have no desire to know,
or, at least, do not manifest a desire to know, whether it sets forth a scriptural exposition or not. I am
glad to find that there are so many more exceptions to this class in Britain than I expected. But neither
Eureka nor its author can ever become popular so long as the present order of things lasts. When the
truth becomes popular, then their fortune will change; till then, the names of the book and its author
must be sought for in the index expurgatorices of the names and denominations which fill the scarlet-
coloured beast of Christendom, so called in the index of the proscribed.


                                                       70
+ The Depths of the Satan as they Speak
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                                          Eureka, Vol. 1 page 334
                                                 (Excerpt)
    But all among the Thyatirans were not impressible by the arts and blandishments of Jezebel and her
children. “The rest” were a faithful remnant who repudiated her teaching, and “the depths” which they
prescribed. We need not repeat here what has been already adduced concerning “the Satan;” but we
may add to this, that the sentence, “the depths of the Satan as they speak,” shows that “The Satan” is
not a solitary individual, but representative of a plurality of speakers, whose speech is enunciative of
deep things, called “depths.” These depths were adverse to the “Name,” “Faith,” and morality, or
“works,” styled by the Spirit “his,” and therefore they were Satanic Depths; and those who taught them
“the Satan;” and those who received them, both teachers and disciples, “the Synagogue of the Satan;”
“Jezebel the prophetess” and the holders of Balaam’s teaching, who styled themselves apostles, and
said they were Jews, being the clergy of that synagogue, clerically termed “the Church of God;” but in
reality “the habitation of demons, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful
bird.” Antipas, or the faithful witnesses, were the rest among the Thyatirans who had not acknowledged
the “depths of the Satan as they speak.” Antipas still retained his original position in “all the ecclesias,”
which, although teeming with “false brethren” both in the presbyteries and among the multitude, had
not yet been “spued out of the mouth of the Spirit.” Antipas was the remnant of the Woman’s Seed
contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints against all “the depths of the Satan
as they speak;” which in their logical effect upon the minds of Christians perverted the gospel; and made
it of no effect in regard to justification and practice. The Star-Presbytery in Ephesus had fallen from its
first estate; still it had not fallen to the lowest “depths,” for Antipas was among them as “those who
could not bear them that are evil; but tried them who pretended they were apostles, and are not, and
found them liars.” Antipas was also among the Smyrneans as “the rich,” because faithful in works,
tribulation, and poverty; also among the Sardians as “the few names even in Sardis which have not
defiled their garments;” and in Philadelphia, as the “little strength” of the ecclesia there; which the Spirit
says had “kept my word and not denied my name.” But among the Laodiceans the Antipas are not
found. Their existence is a supposition, as, “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in
to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The Satan was triumphant there, and the faithful
witnesses reduced to such an insignificant minority as to be noticeable in the prophecy only as an
hypothesis. They were “a contemptible few” not submerged in “the depths of the Satan as they speak;”
but not enough of them to save the ecclesia from being spued out of the Spirit’s mouth. A few did hear
the Spirit’s voice among the Laodiceans, and became fugitives in consequence. They were no longer
found in “the churches,” but in their own peculiar place, “in the wilderness;” where, as “the Woman”
and “the Remnant of her Seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus
Anointed,” they were “nourished” for 1260 Years “from the face of the Serpent,” become a Catholic of
the Laodicean type—Rev. 12:14, 17, 9, 10.




                                                       71
+ Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia, No. 262
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1895, p. 53-54
                                                  (Excerpt)
     John opens before us considerations powerful to strengthen us in our determination to adhere to
Christ in the midst of all the difficulties. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that
ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus
Christ, and these things write we unto you that your joy may be full.” The fellowship here referred to is a
joyful thing—not possible of being seen in all its significance till the veil is removed that meanwhile
separates from the Father’s presence. It is a very different thing from the “fellowship” of ecclesial
phrase, which is often a sheer endurance and great trial of affliction—as intended for the discipline of
the true children. True fellowship is a state of being a fellow of, a state of being in close companionship
and congenial intimacy with another. It amounts almost to identity. Association is a pure satisfaction
bordering on ecstacy; separation a cause of the reverse experience. The grounds of it lie in identity of
view, taste, feeling, principle, and aim. It is because there is little of this identity, that there is little of
pure fellowship in the present evil state. There may be any amount of association without true
fellowship, though true fellowship craves association. There may be nominal fellowship that is sincere
enough without being real. The obligations of duty may lead to it without the heart tasting the sweets of
it, for lack of the mutuality of the conditions out of which it springs. This is speaking of the fellowships of
probation, but this is all preliminary. The true fellowship which the apostles have been sent to create, is
that fellowship with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ, which will be triumphantly established in a
multitude upon the earth at last on the basis of incorruptibility of nature. The mind turns to this with
solace and comfort in the midst of the terrible evil of the present state. It lies ahead like the bright and
hospitable shelter of home at the end of the weary traveller’s journey over the storm-swept moor. It is a
vision of light and holiness and joy. The “general assembly and church of the first-born” will be an
assembly of picked men and women from every age, who have victoriously fought their way through the
obstructions and discouragements that beset the path of righteousness in “Time’s dark wilderness of
years.” Their corporate relation one to another, in the strength and grace of spirit nature, the intensity
of divine intelligence, the sweetness of all-prevailing and spontaneous love, and the constant joy of
everlasting life—is so glorious as only to be fully symbolised by the splendour of the New Jerusalem,
descending from God out of Heaven, blazing with his glory in all the glowing hues and tints of stones
most precious. We can enter into the abandon of delightful imagery, which informs us that “the city has
no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God enlightens it and the Lamb is
the light thereof. . . and there shall be no night there and they need no candle, neither light of the sun:
for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.” We can heartily join in the
exclamation: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life
and enter in through the gates into the city.” May it be our privilege to have a place in that glorious
fellowship.




                                                        72
Excommunication
“Excommunication” is an ordinance of the apostasy;
  ecclesial withdrawal is of apostolic prescription.
                 By bro. Robert Roberts
             The Christadelphian, 1870, p. 91
                        (Excerpt)




                             73
                                                 Compiler’s Note
   Excommunication is defined as "The act of banishing a member of a church from the communion of
believers and the privileges of the church; cutting a person off from a religious society". Before ecclesial
unions existed, there was no way to excommunicate for there was no union of ecclesias from which to
cut the person off. However, once a society or union of ecclesias is established, the power to
excommunicate exists, whether the society admits to it or not, when an ecclesial member is withdrawn
from by the union of ecclesias, that is, by what Bereans call inter-ecclesial actions. Ecclesias may
independently concur with an action, but this is called ecclesial autonomy, and it must not be taken
away by inter-ecclesial action. It is like any other principle is the Truth. If you change one element, you
are forced to follow the change through to its logical conclusion.




+ The Christadelphian (April, 1891)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 149-150
   The document proposes “union with all who have not forfeited their right to the fully assured
salvation.” How can such rule be carried out? How can we know who have and who have not forfeited
the said right? It is calling upon us to pronounce on a matter beyond our jurisdiction, and that has been
placed beyond it by the express command to “judge not,” “condemn not.”
   The time for withdrawal is when men drift into unscriptural attitudes of faith or practice. These we
note and separate ourselves from, without reference to the question of whether the offenders can be
saved, which we cannot decide. And the withdrawal is not putting them out but going out ourselves, as
the term implies. We simply go away, saying we cannot be responsible. The attitude prescribed by this
“basis” would place the ecclesia in a chair of authority, with power of excommunication, arrogating the
right to “cut off” or say the excommunicated cannot be saved.


Answers to Correspondents (Open Sin)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1898, p.158
                                                 (Excerpt)
   The friends of Christ are not allowed, in the present state, to employ coercive measures, in any form.
The execution of the judgment written is a prerogative in reserve for such only as come through the
present probation, with divine approval. Meanwhile, we are allowed to use the defensive weapon of
non-association where there is non-compliance with the precepts of Christ. “Excommunication” is an
ordinance of the apostasy; ecclesial withdrawal is of apostolic prescription.


+ Fellowship in The Truth
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                                     The Christadelphian, 1870, p. 16
                                                (Excerpt)
    It is not my province to issue bulls of excommunication, but simply to shew what the truth teaches
and commands. I have to do with principles, not men. If anyone say that Jesus Christ did not come in the
flesh common to us all, the apostle John saith that that spirit or teacher is not of God; is the deceiver
                                                      74
and the anti-Christ, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ; and is therefore not to be received into the
house, neither to be bidden God-speed.—(1 John 4:3, 2; 2 Ep. 7, 9, 10.) I have nothing to add to or take
from this. It is the sanctifying truth of the things concerning the “name of Jesus Christ.” All whom the
apostles fellowshipped, believed it; and all in the apostolic ecclesias who believed it not—and there
were such—had not fellowship with the apostles, but opposed their teachings; and when they found
they could not have their own way, John says “They went out from us, but they—the anti-Christ—were
not of us; for if they had been of us (of our fellowship), they would have continued with us; but they
went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”—(1 John 2:19.) The apostles
did not cast them out, but they went out of their own accord, not being able to endure sound
doctrine.—(2 Tim. 4:3.)




The Christadelphian
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 149-150
                                                (Excerpt)
    The time for withdrawal is when men drift into unscriptural attitudes of faith or practice. These we
note and separate ourselves from, without reference to the question of whether the offenders can be
saved, which we cannot decide. And the withdrawal is not putting them out but going out ourselves, as
the term implies. We simply go away, saying we cannot be responsible. The attitude prescribed by this
“basis” would place the ecclesia in a chair of authority, with power of excommunication, arrogating the
right to “cut off” or say the excommunicated cannot be saved.
    Faithful men are more truly modest, while more uncompromising towards departure from the faith
than the sentiments that inspire this basis. Faithful men say, “we have no power to cut off: Christ will do
that. But we have power to withdraw; and this we will do with however much reluctance and pain,
when the Word of God and its obligations are tampered with by whomsoever.” We will exercise this
liberty unhampered by any assumptions as to the position of those who have technically “responded to
the Gospel call.” The basis declares that all such are “in union and fellowship with the Father.” This is not
true. There were many in the apostolic age who had “obeyed the Gospel call,” whom the Apostles
repudiated as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18)—spots in their feasts of charity (Jude 12); who
claimed to be Jews but were not, but lied (Rev. 3:9).


+ Is It to Be a Central Tribunal?
                                           By bro. C. C. Walker
                                  The Christadelphian, 1919, p. 461-462
                                                (Excerpt)
   Do they wish all ecclesias in the United Kingdom, and all “members” thereof, to consider them a
permanent ethical tribunal, to whose judgment as to “right ways and wrong ways,” in such cases as that
under consideration, all must bow under pain of excommunication? Surely the answer must be in the
negative. Where would our jealously guarded ecclesial independence vanish to if such an idea were
tolerated?




                                                      75
+ Answers to Correspondents
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 148
                                                (Excerpt)
   The devil Christ destroyed, was sin in the flesh. This is the fact perceived by all who scripturally
partake of the table, but if there come one among you, saying that sin in the flesh was not the devil that
Christ destroyed, but that it was a supernatural antagonist, dealing death and affliction among the
human race, then he is clearly unsuited by his condition of mind to sit down with you. There is no unity
between you in those doctrinal perceptions which constitute the very basis of “the table of the Lord.” If
he insist on a fellowship which cannot exist, all you have to do is to follow the apostolic injunction where
spiritual incompatibility arises,—“withdraw thyself” which is more in harmony with the general passive
policy inculcated by Christ, than the arrogant attitude of excommunication.



+ Extracts from Correspondence
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1880, p. 131
                                                (Excerpt)
    Friend Crichton puts the matter in the wrong shape when he speaks of “cutting him off from
fellowship.” No man in the present day has power to either cut off or put on. The only power we possess
is to stand apart where duty calls for it, and this power belongs to every one. It is a question of duty in
each case. On this, mistakes may doubtless be made: but it is a matter in which everyone must judge for
himself, in the doing of which he is responsible to Christ, the supreme judge. If the fact that Christ will
judge his people at his coming is no part of the apostolic testimony of the gospel, then doubtless it is a
“grievous mistake” to make the rejection of it a reason for dissociation. But if it be otherwise—if Christ’s
office as the judicial dispenser or withholder of life at his coming, be an element of the gospel preached
by them, (and who can gainsay it in the face of the following testimonies?—Acts 10:42; Rom. 2:16; 1
Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 6:1), dissociation on the ground of the rejection of the fact becomes simply
one of those painful deprivations to which we have to submit oftentimes with a reluctant sense of duty.
The glorious parts of the gospel referred to by Friend Crichton are part of the basis of fellowship; but
they must not be divorced from the other parts. The faith of the gospel is a compound element (e.g., the
Father, the Son, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the promises, &c.), and it is dangerous to sacrifice any
of the elements. “Reconsideration” can but confirm the attitude of faithfulness to the whole gospel,
unless we were at liberty to act in accordance with the friendly instincts of the natural man. These
would certainly incline us to abate the jots and tittles, and to accept sincere generalities as a sufficient
basis for fellowship in Christ.—EDITOR.




                                                      76
Fellowship Practice
                       But if I tarry long,
that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself
                     in the house of God,
           which is the ecclesia of the living God,
          the pillar and firm support of the truth.
                       1st Timothy 3:15




                            77
+ Notes (Letter of Recommendation)
                                    The Christadelphian, 1881, p. 572
   AN IMPOSTOR.—An impostor is on the wing. He has victimized the brethren at various points. He has
obtained possession of a copy of The Christadelphian, and will exhibit considerable acquaintance with
the affairs of the brethren. Strangers ought not to be received without a letter of recommendation. It is
no new suggestion that brethren leaving one part of the country for another, should be provided by
their ecclesia with such a document. Reference is more satisfactory, because a letter may be forged,
whereas a reference that you apply to and wait the answer from before acting, cannot be tampered
with.


+ Dr. Thomas and Divisions
                                   The Christadelphian, 1930, p. 52-53
    SOME brethren make a great boast of their strict adherence to Dr. Thomas and brother Roberts; as
much as to say that those who have not subscribed to their judgment do not. Now in which camp are we
to suppose Dr. Thomas would be found to-day if he had been in the land of the living?
    Certainly not among the latter-day troublers of Israel, with their “gnat-straining and camel
swallowing” dispositions.
    Here are some remarks of his written in 1866 and recorded in the Ambassador of that year. He opens
his epistle with the words of the Apostle Paul, “I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ that ye all speak the same things and that there be no divisions among you; and that ye be
perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
    After addressing them as brethren of Christ and alluding to their position as his faithful witnesses,
the doctor goes on to say, “Is it so then that after so many years’ study of the enlightening word ye are
yet carnal? For whereas there is said to be among you strife and divisions are ye not carnal and walk as
men? Know ye not that ye are the Temple of the Deity, if He have any temple in your locality? and ‘that
the Spirit which is the Truth’ dwelleth, or ought to dwell, in you? Now, if any man defile the temple by
divisions and unnecessary contentions and strifes, him will the Deity destroy; for His Temple is holy,
which Temple I trust ye are. If then ye be this Temple ye are Christ’s House, ‘the Ecclesia of Deity,’ and
therefore if faithful to Him who hath invited you out of darkness into His marvellous light ‘ye are the
pillar and support of the Truth’ in the place of your sojourning, hence you are collectively stewards of
the mysteries of the Deity which are ‘foolishness to the wise and prudent’ of this generation. Now it is
required of stewards that they be found faithful, and that they keep their accounts correctly so that
when the Lord comes they may not be put to shame in his presence. But, as stewards, are you fulfilling
this necessity, while contending and striving to the disruption of the congregation and the abolition of
the Table in your midst? It is good and wholesome to ‘contend for the Faith once for all delivered to the
saints, as in past years you have against the Laodiceans.” Such a contention as this will never divide a
healthy body. It will cause it to grow with the increase of the Deity; but to contend for anything short of
this, or irrelevant to it, developes only confusion and every evil work.”
    The doctor then draws the attention of the brethren to their future destiny as the rulers, judges and
peacemakers of the age to come, and then he adds: “Is it indeed so, that the Truth hath not power in
your midst to preserve you from divisions and confusion? If you cannot maintain peace and unanimity
among yourselves, how will you ever become morally fit to command the peace of the world and to
maintain it? Is not this to your shame? Is it so, ‘that there is not a wise man among you’? No, not one
that can straighten out any difficulty that may arise among you? Now, therefore, there is utterly a fault
among you!
                                                     78
    “What is it? Are any of your number possessed of the old demon of Puritanism, that would not
permit a woman to kiss her child on the Sabbath day because it broke the Sabbath and savoured of the
flesh? or that would not allow a man to work a ferry boat unless he were a member of the church or ‘in
the Lord’? or a demon that burned witches and hanged Quakers because they did not pronounce
Shibboleth aright. Beloved brethren, human nature is always tending to extremes and transcending
what is written. As the saying is, it will strain at gnats and swallow camels by the herd. It set up the
Inquisition and is incessantly prying into matters beyond its jurisdiction. It is very fond of playing the
judge and of executing its own decrees. It has a zeal but not according to knowledge, and therefore its
zeal is intemperate and not the zeal of wisdom or knowledge rightly used. It professes great zeal for the
purity of the Church, and would purge out everything that offends its sensitive imagination.
    “But is it not a good thing to have a church without tares, black sheep, or spotted heifer? Yea, verily,
it is an excellent thing. But then it is a thing the Holy Spirit has never yet developed, and cannot be
developed by any human judiciary in the administration of spiritual affairs. There are certain things that
must be left to the Lord’s own adjudication when he comes; as it is written ‘He that judgeth is the Lord,
therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden
things of darkness, and will manifest the counsels of the hearts,’ ‘and then shall every man have praise
of the Deity’ (1 Cor. 4:5: Rev. 2:18); ‘every man’ whose hidden things and heart-counsels when brought
to light will be accounted worthy of much praise. Does not this teach us how more important it is that
brethren be more diligent in examining themselves than in examining other brethren; and that the Lord
expects them to leave something for Him to do in the way of judging, condemning, excommunicating,
cutting-off, and casting out ‘in the time of the dead that they should be judged.’ ‘Brethren’ be not
children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be perfect’ (1 Cor.
14:20).”
    In giving a word of admonition further on in his letter the doctor says “Do not act as wayward
children, and because you cannot have your own way shy off at a tangent and turn your backs pettishly
on one another.”
    There is much of this in the disrupted ecclesia in our day. Christ is at the door, what will he say?
    [The foregoing was copied from The Ambassador for 1866, pages 91–93, some considerable time ago
by bro. F. H. W. Rhodes. It is still in season.—ED.]


+ Answers to Correspondents
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 148-149
                                                (Excerpt)
    W. D.—The “table of the Lord” is not a piece of furniture, nor the material emblems employed in the
celebration of the Lord’s death. It is a mystical name (derived from the literal table in the first instance)
representative of a memorial act enjoined upon the brethren of Christ who while remembering their
absent master in the form appointed, set forth their unity by partaking of one bread and one cup. This
unity in the present state, is doctrinal and arises from unanimity in their perceptions of the things
imported by the ceremony — which things of course have reference to a higher future unity, when they
shall be in nature “one.” You ask who is to decide upon the admissability, or non-admissability of
persons to this. The answer is, Christ has constituted his brethren, the natural guardians of that table by
making it symbolical of unity. This compels them to see to it that unity exists where they are invited to
sit down to it. They may differ as widely as possible on general topics, but there must be unanimity in
their views of the matters involved in the ceremonial act, in which they are called upon to engage.
Hence they instinctively refuse to “fellowship” those who have another hope and believe another gospel

                                                      79
than themselves. They would not hesitate to refuse fellowship to members of the common sects of
professing Protestantism; so that although “the Lord’s table,” they are compelled in the Lord’s absence
to act with the discretionary power of the Lord’s stewards, in drawing the line which divides the mystic
table of the Lord from the wide spread table of the devil, This leads to the specific questions you ask. A
person holding the common doctrine of the devil is not in unity with the doctrine which constitutes the
basis of “the table.” The event memoralized by the table is the destruction of the devil through the
death of Christ, (1 John 3:8. Heb. 2:14.) Hence, unity of doctrine on the subject of the devil is absolutely
necessary as a condition of the memorial act of the table. The devil Christ destroyed, was sin in the flesh.
This is the fact perceived by all who scripturally partake of the table, but if there come one among you,
saying that sin in the flesh was not the devil that Christ destroyed, but that it was a supernatural
antagonist, dealing death and affliction among the human race, then he is clearly unsuited by his
condition of mind to sit down with you. There is no unity between you in those doctrinal perceptions
which constitute the very basis of “the table of the Lord.” If he insist on a fellowship which cannot exist,
all you have to do is to follow the apostolic injunction where spiritual incompatibility arises,—“withdraw
thyself” which is more in harmony with the general passive policy inculcated by Christ, than the arrogant
attitude of excommunication.


+ Fellowship in The Truth
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                                     The Christadelphian, 1870, p. 16
    IN a private communication to a friend in the North, who had put some questions, Dr. Thomas writes
on this subject, as follows:
    The Lord Jesus said: “I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given me, that they may
be one, being sanctified through the truth; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me and I in
Thee, that they also may be one in us, as we are one, made perfect in One.”—(John 17.) This unity of
spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), is what John styles our fellowship, the fellowship of the apostles,
resulting from sanctification through the truth. Hence all who are sanctified through the truth, are
sanctified by the second Will, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once. For by one offering
he hath perfected for a continuance them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:10, 14), which one offering of the
body was the annulling and condemnation of sin, by the sacrifice thereof.—(Heb. 9:26.) This body, which
descended from David “according to the flesh,” was the sacrificial victim offered by the Eternal Spirit.—
(Heb. 9:14.) if David’s flesh were immaculate, this victim, descended from him, might possibly be
spotless; but in that event, it would not have answered for the annulling and condemnation of sin in the
flesh that sinned.—(Rom. 8:4.) If it were an immaculate body that was crucified, it could not have borne
our sins in it, while hanging on the tree.—(1 Peter 2:24) To affirm, therefore, that it was immaculate (as
do all papists and sectarian daughters of the Roman Mother), is to render of none effect the truth which
is only sanctifying for us by virtue of the principle that Jesus Christ came IN THE FLESH, in that sort of
flesh with which Paul was afflicted when he exclaimed “O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me
from this body of death?”—(Rom. 7:11, 24.)
    It is not my province to issue bulls of excommunication, but simply to shew what the truth teaches
and commands. I have to do with principles, not men. If anyone say that Jesus Christ did not come in the
flesh common to us all, the apostle John saith that that spirit or teacher is not of God; is the deceiver
and the anti-Christ, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ; and is therefore not to be received into the
house, neither to be bidden God-speed.—(1 John 4:3, 2; 2 Ep. 7, 9, 10.) I have nothing to add to or take
from this. It is the sanctifying truth of the things concerning the “name of Jesus Christ.” All whom the
apostles fellowshipped, believed it; and all in the apostolic ecclesias who believed it not—and there

                                                      80
were such—had not fellowship with the apostles, but opposed their teachings; and when they found
they could not have their own way, John says “They went out from us, but they—the anti-Christ—were
not of us; for if they had been of us (of our fellowship), they would have continued with us; but they
went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”—(1 John 2:19.) The apostles
did not cast them out, but they went out of their own accord, not being able to endure sound
doctrine.—(2 Tim. 4:3.)
   Then preach the word, &c., and exhort with all long-suffering and teaching. This is the purifying
agency. Ignore brother this and brother that in said teaching; for personalities do not help the
argument. Declare what you as a body believe to be the apostles’ doctrines. Invite fellowship upon that
basis alone. If upon that declaration, any take the bread and wine, not being offered by you, they do so
upon their own responsibility, not on yours. If they help themselves to the elements, they endorse your
declaration of doctrine, and eat condemnation to themselves. For myself, I am not in fellowship with the
dogma that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh, or that he died as a substitute to appease the fury and
wrath of God. The love of God is manifest in all that He has done for man. “When all wish to do what is
right,” the right surely is within their grasp. I trust you will be able to see it from what is now before you.
And may the truth preside over all your deliberations, for Christ Jesus is the truth, and dwells with those
with whom the truth is. Where this is I desire to be.
   If I believe the truth as it is in the Jesus Paul preached, and fellowship the doctrine of an immaculate
Jesus Paul did not preach, in celebrating the death of the latter with those who repudiate the maculate
body set forth by God for a propitiation, is affirming one thing and practising another. Those who hold
Paul’s doctrine, ought not to worship with a body that does not. This is holding with the hare and
running with the hounds—a position of extraordinary difficulty. Does not such an one love the hounds
better than the hare? When the hounds come upon the hare, where will he be? No; if I agree with you in
doctrine, I will forsake the assembling of myself with a body that opposes your doctrine, although it
might require me to separate from the nearest and dearest. No good is effected by compromising the
principles of the truth; and to deny that Jesus came in sinful flesh, is to destroy the sacrifice of Christ.
                                                                                                 JOHN THOMAS.


+ Dr. Thomas in Scotland in 1849
                                           By bro. John Thomas
                                   The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 433-434
    On my second and last visit to Dundee, in 1850, I was sorry to find a want of union, confidence, and
co-operation among all who had yielded obedience to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Roots of bitterness
existed, connected with total abstinence, and what was supposed to be a tendency to episcopal
ambition, to leadership. Alas, when will they who would be greatest learn to become the servants of the
least of Christ’s flock? I judge not in the case before us, because I am not sufficiently informed of its real
demerits; but I do most sincerely tender to all the friends of the Kingdom’s Gospel the advice which I
aim to practice myself, and that is, have patience till the Kingdom comes, and seek no lordship until
then. If we are found worthy of that Kingdom, we shall share with Christ in his absolute and divine
lordship over Israel and the nations. Surely this will be honour and distinction enough for the most
ambitious. Till then let us despise the microscopism of a little powerless and brief authority in the
household of faith. A man of knowledge and wisdom will have more authority and power thrust upon
him by his fellows than he will care to exercise, if his mind be rightly chastened by the truth. Let each
esteem other better than himself, and all will be well. Men are sometimes made usurpers by the
suspicious insinuations of others, and their intrigues to prevent usurpation. Let us beware of this; and let
all things be done with love as unto God and not to men, and then harmony will be undisturbed.

                                                       81
Temperance is a virtue against which there is no law. Jesus Christ, our sovereign, lord, and king, was
temperate in all things, and so are all the members of his royal household. He and they are temperate as
a fruit of the spirit—a virtue resulting from the truth believed. He was not a total abstinent. This is a fact.
Neither were Paul nor Timothy; nor can Christ’s members be who drink of the new covenant cup. Total
abstinence was never made a test of Christian fellowship by the apostles, though temperance was; for it
is written, “no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Drunkenness is disorderly conduct, and every
brother that walks disorderly we are commanded to withdraw ourselves. The saints have no right to
impose tests of fellowship upon one another which the Spirit of God has not imposed. The world, whose
standard of morals is not God’s standard, can impose what it pleases upon “its own; ” but it has no right
to dictate to Christ’s household, who are its masters elect; nor should Christ’s brethren permit it. They
should be careful, too, not to drink into its spirit, nor to co-operate with it in carrying out its crotchets. If
every earth-born were a total abstinent, the world would be as far from the kingdom’s gospel as if every
man, woman, and child were drunken with the fumes of alcohol. The soberest of the world’s people
have been made drunk with the wine of the great harlots adultery, Rev. 17:2. This intoxication
continues, and will obfuscate their intellects until the Lord comes to sober them, Isai. 25:7. Offer the
Kingdom’s Gospel to the most pious of the world’s abstinents, and they will reject it with contempt, and
perhaps with rage; or if they profess to believe it, how few of them are sober minded enough to obey it.
Let not the saints mis-spend their efforts, and waste their energies. If they be zealous for total
abstinence, let it be for a total abstinence from all sins. The Gospel needs and commands their whole
soul. Let the world attend to the liquor, to tobacco, and to the emancipation of “its own” from political
and social duress imposed upon them by sin, whom they serve; be it ours, the “heirs of the kingdom,”
and the future enlighteners and regenerators of mankind, co-operators with Christ in the deliverance of
the world, to mind our own business, which is to open the blind eyes, to turn them from darkness to
light, and from the power of the adversary to God, that they may receive remission of sins, and
inheritance among them that are sanctified by the faith which is in Jesus, Acts 26:18.


+ Cross Currents in Ecclesial Waters
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                      The Christadelphian, 1898, p. 126
                                                  (Excerpt)
    The only practicable rule of operation at present is fellowship on the basis of oneness of mind. It is a
rule fraught with embarrassment and pain, but it is not of human appointment and cannot be set aside
where faithfulness to the word of God is not extinct. To confound this rule with the Corinthian schisms
that gloried in particular men after the flesh, is a serious mistake. The “plea” shows some heat against
those who are described as “every assumed leader amongst us.” I suppose I am intended as one of
those, and as such, I am to be “repudiated once and for ever.” There is either misunderstanding or
malice here. I am no “leader” except as a man’s individual actions may influence others. I have always
repudiated the imputation of leadership. I but do my own part on the basis of individual right. I claim no
authority. I dictate to no man. I only act out my individual convictions, and advocate my individual views.
Which of the demurring brethren do not do the same thing? Why should they find fault with me for
doing what they do? If others are influenced by what I do or say, is this wrong? Is it not what the critics
are aiming to do? An enlightened man would refuse to be responsible for such an unreasonable
criticism.




                                                        82
Answers to Correspondents
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 105

    FELLOWSHIP.—H. K.—(“Is it scriptural to teach that breaking of bread has nothing to do with
fellowship?)—To have fellowship is to be fellow of, to be one with, therefore to have communion, or
union together. To say that the breaking of bread has nothing to do with this is to go against the
meaning of the ordinance and the express terms of apostolic affirmation. The institution is not only
memorial but spiritually significative. Paul says: “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of
the body of Christ?” If the bread signifies the body of Christ, then our partaking of the same bread is an
act of joining together, or communion with fellowship in that body. So Paul says and reason requires:
“We being many are one bread and one body: FOR we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16,
17). To break bread is to “partake of the Lord’s table,” and all who do so are fellows one with another in
the act and meaning of the act. Though many, they become one body, and therefore in fellowship. The
breaking of bread together is therefore the highest act of fellowship possible in the present state.


+ Queries Proposed by J.A.I. to Dr Thomas, For
Categorical Answer
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                                    The Christadelphian, 1870, p. 155
    1st.—Will the unfaithful, who lived from Adam to Jesus, be raised to judgment at the second advent;
or will they never be raised, but “remain in the congregation of the dead?” Answer: “Some will; others
not.”
    2nd.—Will men die during the reign of Christ, through their connection with Adam? if not, when are
they freed from that connection? and if freed, will they live always, if obedient? Answer: “All but the
saints will be mortal.”
    3rd.—Was the flesh of Jesus from his birth by Mary, pure, holy, spotless, undefiled. Answer: “No.”
    4th.—Had he not been put to death violently, would he have lived for ever? Answer: “No.”
    5th.—Did he stand in the same relation to “the law of sin and death,” as Adam did before he
transgressed? Answer: “Answered above.”
    6th.—Can a man be justified who believes the things implied in these questions concerning the
nature of Jesus? Answer: “The Lord will settle this question at the judgment.”
    7th.—Would you have any fellowship with those who believe or teach these things? Answer: “My
fellowship is with the apostles; they had many brethren who were bewitched and disgraced the truth.”
    Reason for Putting these Questions. “I have some of your writings, and understand your mind
thoroughly on these questions; but others who have them also, do not seem to understand them. I
would therefore like to show them plainly that they do not understand, and so either convince them of
their error, or shut their mouths.
    Response.—“The mouths of the bewitched are not easily shut. The most ignorant are the most
garrulous. He is wise who speaks few words.”




                                                     83
+ True Principles and Uncertain Details
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1898, p. 182-188

                                                      OR,
     THE DANGER OF GOING TOO FAR IN OUR DEMANDS ON FELLOW-BELIEVERS
    IT has pleased God to save men by the belief and obedience of a system of truth briefly described as
“the gospel of our salvation,” and also spoken of by Jesus and John and Paul as “the truth.” “Ye shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—Jesus. For this reason, it is necessary for believers
to be particular in requiring the full recognition of this truth at the hands of one another as the basis of
their mutual association, and generally, to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,” as
enjoined by Jude. Those men are to be commended who faithfully exact this recognition both at the
hands of applicants for baptism and claimants for fellowship.
    But there is a danger of going too far. We live in a world of extremes of all kinds. It is difficult for any
length of time to maintain an equilibrium in the application of any principle on account of the
disbalances of mind so prevalent in the population, and the tendency of men to drive each other into
extravagant positions through the sheer friction of personal antagonisms. This is probably more
manifest in the truth than in anything else, because of the obligation to make a firm stand which arises
out of the truth, as it arises out of nothing else. When men differ about the truth, their differences are
more unappeasable than in any other subject, because of the greatness of the interests involved and an
earnestness of purpose and a depth of affection created by the truth, as by nothing else. It was not
without a reason that Jesus foretold division as the result of his appearance—division so keen that “a
man’s foes should be they of his own house.”
    So much of division is inevitable, and while lamenting it, men of God can but submit, with as little
asperity towards those who cause it as possible. But there are divisions that are uncalled for, and
therefore sinful. Paul refers to such when he says: “Mark them that cause divisions among you contrary
to the doctrine (the teaching on unity) that ye have learnt.” He was referring, no doubt, to the factions
arising out of personal preferences, but the warning applies to all divisions that ought not to be made.
There is division enough, in all conscience—division that is inevitable—division that must be, unless we
are to ignore divine obligations altogether; but there are divisions that ought not to be. It is possible to
go too far in our demands on fellow-believers. How far we ought to go and where to stop, is at one time
or other a perplexing problem to most earnest minds. They are afraid on the one hand of compromising
the truth in fellowship; and on the other, of sinning against the weaker members of the body of Christ.
The only end there can be to this embarrassment is found in the discrimination between true principles
and uncertain details that do not overthrow them.
    There are general principles as to which there can be no compromise: but there are also unrevealed
applications of these principles in detail which cannot be determined with certainty, and which every
man must be allowed to judge for himself without any challenge of his right to fellowship. To insist on
uniformity of opinion on those uncertain details is an excess of zeal which may be forgiven, but which
meanwhile inflicts harm and distress without just cause. An exception would, of course, be naturally
made in the case of the construction of a detail that would destroy the general principle involved, such
as where a man professing to believe in Christ might also believe in Mahomet or Confucius—of which
there are examples. This supplementary belief destroys the first belief for a true belief in Christ is a
belief in his exclusive claims.
    It may help discernment if we consider some examples unaffected by uncertain details.
                                                       God

                                                        84
   GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—“He that cometh to God must believe that HE IS and that He is the rewarder of
them that diligently seek Him.” There can be no question as to our duty where men become unbelieving
or doubtful of God’s existence, or of His favourable disposition towards and purpose to openly reward
the men who are diligent in their quest of Him and ready in their obedience.
   Uncertain Detail. — But as to how or where He exists, and in what form or aspect His person is
shown and how surrounded—whether He inhabits a world of His own or be the radiant centre of a
cluster of celestial worlds; and whether His name means I SHALL BE or I AM, or both, and I HAVE BEEN as
well (as in the Apocalyptic formula, “which art and wast and art to come”), there is truth concerning all
these points—truth that we shall know and revel in when we are spirit, but it is not possible in our
present circumstances to be certain as to any of them, and we should do wrong to insist on any
particular opinion as to them. The admission of the true principle that God exists and that He will reward
His lovers and friends is all we can claim in fellowship at the hands of fellow-believers.
                                                       Man
   GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That God made man of the dust of the ground.
   Uncertain Detail.—But as to whether it was a direct action of the Father’s formative energy, after the
manner in which sound creates geometric figures in sand scattered loosely upon a tightly extended
vibrating surface? or by the expert manipulation of angelic hands, we cannot be sure. There are grounds
for a strong opinion in favour of the latter, but it would be unwarrantable to insist on the reception of
that opinion as a condition of fellowship. It is sufficient if the brother or sister believe that “God made
man of the dust of the ground.”
                                           Man’s State After Creation
   GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—He was a living soul or natural body of life, maintained in being by the action of
the air through the lungs like us, but unlike us, a “very good” form of that mode of being, and
unsubjected to death.
   Uncertain Detail.—Would he have died if left alone, unchanged, in that state if he had not sinned?
Who can tell? The testimony is that death came by sin: but the fact also is that, not being a spiritual
body, he was presumably not immortal. Are we going to insist upon an opinion on a point like this,
which no man can be certain about? We shall act unwarrantably if we do so. It is sufficient if a man
believe that Adam after creation was a very good form of flesh and blood, untainted by curse. The
uncertain points must be left to private judgment.
                                                    The Angels
   GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That they are the Father’s multitudinous messengers in glorious bodily form,
spiritual and immortal, to whom the brethren and sisters of Christ are to be made equal.
   Uncertain Detail.—Where do they come from? Where do they live? Were they made immortal at the
beginning, or did they come through a state of probationary evil like the race of Adam? Who can tell?
We may have a strong opinion, but are we going to ask believers to profess an “opinion” as a condition
of fellowship? This would be going too far. It is sufficient that a believer believe in the existence and
employment of the immortal angels of God. It would be a cruel extravagance to ask him to subscribe to
an opinion which may be wrong.
                                                     The Earth
   GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That the earth is the promised inheritance of the saints.
   Uncertain Detail.—Is the earth a globe or a plane, or is it a concavity as the latest speculation affirms
on scientific grounds? Who can tell? If a brother choose to think it is a plane, let him think so. It matters
nothing what his opinion of the shape of the earth is, so long as he believe that the earth is the
inheritance of the saints. An opinion that the earth is going to be burnt up is an opinion that would


                                                      85
interfere with the general principle, and therefore to be rejected; but any opinion as to the constitution
of the earth is to be tolerated in charity.
                                                Sun, Moon and Stars
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—God made them, and they are His.
    Uncertain Detail.—Are they inhabited worlds, or are they mere lights in the expanse, as the new
Koreishan science teaches? No one can tell, though there are grounds for a strong opinion. Let each one
have his own opinion. We shall know all about it if we are chosen of the Lord at Christ’s return. If a
brother admit that God made them, and that they belong to Him, he admits what has been revealed and
what is essential to an adequate conception of the greatness of God. He must be allowed to differ from
the rest, if he does so, as to what they are in themselves.
                                                Reigning with Christ
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That the glorified brethren of Christ will reign with him as kings and priests with
Christ, when he has set up the Kingdom of God at his return.
    Uncertain Detail.—Will they be scattered over the surface of the earth in palaces of their own, with
definitely allotted districts which they will individually administer; or, will they be collected as one body
always resident in Jerusalem near the person of Christ? There are good reasons for believing the former
of these views to be correct, but as an uncertain detail, we dare not insist upon a particular opinion, as a
condition of fellowship. It is sufficient if a brother believe that we shall reign with Christ, whatever dim
ideas he may have as to details that do not interfere with the general principle.
                                                     The Devil
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That the Bible devil is the personified antagonism of flesh and blood to God, in
various forms and methods.
    Uncertain Detail.—What was the particular form of Bible diabolism that Michael encountered in the
dispute about the body of Moses? What was the particular form of the Bible devil that tempted Jesus in
the wilderness? We cannot positively know, because we are not informed, and because the Bible devil is
over and over again a man, an institution, a government, or a desire. We may have an opinion as to who
the devil was in these two cases, but it is only an opinion, and a brother must be at liberty to hold
whatever opinion commends itself to him in the case, so long as his opinion does not upset the general
principle in the case, nor open the door for the supernatural devil of popular theology.
                                                      Moses
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—Moses was the servant of God, and at his death, was honoured with a divine
interment.
    Uncertain Detail.—Is Moses living now? Some think so, because he appeared on the Mount of
Transfiguration. Some think not, because that transfiguration is styled a “vision.” What are we to do? Let
every man have his own view, so long as the divinity of the work and writings of Moses is recognised.
We shall find out presently from Moses himself whether he has been alive since the first appearing of
Christ, and the information will be very interesting; but how absurd it would be to require at the present
moment a particular view on the point as a condition of fellowship.
                                    Our Summons to Christ at His Appearing
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That we shall be gathered to meet Christ at his coming, whether living or dead,
when that great event occurs.
    Uncertain Detail.—How shall we be gathered? Shall we be carried off as Elijah was, or Philip, or Christ
himself—by the prehensile energy of the Spirit of God? or shall we be conveyed by natural means, such
as railways and steamboats? Who can be quite sure? It matters not. When the time comes, there will be
no mistake about it. There is a strong probability that it will be by the power of the Spirit of God, and not
by human locomotion. But are we to reject a brother because he strongly thinks it will be by natural

                                                      86
means? So long as he believes in “the coming of our Lord Jesus and our gathering together unto him,”
he may form his own ideas as to the particular method by which we are to be gathered. No opinion on
that point is inconsistent with the general principle.
                                                  Immortality
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That God will bestow immortality of nature on His accepted servants at the
coming of Christ.
    Uncertain Detail.—At what particular moment will this be done? Will it be done individually as we
appear one by one before the judgment seat of Christ? or will it be done en masse when we have all
been judged? If the latter, will it be done immediately the judgment is finished, or will it be deferred to
the time when the whole earth has been subjugated by the war of the great day of God Almighty in
which the saints take part? Who can tell? We may have our opinions, but we must not insist on our
opinions as a condition of fellowship, unless opinions trench on general truth. An opinion to the effect
that we are immortal already would clearly destroy the truth that we are to become so only when Christ
comes and at his hands. In that case, we would be under the painful necessity of objecting. But provided
the general truth is received, we dare not insist on a particular view as to the moment that general truth
will be carried into effect.
                                                  The Temple
    THE GENERAL TRUTH.—That Christ will build the temple of the future age as a house of prayer for all
people.
    Uncertain Detail.—What will be the size of it? What will be the shape of it? There are no grounds for
absolute certainty. There are strong grounds for the view presented by brother Sulley in his temple
book: but we should not be justified in making the reception of this view a condition of fellowship. It is
sufficient that the general truth is received. Any view that may be entertained as to details is not
inconsistent with the general truth.
                                              The Judgment Seat
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That Christ will call the living and the dead before his judgment seat at his
coming.
    Uncertain Detail.—Where will he set it up? Will it be in Palestine, or in Egypt, or in the Arabian
Peninsula, in the solitudes of Sinai? We cannot be sure. All available evidence seems to point in the
direction of the last-mentioned; but an uncertain detail must not be made a basis of fellowship. We
must not insist upon a man believing the judgment seat will be set up at Sinai or any particular place so
long as he believes that “Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his
Kingdom.”
                                                 Responsibility
    GENERAL PRINCIPLE.—That men are responsible to the resurrection of condemnation who refuse
subjection to the will of God when their circumstances are such as to leave them no excuse for such
refusal.
    Uncertain Detail.—But when, in our age, are men in such circumstances? Who can tell but God
alone? Some think it is enough if a man have a Bible. Some think that is not enough unless the Bible is
explained to him (as in a lecture or book). Some think that is not enough unless the man have capacity
to understand the explanation. Some think even that is not enough unless the hand of God is openly
shown in certification of the divinity of the Bible, as in the apostolic age, when “the Lord worked with
them and confirmed the word with signs following.” What are we to do? Are we to insist upon a precise
shade of opinion on a point which no judicious man be absolutely clear about? All we can be sure about
is that when men are “without excuse” knowing the judgment of God (Rom. 1:20, 52; 2:1); when they
have “no cloak for their sin” like the men who saw the miracles of Christ, and yet both “saw and hated
both him and his Father” (Jno. 15:22, 24), that they will come forth at the resurrection to receive
                                                       87
punishment according to the righteous judgment of God. When men admit this, they admit enough for
purposes of fellowship as regards this particular point. To insist on more than this is to go too far, and to
inflict needless distress and cause unnecessary division. No doubt the men who do so think they are
doing God service. There is a little excuse for them in the extraordinary doctrine that has been
propounded that in the matter of resurrection, God “does not proceed on principles of justice,” but on
principles of law, and that if a man have not gone so far in submission and obedience as to be baptised
into Christ, Christ has no hold on him, however great and deliberate a rebel he may be. But they go
unwarrantably beyond what is just in withdrawing from those who have not received this doctrine, but
who are hazy as to the application of the scriptural rule of responsibility in our particular age. Their zeal
for a true doctrine is good, but not the shutting of their eyes to the reasonable qualifications that belong
to the true view of the subject. They read “He that believeth not shall be condemned,” and they exclaim,
“Why hesitate?” They forget that these words refer to those who saw the signs. If they say “No, they
apply to everybody also,” they have to be reminded that they do not really think so themselves. Do they
believe the Mahometans, and the Chinese who “believe not” will be raised to condemnation? Do they
think the benighted millions of Christendom, who “believe not” will be raised? They do not. They have
only to ask themselves “Why?” to be reminded of the qualifying fact associated with the words they
quote. That qualifying fact was that the men referred to had no excuse for not believing. As Jesus said,
“If I had not come and spoken unto them (and done among them works which none other man did),
they had not had sin” (to answer for). “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin” (in rejecting me). God is
just. The mere circumstance of believing not, is not a ground for resurrectional condemnation in the
absence of those attendant circumstances that demand belief. So with the other statement, “He that
rejecteth me, &c.” It has to be qualified by the parenthesis understand, “having seen the works I have
done.” But say they, “Where the Gospel has power to save, it has power to condemn; and if rejectors
are not to be raised, what guarantee have we that acceptors will be saved?” The answer is, Where the
Gospel has power to save, it certainly has power to condemn; but where has the Gospel power to save?
Only where it is known and believed. In that case, it will condemn the man who does not conform to its
requirements. But has it power to save where a man is ignorant or uncertain? No enlightened man
would say “Yes” here, and therefore it will be observed that the conclusion as to the condemning power
of the Gospel, where it has power to save, has no application to the class of persons in dispute, viz.,
men, who in the darkness of the age are uncertain as to the truth, though knowing it in a theoretical
manner. Men who say to Christadelphians, “I understand what you believe and it is beautiful; but is it
true? If the Bible is divine, no doubt it is true; but I have my reservations as to the Bible.” There is no
quarrel as to the men who recognise the Bible as the word of God, and understanding it, are aware of its
demands upon them to repent and submit to the service of Christ; and yet refuse submission because of
the present inconveniences of submission. The responsibility of these men to the resurrection of
condemnation is without doubt, but where there is one man of this kind, there are hundreds who are in
a haze and a maze of uncertainty as to the truthfulness of the truth, though knowing what the truth is,
and concerning whom it is not possible to take the ground that they will rise to condemnation at the
coming of Christ.
    A mistake is made in contending for precise views on a matter that cannot be made precise. Where
men admit that rebels and unbelievers who deserve punishment will rise at the resurrection to receive
that punishment without reference to the question whether they are baptised or not, they admit all that
can righteously be exacted from them. It is impossible for any man to say, who are so deserving. We
know that God is just, and will do no unrighteousness. When men admit that He will resurrectionally
punish the men who are deserving of it, whether baptised or not, it is inadmissible that we should
withdraw from them because they are unable to say who are and who are not so deserving.
    There is the less need for the extreme demands of some on this head, since those who have
espoused the extraordinary doctrine that a man must obey God a little before he is punishable, have

                                                      88
separated themselves from those who will not receive their doctrine. “But this has not brought peace,”
say they. Do they imagine that this other movement is going to bring peace? Behold how much the
reverse. They are separating men who ought to remain united because holding the same truth, though
made by an artificial contention to appear as if they did not. They are sowing division and bitterness and
strife on the plea of producing harmony and peace. They are refusing the friends of Christ because of
uncertainties as to how much Christ will punish a certain class of his enemies. And compassing sea and
land to make proselytes to this most unenlightened proceeding.
    How perfectly melancholy it seems in the presence of the real work of the truth. While the world is
up in arms against the Bible, or where not against the Bible, against the doctrines of the Bible, and some
good and honest hearts surrender, and joyfully profess faith in the writings of Moses, the prophets and
the apostles, and receive the Gospel as preached to Abraham, and expounded by Jesus to the hearers of
the apostolic age with all readiness of mind: and they ask for baptism that they may become servants of
Christ in the obedience of his commandments, and heirs of the great salvation promised to the faithful.
We examine them and find them fully enlightened in “the glorious Gospel of the blessed God,” and we
baptise them. They come to the table of the Lord: an extremist steps forward and says, “Do you believe
rejectors of the truth will rise to condemnation?” The newborn says, “I believe the rejectors referred to
by Christ will rise.” Extremist: “Will not all rejectors rise?” Newborn: “Not all rejectors, I think. The
Mahometans reject Christ. I do not expect them to rise?” Extremist: “You are trifling with the question.”
Newborn: “I think not. I understood that rejectors were not responsible unless they rebel against the
light knowing it to be the light.” Extremist: “That is what I mean, but many are hazy who these are: will
you promise to withdraw from such? Newborn: “You put me in a difficulty there. If men believe that the
Lord will punish those who deserve it, and that rebels and unbelievers will be excluded from the
Kingdom of God, I should scarcely feel justified in refusing them because of any little uncertainty they
might have as to the Lord’s precise method of dealing with them. It would depend upon the nature of
their reasons. If they were to contend that Christ had no hold on rebels unless they were baptised, and
that rebels could outwit God, as it were, by refusing to go into the water, and that in fact resurrectional
condemnation was only for the obedient, and that the safe way for men when the Gospel comes is to
have nothing to do with it, I confess I should look upon that as such a confusion of truth in its most
elementary principles as would justify me in refusing identification with it. But if their difficulty were
merely as to the precise amount of privilege needful to make an unbeliever responsible, I should
hesitate in refusing them. I should, in fact, fear to do wrong in doing so.” Extremist: “Oh, I see you are
prepared to compromise the truth for the sake of numbers.” Newborn: “I think you are not justified in
that expression of opinion.” Extremist: “I have a right to form my own opinion.” Newborn: “A man may
have to answer for wrong opinions of that sort. You judge and condemn where you are forbidden to do
so.” If the Extremist will walk out under those circumstances, there is nothing for it but to bear it.
    This “doctrine of fellowship” (as it is called) is also carried to an excess never contemplated in
apostolic prescription. I was called upon by a man in dead earnest who contended there were no such
things as “first principles,” and that every detail of truth, down even to the date of the expiry of the
Papal 1260, should be insisted on as a condition of fellowship. Such outrageous extravagance would not
be contended for by every extremist; but in principle, they are guilty of it when they insist on uncertain
details, as well as true general principles. Fellowship is friendly association for the promotion of a
common object—with more or less of the imperfection belonging to all mortal life. To say that every
man in that fellowship is responsible for every infirmity of judgment that may exist in the association is
an extreme to which no man of sound judgment can lend himself. There will be flawless fellowship in
the perfect state. Perhaps it is the admiration of this in prospect that leads some to insist upon it now.
But it is none the less a mistake. This is a mixed and preparatory state in which much has to be put up
with when true principles are professed. Judas was a thief, and Jesus knew it, but tolerated him till he
manifested himself. Was Jesus responsible while he fellowshipped him? Certainly not. Judas was

                                                     89
qualified for the fellowship of the apostolic circle by his endorsement of the common professed objects
of its existence, viz., the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom in conjunction with Jesus as the
accepted “Christ, the Son of the living God.” His thieving character did not exclude him from that circle
till he went and hanged himself. There were men among the Corinthian brethren who denied the
resurrection: did Paul charge the brethren with complicity with that heresy because of the presence of
such among them? Doubtless their rejection of the resurrection nullified their claims for that place, but
still it did not make the true brethren guilty of their false doctrine while merely tolerating them, pending
an appeal to Paul.
     If a man lend himself to the evil projects of others and wish them well in them, no doubt they are as
responsible for those projects as if they actually promoted them with their own personal labours. This is
the principle to which John gives expression when he says, “He that biddeth him (the holder of false
doctrine) God-speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” But the principle is carried too far when it is made
applicable to the individual diversities and idiosyncrasies of a community concurring in a common object
and a common doctrine and a common service, and having fellowship one with another in the
promotion of these common things. Men thus associated together are not responsible for each other’s
peculiarities or doubtful thoughts on matters of uncertain detail. They are responsible only for what
they wittingly espouse. They would be responsible for the admission of a Mahometan, or a Papal
idolator, or an orthodox denier of the Gospel, as such. They are not responsible for every shade of
opinion that may dwell in the breast of a man admitted on account of his professed subjection to the
truth. It is nothing but monstrous to contend for a fellowship-responsibility of this sort. In fact, it would
make fellowship impossible. It would turn ecclesial life into an intolerable inquisition, instead of a source
of comfort and edification and help and joy, from the sharing of a common faith.
     It is asked, Why did you take such strong ground then, with regard to fellowship, on the question of
inspiration? Wise men do not require an answer. If there are those who feel they require it, here it is.
The question of the inspiration of the Bible is a question of whether it is God speaking or man: a
question of whether we may trust absolutely to what we read as of divine authority, or whether it may
possibly be the vagaries of unenlightened human brains. Such a question goes right to the foundation. It
is the first of all first principles, for without the absolute reliability of the Bible, there is no such thing as
a first principle possible. For any doubt to exist on this question was to render fellowship impossible on
various strong grounds. Such a doubt was raised in harmony with the widespread rot that prevails under
various learned auspices in the religious world. It was espoused warmly by some in our midst; by many
others who do not profess to receive it there was an unwillingness to refuse it fellowship. Consequently,
we had either to tolerate the currency of a doctrine quietly and gradually destructive of all truth in our
midst, or refuse to have anything to do with it, and stop up all leak-holes by insisting not only on the
right doctrine, but on the refusal of toleration to the wrong.
     To contend for the equal applicability of such measures to the question of the responsibility of rebels
and unbelievers, does certainly seem to indicate an inability to distinguish between things that differ. A
brother’s uncertainties on the subject is an affair of interpretation of the Lord’s acknowledged word. He
does not deny the Lord’s utterances: he asks what do they mean? This is a position to be treated in a
very different manner from the attitude that calls in question the authenticity of the Lord’s words. And
any misapprehension he may labour under as to the meaning of the words does not affect any general
truth in the case, but merely the application of said truth in detail. He does not say, “I believe rebels and
unbelievers will go unpunished if they are not baptised.” He says, “I certainly believe they will be
punished, whether baptised or not, in all cases in which the Lord thinks they are deserving of it. But,”
adds he, “I see the Lord makes blindness a reason for exemption, and ignorance of the words and works
of Christ a reason for exemption. And therefore I feel in a state of uncertainty as to how much the Lord
will punish various classes of unbelievers in a day like ours when all is so dark.” To apply to such a


                                                         90
position the stringent measures called for by the denial of the complete inspiration of the Bible indicates
a foginess of mental vision.
    Upon which, there rises the exclamation: “How are the mighty fallen! What a change in the position
of brother Roberts with reference to the question of fellowship!” We can endure such objurgations
because they come from the mouths of well-meaning men, and because they are based upon entire
misapprehension. We have changed in nothing since the day we commenced the active service of the
truth. In the beginning, we had to deal with men who were prepared to compromise first principles in
fellowship. To every disease its own remedy. We took a line of argument suitable to the exigency. But
now, there is another extreme of an equally destructive character in another way. It is an extreme
requiring another kind of argument. Have we changed because we take a line of argument suited to a
new dilemma? There are several sides to a camp. When the attack is on the north, the troops are sent
that way in defence. Is the general inconsistent because when the attack next time comes from the
west, he withdraws his troops from the north, and sends them to the new point of attack? We are sorry
for all the brethren affected by the varying tactics of error (for this is an error of action of a very serious
character: if it is not an error of doctrine). It is an offence against the little ones believing in Christ, of
which he expressed such great jealousy. It may be forgiven as Paul’s persecution of the disciples was
forgiven: but for the time being, it is a grave offence which we refuse to share. There is nothing for it but
to wait. We are all helpless in these periodic fermentations, and must bear them as well as we can, and
come through them with as little friction as possible in comforting prospect of the master hand that will
soon take the helm, and give to the world peace, after storm; and to his accepted brethren, rest after
the exhausting toils of this great and terrible wilderness.—EDITOR.


+ The Christadelphian (April, 1891)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 149-150
                             (He is not ashamed to call them brethren.—Heb. 2:11.)
                                                  April, 1891
     God has been pleased to subject those who desire to conform to His word to what sometimes
amounts to painful embarrassment, by having required of them things that at first sight are
incompatible with one another. They are to do good to all men, and yet to be not unequally yoked with
unbelievers. They are to be “in the world” and yet to “come out from among them and be separate.”
They are to love their enemies and yet to love not the world. They are to be patient with the erring and
yet to abhor that which is evil, and not to bear with men that are evil. They are to think no evil and yet
to try professors. They are to submit to wrong and yet to refuse even to eat with men called brethren
who espouse wrong doing, or error. They are to show hospitality and yet to receive not into their houses
those who bring not the doctrine of Christ.
     There is, doubtless, an object in prescribing these apparently conflicting duties. It sets up contrary
mental currents that at last bring about a fine equilibrium of character which would not be attainable if
duty lay all in one direction. But often the effort to conform brings distress, and it is impossible not to
feel pity for men sacrificing one duty in their endeavour to conform to another.
     These thoughts are suggested by an effort in Lincoln, which may be well meant enough in some
directions, but which cannot receive favour from a complete enlightenment. It is an effort that tacitly
invites us to repudiate the policy of insisting upon a wholly-inspired and infallible Bible as the basis of
fellowship, by adopting a “basis of fellowship” that omits it. This document is most plausible in its
wording, as all efforts in a wrong direction are; but in its meanings and implications, it is far worse than
its promulgators probably intend or have any idea of.
                                                       91
     It formulates an impossible rule of withdrawal, which turns the ecclesia into a judgment seat of the
Papistical order. The apostolic rule is to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly,” and from
those who teach heresy, without reference to the question of what the Lord may finally think of them.
And this rule is defensive in its bearing, not offensive. It means that we are not to be partakers of other
men’s sins. John lays down the axiom that He that receives the holder of wrong doctrine or practices
partakes of their evil deeds.
     In withdrawing, we wash our own hands. We leave to God those whom we withdraw from. We are
not authorised to judge or condemn them. But this document lays it down that we must not withdraw,
unless we are prepared to maintain that the cause of withdrawal will make salvation impossible. This
would erect an ecclesia into a spiritual judicature, deciding questions which the Lord has reserved for
himself.
     The document proposes “union with all who have not forfeited their right to the fully assured
salvation.” How can such rule be carried out? How can we know who have and who have not forfeited
the said right? It is calling upon us to pronounce on a matter beyond our jurisdiction, and that has been
placed beyond it by the express command to “judge not,” “condemn not.”
     The time for withdrawal is when men drift into unscriptural attitudes of faith or practice. These we
note and separate ourselves from, without reference to the question of whether the offenders can be
saved, which we cannot decide. And the withdrawal is not putting them out but going out ourselves, as
the term implies. We simply go away, saying we cannot be responsible. The attitude prescribed by this
“basis” would place the ecclesia in a chair of authority, with power of excommunication, arrogating the
right to “cut off” or say the excommunicated cannot be saved.
     Faithful men are more truly modest, while more uncompromising towards departure from the faith
than the sentiments that inspire this basis. Faithful men say, “we have no power to cut off: Christ will do
that. But we have power to withdraw; and this we will do with however much reluctance and pain,
when the Word of God and its obligations are tampered with by whomsoever.” We will exercise this
liberty unhampered by any assumptions as to the position of those who have technically “responded to
the Gospel call.” The basis declares that all such are “in union and fellowship with the Father.” This is not
true. There were many in the apostolic age who had “obeyed the Gospel call,” whom the Apostles
repudiated as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18)—spots in their feasts of charity (Jude 12); who
claimed to be Jews but were not, but lied (Rev. 3:9).
     It is a fundamental principle as to the operations of the gospel, that “many are called but few are
chosen,” and that “all are not Israel that are of Israel.” This is a principle which we cannot apply, and
which we are not called upon to apply. We do not know who will be chosen of those who have been
called. We have nothing to do with saying who will and who will not be saved, as regards profession of
the truth. The thing we have to do is to take care of our own standing in relation to the prevailing
corruptions. We refuse to be implicated in these, while entertaining the very best wishes concerning all
men. We mingle with Bible charity the most decisive resolution not to be compromised by any class of
men, whether they have gone through “the waters of baptism” or no.
     Unless we observed this apostolically prescribed scrupulosity, the truth would soon be suffocated
and disappear. Men who decline it are the enemies of the truth without intending it perhaps—all which
will appear in a very plain light when the expediencies of the passing mortal hour are at an end in the
manifested presence of the author of the seven messages to the ecclesias.




                                                      92
 Notes (“Progress”)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 440
   B. W.—“Progress” is a nice watchword, but it is possible to mistake retrogression for progression.
This mistake is being made by all who regard partial inspiration and the loosing of the bonds and
conditions of fellowship as evidence of progress. We are not ashamed to profess our identity with the
standfast party. Why should we move away from what we are certain about? And do you think, if we
were not certain, that we should stand aloof from popular circles into which we have many times been
invited? Do you say we cannot be certain? Then we differ. There is an ever-learning and never attaining
class—ever-debating and never settling—at home in endless froth-plungings like dogs in a puddle. They
were extant in Paul’s day; they have not ceased since; they are active now. If you cannot recognise
them, we do not quarrel with you; but we cannot deny our own senses. We must perforce exercise the
prerogative of discrimination, and, knowing the right road in the dark, take it.


Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue,
Birmingham, No. 49
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1873, p. 549-552
                                      “Exhort one another daily.”—PAUL.

     2 JOHN.—This epistle brings out a few things about “love,” which it is important to recognise. “Love,”
in the world, is one thing; “love,” according to the ideal of the sects, another; and the “love” of apostolic
discourse, yet another. The two former we may dismiss. The world’s “love” is an ephemeral affair,
having its foundation in the instincts, dying with use and age, and passing away in death. Orthodox
“love” is a sickly distortion, lacking the elements that give strength and comeliness to the “love” of the
Scriptures. It works spiritual mischief now, and is destined hereafter to vanish like smoke. The “love” of
John’s epistles has foundations, without which it cannot exist. This partly comes out in the very first
sentence of this second epistle: “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love IN THE
TRUTH.” Outside the truth, a brother’s love is not operative. He loves not the world, neither the things
that are in the world, remembering that “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in
him.”—(1 Jno. 2:15.) His friendships are bounded by the truth, as regards both men and things. In Christ,
he is a “new creature.”—(2 Cor. 5:17). After the flesh, he knows no man. The friendship of the world is
enmity with God.—(James 4:4.) Therefore, he cultivates no friendship with those who know not God,
and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. His love is bounded by the truth.
     Does he, therefore, shut up his bowels of compassion against those who are without God? By no
means. He recognises the obligation put upon him by the same law, to salute not his brethren only, but
to do good unto all men, as he has opportunity, even to his enemies. But there is a difference between
doing good to unbelievers and cultivating friendship with them; and the saint is careful to observe this
difference, lest he come under the rebuke that greeted the ears of Jehoshaphat, on his return from
friendly co-operation with Ahab: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them who hate the Lord?
Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.”—(2 Chron. 19:2.) We can have our conversation
towards the world in all courtesy and benevolence, without going on to their ground, and joining affinity
in schemes of pleasure, profit, or friendship.
     The “love” that belongs to the household of faith is “for the truth’s sake that dwelleth in us, and shall
be with us for ever.” This is John’s definition of its source and scope. Everyone that is truly of the
                                                       93
household, responds instinctively to it. To the carnal mind it appears very “narrow,” but this is an illusion
of ignorance. It is the true breadth, for it relates to that which shall be for ever, while the world, which
would have us unequally yoked, passeth away. The truth connects us with “the shoreless ocean of
eternity,” while the friendship of the world is confined to “a narrow neck of land”—the brief existence
of this animal probation. The (presently) “narrow” operation of apostolic “love” is also founded in
wisdom; for unrestricted friendship with the world is full of danger: it draws away from the fear of God,
the hope of the calling, and the holiness of the Master’s house, “whose house are we, if we hold fast the
beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” It is, therefore, a snare; pleasant and
advantageous meantime, but having the suction of the maelstrom with it, drawing us to death; for when
the Lord of Light stands on earth, to set in order destiny, according to the Father’s purpose, the world
will have, from his presence, “fled away.”
     John rejoiced concerning those to whom he wrote that he had found them “walking in the truth.”
Saints walk not otherwise. Their actions, plans of life, friendships, aims, enterprises, hopes—everything
connected with them, in some way or other comes from, originates in, and is comformed to the truth.
The truth is their inspiration—the controlling life-stream. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature”—not that all answer to this. There are professors who serve not our Lord Jesus, but
themselves; but such are abortions and bastards. None but sons will be mustered in the day of the
144,000. They are few now, as they have always been, and the world “knoweth” them not in many
senses; but they know what they are about. They are not dreaming; they are not fanatics. They are the
children of wisdom; and wisdom is justified of them all, though they may be hard to read sometimes.
They understand the world too well to be entrapped into its fellowship. They are known of God, and will
be publicly revealed in due time, in glory, honour and immortality. Meanwhile, they “walk in the truth.”
On this ground they are to be met and understood. Approached on any other ground, they will seem not
what they are. They are not to be comprehended “after the flesh.”
     “This is love,” says John, “that we walk after his commandments.” No man loves after the Spirit’s
fashion who disobeys. Apostolic “love” is that state of enlightenment and appreciation in relation to the
things of God that impels a man to be “a doer of the word.” John gives this an application that was
special to his day; and yet not special, as it is appropriate wherever the same need and the same danger
manifest themselves. “This is the commandment,” he says, “that AS ye have heard from the beginning,
ye should walk in it.” We are wondering what he means when presently the light dawns; “for, many
deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus is come in the flesh.” He means that
they should hold fast to the doctrine of Christ as originally delivered; because many were drawing the
disciples away therefrom. The obedience of this commandment is the evidence of New Testament
“love,” and it is also necessary for our acceptable standing before the presence of the Lord’s glory at his
coming. This is John’s view, as evident from the words immediately following: “Look to yourselves, that
we lose not those things which we have wrought; but that we receive a full reward.” There would have
been no need for these words if the things that had been “wrought” were not imperilled by the doctrine
of the deceivers of which he is speaking.
     He indicates, in strong language, the consequences to the individual ensnared by the deceivers:
“Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God.” This may seem a
strange saying in view of the fact that the “deceivers” referred to believed in one God, the Creator of
heaven and earth; and also in Christ, after their own fashion. But the apparent strangeness disappears
when we look closely at the matter John is writing about. To “have” God in the sense of John’s words, is
to stand in His favour, both now and hereafter. All things are in His goodness. As David says, “Thy
goodness is over all Thy works:” but the goodness of God in common benefits that come upon all alike,
is a different thing from that personal “favour” which guides, attends, and prospers (even if by
chastisement), with a view to a perpetual sonship in the Spirit nature. The enjoyment of this favour is a
thing of conditions. One of those conditions is a recognition of the channel in which He offers it. Out of

                                                      94
Christ, sinners cannot come near. They have the goodness of God as creatures, like the sparrows, not
one of which can fall to the earth without the Father’s knowledge; but they are not in the privilege of
children. They have not the Father’s favour and purpose concerning the ages to come. This is only to be
enjoyed in Christ; but even here, it must be the Christ of God’s appointing. Any other than this is
presumption, and a mockery of His wisdom; and they who teach otherwise than the truth concerning
Christ, preach another Christ, though it be intended to refer to the Christ of Nazareth. This is evident
from the case of those to whom John is referring. They believed that the person known as Jesus of
Nazareth was the Christ; but in their reasonings upon him, they reasoned away the truth about him, and
consequently believed and preached another Jesus than the Son of the Father. There were different
sorts of the class, but all their heresies had a common origin, viz., an attempt to bring the mystery of
Godliness within the rules of human reason, instead of accepting the testimony with humble and
childlike simplicity. One set argued that such a character as Jesus was a moral impossibility in flesh and
blood, and that, therefore, his whole life was a mere accommodation on the part of a spiritual being to
the senses of mortals. Another believing him to be flesh and blood philosophized in a contrary direction,
concluding that as such, he must, from the nature of things, have been a “mere man.” and that the idea
of his being God in flesh-manifestation, was preposterous. The Papal breed blended the two, and taught
that though flesh, his flesh was not the corrupt and mortal flesh of men, but a superior, clean,
“immaculate” sort. In our own day, as recent painful experience has made us aware, a class of believers
are treading the same dangerous ground, in teaching that the flesh of Jesus was destitute of that which,
in the flesh of his brethren, constitutes the cause or source of mortality.
     In relation to all of them, John’s declaration reveals the mind of the Spirit: “Whosoever
transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of
Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The doctrine of Christ is that he is God made and
manifested in the mortal flesh of Abraham’s race for the deliverance thereof, on his own principles,
from “that having the power of death.” Those who hold fast to this have both the Father and the Son;
for in Jesus they have the Son, and the Father manifest in him.
     As to those who “bring not this doctrine,” John’s commandment is: “Receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God speed!” This command we can no more evade than any other
commandment delivered unto us. The obedience of it may cost us something. It is crucifying to the flesh
to refuse friends—some of them excellent people as human nature goes—who in one way or other have
been seduced from their allegiance to the doctrine of Christ; but there is no alternative. Friends are but
for a moment; the truth is for ever; and if we sacrifice our duty to the latter from regard to the former,
the latter will sacrifice us in the day of its glory, and hand us over to the destiny of the flesh, which as
the grass, will pass away.
     “He that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” This applies to all without distinction,
and erects a barrier to fellowship with even some who hold the truth; for though they may hold the
doctrine of Christ themselves, yet if they keep up a “God-speed” connection with those who don’t, by
John’s rule, they make themselves partakers with them, and therefore cut themselves off from those
who stand for the doctrine of Christ.
     The epistle, as a whole, is singularly applicable to the situation in which we find ourselves this
morning. We have been obliged to stand aside for the doctrine of Christ from some we love. The epistle
of John justifies us in our course, both as regards those who have departed from the doctrine of Christ,
and those who, while holding on to it themselves, see not their way to break connection with those who
have departed. It is a painful situation, but we must not falter, nor need we fear or be discouraged. God
is with us in the course of obedience, and we shall see His blessing in the increase in our midst, of zeal
and holiness, and love and preparedness for the great day of the Lord, which is at hand.



                                                      95
From Birmingham to New York and Back
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                      The Christadelphian, 1888, p. 40
                                                 (Excerpt)
    I was reminded of a similar arrival nearly seventeen years since when the Minnesota conveyed
brother Bosher and myself to New York, to perform the sad duties consequent on Dr. Thomas’s death.
Dr. Thomas has been nearly seventeen years in his grave. There have been many changes within that
period. In the political sphere, Dr. Thomas’s prophetic expectations have been verified in a variety of
points. The French empire has disappeared. Russia has been at the gates of Constantinople with Turkey
under her feet; Egypt has been occupied by Britain; and a great stimulus has been given to the
development of Palestine and the Jewish colonization of that land. In the affairs of the truth, there have
been vicissitudes—some pleasant and some painful. Its friends are vastly more numerous than they
were at the time of Dr. Thomas’s death. On the other hand, progress has been checked by internal
convulsions. The formal renunciation of a vital element of the truth concerning the sacrifice of Christ,
and more recently, the formal promulgation of the doctrine that the Bible is only partly inspired and
marred by errors due to the participation of human authorship, have caused division and alienation. The
blame of the dissension lies with those who set the cause in motion and not with those whom that
cause left no alternative but action against it. Supineness of action might have preserved the union of
persons but it would have been at the expense of purity and spiritual strength on the only basis that can
hold people profitably together. Both defections have been characterized by an animus against Dr.
Thomas’s writings—severe enough indeed to have brought those writings into discredit if not into
disuse. Events have justified the Providential arrangements by which their continuous publication has
been secured against the hostility of such as have only partly loved or partly understood the truth which
the author of those writings has been instrumental in reviving in our day and generation. For how much
longer they will be wanted, God only knoweth and will provide: but this is certain that very shortly (as it
will appear to each person concerned), the servants faithful and unfaithful will find themselves solemnly
confronted with the issues of present life when the true nature of their several parts will be made
manifest, not only in the presence of the dead brought to life again, but in the presence of multitudes of
the heavenly host, with Christ, for God, presiding over all.


+ The Question of the Inspiration of the Bible
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 165-167
    Some say, Why make this a question of fellowship? They have their answer when the nature of
fellowship is discerned. Briefly defined, it is co-operative association on the basis of identical convictions
in reference to the matter that is the subject of association. Men may and do associate on various
foundations, but agreement as to the foundation is the essence of their association or fellowship. On
anything outside this foundation, they may “agree to differ,” as the saying is; but as to the foundation,
there must be unanimity, or there can be no association.
    Now, as brethren of Christ, the ground of our association is most briefly defined in the apostolic
phrase “The Truth.” This comprehends many items or ingredients. There are such as are first and such as
are middle and last, but all are essential to the completeness of the whole as a basis of association. Now,
if there is one among them more fundamental than another, in an age like ours, when the voice of God
is silent for a season, it is the question of the estimate in which we are to hold the Bible. Apart from the
Bible, we have no access to any of the elements that go to make up the system of the truth. From the

                                                       96
nature of things, therefore, the character of the Bible is the very first question that presents itself,
whether in the individual investigations that lead to the acceptance of the truth, or in the settlement of
those concurring views which constitute the basis of fellowship.
     There is a great diversity of view in the world as to the character of the Bible. We have only to
imagine any of them introduced among those whose basis of fellowship is, first of all, the divine
character of the Bible, to see how naturally and inevitably they would become questions of fellowship.
Everyone would readily see this in the case of the extremer views, entertained either by the gross
Bradlaugh school, or the more refined class of philosophical speculators who follow the lead of Herbert
Spencer. And it only requires the exercise of reason to see that all views below the divine level
necessarily act in the same way, where there are those who possess that perfect confidence in and
reverence for the Scriptures that lead to an entire affection, and daily and hourly intimacy with their
contents. The doctrine of the partial inspiration of the Scriptures is the first step (and a longer one than
is at first apparent)—towards uncertainty of any inspiration, and away from inspiration, we are away
from the foundation of all obedience and hope.
     Some seek to attenuate the gravity of the matter by speaking of it as a mere question of “theory.”
This a misconception altogether. The question is a question of fact, not of theory. There is a radical
difference between fact and theory. A fact and a theory of a fact are two different things. It might be
illustrated by the electric telegraph. A man receives a message from the other side the Atlantic to tell
him an unexpected fortune has fallen to him under the will of a man just dead. The man may have no
knowledge of how the message has been transmitted. Walking from his house to a lawyer’s office with a
friend equally uninformed with himself, they may both talk the matter over, and each have his different
theory of how it is done. Their theories are immaterial so long as they believe that the message that
takes them to the lawyer’s office has really come four thousand miles through the sea in a few minutes
of time. But suppose it were suggested that the entire message had not come across the sea, but had
been partly concocted in the telegraph office by the clerk who wrote the message, a very different
question would be introduced, having very different bearings. It would then be a question of fact
affecting the value of the message in a very important manner, A theory of how the message had come
would be a matter of absolute indifference in the case: a question of whether it had completely come,
would vitally concern all parties.
     This is the issue raised in the unhappy controversy that the Lord has permitted to arise in our midst.
It is not a question of how the Scriptures have been wholly given by inspiration of God, but whether they
have been so. Let it be admitted that the Scriptures are wholly inspired, and any theory of how God has
secured for us this glorious result becomes a mere speculative question of little moment—a matter of
“theory.” Deny that they are wholly inspired, and it is a fact that is denied, and not a theory, and that,
too, a fact of vital character, as has been before shewn. The basis of fellowship is disintegrated by such a
denial, and cannot be restored except by the abandonment of the denial.
     In the presence of these thoughts, it is easy to see in its proper light the resolution that has been
adopted by the Birkenhead ecclesia, of which bro. Ashcroft is a member. This resolution is as follows:—
“That this Ecclesia feels it to be its solemn duty to the cause of Christ to denounce the attempt at
disturbing the peace and unity of the Churches, as now agitated by the Editor of The Christadelphian, on
‘Theories of Inspiration’ (or any other Theory), and hereby records its determination to resist
interference with its ecclesial affairs, of any self-constituted authority: it also records its conviction that
the day has arrived when a Conference of Delegates from the various ecclesias should meet and
undertake the responsibilities of directing the interests of the truth, and so prevent, in its insipient
stage, the possibility of a double fulfilment of Dan. 7:20–21 in these days, in our midst.”
     Sadness of heart allows but a remark or two on this composition, which, though in form the
resolution of an ecclesia (a small body of 20 or 30 members, if we are not mistaken) is bro. Ashworth’s
utterance.
                                                        97
    1. It is not the Editor of the Christadelphian that has disturbed the ecclesias, but bro. Ashcroft, by
denying the complete inspiration of the Scriptures. In the measures forced upon us by the promulgation
of this theory to the four winds, we have been helpless, unless we had, for temporal reasons, consented
to be faithless to what seemed to us the call of duty. We had every natural reason to refrain from these
measures. They have cost us all that we feared, in the loss of friendship and support, and we have
probably not yet seen the worst.
    2. The resolution makes “theories of inspiration” a matter of indifference, When it is realised that the
Bible’s preciousness depends upon its inspiration: i.e., its reliability as the embodiment of the mind of
God,—to treat this feature of it as a matter of indifference must appear to be trifling with the subject.
The resolution tacitly says, “You may believe what you like as to the inspiration of the Bible.” Earnest
men could not accept such a basis of fellowship. If the Bible is not absolutely reliable, we have no reason
for separating ourselves from society and declining the entrances to its honours and emoluments. Read
“theories of reliability” for “theories of inspiration,” and the true nature of the position taken by the
resolution will be manifest.
    3. It is very proper for an ecclesia to “resist interference with its ecclesial affairs.” The determination
on this head, which the resolution expresses, is, however, somewhat ambiguous in its bearing. It is
aimed at the Editor of the Christadelphian, of course; but it is hard to see how it applies, unless it refer
to the conducting of the Christadelphian. The Editor of the Christadelphian has never interfered in the
affairs of the Birkenhead ecclesia, or any other ecclesia. He has several times attended ecclesial
meetings in various parts of the country, by request, to take part with them in the disentanglement of
ecclesial difficulties: but this could not justly be characterised as “interference.” It was co-operation in a
perfectly brotherly spirit, with brotherly results, and with the reverse of gratification to us in every case,
except in so far as good was achieved. If it refer to the conducting of the Christadelphian, the complaint
is still more destitute of reasonable ground. The Editor in all cases has only exercised the lawful
prerogative of an editor. He has “edited” the contents of the magazine from the point of view of the
objects at which it aims. This cannot be held to be an interference in any ecclesia’s affairs. Each ecclesia
does its own untrammelled part; and the Editor of the Christadelphian does his. It will be an
unspeakable relief when the need for either part has ceased in the manifestation of the personal
superintendence of the appointed judge; but while the need continues, what reasonable man would
object to its faithful exercise in the spirit of mutual respectful independence and consideration? A paper
cannot be conducted by many hands. Under any arrangement, the ultimate management falls into a
single pair. Editing by committee is a performance which must end in abortion where it is not a
pretence.
    4. The last point has two features, only one of which calls for serious notice: that is, the proposal that
“a conference of delegates from the various ecclesias should meet and undertake the responsibility of
directing the interests of the truth.” It is impossible to offer too strenuous an opposition to such a
proposal. It is a proposal that will not be accepted by enlightened believers in Christ who discern the
true mission of the truth in its present stage; the nature and difficulty of the situation in which its work
has to be done in these latter days; and the tendencies involved in the unapostolic and ambitious
machinery proposed. The principle of ecclesial independence has been clearly recognised and sacredly
upheld among us hitherto as a principle vital to the objects of the truth in the development of brethren
and sisters in the simple ways of faith, in preparation for the coming of Christ. The abandonment of this
principle—the surrender of self-government into the hands of a “conference,”—would be a long further
stride towards that apostacy from apostolic principles which many fear is already begun in our midst. To
consent to such a machinery would be to create an abstraction which would work mischief in a variety
of ways. It would divert the minds of the brethren from the simple regulation of their own affairs: and
introduce an outside source of debate and appeal. The “conference” would be before their minds in all
their dealings, giving scope to unruly spirits to gratify their love of contention in the complicating of
                                                       98
affairs that ought to be simple. And, worse still, it would put into the hands of those who are at home in
the carnal arts of factious organisation, and manipulating of votes, a machinery which would inevitably
work for the corruption and destruction of the truth in its faith and practice. It would organise a tyranny
over ecclesial and individual life. It, at the same time, would open out a sphere at present closed to
ecclesiastical ambitions. “Presidents” and “secretaries” would acquire a factitious importance that
would soon ripen into the pretensions of clericalism; and the simple ways of the truth, which afford
scope only for pure-minded, self-denying service, would soon be overwhelmed and destroyed by the
flesh-glorifying and unapostolic officialism which prevails with such fatal effects in all branches of the
ecclesiastical world from which we have been delivered. Faithful men will refuse to be compromised in
such a plausible device. It may find favour with such as either lack experience in the working of spiritual
things, or who have a defective sympathy with truly spiritual objects. Men of another stamp will say
with brother Sulley: “For me, no compromise with ‘conference’ plan; it means spiritual death.” It is all
very well for brethren to meet as spiritual units, to hold intercourse on the basis of the truth alone, on
the model of fraternal gatherings such as frequently take place: in this there is advantage and profit.
Introduce the “delegate” feature, for the organic assumption of “responsibilities” that already (and in a
healthy form) rest on every individual shoulder that bears the yoke of Christ, and you introduce a leaven
of corruption that will slowly work destruction and death.
    The following paragraph from the Guide embodies the view heretofore accepted among the brethren
on this subject: Sect. 44.—“Fraternal Gatherings from various places.—These are beneficial when
restricted to purely spiritual objects (i.e. let the brethren assemble anywhere, from anywhere, and
exhort or worship or have social intercourse together): but they become sources of evil if allowed to
acquire a legislative character in the least degree. Ecclesial independence should be guarded with great
jealousy, with the qualifications indicated in the foregoing sections. To form ‘unions’ or ‘societies of
ecclesias’ (and it may be added, ‘conferences’) in which delegates should frame laws for the individual
ecclesias would be to lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with the free
growth and the true objects of ecclesial life. Such collective machineries create fictitious importances,
which tend to suffocate the truth. All ecclesiastical history illustrates this.”


+ Judas, Fellowship, Debt, and Kindness
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1872, p. 532-533
   L. C. B.—Judas outwardly conformed to the precepts of the Master during the three years and a half
that he sustained the part of “one of the twelve.” Otherwise his place among the preachers of
repentance would have been forfeited. If Judas had manifested himself, or rather had been manifested
by circumstances, before the terrible disclosure of his avarice in the betrayal of the Lord, we cannot
conceive of the continuance of a fellowship which had its basis in righteousness. Jesus knew him, but did
not act on knowledge which could not have been appreciated by either Judas or the other disciples. He
waited till Judas should reveal himself, which is the divine procedure with us all. Though a thief he
perpetrated his embezzlements under pious pretences; “Ought not this ointment to have been sold for
three hundred pence and given to the poor?” So that his fellow disciples took him for an exemplary
companion.
   The parallel in our day is that when a man’s known actions are in harmony with the word, we may
not discard him from our fellowship, however dubious we may feel about his character. When a man
manifests himself, the case is different. If a man professing godliness become “known as a dishonest
man,” we are bound, as we value our own standing in the sight of God, to stand aloof from him. Any
other course would implicate us in his unrighteousness. “He that biddeth him God speed is partaker of

                                                     99
his evil deeds.” If this is true in a case of perverse doctrine, it is tenfold more so in a case of unrighteous
action. A community permitting in their midst the unchallenged presence and fellowship of a proved
worker of iniquity, is stamped with the infamy they tolerate, and isolated from all lovers of holiness. God
will not smile while there is such an Achan in the camp.
     But, of course, we must be careful in the application of the principle. There are many disputes in
which charges of dishonesty are mere matters of construction, requiring careful investigation before a
just result could be arrived at. Anger on both sides helps a mutually false colouring. This requires skilful
handling. It no doubt frequently happens in the present state of affairs, that there are none in a
company of believers capable of conducting such an investigation with the judicial calmness and
discernment requisite to arrive at a just judgment. This is one of the sore evils of the present time. What
can be done in such a case but for the aggrieved to hold their wrongs in abeyance till the Lord comes,
who will make manifest the hidden things of dishonesty? It would be a pity in such a case—
(unrighteousness in the abstract being repudiated; and fellowshipped, if the case be such, by a mistake
of judgment only)—to resort to the unavailing remedy of separation. It would be better rather to suffer
wrong and be under a cloud, than to consume our privacy in bootless sorrow, and be found isolated
from the institutions of the Lord.
     As to such as deliberately don’t pay their debts, they are to be avoided as the plague. This is the
moral—or, rather, the immoral feature, as one would say—which the Spirit singles out, by which to
describe the wicked, in Psalm 37.: “The wicked borroweth and payeth not again.” The duty of believers
in this matter, under the apostolic precepts, is even placed higher than repayment; and that is, not
borrowing at all. “Owe no man anything.” When we realise the state of perfect friendliness that God
designs to prevail in the body of Christ, we cease to wonder at this precept. For on both sides, borrowing
is a bad thing. It is bad for the borrower; for it maketh him servile to the lender, and putteth him under a
bondage that he finds as difficult to rid himself of as he found it easy to take on. The sweetness with
which he eased his difficulty by the loan is shortlived and paid for bitterly by many groans, unless he
have no conscience and is indifferent, and in that case he is a scoundrel. The evil to the lender is that it
gives him a something to think about that is not pleasant, but a little charged with anxiety, and a
something that will keep coming between him and his friend, not seriously, not a very dark cloud, but a
little vapour that dims the light and chills the air, and then it is a vapour that has the tendency about it,
if not removed as it only can be, to get denser and larger until sometimes it overspreads the sky with
tempest. The men who get into debt, and make no exertions to meet the waiting expectation of
creditors, are the worst species of robbers. An honest thief goes straight to his business, and you know,
to be off; but the gentleman in question comes with sleek proposals in his mouth, adding falsehood to
robbery, and catching you in a snare instead of a fair fight. ‘The wholesome rule is, give; don’t lend.
“Give to him that asketh,” but “hope for nothing again.” This cuts short the transaction, and destroys its
sting; for no hurtful effects can afterwards come on either side from a gift.
     Such as desire to obey the truth, must remember that one of the commands of the truth is to “Owe
no man anything;” and that if they mean what they propose, they cannot do better, if loaded with
obligations and a bad reputation, than begin by clearing off the account and starting straight. Let them
bring forth fruits meet for repentance before proposing to take the holy name. We have to deny
ourselves when we cannot get on without getting into debt. Debt is a great nightmare and a devil, and
so are all who heedlessly plunge therein.




                                                       100
Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes) (Defining Their Position)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 328-329
                       (Berean misrepresentations of this quote are addressed here)
      The usual paragraphs, setting forth the dates, subjects and deliverers of lectures for the month, are
on this occasion omitted for economy of space.
      A brother laments the frivolity of some conversations he hears at tea-gatherings of brethren and
sisters. He would like it altered. He would like every assembly to be pervaded by the spirit of wisdom
and sobriety. Every true brother of Christ will sympathise with his wish in the matter. But how is a
change to be brought about? It is best not to expect much as regards others, but for every brother and
sister who sees the evil and desires what ought to be to determine that, so far as they are concerned,
they will contribute none of the nonsense, but will conform always to the apostolic injunction which
requires us to let our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt. It is very certain that none but
those who so conform will be found suitable for the Lord’s work when he comes, and none but the
suitable will be accepted. The root of the matter lies in the mind. What is in will come out. If minds are
empty and in sympathy only with the trivialities of life, the open mouth will give accordingly. If the heart
is stored with wisdom, there is a chance of the mouth speaking the same. The true cure therefore is to
be found in the daily and private cultivation of the heart in the direction of wisdom, and this is best
accomplished by continuous reading and prayer.
      Some inaccurate ideas appear to be entertained by some on the subject of fellowship. They think
they are not in fellowship with a meeting or ecclesia if they do not pay or receive a visit from it, and that
they are only in fellowship with those actually in their midst. If this were correct, there would be no
fellowship “one with another” in personal absence, whereas John declares this to have been the case
with those from whom he was personally absent. Fellowship is that recognised mutual relation of
harmony that only waits the opportunity of personal intercourse for its fullest enjoyment. This harmony
exists or does not exist quite irrespective of the opportunity of its practical illustration. If, therefore,
when an ecclesia is asked, “are you in fellowship with the Mormons?” it answers they cannot settle the
question as to the Mormons as a body, but must wait for individual Mormons to apply for each
individual case to be decided on its own merits, such an answer is an evasion of the question. What
holds true concerning the Mormons, is true of the Church of England or of those who will not avow their
faith in the infallibility of the Scriptures. An ecclesia that is not able to say whether they are in fellowship
with such, but must wait for individual applications, is evidently in such a doubtful relation to the
question as to prevent confidence on the part of men of straight purpose. Men do not require to come
within so many yards of each other to know whether they are friends. Friendship of this circumscribed
order would be a relapse to barbarism. And so a body of men professing to receive the truth in its
uncompromised fulness and integrity, do not require to pay or receive visits from another body or
members of it, (who are in a doubtful attitude) to say whether they are or are not in fellowship with it. A
little reflection on this ought to clear honest men of all difficulty in defining their position—a process
which had become necessary before the apostle John closed his eyes.




                                                       101
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia–No. 289
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 402
                                                 (Excerpt)
    Then there is peace towards the brethren. Jesus enjoined this. “Have salt in yourselves, and be at
peace one with another.” This almost follows. It certainly follows among all who are truly at peace with
God: for as John says, “He that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” If two
men love God, however much strangers they may be to one another, you have only to bring them
together to have two men who will love one another (and love always brings peace). This is how it will
be with thousands at the resurrection who never even heard of one another: in different ages they were
conformed to a common divine likeness, and the consequence is when they come together, they fuse
like drops of water. How complete, how sweet, how lasting is the peace that reigns among men who are
all at peace with God. Give them only a common incorruptibility of nature that will exclude the
possibility of weariness or death, and their peace is perfect peace that will never be disturbed. This is
the peace to which we ultimately stand related in the gospel.
    But it does not exhaust the peace of God that belongs to probation. We have not only peace with the
brethren, but peace with all men—and peace even with our enemies. This may seem to contradict the
statement that “in the world, ye shall have tribulation,” but it is “seem” only. The tribulation arises from
the hostility of evil men towards ourselves: this we cannot avoid and cannot prevent. But it is not our
side of the question. It is the side that belongs to evil men. Our side is how we feel towards them. This is
a different side altogether. Christ was a man of sorrow through the oppositions of evil men: but as for
his attitude to them, he prayed for them: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Righteous men suffer at the hands of evil men, but they have none of the vindictive feelings that evil
men bear to one another. They do not nurse anger. They do not plot revenge. They are ready even to do
them a good turn if they can get the opportunity. They leave them entirely in God’s hands. In this sense,
they are at peace with all men; and they reap an advantage from it, for as it is written, “The merciful
man doeth good to his own soul,” whereas, “envy slayeth the silly one.”
    There is a fourth item in the peace that comes with the truth, which is very important: we are at
peace with ourselves—I mean each man at peace with himself. This is the meaning of the answer of a
good conscience. When a man is enlightened with regard to what God requires of him, and knows that
he is daily rendering what is so required, he is at peace in himself. This is a peace, as Jesus said, that the
world cannot give: it is usual to add, “and cannot take away,” but Jesus did not say this. It would only be
true in a sense. The world certainly cannot take away the peace that righteousness may give, but it may
take it away by interfering with those conditions from which peace springs. We are in danger from this
interference so long as we are not in the kingdom. Peter speaks of those who, after having “escaped the
pollutions of the world,” are “again entangled therein and overcome.” But while the world in this sense
may take away peace, it cannot give it. “Vanity and vexation of spirit” is a true description of its ultimate
effects on all who yield themselves to its service. The truth can give peace, and in this peace, it can
preserve a man amid all the troubles and turmoils of life: not that he will never know trouble. A
righteous man cannot be in this present evil world without knowing trouble: but there is a trouble that is
outside and a trouble that is inside—as regards causes. Christ’s troubles were great, but they were all
outside: inside, peace was his experience: “My peace” as he called it. So it will be with his brethren.
They may know trouble among men, but in their own hearts towards God, peace reigns.
    But even this peace is a thing of conditions; and it is the conditions we have to watch. When have we
the greatest peace? Is it not when we see the most clearly and believe the most heartily the things
                                                      102
declared to us by the truth? It is the vivid sense of those “things” that imparts peace. When we strongly
remember “that God IS, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”: that Christ rose
from the dead and ever lives to make intercession for us: and that to them that look for him, he will at
last appear for their salvation, we cannot keep experiencing the state of mind we mean by peace. Our
peace is endangered when we allow anything to come between our eyes and a discernment of these
things. When the vision grows dim, peace grows faint. Preserve the vision in its brightness in reading,
prayer, and meditation. Speaking literally, it means the steady recognition of facts. The truth does not
consist of fancies, nor does its discernment come from shouting or smiting the breast, or getting up
excitement. Truth is a quiet thing of which the understanding lays hold. It consists of many elements
which all have their place. The difficulty is to give them that place. It can be done, but not without effort.
It is not by keeping foolish company and reading foolish books, and indulging foolish habits, that wisdom
is to be preserved, but by the reverse of all these. It is by keeping our eyes on facts that we may remain
wise, and by learning to judge between appearances and realities. The present life is but an appearance.
It consists of so many pulsations of the heart, so many rushes of the blood, and then all is over. But for
the time being, it seems a reality, and most people live under the power of this impression.


A True Christadelphian Ecclesia
                                          By bro. Lemuel Edward
                                   The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 168-170
    We republish the following series of scriptural definitions from a pamphlet letter just issued by Bro. J.
T. Edwards, of Lanesville, Va., U.S.A. The definitions are not his but those of his father, bro. Lemuel
Edwards, M.D., who wrote them for private submission to some leading members of the Lanesville
Ecclesia at a certain stage of their troubled experience. They are quoted by the writer of the pamphlet
letter in his account of that experience. Readers will probably be of opinion that they are worthy of
reproduction in the pages of the Christadelphian:—

                                       “A TRUE CHRISTADELPHIAN ECCLESIA.”
   Such an Ecclesia is based exclusively on the Bible and its doctrines of salvation, as enunciated, for
example, in the Apostolic Advocate, Herald of the Future Age, Herald of the Kingdom, and Age to Come,
Elpis Israel, Eureka, and other works published by Dr. John Thomas, and also in the numerous works of
Robert Roberts, of Birmingham, England, and especially in his Periodical called The Christadelphian,
which he has published successively for the last 22 years, and accepted by all true Christadelphians from
Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia to England, Canada, and Texas as the leading organ
of the Christadelphian Ecclesias. In these works may be found the Bible doctrines for the salvation of
man, and among them the necessary and absolutely essential practical doctrines, without which no
Christadelphian Ecclesia can exist.
   Some of these I may appropriately mention as follow:—
   1st. “Love.”
   The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have Love. “This is my commandment, ” says Jesus, “that ye love
one another as I have loved you.” Jno. 15:12; and 14:34–5. “We know that we have passed from death
unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1. Jno. 3:14, –
16. “Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves, for love shall cover the multitude of sins.”
   1. Pet. 4:8. “Above all these things put on love which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:14. Though I
speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass and a


                                                      103
tinkling cymbal. 1. Cor. 13:1. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed
and in truth.’ 1. Jno. 3:18–19.
    It may be objected that we cannot force love, but it should be remembered that love is a spiritual
principle required by the law of Christ, and it should be our pleasure to obey that law. If we cannot do
this we cannot please him.
    2nd. “The Spirit of Christ.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have the Spirit of Christ. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ
he is none of his. * * as many as are led by the Spirit of Christ, they are the Sons of God.” Rom. 8:9–14,
&c. “And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son in to your hearts crying Abba.
Father. “* *” “And if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal. 4:6–7. “The fruit of the spirit is love,
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance against which there is no
law,” Gal. 5:22–23.
    The Spirit of Christ is a gentle Spirit, “when he was reviled he reviled not again, when he suffered he
threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” 1. Peter. 2:23.
    3rd. “A Living Faith.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have a living faith. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also.” Jas. 2:26. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Heb. 11:6. The faith
which pleases God is a faith that works—works by love.” Gal. 5:6.—“purifieth the heart.” Act. 15:9, and
“overcometh the world.” 1. Jno. 5:4. It does not consist in going to church every Sunday and observing
the letter ceremonial of spiritual sacrifices seeming to suffer penance listening to the reading and
expounding the Scriptures for an hour.
    4th. “Works of the Flesh not tolerated.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia, having crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts, does not tolerate,
but sincerely deprecates the works of the flesh as enumerated in Gal. 5:18–21, of which I may
appropriately mention hatred, variance, emulations, strife, envyings, revellings, and such like.” It will be
observed that the Apostle says with great emphasis that “they that do such things shall not inherit the
Kingdom of God.”
    5th. “Fellowship in Christ.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows that “If we say we have fellowship with Christ and walk in
darkness, we lie and do not the truth. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship
with one another.” “And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” 1. John
1. She knows that righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness, no concord with Christ and
Belial, no communion with light and darkness. (2 Cor. 6:14.) She knows she walks in the light by keeping
the commandments of Christ, who says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “Ye are my friends if
ye do whatsoever I command you.” “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say.” “My
mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Christ’s brethren do not
fellowship liars, for “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” and no lie is of the Truth. They “have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” therefore if a man calls another a liar, and still
fellowships him, he is no Christadelphian. The tares and the wheat cannot grow together in Christ. They
can, and do, in the world.
    6th. “A Spiritual House.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia having a living faith is made up of “lively stones built up a spiritual
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” It is the
“Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in it, and if any man defile the Temple of God, him shall
God destroy.”


                                                       104
    Christadelphians are “a people taken out from the Gentiles for the name of the Lord,” knowing that
being “Gentiles in the flesh they are without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” They are,
therefore, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. That they might
show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvellous light.” Their
citizenship or commonwealth (R.V.) is in Heaven, from whence also they wait for a Saviour, the Lord
Jesus Christ.” Therefore, Christadelphians, while subject for the time being, to “the powers that be,” are
not the “sovereign people” themselves, and do not cast their votes for men to represent them in Gentile
governments. The right of franchise is spiritually denied them by virtue of their allegiance to the
commonwealth of Israel.
    7th. “The Bride of Christ.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia is the Bride of Christ, and knows when her Bridegroom comes she must
have on the wedding garment, if she would be presented to Him as a glorious Ecclesia, having no spot,
or wrinkle, or any such thing, but should be holy, and without blemish. The spots and wrinkles can be
obliterated by the righteousness of Christ, who is always our advocate with the Father; provided, we
confess and forsake our sins, and pray earnestly for mercy and forgiveness.
    8th. “Her Work and Purity.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia is engaged in the work of making ready a people prepared for the Lord,
and having a glorious Hope based on great and precious promises, she will purify herself by “purging out
the old leaven of malice and wickedness, and keep the feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and
truth.”
    Her work is not a work of ignorance, idleness and indifference, which says “Christ fellowshipped
Judas,” “Let the tares and wheat grow together,” “Every one must give an account for himself,” “I have
nothing to do with what another says or does,” “Let us have peace,” “You must not judge,” &c.
    And this, the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ the pillar and ground of the Truth, and the Temple of God in
which His Spirit dwells!!
    9th. “Her Warfare.”
    The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows she has a great conflict with foes within and without—the world,
the flesh and the devil—the lusts of the flesh—the lust of the eye, and pride of life; and if she can be the
victor in the warfare, through Christ who strengtheneth her, she will receive an eternity of blessed life
for her reward, and this the gracious gift of God through Christ. She knows the gate is strait and the way
narrow that leads to life, and though there be few who find it, she is not discouraged. She strives to the
end with an honest, sincere, and pure motive, and what she lacks through the weakness of the flesh, her
Redeemer, in whom she trusts, will supply by his all-prevailing righteousness to her unspeakable joy,
and everlasting blessedness.”


The Christadelphian
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 67-68

                         (He is not ashamed to call them brethren.—Heb. 2:11.)
                                               February, 1891
   A correspondent sends us an article cut from the Christian Commonwealth of January 15th, with
mark at a reference to the Christadelphians. The article is entitled, “Why Men Divide.” It does not
expound the subject undertaken. It dogmatises in shallow style, in flowing facile sentences, on a matter

                                                     105
requiring deeper penetration than the article-writer evidently possesses. By “men” he means “followers
of Christ,” and he thinks they divide because they do not see the advantage of union. At all events, that
is what he says. It is a self-evident mistake. No man need go further than his own experience for its
confutation. The Christadelphians do not stand off from the general body owning the Christian name
from any idea that division is better than union. Speaking for ourselves, we mournfully submit to it as a
necessity. Union with the great through would be a present advantage in every sense and way. But it is
not a possibility with any man having discernment of what the Spirit teaches and faithfulness to what it
requires. There is such a thing as “the truth” whether the common run of men know it or not. There is
such a thing is “coming out from among” and “having no fellowship with” the indifference and error and
evil that prevail, however many may have become insensible to the obligation. It is the recognition of
these that lead to division, and not any insensibility to the advantage of union. The many are indifferent:
a few are faithful. Hence the fermentation. It was Christ’s understanding of men and his foresight of the
working of things among them, that led him to say, “From henceforth there shall be division.” The result
is inevitable in an evil world, so long as there is any faithfulness left.
    The article writer, arguing in favour of union, says, “. . Christadelphians attracted considerable
attention while they were united in their pertinacity: but as soon as they were numerous enough to
seem worth counting, schism began, and since that process set in, nothing they have said or done has
excited even languid interest.” There is more than one false implication in this sentence.
    1. It insinuates that withdrawal from errorists is an evil thing.—This is a fashionable sentiment, but it
is not in accord with the mind of Christ, as expressed through the apostles. Love and union are beautiful.
They are the most exquisite manifestations of intelligent life possible upon earth, and the earth will yet
see their universal triumph when the purpose of God is finished. But meanwhile, there are other duties.
The loving John, quoted by the writer, says concerning those who “bring not the doctrine of Christ,” that
the faithful are to “Receive them not into their house,” and Jesus, in his message through this same
John, commends one ecclesia for acting on this discrimination, and condemns another for not acting on
it. To Ephesus he says, “Thou canst not bear them that are evil, but have tried them that say they are
apostles, and hast found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). To Thyatira he says, “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel,
who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants, &c.” Schism is the result of acting out
these principles, and is a good thing if intelligently and faithfully done. It is a painful and apparently
unfriendly process: but there is no choice with those who would be friendly to GOD first. It is one of the
bitternesses of the situation that men holding fast by the faith originally delivered should be taunted
with the eccentricities of men who were in native darkness a while back, and who, after being honoured
by introduction to the light, only used their position to obscure it with their superficialities and worldly
affinities.
    2. It implies that apart from the divisions which the fermentations of error have produced among us,
the truth attracted public notice, and that its success is to be measured by the fact and extent of this
notice. On both points, we join issue. The truth never has received a public hearing. It has been an
obscure and weak thing from the beginning. From its nature it cannot become popular, because it runs
counter to human feeling in so many practical ways not seen at first. Its true friends know this, and they
are not working to obtain public success or even public notice. They are simply carrying out orders.
Christ calls for the exhibition of the light, and they exhibit it. Their operations in this respect are
necessarily misunderstood by the public which judges from its own motives, and cannot judge in any
other way. The Christadelphians cannot fail, because they are not aiming at what is humanly
considered—“success.” They are simply engaged in doing their duty in the faith of a stupendous world-
stunning success which is impending, and which depends on no human effort. Christ will shortly show
himself on the earth, and put his hand to the work in a way that will startle so-called “Christian”
mankind. True Christadelphians plod away with this in view. For this reason, they cannot be quenched
by scorn or crushed by failures of any kind. The very last thing they desire is the attention and patronage
                                                      106
of the “public,” which looms so large in all ordinary enterprises. Nothing is so dangerous to the truth as
“respectability,” because the truth is a matter of God’s importance, while respectability is an affair of
man’s importance. The two cannot work well together.
    3. It infers that the truth is less effective now than it has been in unspecified previous times. This is
contrary to fact. It is of course a matter difficult to bring to a definite test, but so far as tests can be
applied, the result is not in favour of the writer’s suggestion. If some have seceded from us, many have
come to us, and the process is steadily going on from month to month without any diminution in the
rate of increase. The popular maxim “There are as good fish in the sea as were ever caught,” applies to
the sea of human life as well as to the ocean.
    The well-known maxim is also applicable, “No man is essential.” The truth is a thing of peerless
excellence and power: and if some throw it up, their place is soon taken by others who have eyes and
hearts; while others again, with intellect enlightened and a-fire, “hold on to the end” with a grip of iron.
This process is quietly going on all the world over, while the Athenian newspaper gossips have dismissed
“even the languid interest” which the misunderstood operations of the truth at first inspired in their
somnolent bosoms. The work is in fact better at the end than at the beginning: for, with some
exceptions both ways, the later crop of believers is of a higher moral and intellectual type than those
who assented to the truth in the days of its first emergence from the dust.
    Much, of course, depends upon the individual point of view as to how these things appear: but the
facts, taken broadly, justify these rejoinders to the smooth-tongued article in question, which can only
weigh with those who are captivated by appearances.


Cross Currents in Ecclesial Waters
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1898, p. 126-130
                                        I.—PLEA FOR UNSOUND UNION
    Before I left Birmingham, I said to brother Walker, “When I am gone there will be proposals for re-
union, I have no doubt, with those who went out from us on inspiration. It is a question on which there
can be no compromise. You will know how to deal with it.” I had not been many weeks landed in
Australia, when a pamphlet was sent out to me which someone had put into circulation, entitled “A plea
for unity.” The subject calls for the following remarks:—
    Unity is a beautiful and desirable thing, but it has conditions that cannot be forced, and it requires no
pleas. Where it exists, it asserts itself like a law of nature. Union may require its pleas; it is union the
well-meaning brother means. He has used the wrong word.
    Disunion exists because of the want of unity (oneness of mind). The author of the pamphlet would
have the disunity ignored, and the union brought about in spite of it.
    Union has advantages. There has been much talk of late years of “the re-union of Christendom.” The
scheme is favoured by many who would sacrifice oneness of faith (or indeed faith of any kind) for the
sake of seeing all sects fused into one church. It was supposed that the Pope himself was in favour of the
scheme; so he was, provided all accepted the Roman Catholic faith, in which, so far as theory was
concerned, he was more consistent than the rest.
    Among ourselves, there was a similar movement twenty years ago. Records of it will be found on
page 538 of the Christadelphian for 1877—under the heading “Proposal for Re-union.” In that case, the
cause of disunion was disunity of mind on the subject of the nature and sacrifice of Christ. The remarks
made then are applicable at the present time, when the particular disunion existing is due to disunity of
mind on the more serious question of the character of the Holy Scriptures. We remarked then as
follows: “Union and peace are results springing from preceding conditions” . . Those from whom
                                                        107
separation took place “would rejoice to accept the restoration of fellowship if it were offered on the
basis of truth accepted and error discarded: but they cannot accept it on the basis of a form of
agreement which would cover up and compromise the real issue. . . To ‘let bygones be bygones’ is a
reasonable proposal when the ‘bygones’ are of such a nature as to be sorrowed for and repudiated: but
those to whom a return is proposed have no bygones to repent of so far as their course in this particular
matter is concerned. They acted with a good conscience before God, with sorrow they were compelled
to act, but seeing no alternative: and they are in the mind to act so again if necessity call for it—which
God forbid. Their position now is the position they occupied then. If the issuers of this pamphlet desire
to take part in this position as the result of a conviction that they have been seduced into a wrong
position, those to whom they wish to return will gladly welcome their fellowship in it. But let there be
no misunderstanding. There can be no union without unity.”
    These remarks, just twenty years old, are strictly applicable to the present case. Agreement as to the
wholly inspired and infallible character of the Scriptures is the very first condition of association on the
basis of belief of what they teach. This agreement was broken by the promulgation of a theory to the
effect that the Scriptures were partly human and erring. There were those who accepted this theory and
those who could not, and there were those who were disposed to make it a matter of indifference.
Cleavage was the inevitable result of such a situation.
    The author or authors of the present “plea for unity” are not the only persons “saddened” by the
“divisions and estrangements that have taken place,” but union without unity is not the remedy for the
sadness. And union with unity will never be a general thing till the Lord is here. He said there would be
division even in families about him. And it has been so; and it is not going to stop till he end it.
    The only practicable rule of operation at present is fellowship on the basis of oneness of mind. It is a
rule fraught with embarrassment and pain, but it is not of human appointment and cannot be set aside
where faithfulness to the word of God is not extinct. To confound this rule with the Corinthian schisms
that gloried in particular men after the flesh, is a serious mistake. The “plea” shows some heat against
those who are described as “every assumed leader amongst us.” I suppose I am intended as one of
those, and as such, I am to be “repudiated once and for ever.” There is either misunderstanding or
malice here. I am no “leader” except as a man’s individual actions may influence others. I have always
repudiated the imputation of leadership. I but do my own part on the basis of individual right. I claim no
authority. I dictate to no man. I only act out my individual convictions, and advocate my individual views.
Which of the demurring brethren do not do the same thing? Why should they find fault with me for
doing what they do? If others are influenced by what I do or say, is this wrong? Is it not what the critics
are aiming to do? An enlightened man would refuse to be responsible for such an unreasonable
criticism.
    If the remark is inspired by the malice of envy or the pain of being opposed, it cannot be reasoned
with, and must be left. It is not the first time in the history of the work of God that accusations of taking
too much upon them have been brought against those whose only crime has been unsought for
prominence and influence in the carrying out of a faithful course.
    These and other hostile allusions are in contradiction to the recommendation of the pamphlet to
abstain from “any allusions of ill-will to any living brother,” and from all references to the occurrences of
the past. Also, there is a want of correspondence between the timid anonymousness of the pamphlet
and the appeal to heroic courage of “the three Hebrew children” in carrying out the course
recommended—viz., the appointment of “delegates” to meet and “finally settle the differences which
exist.”
    This proposal stamps the author as either a neophyte or else as a man lacking experience of the ways
of men as they are in fact, and not as seen through the distorting medium of newspaper columns.
“Delegates” have no power to settle matters of faith, conviction, or duty. You may give them power to

                                                      108
engage a hall or enter upon a printing contract, or any other secular matter in which you covenant
beforehand to be bound by their decision. You cannot delegate the decision of spiritual issues. This is
wholly a matter of individual responsibility in which no man can bind or absolve another. When you
appoint “delegates” to settle questions of duty, you abdicate individual conscience and set up a spiritual
tyranny akin to the “councils” which have already for ages desolated the world. The only practicable
method of work in an age when God has chosen to be silent is for each man to judge for himself and as
many as are of one mind to work together. The proposal to “appoint delegates with full powers to act,”
and that “their decision for unity shall be final,” is the proposal of a man who may want peace (which is
a good thing on the right foundation), but who does not understand what he is proposing. Unity is
oneness of mind. The idea of delegates deciding that other people shall be of one mind is on a par with
the idea of an Act of Parliament to settle the weather. If he says, “Oh, no; we mean oneness of
association, and not oneness of mind,” then he is inviting us to ignore oneness of mind as the Scriptural
basis of oneness of association to which there can be but one answer. If oneness of mind be not the
condition-precedent of oneness of association, then let us return to the churches and chapels with all
speed. Why stand apart from the orthodox communions, with their many advantageous connections
and associations, for the sake of a spiritual fad, if the one faith is not essential to the one body?
    Twenty-one years ago, in the Christadelphian for 1877, I had to withstand an esteemed relative in
words which I cannot do better that repeat, as entirely suitable to the present connection:—It is a thing
apostolically enjoined, a thing commended by the highest reason (to contend earnestly for the faith in
its integrity, and to stand aside from all who corrupt it). It is a thing, the absence of which in the first
century, led to wholesale corruption, and would in our day have already destroyed the distinctive
features of the truth. In the arduous battle for the truth, it is a thing beset with many difficulties, and a
true friend of the spiritual order would not increase those difficulties by protesting against it, but would
rather abet and encourage every tendency in the direction of faithfulness in this gloomy and unfriendly
age. Then there is the proposition that “Christadelphianism is not a finality.” If this were our opinion, we
should be found altogether elsewhere. We would not sacrifice present respectability and present ease
for the sake of a thing admitting of uncertainty and requiring further “enquiry.” In this point we totally
differ from all our critics. We are certain we have attained to the truth, we are positive, we have no
doubt. The truth is not with us an object of search, or a subject of investigation, it is a possession and a
finality, and this confidence is not a matter of assumption or an idiosyncrasy. It is founded on a lifetime’s
incessant daily reading of the Scriptures. The critics may call this “infallibility,” but it is nothing more
than reasonable confidence. A man does not require to be infallible in order to be certain that he sees
the sun. Then the critics condemn confidence as to the teaching of the Word. They either mean that we
never can reach to the full assurance of faith, or that their view of the case and not their neighbour’s is
the infallible one. If the former be their meaning, they convict themselves of belonging to the class
condemned in the Scriptures, who are “ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the
truth.” If the latter, it is a choice of infallibilities, and we do not hesitate to reject theirs.
    “Progress” is a pretty word, and “stemming the current of progress” a dreadful crime, of course; but
there is progress two ways, and we cannot accept the guidance of the critics as to when the progress is
backwards and when forwards. The backward progress of things in the first century was pushed forward
with “good words and fair speeches, which deceived the hearts of the simple.” We are one with those
who hold the truth as a finality, who do not require to “lay again the foundations”; but who, strong in
faith and filled with all wisdom, are engaged in the work, not of discussing the truth, but advocating it
for the development of a people who shall be found in all assurance of faith, looking and preparing for
the second appearing of the Son of Man in power and great glory.
    Paul commands the brethren to “all speak the same thing,” and to be “perfectly joined together in
the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). How strangely, by the side of this, does the
statement of this pamphlet read: That “certain differences of opinion are necessary to progress,” and
                                                      109
that these differences are to be “appreciated rather than otherwise.” What can we do but hold by Paul
and reject the pamphlet. We can understand the sentiment of the pamphlet as applied to matters of
science where knowledge comes from investigation, and investigation is stimulated by conflicting
theory; but it is incomprehensible in reference to the faith of Christ except on the hypothesis already
rebutted—that this is a matter of uncertainty. The advocacy of “differences of opinion” as a matter of
advantage among brethren will please well a certain class; but it will not find any favour among true
saints who have come, and are helping others to “come unto the unity of the faith and of the knowledge
of the Son of God . . . being henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to
deceive.” In fact this principle of unity, as opposed to “differences of opinion,” distinguishes the true
brethren of Christ from mere opinionists, who have a smattering of the truth; but who, though “ever
learning,” are never able to come to a knowledge of it.
    To the charge of holding “that the knowledge of Scripture, in the writings of Dr. Thomas, has reached
a finality,” we plead guilty. If we were ignorant or unfamiliar with the Scriptures, or were like those who
when they attempt to write or speak, have to look at them through the telescope of dictionaries,
concordances, and such like, we should not have ground sufficient to entertain this conviction; but our
acquaintance with them in daily intercourse for a lifetime enables us to be confident on the point. Our
reading has not been confined to the Scriptures, or to the writings of Dr. Thomas. We have read what
others have to say in many realms of human thought. We have, therefore, all the materials to form a
judgment; and our judgment is distinctly to the effect imputed—that, in the writings of Dr. Thomas, the
truth is developed as a finality, and that they are a depot of the Christian doctrine. In this sense we are
“committed to Dr. Thomas.” Dr. Thomas has been laid aside in the grave for a season; and so long as
God permits life and health, we shall defend the mighty results of his labours against all ridicule and
opposition from friend or foe. Were he in the land of the living, some who are in hostility would be in a
different attitude towards him. When he reappears, they will be ashamed. Meanwhile, God, who used
him in the doing of His work, lives to note the gap made by his death, and the results which were not
unforeseen to Him. In His sight, and with His help, we shall hold fast to the truth brought to light by his
means; and, please God, will rejoice with him at the near-impending realisation of all the hopes of the
saints, in the day when the bitterness of present warfare will only add sweetness to the hour of triumph.
We shall try and endure the odium which calls this a dictatorial spirit. The clear perception, strong
choice, and resolute defence of that which is true and good is not the offspring of dictation;
nevertheless, if enemies or friends choose to consider it so, we must heed them not. It is this spirit that
enables a man to say at last, “I have fought a good fight: I have kept the faith.”
    We recognise in sorrow and compassion, the painful position of all men who love the good things
revealed in the Scriptures, and incline to pursue the course that is right, and yet find themselves in a
strait between their desire to live peaceably with all men, and their resolution to walk in faithfulness to
the Gospel to which they have been called. We have from the beginning suffered from this agonising
embarrassment, and can sympathise with all who suffer in the same way. This sympathy takes off the
edge of the resentment we should feel at the odiums cast upon us by many who love peace and
misunderstand our attitude. At the same time, it cannot relax enlightened determination to persevere in
the policy of the past. Dr. Thomas recommended that policy, and we have found it the only practicable
one; to give the truth the benefit of all doubts, and to accept such co-operations only as
uncompromising loyalty to it might allow. There are, of course, extremes in the application of this
principle to which Dr. Thomas himself did not go, and to which we cannot lend ourselves—(where
unrevealed details admit of variety in opinion). But as regards the great general truths involved in “the
things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,” there is no tenable ground
between returning to the churches, or restricting our ecclesial associations to those who yield an
unqualified assent to these elements of truth. First among these elements of truth is the character of

                                                     110
the Bible as the product of divine and unerring inspiration. No “pleas” for union can be listened to which
in any degree leaves this an open question.
                                     II.—PLEA FOR UNCALLED-FOR DISUNION
     But, in addition to the pamphlet pleading for unsound union, the mail steamer has brought another
pamphlet, which may be styled a plea for uncalled for disunion. We have nothing but respect for the
motives of those who issue it, but we cannot join in their judgment of what should be done in the case
of brethren who admit the light of knowledge as the ground of responsibility, but are not clear as to the
amount of light necessary to create this responsibility. These brethren say “Withdraw,” and not only so,
but “insist upon it, that all in fellowship should withdraw from all in a like uncertainty.” And they express
their surprise that brother Roberts should hesitate. Well, we always have hesitated as past pages of the
Christadelphian testify, and the reasons that were good in the past are good now. There is no need for
the suggestion that we are careful for numbers, and are prepared to deal unfaithfully by the truth for
the sake of pleasing men. None who know us intimately could harbour such a suspicion. It is a question
of judgment, not of bias; and if we cannot go to the extremes for which some are contending, it is for
reasons that have weight, and not from a motive which is only surmised, and which we declare does not
exist. If we sought numbers, it would not be in the unpopular channel of the truth we should seek them.
     “But,” say they, “you have gone to extremes in other controversies that have arisen; why do you
refuse now? How are the mighty fallen!” We have to say that when vital principles are at stake, no
earnest man can hesitate in his choice between peace and war. War, in that extreme case, is forced
upon him. But he requires to be sure that vital principles are at stake. War is too dreadful a thing to be
entered upon for a doubtful cause. When it was proposed, thirty-two years ago, to make the Bible
doctrine of immortality an affair of indifference in fellowship; and afterwards, thirty years ago, that the
office of Christ as judge at his coming should be similarly dealt with; and afterwards, that the meaning of
the death of Christ as a sacrifice, and his nature should be held in doubt; and afterwards, that the
estimate in which we are to hold the Scriptures should be an open question; the issues were such as go
to the very foundation of the system of the truth. There was no alternative for faithful men but
separation from all who refused to make an unambiguous stand on behalf of the right.
     But in the present case, it is not a principle that is at stake, but a question as to the detached
application of a principle. The principle is that light brings responsibility. This principle is admitted in the
cases in question: but there is a lack of agreement as to how this principle will work out in an age like
our own when the light burns so low. Some prompt minds dispose of the point by saying, “Knowledge
that is equal to saving men is equal to condemning them.” This does not dispose of it. All will agree that
the knowledge in a man which is sufficient to make him wise unto salvation, is sufficient to bring that
same man into condemnation at the resurrection if he refuse submission to the commandments of God.
But the question is—not as to that same man, but other men, of whom no man can say they are
sufficiently illuminated to become the subjects of saving faith, or sufficiently acquainted with the
evidence of the truth as to be resurrectionally responsible for rejecting it. This is a question which it is
not in any man’s power to settle. Who can tell where the light shines sufficiently to make a man
responsible? For ourselves, we confess our entire inability to settle such a question. It would require
that power of “discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart” which God alone possesses. If we
cannot settle such a question, why should we insist upon a man assenting to some particular definition
of it before we will receive him as a brother? and, still worse, insist upon his disowning all others who
will not do likewise? “Purity of fellowship” is a laudable cry, but it requires to be carried out with the
discriminations of wisdom. A brother on the plea of “purity” once called upon me to subscribe to a
particular date for the ending of the 1260 years of Daniel and John as a condition of fellowship, and
some other similarly outrageous demands in matters of detail. The present contention is not so absurd
as that: still, the case shows that “purity of fellowship” may be carried too far, and that as a watch word
it is in itself too vague unless it is supported by justifiable applications in detail.
                                                       111
    The great principle underlying this controversy, is the fate of rebels and unbelievers. If there was a
class of men, contending (as some religionists in the world contend) that rebels and unbelievers will be
saved at last, there would be a principle at stake, to which all true men would rally without a moment’s
hesitation. But seeing that all concerned in this controversy recognise that the fate of such is to be
“punished with everlasting destruction,” and that those only who please God by faith and obedience will
be the recipients of His favour in Christ in the ages to come, it does not seem wise or called for (or
indeed permissible as an act of righteousness in the sight of God) that we should discard those who are
not clear as to the amount of punishment to be meted out to a particular class among such.
    We are not referring to those who have embraced the new theory—that God will not and cannot
punish rebels unless they have first made a preliminary submission in the act of baptism. Those who
have embraced this theory have withdrawn from all who have not, and, therefore, they are not in the
question. They have settled the question for us as far as they are concerned. The question relates to
those who have not embraced that monstrous view of God’s moral procedure, and who repudiate it, but
who are not clear on the application of the law of responsibility in modern circumstances. The idea of
withdrawing from such appears to us an outrage on reason. We recommend the worthy brethren who
are proposing it to pause in their maintenance of a position which they may afterwards have to regret.
We do not question their motive. We remind them that even Moses did not presume to deal with
doubtful cases until the mind of the Lord was shown (Lev. 24:12; Num. 15:32–36). We cannot get the
mind of the Lord in this way in our age, and must remain in doubt. Doubt may well suggest itself to them
if they realise that their position involves the rejection of men who believe the Gospel, and have been
baptized, and are walking in obedience to the commandments of the Lord in love, mercy, and faith.
Abraham’s faith was counted for righteousness; and Paul says it will be so with us (Rom. 4:22–24). But
the doctrine of the pamphlet would say, “No, not if there is any haze as to how God will deal with a
particular class of the rejectors of faith.”
    The pamphlet puts forward brother Welch as ostensible author, “with an appendix” by others. This is
not in all points the correct form. The pamphlet originates in Scotland, with some who were displeased
that we could not join in their extreme courses. They have looked round for support elsewhere, and,
finding Dr. Welch answerable to their views, have used him in a way that we cannot but think, with a full
knowledge of men, he would not have taken if left to himself. In literary essence, it is Dr. Welch that is
the appendix, and the issuers of the pamphlet the true authors. We should be pleased to step with all
the authors of the pamphlet, believing them to be well-meaning men. But, in this matter, we cannot;
and if they must throw us overboard, we cannot pretend not to be deeply grieved. But we must bear it.
We can only fall back upon the alternate comfort, open to all, in all embarrassments, that the Lord
himself will presently end all doubtful disputations, and deal with every man according as he has
faithfully walked before him.
                                             + III.—PLEA FOR APOSTASY
    There is still another pamphlet, by a man who walked with us years ago, but has now become an
open antagonist to the Christadelphians. This is a colonial production, “by George Cornish,” who, it
appears, has returned to England. He is the man who holds that Christ died “because he was killed,” and
not because it was necessary. The effort now is against the Gospel of the Kingdom. The title of the
pamphlet is The Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and the False Gospels of this age compared—a promising
title which falls to ashes of Sodom in the reading. The pamphlet is mere verbal fence—words thrown
about with the adroitness of a juggler, without that broad and sensible grasp that is essential to what
Paul calls the right division of the word of truth. Its object is to establish the contention that Christ now
reigns, and that “the Church” is his kingdom. This strife of tongues will continue until the Lord end it
with his strong arm. Meanwhile, faithful men are not to be discouraged by the endless din. They will
continue in quietness and patience to handle the verities of the oracles of God for the enlightenment
and comfort of the few who sincerely wait upon Him in the midst of the confusion. Those of like mind
                                                      112
will co-operate; those, from any cause otherwise-minded, will oppose and rail; and the Lord at last will
tell us what he thinks of it all.—EDITOR.


Our Duty Towards Error and Errorists
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 65-66
    It may smack of assumption to talk of such a duty: but the duty exists, however offensive it may be to
the social proclivities of some and the personal dignities of others. If there is such a thing as truth, there
must be such a thing as error. Is there such a thing as truth? We speak as to those who have made up
their minds. If some say, “certainly there is such a thing as truth, but it is the height of arrogance to
profess to have found it,” we can only remember that truth not found is of no use to us: and that if men
have not found the truth, they are in darkness, and are no guide for those who are in the light. If men
have found the truth, they are in the light, and only walk honestly as they walk in the light. If men have
found the truth, it is no arrogance to own up to the fact, and to go further and defend it, and act in
harmony with the obligations it creates.
    The obligations are often far from agreeable, and they are always opposed to a man’s temporal
interests. What then? If we would please Christ, we have no choice: and if we please not Christ, we can
have no object in hampering ourselves with its obligations at all. Christ’s last communication to his
friends reveals his mind in the matter in a manner that precludes misconception. His messages to the
seven Asiatic ecclesias through John, in Patmos, almost all of them insist in some form or other on the
duty of scrupulosity with regard to error and errorists. Ephesus was commended because “thou canst
not bear them that are evil and hast tried them that say they are apostles and are not, and hast found
them liars.” “Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes.” To Smyrna: “I know the blasphemy of them
that say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.” Pergamos was found fault with, because “Thou hast
there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. . . . So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the
Nicolaitanes.” Thyatira was found fault with because “Thou sufferest that woman, Jezebel, who calleth
herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants.” So the others were found fault with for laxity
and lukewarmness.
    Error changes its form from age to age, but the dutiful attitude remains the same—the duty of
individual repudiation and non-toleration in fellowship. We may not in the 19th century have those
particular questions to trouble us that agitated the first; but we have the same duty to perform towards
the errors that may belong to our time. It is a distasteful duty and in every way an inconvenient one. For
this reason, many with whom the apprehension of divine obligations may be weak, or susceptibility to
human considerations may be strong, are liable to swerve and sacrifice truth and duty to friendship.
Their amiability may lead us to sympathise with them in a sentimental sense: but their attitude is none
the less of practical unfaithfulness, and to be sorrowfully refused (on their account), by true friends of
Christ.
    The peculiar crime of the present age of Christian profession is that of dishonouring the scriptures.
All classes lend themselves to it in one way or other. Either they neglect them while acknowledging
them as the words of God, or they completely nullify them by beliefs and traditions subversive of all
their teachings, or they say they are not sure they are the words of God, and that there is a good deal of
the word of God in other books as well; or that there is a good deal of the word of man in the so-called
word of God, and that the extent and effect of inspiration is an entirely open question; or that, in fact,
the Bible is but an interesting and antique form of the word of pious men, disfigured by the weakness
and errors characteristic of the writings of all, and only to be considered the word of God in so far as it


                                                      113
may coincide with truth; or that it has no claim to be considered the word of God at all, but is a lying
invention of priests and parsons in by-gone days of darkness.
    Can we imagine Christ, who addressed the seven Asiatic ecclesias, in reprobation of false doctrine
and commendation of the true, regarding any of these forms of treachery with anything but
detestation? Can we imagine him looking with favour upon any toleration by his friends to any form of
it? Whatever others may think, we have not so learnt Christ. Charity is charity, but does not require us
to submit to the corruption of the truth. The abomination has been introduced among believers of the
present day. While some of us would have none of it, others have parleyed with it, and blown with
trumpets of very uncertain sound. Others have bewildered themselves for want of clear perception of
the bearings of things. “Wisdom would teach us,” say some, “not to import your troubles here. We have
sought to exclude the element of Brothers Roberts, Ashcroft, or Chamberlin.” My pleasant friend, it is
not “our trouble” in any personal sense. It is the trouble of God’s friends everywhere. You cannot keep it
away if you are faithful. The question has nothing to do with person or place. Places will change and
persons will die, but truth and duty are the same for ever. It is a lying tradition that makes it a personal
question of ours. The day will come when those who circulate such a falsehood will have to answer for
it. There is no personal question at issue or personal motive involved on our side. We never had a word
or a thought of difference with Brother Ashcroft till he launched the Bible-nullifying theory of partial
inspiration among the brethren. On the contrary, our relations were those of the tenderest friendship. If
this was changed, it was not our act. We were forced into a corner by the acts of others. We had to
choose between persons and principles; and in this there could really be no choice. The truth of God at
all hazards is the only course open to men with open eyes. It is your course as well as ours; and it
extends to fellowship as well as the personal reception of the truth, else the words of Christ mean
nothing. You believe the right thing yourself, but you receive another who is in fellowship with those
everywhere who believe the wrong and are leagued in opposition to the right. In this you take part with
the wrong. It would be pleasant if we were at liberty to make personal goodwill the rule of fellowship;
but no man can act on this principle who accepts the apostolic writings as a rule of conduct. It is one of
the preparatory disciplines to which the wisdom of God subjects the heirs of the Kingdom, that they be
faithful to His word in the relations of the present evil state; and however distasteful to flesh and blood
are the embarrassments which this rule creates, faithful men have no choice but to submit with as much
sweetness as they can bring to a disagreeable duty.


Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia, No. 79
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1876, p. 549-553
                                      “Exhort one another daily.”—PAUL.

   OUR attention has been called this morning to the remarkable exhortation of Paul to the Hebrews, in
the 13th chapter of his epistle to them, verse 13: “Let us go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp,
bearing his reproach.” This exhortation had a meaning for those to whom Paul was writing which it
cannot have for us. They were Jews who, like himself, had been brought up in subjection to the Mosaic
institutions in all particulars, and whose acceptance of Christ brought upon them excommunication from
the synagogue, and all the reproach connected with an apparent apostacy from a divine institution, and
an acceptance of what was accounted a cunningly devised and magically supported imposture. Their
steadfastness was put under a powerful strain in having to accept an apparent dissociation with Moses,
by whom all were agreed God had spoken; and in having to associate with one who had the reputation

                                                     114
of being a destroyer of the law of Moses, and whose undoubted end as a crucified companion of felons,
brought him under the curse of the law of Moses.
    It was true comfort that Paul administered to them, when he said to the Romans that his doctrine of
Christ, so far from “making void” the law, “established” it. It was similar consolation for them to be told
that Christ had said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not come to
destroy but to fulfil.” Writing directly to themselves, Paul had told them that the law, though divine, was
but “a figure for the time then present,” pointing forward to Christ, in whom all its hidden significances
had an end. This was his declaration on the subject as a whole. In the exhortation under consideration,
he makes a particular application of it in a matter of detail. He reminds them that “the bodies of those
beasts whose blood was brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, were burned without the
camp,” involving the recollection that anyone availing himself of the ceremonial purification connected
with the use of the ashes of the beast, had to go out of the camp to get at them: a typical foreshadowing
of the fact that when the real purification from sin was provided, Israelites would have to go outside the
national camp to obtain the benefit. In harmony with the figure, Christ “suffered without the gate,” in
being proscribed by the national authorities, and in being crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem. From
this it was easy and natural to extract the farther figuration, by which the position of Jesus at the time of
his crucifixion is made to represent the excommunicated and despised position of those of Israel who
afterwards believed on his name. It was a natural climax to say “Let us go forth, therefore, to him
without the camp, bearing his reproach.”
    We cannot apply this to ourselves in a direct manner this morning. We are not Jews, who in
accepting Christ, have had to turn our backs upon what is called Judaism, and to go forth with courage
to brave the reproach of those remaining in the camp. Nevertheless, there is a sense in which we are
called upon to submit to such an ordeal. We have had to go forth from a certain camp, bearing the
reproach of Christ, and dating historically back to the work of the apostles in the first century. We have
left that camp, with all the attractions that belong to a popular establishment. We cannot assemble with
the respectable crowds that fill the commodious religious edifices that abound in every town. We
cannot take part in their opulent arrangements, or join their imposing and comfortable services. We
have chosen to step out of the flourishing throng; to desert the attractive festivals of popular faith; to
stand aloof from the profitable associations of “the names and denominations of religion.” We have
accepted the obscurity and the dishonour of hole-and-corner meetings with the poor and illiterate. It
has been a hard resolution to take, not only because of the temporal disadvantages of our decision—not
only because of the sacrifice of present gratifications of society, and the acceptance of present
mortifications to the natural man and the spiritual too, but because the system of religion around us
accepts Christ by profession. If these systems said “We reject Christ,” our course would have been much
easier; instead of that, they profess his name, and proclaim themselves his servants. It has in
consequence been a great exercise of mind for us to consider whether we are justified in having a
system professedly subject to Christ, and taking a step which by implication passes condemnation on
them as an unchristian thing. But we have not faltered when all the facts were fully before us for
decision.
    We have learnt that the true “house of God, which is the church of the living God; is the pillar and
ground of THE TRUTH” (1 Tim 3:15); and that men and systems may say, “Lord, Lord,” and may even claim
to have done wonderful things in his name, and yet have no claim to his recognition at his coming, by
reason of their non-submission to his requirements. Consequently, we have asked—Is the religious
system under which we were born “the pillar and ground of the truth?” A pillar supports, holds up: does
the religious system support, hold up, the truth? “Ground,” gives a resting place, a basis, a foundation:
does the religious system act as a foundation, a resting place for “the truth?” We have been able to
answer this with an emphatic negative when we have come to know what “the truth” is.


                                                      115
    This phrase “the truth” is a very comprehensive phrase. “The truth” we find to be made up of many
things which require to be put together before we can have the whole thing so defined. For instance, it
is true that God exists; but to believe that God exists is not to believe the comprehensive thing meant by
“the truth.” The Jews believed in God’s existence: and yet Paul had “continual sorrow of heart” because
they were not in the way of salvation. The truth is not only the fact that God exists, but that He has said
and done certain things and given to us certain commandments. It is part of the truth that Christ was
crucified: but to believe this of itself is not to believe the truth. Jews and infidels believe that Christ was
crucified, but reject the truth of which that is an element. It is part of the truth that Christ rose from the
dead and appeared to his disciples; but if these facts are disconnected from his ascension and the
promise of his return to raise the dead and establish his kingdom, the belief of them does not constitute
a belief of “the truth.” So with every element of “the truth” by turns: they must all have their place in
relation to the rest, or we fail to receive and hold the truth.
    Now, when we try the system around us by this test, we find it is the very opposite of being “the
pillar and ground of the truth.” It lacks, yea rejects, the very first principles of the oracles of God. It
teaches a triune instead of a one God; it asserts man to be immortal instead of mortal: it declares
torment instead of death the wages of sin: it preaches the death of Christ as a “substitutionary”
satisfaction of the divine law, instead of a declaration of the righteousness of God (Rom. 3:25) in the
condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3), as a basis on which the forbearance of God offers the
forgiveness of all who recognise themselves “crucified with Christ”—(Rom. 3:25; Gal. 2:20). It proclaims
death instead of resurrection the climax of the believer’s hope; it preaches heaven instead of earth as
the inheritance of the meek. It affirms our going instead of Christ’s coming as the means and occasion of
the promised reward. And so forth. The dissimilarities might be enumerated in other points. Instead of
being “the pillar and ground of the truth,” the religious system around us is the puller-down and
scatterer of the truth. How, then, could we hesitate to “come out from among them?” It is part of
apostolic doctrine that we are not to be identified with any who bring not the doctrine of Christ,
whatever their profession (2 Jno. 10; Rev. 14:9; Rom. 16:17). Consequently we could not remain in
popular fellowship without the danger of being responsible for their errors. This is the explanation of
our position this morning in having gone forth out of the popular camp, unto Christ, bearing the
reproach incident in our professedly Christian day to a profession of his truth.
    It is well also to recognise the fact that the principle which isolates us from popular communion
isolates us also from the fellowship of all who reject any part of the truth. Some accept the truth in part,
but are either unable or unwilling to receive it in its entirety. They believe in the kingdom but reject the
Bible doctrine of death; or they hold the mortal nature of man but do not receive the restoration of the
kingdom again to Israel; or they accept both, but deny the judgment; or believe in the judgment, but
deny the kingdom; or accept all three but reject the apostolic doctrine of Christ’s nature and death, and
so on. Such persons are generally what is called very “charitable;” that is, they are willing to connive at
any amount of doctrinal diversity so long as friendliness is maintained. They are lovers of peace. Peace is
certainly very desirable when it can be had on a pure foundation: but the charitable people referred to
are not particular about the foundation. They will compromise the truth in some one or other of its
integral elements for the sake of personal harmony. This is a spurious charity altogether. We are not at
liberty to relax the appointments of God. The exercise of “charity” must be confined to our own affairs.
We have no jurisdiction in God’s matters. What God requires is binding on us all: and the faithful man
cannot consent to accept any union that requires a jot or tittle to be set aside or treated as unimportant.
Such a man cannot consent to form a part of any community that is not “the pillar and ground of the
truth.”
    There is just another side to this question which cannot be too well remembered, and that is that the
possession of the truth in its entirety does not necessarily ensure acceptance with Christ at his coming.
The Scriptures speak of “those who hold the truth IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, ” and declares that the end of
                                                       116
such will be “indignation, anguish and wrath.” Consequently, no one should rest on the knowledge and
belief of the truth as securing his salvation without failure. That knowledge is of great value to him. In
the obedience of it (in baptism) it brings him into relation with Christ, who is the righteousness of God;
invested with whose name he stands a forgiven man, “purged from his old sins.” But he has a life to live
after that, and Christ shall judge that life at his coming; and it will all depend upon his estimate of that
life as to how he will deal with the person. He will give to every man “according to his works.” In the
case of some, he will “blot their name out of the book of life.” He will take away their part out of the
holy city. He will refuse recognition and dismiss the refused to the society of the adversary, at that time
about to be “devoured.” In the case of others, he will confess their names, and invite them to inherit the
kingdom of God. There is no sane man who would not desire to be among the latter. There is a principle
upon which admission is predicated. The doctrines of the apostacy have obliterated this principle. They
teach that men have “only to believe” that Christ has paid their debts, and that they have nothing to do
but believe that Christ died for them. Whereas the exhortation of Peter is to be “diligent to make our
calling and election SURE; ” that only “if we do these things (which he had enumerated), we shall never
fall.” This is the uniform teaching of Christ and his servant Paul. Jesus says it is vain to acknowledge him
unless we do what he commands.—(Matt. 7:21). Paul says every man at the judgment seat of Christ
shall receive according to that he hath done (2 Cor. 5:10); and that he who doeth wrong shall receive the
wrong that he hath done.—(Col. 3:25). Consequently it rests with us to work out our salvation with fear
and trembling (Phil. 2:12), as obedient children, not fashioning ourselves according to our former lusts in
our ignorance, but as he that hath called us is holy, so must we be holy in all manner of conversation.
    There is a natural tendency to overlook this phase of the work of Christ, unless we are on our guard.
The popular habit of depreciating the importance of doctrine, is liable to have the effect of shutting us
up entirely to the fact that apart from a knowledge of the truth, we cannot be saved. We are in danger
of shutting our eyes to the equally certain truth that a knowledge of the truth will be of no value to us if
it fail to effectuate that purification of heart—that moral and intellectual assimilation to the divine
character which it is intended to produce in all who are called to the holy calling: we can only avoid this
dangerous extreme by a habitual and meditative reading of the holy oracles. In this exercise, day by day,
we shall be made acquainted with the full and noble breadth of the divine work, in the practical
transformation of men. We shall not fail to perceive that Christ made the state of the heart and the
character of our actions the most prominent feature of his teaching. He preached the Kingdom of God it
is true, and constantly did so: but this, only, as the framework of his instruction. The character of those
who would inherit that kingdom, was constantly the burden of his speech to those around him. And we
shall only resemble him and take part truly in his work, in proportion as we do the same. And, what is
more solemnly true, we can only hope for an entrance into his kingdom in the day of his glory if we are
of the same mind and work as he. It is written “There shall in nowise enter into it anything that defileth,
neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.”—(Rev. 21:27). Men—aye, even such as are
called brethren, may forget or be indifferent to this meanwhile, but they will discover at last that the
word of the Lord standeth sure, and that the gate of eternal glory will be barred against every one who
conforms not to the divine standard revealed in the Word. The fact may appear a stern one, but its
effect as regards the house of God will be only good and glorious: it will secure a perfect fellowship,
composed of such as know God and delight in His praise, and in the delightsome love one to another
that glows in every heart that truly seeks His face.




                                                     117
Intelligence (United States)
                                    Comments by bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1878, p. 479
     ROCHESTER (N.Y.)—The intelligence from this place presents a dilemma. Bro. A. Sintzenich writes: “It
gives me great pleasure to transmit to you for publication in the Christadelphian, by order of the ecclesia
through the managing brethren, the accompanying document conveying the gratifying intelligence that
the division which has obtained in this city for several years through diversity of views on the nature of
the Christ, now no longer exists; and that there is but one body here, as there is but one faith, hope, and
baptism; and consequently we are enjoying the peaceable fruits of righteousness in the unity of the One
Body of the Christ.” In further remarks of the same pleasing order, a document is introduced certifying
the fact of re-union, signed, for the body in general, by Geo. Ashton, C. H. Morse, F. B. Robinson,
Augustus Sintzenich, presiding brethren.
     But, on the other hand, there comes a declaration repudiating the union, signed by Charles
Orlishausen, Emma Orlishausen, Jno. D. Tomlin, James H. Dewey, James Leask, Mary P. Dewey, Sarah J.
Leask, Lyman M. Cunningham, Sarah Cunningham, Chas. Boddy, Thomas Boddy, Thomas Boddy, jun.,
Eliza Boddy, Dr. John Richman, Isabel Tomlin, and Henrietta Richman. The union is repudiated by these
on the ground that the “diversity of views” originally causing the division still exists in substance and
that the re-union is effected for the sake of peace, and is on the basis of mere verbal agreement, and
not on identity of doctrinal significance. They believe the truth to be compromised, both as to the
sacrifice of Christ and the doctrine of judgment, through false charity, and will have nothing to do with
it. They support their assertions by documentary evidence, which apparently confirms them.
     The Editor could not, without personal investigation, decide which side represents the unsullied
cause of truth; and as personal investigation is out of the question, he can only deal with the matter as it
stands in the documents. In all doubtful cases he finds it expedient to give the truth the benefit of the
doubt, and so far as the evidence at present goes, the doubt is in favour of the dissenters, and against
the unionists. There is a tendency manifest in the phraseology of the latter to hide doctrinal
discrepancies under generalities; and in the official declaration of union the condemnation of sin in the
flesh effected in Christ is apparently made to have a moral signification instead of the crucifixion of the
man Christ Jesus. We hold ourselves open to further light; but, so far, the re-union seems the practical
secession of tried friends instead of the return of erring brethren.


Answers to Correspondents (Offender and Offended)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 221
   Y. B. U.—“Show the truth, or the fallacy, of the position taken by a brother in a recent ecclesial
trouble, who, when asked by one seeking to make peace between all discordant elements, to forgive an
offending brother, said, ‘I cannot forgive him unless he seeks my forgiveness, for if I do, I will make
myself as great an offender.’” ANSWER.—There can be no doubt that acknowledgment is the natural and
prescribed condition of forgiveness in all cases of unquestionable personal injury, word or deed. Nothing
admits of so clean and sweet and lasting a reparation. It is the lesson of the law of Moses throughout,
and the principle continually exemplified in God’s dealings with Israel.
   But in the confusions of human intercourse, in the present state of weakness, there arise hundreds
of cases in which it is impossible to apply this law in any strict manner; first, because it usually happens
that there are faults on both sides; and secondly, because it nearly as often happens that where one
side may be clean-handed enough, the other side is the offending side, not through any intention or
                                                     118
desire to do injury, but through a wrong understanding of things. In such cases, no wise man would
insist on the unconditional surrender implied in the request for forgiveness. Even in a clear case, he is
too conscious of his own shortcoming to take an imperious attitude. He would run more than half way
to meet his offending brother if he saw the least disposition to concede the point.
    But as for the idea that forgiveness cannot be granted without confession, and that such forgiveness
would be sin, the brother broaching such an idea will be likely to abandon it on full reflection. We are
commanded to forgive if confession is made, for this was the point in question when Jesus spoke the
words: “How oft shall I forgive?” But we are not forbidden to forgive in the absence of confession. We
are at liberty to forgive without it if we like—certainly. Jesus gave us this example, “Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do.” Paul also, “I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
Stephen also—all this without confession on the part of the offenders, for they were too dark-minded to
know their need for forgiveness. This is the magnanimity which belongs to the children of God, who can
even return good for evil. A man may be within his rights who says “I will not forgive him unless he ask
me,” though marking himself thus as the feeblest of the children of God, if indeed he prove to be among
the children, shewing thus that he hath not the spirit of Christ. But there is nothing to hinder a man
soaring far above his rights and say, “This man who has wronged me is too ungifted from God to see
what he has done. I will let the matter pass. I will pray God to forgive Him; and if He forgive at the
judgment seat, the man will gladly see and own his fault then: I can wait.”
    The man who applies the rule of confession before forgiveness too strictly is in danger of having the
same measure applied to himself. So Christ says. And how then? We cannot be saved, for we are too
dim-eyed to know all our sins; and if those only are forgiven that we see and admit, the unforgiven
balance must sink us to perdition. Another point the offended brother should consider, is whether his
state is due to wounded pride or violated righteousness. If he is an expert at self-examination, he will
probably find it is the former three times out of four at least; for he discovers that other offences against
the law of God do not hurt him at all if they do not touch him. If so, he will act wisely to hold his hand
and be as little exacting with the offender as possible.
    Per contra, the offender, when there happens to be one, should be frank and gracious in his
acknowledgments. He rarely is so. As a rule his concession is tardy and ambiguous, and generally takes
the shape of an insulting hypothesis. “If I have given offence, I am sorry for it.” This is not
acknowledgement at all, my friend. It may even be an insulting implication to this effect. “I am sorry my
neighbour has been such a simpleton as to take offence where it was perfectly unwarrantable he should
do so.” If you mean confession, let it be fair and square and handsome. “I have done this: I ought not to
have done it: I am sorry for it.” Graciousness on one side will lead to graciousness on the other, and love
will flow.—But, Oh dear!—the good time has to come. But it will come, and the children of mercy will
prosper and rejoice.


Meditations–No. XXX
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 266-267
    LET us not trouble ourselves about the apparent hardness and arbitrariness of the divine conditions
of salvation. God is all-wise, and therefore knows what is best. No amount of dissatisfaction on our part
will cause God to alter the conditions; neither will our tampering with them change them. In dealing
with this matter, we must be sensible and honest. God would have all men to be saved, but all men will
not be saved, because, for a variety of known and unknown reasons, they will not fall in with this simple
and reasonable condition. Surely, it is becoming that nonbelief in God—in the Word that He has
acknowledged as His own—should exclude from His favour. Surely it is both kind and becoming that the

                                                      119
man who will neither believe nor obey—who will persist in continual enmity to Him, should be deprived
of existence. If we would know what unbelief and disobedience mean, let us open our eyes to the
misery and wickedness that prevail. Would any kind-hearted, thoughtful man desire that this should be
everlastingly perpetuated? If few believe the truth it is not God’s fault, but the devil’s, who is wisely
permitted to reign for a while. God’s method will sift the sons of men as in a sieve. Wiseacres,
simpletons, and workers of iniquity will all go through. Only one class, and that the right one, will be
preserved, as time will presently show.
    “How much of the truth may I give up without imperilling my situation?” Not any. The truth is our
city of refuge: in it we are safe: immediately we wander outside of it our life is in danger. A few hours
spent on Paul’s writings, provided we are open to conviction, will assure us upon this point. Even apart
from direct teaching, are we not told that the existence of false teachers caused Paul many a tear?
There is no intelligible explanation of this away from the fact that he knew that error meant destruction
to those who embraced it. Again we read upon the subject—“But of these who seemed to be somewhat
(whatever they were it maketh no matter to me)—To whom we give place by subjection, no, not for an
hour; that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:5, 6). This passage also indicates
Paul’s estimation of error, for he was not the man to speak without good and weighty motives. The path
of error is the path of death. This may offend “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers,” but what of that?
Because the serpent says, “ye shall not surely die,” we are not bound to believe it.
    The human race is perishing in a heavy sea. Adam’s sin has wrecked us. God, in His mercy, has
thrown us a rope—the Gospel. Unless we lay hold of this, we can have no hope, and not only must we
lay hold, but we must hold fast—we must grip firmly and tightly till we are saved. “Hold fast till I come,”
says Christ. Paul repeatedly said the same thing—“Hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).
“Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught” (2 Thes. 2:15). “Hold fast the profession of our
faith” (Heb. 10:23). This holding fast means endurance, effort, a determination of purpose. It is a very
easy thing to let go. To apostatise from the truth is one of the easiest processes under the sun. We have
only to cease “giving earnest heed,” to give place to our own fleshly reasonings, and the truth will soon
drift from us. The truth is very jealous, and will not brook the second place in our minds. The Gospel, or
the truth, is the power of God unto salvation, and to retain this we must be earnest and resolute.
Earnest and resolute men do not forsake the daily reading of the Word, nor the meetings. Laxity in
either of these directions means that our hold is loosing.
    What is growth in the truth? God has commanded us to grow in the truth (Col. 1:9, 10; Phil. 1:9; 2
Peter 1:5, 8), and it behoves us to have clear and right views in regard to growth. The growth is to be
from one particular root, “the faith,” “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, as ye have
been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:7)—“Building up yourself on your most holy
faith” (Jude 20.)—“Leaving first principles of the beginning of Christ let us go on into perfection” (Heb.
6:1). Growth does not mean a continual amending of our belief. This view has been frequently taken by
men who have endeavoured to thrust heresies upon the church. To grow is to develop and to augment,
not to destroy and recommence. As the flower develops from the bud to the full blossom, or the man
from infancy to manhood, so should we develop from the babe in Christ to the skilful workman. Growth
manifests itself in a progressive application of Christ’s commands to all the varied circumstances of life;
in continual expansion of vision in relation to the wondrous things of the law—such as tracing in the
types the things concerning the name and the kingdom; in the elucidation of prophecy; and in learning
from past events God’s principles of action. But let us remember that this is fruit that can be grown from
one stock only, viz., “The first principles of the Oracles of God.”




                                                     120
Answers to Correspondents (Division)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 458
    S. G. L.—Discord and division are painful. Let them not overthrow you. They are not new. They have
been upon the earth ever since the Gospel was first preached to the Gentiles. Jesus said it would be so:
“Henceforth, there shall be division.” But did he mean among the elect of God? No. Is it right among
them, then? It will not happen among them, brother. The saints are of one mind. But who are they?
Leave that. The judgment will decide. The only rule to work by at present is the individual apprehension
of the word. Apply your mind to this, and walk with those who are faithful to the word so far as you can
discern. Wait for the rest. This is the time of probation, and purposely dark and distressing. The Lord will
find his precious ones in spite of all. Save yourself, whatever others say or do.


Books, Pamphlets, MSS., &c., received during the
Month.
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1892, p. 484
   Mr. Aston’s Monthly Intelligencer for September and November 1891—The Truth (alas!) for
November, 1891 (in which the editor “solicits literary contributions from those holding views of doctrine
not generally endorsed by the brethren!” (Silence seems the only fitting comment on such an
extraordinary proposal on the part of a man professing to hold and to serve the truth. A correspondent
of the paper not inaptly remarks that “Truth and Error would be the most truthful name.” A much
stronger remark than this would be just. A man is not fit to be an editor who either has no definite
convictions of his own, or who is not prepared to stand by his convictions, but obsequiously cringes
before his readers and contributors, and asks them to say anything they like, on the plea that he is “no
autocrat,” and others may answer them, but he will not “feel bound to interfere with any observations
or criticisms of his own.” No man seeking to serve the truth could take such a position We could say
more, but refrain).


+ Answers to Correspondents (Mortal Resurrection
and Fellowship)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 207-208
    C. S.—It is true that Paul includes “the doctrine of resurrection” among “first principles” in Heb. 6:1.
3; but it is not evident that in the “doctrine of resurrection” as a first principle, he included the teaching
as to the physical quality of the body when it emerges from the grave. We must look to the recorded
preaching of Jesus and the apostles for the sense in which the resurrection was inculcated as a first
principle. If we do so, we shall find that the broad fact that “there shall be a resurrection of just and
unjust” in opposition to the denial of the fact, is all “the doctrine of resurrection” that appears in their
inculcations. Details, such as the question you refer to, were reserved for the instruction afterwards
communicated to those who were put into Christ on the basis of the first principles laid down in the
teaching referred to and were never so for as we have any record, laid down among the first principles
themselves. This being so, to make belief in mortal resurrection a test of fellowship seems to us to be

                                                      121
putting strong meat in the place of milk, and to make a first principle of that which under the apostles
was only a matter of instruction to those who were in Christ. What can we suppose the 3.000 on
Pentecost knew beyond the broad fact that there would be a resurrection? Or the twelve apostles
themselves when baptized by John the Baptist, and afterwards feet washen by Jesus at the supper
before his crucifixion? What more can we suppose Paul knew on the subject, when baptized by Ananias,
or the Phillippian gaoler, or the Ethiopian eunuch? If it were a question of eternal condition, we could
understand the disposition of some to attach vital importance to it; but seeing it only relates to the little
interval between emergence from the grave and the judgment seat—an interval which unless a doubtful
rendering be adopted, is entirely overlooked in the most uminous exposition we have in the New
Testament on the subject of resurrection, (1 Cor. 15)—it would require more unequivocal warrant than
is to be found in the scripture to justify its adoption as a point of faith necessary to salvation. The
question is different where a person denies that the saints will appear before the judgment seat of
Christ. This is one of the most palpable elements of the truth as preached by Jesus and the apostles
which must be acknowledged as a preliminary to baptism. But you seem to argue that a person who
denies mortal resurrection must repudiate the judgment, since resurrection would anticipate and
practically set judgment aside. Logically, you may be right, but practically, it does not follow. Many
believe Paul’s statement in its apparent sense, “the (righteous) dead shall be raised incorruptible, ” and
yet believe his other statement that “they shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive in
body according to what they have done, whether it be good or bad” and the way they reconcile the
logical conflict between the two, is to believe that God, who knows everything beforehand, will raise the
accepted, incorruptible, and the wicked in their mortal state, without in any way superseding the
tribunal at which their respective merits will be officiality adjudicated. We do not endorse this view, but
we dare not say in the state of the evidence that it is fatal to the position of those otherwise believing
the truth. The point is one which does not affect a man’s candidature for the kingdom, but rather lies
within the category of advanced knowledge which it is to a man’s profit to possess, and the want of
which may lower his status in the kingdom, but not exclude him from it. Putting the question on this
footing, we are prepared to maintain, and will in due time endeavour to prove, that the dead of both
classes when they emerge from the grave, are in a mortal condition.
    If the change effected by baptism is not a change in God’s mind towards the person submitting to it,
it would be difficult to understand that any change takes place at all. The view expressed is not
necessarily incompatible with the testimony that God changes not. God’s unchangeability relates to his
nature and the principles upon which he acts. It is his unchangeable attribute to be angry with the
wicked and to love the righteous, and equally so, to repent of intended evil towards the wicked who
reform, and of intended good towards the righteous who backslide. For this teaching, we rely among
other scriptures upon the following:—Jer. 18:7, 10; Ezek. 18:20, 30; Psalm 7:5; 11:5; 18:25, 26; 34:11,
22; Lev. 27:23, 24; 2 Cor. 6:1, 8; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 2:1, 11; Heb. 10:26, 31.


So-Called “Heresy-Hunting,” A Duty
                                           By bro. J. J. Andrew
                                     The Christadelphian, 1886, p. 317
    “All heresy-hunting is of diabolos,” says the flesh. “Try the spirits whether they are of God,” writes
the Spirit; and the reason given is “because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I. Jno.
4:1). The “false prophets” were teachers of heresy, but professed to teach that which was true. There
was a difficulty in identifying them, and therefore all teachers of divine things were to be tried to
ascertain whose teaching was genuine and whose adulterated. The object of the test was that the
heresy-teachers might be repudiated.

                                                      122
    The spirit in Peter writing of Israel says, “But there were false prophets also among the people even
as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying
the Lord that bought them” (2. Peter 2:1). How were such false prophets to be treated? Moses says,
they “shall be put to death” (Deut. 13:5). Even a “brother,” “son,” “daughter,” “wife,” or “friend,” who
attempted to introduce idolatry was not to be spared (v. 6 to 11). The object was that Israel might be
purged of evil. Communities were to be dealt with on the same principle as individuals. If it were
reported that any one city had commenced to “serve other gods” (v. 12, 13) ‘then,” said Moses, “shalt
thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that
such abomination is wrought among you, thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the
edge of the sword, destroying it utterly and all that is therein” (v. 14, 15).
    The comparison drawn in Peter’s epistle between false teachers in fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel is
evidence that this Mosaic enactment contains a lesson for us. The use of the sword or anything
destructive is out of the question; a practical protest by refusing to fellowship is the full extent of
permitted action. The command to “enquire” is not at variance with New Testament injunction; it is in
harmony with it. When, therefore, it is reported that any brother or ecclesia is following false doctrine, it
is not only permitted, but it is obligatory on other brethren and ecclesias, to “enquire and make search,
and ask diligently,” to see whether it be true and the thing certain. If it is, the responsibility of their
position leaves no option but that of repudiating complicity with the evil.
    It is on this principle that ecclesial action has been taken on the Inspiration question. It was reported
that false teaching existed in Spiritual Israel concerning the authorship of divine writings, and on
“enquiring, making search, and asking diligently,” many have found “the thing certain.” Some, it will be
said, have inquired without finding its existence; but it is necessary to remember that there are different
ways of inquiring, and that none are so blind as those who do not wish to see. The evidence of its
existence is indisputable, and there are no excuses to justify its being ignored. The repudiation of
responsibility for the false teaching of those at a distance shows a defective appreciation of the unity
which should exist between all the members of the one body. “The members should have the same care
one for another, and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:25. 26.)
Heresy searching among national Israel was not of diabolos, but of God; therefore heresy searching
among Spiritual Israel, can have no other origin.
    And what is its result? It tends to preserve the purity of revealed truth. If a heresy test were of
diabolos, it would be difficult to justify the repudiation of heresy; and thus the One Body would
gradually become so defiled that pure doctrine would wholly disappear.


Letter from Dr. Thomas
                                          By bro. John Thomas
                                  The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 155-159
   West Hoboken, Hudson Co., New Jersey, U.S.
                                                                                   Feb. 9, 1865, A. M. 5951.
    Dear bro. Tait,
    Yours of Jan. 17, is just received, conferring upon me a pleasure which is highly appreciated, and only
surpassed by personal communion with the writer. I am always gratified at receiving letters from my
friends, who, compared with my enemies are few and far between; but much more gratified when the
letters come from those who are my friends for the truth’s sake. I am no man’s personal enemy. I have
neither time nor inclination to trouble myself about persons, or their affairs. I have enough to do in this
department to take care of my own personalia, without interfering in other people’s. But when they
approach me on the premises of the truth, then they are either my friends or my foes, and I am theirs. I

                                                      123
am their friend for the truth’s sake, or I am their foe for the truth’s sake. I would rather be the friend
than the foe of any one upon any ground. This is the bent of my fleshly nature; and if men will not be
friendly, I do not feel resentful, but my disposition is is to give them a wide berth or margin, because the
world is wide; and if they are disposed to travel north, I will travel due south; or if they would go west, I
will go due east; and think of them and theirs no more. This is the natural man. But if they pretend to be
the friends of the truth, and they are neither intelligent in, nor faithful to, what I believe to be the truth,
and will not consent to be instructed, then I have a duty to perform as one of Christ’s Brethren, in
obedience to apostolic injunction, and that is, to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered
to the saints,” and in so doing, which is well-doing, “to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,” that
that their mouths being stopped, they may no longer subvert whole houses, and lead captive silly
people laden with sins. In the performance of the duty common to all the faithful, I do not wait to be
attacked. If no one will go with me to the assault, I go alone, with the determination to scatter them, or
be demolished in the attempt; in which, however, I do not expect to succeed, because “the saints are
prevailed against till the Ancient of Days comes.” Why then labour in expected failure? To obey the
injunction, and to prove my own faith. In this spiritual warfare, whose weapons are neither lead nor
steel, but more effective than either for putting to flight the aliens, there are neither truce, armistice,
neutrality, nor peace. He that is not with us, is against us; and he that gathereth not with us, scattereth
abroad. I for one, know no man in this warfare as a brother and friend who is neutral or not gathering. A
man who is neutral stands by with arms folded and sees the enemy crushing me to death! He believes in
the cause I am fighting for, but he calmly views my destruction without any sign of help. Is such a man
my friend and brother? Is he not rather a sympathizer with the enemy? If he helped me, we might prove
too strong for the foe; the enemy knowing this cannot look upon neutrals in any other light than his
friends. And this is just where Christ puts all neutrals in the good fight of faith.
     But, if this be the position of neutrals, what shall be said of those who either oppose or nullify what
we believe to be the truth? Who not only so, but seek to destroy the influence of those who have, while
they were mere heathens, proved themselves through evil and through good report, and when the truth
had few to say a good word for it, faithful advocates of it—what shall be said of them? They may
virtually acquiesce in the theory of the truth, but can we call them friends and brethren? Are they
Christ’s Brethren? How can they be seeing Christ is the truth? If they were Christ’s Brethren, they would
love the zealous and disinterested advocates of the truth, and would be careful to do nothing that
would embarrass them. Shall I call such enemies of Christ, my friends and brethren? I tell you, nay; I will
have none such, if I know it. They are my enemies, and it is my duty to make war upon them. If I belong
to the Spirit’s witnessing prophets clothed in sackcloth, and any man will to injure me in my witnessing,
it is my duty to devour him with the fire of my mouth—to torment him with my testimony. He may not
feel very pleasant while under this fire: if he get wounded, it is his own fault; he should keep out of the
way: but if he persist in storming our works, then “he must in this manner be killed.”
     I have no sympathy with a yea-and-nay profession and advocacy of the truth. It does no good to the
professor, to those who are associated with him, nor to those dwelling in outer darkness. “The whole
world lieth in the evil one”—in Sin; and the only exception to this, are the untraditionized believers of
the truth we believe and teach and have obeyed; and are walking as little children therein. If we are
these scriptural exceptions, we have nothing to do but keep clear of this evil world, and to testify against
all the traditions it would substitute for the truth, or by which it may seek to nullify it. The greatest and
most dangerous enemies to Christ are those who pretend to be his friends, but are not faithful to his
doctrine; and they are unfaithful who from any motives of personal interest would weaken the point of
the doctrine, or soften it for the gratification of their natural feelings, or for fear of hurting the feelings
of the enemy, and so affecting their popularity with him. I trust that this is not the case with any of our
friends in Calton Convening Rooms. They and all such in Britain have a great and important work before
them in this country. It is to bring people to the understanding of the ancient apostolic doctrine and to

                                                       124
the obedience of faith, in the form inculcated by them upon all believers. If our friends faithfully and
intelligently execute this mission, they will be placed in opposition to all the world—they will find
themselves in the position of the Spirit’s witnessing prophets, standing in the court of the Gentiles, and
bearing testimony against “the God of the earth;” with all the power, learning, and influence of the
Great Harlot, her State daughters, and dissenting abominations arrayed against them; and besides all
this, the heartlessness and cowardice and treachery of professed neutrals and friends. To take up such a
position, and to maintain it without surrender, requires knowledge and faith working by love of what is
known. Hence, the necessity of meditation upon the word. This will develope faith, and the more an
honest-hearted man understands of the word untraditionized by what is falsely called science, the more
enlarged and the stronger will his faith become; and the more valiant will he be for the truth, and the
more efficient for the work before him as a “witness” a “prophet,” a “lightstand,” and an “olive tree”
“before the Deity of the earth.”
    You can do nothing for the truth in the Modern Athens that will be recognized by the King at his
appearing, if you follow your old ways when you used, as bro. Steel says, “to discuss everything, and
settle nothing,” and call it exhortation and teaching. Such is mere twaddle, and will never make you
appear before the enemy, the great Babylon around you, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible
as an army with banners.” You will only be terrible to your friends. “Discussing every thing and settling
nothing” is a weakness that will never grow into strength. No good can possibly come out of it; and will
cause no one to wax valiant in the fight, or or “to turn to flight the armies of the aliens.” Some are
always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Such may unprofitably occupy
time, but they can edify no one. All their “discussions” and “investigations” amount to nothing. The light
of truth must shine clearly in a man’s head, before he can speak critically or accurately upon “the Deep
things of the Spirit;” and if you undertake to implant these in the brains of Modern Athenians, who, like
their brethren of old time, are exceedingly fond of gossip, you must be bright and lucid in your
irradiations, that you may shine away the darkness of the subtleties, and the vagaries of the inner
consciousness, with which the cup of the Old Harlot has crazed and intoxicated them. And this you will
find to be, if you have not already done so, no easy work to do. The traditions radiating infinitely and at
all angles, form almost an impenetrable cloud—a cloud which befogs every thing, and renders it
impervious to “the simplicity that is in Christ.” But shall we despair? By no means. The work before us at
present, is not to demolish Antichrist, and the tradition with which he is clothed as with a black and
threatening cloud. This is beyond our power, as it is extra the mission of the saints against whom he has
prevailed almost “forty and two months.” His demolition is their work, when joined therein by the
Ancient of days. This is their patience and faith.—Rev. 13:10; 14:12. The real saints are waiting for this.
In the meantime, they hold the position of the witnesses for Jesus; and it is required in witnesses, who
are stewards of the testimony, that they be faithful after the example of Christ and Antipas—Rev. 1:5;
3:14; 2:13. At present, they have to show the truth in every way that will make the truth shine; that it
may stand out in the foreground of the picture so distinctly from all surroundings, that observers at a
glance may distinguish it in all its outlines. without any possibility of confounding it with the dark cloud
of the things beyond, This is the work for us to do, that men’ seeing the photograph, Christ written upon
their minds by the testimony which is light, may confess that it is a true, faithful, and beautiful picture;
and embracing it with affectionate hearts, may so put it into their bosom, and become married, or
rather betrothed unto the Lord. In this way an enlightened and affectionate, and valiant people will be
prepared for him; who will not only be watching for him, but with garments kept, and lamps well
trimmed with the golden oil of the good olive tree, be ready to enter in on the closing of the door
against all the world.
    But this bringing the truth out in striking contrast with the dark back ground of pious sinnerism, is
exceedingly offensive to all the brethren of Demas; who forsook Paul, “having loved the present world”
as he went to Thessalonica, where there were many faithful brethren. He did not perhaps forsake Paul’s

                                                     125
theory. He may have held on to this; but he forsook Paul, doubtless, because he was “rude in speech,”
and did not like his “plainness of speech” in which Paul seemed to delight. Perhaps, he thought, that to
call brethren “false apostles, deceitful workers,” and ministers of Satan; and to wish that they were cut
off who troubled the faithful: and to anathematize such respectable professors of astrologic science, and
Hebrew divinity, as the Rev. Mr. Barjoses; to apostrophize him as “full of all subtilty, and of all mischief,
child of the devil, and enemy of all righteousness, perverting the right ways of the Lord”—was “reviling
and threatening,” “the language of harsh denunciation,” and uttered in “a tone and gesture” which did
not “manifest the compassionate spirit of Jesus,” but “a spirit entirely foreign to his heart of hearts.” At
all events, there was something about the apostle that brother Demas did not like, and caused him to
turn his back upon him. It could not be Paul’s moral character, for he was unblameable; nor unscriptural
teaching, for he said none other things than what the prophets said before him; it could hardly be his
want of personal attractions, for Christ himself had none of these; there remains then only his rude and
vulgar speech, which was not conformed to the diplomatic and forensic generalities of Cæsar’s circle.
Paul’s style was not compatible with the interests of fashionable professors, who “love the present
world.” This is the secret of the outcry made by the brethren of Demas in all ages since. They love the
present world, which makes it utterly impossible for Christ’s faithful witnesses to work with them, or to
please them. If, when you are testifying against the perverters of the right ways of the Lord, you use the
“tone and gesture” of earnest contention for the faith, and specify the blasphemies which pervert it in
language which truly and unmistakably define them; they accuse you of rudeness and reviling. They
would have you adopt their style, as if you were pleading a case in court, in which you had no more
interest than the fee you expected to obtain when you had got through your otherwise irksome task.
They would reduce you to the cold, unimpassioned, style of a clerical reader of sermons, purchased in
Paternoster Row, at so much per dozen. Whatever they may think, they dare not accuse Paul, Peter,
John, Jude, and Christ of reviling; but they condemn their words in the mouths of Christ’s brethren. Oh
say they, “Christ was inspired and infallible; but you are not, and have no right to do as he did.” But
Peter exhorts us differently. He tells us, that Christ left us an example, that we should follow his steps:
who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again. Now,
it is well to follow his steps in speaking, as well as in action. No better model for style than his can be
found. He was a guileless enunciation of the truth in word, tone and gesture, which left his hearers
unmistakably impressed with his meaning. He has not left us to the dictionary for the definition of the
word “revile.” Matt. 5:11, clearly shows, that to revile is “to say all manner of evil against a man falsely:”
to say evil of a man, or body of men, truly is not reviling. All said against Jesus reproachfully, was false,
and therefore reviling; but all he said of his foes was true, and therefore not reviling, else to earnestly
declare the truth is reviling. Now, it is not necessary to be miraculously inspired, nor infallible, to qualify
for discerning the truth in relation to modern teachers as surely as Jesus did in regard to the Scribes and
Pharisees. He judged them by their fruits; and by the same rule, he said they should be known. When,
therefore, men ascend a pulpit, and proclaim themselves to be the “ministers of Christ,” and “successors
of the apostles,” we are as infallibly certain that they are the ministers of Satan, as Jesus was, that the
Scribes and Pharisees were a generation of serpents; because they neither know the gospel nor have
they obeyed it; and it is not reviling to proclaim this truth upon the housetops. Christ does not employ
men as his ministers who are ignorant of his truth. They who think he does, are either ignorant of it
themselves, or sceptical concerning it. If a man say, I am infallibly certain, that two and two make four,
does any one reproach him for presumption? Or accuse him of setting up for an arithmetical pope? Did
not Christ say, “He that believes the gospel, and is baptized, shall be saved? Is not this the oracle of
heaven? Is it then dogmatizing, or presumption, or setting up for a religious pope, to say, I am infallibly
certain, that there is no salvation for Jew or Gentile since the great Pentecost, who does not believe and
obey the gospel in immersion. If a man affirm the contrary, is he not speaking evil falsely, or reviling


                                                       126
Christ. For in so saying, or so insinuating, he is accusing him of saying what he did not mean; in plain
terms, of lying; and that too, on a subject affecting the best interests of men, and the honor of God.
    I hope you have no brethren of Demas with you at Calton Convening Rooms. It is an evil thing to be in
love with the present world. It destroys all valour for the truth, and undermines our faith; and it is only
by faith we overcome the world. While Demas friends are twaddling about style, being, we may suppose
very stylish people, let us leave the shadow to them, while we grasp the substance. Let us rejoice, that
we know the truth, and they cannot deprive us of it. They may censure, and use all underhand means to
alienate friends, and to bring us into disrepute; it all goes for nothing, and “passes by as the idle wind
which we regard not.” For myself, I am absolutely independent of them in thought, word, and deed. I
seek nothing they possess in the form of honor, approbation, substance, or any thing that is theirs; yet
would I seek them, and were it possible, I would deliver them from their worldliness, their scepticism,
and their traditions. I would show them a more excellent way in which they would do well to glory.
    But, adieu to Demas and his brethren! Turn we now to more genial things. You may perhaps like to
hear how our brethren have been getting along in the Confederate States during the past three years. In
Richmond and Lunenburg County, Virginia, they are all well and prosperous. A son of one of them who
has been three years in the army of the South, is a prisoner on parole, and residing with me till he can
get something to do. Believing it is wrong to be killing men, he put himself in a position to be captured.
His captors sent him on North, and as I said, he is now with me. All I know of the brethren is from him.
They hold their meetings regularly, and take no part in the war. The Confederate Congress passed an
act, exempting them from military service, under the name of Nazarenes, on payment of 500 dollars. All
are exempted who were members at the time of passing the act; but all who join them since, are liable
to military conscription. My informant has four brothers in the army. One obeyed the gospel recently.
He applied for his discharge, stating that he could not conscientiously use his weapons to destroy life.
But his superiors reviled him. He appealed to his past service in twelve of the bloodiest battles of the
war; and to his reputation with his comrades, in proof that it was not cowardice that caused his
application. His valour was admitted, but conscience was ignored. He has often charged the enemy with
his troop, but he will not kill. This course has arrested the notice of his captain, who has come to
recognize the existence of conscience formed by the truth. On one occasion, he went into a charge in
which all his company were killed or wounded except himself. His Captain said it was suicide, and he
determined that he should expose himself no more. He was put therefore in a position in which he
would not be called upon to fight. None of the brethren have lost any of their sons. How it may be if the
war continues, who can tell? There was a motion made in the Confederate Congress, to drive them all
out of the country! Had this been decreed, I should have despaired of Richmond and the South. But “the
Earth helped the Woman.” An able speech was made on their defence, and the motion was lost.
    A brother in Norfolk, Va. writes, “We have had some severe trials since I wrote to you, but the Lord
delivered us out of them all. I had several interviews with the General commanding here, when finally
he agreed to allow us to remain in this department upon the condition that he would not give us any
protection; to which we agreed; asking of him, at the same time to keep the men off, and we should try
to take care of ourselves. In reply to this he promised us, that they should not interfere with us. A word
on the subject of protection. In order that one may be a recipient of all the good things promised in Ab.
Lincoln’s proclamation, we are required to first of all take the oath of allegiance. After due compliance
with this, the authorities give you a certificate of loyalty, upon the strength of which you can claim all
the rights of a native born citizen; but without this certificate of loyalty, you can neither buy nor sell.
Hence, you see that our operations under such restriction must necessarily be confined to a narrow
compass; and that we are pretty closely hemmed in, at least for the present. We are consoled, however
with the full assurance of faith and hope, that the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will deliver us
from the present evil world, and will translate us into the kingdom of his dear son.”


                                                     127
   I am happy in being able to inform you, that I have nearly finished writing Eureka Vol. 2. I think it will
effectually explode the Glasgow “conviction that the fulfilment of what is written in the book of the
Revelations, from ch. 4. inclusive, is still future”—Messrs. Dowie, Cameron, & Co’s Messenger, No. vi.
Vol. iii. p. xxiii. Such a “conviction” is conclusive that those who formed it are not of the blessed, who
understand the words of the prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein.” I trust,
however, that it may yet be possible to shine into their understandings; and to convince them that their
“conviction” is untenable, and rashly and presumptuously formed.
   With kind regards to all the faithful who rejoice in the truth, and are devoted to it with a zeal
according to knowledge.
                                                                                                   I remain,
                                                                         Faithfully and Affectionately Yours
                                                                                            JOHN THOMAS.


Our Great Sin
                                   By H.W. Hudson / bro. John Thomas
                        Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1861, p. 212-213
   BROTHER Thomas,—I have not received the Herald since June. This part of the country is a dry region
without it. I hope the authorities of this broken union, have not suppressed it.
   I went last month to what they call the "Michigan Yearly Conference." It was held sixteen miles from
Homer. I am compelled to testify that it was a great sham. No two seemed to have the like faith. There
were Campbellites, and Adventists, and Marshites, and a long train of such. One Mr. Newman, the
publisher of the Harbinger, and others were present from a distance. You were somewhat roughly
handled in private conversation, among the brotherhood. Your great sin, of course, was that you are
such an exclusionist and a divider of the flock. There was much talk of christian unity among them which
when stript of all superfluousness means, unity of all who play upon the one string of "no life out of
Christ." Genuine believers of "the Gospel of the Kingdom," are as scarce as gold dust in this part of the
country.
   But, brother Thomas, go on in the good cause. I am thoroughly convinced that you are not only
contending for the truth as it is in Jesus, but that you have it, and are holding fast to his name against all
the foolishness of this age. I am alone in this place ; but I am trying to keep the faith, and to keep my
garments in Jesus undefiled.
   Brother Thomas, you are not forgotten by me. My prayer is that you may live till Jesus comes. Do not
be discouraged. These are perilous times I know ; but that we expect in the closing up of the times of the
Gentiles.
   If you should ever come to Michigan again, will you let me know it? I should like very much to hear
you speak of the good word of the kingdom.
                                                                                In love to you I remain yours,
                                                                                               H. W. HUDSON.
                                                                                                 Sep. 12, 1861.

    REMARKS.
    We beg leave to say that we exclude no one, not even a Jew, Mohammedan, or Pagan. It is not we
that exclude, for it is not our prerogative to do so. We learn from the Bible that there is a certain thing
called "the Word." We did not invent this, and therefore we are not responsible for its definitions and
testimonies. We believe that the Deity is its author, and that therefore He is responsible for all its hard
                                                      128
and crucifying sayings, and the exclusion of all from his salvation except the few, whom He condescends
to choose. "Many" saith he "are called, but few are chosen;" "many shall seek to enter in, and shall not
be able;" and " strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that
find it." All this is very exclusive ; but this is not our "great sin ;" if sin it be at all. If the Deity had waited
until be had consulted the Michigan Conference, and had deferred to its advice, He would have reversed
this arrangement, providing only for the salvation of "the few I" "But he did not wait to consult it, nor
any of his creatures; which plainly indicates to our mind that He had no respect for any of their opinions
or views in the premises. What He hath purposed he hath purposed in himself for his own good
pleasure. Eph. i. 9; Rev. iv. ii. In this we acquiesce with perfect and entire satisfaction.
    All, then, we have to do is to study this word, and to find out what it teaches for faith and obedience.
We endeavor to discover how the word defines the few that shall be saved ; and what it says of "the
gate" and "the way which leadeth into life." We believe that we understand what the word teaches
upon these important subjects; and we tell an unthankful and perverse generation what it says. We
show its " wise and prudent" who the word excludes, and who it does not; and because it excludes
them, and theirs that " wonder after " them, they hate it ; but to conceal their hatred to the word, they
handle roughly in their talk all who show the condemnation that word fulminates against them. Thus
while they hate God, as evinced in their "casting his words behind them," they transfer their attacks to
them who are more accessible; for He is in the heaven but we upon the earth. But never mind; their
tongues may prevail against us now until the Ancient of Days shall come. Their rough handling we regard
as little as their foolish talk ; and surely, if they could only know our supreme indifference to it, they
would change the subject of their conversation. But, doubtless, it gratifies; for it is so fine a thing to be
thought "liberal and charitable." It makes us so popular with the Old Adam; and who can doubt it, when
we denounce "exclusionists," and proclaim the salvation of all who believe a negative?
    As to being "a divider of the flock," in the name of scripture and reason, what "flock" is that? A flock
identical with the Michigan Conference? When was it ever united'? Who can divide a heterogenous flock
of Campbellites, Adventists, Marshites, et id genus emu? Division is the essence of such a flock, whose
falling asunder is a matter of no concern in heaven above, nor in the earth beneath, save to those whose
craft it is to feed or cram it with traditions palatable to the flesh. Introduce the truth among them and it
will throw them into uproar ; and if there be any honest and good hearts among them, it will cause them
to evacuate the house of Jezebel with all promptitude and dispatch, lest partaking in her sins they be-
come obnoxious to the ruin which impends. We glory indeed in being a divider of all such from so
goatish a community. Christ's sheep are a flock who know the shepherd's voice, which is the truth. This
never divides them, and they make no outcry against excluding wolves and goats, from their fold. They
are particularly anxious that they should not be permitted to creep in at unawares. They do not like the
scent of goats nor the teeth and claws of dogs and wolves. They have no more tolerance for a great
goat, or a big wolf in their fold, than for little ones. The greater the goat and the bigger the wolf, the
more careful they are to make all the sheep see that though coated with much wool, they are but goats
and wolves after all. And we never yet heard a real sheep say, "this is very offensive to us”.


The Christadelphian
                                            By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 149-150
                             (He is not ashamed to call them brethren.—Heb. 2:11.)

                                                     April, 1891

                                                          129
    God has been pleased to subject those who desire to conform to His word to what sometimes
amounts to painful embarrassment, by having required of them things that at first sight are
incompatible with one another. They are to do good to all men, and yet to be not unequally yoked with
unbelievers. They are to be “in the world” and yet to “come out from among them and be separate.”
They are to love their enemies and yet to love not the world. They are to be patient with the erring and
yet to abhor that which is evil, and not to bear with men that are evil. They are to think no evil and yet
to try professors. They are to submit to wrong and yet to refuse even to eat with men called brethren
who espouse wrong doing, or error. They are to show hospitality and yet to receive not into their houses
those who bring not the doctrine of Christ.
    There is, doubtless, an object in prescribing these apparently conflicting duties. It sets up contrary
mental currents that at last bring about a fine equilibrium of character which would not be attainable if
duty lay all in one direction. But often the effort to conform brings distress, and it is impossible not to
feel pity for men sacrificing one duty in their endeavour to conform to another.
    These thoughts are suggested by an effort in Lincoln, which may be well meant enough in some
directions, but which cannot receive favour from a complete enlightenment. It is an effort that tacitly
invites us to repudiate the policy of insisting upon a wholly-inspired and infallible Bible as the basis of
fellowship, by adopting a “basis of fellowship” that omits it. This document is most plausible in its
wording, as all efforts in a wrong direction are; but in its meanings and implications, it is far worse than
its promulgators probably intend or have any idea of.
    It formulates an impossible rule of withdrawal, which turns the ecclesia into a judgment seat of the
Papistical order. The apostolic rule is to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly,” and from
those who teach heresy, without reference to the question of what the Lord may finally think of them.
And this rule is defensive in its bearing, not offensive. It means that we are not to be partakers of other
men’s sins. John lays down the axiom that He that receives the holder of wrong doctrine or practices
partakes of their evil deeds.
    In withdrawing, we wash our own hands. We leave to God those whom we withdraw from. We are
not authorised to judge or condemn them. But this document lays it down that we must not withdraw,
unless we are prepared to maintain that the cause of withdrawal will make salvation impossible. This
would erect an ecclesia into a spiritual judicature, deciding questions which the Lord has reserved for
himself.
    The document proposes “union with all who have not forfeited their right to the fully assured
salvation.” How can such rule be carried out? How can we know who have and who have not forfeited
the said right? It is calling upon us to pronounce on a matter beyond our jurisdiction, and that has been
placed beyond it by the express command to “judge not,” “condemn not.”
    The time for withdrawal is when men drift into unscriptural attitudes of faith or practice. These we
note and separate ourselves from, without reference to the question of whether the offenders can be
saved, which we cannot decide. And the withdrawal is not putting them out but going out ourselves, as
the term implies. We simply go away, saying we cannot be responsible. The attitude prescribed by this
“basis” would place the ecclesia in a chair of authority, with power of excommunication, arrogating the
right to “cut off” or say the excommunicated cannot be saved.
    Faithful men are more truly modest, while more uncompromising towards departure from the faith
than the sentiments that inspire this basis. Faithful men say, “we have no power to cut off: Christ will do
that. But we have power to withdraw; and this we will do with however much reluctance and pain,
when the Word of God and its obligations are tampered with by whomsoever.” We will exercise this
liberty unhampered by any assumptions as to the position of those who have technically “responded to
the Gospel call.” The basis declares that all such are “in union and fellowship with the Father.” This is not
true. There were many in the apostolic age who had “obeyed the Gospel call,” whom the Apostles

                                                      130
repudiated as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18)—spots in their feasts of charity (Jude 12); who
claimed to be Jews but were not, but lied (Rev. 3:9).
    It is a fundamental principle as to the operations of the gospel, that “many are called but few are
chosen,” and that “all are not Israel that are of Israel.” This is a principle which we cannot apply, and
which we are not called upon to apply. We do not know who will be chosen of those who have been
called. We have nothing to do with saying who will and who will not be saved, as regards profession of
the truth. The thing we have to do is to take care of our own standing in relation to the prevailing
corruptions. We refuse to be implicated in these, while entertaining the very best wishes concerning all
men. We mingle with Bible charity the most decisive resolution not to be compromised by any class of
men, whether they have gone through “the waters of baptism” or no.
    Unless we observed this apostolically prescribed scrupulosity, the truth would soon be suffocated
and disappear. Men who decline it are the enemies of the truth without intending it perhaps—all which
will appear in a very plain light when the expediencies of the passing mortal hour are at an end in the
manifested presence of the author of the seven messages to the ecclesias.


The End of the Inspiration Controversy in Birmingham
                                  The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 299-310
   We have reached the end of the inspiration controversy in Birmingham. How we have done so, and
with what effects will best be gathered from the following extracts from documents:—

                                                          64, Belgrave Road, Birmingham, 20th May, 1885.
    DEAR BROTHER, —Come and have a cup of tea and a free talk, on Friday next, the 22nd inst., at 6–30,
with the object of seeing if anything can be done to restore the unity and cordial feeling which have, to
some extent, been impaired by the unhappy controversy into which we have been plunged by the
introduction of the doctrine of partial inspiration. Our united repudiation of that doctrine ought to make
it possible to get into a happier state. Let us see what we can do. If we talk matters over in a frank and
sincere way, good may come of it: no harm can come, at all events. * * * Faithfully your brother,
                                                                                            ROBERT ROBERTS.

   About thirty brethren were invited. The result of the meeting was far from satisfactory. While the
Ashcroft-Chamberlin theory was nominally repudiated, there was a pleading for the recognition of
errors, or the possibility of errors in the Bible (unimportant they were called) in a way that was
inconsistent with the hearty recognition of its inspired character. There was also a manifest disposition
to tolerate in our midst the theory nominally repudiated. There seemed no alternative but the course
resolved upon next day. On the 23rd, the following letter was addressed, through the post, to every
brother and sister in the ecclesia:—

    DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS, Greeting you in the love of God whose acquaintance we have made in the
Holy Scriptures, given by His inspiration. May He extend to us His compassion in our affliction.
    There exists a necessity for the re-adjustment of our ecclesial relations, Our present situation is not
conducive to the union, love, and peace that belong to the house of Christ. We are not one as to a
fundamental principle of our fellowship. A doctrine, promulgated by brother Ashcroft, and endorsed by
brother Chamberlin (to the effect that the Scriptures are partly human and fallible in their composition),
is held by a goodly number in our midst. Past writings among us show that it has been our principle to
refuse immersion to any who brought this doctrine with them. It is therefore impossible it can be

                                                     131
recognised in our basis of fellowship. I feel truly sorry for many who have embraced it: for I am certain
had such a doctrine been introduced to their notice by any one not professedly a brother, they would
not have listened to it for a moment.
    The question is, what is to be done? Some months ago, we adopted a resolution intended to commit
us to an acceptance of the true doctrine of inspiration: but the terms of the resolution (which were
sincerely modified to secure unanimity and peace), have been so construed by those holding the partial
inspiration doctrine as to express their views. Consequently it has failed in its object, and we are driven
to reconsider our position in the interests of that growth in the comfort and knowledge of the truth,
without which, an ecclesia exists in vain. No good purpose can be served by glossing over the matter and
trying to make it appear that there is no difference. The actual and glaring character of the difference is
shown by the way it is regarded among those who are not with us. Atheists rejoice at the new doctrine
and call it “progress”: uncertain persons of all sorts have given it a hearty welcome. People who have
once been with us and left us on various differences, have been ready with their congratulations; while
amongst ourselves, enmity and strife have prevailed ever since its advent. Fellowship in such a situation
is impossible. Fellowship is cordial and loving union, springing from oneness of mind in divine things.
Here is disunion with reference to that which in modern times is the first of all first principles—viz., the
character of the book on which we base all our hopes and principles of life.
    We appended to our resolution an intimation that we would not withdraw from any one accused of
holding partial inspiration without a formal individual procedure. But this pre-supposed a sincere resolve
on all hands to stand by the doctrine intended to be defined in the first part of the resolution. And so far
as I am concerned, the addition was accepted with the express reservation (openly announced at the
time to those proposing it) that my hands should not be tied with regard to any process that might
subsequently appear to be necessary to give effect to the resolution. It has become impossible to carry
out the resolution by the process of individual applications. Those who ought to vote for its application
are set against it in their minds. The attempt to rectify our position in this way would, therefore, only
plunge us into a harassment most destructive to all the objects of the truth. Those who believe in a
wholly inspired and infallible Bible are desirous of being extricated in a way that will be thorough and
peaceful. Such a desire has been expressed to me: it can be done. The object of this circular is to
indicate and open the way.
    On the 22nd inst., I invited to a friendly tea-meeting the leading brethren among those who, at the
beginning, disapproved of my attitude on this matter. My object was to promote the cordial state of
communion that ought to exist among those professedly agreed on the subject, but which has been
consciously lacking for many months past. The result was to make it manifest that the doctrine of partial
inspiration is held and sympathised with as much as ever. I submitted to them that it was impossible to
walk together in such a state of disagreement. I recommended their peaceful retirement. To this they
strenuously object. We must therefore attain the same result in another peaceable way. There is no
good to be served by any further contention. It is for those who cannot be implicated in the doctrine of
partial inspiration to quietly step aside and re-organise themselves in an ecclesial capacity.
    As a preliminary to this, it is necessary to find out who are of this mind. This cannot be done by
individual canvass. It can be done by the process in which I hereby invite your concurrence. I enclose a
post-card on which is printed a statement necessary to be made under the circumstances. I have written
your name on the top of the card for the sake of connecting it with you. If you approve, all that will be
necessary will be for you to drop the card into the nearest pillar. If you prefer to attach your initials, it
would prevent any mistake from accidental posting.
    To those who return this card through the post, I will send a ticket of admission to a special meeting
to be convened for the consideration of the next step to be recommended. The result, in the end, will be
to leave in the Temperance Hall (whatever their number), those who will hold no parley or compromise
with the doctrine of a partly-inspired Bible.
                                                       132
   I should gladly have followed anyone else’s lead in this matter; but, as all have been waiting and
expecting, I have had no alternative but accept the onus of moving. Individually, I am resolved on this
course, whatever the consequences may be; and I shall be very thankful for the company in it of every
one who feels moved to be courageous for God’s sake in a day when our only point of conscious contact
with Him is in the oracles of His truth, “committed” to Israel ages ago, and committed to the hands of
every faithful brother and sister since.
   I must submit as patiently as I can to the imputation of unworthy motives which is being freely
indulged in by such as cannot read the situation accurately. God knows the heart. Even men of ordinary
discernment ought to be able to see that my action is unfavourable to all the objects which some think I
am pursuing. It is not a likely way of preserving what they unhappily call “vested interests” but of
damaging them disastrously. The only “interest” I am seeking to promote is the interest that God has
committed to the hand of every faithful servant. A situation exists which is paralysing spiritual
endeavour. A doctrine is in our midst which has power to “eat as doth a canker.” With that doctrine, I,
for one, can have no connection; and I ask the concurrence countentance, and co-operation, of every
man and woman whose enlightenment enables them to form a like determination.
   With love to all, and striving above all things to be, in an evil generation, a friend of God and a good
steward of the unsearchable riches of Christ,
                                                                                          ROBERT ROBERTS.

   The post-card was worded as follows:—“Brother Ashcroft, having publicly promulgated, and brother
Chamberlin having publicly endorsed, a doctrine to the effect that the Bible is only partly-inspired, and
that there is in it an element of merely human composition liable to err, I recognise the necessity for
standing aside from all who refuse to repudiate this doctrine, and I will co-operate in any measures that
may be adopted to enable us in Birmingham to do so in a peaceful manner.”
   An unexpectedly large response, of the right sort, was made; but there were some letters also of a
kind that suggested the writing of the following:—

                                                     137, Edmund Street, Birmingham, June 1, 1885.
    DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS,—Greeting: God be with you. I have received several letters on the subject
of our impending action in Birmingham. Some of them I have answered directly to the writers: the
reception of others suggests to me the advisability of addressing a general letter to you all in the
probability that others, who have not written, may share the views and sentiments expressed in the
letters I have received.
    Those letters condemn the proposed course as unscriptural, on the ground that accused persons
ought first to be heard. This shows a misapprehension of what we are doing. We make no accusation
against persons. We recognise a state of things existing in our community which no form of individual
process can deliver us from.—This state of things appears in our eyes a corrupt state of things through
the introduction and favourable reception by many, of a doctrine concerning the Bible, which in its
latest formulation (by new statement and endorsement of previous utterances) asks us to believe:—
    1.—That belief in a wholly-inspired Bible is “a remnant of theological superstition,” “the doctrine of
Romanism,” “a credulous opinion,” “a pious sentiment inherited from orthodox sources,” and held in
common with “Romanism and the Protestant sects generally” (Æon for May 8, page 252, col. 1, line 34:
p. 250, 2nd par., col. 1).
    2.—That those who believe it are in a state of “orthodox innocence,” that is, innocence of true
knowledge and discrimination (page 250, col. 1, line 12 from bottom).
    3.—That is a doctrine that ought to be “reconsidered and reconstructed” (8 lines further up).

                                                     133
    4.—That “there is a human element in the Bible, except where matters of revealed truth are
concerned” (page 250, col. 1, par. 3), implying a distinction between things in the Bible that are revealed
truth, and things that are not: and our ability to distinguish and decide between the one and the other.
    5.—That although, in a sense, inspiration has had to do with it all, “inspiration (securing infallibility)
has only been given where it claims to have been given” (same page and col., par. 2, at end)—involving
the conclusion that when, as regards the rest of the Bible, inspiration is admitted, by inspiration is
meant an authorship that is not infallible.
    6.—That consequently, though the Bible “contains that which was God-breathed” (page 250, col. 2,
line 5) large parts of it being histories for which infallible inspiration (!) by this contention is not claimed,
are not infallible, and contain in fact “actual contradictions and erroneous statements of various kinds”
(Exegetist, page 4, col. 1, line 6; page 6, col. 1, line 48: Æon, Nov. 21, page 69, line 41; page 70, line 21.)
    7.—That while all “Scripture” might be admitted to be inspired, it would take inspiration itself to
decide what (in the Bible) constitutes Scripture. (Bro. Ashcroft’s proposal, per Professor Evans,
Christadelphian for Feb. 1885, page 60, line 25).
    I do not think it necessary to show that these principles are destructive of the individual confidence
essential to our profitable use of the Scriptures in their daily reading, and of the effectiveness with
which we have hitherto wielded the sword of the spirit against various forms of modern error. 1 I take it
that you will recognise this, and further that you perceive and feel the dishonour which they cast upon
God’s word, to which it is impossible we can reconcile ourselves. The question is how we are to proceed
to get rid of them in our midst. In the present form of things, we are helplessly compromised by the
presence of many in our midst who either favour those principles or sympathise with and co-operate
with the measures of those who have promulgated them.
    What we propose to do is to take a line of action that will make no mistake—a line of action that will
do justice, first, to the word of God, and, secondly, to every faithful upholder of it. We do not propose to
accuse anyone. We propose to rally to the right doctrine, and then to step aside from all who refuse to
do this, or (which is the same thing) who refuse to repudiate the error and those who teach it. The
community as a community has become corrupt. We propose to cease our connection with it on this
account. We will go out in the name of allegiance to the Bible as God’s wholly-inspired and infallible
word. This is a Scriptural line of action. To “come out from among them” is a matter of command when
a community, as such, has become hopelessly corrupt. We have done it before when we came out of
the sects which claim to be Christ’s people. It is the only course that can extricate us from the false
position in which we have been placed by the reception of a false and destructive doctrine by so many in
our midst. It will inflict hardship on no one who is prepared to be faithful to the oracles of God. It will
only exclude those who hesitate, and the exclusion will be their own act.
    Those who quote Matt. 18:15–16 must misread the situation or misunderstand the precept. It is no
case of trespass by a brother against a brother. It is no case of individual accusation. It is the case of a
principle to which as a community we have become unfaithful; and where individual loyalty can only be

   1
     On this point it is not difficult to imagine the dilemma we should be placed in with strangers were
these doctrines to find place among us. Suppose we quote a passage in proof of some statement we
make. The stranger says, “Yes, but you people do not believe the Bible is all inspired? How do I know the
passage you quote is inspired?” Suppose we answered, “Oh, yes, we do believe the whole Bible is the
work of inspiration.” What answer should we have if the intelligent opponent rejoined, “Yes, but your
belief is that inspiration securing infallibility has only been given where it is claimed. The verse you
quote does not claim to be inspired by an inspiration securing infallibility. How do I know it is infallible?
and if it is not infallible, it is perhaps one of the actual contradictions and erroneous statements that you
believe in.” Where we should be will be apparent to all.
                                                        134
developed by wholesale action of the kind exemplified by Moses when he stood outside the
congregation of the Lord’s own people, and said “who is on the Lord’s side?” The Levites rallied to him.
Havoc was introduced into the camp, although it was the Lord’s camp.
    Men faithful to God gladly rally to imperilled divine interests. If they were not allowed an opportunity
of doing so, there would be ground for complaint of hardship. If those who hesitate are hurt, it is not the
fault of those who take the right course. They are themselves responsible. Moses will certainly not be
held responsible for those who did not come at his call, and perhaps perished in the camp. We have no
man of the authority of Moses: but we have sacred obligations which become incorporate in ourselves
in proportion as we perceive and accept them. Such an obligation is operative at the present time. Our
whole foundation is being tampered with. Those who ought to defend that foundation are in sympathy
with and apologising for and helping those who are tampering with it. No voting process can purge us
from the spiritual leprosy that has crept in among us, and as for a “hearing,” we have been hearing one
another for seven months. If our minds are not made up now, it is not likely that any further hearing will
help us. In the judicial sense, it is no case for hearing, because it is not a case of accusation. It is a case of
washing our hands in a way that gives everyone the opportunity of taking part in it. We affirm a principle
of truth and duty; all who are loyal to that principle will rally to it, and if they fail to do so, the result of
their failure is their own. Constitutions of our own devising are of no validity when the foundation on
which they are built is called in question with the concurrence of a large part of those who constitute
our community, or at least, without courageous resistance on their part. The only course is to do as
Moses did: to step out and say “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
    I cannot agree with those who say we should only separate from those who teach error, and not
from those who believe it (which I take it is practically the same thing as “refusing to repudiate”). The
basis of all fellowship is identity of belief—not identity of teaching—though the latter would follow from
the former. Some object to the flower, but not to the root. Let us take out the root of our present
distress, and then the distress will end.
    Some quote Paul’s words, “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputation.”
The words are not applicable to a case like the present. I understand Paul to be speaking about
weakness as to matters outside the faith on the part of some in the faith. The context will show that this
is the case. But in our case, the weakness refers to the first principle of the faith: for the beginning of our
faith is the divine inspiration and consequent infallibility of the Bible. Paul nowhere recommends us to
receive those who are in doubt as to first principles. On the contrary, he inculcates jealousy and
faithfulness as to these.
    Now, we propose to step aside in the name of a wholly-inspired Bible. If some who are “ignorant or
uncandid” do so with us (as some say they will), the Lord is their judge, and will not hold us responsible
for what we do not know. If others who believe with us are not strong enough to stop with us, but who
prefer to remain with those who corrupt the truth by uncertain doctrine, we cannot be responsible for
them. They say “God speed” to that which they condemn, and by John’s rule they make themselves
“partakers of the evil.” What they would have us do would be to stay with them in this evil-partaking
association in the name of human “rules” which have become inoperative for the purposes of their
adoption, and the attempt to apply which would be to plunge us into a fatal froth-ocean of agitation and
excitement.
    No; we want to follow peace with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart. We are sure
about the complete inspiration of the Bible. We don’t want, at this late hour, to be laying again the
foundation of this most primitive of all first principles. We want, in love and holiness and peace, to be
building ourselves up in the faith which they impart to us, and not to be consuming one another in the
endless technical disputations which have been introduced among us.


                                                        135
    I exceedingly regret having to take any course that may separate any who have heretofore been in
fellowship with one another; but I am helpless. If there were any medium course that would secure the
full advantage of a pure and decided ecclesial attitude, while preventing the apprehended isolation of
some who are prepared for that attitude, but not to take it in this way, I should be glad to concur in it:
but I see none. I cannot but be thankful at the number of those who, up to this date, have sent in their
adhesion to the course proposed. I was fully prepared for only a small return of the post cards: whereas,
those which have come in represent a majority of the whole ecclesia. There are doubtless others who
will make up their minds in a favourable sense before our meeting on Friday week: including, perhaps,
those to whose letters I thought this the most convenient form of answer.
                                                                                  Faithfully your brother,
                                                                                       ROBERT ROBERTS.
    P.S.—I may say that I should probably have been at the Board School meeting last week (a meeting
convened by the disapprovers) if I had not had a previous engagement that took me away on Tuesday
morning to Spalding and Nottingham; also that I claim no “authority” beyond that which every man
possesses to do the best in his power for God in his day and generation.
                                         The Meeting for Action
    This was held on Friday, June 12th. The following resolutions were adopted:—
    1. That this meeting, consisting of (about 330) brethren and sisters, whose names have been read,
and who have signified beforehand their unanimity with regard to the objects for which they are
convened, hereby records and professes its conviction that the doctrine of the divine inspiration and
consequent infallibility of the Scriptures in all parts of them (as originally written by prophets and
apostles) is the first principle of that system of truth which forms the basis of our fellowship one with
another in Christ; and that, consequently, we are unable to compromise that principle by continuing in
association with those who either believe or tolerate the doctrine publicly promulgated by brother
Ashcroft, and publicly endorsed and defended by brother Chamberlin, that the Bible is only partly
inspired, and contains an element of merely human authorship liable to err.
    2. That, in execution of this determination, we hereby separate ourselves from the organisation
heretofore subsisting in the Temperance Hall, on the ground that many in that organisation either hold
the doctrine of partial and fallible inspiration, or think it right to remain in association and co-operation
with those who do.
    3. That a letter be written to those we leave behind, expressing our regret at parting with many
among them, and inviting as many as are able to unite themselves with us on the basis expressed in our
first resolution.
    4. That the following be the letter addressed to them:—(See further on.)
    5. That as the legal occupation of the Temperance Hall vests in us, through bro. Roberts, to whom
the lease is granted, we cannot but resolve to remain in the Temperance Hall; but desiring to avoid all
discourtesy, even in appearance, we offer to provide a meeting-place for those who come not with us
for a period of four weeks, so as to give them time to deliberate and resolve upon their future
procedure.
    6. That being the greater number (both of the executive and general body) of those heretofore
constituting the organisation known as the Birmingham Ecclesia, we hereby use the power residing in
the majority, of dissolving the said organisation, and do hereby declare it to be, from and after this date,
DISSOLVED.
    7. That we recognise the right of those from whom we have separated, to an equitable share in the
funds and effects of the late organisation now in our hands; and we, therefore, hereby resolve to make
a liquidation of the same, and to offer them a pro rata dividend, calculated individually, or (if they prefer

                                                      136
it) to hand it over in a sum total, according to the list of names which they may furnish us, constituting
their assembly.
     8. That we now and hereby re-incorporate ourselves as the Birmingham Christadelphian Ecclesia.
     9. That before we re-adopt our constitution and order, a committee (afterwards to be named) be
appointed to consider the same in a leisurely way, with a view to the adoption of improvements (if any),
which may have been suggested by the experience of the last twenty years.
     10. That pending the adoption of such revised constitution, the following brethren be, and are
hereby appointed, by the vote of this meeting, to act in the several necessary offices of service, viz.:—
(Names follow).
     11.—That the presiding and managing brethren be the Committee for the revision of the
constitution, as suggested in Resolution IX.
     The following was immediately transmitted through the post, to the disapprovers, as
                                             A LETTER
      To those who have not seen their way to separate with us from a position of compromise
                      with the doctrine of partial and fallible inspiration.
    DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS—The circulars addressed to you through the post will have prepared you
for the act which we have felt called upon to perform, and of which we now desire to acquaint you in
the spirit of brotherly love. We have to-night adopted the following among other resolutions. (Here
follow 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). With our reasons for the course of action authorised in these resolutions,
you have been made acquainted. We need not trouble you with them again at any length. A doctrine
was introduced among us some time ago, and received with favour from some, and non-resistance by
others, which is calculated, in our judgment, to undermine confidence in the Bible as the word of God.
That doctrine is (however disguised it may be in elegant periphrases and plausible disclaimers), that the
Scriptures are not wholly reliable; that there is an element of error in them, due to the absence of Divine
inspiration in the writing of parts of them, or to the presence of an inspiration that did not keep the
writers from error. The doctrine that inspiration may err we regard as the most serious of all the views
to which this controversy has given birth. We cannot help feeling that it comes perilously near to
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
    Many of you say you do not hold this doctrine. At this, we are glad, but your determination to abide
by those who do hold it, or uphold those who teach it, makes it impossible for us in our action to make
any discrimination between you and them. It is a scriptural principle which commends itself to reason,
that he that biddeth a man God-speed, in an evil course, makes himself responsible for that course (2
Jno. 11). The principle is illustrated all through those Scripture histories which some of you say are not
inspired. God said to Israel He would be no more with them until they put away from their midst the
offender against Divine appointment (Josh. 7:12). He told them on another occasion, by Moses, that
they would be consumed in the sin of Korah if they did not depart from them (Num. 16:24–26). He
expressed His approval of Phinehas for his voluntary zeal against the sinners in the camp (Num. 25:10,
12), and of Jehu, for laying a trap for the worshippers of Baal (2 Kings 10:18, 30).
    The principle received expression in apostolic times, in Christ’s condemnation of those churches that
suffered wrong teaching in their midst (Rev. 2:14, 20), and His approbation of those who could not bear
the evil, but exposed the pretences of false apostles (Rev. 2:2, 6), also in Paul’s command to purge out
the old leaven (1 Cor. 5:6, 7), to turn away from those having an empty form of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5)
and in the Spirit’s summons to “Come out” of Babylon, lest being, by fellowship, partakers of her sins,
we receive also of her plagues (Rev. 18:4).
    Now, in our judgment, it is not possible for men to commit a greater evil in our age than to corrupt
and weaken the word of God by a doctrine that it is not wholly reliable. We do not wish to argue the
question with you now: we merely wish to acquaint you with the reason of our present action which is
                                                     137
most painful to us. We cannot make ourselves responsible for the dishonour to God’s word implied in
the doctrine of partial and erring inspiration; nor for the consequences that will certainly spring from it
in the workings of things among many. We do not feel at liberty to sanction in our midst any
compromise of Paul’s statement that all the Holy Scriptures of Timothy’s acquaintance were given by
inspiration of God. You may believe Paul’s statement equally with ourselves, but if you make yourselves
one with those who nullify it by the doctrines they hold, you erect the same barrier between us and you
that exists between us and them.
    We do not say by this that you are not brethren, or that Christ will refuse you at His coming. We
leave that. We do not judge you; we judge ourselves. We say we cannot be implicated in the position
which you feel at liberty to hold towards the new doctrine that has been introduced. We desire to
regard you with feelings of friendship and brotherly love; but so long as you retain connection with a
false doctrine of so dangerous a character, you compel us to set aside, in the spirit of Paul’s
recommendation, which while telling us to count you not as enemies, but to admonish you as brethren,
at the same time directs us to have no company while things are on a footing that does not allow of it.
We invite you to abandon your doubtful position and unite yourselves with us on the ground we have
defined in the resolutions set forth. We do not press you. You must be guided by your own judgments. If
you do not see eye to eye with us as to what is expedient to be done, you can but act according to your
convictions; but for ourselves, we dare not hesitate longer to adopt a course which we feel is called for
by faithfulness and purity and peace. We hope that reconsideration may, by-and-bye, enable many of
you to see the matter in what appears to us a scriptural light. Meanwhile, we are compelled to forego
your further companionship at the Temperance Hall. When you are prepared to take our attitude, as
expressed in Resolution 1, it will be more than a pleasure to us to see you resume your place. With best
wishes,
    Signed on behalf of the meeting,
                                                                                              J. J. POWELL.
                                                                                             J. E. WALKER.
                                                                                               R. ROBERTS.
                                                  Results
   About 330 brethren and sisters have declared for a wholly-inspired Bible as a first principle in our
basis of fellowship, not to be compromised by association with believers in a partial and fallible
inspiration. These met together in their separate capacity, for the first time, in the Temperance Hall, on
Sunday, June 14th. It was necessary to use tickets of admission to the floor for convenience of
separation. About 140 of the others attended, and took their places in the gallery as “a silent protest”
against the action of the others. That action is called “unconstitutional.” So it is: but it may be something
better. There are higher acts than constitutional acts. Constitutionalities are secondary: essentialities
come first, and sometimes must over-rule the other. What is the quality expressed by the word
“constitutional?” That which is according to the constitution. And what is a constitution? The laws or
rules agreed to for the pursuance of a common end. They are binding so long as the object of their
existence is attainable by them; but when they become an obstacle to their object, they lose their force.
There are times in the workings of every form of human society when it is legitimate to suspend
constitutional forms. Constitutional forms grow out of vital conditions; and when vital conditions are
interfered with, the constitutionalities collapse, whether in individual or corporate life. A man, for
example, must have food and air. Interfere with these, and constitutional forms are nowhere. Society
must be protected from violence; and in the presence of treason and insurrection, the constitutional
forms that are serviceable for times of peace and order, disappear before martial law. A society of
people are bound by their laws as long as the principles that underlie these laws are upheld. An ecclesia
exists first for the truth of God (which is independent of all constitutions, and cannot be made the

                                                      138
subject of legislation, but only of formulation for concurrent agreement); secondly, for the duty arising
out of the truth; and thirdly, for its corporate operations as regulated by constitution (otherwise,
concurrent assent). The foundation of the whole structure is the truth; and the first part of the truth, in
our day, is that the Bible is the wholly-inspired and infallible word of God. The denial, or the toleration
of the denial of this, is interference with a vital condition of ecclesial life, and calls for the disregard of
human constitutionalities that may stand in the way of its resistance. This is the explanation and the
justification of a mode of procedure which will be commended or condemned, according as the
spectator sees God or man in the case. A zealous servant of God recognising the principle at stake will
readily condone a mere question of mode in view of the vital interest secured. A man having hazy or
faltering convictions of the inspiration of the Bible will, of course, lean the other way. The matter in
question is not the accuracy of trifling Biblical details—whether genealogical or otherwise. It is the
principle which has been laid down to account for supposed errors in these departments that has to be
resisted to the utmost—principles which, when fully worked out—(and principles do work themselves
out in communities, whether intended or not)—would reduce large parts of the scripture to mere
Hebrew literature of questionable reliability; and, by re-action, all the rest as well.


+ Notes (The Action at Birmingham)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1885, p. 572
E. C.—The action at Birmingham will make no difference to places that have already accepted,
or are prepared to accept, a wholly-inspired Bible as a first principle in the basis of fellowship.


Notes (Persistent Error)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1880, p. 572
   J.S.—The only remedy for persistent error, when all endeavour to remove it from the mind of the
subject of it is a failure, is that prescribed by Jesus to the disciples in reference to the Scribes and
Pharisees: “Let them alone.” This cannot be followed out except by dissociation or withdrawal, which,
however painful to the feelings, will operate wholesomely on both sides, by at all events securing peace
one side and opportunity for reflection on the other.


Tour in Scotland
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1867, p. 267-271
    THE EDITOR’S refusal to break bread with the Aberdeen brethren on account of their connection with
the Dowieites, was the subject of warm debate at two meetings. He was closely taken to task for his
conduct, which he defended on principles familiar to all who are alive to the bearing of the truth. His
first answer was that the Dowieites were unfaithful to the truth. This was met by a declaration that we
ought not to judge each other. Now, let us look at this for a moment, and we shall find that it is a fallacy
of the most pernicious kind. That we are not to judge is true in the sense intended by Christ when he
said “Judge not.” We are not to decide who of those, believing the truth, are worthy or unworthy of
eternal life; nor to carry out our conviction on such a point by repudiating those whom we may regard
unfavourably, except where an open violation of the commandments of Christ takes place. It is Christ’s

                                                       139
especial function to do this, and to separate the chaff from among the wheat, but it is not true that we
are to shut our eyes to delinquency, and extend our fellowship without discrimination. In this we are to
judge, in the sense of determining our duty toward those to whom we may stand related We are to
decide where fellowship should be given and where it ought to be withheld. If this is not a true principle,
whence arises the distinction between the ecclesia and the world? We come out of the world; we
separate from the apostacy; we withdraw from the fellowship of both, and would, one and all, refuse to
resume that fellowship by admitting parties belonging to either class into the ecclesia, and we would
even, without dispute, refuse to countenance a disobedient brother. Paul says to the Corinthians (1st
Epistle, 5:11), I have written unto you NOT TO KEEP COMPANY if any man that is called a brother be a
fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no
not to eat.” Again, to the Thessalonians, he says (2 Epistle, 3:14) “If any man obey not our word by this
epistle, have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” Again, verse 6, same chapter, “Withdraw
yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the traditions which he received of
us.” Again, (1 Tim. 6:3, ) “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing
nothing, * * * from such withdraw thyself.” Now here are plain apostolic injunctions which cannot be
carried out without forming a judgment on the matters involved. For how shall we know when to
withdraw from another, unless we conclude that a state of things justifying it, exists? And how can we
come to this conclusion without observing and considering the matters leading to it? This mental act is
the very basis of the withdrawal enjoined. How then can it be condemned? When Christ said “Judge
not,” he did not forbid what his apostles afterwards enjoined. Is Christ against Paul? Those who
deprecate a compliance with Paul’s rules for determining questions of fellowship virtually teach that he
is. To such we must not listen. If any man contends for a course of action opposed to what Paul
commands in his epistles, he puts himself into a position in which, by Paul’s command, we are to have
no company with him. The Aberdeen answer to “judge not,” is no reply to the allegation that the
Dowieites are unfaithful to the truth. This fact continues to be a reason for avoiding their fellowship.
    But it may be said that Paul’s directions on the subject of withdrawal, apply only to matters of
conduct, and not to matters of doctrine. To this we would reply, that if it does not apply to matters of
doctrine, the Aberdeen brethren themselves have committed the very crime of which they accuse the
Christadelphians; they are guilty of schism. Why have they left the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the
Morisonians, and the others? Are not all these, respectable, well-behaved people? plentiful, many of
them, in gracious looks, kindly words, and good deeds? On what principle can they defend separation
from them? Do not the orthodox communities believe the Bible, and profess the name of Christ? Why
have they come away from them? Are they not guilty of having “judged” these “sincere” professors of
religion? Yes, in a sense, they are; and they have done quite right, for they are commanded to judge of
themselves what is right, and act accordingly. The attitude enjoined in reference to sinful deportment, is
also incumbent toward doctrinal defection. It is true the passages quoted above refer mainly to
behaviour; but the same duty is elsewhere inculcated in reference to those who obstruct or oppose, or
deny the truth in any of its doctrinal elements. 2 John, 9, –10, is a forcible illustration of this: “If there
come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (that is, the truth concerning Christ’s manifestation in
the flesh,) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; FOR HE THAT BIDDETH HIM GOD SPEED,
IS PARTAKER OF HIS EVIL DEEDS.” Paul indicates the same duty in several places. Speaking to the Galatians of
certain “false brethren unawares brought in,” he says, “to whom we gave place by subjection - no, not
for an hour.” This was in reference to the Judaistical believers of Paul’s time, who taught the necessity
for being circumcised and observing the law. He says of them “A little leaven leaventh the whole lump. *
* * I WOULD THEY WERE EVEN CUT OFF WHICH TROUBLE YOU.”—(Gal. 6:9, 12.) He says something to the same
effect to the Corinthians: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out
therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. * * * PUT AWAY FROM AMONG

                                                      140
YOURSELVES THAT WICKED PERSON.”—(1 Cor. 5:6, 7, 11.) There is nothing more conspicuous in Paul’s letters
to Timothy, than his jealousy of those in the ecclesia whose influence was detrimental to the truth. He
says, “Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ
Jesus. * * * The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to
faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. * * * * Study to show thyself approved unto God, a
workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain
babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker; of
whom are Hymenœus and Philetus * * * having a form of godliness but denying the power; FROM SUCH
TURN AWAY. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead silly women, laden with sins, led
away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as
Jannes and Jambre withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth. * * Evil men and seducers shall
wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, but continue thou IN THE THINGS WHICH THOU HAST
LEARNED * * * Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-
suffering and doctrine, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine: but after their
own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears
from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables..”—(2 Tim. 1:13; 2:2, 15–17; 3:5–8; 13, 14; 4:2–4.) The
same anxiety about preserving the truth in its purity from the corrupting influence of its loose
professors, is manifest in his letter to Titus. Defining the qualifications of an elder, he says he must be a
man “holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine to
exhort and convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially
they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped * * * A man that is an heretic, after the first
and second admonition, reject.”—(Titus 1:9–11; 3:10.) To the same purpose are the words of Jude. “It
was needful for me to write to you that ye should CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH WHICH WAS ONCE
DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS; for there are certain men crept in unawares, &c.—(verses 3–4.) The Aberdeen
brethren and the Dowieites themselves have shown their apprehension of these apostolic precepts by
separating from the sects and denominations of the orthodox world. Upon what principle then can they
object to the attitude of Christadelphians towards the Dowieites, on the supposition that the latter
corrupt the truth? It is entirely beside the mark to raise the cry of schism; this is a false issue. It is not a
question between schism and unity among those holding the truth; it is a question of truth versus error
among those professing the former. The Dowieites are consistent in the position they maintain,
supposing that their doctrines are the truth: but the Aberdeen brethren have not even that feeble plea.
They believe the Dowieites to be wrong in many of their doctrines, and yet they advocate connection
with them, although justifying separation from the sects. They do so on the ground that the Dowieites
have a great part of the truth: but this is not a principle that can be scripturally defended. There is no
authority for making one part of the truth less important than another. A reception of the truth on one
point will not condone its rejection on another. Can we suppose that the Judaizers had no part of the
truth? Did the Gnostics who denied that Christ had come in the flesh, reject the kingdom of God? Did
not the unbelieving Jew hold the truth in great part? Yet Paul counselled withdrawal from them all.
Nothing short of fidelity to the whole truth can be accepted as a safe policy. “The things concerning the
kingdom of God,” and “those things that concern our Lord Jesus Christ,” in their scriptural amplitude
must be the measure and standard of fellowship. Those who go for less than this must be left to
themselves; in this they are not judged; they are only subjected to the action of another man’s
conception of duty, and are left at perfect liberty to organize themselves on whatever they may
conceive to be a scriptural basis.
    Paul’s injunctions on the subject of dissociation, from those whose influence is adverse to the truth,
have their basis in common sense. The truth associates men in a common purpose to prosecute the
mission to which it calls them as regards both themselves and others. Thus associated, they are an
ecclesia, and their first duty is the preservation of the truth which has created them. Collectively, they

                                                       141
are, in Paul’s words to Timothy, “the pillar and ground of the truth.” That is, in relation to the
unbelieving world, they are a pedestal upon which the truth rests, a prop or stay by which it is upheld.
Apart from them, the world has little chance of ever knowing it. With them rests the work of inviting
men’s attention to, and preserving it in a form in which it will be efficacious when laid hold of. If it
becomes corrupted in their midst, they cease to be an ecclesia, and degenerate to a mere sect of
errorists, of which there are many in the world. If they continue steadfast in the truth, rejecting the
divers fables by which, in all ages, it has shewn such a liability to be nullified and destroyed, they are a
beacon of light and a storehouse of life-giving manna by which men may be saved. This is evident from
Paul’s words to Timothy personally: “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them;
for, in doing this, THOU SHALT BOTH SAVE THYSELF AND THEM THAT HEAR THEE.”—(1 Tim. 4:16.) What is true of
Timothy in the matter is true of everybody possessing the truth; for neither Paul nor Timothy’s power to
save men lay in their appointment or their personal gifts or peculiarities, but in the truth of which they
were the treasure-vessels. “Who is Paul,” enquires Paul himself, “and who is Apollos, but ministers by
whom ye believed.”—(1 Cor. 3:5.) It is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation, (Rom. 1:16, )
and not the men who may preach it. Hence, Paul rejoiced that in Rome, some preached the gospel, “of
contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to his bonds.” He says, “Whether in pretence or in
truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice.”—(Phil. 1:18.)
    Now, by what means shall a community, based on the truth, preserve the truth in purity in its midst?
Obviously by the means indicated by Paul and John, that is, by exacting of all who are in it an implicit
adherence to the things, facts, principles, points, tenets, or whatever else they may be called, which go
to make up the truth in its entirety, and by refusing to associate with those who oppose or refuse to
endorse any of those elements. Some recommend, in opposition to this, the employment or argument
with those who may be in error. As a preliminary process, common wisdom and humanity would dictate
this course; but if an ecclesia is to go no further than argument, how could its existence continue? An
effort would, doubtless, be put forth to reclaim those who are in error; but, where those efforts fail,
dissociation by withdrawal is natural and inevitable. The ecclesia is not a place for argument; it is for
fellowship in agreement. When a man requires to be argued with, his natural place is outside, and if he
will not go outside, separation must be enforced by withdrawal on the part of the rest. The adoption of
this policy may be oftentimes hurtful to amicable feeling, but this must not deter from faithfulness;
Christ distinctly foretold that the result of his operations in the world would be to sow division, causing
father to separate from son, mother from daughter, and the closest of friends to divide. Therefore, the
occurrence of painful violations of friendship need not surprise, or cause uneasiness to, devout minds,
as if something were happening contrary to the mind of Christ. Division is the inevitable concomitant of
an uncompromising adherence to the truth. Peace purchased at the cost of compromise is doubly
dangerous. The truth is the standard, and must alone be allowed to rule. All doubts ought to be solved
in its favour. This is the principle of action to which study will ultimately lead. The act of separation is
not an act of judgment against those from whom we may separate. It is an act of self-vindication; an act
by which we discharge a duty and wash our hands of evil.
    The truth has gradually emerged from the fables in which for centuries it had been lost: and only an
inexorable policy on the part of those receiving it will preserve it from a recurrence of the disaster which
drove it from among men shortly after the days of the apostles. The dissent of the Dowieite professors
of the truth from this policy, and their fellowship with and belief of some of the fables of the apostacy, is
the cause of the division that now exists. This division must be a cause of deep sorrow on the part of
those who love the truth, but the attitude of the individuals in question leaves no alternative to those
who desire to be faithful: with the Dowieites rests all the responsibility. Regret at the breach of unity
must never overbear the determination to maintain the truth. Should they see their way to the
reception of the whole truth, and the repudiation of all the fables with which they parley, and the
adoption of a faithful attitude, the present state of Dowieism would come to an end, and the cause of

                                                      142
truth and brotherly love would receive a mighty acceleration, which would fill the hearts of the
brotherhood with joy. The question of brotherly love must be left alone till then, except among those
who band themselves on the side of the truth. The truth first; brotherly love afterwards. “Pleas for
unity” are out of place while the truth is being trifled with; they are dangerous; they are treacherous,
however well meant. They will not be listened to by those who are set for the defence of the gospel.
    “But,” said the Aberdeen brethren, “how do we know that the Dowieites, as you term them, trifle
with the truth? We have only your word for it?” A question like this provokes an exclamation of surprise.
If men cannot see the false position of the Dowieites after all the evidence that has been brought forth
from their own lips and the mouths of others, there must be in the men great dullness of spiritual
apprehension, or some sympathy with the position taken by the Dowieites. It cannot be ignorance of
what the Dowieites are, unless they have stopped their eyes and ears for a long time. A further evidence
of their state will be found in the following correspondence which has lately taken place between the
ecclesia in Edinburgh, and a brother who left the fellowship of the brethren through Dowieite
sympathy:—EDINBURGH, June 2, 1867.


The Obedience of Christ and His Brethren
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1877, p. 11-16
    LETTERS on the Doctrine of God-manifestation, and Extracts from the most recent and advanced
writings of the late JOHN THOMAS, M.D. Manchester: John Heywood.
    It is the opposite of refreshing to have to read or review this pamphlet. Yet duty calls for some notice
of it. Some time ago, it was a mere-man assault on the truth that came under our notice in this form:
now it is the opposite extreme. We regret both exceedingly—one as much as the other; for both
obscure some portion of the truth, and both are fraught with mischievous practical consequences.
When we have the choice, we choose peace, but we have no alternative when error advances to the
attack, under whatever plea, to demolish any part of the noble structure of truth erected by the Spirit of
God through the prophets and apostles of Israel.
    This is what this pamphlet does. It lays its axe at the root of the principle of voluntary obedience, on
which all conceptions of sin and righteousness are founded. It declares that phrase to be an
“unintelligible” one (page 64). It affirms that obedience is not a voluntary thing (63), and that even in
the matter of our obedience of the truth, we are impelled by the Spirit of God (62). These conclusions
evidence the incompetence of the treatment which arrives at them, and illustrate more than anything
else could do, the falseness of the doctrine which requires them. That doctrine is that Christ had no will
of his own. We have discussed this question before, and will not repeat the arguments, which may be
found in the letter appearing in the Christadelphian, of March, 1876. Suffice it to say that it is a doctrine
that obliterates one of the most precious truths concerning Christ to which we stand related as his
brethren, viz., that “in that Christ himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that
are tempted,” in consequence whereof, “we have not an high priest that cannot be touched with the
feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are”—(Heb. 2:18; 4:15)—a doctrine to
which Christ himself gave expression in the words, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good
cheer, I have overcome the world.” “He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him
will I grant that he sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father
on His throne.”—(John 16:33; Rev. 3:21).
    The claim to have “the most recent and advanced writings of Dr. Thomas,” on the side of the no-will
theory, is not the least objectionable feature of the pamphlet. It is a claim that has no ground whatever
in fact. It is curiously confuted in the pamphlet itself. Among the “extracts” put forward as among the

                                                      143
Dr.’s “most recent and (so-called) advanced” utterances on the subject, is one from the Dr.’s article on
the “Baptism of the Spirit.” Now this, which is cited as a “most recent” utterance, is really older than
Eureka in which are some of the things which the compilers of the pamphlet consider not “advanced.” It
first appeared in the Herald of the Kingdom for 1861, from which it was re-produced in the
Christadelphian. Consequently, it is fifteen years old, at least. If this was known to the pamphleteers,
why is it quoted as if it had appeared in the Christadelphian for 1875 for the first time? If it was not
known, what comes of their suggestion that this which was written in 1861 is more “advanced” than
what the Dr. wrote afterwards in Eureka?
    This instance proves that the pamphleteers are wrong in their judgment of the matter; and commit
an error in using what they call “the most recent and advanced writings of Dr. Thomas,” to discredit
what he had (in other cases) previously written. If they are not able to see the harmony between the
one part and the other, others are; and, therefore, the pamphleteers should modestly seek for the fault
in themselves, instead of coming forward with the suggestion (by the implication of the phrase they use)
that the writings of Dr. Thomas, as we have them in Elpis Israel, Eureka, Phanerosis, &c., are practically
worthless, because neutralised by something which they call “more advanced” on a subject of first
importance. The fault lies assuredly in their incapability to grapple with the bearings of a deep and far-
reaching subject, and not in the writings in which that subject is developed in its completeness. These
writings cannot be divided into “advanced” and “more advanced,” as regards the doctrine they teach,
though perhaps open to that classification as regards style of utterance (and that only in a mild degree).
They are one in what they teach; the only difference is that the later writings bring out more in fulness
and detail, and with greater maturity of speech, the principles enunciated in the earlier.
    A man’s style of expression naturally grows more technical and condensed the longer he writes on a
subject; and these technical and condensed expressions judged apart from the first principles to which
they stand related, may sometimes appear to carry a wrong idea to such as are unskilled. But they are
not really inconsistent with the first principles of the subject. This is true in every branch of knowledge
or human occupation. For instance, when a man says that stock is the most sensitive thing in the world,
he appears to teach that the commercial fiction called “stock” is an entity with susceptibility to vital
impression; an ignorant person, with a superstitious theory on the subject of stock, might claim his
words as a confirmation of the theory, though the words themselves are in perfect harmony with the
fact that stock literally is merely abstract value, represented in scrip, and was never intended to mean
anything else.
    Dr. Thomas’s later expressions are more elliptical and tropical than his earlier style. His earlier style is
more literal, precise and elementary as the exigencies of the case required. But he taught the same
thing in both styles, though with more detail in the latter than in the former. Any man of discernment,
understanding the truth thoroughly, can see this, and will resent all allusion to his “most recent and
advanced writings,” when intended to suggest that he taught a different doctrine in them from what he
did in the earlier.
    Dr. Thomas’s teaching is opposed to the doctrine of the pamphleteers. They see this with regard to
his general writings (including Eureka), and they only infer from one or two later fragments, that he
must have thought differently at last. But in these later fragments, he teaches nothing he did not teach
before, and, therefore, they are precluded from inferring that he at last thought the voluntary
obedience of Christ inconsistent with the manifestation of God in him, when plainly at first he did not
think so. It would be more satisfactory were the pamphleteers to frankly say they think the Dr. was
wrong than to try to make it out that the Dr. altered his mind. We personally know that there was no
alteration with the Dr., notwithstanding surmises and assertions to the contrary.
    There are glimmerings in the pamphlet of a consciousness on the part of the compilers, that this is
the fact, and that they are on ground that Dr. Thomas never occupied. Thus, one of them says (page 25):
“The fact of the Dr. having arrived at a certain point ought not to deter us from adding to our faith
                                                       144
knowledge . . . We have had the benefit of his experience and of his struggle for the truth. We have had
the advantage of his writings, and may say we begin where he left off. But are we to remain here? Surely
not. If we can bring out the lustre of his own writings by shaking off that incubus of unscriptural ideas
and expressions which have beclouded the minds of many, then we shall be progressing; but to stand
still is dangerous, and to retrograde is worse.” This is a very plausible speech, but what does it mean? It
either means that we have not attained to a knowledge of the truth, or that having done so, we are not
to remain grounded and settled in it, but, like the Athenians, are to be always itching after some new
thing. In either case, we beg respectfully but firmly to differ from the pamphleteers. Men may study
astronomy or geology, and always have a boundless horizon of progress before them; but the case is
different with the truth revealed in the Scriptures. It is definite, limited and accessible to those who
study it. It may be known in the entirety in which it is revealed. It was revealed for this purpose; and
those who know it know they know it, and can shew it—what it is and what it is not, and what is not it.
In their daily readings, continued year after year, they become familiar with every nook and corner of
the holy oracles, so that they do not require to read to find out what the truth is, but merely to refresh
their memories from day to day. Their particular and studied policy is the opposite of the plausible
speech. It is, having found the truth, to “remain where they are,” steadfast and immovable, established
in the truth, stable and permanent, fastened securely to the apostolic moorings, unlike those who
spread their sails to every breeze of doctrine that wafts over the restless deep. They believe, contrary to
the plausible speech, that it is “dangerous” to do anything else than to “stand still” in the truth acquired.
Growth in the truth is their aim, but this is a different affair from always discussing what the truth is.
Growth in the truth is increased acquaintance with what they know, and not changing from one view to
another.
    We deny the charge of “misrepresenting” the No-willist view. To make no mistake, we asked them to
define it themselves, and published their definition, though not intending at the time to publish either it
or our answer. The publication was due to circumstances explained at the time. Inability from dishealth,
to produce other matter quick enough for the printer at the time was one cause. This cause, however,
has had nothing to do with the judgment of our matter, as the pamphlet would hint. Health is now
greatly re-established, as compared with that time; and with improved health comes a clearer and
firmer conviction of the mischievous character of the new error.
    As to our “right” of action in the case, it is neither more nor less than that of the pamphleteers. Every
man has a right, in the Lord’s absence, and indeed is bound to do what, in the exercise of a
conscientious judgment, it seems to him he ought to do. We do no more than others claim the right to
do; and if our opportunity is larger, we are not to be blamed for this. Dr. Thomas’s advice to the Chicago
friends, is not applicable to the present case. That advice was based on the supposition that the truth
was received though not understood: in this case it is opposed. Besides, it was not “on this very
question.” No one in the Chicago case ever denied Christ’s voluntary obedience. Dr. Thomas was the last
man to counsel peace at the expense of the truth.
    The letter commencing on page 43, which we returned to the writer for separate publication, was
too long (for the character of it), to appear in the Christadelphian. It is a maze or words without
understanding, notwithstanding a show of wisdom. Nevertheless, we intended—as we informed the
writer—to publish a summary of its arguments, with the notice they might require. We did not
absolutely decline its insertion, as our letter to the writer bears witness. Any summary of it is now
rendered unnecessary by its pamphlet publication. Indeed very little notice of it at all is called for. Like
his co-pamphleteer, he says he does not make the Dr. a finality, and refers to him as “a dear old man,”
as to which we have simply to say that the Dr. as a “dear old man” is nothing to us if he has not
developed the truth. We know no man after the flesh. If Dr. Thomas has developed the truth, he has
developed a finality, because the truth is a finality; and that he has done this we know, because it is a


                                                      145
matter admitting of knowledge. If others are uncertain, let them be uncertain. We will not join them in
sapping the foundations of confidence.
    The writer attempts to place us in contradiction to ourselves because, in opposing a mere-man view
of the work of Christ, we stated, some years ago, that “God did the work himself and Christ was the
form of it;” and afterwards stated in the letter reproduced in the pamphlet, that “we see great objection
to defining Christ as merely a form of the Father’s work.” The attempt to make out a contradiction here,
is only a proof of the want of discrimination which is visible throughout the pamphlet in its treatment of
Scripture statements. A form and a form merely are two different things, as “a man” and “a man
merely” are different. We may believe that Christ was a man without holding, with some that he was a
man merely: so it is not inconsistent with believing that he was the form of God’s work to object to his
being described as such merely, to the exclusion of his own part in it. No amount of italics and small
capitals will make out a contradiction where none exists. The allusion to the necessity for “good
memory” is a peace of raillery which we must endure, in the confidence that our statements are true. So
also is the reference to the publication of certain articles, disavowed not “last year,” as the writer
inaccurately states, but six and a half years ago; as soon in fact as we perceived what was not visible
immediately to an overworked and confidence-placing mood—that though good in many points, their
argument excluded the divine aspect of the work of Christ, in styling him “a mere man.” Our disclaimer
appeared in the Christadelphian in 1870. To make use of these articles under such circumstances, in
support of a charge of contradiction shows how groundless the charge is.
    As regards the writer’s quotation of prophetic testimonies concerning God’s work by Christ in the
earth, it has simply to be said that he does not, in his application of them, allow room for the facts of the
case. God works, but how? He brought Israel out of Egypt, but so it is testified did Moses. Is there,
therefore, a contradiction? Or is Moses God? God gave the law, yet it is testified Moses gave it.—(John
7:19.) It is styled “the law of Moses;” and also “the law of the Lord.”—(Luke 2:39.) Are we to say that
Moses of the one testimony is the “Lord” of the other? There would be just as much force in this
reasoning as in some of the reasoning of the letter on certain passages placed in juxtaposition. God did
the work by Moses, and Moses did his part; and, in the second case, though in a higher form, God does
the work by Christ, and Christ does his part. It does not prove that he contributed no part to the work
because that work in its entirety is Jehovah’s work. We admit there is a great difference between Moses
and Jesus; but as regards God’s relation to their work (Moses and the prophet “like unto him”), the idea
expressed by the language is the same. God is the initiator, the authoriser, the helper, and
comprehensively the doer; for apart from His initiation, authority and help, it would not have been
done; but the mistake lies in using these comprehensive descriptions to exclude the mode in which God
does the work. This is what those do who say that because God did the work of Christ, therefore the
separate will of the man Christ Jesus had no part in the doing of it. They might just as well say that
because God gives us life and health and all things, therefore we have no part to perform in the securing
of those blessings. A man orders a house to be built and pays for it. He tells his friends he built the
house; shall we, therefore, say he meant that his actual hand put the bricks together? This would be as
reasonable as the conclusion, that because Jehovah says he will be, and do so and so, therefore this
being and doing excludes the instrumentality by which he accomplishes His work. We admit the case is
not parallel, but it bears on the understanding of language. Christ is Jehovah’s work and Jehovah’s
manifestation: and the connection between Christ and Jehovah was much more direct than between
Him and any other of His works, or than between any man and any work man may do; but at the same
time, we must not exclude God’s own testimony by the apostles as to the mode in which the work and
the manifestation were accomplished. A man in the divine stamp—the Son of God—was begotten,
brought up, tried, tempted in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15), but obedient in all points as no man
ever was; who taught us to regard his Father as ours (John 20:17); who encouraged us to overcome as
he had done (Rom. 3:21); and who gave us an example of condescension to poverty, notwithstanding

                                                      146
the riches that were his as the Son of God and coming ruler and head of all mankind.—(2 Cor. 8:9.) Such
a man was the work of God; but one of the highest features of it is the loving, intelligent and voluntary
compliance with what the Father required of him: “He was faithful to Him that appointed him, as Moses
was” (Heb. 3:2): a compliance doubtless which his inherited moral qualities, as the Son of God, qualified
him to render, and without which he never could have rendered it, but which at the same time he
rendered by the exercise of a free individual volition, regulated by intelligence and faith, as exemplified
in these two cases:—”Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and He shall presently give
more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?” (Matt. 26:53.) “For
the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.”—(Heb. 12:2.) Morally, he was the
manifestation of God; not by characterless impulse from God but by the evolution of the Divine
character within him, in harmony with the law of all character, which requires individual volition as its
basis. After his baptism at the Jordan, when the Spirit abode upon the proved and approved Son, and
spoke words and did works which the Son said he did not and could not do of himself (John 5:30; 8:28;
14:10), Jehovah’s manifestation in the midst of Israel was complete—as complete as it could be through
a medium of flesh and blood; but there was no obliteration even then of the obedient man Christ Jesus,
who was tempted in all points like as we are. The Father, by the Spirit, dwelt in the Son, but the Son was
still the Son, as recognised in the baptismal formula prescribed by the apostles. It was a unity without
confusion, which cannot be said of the idea presented by the No will theory, which requires them to call
the Spirit the Son, and thereby obliterates one of the three elements of the mystery of godliness.
    The word has only to be “rightly divided” to bring all parts of the subject into harmony. This must be
done. It is not by laying stress on one set of testimonies or one phase of a subject that the truth is to be
established. This is a mode of treatment indeed that is more likely to lead to error than any other, unless
it be the mistake of giving a mathematical precision to elliptical forms of speech, which we see is done in
this pamphlet. By this mistake the No-will theory is extended to every man, and the written word
logically displaced from its position as the means of our enlightenment. The words of Paul, “God
worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” are made to yield the following conclusion:
“The death of the will of the flesh (is) caused by the Spirit of God working in us to will and to do that
which is right. Apart from the operation of the Spirit of God, our mind would be carnal and fleshly, and,
therefore, enmity against God; but under the influence of the Spirit, the old man dies, a new mind takes
possession of our flesh, and a new will is produced, manifesting itself through the flesh.” As this is
written in reply to those who in the context are made to object to the idea of the will being “chained or
coerced,” and who are thereby said to “betray great ignorance,” it follows that the idea expressed is the
orthodox one, which has so completely nullified the Scriptures and superseded their study, viz., that the
Spirit of God acts directly and physically on the minds of men, in order to enable them to be obedient.
This idea cannot be too strongly reprobated, as containing the seeds of spiritual decay and death. The
Spirit of God, as a moral power, does not come to us directly, nor at all as a physical or constraining
power. It comes to us in the ideas which it has embodied in the Word, and it is only in proportion as
these ideas obtain an abiding place in our minds (by the constant companionship of the Word) that we
become spiritually-minded. The gospel is the power of God by which this work of purification is done,
and the gospel is not an abstract “influence,” but a set of ideas which have power to influence
intelligence. The Spirit was with the apostles and with the first generation of believers as it is not with
us; but their possession of the Spirit was not the means of their salvation, but only the means of
attesting and building up the faith by which that salvation was to be secured. When Paul said God
worked in them, it was by way of contrast to the system of human thought which prevailed in Greek
society, of which Philippi, to which the words were sent, was a centre. According to this system of
thought, the beatification of a future state was to be achieved by “heroic” human effort, like the
honours of the public games. Paul’s doctrine was that man was without hope, and could do nothing for
himself till God, in His kindness, put it in their power, coming near to them with the gospel and its

                                                     147
invitation. This mercy was defined by the brethren at Jerusalem as God “granting to the Gentiles
repentance unto life eternal.” Their salvation, therefore, was a matter of God working in them, and not
they working by themselves; but the mode of His working—the mode by which the willing and the doing
of his good pleasure was generated in them, was by the word of the truth of the gospel, instructing
them what to do. So far from superseding the exercise of their own will in relation to what was revealed
to them, Paul refers to this working of God in them as an encouragement to their own diligent
performance: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh,” &c.
Construed as the No-will theory construes this, there is no logic or sense in it, but confusion, which does
not belong to the word or work of God, but to those who mar it by incompetent handling.
    Free-will is the basis of the whole work of God with man. We cannot better illustrate this than by
quoting the following remarks from Dr. Thomas:—
    “Would it have been to the glory of God if He had made a mere machine? had He made inexorable
necessity the law of His nature which he must yield to as the tides to the moon or the earth to the sun?
No reasonable man would affirm this. The principle laid down in the Scriptures is that MAN HONOURS GOD
IN BELIEVING HIS WORD AND OBEYING HIS LAWS. There is no other way in which men can honour their Creator.
This honour, however, consists not in a mechanical obedience; in mere action without intelligence and
volition, such as matter yields to the natural laws; but in an enlightened, hearty, and voluntary
obedience, while the individual possesses the power not to obey if he think best. There is no honour or
glory to God as a moral being in the falling of a stone towards the earth’s centre. The stone obeys the
law of gravitation involuntarily. The obedience of man would have been similar had God created and
placed him under a physical law, which should have necessitated his movements, as gravitation doth the
stone.
    Does a man feel honoured or glorified by the compulsory obedience of a slave? Certainly not; and for
the simple reason that it is involuntary or forced. But let a man by his excellencies command the willing
service of free-men—of men who can do their own will and pleasure, yet voluntarily obey him, and if he
required it, are prepared to sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and estates, and all for the love they bear him;
would not such a man esteem himself honoured and glorified in the highest degree by such signal
conformity to his will? Unquestionably; and such is the honour and glory which God requires of men.
Had he required a necessitated obedience, he would have secured his purpose effectually, at once filling
the earth with a population of adults, so intellectually organised as to be incapable of a will adverse to
His own—who should have obeyed Him as wheels do the piston-rod and steam by which they are
moved—the mere automata of a miraculous creation.
    But, saith an objector, this principle of the enlightened voluntary obedience of a free agent is
incompatible with benevolence; it would have prevented all the misery and suffering which have
afflicted the world, if the globe had been filled at once with a sufficient number of inhabitants who
should all of them have been created perfect. If the character of the all-wise were constituted of one
attribute only, this might have been the case. But God is the sovereign of the universe as well as kind
and merciful, and all his intelligent creatures are bound to be in harmony with His name. He might have
operated on the objector’s principle had it pleased Him, but it did not, for He has pursued the directly
opposite course. . . . He made man a reasonable creature and capable of being acted on by motive,
either for weal or woe. He placed him under a law which required belief of God’s word and obedience.
He could obey or disobey as he pleased; he was free to stand or free to fall. He disbelieved God’s word;
he believed a lie and sinned. Here was voluntary disobedience. Hence the opposite to this is made the
principle of life, by belief of whatsoever God saith, and voluntary obedience to His law. This is the
principle to which the world is reprobate; and to a conformity with which all men are invited and urged
by the motives presented in the Scriptures.”—From Elpis Israel, p. 157, as re-issued by Dr. Thomas in
1866, in a fourth edition, to which the following remark, among others, was prefaced: “For the first time
since correcting the proof of the first edition in 1849, he (the author) has read the work again . . It was
                                                      148
reasonable to suppose that a longer and maturer study of “the Word” might render him dissatisfied with
much originally written. . . but, in reviewing the original, the author was agreeably surprised on finding
he had so few corrections to make.”
    The No-will theory contains the germs of dissolution in relation to all these truths. For this reason it is
to be resisted strenuously, however much its advocates may disclaim the results that belong to it. The
believers of error are sometimes unconscious of the results that belong to their error; but things work
out their own logic at last in spite of the best intentions. It is, therefore, the beginnings of things that are
to be watched. The No-will theory is a beginning of mischief in which we refuse to be implicated. The
consequences of refusal are not our concern or care. Divisions and forsakings we hate and avoid. We
shall rejoice if a retreat on the part of the pamphleteers from the position they have taken up, permit of
a termination of those that have taken place, as well as render an extension of them unnecessary. But, if
not, whatever our personal regrets and disappointments, when the truth or its precepts are at stake, we
can only choose one course. We can only resign ourselves to whatever consequences come from a
refusal to consent to the corruption of the faith once for all delivered to the saints.


Answers to Correspondents (“If a brother sin” – In
Doctrine or Practice)
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                      The Christadelphian, 1893, p. 344
    J. J. (S.)—The rule laid down by Christ for the treatment of personal offences (Matt. 18:15–17) is
doubtless applicable to sins of every description. That it is applicable to personal misunderstandings, no
one questions; but some who recognize this stand back in a case of sin which they may hear of in a
brother, but which does not affect them in any personal way. This is inconsistent with the other
commandments which prescribe a kindly care of our brothers in everything. Sin of any kind on the part
of a brother (doctrinal, practical, or what not) is truly a sin against all his brethren, who are necessarily
more or less injured by what he wrongfully does; but all his brethren may not know of it. It is the part of
those who do know to take the course that Jesus prescribes; not to talk to others of it (which is itself a
sin), but, observing silence to all others concerning the matter, to go direct to the brother concerned
and discuss the matter with him alone. Nothing is so likely to remove the evil as this course, provided it
is done in the way the law of Christ prescribes: “In the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou
also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).


Intelligence (Ecclesial Notes)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 470-472
    A loose basis of fellowship is convenient, and easily becomes popular with inexperienced believers or
obtuse believers of long standing. It is agreeable to human feeling, but it is out of harmony with the
apostolic standard which demands “the whole counsel of God” and “the unity of the faith.” The loose
basis admits of a large co-operation with men and a little more of the friendship of this world than is
possible with those who accept the strangership-with-God which the truth always brings with it where it
is earnestly and fully received. Of course, it is defended as a scriptural thing; no man would admit his
way to be unscriptural; but it may be very unscriptural for all that. A man thinks he takes very scriptural
ground when he says he is content with what Paul required:—“Jesus Christ and him crucified.” But his
misuse of the words he quotes becomes manifest when he attempts to answer very obvious questions.

                                                       149
Does he mean that he would not require a belief in Christ’s resurrection? Does he mean that he would
ignore the question of whose son Christ is? Does he mean that he would leave out baptism and the
condemnation that has come on all men through Adam? Does he really mean that he would require no
more as a basis of fellowship in the truth than a belief that there was such a person as Christ and that he
was crucified?
   I would probably turn out that he meant no such thing. It would probably turn out that he would
require all that is meant and involved in these terms. “Jesus Christ and him crucified” is a brief
periphrasis of “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”; and was never
intended as an indication of how little of the truth would do, but as a definition of the whole truth in
contrast with the wisdom of the Greeks which Paul determinedly ignored in his intercourse with
believers.
   In every other attempt by the quotation of phrases, to excuse a loose and limited basis of fellowship,
the same fallacy will be apparent. The truth is a complete thing. It is made up of coherent parts; and any
consent to ignore any of the parts is unfaithfulness to the whole, and must inevitably lead, as it always
has done, to first the gradual corruption and then the ultimate surrender of the whole. There is no safe,
or logical or Scriptural position but that of requiring the whole truth in its integrity. To say it is a
sufficient basis of fellowship if the mortality of man is admitted and the Kingdom of God allowed—
whether a man know God or not, or understand His Son or not, or know of his Spirit or not, or receive
the commandments or not, or believe in the priesthood of Christ or not, or in his appointment as judge
for life or death at his coming or not, or in the nature of the devil he came to destroy or not, is to show
either one of two things—either that there lacks capacity to grasp the commonest issues of divine truth
or that there is a predominant susceptibility to human sentiments and friendships and conveniences.
We have long since washed our hands of such unfaithfulness to the truth of God: and we will not now
consent to those who say there never ought to have been such a hand-washing (though they took part
in it). Dowieism was rewelcomed by Renunciationism when Renunciationists broke away from the
restraints of the truth. And partial inspirationism is repeating the same evil course. Friends of the truth
have need of the adamant face and brazen forehead enjoined on Ezekiel. It is an unpleasant necessity
but must be accepted if the truth is not to slide back once more into the slough of world-wide
corruption from which it has been fished up and washed in these latter-days.
   Antagonism, if allied to ardour and acerbity, is liable to be unfair without intending it, perhaps. It
indulges in those euphemistic and ambiguous allegations in which every faction, in whatever question,
vents its heat against those who differ from it. The inexperienced or the undiscerning are liable to be led
away by these ex parte dogmatisms. They do not enquire into the substance of the high sounding
generality, which when brought to the test of precise definition, collapses like an air-blown bag under a
juvenile blow.
   What is the “popery” that some cry out about but inflexible insistance on the right—with courtesy
where possible, but always with inflexibility? Would the out-criers do less than insist on the right? Do
they give in to the wrong? Oh no! say they, but you are not the judge of the right. Who is? Is it you?
Suppose they say, “no one,” what then? Is there no right? Oh yes, they may say; but it is for each man to
judge for himself. Very good: “each man”? And we as well? Are we not to judge for ourselves? Must we
accept their judgment? Must we make “popes” of them? Our friends are not reasonable with us. We
judge for ourselves alone in all matters of faith and practice. We impose our judgment on no one. If we
cannot agree with the critics, we are sorry. If others agree with us, we ask in vain for the hundreth time,
why are we to be charged with this as a crime?
   And then this “unrighteous action”—what was it? Merely throwing aside a human arrangement
when it no longer answered the divine ends for which we all agreed to it. A ship is good when she is
sound, but if she gets scuttled by pirate or mutinous crew, the sane passengers will not be very leisurely
about getting into the boat. A house rented from the landlord will be occupied by a tenant so long as it
                                                       150
is in a state that answers the objects of the tenancy: but if bad drainage that cannot be cured shew
itself, or infectious disease adheres to the locality, or the structure begins to give way all over from the
dry rot, the sane tenant will clear out without much formality.
    Our paper constitution was powerless against the organised perfidy of two regularly published
papers with a phalanx of secret sympathisers. There was nothing left but to put aside the paper
constitution. It was a human expediency. There was nothing divine in it when it ceased to be useful. It
was necessary to adopt measures that would make manifest to each other those who were sworn to
maintain the oracles of divine truth against the secret unfaithfulness that had just become public and
which was carrying all before it like a flood. Those who could not diagnose the situation were naturally
taken by surprise, and putting a bit of this and a bit of that together in an irrelevant manner, they made
an evil matter of it. Faithful men enquired and learned to read the matter correctly and were glad of an
opportunity of showing themselves unambiguously on God’s side. The “unrighteous action” will be seen
in a totally different character when things on earth come to be exhibited in a divine light, as they will
shortly. What seems unrighteous action to men, may be, and often is, righteous action in the sight of
God. God sees differently from men. Actions promted with a view to Him, have always in the world’s
history appeared shocking in the eyes of those who cannot rise above the views, impressions and
surroundings of the moment. Our appeal is to another day.


Answers to Correspondents (Open Sin)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1898, p.158
    P. C.—When a brother or sister falls into open sin (“known and read of all men”), an ecclesia is bound
in an open manner to signify its reprobation of the offence, to prevent the taunt arising among “those
without” that iniquity is fellowshipped with impunity. As Paul says, “Them that sin, rebuke before all,
that others also may fear” (1 Tim 5:20). What course should be pursued in the matter? If the brother or
sister offending is callous and indifferent on the subject, there is only one course, and that is, the public
repudiation of their company. But if they are sincerely repentant, it is the duty of the ecclesia to receive
them and help them, at the same time vindicating the ecclesia’s regard for righteousness, and the
sullied honour of Christ, by subjecting their action to some open mark of disavowal. This is best done by
asking them to refrain for a time from the breaking of bread, while not absenting themselves from the
meetings. In this, there is an exhibition of humble submission on the part of the offender which is a
guarantee of the genuineness of his sorrow; and on the part of the ecclesia, an effective washing of their
hands of all complicity with his transgression. We have no direction on the subject, but this seems the
only remedy in our hands at the present time. It has nothing to do with judicial action. The friends of
Christ are not allowed, in the present state, to employ coercive measures, in any form. The execution of
the judgment written is a prerogative in reserve for such only as come through the present probation,
with divine approval. Meanwhile, we are allowed to use the defensive weapon of non-association where
there is non-compliance with the precepts of Christ. “Excommunication” is an ordinance of the apostasy;
ecclesial withdrawal is of apostolic prescription.




                                                      151
Answers to Correspondents (Rifle Corps Membership
and Electioneering)
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1872, p. 186-187
     Is it right to break bread with a brother who is a member of a volunteer corps and a partaker with
them in all their worldly pursuits; or with a brother who canvasses for votes for a Member of
Parliament?—H.D.
     ANSWER.—Paul commands withdrawal from every brother obeying not the word he wrote, by 2
Thess. His word in that epistle includes an exhortation to the Thessalonians, and, therefore, to all
believers, to all time till the Lord changes it, that they “stand fast and hold to traditions which they had
been taught, whether by word or by Paul’s epistle.”—(2:15.) Hence the duty of withdrawal applies to
every case involving the deliberate and unrepentant disobedience of any of the apostolic precepts. Is a
voluntary partnership with the world in the study of the art of war consistent with obedience to these
precepts, which are indeed and in truth, the precepts of Christ? (for he said, “He that heareth you
heareth me.”) No one having knowledge of what those precepts are will answer in the affirmative.
Those precepts require of us to “keep ourselves unspotted from the world” (Jas. 1:27): to be not
conformed to it, but transformed in the renewing in our minds (Rom. 12:2), to mind not earthly things
(Col. 3:2), to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.—(Eph. 5:11). The world, we are
told, lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19), and that we cannot be friends of God and friends of the world
too.—(James 4:4.) How can a man obey these precepts and be a member of a volunteer corps? How can
he obey the command which forbids us to take the sword?—(Matt. 26:52; Rev. 13:10.) It is impossible.
The conclusion follows that a professor in such a position has put himself beyond the pale of the
fellowship of his brethren. As to electioneering, it is only a shade less bad. It is the same business in
another form. A brother may without compromise, supply paper, or printing, or locomotion to parties
engaged in it, on the principle laid down last month, in answer to the bookselling difficulty; (as he may
supply clothing, food, implements, &c., at a price, to soldiers): but to sell himself he has no power, and if
faithful, less inclination. He must keep himself virgin to the Lord, “denying all ungodliness and worldly
lusts, live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the
glorious appearance of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
     J. L. E. will please accept the foregoing remarks in answer to his enquiry on the subject of fellowship
with drunkards.


Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia, No. 223
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1891, p. 414-415
                                                (Excerpt)
     How thankful we ought to be for an unchained Bible, and for liberty to “keep the Commandments of
God and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ” which we read therein. Does the ground of thankfulness
stop here? Far from it. This is a land of Bibles without being a land of light. Multitudes have no
knowledge of it, though it is in their houses, or, at least, within their reach. Other multitudes know it a
little without having any care for it. Others know and appreciate, but do not understand. Some
understand a little without much thoroughness of knowledge or appreciation. If in any degree, we know,
understand and love this emancipated and freely circulated book of God, have we not in this one of the
                                                      152
greatest causes for gratitude? Here, also, let us take care how we think about it. Let us not make the
mistake of supposing it is owing to any discernment or deservings we possess above our neighbours. If
we have attained to the enviable position of understanding the most wonderful and most precious book
under the sun, it is the result of circumstances with the ordering of which we had nothing to do. If God
had not raised up in this century such a man as Dr. Thomas, our generation would have been stumbling
on in the inherited fogs which have entirely hidden the teaching of the Bible from view, while glorifying
the Bible itself in a certain sentimental way. It does not appear that the understanding of the Bible has
been attained in any other channel. There is a deal of writing about the Bible, and a deal of smattering in
connection with separate and scattered points involved in Bible things; but where, outside of his work in
our day, is to be found that complete mastery of the whole Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelations,
which renders the work of God through Israel from the beginning a consistent, connected, and
progressives thing, which not only does not require the help of human philosophy, but which cannot
endure the admixture of it without being spoiled? We know not its like in any current system or
movement, or in any library treasures, ancient or modern, or in the hands of any teacher or institution
of modern life anywhere. If others know of it, we should be delighted to be introduced—with the
liberty, however, of thorough independent inspection. We know enough of shams and echoes and
abortions to make us very chary.
    We have to be thankful, then, that God has not only given us an unchained Bible, with liberty to read
and follow it, but that in the Providentially-regulated work of Dr. Thomas, He has removed the
mountains of tradition and fable which had gathered over it, and made it possible for us to attain an
understanding of it. We have to be thankful also that we have been brought into contact with that work.
We might have remained outside the circle of it. We might never have heard of it. We might have
wandered on in the endless bogs of pulpit theology, to drown in the turbid waters of worldliness, or
perish in the brain-softening malaria of benighted pietism, or sink in the quagmires of agnosticism, or
dash our brains out at the foot of the precipices of atheism. If we have been brought into saving relation
with the hope of Israel, it has been the result of some apparently trivial circumstance of personal
experience. We have met a friend, or seen a book, or heard a conversation, or attended a lecture. The
trivial circumstance has ended in our complete enlightment. Ought not this to excite our gratitude?


Answers to Correspondents
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 404
    A. F. C.—Jesus tolerated Judas because Judas outwardly conformed to the precepts of righteousness
during the three years and a half that he sustained the part of “one of the twelve.” Jesus knew him, but
did not act on a knowledge that could not have been appreciated by either Judas or the other disciples.
He waited till Judas should reveal himself, which is the divine procedure with us all. Though a thief, he
perpetrated his embezzlements under pious pretences: “Ought not this ointment to have been sold for
three hundred pence and given to the poor?” If Jesus had expelled him from the apostolic body before
his real character was manifest, it would have caused confusion, besides removing a needed instrument
for the hour of betrayal.




                                                     153
Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia, No. 81
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1877, p. 65-66
                                                (Excerpt)
    In the case of believers in Christ, the goodness is of a very different nature. They are called to the
fellowship of the Father, and that fellowship an eternal fellowship, and involving a participation in His
incorruptibility and deathlessness. Now, considering who they are, members of a race condemned for
sin at the start, and guilty each one of “many offences,” and considering the exalted nature of the
privilege of friendship and companionship with God, it is no marvel that a special and adequate form of
broken-heartedness and fear should be provided for them. God is great and holy; and He receives not
sinners to his eternal society without the utmost recognition on their part of His position of prerogative
and their position of no claim—yea worse, deserving death. Hence, his requirement of the shedding of
blood, as the basis of propitiation. But we are too far astray for Him to accept even this at our hands.
Therefore, in the Son of Mary—His own Son—He gives us one in whom He will accept it, and in whom
He has accepted it, for “He, by His own blood, entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption (“for us,” is not in the original, and is excluded by the “voice” of the verb—the middle—
which concentrates the application on himself). Yet this Son of Mary and Son of God, was one of the
sufferers from the evil that sin has brought into the world, though without sin as regards his character.
His mission as the propitiation required this combination in harmony with the principle to be
exemplified in his death, viz., the declaration of the righteousness of God as the basis of His forbearance
in the remission of our sins (Rom. 3:25, 26). In the righteous Son of David, the law of sin and death was
destroyed by death and resurrection, and now in Him is “the law of the spirit of life” established in
harmony with the indispensable requirement of God’s supremacy and righteousness. In Him now is life
for all who will come unto God by Him, morally participating in His crucifixion, and sharing His death in
the act of baptism. God will grant forgiveness to all who come to Him in the way appointed. It is no case
of substitution or debt-paying which would obscure the righteousness and the goodness of God. It is a
case of God approaching us in kindness, and giving us, by His own manipulation, one from among
ourselves in whom His “law is magnified and made honourable”—(Isa. 42:21), that by His blood we may
be washed from our sins, in the sense of being forgiven unto life eternal for His sake; and that of His
righteousness we may partake in the assumption of His name.
    The fact that sacrifice is required in order to life eternal is, therefore, not inconsistent with the
goodness which God showed to the Ninevites without sacrifice. It is rather the form which His goodness
takes in a higher matter, and required by the greater highness of the matter. It is the same goodness
manifested in both cases. It is the same God who shines in all parts of the Bible. “What shall we say then
to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but freely gave
Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the
charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth—who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea,
rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”—
(Rom. 8:31–39).
    There is one thing, and one thing only, can separate us from this love. It is specified in the words of
Isaiah to Israel: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” God will have no regard for
those who forget Him or neglect His commandments: those who sink into a state of self-service, who
                                                     154
live exclusively for their own comfort and well-being, who let God slip from their practical recognitions;
His word from their studies; His honour from their concern; His commandments from their lives, will
awake to find that where life and death, and men and angels, and heaven and earth, were powerless to
interpose an obstacle between them and the friendly regard of the Almighty, their own folly has done it
without further remedy. God is love; but our God is also a consuming fire. He will not be mocked; He will
not be put off with the fag-ends of our service. He demands the whole heart and the whole life; and he
is not his own friend who refuses the call: for there will come a time when the man who has served
himself will find he has served a master who can only pay him at last with tribulation, and anguish, and
death; while the man who obeys the Divine call will at the same period discover that in making God his
portion, he has secured the joyful eternal inheritance of all things.


Fellowship and Forbearance
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 171-174
    A LOVED writer in the Christadelphian Adocate (a monthly magazine, published by Bro. Williams, at
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.A.), has the following remarks in disparagement of hasty “withdrawals from
fellowship.” The article as a whole is so beautiful in its exhibition of the divine character, that we gladly
give it a place in the Christadelphian. Wherein it may appear to require qualification we indicate in
remarks at the end.
                                                THE ARTICLE
    The ecclesia is the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 2:15), the sanctuary and
the true tabernacle, which the Lord has pitched and not man (Heb. 8:2). It is God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9).
He has reared it in the midst of a waste, howling wilderness of unenlightened humanity, in a desert
where death holds supreme sway on every side. It is on a journey toward the Promised Land. Its
constituent elements are men and women in the flesh, all, more or less, instructed in the truth of God,
all, more or less, endeavouring to perform the will of their Father, who has called them out of the
surrounding darkness in which they were born, into the glorious light of his salvation, all, more or less,
failing, through the infirmity of the sinful nature they have inherited from Adam, to keep the
commandments of God. Such is the ecclesia during its wilderness probation, its portable, tabernacle
phase. A community of men and women enlightened in the purpose of God, having in their midst faith
hope and charity, in living manifestation, although there may be associated with them those who are
weak or sickly, or even asleep, is a divine institution, ordered and appointed of God—in fact the only
organisation at present upon the earth with which the Eternal Jehovah is interested. They are his sons
and daughters and he is their Father, and Christ their elder brother and high priest.
    To be admitted into such a community is no light matter. No man can of himself enter; he must be
called to the membership by God. To turn one’s back upon an ecclesia of the living God is a step so grave
and momentous that it is not to be taken, unless the case is clear beyond peradventure that all spiritual
life has departed from it, that it has openly and in a most flagrant manner time and again repudiated the
doctrines and commandments of Christ. An ecclesia may become as corrupt as that of Sardis, which had
a name to live only, but was dead, yet, for the “few names” it may contain who “have not defiled their
garments,” it is to be carefully considered. Jehovah would have spared Sodom, a great city, and with it
the cities of the plain, had there been found only ten righteous men in it; how much greater
consideration he bestows upon a congregation of men and women who hear his name, even although
they offend in many things, is seen in his dealings with Israel—long-suffering, patient, tender, kind—and
in those words of Christ to the ecclesia at Sardis.


                                                      155
    To understand the almost inexhaustible patience and carefulness one must have for an ecclesia let
him read the epistles of Paul to the ecclesia at Corinth. When he penned these two remarkable letters
the condition of affairs among them was so grievous, so full of trouble and bitterness, so antagonistic in
many instances to the precepts of Christ, that many brethren, now-a-day, did such a state of things exist
in the ecclesia of which they were members, would consider themselves justified in remaining away
from the meetings to commemorate the death of Christ, and would do so having taken personal offence
at the matter, or they would withdraw themselves and form a separate meeting.
    Paul’s attitude to the ecclesia in Corinth is a guide for us. Turbulent and factious as the ecclesia had
become, yet Paul writes them, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9), and in his
salutation he sends them “grace and peace from God and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” and remembers
with thankfulness their good parts and prays for them that they “come behind in no gift, waiting for the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in
the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7, 8).
    From Paul’s letters we learn that the ecclesia in Corinth was divided into four distinct parties, each
one claiming to be right in the name of its chosen head. One claimed Paul, another Apollos, a third
Cephas, while a fourth declared themselves to be of Christ, and they, evidently, were the smallest and
least influential in the meeting. The apostle expostulates with them in the effort to induce them to act in
accordance with the truth. “Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye
all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined
together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” They had in active operation among them,
convulsing the ecclesia daily, “envying, strife, and division” (1 Cor. 3:3). They were proud and arrogant (1
Cor. 4:6, 7, 8), they permitted a notorious act of fornication to pass unrebuked, and even condoned it (1
Cor. 5:1, 2). They wronged one another and went to law one against another and that before the unjust
(1 Cor. 6:1, 6–8.) They maintained in some instances an open connection with the idolatry which they
had left when they became Christ’s (1 Cor. 8:7–10, 14); they turned the Lord’s Supper into a season of
feasting and debauchery (1 Cor. 11:21, 22); “some among them said there was no resurrection of the
dead,” even although the resurrection of Jesus was the case in question (1 Cor. 15:12–20.)
    Notwithstanding these grievous offences against Christ, Paul, Christ’s minister, did not withdraw
himself from them. He did not rail against them. On the contrary, his letter, in which he prefers these
serious charges, involving both doctrine and walk, is full of anxious, loving care, solicitation, and without
presumption. He pleads with them in all wisdom, seeking their reclamation from the errors. He praises
them fully whenever he gets the opportunity, and when he learns that his first letter has produced a
change in them of a godly sort, he sends them a second in which he declares them his “epistle written in
our hearts, known and read of all men; forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of
Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.”
    No comment is required here to make manifest the true way to act when an ecclesia is involved in
the question of fellowship. It is the house of God, and where it has only two or three who come together
in the name of Christ to commemorate the great love wherewith he has loved his friends, there Christ
has said he would be present, and although anger, strife, envy, and bitterness fill the minds of those
who may have also come to keep the feast, yet their feeling and attitude cannot affect those who
worship God in spirit and in truth. The “wood, straw, hay and stubble” of an ecclesia lie for the present
in intimate relationship and connection with its “gold, silver and precious stones” elements, and the day
of Christ alone will make their true characters manifest. So, says Paul, “Judge nothing before the time,
until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest
the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God” (1 Cor. 4:5).
    When Moses raised in the wilderness the tabernacle of the congregation, he placed within the veil
the ark of the covenant, on which he put the Mercy Seat, and over it the Cherubim of Glory; and the

                                                      156
angel spake these words to him: “And there will I meet with thee, and there will I commune with thee
from above the Mercy Seat, and from between the Cherubims” (Exod. 25:22).
   Christ is our Mercy Seat, and between the Cherubims of glory he communes with us, when we come
to meet with him in our ecclesial capacity, the antitypical tabernacle of the congregation. Our fellowship
is with him; we go to meet with him to our accustomed place Sunday after Sunday. We do not go
because brother this or brother that is going, and when we go, we should remember that Christ is
present, and our minds should be filled with the solemnity of the occasion, and our hearts fit before him
whose eyes are as a flame of fire to penetrate their secret depths, and our attitude should be one of
devoutness and godly fear. The presence of Christ is a solemn occasion, and into that presence we come
when we assemble in one place to commemorate his sacrificial death. “There will I meet with you, and
there will I commune with you.”

                                        REMARKS ON THE FOREGOING
    Every spiritually-minded brother and sister will cordially respond to the definition of the ecclesial
institution as a divine tabernacle, pitched “in the midst of a waste howling wilderness of unenlightened
humanity;” and all such will cry a hearty “Amen!” at the suggestion of “almost inexhaustible patience
and carefulness” in our dealing with such an institution. Yet some care is needed in the deductions we
draw from Paul’s attitude to the Corinthian ecclesia. Some have argued on that attitude in a way to
nullify his express directions in other cases, which can never be intended by the writer of the foregoing
remarks.
    Paul had authority as an apostle which he could use with decisive effect in case of need. It was
authority he had received “not for destruction but for edification” as he said: but still it was authority
which he was prepared to use, “since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.” (11 Cor. 13:3.) He could
say “if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him.” (11
Thes. 3:14.) We all know that men having authority in any matter to fall back upon, are naturally patient
and gentle to a degree not so easy where there is nothing but argument and equal influence to set
against the teaching of opposition. This has to be considered in judging of Paul’s tone and attitude
towards an eeclesia in so corrupt a state as the Corinthians. But as to the right attidude towards such
corruptions in the abstract, we must gather them where that is the subject in hand.
    Paul recognised the original character of the Corinthian ecclesia as “God’s building,” and argued
against the various corruptions and doctrine and practice that prevailed at the time of his writing. But he
did not mean that these corruptions were to be disregarded in fellowship. On the contrary; in the case
of fornication referred to, he said “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (1 Cor. 5:13.)
He found fault with them at their indifference, and that they had not “rather mourned that he that hath
done this deed might be taken away from you” (verse 2.) His argument goes powerfully against retaining
such: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? PURGE OUT THEREFORE THE OLD LEAVEN.”
(verse 6.)
    When he says “Judge nothing before the time” (1 Cor. 4:5), he is speaking of the brethren’s personal
judgment of himself—a thing forbidden concerning all brethren, and a thing that cannot accurately be
done. He is not speaking of ecclesial attitude to wrong doing. He does not mean that we are to shut our
eyes to manifest disobedience or denial of the truth in our own midst. On the contrary, he makes the
enquiry as if to something well understood and notorious:—“Do ye not judge them that are within?” (1
Cor. 5:12) that is, in the cognisance of manifest evil-doing, to the extent of refusing to eat with any man
called a brother who is a fornicator, &c. (verse 11). So, though he argues with some who denied the
resurrection, we are not to conclude that he regarded such a denial as compatible with a continuance of
fellowship if persisted in. We must judge on this point by expressions directed expressly to the question
of how error persisted in is to be dealt with. On this, he does not speak ambiguously. Even to the

                                                     157
Corinthians, referring to an approaching third visit, he expresses the fear that he should be found such
as they would not like. He only writes in the tenour of apparent toleration, “lest,” says he, “being
present, I SHOULD USE SHARPNESS according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification and
not to destruction” (2 Cor. 13:10). “Shall I,” enquires he, “come unto you with a rod, or in love and in the
spirit of meekness? (1 Cor. 4:21). “Being absent now, I write to them which heretofore have sinned and
to all other, that if I come again, I will not spare” (2 Cor. 13:2).
    In other epistles, the indications are quite explicit (and it cannot be that he contemplated our
ignoring what he says in one epistle because of what he has said in another). To Timothy, he plainly says,
“Withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:5) from a class of professors whom he describes as “proud, knowing
nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words,” who “consent not to wholesome words even
the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He also says: “Avoid profane and vain babblings and oppositions of
science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (verse 20). He also
advises him to shun certain “babblings” personated by Hymenæus and Philetus, “who concerning the
truth have erred, saying the resurrection is past already.” To Titus he says, “A man that is an heretic after
the first and second admonition, reject” (3:10). To the Romans: “Mark them who cause divisions and
offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them” (16:17). John speaks plainly to
the same effect: “If any man bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house” (2 Jno. 9–10.) And
the messages of Jesus to the seven Asian ecclesias are all more or less in the same strain.
    It is all according to reason; for if we were at liberty to ignore departure from the faith and practice
of the Gospel, it would certainly happen in the long run that both must vanish from our midst.
Friendliness would indispose a man to be critical; decay would set in as the result of the indifference.
Thus the ecclesia would prove the reverse of the pillar and ground of the truth. No community can ever
hold together that winks at the denial of its own principles. It cannot be that the foregoing article is
intended to advocate such a thing, or to inculcate anything opposed to something so obviously
scriptural and reasonable as the maintenance of the faith and practice of the Gospel by the refusal of
fellowship where they are denied.
    What must be intended is the discountenance of individual secession from an ecclesia on insufficient
grounds. Against this mistake, the argument is powerful, and will be upheld by every discriminating
friend of the truth. We perpetrate a wrong against Christ if we separate ourselves from his brethren on
the ground of some personal grievance against one or more in their midst. There is a right remedy for
this; and if from any cause, we cannot apply it, let us forbear. In such things, we are to practice the
“almost inexhaustible patience and care” spoken of, and even in matters of error, we must be quite sure
the wrong is espoused, and give everyone an opportunity of repudiating the wrong, before we resort to
the extreme and irrevocable remedy of separation, by which we throw the issue entirely on the final
judgment of Christ. There may be cases in which we have no alternative, but it is far better if we can
settle differences before we meet Him.


The Gospel and the Baptists of the Seventh Century
                                             By bro. John Thomas
                       The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1855, p. 33-34
                                                 (Excerpt)
    You see, then, reader, that the doctrine taught in these pages is neither so heretical nor novel as
some suppose. The heresy and novelty is with Modern Baptism, Methodism, Presbyterianism; in short,
with all the Isms from Romanism to Campbellism, Millerism, and Mormonism, the most recent editions
of the wisdom from beneath, as substitutes for the gospel of the kingdom of God. The Herald contends
for the original faith, which has been so completely corrupted by sectarian traditions, that the Baptists,

                                                      158
who formerly professed it, are unable to recognize their own! If this be the case with them, after less
than two centuries, is it surprising that, after eighteen, professors should not be able to recognise the
doctrine of Jesus and his apostles, and in the plenitude of their ignorance should reject it as heretical
and vain? It is not surprising; the wonder is, that with so many conflicting sorts of Christianity in the
world, any true faith and practice should be found.
    The truth, however, would long ago have become extinct, but for such “pestilent publications” as the
Herald; whose “mission” is to agitate the waters, that stagnation may not ensue. They are like the great
teacher, in that they “come not to bring peace, but a sword.” As soon as they cry “peace,” their mission
is at an end. They preach peace to the righteous; but for the wicked, who make void the word of God by
their pious traditions, they have nothing but torment day and night. This is the philosophy of that cry
against them of bitterness, uncharitableness, censoriousness, and severity! It is the outcry of the wicked
in torments. They behold their idols demolished by the battleaxe of eternal truth, and their most
cherished imaginations levelled with the dust; so that, naturally enough, they wail and gnash their teeth
with imprecations and reproaches upon the destroyer.
    But, shall the defender of the oppressed therefore stay his hand? Shall the truth lie weltering in her
gore, gasping in the article of death, and her friends tamely sheathe their two-edged sword, because of
the cries of her wounded foes? No, no: “Cry aloud, and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and
show the people their transgressions, and the sons of Belial their sins! I never heard a man yet,
thoroughly imbued with the truth and a love of it, cry out against a hearty and uncompromising
castigation of error, as bitter and too severe. Where men’s faith is weak, and their minds are full of
uncertainty, and they are conscious that their own deeds will not bear the light, you find them full of
“charity,” and sensitively fearful of the truth being too plainly spoken. All their sympathies are with the
feelings of the corrupters and transgressors of the word. They don’t want their feelings hurt, lest it
should do harm! The fact is, they don’t want the truth too plainly demonstrated, lest it should make
them unpopular; or they should be themselves obliged to defend that of which they were not fully
assured. There is always some screw loose in these mealy-mouthed and syren apologists of truth. The
spirit of the flesh (which they mistake for the Holy Spirit) works in them a fellow-feeling with the
children of disobedience; not that they really sympathize with them—they are too selfish for that: but in
uttering this hard doctrine of their iniquity, thou condemnest us also. This is the secret of their whining
about “bitterness and severity,” they are themselves convicted of treachery to the truth.
    It is, then, to the “pestilent fellows” and their publications in all past ages, not to canting pietists and
sickly sentimentalists, puling from morn to dewy eve about “charity” and a “Christian spirit,” that the
world is providentially indebted for the preservation of the gospel from entire oblivion. The charitable
and pious orthodoxy of “the Four Denominations” fill the pulpits of the land. Baptist, Methodist,
Presbyterian, and Episcopalian clergy all recognize one another as ambassadors of Christ, and their sects
as so many divisions of the true church. But what have they done with the gospel confessed by the
Baptists 200 years ago? Crucified and buried it; hence the recognition of the Baptist Denomination as
one of the orthodox four! They laid it in a sepulchre and walled it up, and have set to their seal of
reprobation. But God has raised it from the dead; and put it into the hearts of certain whom it has freed
from ecclesiastical servitude, to contend for it earnestly and fearless of the authority, power, or
denunciation, of scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, or of any other of this generation of vipers new revived.
This is our work, and by God’s grace we will do it heartily until the hour of his judgment comes, and the
Lord Jesus appears to vindicate his own.




                                                       159
Notes (Free will)
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1887, p. 572
   R.L.—We do not believe in or practice “coercion.” Submission to the truth is an affair of enlightened
free will on all hands. Individually, we claim and exercise the right only that every man claims and
exercises (our opponents most of all)—the right of deciding for ourselves and ourselves alone what it is
our duty to do or refrain from doing. If others for themselves agree with us. this is not our crime, but a
happy coincidence which only muddy-mindedness can lay to our charge. We make no profession to have
more ability than others to decide such questions. We are what we are, making no professions one way
or other. If others make professions for us, we can only regret the unwisdom, and endure it with many
other embarrassments incident to the present headless condition of affairs.


Chat With Correspondents, and Extracts From Some of
Their Letters
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1886, p. 69-70
                                                 Fellowship
    J. C. H.—We accept your friendly critique on the conduct of the Christadelphian in the spirit that
prompts it. We cannot, however, accept all your positions. There either is or is not such a thing as
Scriptural fellowship in our age. If there is not, we may as well abandon all attempts to apply Scriptural
principles in our relations with men, and be content to drift on the unsettled waters of mere race-
religionism—a Catholic among Catholics, a Protestant among Protestants, a Mahommedan among
Mahommedans, a Hindu among Hindoos, &c. Presumably, you would not advocate this but would
recognise that there must be at least an attempt to discern what the principles of revealed truth are,
and to obtain a recognition of these as a basis of religious association. When you have conceded this,
you will find yourself on the highroad to the Christadelphian position. There is no middle ground
between that position and the absolute indifferentism of national ecclesiasticism. For what is the
position? First, the recognition of apostolic truth as the material of individual conviction; and secondly,
an acceptance of the duty coming along with it of limiting fellowship to those who accord a similar
recognition. If this is a right position (and it has been proved in the article on fellowship to which you
object), then it is no faithful man’s part to unite himself to those who may “differ from himself in his
reading or interpretation of the Scriptures.” He is under apostolic obligation to withdraw where the
truth, as he conceives it, is not received. You call this “setting up as judge and jury in the matter and
acting as though we were the divinely accredited arbiters in the question as to the true meaning of
some or all of the works of God.” This is a mis-description. The man in such a case judges and jurifies
himself merely. He decides that his surroundings in a given case impose upon him a certain line of duty.
In this he is a divinely appointed arbiter in so far as God requires him to discern and perform his duty.
You look at the act as it bears on those from whom he withdraws. It is this that confuses your view. You
speak of “excluding” from fellowship. This is not the question: it is “withdrawal.” There is a great
difference. No enlightened man will claim jurisdiction over another. His jurisdiction is limited to himself:
and here, surely, it is absolute. If the conditions of Scriptural association do not exist, he is bound to
perceive the fact and act upon it, or else accept the character of neutral, of which the divine law
provides no recognition. It is not a case of pulling up the tares, but of acting a part apostolically
enjoined. The tares are still left, if tares they are. It belongs to God to pull them up. Nevertheless it
belongs to men who may wish to be garnered with the wheat to meanwhile act a faithful part by the
                                                       160
truth which God commits to every man who receives it, and when necessary to “withdraw from every
brother who walks” inconsistently with apostolic principles. You suggest that this was the prerogative of
apostolic authority only. Look into it and you will see it is apostolic advice and command to believers.
We do not require apostolic authority to obey apostolic counsels. Apostolic counsels are as valid in the
19th century as in the first century; otherwise it would come to this, that the apostolic work was
confined to the lives of the apostles, and that there can be no compliance with apostolic principles, (and
therefore no salvation) in the nineteenth century! It doubtless would “require the gift of the Spirit,” as
you say “to act with the authority of Christ” with regard to others, but a man does not require the gift of
the Spirit to decide his own attitude towards men and things. What may be the right attitude, he has to
find out; when found, he is bound to take it, or incur condemnation on the day of account. He requires
no inspiration to see when the doctrines or the commandments of Christ are set aside: and when he
sees this, Christ has commanded him what to do as regards continuing or not continuing his
participation with the unfaithfulness. He leaves God to deal with the unfaithful; but while he does this,
he is not absolved from the duty of exercising his own discernments, and “coming out from among
them.” We have truly no right to excommunicate: but we have a right to take ourselves away if
circumstances call for it.


Intelligence (Canada)
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 126
   [H. W. S.—As regards the other meeting, men who teach that the Revelation of John has a wholly
future application, do not “hear what the Spirit saith to the churches,” and therefore cut themselves off
from those who desire to be in harmony with the truth.—ED.]


A Sad Letter on the Nature of Christ and Resurrection-
Judgment
                                           By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1895, p. 61-64
    John Goodliffe, of Lorraine, N.J. (U.S.A.), writes a long and fervent letter, from which this is an
extract:—“My heart is sad. I have read much that has come from your pen with great joy. It is only upon
two points that I do not see eye to eye with you. I commend you in your general writings. They are
presented in the purest and choicest language; and I will say it, no writings I have read comfort my heart
like yours. . . . O, my brother, I do thank God for the exhortations and writings of those who are earnest
and faithful to the truth. I have written a little myself, but the real comfort comes from the Scriptures
and from those who rightly divide the word of truth. We must expand beyond our own circle of vision.
Why is it so essential, as the Apostle puts it, not to forget to meet together, but to exhort one another?
Alone we die, together we live. Now, my brother, let me ask you a few questions. I know where you
stand. Please deal gently with me, should you care to answer me. Is it essential for a person to believe in
mortal emergence, and in the sinful flesh of Jesus in order to be saved? These are the two points that at
present I do not see with you. If these are essential, my heart’s longings are all in vain. My broken heart
has no refuge. My convictions of truth must be erroneous. My condition would indeed be sad. O my
brother, do not be too hard in your thoughts toward me. I do not take up the cudgel against you as
some do. I am sure you are honest and sincere in your course, though I think a little more heart would
answer better. In referring to sinful flesh, Paul says Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Now,

                                                     161
my dear brother, is the likeness of a thing the thing itself? It is written God made man in His likeness.
Certainly this likeness was not in the nature of God, or the Elohim. It could exist only in the physical
formation. Yet it is spoken of as a likeness. It will not do to contend too far in that direction with Adam.
When we consider the divine origin of Jesus, should we drag it to the level of our own sinful conditions?
Surely he was made superior to man in some respects, or he could not have held out against the trials
and temptations that beset him on every hand. Do you think there was ever any liability for him to fail in
the purpose that he was born to carry out? No, no, you do not. A mere ordinary man would have failed;
or at least it would have been doubtful. Had Jesus been in the perfect likeness of our human nature, our
salvation would have been very uncertain indeed, and all mankind would have been made in vain.
Hence a body was prepared for him, suitable for the terrible emergency. The Word made flesh, but not
sinful in its tendency as ours. I do not desire controversy, but love.
    “As to resurrection, why worry about details? It is resurrection, whether a process or instantaneous.
You contend the judgment requires a process to a complete resurrection. I believe in the judgment seat
of Christ: are you prepared to say just what that judgment will require before him who knows his own
sheep? When the chief Shepherd shall appear, what? Jesus gives at least one illustration of what it will
be in the distribution of rewards to the ten and five talent servants. Now, my dear brother, I do not say
you are right or wrong in your deductions. But may not these questions have their place among the
doubtful disputations Paul refers to in one of his letters? You see what bitterness is engendered. We
must be gentle and entreat. We must draw together, and not separate. Paul says, Mark them that make
divisions, &c. Will you forgive me if I write in regard to the amount of knowledge needed before
baptism? My own faith upon this question is this: Understanding and believing the things presented to
us in Acts 8–12 constitute the basis of the needed faith before immersion. This is the groundwork upon
which I stand firm. No deviation from this, which forms the basis of fellowship among the brethren of
Christ. . . . It does seem to me, dear brother, that although knowledge is good, too much should not be
expected from honest learners.” (In the course of his letter, the writer says that his acquaintance with
the truth dates back to the days of Dr. Thomas, and that he was enlightened by the reading of Elpis
Israel, and immersed in the Doctor’s presence.)

    REMARKS.—It is impossible not to respect the spirit and intent of the letter from which the foregoing
are copious extracts. It doubtless represents the mental state of a large class. There are men with almost
agonizing sincerity of purpose who cannot see through the fogs that envelop the truth in an age when
there is no living voice of authoritative guidance, and when the power of correctly interpreting the
written Word is the only rule of conviction. It is natural to wish to think that in such a situation of divine
truth on the earth, the same consideration will at the last be shown towards those who earnestly do
their best in the dimness, that was shewn, on the intercession of Hezekiah, towards the multitude in
Israel who “had not cleansed themselves, and yet did eat the Passover otherwise than it was written” (2
Chron. 30:18.) It may be so: God is not unrighteous or unreasonable. At the same time, in such a
situation, when the truth can with difficulty be kept alive at all, it is not for those who know the truth to
work by a may be. We must be governed by what is revealed, leaving the Lord to revoke the present rule
of probation, or make His own allowances in its application. The rule at present, as our correspondent
fully recognises, is the reception of and submission to “the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and
the name of Jesus Christ.” He unequivocally says there must be no deviation from this as the basis of
fellowship. Now the trouble that afflicts our correspondent is the application of this rule, neither more
nor less. We make the things of the kingdom and name, our foundation. The question is, are we to
require all the “things,” or only a part of them, in laying this foundation? If our correspondent says a
part is sufficient, he puts himself out of harmony with the record, which always lays emphasis on “the
faith of the Gospel,” and the “one faith” as subsisting in “the whole counsel of God.” If we agree to all
the things, and not a part only, then we must front the question whether the two subjects on which he
                                                      162
comments are or are not included in the things in question. He will find it impossible to exclude them. If
the nature of Christ and his function as judge be not included among them, it would be difficult to give a
reason for including any doctrine among them; and where, then, would be the “things”?
    Both John and Paul place the nature of Christ in the position of a first principle, on which there is to
be no compromise. John says that no man is to be received who denies that Jesus came in the flesh (1
Jno. 4:3; 2 Jno. 10.); and Paul is careful to emphasize that the flesh in question was “of the seed of
David” (2 Tim. 2:8; Rom. 1:3); derived from which, he necessarily partook of “the same” flesh and blood
as his brethren (Heb. 2:14), and was consequently “tempted in all points like them,” though without sin
(Heb. 4:15). There are other reasons why, in the wisdom of God, it was needful that this should be.
These reasons have been amply exhibited in the past controversies that have taken place, and need not
be repeated here. Our correspondent, without intending it, places himself in antagonism to the
testimony in affirming that, while Jesus came in the flesh, it was not in flesh “sinful in its tendency as
ours.” The testimony is that he was “tempted in all points” as ourselves, which could not have been the
case in the absence of the susceptibilities which our correspondent denies. The very essence of
temptation is susceptibility to wrong suggestion. The victory lies in the opposing considerations brought
to bear. The truth of the matter does not depend upon the word “likeness” or any other single term, but
upon the combination of statements made—which are all in language plain enough to be free from
obscurity. At the same time, it has to be pointed out that the word “likeness” in the Greek has the force
of resemblance so complete as to be sameness. This is illustrated in the statement that Jesus was made
in “the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). The extent of the likeness is defined as extending to “all points” and
“all things” (Paul’s words—Heb. 2:17, 4:15). What can we say but that he was a man, and not the mere
likeness of a man? But then, exclaims our correspondent, “Surely he was made superior to man in some
respects.” Unquestionably. He was not a mere man—not a mere Jew—not mere flesh. He was the flesh
of Abraham in a special form. Our correspondent well says that “a mere ordinary man would have
failed.” True, but wherein did the extraordinariness consist? It is here where our friend gets on to the
wrong line. He makes Christ of different stuff—“flesh not sinful in its tendency.” He should rather realise
that he was the same stuff specially organised and specially used, having the same inherent qualities
tending to temptation and death; but qualified to overcome both by the superior power derived from
his paternity. Much of the difficulty that some experience in the understanding of this subject arises
from a wrong assumption on what we may call the natural-history side of human nature. It seems to be
imagined that all human beings are necessarily on the same level of moral imbecility. This is far from the
case, as we know from experience. All human beings would be equally incapable on all points if all were
equally left untended from the cradle. They would all be speechless idiots without exception if suckled
and cradled up by beasts, as has happened in rare instances. But the difference made by instruction and
training makes all the difference in the world between two men both equally human: one shall be a
stolid brute, and the other verging upon the grace and intelligence of angelhood. But this is not the only
difference. Though all men are equally human on certain main points, there are fundamental differences
arising from parentage. Two boys—one an Indian cross-breed, and the other a European—may be
brought up in the same family, sent to the same school, and will turn out totally different men—one
stupid and barren and intractable, and the other bright and fertile and docile. They are both human, but
they both differ radically. How fallacious it would be to reason from one to the other on the ground of
both possessing a common human nature. They are both human truly, but human of very different
qualities. To say that Christ was a man partaking of our sinful nature does not mean to say that he was
the same sort of man as other men. His parentage and education were both divine; and as it was said,
“Never man spake like this man,” so it has to be said that never man thought as this man, or loved as
this man, or felt as this man. He was a special man altogether, though as to nature the same: just as a
special vase, got up and gilt for a royal table, is a different article from a common mug, though made of
the same china clay.

                                                     163
    “As to resurrection,” it is treating the subject too narrowly to speak of “mortal emergence,” which is
a mere detail in a process. The process is the bringing forth of the dead for judgment at the return of
Christ. The question is, Is it the function and prerogative of Christ to judge the living and the dead at His
appearing and to give eternal life to those whom he shall declare and manifest at his tribunal as the
approved, on the basis of “account” given? On this there cannot be two opinions with men in daily
intimacy and love with the Scriptures. The next question is, Is not this truth one of “the things”
concerning Jesus testified in the Gospel? There is but only one answer possible, in view of Acts 10:42,
and Heb. 6:1–2. This being so, it is impossible to be indifferent to a doctrine like “immortal emergence,”
which deprives the judgment of Christ of its characteristic and essential function.
    Divergences on these subjects are as lamentable and bitterness-engendering as our correspondent
feels them to be; but they are inevitable where men are in earnest about the supremacy of Divine
principles. It would be pleasant, and in many ways profitable, to hold them in abeyance and “agree to
differ,” but such a policy on the part of enlightened men is not possible without unfaithfulness. There is
nothing for it but to maintain the truth in our basis of fellowship, with all the patience and urbanity we
can exercise, but with all the quiet inflexibility of men who know they are dealing with a Divine trust, in
which will be “a fearful thing” to be found at last unworthy stewards.


Birmingham Miscellanies
                                            By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1890, p. 273-274
                                                 (Excerpt)
    A large and interesting tea meeting on Whit-Monday was preceded by a rambling visit on the part of
a few to Sutton Park, where they spent a season in scripture reading and conversation in the quiet
seclusion of the “North dell.” While so engaged, a number of those separated from us on the question of
inspiration assembled on the other side of the little valley and sang “Brethren let us walk together.” It
was very pretty, but misplaced. If there had been music for the Scripture words “How can two walk
together except they be agreed?” we might have responded. Any other response would have been
unsuitable, so we remained silent. Union has to be spiritual before it can be social.—In the evening, an
unusually excellent meeting took place in the Temperance Hall. Brother and Sister A. T. Jannaway were
present from London. Brother Jannaway much edified the meeting in an address on “Holiness,” the
topic chosen for the evening’s meditation.—Brother Shuttleworth made some excellent remarks on the
eve of sailing for Canada, where he has since safely arrived, if we may judge from the shipping
telegrams.


Intelligence (Bournemouth)
                                            By bro. G.S. Sherry
                                     The Christadelphian, 1898, p. 218
   BOURNEMOUTH (WINTON).—Since our last report, we have had trouble in our midst, which has
resulted in division. Brother H. Fry publicly proclaimed the doctrine that Jesus was not in a position
requiring to offer himself as a sacrifice to secure his own redemption, that the sacrifice of Christ was
required only to effect the salvation of actual transgressors. Jesus being no transgressor, for himself, his
sacrifice was not needed. This teaching strikes at the root of the Scripture teaching of the condemnation
of sin in the flesh, and also at the doctrinal basis of faith upon which our ecclesia has been founded for
12 years. It was necessary to meet this error in order to maintain the purity of the truth. After private
and collective effort, which proved fruitless, it was decided to re-affirm and define our doctrinal basis of
                                                      164
faith upon this subject, and as to those who refuse to acknowledge and accept it, we feel duty bound
from such to stand aside. The following propositions were submitted to every member of the ecclesia
for acceptance.
    1st.—That the Scriptures teach: That Adam was created capable of dying, but free from the power of
death, and when he disobeyed in Eden he was condemned to death for that disobedience, and that he
came under the power of death solely on account of this sin; That in consequence of this offence all his
descendants have been condemned to death, but without the moral guilt of his transgression attaching
to them, and that those who are not actual transgressors die under the condemnation they inherit from
their first parents.
    2nd.—That the Scriptures teach: That Adam was created very good, and was then utterly devoid of
that which the Scriptures style “sin in the flesh,” that from the time of his disobedience, and in
consequence thereof, he had sin in his flesh; that sin in the flesh of his descendants, although not
involving them in the moral guilt of Adam, has the power of death in them; that Jesus Christ who was
sinless as to character by his sacrificial death and resurrection put away his sin nature (which was the
only appointed means for the condemnation of sin in the flesh, that is, as a basis upon which it, the
flesh, could be redeemed) and by which he destroyed the devil and death in relation to himself; That
this destruction of sin and death by Jesus Christ has been made the basis of their future abolition in
relation to all the righteous.
    3rd.—That inasmuch as the foregoing scriptural truths substantially form part of our doctrinal basis
of fellowship and are essential to “the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ” we hereby resolve
from this time to discontinue fellowshipping all who believe that the descendants of Adam were not
condemned to death on account of Adam’s sin, or that Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death was not necessary
to redeem himself as well as others from that condemnation, until such time as they repudiate these
antiscriptural doctrines.
    Forty-five assented to them, and nine refused to acknowledge them, the result being that we have
withdrawn from the following for refusing to endorse the truth as most surely believed among us:
Brother Fry and sister Fry, brother H. Fry, sisters N. Fry, E. Fry, and A. Fry, brother J. Gamble, sisters R.
Gamble and Fanny Gamble—the last two were only immersed about three weeks before this happened,
and they then gave a clear expression of the faith as we believe it. This is a sore trial to us, but God will
help us. The truth is first pure, then peaceable.


Chapter XXI – Strained Relations With Dr. Thomas
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                       From My Days and My Ways
    The Doctor left us in due course to keep appointments at various places in England and Scotland. I
have bitten my tongue several times since at the recollection of the hard work laid out for him by
youthful inexperience. Having no particular sense of fatigue in those days myself, I laid out the
programme on the time principle merely, without allowing for the recuperative needs of a man verging
towards elderly life. Most of the nights were arranged for and all day on Sundays. “Poor Dr. Thomas,” I
have said many times since. It was too bad. People of robust health and strong intellectual interest are
so liable to look upon a lecturer as a machine that can go of course. They forget he is human, and that
his energy can be pumped out, and must have time to brew again before he is fit for work without harm.
Hearers feel only the pleasure of his words, and do not feel the fatigue caused to him by the
consumption of brain fuel. They feel refreshed by his lecture, and cannot help imagining that he feels so
too.


                                                      165
     I distinctly recollect supposing, in the days of boyhood, that there was a good deal of affectation in
the allusions I used to see in the papers about speakers being exhausted by their efforts. It was part of
my ignorance. We are all ignorant to start with. We think we know when we don't. Experience is the
only thorough and accurate teacher: and it teaches by a quiet and slow and extensive process of tuition
that cannot easily be formulated in words afterwards. It is made up of a thousand mental accretions
that can only come with the varied experiences and reflections of years. Hence the scriptural exaltation
of age over youth.
     I see it all now: but in my young days I felt a hot-spur impulsiveness of wisdom, of which I am now
ashamed. At the same time, I was unfortunate in having no teachers that gave me the curb of reason.
There was dumb opposition or passive dogmatism which I could not distinguish from stupidity. Had I
been privileged with access to enlightened and benevolent and communicative experience, I think I
could have listened and would have been swayed; for I had always a strong relish for reason. However,
it is all past now, and the Doctor has got through his wearisome labours, and rests with Daniel, ready to
"stand in his lot at the end of the days" now nearly finished.
     During his tour, his mind was poisoned against me by envious seniors, who were more alive to their
personal consequence than to the great and glorious work of which the Doctor was the humble
instrument, and which I was striving with all my might to abet. I saw and felt the change when he
returned from his journey: but I knew it would only be temporary when the Doctor came to know the
men he was dealing with. It turned out as I anticipated, but it took time, and, meanwhile, his manifestly
unfriendly bias was a trial to me- quite a bitter one for a time. Had I not been a daily reader and a
fervent lover of the oracles of God for myself, I should have turned away in disgust. As it was, it made
me turn round, as it were, and look at the Bible again, and see if Dr, Thomas was really right. There was
only one answer; and, therefore, I swallowed my bitters and made up my mind to wait.
     The sharpest rap was the imputation of a mercenary motive in the list of names which I had
appended to the second edition of the Twelve Lectures. This list included some in Scotland who did not
take a thorough-going attitude on behalf of the truth, although connected with the meetings there that
were based upon a professed acceptance of the truth. I did not know at that time how partial was their
allegiance and how limited was their apprehension of scriptural things, and how uncertain was their
repudiation of the established fables of the day which so thoroughly make void the Word of God. They
were professing brethren, and I felt called on to give them the benefit of all doubts. I was indeed much
afraid of doing them a wrong in apparently proscribing them. I had before my eyes the fear of the words
of Christ about offending one of the little ones believing on him, which has, in fact, been one of the
chiefest sources of my distress in all the wranglings and divisions that have since arisen in connection
with the truth, and I had not attained that liberty that comes from clearer sight and a greater breadth of
view in all matters affecting the relations of God and man.
     Therefore, in the said list of names of referees for the guidance of interested strangers, I gave a place
to men from whom afterwards I was compelled to separate. I did not do it without a mental struggle. It
was said I had put them to help the sale of the lectures. Oh, how much was this contrary to the truth! I
had no object in selling the lectures, for they yielded no profit; and all the sale that I ever expected had
already taken place. Finally, it was distinctly as a concession to the fear of doing wrong that I inserted
the names at all. It was a sharp lesson in the art of patient suffering for well-doing and making no
reprisals.




                                                      166
   I wrote to the Doctor in explanation of my action, and in defence of the men impugned. I received no
answer. Time went on and I came to see that duty required my separation from a doubtful fellowship. I
wrote again to the Doctor, telling him of the correction of my perceptions. In five months afterwards, I
received the following letter:-

                                                                        "West Hoboken, Hudson Co., N. J.,
                                                                                   " October 28th, 1864.

    "DEAR BROTHER ROBERTS,--I have received from you two letters one dated February 11th, and the
other May 30th—to neither of which have I been able to find time to reply. In relation to the former
one, I consider the delay has been an advantage to us both; and in regard to the last, I do not think the
procrastination will have resulted in any harm. Had I replied to the former, I should have had to do
battle with you to bring you into the position you now occupy with regard to those blind leaders of the
blind—Duncan, Dowie, Fordyce and Co. When the truth is in question, the benefit of all doubts should
be given to it, not to those whose influence with respect to it is only evil and that continually. You erred
in giving them any benefit of doubt in the premises; but I rejoice that you have seen the error, and will
no more send inquirers after the truth to inquire at such Gospel nullifiers as they.
    "I have a copy of your letter to Dowie. It is straightforward and to the point. We can have no
fellowship with men holding such trashy stuff as the April number of the falsely-styled Messenger of the
Churches exhibits. A man who believes in the Devil of the religious world and that he has the powers of
disease and death, etc., is ignorant of the things of the Name of Jesus Christ.' If what are styled ‘the
churches' are not delivered from the influence of the above firm of pretentious ignorance, our
endeavours to revive apostolic faith and practice in Britain will be a miserable failure. No one should be
recognised as one of Christ's brethren who is not sound in the first principles of the Gospel before
immersion. The Kingdom and the Name are the great central topics of the Testimony of Deity. These are
the things to be elaborated; and he that is not well and deeply versed in these only shows his folly and
presumption in plunging head over ears into prophetic and apocalyptic symbols and mysteries.
    "I am truly glad you are ‘located' in Birmingham at last. I hope you may be instrumental in effecting
much good, that is, in bringing many to a comprehensive and uncompromising faith and obedience. No
parleying with the adversary, no neutrality; Christ or nothing. I hope you will be able to shoulder my
friend Davis off the fence. He understands, I believe, and can defend the theory of the truth; but from
the obedience to the faith he looks askance. There is brother Bailey too; he is a kind-hearted and sober-
minded brother; but I think rather too diffident of himself. Just put the point of the Spirit's sword into
him, so as to stir him up to what he can do, without hurting him. I spent much pleasant time with him in
Birmingham. Tell brother Wallis that we had an eccentric colonel in this country, killed in this war I
believe, David Crocket by name, who used to say, ‘Be sure you're right, and then go ahead.’ The Public
Prosecutor, I fear, is too well-to-do and too pious to be converted to the obedience of faith. It is the
greatest difficulty we have to contend with in the case of outsiders—that of converting ‘Christians’ to
Christianity. When you see his excellency, please give my respectful compliments to his pious sinnership,
in such set form as you may deem best.
    "Will you please write to Mr. Robertson and request him, if he have funds enough of mine in hand, to
send me, through Wiley of New York, and his agent in Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, a volume entitled
‘Vigilantius and his Times,' by Dr. Gilly. I suppose it may be obtained of Sealey and Co., Fleet Street,
London. Said Vigilantius flourished in the fourth century, and occupied very much the position to his
contemporaries that I do to mine, and was about as popular. I wish, therefore, to form his acquaintance.
It will doubtless be refreshing.


                                                     167
    "I have sent an epistolary pamphlet of 36 pp., size of this, to care of brother Tait. It will reach you on
its travels in due course. If you like to publish it in The Ambassador, without mutilation, you may. The
perusal of it will supersede the necessity of my repeating its contents here.
    "You are right. Your 'mistake' evoked the testimony of Antipas. It was designed to draw the line
between faithful witnesses and pretenders in Britain; and to define our position here in relation to war,
so that if any of us were drafted by the Devil, we might be able to prove that we are a denomination
conscientiously opposed to bearing arms in his service.
    “Half-a-dozen copies of each number of The Ambassador have come to hand. Our currency here will
prevent any circulation in this country. A paper dollar with us (and paper is all we have) is only worth 40
cents in Canada. You did not wait to learn if I thought it expedient for my biography to appear. It is too
late now to say anything against it. What can't be cured must be endured I hope the paper will be self-
supporting, and pioneer a strait and narrow way for the truth through the dense, dark forest and
swamps on every side.
    "In future, it would be well not to herald my death until hearing from me direct. Not mixing myself
up with politicians, I am not likely to die by their hand. Some pious Methodist or Presbyterian would be
more likely to put me out of the way. A late pupil of sister Nisbet's, when she was Miss Gardner, and
lived in Berwick, now the wife of a physician in Toronto, who is interested in the truth, greatly to her
annoyance and chagrin, said recently, 'I wish it were right to poison him!’ – a very pious wish for one
who calls herself ‘a Christian of the Presbyterian order.' When I die my family will certify the fact. But
Paul says ‘We shall not all sleep.' I and you and others may be of these. Change without death will
happen to some. I trust we may be among such. My father died last spring, aged 82. He died at
Washington City, D.C., without the least sickness. Remember me kindly to sister R. and to all the faithful,
and believe me sincerely yours in the faith and hope of the Gospel, in which all true Christadelphians
rejoice.
                                                                                            "JOHN THOMAS."


Sunday Morning at the Birmingham Christadelphian
Ecclesia, No. 194
                                            By bro. Robert Roberts
                                     The Christadelphian, 1888, p.659-661
                                                   (Excerpt)
    If these things are true, why should we not insist on them? It is the great offence of the truth to do
so. We are called uncharitable and narrow-minded because we re-echo the declarations of a teacher
whom we believe and whom men around us generally profess to regard as a teacher come from God. It
is not a question of charity at all. It is a question of truth. It is charitable to declare the truth surely. It is
highly uncharitable to withhold it. This question of charity is much misapplied. It is beautiful—it is
indispensable—that we be charitable; but charity must run on legitimate lines. Let us be charitable to
the utmost with our own things; we have no right to be charitable with the ways or words of God: “He
that hath my word,” saith God, “let him speak it faithfully.” What would be thought of a revenue officer
dispensing alms out of government funds, or relaxing the claim of dues out of kindly feeling? He must
apply to his own purse to meet the claims of charity. People have no right to be charitable with the truth
of God—that is to hide it, or cloak it, or modify it for the sake of the feelings of men. Yet this is where
the cry of charity is always raised; and, as a rule, it is raised by those who are not distinguished by
charity in the regulation of their own affairs. If a man encroach on their rights, if a man do them an
injury, if a man speak evil of them; oh, then, there is such flaming zeal “in duty to myself.” They make no

                                                         168
remission of “duty to myself;” but duty to God—well, that is something they are prepared to be very
charitable with. Let us get away from this fog and see that it is not uncharity but the plainest duty and
the highest charity to say that men have no hope by nature, and that they can only acquire hope by
submission to the institutions apostolically promulgated 1,800 years ago—which consist, in brief, in faith
in the apostles’ testimony concerning Christ, and obedience to the commandments they delivered in his
name.
    When this ground is clearly taken, there will be more readiness to insist upon the whole truth as the
basis of fellowship with professed believers in the gospel of Christ, and less disinclination to take the
logical issue and all its responsibilities, as to the hopeless position of all who are seeking the favour of
God in any other way than the way of His own appointment.
    But in all things there is a possibility of going to extremes—ugly and hurtful extremes, and this
matter is no exception—great and glorious though it is. We have to “contend earnestly for the faith
once delivered to the saints;” but we may possibly do this to the destruction of the very things we are
contending for. The same word that commands us to be valiant for the truth commands us to “speak the
truth in love.” “The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men.” “The fruit of peace is
sown in peace of them that make peace.” I have known some element of the beautiful truth contended
for with a bitterness and a rancour and a hatred as great and ugly as was ever shown by the most
uncircumcised politician of the flesh. Solomon speaks of “a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout.” Such a
comparison seems the only fitting one for such a conjunction. Men have nothing to do with the doctrinal
distinctions and definitions of divine wisdom who have not learnt the first and the great commandment
and its fellow, on which hang all the law and the prophets. It is written that to love God with all the
heart and our neighbour as ourselves is more than all burnt offering and sacrifice. So we may say that
such an attainment is more than all points of doctrine that are not held and contended for in the meek
and benevolent spirit which is meet in a created being in dealing with the holy and terrible verities of
the Eternal. We must never forget the words of Paul, which most of us are well acquainted with, but
which it is certain weigh little with very many. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels . . . .
though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have all faith so
that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind.
Charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” These words will measure us at the last.
    The law of love and long-suffering is the law of God. The universe is constructed and worked on this
principle in nature and revelation. If we omit it from our spiritual operations, we are out of harmony
with the scheme of things, however contentious we may be for points of truth. It is an apostle that has
said: “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “He shall have judgment without mercy that
showeth no mercy.” “He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until
now.” Contentiousness is not faithfulness, though faithfulness has more or less the element of
contentiousness, in the sense of contending for the right. Faithfulness is espousing and doing and
adhering to the right at all hazard; but in the genuine case, it is always in love and patience. When it is
allied with “bitterness and anger, and wrath, and malice and evil-speaking,” it is not acceptable to God
or any of his children. When men easily and naturally slide into accusation and condemnation of others,
especially in their absence, they prove themselves the children of the flesh, whatever their knowledge
may be. The angels are models to whom Peter points. He contrasts them with a certain class in his day,
whom he describes as “presumptuous and self-willed,” and Jude, as “murmurers and complainers,”
“who are not afraid to speak evil of dignities, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, BRING
NOT RAILING ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THEM (sinners) before the Lord.” If angels, with such powers of
penetration and correct reading, indulge in no railing accusations against undoubtedly wicked men,
where should the sons of God, in this mortal, erring state, be found in the matter? In the very attitude
commanded by Christ: “Judge not: condemn not”—contend for the faith, but indulge in no personal
                                                     169
railing. Be faithful to the claims, obligations, and injunctions of the truth, but leave all personal
recriminations to the children of the flesh, whose destination is to be taken away in wrath. Wherever
men are prone to rancour and severity of personal judgment, you may be sure the Spirit of Christ is not
there; and you know what is written: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
    And how easy would conformity to such lessons of wisdom be if we could have in full view out latter
end. It is there waiting us, however insensible we may be to it. It is either to be down and leave all, and
be laid away from the land of the living; or it is to be brought suddenly, one of these days, into the
solemn presence of God’s works, actually begun again upon the earth in the reappearance of Christ on
the earth. In either case we part for ever with the circumstances and surroundings of present life, and in
both we come at once into relation with the living judgment of the word from which we may hide
ourselves in comfort at the present time: for we know that in death there is not a moment to the dead,
and that a man dying appears to himself to be ushered at once into the presence of Christ at his coming.
Consider and realise now how small will seem the things that vex or interest us now; how much shall we
feel in need of that mercy on which all at last must throw themselves, and how odious to ourselves will
at that time appear the rancour and strifes, and hard thoughts and speeches in which we may too easily
permit ourselves now to indulge. Those who are blind to this ultimate bearing of truth—who seen
incapable of detaching from the relations of the mortal present—call this sentimentality. It is a
misnomer altogether. It is the presentation of truth that is bound to come at last to every man with
terrible force when he finds himself in the presence of the tribunal, where things will be measured
according to Divine rules of estimation. Be it ours in advance to be the children of wisdom in the
recognition of the ways of wisdom, that wisdom at last may gladden us with that stupendously glorious
award which she holds in both hands for the accepted of the Lord: “Length of days is in her right hand,
and in her left hand riches and honour.”


Answers to Correspondents (The Christadelphians and
Their Attitude)
                            By H. Heyes with remarks by bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1878, p. 226-229
                                                                           CADISHEAD, near Warrington,
                                                                                       February, 1878.
    My dear Sir.—In the important matter of preparation for acceptance and welcome by the Coming
One, contrasted with honour, emolument, fame, or elevation in the present age, are too insignificant for
consideration. It is just that every one interested should have his or her hearing in or by the Church; or,
if objection be made to such claim, or such wording, I ask, are not recognised instructors bound to give
ear to inquiry, candid doubts, and reasonable objections to this and that, which a seeker for the great
salvation may hold, harbour, or desire? Christadelphians claim to be the ecclesia (but the less Greek the
better), exclusively the Church; and with this high claim they are bound to be consistent. If one, who is
bent on overcoming, sees not on certain points as ye see, and is willing, yea, desirous to be set right by
evidence from the “law and testimony,” if proved wrong, then, sir, let such an one be fairly met and
treated.
    Candidly, brother Roberts (though you will not say brother to me), I confess that, in respect to
resurrection and judgment, you seem to have the argument. I cannot understand Paul’s declarations to
the Roman and Corinthian churches in any way but as you set forth. But ye Christadelphians refuse
communion with baptised believers who honestly view the point differently. Did the Romans and
Corinthians understand the matter of resurrection at first, i.e., when they first heard the word and

                                                     170
believed, as fully as they afterwards did? Whatever others may say, I say, no. If the Romans did, the
Corinthians did not, for the apostle shows them a mystery—“Behold, a secret I disclose to you,” &c.
(Diaglott, 1 Cor. 15:51.) Here Paul tells them more concerning resurrection and translation than they
before knew; but ere this letter was written, the Corinthians were a church, and broke bread, and ate
and drank wine together. They believed in the resurrection when they received the Gospel—they
learned more afterwards. You test where Paul tested not. Again, concerning Satan, you have no warrant
for denying communion with an honest believer, who, taking the obvious import of words, cannot
conscientiously accord with you in declaring that there is no personal devil. You may greatly err in your
exclusiveness.
   Much as I think of the writings of Dr. Thomas—in mighty presentation of Bible truth I view no
modern man his equal—I have learned to take no man for a guide. The doctor has erred—he lacked in
understanding when he wrote about the Crimean war—this time has sufficiently proved, and when he
says that any “other dust” will answer for the dust of the saints in the resurrection, he says what I
believe not. Do you believe his ipse dixit here?—In hope of the kingdom, yours truly,
                                                                                                H. HEYES.
   Remarks
    The foregoing is an interesting communication. It is apparently the utterance of a clear-headed,
honest, and independent man, and therefore to be received and treated respectfully. Nevertheless, it
calls for demur on the several points discussed.
    The statement that the Christadelphians claim to be “the ecclesia” (“church” is no less Greek, though
of longer standing in English usage, and ecclesia is more convenient in consequence of the prostitution
of the word “church,”) may be allowed to pass, if understood in the right way. As individuals, or as a
human organisation, they make no pretence whatever to a divine appointment or standing. Their
contention is that the truth of the gospel calls the believers of it from out of the world to be the servants
of Christ, and that all who yield to the call become the called by virtue of their belief and obedience, and
candidates for the favour of Christ at his coming. They claim to know and believe this truth. They do not
claim “authority;” they do not attach any virtue to their organisation, except the advantages of
edification to come from peace and order to its members. They do not set themselves up as an official
body. They are merely an aggregation of men and women believing the truth of God, and striving to
walk in the odedience of His commandments, hoping in the mercy of God for that eternal life which He
has predicated on such a course. They have no ecclesiastical pretensions or desire for ecclesiastical
recognition. If others believe in the same truth and walk in the same obedience, they are glad of and
claim their company under the law of Christ. If any demur to the truth, or decline from that obedience,
they withdraw from their company under the same law, not as a judicial act towards the withdrawn
from, but as a washing of their own hands of complicity with evil. Thus, they rest everything on the
truth, and nothing on their individual or corporate prerogative. The departure of the truth will be the
departure of the ecclesia, even if the individuals remain in company one with another. The truth with
them makes or unmakes: the organisation is an accident of the truth merely, and not its governor or
even official medium. Understood thus, the Christadelphians admit that they claim to be the ecclesia, a
claim, however, in which they admit all to participate who can prove that they are walking in the belief
and obedience of the truth.
    Friend Heyes, however, cannot claim to be heard among them unless he is of them. The brethren of
Christ, while exhorted to give to every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is within them,
are not called upon to give a hearing to error, if error it be, merely because the errorist (if he be errorist)
thinks he is otherwise. Scriptural precept and common prudence rather counsel a contrary attitude.—
(Prov. 19:27; 1 Tim. 6:3–5.) However, what may not be yielded to claim, as a right, may be conceded to
request. Friend Heyes seems in earnest and deserves to be heard.

                                                       171
    He thinks, then, that Christadelphians err in refusing identification with those who are wrong on
resurrection and judgment. He thinks the Christadelphians are right in their views on the subject itself,
but wrong in their attitude toward those who are in error upon it. The very suggestion has a dubious
appearance about it. Did not the fact that men will rise to judgment—that they must appear before the
judgment seat of Christ to receive in body according to what they have done, whether good or bad (2
Cor. 5:10)—constitute a part of the apostolic testimony concerning Christ? Was it not one of the
features of the truth which the apostles were in particular commanded to teach and to testify? (Acts
10:42)—one of the first principles of the oracles of God? (Heb. 6:1)—and part of Paul’s gospel?—(Rom.
2:16). If so—and friend Heyes tacitly admits it—why should we compromise it by receiving people who
do not believe it? Friend Heyes suggests, because they “honestly view the point differently.” If this is a
good reason, why should it be confined to the subject of resurrection and judgment? Are there no other
subjects on which people can “honestly view the point differently?” There is in fact no element of the
truth upon which “baptised believers,” so called, cannot be found who “honestly view the point
differently.” And if an honest rejection of the truth is to be winked at on one point, why not on all, and
where then would be “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth?”
    “But,” inquires friend Heyes, “did the Romans and Corinthians understand the matter of resurrection
at first, i.e., when they first heard the word and believed, as fully as they afterwards did?” Let us
suppose, for the sake of argument, they did not. It would not help the position for which friend Heyes is
contending. In that case the issue would be between understanding the matter a little and
understanding the matter much, which is a very different issue from believing a thing, and not believing
it at all. Friend Heyes is advocating the reception among the Christadelphians of people who “honestly
view the point differently,” and not of those who understand it a little. But friend Heyes is sure the
Corinthians did not understand the matter fully at their baptism, whatever the Romans may have done.
The ground of his certainty is not very solid. He finds Paul declaring to them a mystery—a secret, from
which he infers they did not understand the subject of resurrection and judgment fully before. It all
depends upon what the secret was about. If the secret referred to resurrection and judgment, the
inference is justified—not otherwise. What is the secret? “We shall not all sleep, &c.” This is a point
connected with the subject of resurrection and judgment, but it is no essential part of the subject itself.
It was a point on which nothing was known, because not revealed, prior to Paul’s declaration. Jesus had
said something about it—(Jno. 11:26), but his words were not recorded till long after Paul wrote to the
Corinthians, and, therefore, it was a secret to them whether any of the brethren would be alive at the
coming of Christ, or whether, if alive, they would have to die in order to take part with the dead in the
resurrection, which was the great hope of the gospel. Paul’s telling them this secret does not prove that
they did not before understand that which was part of Paul’s gospel, viz., that the dead would come
forth to judgment at the coming of Christ. True it is “that ere this letter was written the Corinthians
were a church, and broke bread and ate and drank together,” but it is also true that, in becoming a
church, they believed the gospel Paul preached, part of which, by his own testimony—(Rom. 2:16)—was
the doctrine of judgment in the day of Christ. Their ignorance of the point affecting the living
contemporary with the arrival of the day did not affect their knowledge of the greater question. But
what, if even it could be proved they were ignorant of the greater subject? That would not prove it was
to be disregarded in the basis of our fellowship. Some of them denied the resurrection altogether. Some
had not the knowledge of God.—(1 Cor. 15:12, 34.) Shall we, therefore, say these are immaterial points
in a believer’s knowledge? The apostle’s recommendation concerning men refusing subjection to the
truth, when he happened to speak on this point, was that the brethren should withdraw from them.—
(Rom. 16:17; Titus, 3:10; 2 Thes. 3:14; 2 Jno. 9, 10.) The conclusion is obvious. We do not “test where
Paul tested not,” if Paul recognised the truth as the basis of fellowship. The question of fellowship is
governed by the question of what the truth and its requirements are. Where these are mutually
recognised, fellowship ensues as a natural result. It would be in every sense an unsafe thing to

                                                     172
compromise first principles for the sake of friendship that ought not to commence till these principles
are mutually endorsed.
     These considerations bear on the other question referred to by friend Hayes. “Satan” is an element
of the scriptural system of truth. It is a something to be repudiated by believers.—(Matt. 16:23); a
something over which, in another form, believers hope to obtain the mastery when God shall bruise
Satan under their feet.—(Rom. 16:20.) As the devil, he is the father of the children of the present world,
to which Christ’s brethren do not belong (Jno. 15:19). To compass his destruction, Christ took part in
Abraham’s flesh and blood, and suffered death therein.—(Heb. 2:14.) To destroy his works the Son of
God was manifested.—(1 Jno. 3:8.) How can it remain an open question among believers what this devil
and satan is, which has so intimate a relation to their moral attitude and their doctrinal perceptions, and
their personal hopes? To say that an understanding of who the devil is is not necessary in the basis of
fellowship is equivalent to say that it is not necessary to understand for what purpose Christ died. Friend
Heyes would shrink from putting the proposition in this form, and yet this is what it amounts to.
     Friend Heyes is right in refusing to take any man for his guide, but if Dr. Thomas was “mighty” in the
presentation of Bible truth, as friend Heyes puts it, then divergence from him might be divergence from
Bible truth. At all events, following Bible truth presented by Dr. Thomas is not following Dr. Thomas,
who advanced nothing on his individual credit, but laboured exclusively to make the teaching of the
oracles of God apparent.
     If the Dr. “has erred,” it is not in the two cases cited by friend Heyes. So far from “lacking
understanding when he wrote about the Crimea war,” it was because of his understanding that he was
able to prognosticate the war in Elpis Israel before it occurred, and to identify it as part and parcel of
that political and military transformation which should develop the Russian ascendancy at the time of
the end. The Dr. doubtless hoped for and expected a quicker development of this ascendancy than has
taken place; but seeing there was no revelation as to the time it would take to develop, the slowness of
it is no proof of error. The fact of its having taken place at all, in the face of the human improbabilities of
the case, is a strong proof in the opposite direction of error.
     His teaching that any dust will do in the reconstruction of the dead is only in harmony with the fact of
daily experience, that any flour and mutton will do to keep us going. If any flour will supply the material
of continuous identity, any dust will suffice for the basis of its reproduction, for identity does not lie in
the particular atoms of our being, but in the use made of any atoms by the dominant electrical laws of
the organization. If it require the very atoms we have called our own during life, we are confronted with
the spectacle of the cart loads of food we have used in the process of life—365 dinners per annum, not
to speak of other meals. When friend Heyes has thought as much, and as deeply, about the subject as
Dr. Thomas, he will see that the statement that any dust will do is not the ipse dixit of any man, but the
conclusion arising from palpable present facts.
     A little more reflection may dissipate the uncertainties of friend Heyes’ present mood, and lead him
to boldly accept a position which cannot in true reason be impugned, and which already, it seems,
commends itself so much to his judgment in some respects. That it may be so will be the hope and the
prayer of all brethren, prompted by the earnestness, honesty, and independence manifest in his epistle.


Resurrectional Responsibility and Fellowship
                                             (Excerpts Follow)
                                   The Christadelphian, 1894, p. 203-204
                                              LONDON (NORTH)
   After a long series of controversial meetings on the new doctrine introduced by brother Andrew, the
ecclesia was invited to re-affirm the basis of fellowship heretofore in vogue among them, in which the
                                                       173
doctrine of light being the basis of resurrectional responsibility was avowed. A majority refused to do so,
in consequence of which, brother Lake issued a circular, of which the following is the principal portion:—
    “Dear Brethren and Sisters,—You are aware that at the business meeting on Sunday last, when the
Ecclesia was asked to re-affirm its basis of fellowship against the false theories introduced by brother
Andrew, it refused to do so. We, therefore, who maintain the truth as it has always hitherto been held
and taught in the London meeting, have withdrawn from the meeting at Barnsbury Hall. We invite you
to meet with us upon the old basis of fellowship. Our first meeting will be held on Sunday morning next,
at the Temperance Hall, Church Passage, Islington (entrance by the Church in Upper Street, or from
Cross Street). We meet at 11 o’clock for the breaking of bread, when all who uphold the truth in its
purity, as hitherto taught among us, are cordially invited to attend.”
    [The refusal to affirm a doctrine is equivalent to its repudiation; which is a much more serious thing
than inability to see it, especially when combined with avowed antagonism to it, as in the present case.
The decision of the assembly left brother Lake and those who act with him no alternative but the course
they have adopted.—ED.]

                                     The Christadelphian, 1894, p. 242
    The circular points out that “the ecclesia has not hitherto made this a test of fellowship.” This is true;
and if it is now becoming such, it is not because of any changed attitude on the part of those who
believed, but because some who believed it are now repudiating it, and inviting the brethren by a
determined endeavour (by pamphlet and otherwise) to depart from it; and, not only so, but are
declaring the maintenance of the truth in the case to be a work of error, and “a serious interference
with first principles, &c.” Perhaps we have been wrong in winking at the denial of a truth that has always
been recognised as a part of the Gospel from the beginning; and it may be that God in His providence is
forcing us into a more prominent assertion of the fact that He will not be mocked by any of the sons of
men to whom the knowledge of His sovereign will is allowed to come; but that He will require it at their
hands in the great day of His wrath. We were invited ten years ago to unite in the attitude now being
taken by the London brethren, on the occasion of an Australian ecclesia having withdrawn from some on
this very subject. Our answer, which appears in the Christadelphian for April, 1884, page 190, was as
follows:—“It seems a pity to make the fate of the rejected a cause of rupture where first principles are
not compromised. It is the glad tidings of salvation . . . . that is the basis of union in Christ, and not the
details as to how the disobedient are to be dealt with, so long as it is recognised that death is the upshot
of disobedience. Granted that responsibility should be preached, but it is a point on which there should
be patience with those who do not see the full extent of the responsibility. No one can say where,
among the rejectors of the word, responsibility exists. We can only recognise the general and
reasonable principle that light, when seen, makes responsible.” The Sydney brethren answered “The
discussion had lasted three months. A continuation of the proceedings would have been destructive of
the unity and peace that ought to prevail in every ecclesia: hence the action, which proceeded from no
animus but from a simple desire for a Scriptural state of things and to maintain the wholesome rule of
responsibility laid down by the Lord, that light having come into the world, if men knowingly refuse
subjection they come under its condemnation.
    The question has now been raised in a way that defies accommodation. We kept back brother
Andrew’s name till he himself published it to the world. Having done all we could to keep the
controversy at bay, we can but sorrowfully accept the situation created, believing at the same time that
the hand of God may be in it in compelling the assertion and proclamation of the whole truth—
concerning the day of His anger as well as the day of His favour.—EDITOR.



                                                      174
                                   The Christadelphian, 1894, p. 302-303
                                            EDITORIAL REMARKS
    The Advocate presentment of the matter, while racy enough to be quite readable, is inaccurate and
inconsistent, yet perfectly intelligible as the unburdening of the editor’s mind in a situation peculiarly
embarrassing to himself. The question he propounds, “What is the matter?” requires and admits of
specific answer. Brother Williams may gather it from the remarks preceding those of brother Jannaway.
If the question of the fate of the enlightened rejector of the truth has not been allowed to “remain
where it was for thirty years,” it is because a public denial has been made of what has for thirty years
been accepted as part and parcel of the professed system of the truth on the question of what
constitutes the ground of the human responsibility to God. Such a question is naturally an integral
portion of the truth. We have for forty years been believing and preaching that the light of knowledge is
the ground on which God holds man accountable for their actions in the great day of judgment. As it is
written, “The entrance of thy word giveth light,” and “This is the condemnation that light is come.” This
has now been publicly repudiated and denounced as “the thinking of the flesh.”
    This is what is the matter with us over here. Let the blame, if there is to be blame, lie at the right
door. If brother Williams “does not know why brother Andrew took the course he did,” he knows he has
taken the course, and therefore knows what the matter is. The fact that brother Andrew has veered
round to the doctrine which brother Williams holds, explains why his sympathy should be with him and
why the action of the brethren here who differ with him should appear in the highly coloured and
tragical aspect exhibited in the phrases quoted by brother Jannaway. But it ought not to interfere with a
correct discernment as to the facts. It is not on the one side a case of “kicking, or bruising, or stabbing”
at all, nor on the other side is it a case of a brother prevailed against, who “breathes a spirit of love, the
most gentle and Christ-like.” The London brethren have had to withstand open assault upon an avowed
and professed principle of divine truth at the hands of a brother to whom they had most reason of all to
look for its defence; and unhappily said brother has taken an attitude quite in contrast to the gentle
ideal before the mind of brother Williams. But, of course, he is far from the scene of action, and only
sees the dust raised, and not knowing what is going on, except that somebody that thinks as he thinks is
getting the worst of it, imagines the worst, and naturally gets excited, and shouts and gesticulates with a
vehemence that causes those on this side to wonder “What can the matter be over there?”
    Some evidently have not read correctly the literature that has issued on the subject, or they would
not, as brother Williams does, fix on the accessory garnishing and hypothetical corollaries of an
argumentum ad hominem as a statement of the essence of the subject. When a man mistakes a sample
of sophistical syllogism for the statement of an opponent’s actual argument, we cannot help the
impression that the heat of feeling has dimmed perception. But we must make allowance. Some other
matters are smart, but not accurately stated, and consequently have no relation to the implied charge of
dealing untruthfully and unjustly, except such as they seem to have within the four corners of excited
sentences.
    Brother Williams does not sufficiently appreciate the significance of differing with Dr. Thomas on the
question at issue. It is one thing to differ with Dr. Thomas as to the meaning of a particular passage, and
another thing to differ with him as to a principle of divine truth. The question of what makes men
responsible to the judgment of God is a question of divine truth; the question of whether that principle is
enunciated or not in a particular passage is a question of exegetical detail. Two men agreeing on the
first, might consistently disagree on the second. Both might believe one doctrine without agreeing that
it was taught in the same place. Two advocates in court might disagree as to the meaning of a particular
clause in an Act of Parliament without disagreeing as to its applicability to the case in court. But suppose
one of them denied the authority of Parliament or the sovereignty of the Queen, an issue would be
raised which would put the speaker out of court. Dr. Thomas has taught that the ground of man’s

                                                      175
responsibility to God is the knowledge of His will. If this is the truth, then differing with Dr. Thomas is
differing with the truth, which is a different thing from differing with Dr. Thomas’s opinions on matters
not plainly revealed, such as “The Day of His Coming,” or the translation or application of particular
passages. These distinctions have been admitted, if we remember rightly, in one of brother Williams’s
debates or articles. And he cannot ignore them now for the sake of befriending the wrong side of a
controversy with which he happens to sympathise. Dr. Thomas’s judgment on the divine principles
regulating the relations of God and man will remain of great weight after all has been said about “mortal
fallible men.”

                                  The Christadelphian, 1896, p. 474-476
    Brother MacDougall, of Cumnock, and the ecclesia of Kilmarnock, think the time has come for the
reaffirmation of the truth that knowledge makes a man responsible to the judgment-seat of Christ.
Brother Macdougall says its denial has gone outside of London, and that there is a necessity for a firm
and decisive attitude on the question as affecting fellowship.
    Brother G. C. Harvey writes in the same sense. He says:—
        “Are we right in still regarding as brethren and sisters those who are now separated from us in
    London on the Responsibility Question? I have great doubts in my own mind. Many of the errors they
    put forward are fantastical and foolish; many of them downright denials of Scriptural truths, and the
    facts of the case, as amply shown by yourself and others; and in addition to which they slander those
    of the ‘One Body,’ holding on to the ‘One Faith’ of the apostles and prophets as developed, in God’s
    providence, in these latter days by the labours of Dr. Thomas. For three years has this been
    persevered in. They have been admonished, remonstrated with, and debated with, to no purpose:
    should they not now be regarded as ‘publicans and sinners’ as Christ said, and as such, are we right in
    addressing them as brethren? They deny that men who hear and understand and yet reject the
    words, or the gospel of Christ, will be judged by those words as Christ expressly declares. They
    suppress part of the ‘counsel of God,’ which includes ‘judgment to come” for the wilfully disobedient,
    and by so doing, they deny the record, believe not God, and ‘make Him a liar.’ This must be grievious
    sin in God’s sight. Then, again, they have issued their circular accusing us of denying vital truths, and
    declaring they will not receive in fellowship any who disagree with them, so severing themselves
    from the One Body of the One Faith, and including themselves among the sects and names of
    Christendom. May not this last act be taken as the judicial severance of the branch from the body
    after having had time given for repentance and reform, according to Rev. 2. and 21. I must say that I
    feel great hesitation in regarding them as brethren. Kindly well consider the matter and say
    something for guidance in the Christadelphian. If you can do so, I myself should be very glad, and, so I
    am sure, would many others.”
    REMARKS.—There is a good deal of force in this view of matters. We have for years felt uncertain—not
as to the doctrine that men who knowingly refuse to submit to Christ are responsible to his judgment-
seat at the resurrection, but as to how those ought to be regarded who deny it. The ground of our
uncertainty was indicated in the cover note last month to “A. McD.”—namely, the fear of offending
against Christ in passing judgment on those whom (otherwise believing on him) he may not condemn,
while condemning their folly, in circumscribing his jurisdiction over sinners to those among them who
try to obey him—apparently attributing everything to water, and nothing to knowledge. These men do
not deny the faith of Christ. They believe in him, and obey him. They are guilty of an error of judgment
as to his method of dealing with a particular class of sinners. They recognise the exclusion of that class
from life eternal, but imagine that the law of life as construed by them excludes it also from the
resurrection to condemnation—holding the sinners of this class “condemned already,” which they
undoubtedly are, though not “punished already.” Are we to say their faith in Christ is invalidated by this

                                                      176
error concerning the degree of punishment to be meted out to rebels against the light? Here we have
always hesitated; and we know Dr. Thomas was against making it a ground of disfellowship. We could
not consent to suppress what we believe to be truth in the case, but we have never felt at liberty to
object to those who do not see it, provided their faith in Christ is otherwise Scriptural. We admit it
makes a difference when this error becomes aggressive, as it has recently become. In fact, we cannot
now help ourselves. Its refusal of fellowship to those who cannot agree with the error simplifies the
situation. We proclaim the truth that God will judge those who are without, as well as those that are
within, in the day of Christ, where His will is known. If separation is forced upon us by those who do not
believe this, we can but accept it, without presuming to say what the Lord will think of those who not
only limit his jurisdiction, but condemn those who recognise, and always have recognised, its fulness.
We are aware that this is putting it too tenderly for some. It is not tenderness for the error, but the
tenderness of uncertainty as to whether it is such an error as will exclude believers in Christ from life
eternal. It is not like some errors that have struck, in time past, at the very foundations of faith.—ED.
    The brethren in Tottenville, New York (U.S.A.), send a letter in answer to some published remarks
which we have not seen. Probably the object of these brethren will be served by the following extracts
from the last letter of the correspondence between brother Williams and the editor of the
Christadelphian. The correspondence has been published as a supplement to the Advocate, but this
particular letter does not appear. Probably it came to hand too late for inclusion. It was dated
September 1st.
    “A new situation has created new difficulties; a reserved and doubtful attitude has been changed
into a public and aggressive denial of light as the ground of resurrectional responsibility.
    “The remarks you quote from the Christadelphian were suited to a time when that denial was a
doubtful thing. They are not applicable to the situation created by an organised attack. Circumstances
always alter cases, as you know. The present difficulty has not been created by me, and if I am forced to
appear to take a more definite attitude, it has not been my choice.
    “The tendency of the new argument is certainly to obscure the just and intelligent character of God. I
have not changed in my view that God works by law as you suggest, but I object to any interpretation of
His procedure by law which excludes justice. The statement that God does not proceed on the principle
of justice is brother Andrew’s own words, for which, if necessary, I can give chapter and verse. His
pamphlet is not within my reach at the present moment, and the statement was not made with the
sense you suggest, namely, that it is justice without mercy that he was objecting to. This was not the
qualification at all. The question was the infliction of punishment. The objection to his view was that it
outraged justice by asking us to believe that of two men, one who tried to obey God but failed, was to
be punished; while the other, who deliberately chose to set God at defiance altogether, would escape.
This difficulty is not one of my creation; in fact none of them are, they have been forced upon us. I had a
prolonged correspondence with brother Andrew before the matter became public, and I have reason to
sorrowfully know the accuracy of all my statements. How little they are due to ‘perverseness,’ you will
one day perhaps recognise.
    “It is not Christ’s actions that are imputed to us. The righteousness imputed without works is the
righteousness of faith, as you will perceive by the study of Paul’s arguments. Abraham is an illustration
of the point. He believed God, and it (his belief) was accounted to him for righteousness; that is, his
belief of God was reckoned as a righteous thing, and so says Paul it will be imputed to us also. God
forgiving our sins for Christ’s sake, and reckoning our faith as righteousness, is a different thing from the
irrational suggestion of works being imputed to us that we never performed. We are justified without
works in this sense, that as sinners no works of ours could ever have reclaimed us from the alienation of
natural extraction and wickedness of character. The method appointed is the method of grace or favour,
which excludes boasting. At the same time, it leaves intact the noble truth that our justification is an
affair of the forgiveness of our sins, and recognising us in a new light because of our faith; and providing
                                                        177
for us an opportunity of working out our salvation by overt compliance with the will of God. This is the
wholesome doctrine which has been set aside by orthodox religion, and which is in distinct danger from
the new doctrine.
    “That new doctrine teaches that the rebel who refuses baptism is safe from the resurrection
punishment of his rebellion: while the rebel who does render that amount of obedience exposes himself
to punishment thereby. This is not ‘my way of putting it,’ but the simple teaching of the new doctrine.
The enormity of such doctrine may be covered by verbal palliations, but it is there all the same.
    “We are saved by being forgiven, and not by having Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. Christ
acquired eternal life in his own right. Our permitted partnership with him gives us inheritance with him
if he see fit at the judgment seat, which is an affair of our works. The idea of being saved ‘by the merits
of our blessed Redeemer’ is the demoralising thought of the old theology from which we have been
delivered. Only ‘to him that overcometh’ will salvation be given. This is probation. If we walk after the
Spirit, we shall be saved, not otherwise. There would be no room for this truth if Christ’s righteousness
were imputed to us.
    “You say you cannot understand what has befallen me: this must be because you have never
properly understood me. These Scriptural discriminations have been present with me from the
beginning. The views now being agitated are the superficial thoughts of orthodox religion.
Notwithstanding your impression to the contrary, I am where I have always been. The extract you make
from Twelve Lectures on the ‘Robe of Righteousness’ is the somewhat juvenile utterance of 35 years
ago; but though crude and figurative in form, it expresses the doctrine I now hold. The robe of
righteousness as a figure literally means investiture with the name of Christ as a condition of
forgiveness, and the recognition of our faith as righteousness in contrast to the righteousness of the law,
of which Paul deprecatingly speaks.
    “It is not I who have made this question a test, but brother Andrew, and if his tactics have forced a
more definite attitude on me, it may be that in this I am coerced into a course of duty not before
sufficiently recognised. It is a serious thing to take away the terrors of the gospel from those knowingly
rejecting it. I forgive your suggestion that I am inconsistent and guilty of respect of persons. I suppose it
appears so to you. If you knew the ‘counsels of the heart’ you would speak otherwise.
    “If you truly accepted the proposition that light brings responsibility, you would not restrict it to the
antediluvian world. It cannot be so restricted. The question of responsibility is always a question of light
and privilege. To whom much is given, of them shall much be required. Gospel light brings resurrectional
responsibility. If you admit this, there is no difficulty, but this is what is denied, and this is the root of the
present trouble. It has never been a question of the time of punishment with me, but of the fact, though
I think the question of the time becomes clear with study. The new contention denies the fact; it teaches
that out-and-out rebels are to be allowed to slumber unpunished, while those who are partially
obedient are to be raised for punishment. If it try to get out of the enormity by saying the out-and-out
rebels are punished now, then we have the untrue doctrine of Eliphaz that God dispenses His
retributions to the wicked in this life.
    “Your allegation that I am wrong, inconsistent, and unjust, is made in a manner that leads me to
suppose you sincerely think so. What can I do but wait the Divine verdict? If I deny your insinuation and
think the reverse of my course, it may be that I am right.
    “You refer to the conversation we had eight years ago in a way that I cannot recognise as reflecting
its true character. It was a conversation on the question itself, and not on how the question should be
treated, and the result of the conversation was so doubtful that sister Roberts, who was present, was
for a long time under the idea that you had yielded to the argument that I had brought to bear. Possibly
the thing impressed you differently from what it did us, but from our point of view, you make a mistake
in speaking of it as if it were a compact to shelve or ignore the difference. Do not understand me as

                                                        178
imputing blame to you in the way you regard it, but I think it necessary to indicate this much of
demur.”—R. R.

                                   The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 33-34
   Brother C. C. Walker, of Birmingham, endorses the foregoing. He thinks we ought not to countenance
any doctrine which obscures or weakens the moral claims of the Gospel upon those who come within
sound of its hearing.
   The Editor cannot add anything to what he said last month, except that he may have erred in the
leniency with which he has acted in reference to this departure from truth. He would be very easy to
lead into an energetic course if he could be sure of the Lord’s approbation in the matter. Job’s friends
held wrong views on cognate questions. Yet the Lord only made them apologise through Job, “lest.” as
he said, “I deal with you after your folly.” He did not command Job to have nothing to do with them. It
would be a terrible thing to have discarded those whom the Lord might accept. The errorists in this case
have discarded us: is not this enough? It seems so. But we would take any course in which duty was
clear. We had no hesitation as to Inspiration, because the doctrine propounded was a blasphemy
against the Scriptures, and undermining of the very foundation of all hope and godliness. And we had no
hesitation about Renunciationism, because it was a blotting-out of the principle on which God invites
our approach—for worship now and salvation afterwards. We had no hesitation about the denial of the
judgment for life or death at the coming of the Lord, because that was both an express negation of a
testified element of the Gospel, and a weakening of the power of the Gospel to chasten and purify in
godly fear. We had no hesitation as to Dowieism, which was an emasculation and corrupting and
clouding-out of sight of the whole counsel of God: but this—an excess of zeal for the “keeping” of the
“sanctuary” : an over-refinement of logical wool-spinning—well, it would be troublesome in our midst,
and obstructive of true progress in holiness and fear and joy and love. But it has taken itself away; why
need we pass judgment on that which in an ecclesial sense has already condemned itself? Such are the
cloudy in-workings of the moment. Perhaps the atmospheric fogs will settle, and allow the sun to shine
and the brethren to get out for that ‘walk together in the bonds of love and peace.’ which is the normal
shape of things under the law of Christ.—EDITOR.

                                     The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 78
    The question begins to appear in a more serious light as it comes to be considered thoroughly in all
its bearings.—ED

                                     The Christadelphian, 1898, p 40
    MILNSBRIDGE.—Armitage Road, 2.30 and 6.0 p.m.—Our ecclesia have felt it necessary to define its
position on the Responsibility Question. On December 1st, we unanimously adopted the following
resolution:—
    “That it is our earnest conviction that a knowledge of God’s revealed will (irrespective of submission
to it) is the ground of responsibility to the judgment seat of Christ at his second appearing, as taught by
Christ and his apostles. This being so, we feel it to be our duty to withhold fellowship from any who
believe the contrary. Neither can we fellowship any who are in doubt on the matter, and who therefore
have not yet arrived at the same conviction as ourselves. We shall also feel it to be our duty to refrain
from fellowship with any who, while believing as we do, yet, by their fellowship, tolerate those who
believe otherwise.”
    —G. WILDE.

                                                     179
+ Parting Words from Campbellism
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1865, p. 113
                                                (Excerpt)
   Sixthly.—Campbellism in prescribing the verbal confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as the
test of Christian fellowship without requiring an understanding of that confession, is anti-apostolic, as
the apostles demanded intelligence as the basis of all confessions. “Understandest thou what thou
readest?” said Philip to the eunuch, before pronouncing him fit for induction into Christ. “In
understanding be men” says Paul (1. Cor. 14:20.) “Filled with all wisdom and understanding, ” is the
condition of spiritual manhood indicated in Col. 1:9, and repeated more emphatically in the second
chapter as “the full assurance of understanding, ” “the eyes of the understanding being enlightened,” in
contrast to the “understanding darkened” spoken of by Paul in Ephes. 1:18, 4:18. Now we submit that
no one can intelligently confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who does not first understand the
proposition that “Jesus is the Christ;” and we further submit that no one can confess Jesus to be the
Christ without understanding the import or purpose of his Christing or Anointing, which embraces, as we
hope to demonstrate, his mission first, as a Sin covering; second, as a Prophet; third, as a Priest; fourth,
as a Man of War; and fifth, as a Victorious King, ruling on the throne of David as universal Lord. For
Campbellism then to be content with the simple iteration of the words “I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God,” is to deceive itself and to practice a damning deception upon all who are guided by it.


Withdrawal, and When
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1873, p. 332-333
   J.G.T.—It is a rule in the interpretation of all consistent documents, that no construction is to be put
on one part that destroys the sense of another. If this rule is ever to be applied, surely it is in the
understanding of Paul. Now, though Paul has said “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To
his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden-up; for God is able to make him to
stand”—(Rom. 14:4). We are not to understand his words in a sense that would forbid us to obey his
commandment two chapters further on, in the same letter, where, describing a certain class, he says
“Avoid them” (Romans 16:13), and again (1 Cor. 5:68), “Put away from among yourselves that wicked
person.” (See also 2 Thess. 3:16; 1 Tim. 6:3–5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 9–10.)
   Paul, in Rom. 14:4, is not inconsistent with Paul in these other places. Paul, in Rom. 14:4, as the
context shews, has before his mind an obedient servant of Christ, who has a weakness on the subject of
herbs versus animal food, on which we have no guidance by the law of Christ. In such a matter,
“judgment” by fellow-believers would obviously be presumptuous. It is an “untaught” matter; and we
have no authority to be wise above what is written. Let those who have a weakness for a particular sort
of food be indulged in brotherly love. But the case is very different when a brother walks in open
disobedience of what is commanded.
   But the question of participation in worldly pic-nics and stock-speculations depends so greatly upon
the circumstances of the case, (which can only be known to those on the spot,) that it is not possible to
express a valuable opinion as to their incompatibility or otherwise with continuance of fellowship.
Generally speaking, “pic-nics” of unbelievers are unfit occasions for the presence and countenance of
saints; and a robust and hearty saint would have no difficulty in deciding against all of them; but it
would be hard to say (without actual knowledge) that in all cases, a brother was acting unworthily of the
high calling in participating in them. So much depends upon the character of the occasion. We could

                                                     180
conceive the possibility of such an occasion being turned to good account by wise men, in friendly
intercourse on divine things with friends in the open field. We fear there are not many pic-nics where
this occurs. Nevertheless, it is hard to draw the line. Wise men will judge each case on its merits. So in
stock speculations. As a rule, it is a kind of a business in which an honest man would not feel at liberty to
engage; but there may be cases where it may be but legitimate enterprise with promise of good fruit.
Hard and fast lines cannot be laid down in such matters. True saints will always take care to be on the
right side. Withdrawal ought not to take place until disobedience is beyond doubt, and until every
endeavour has been exhausted to bring the disobedient to reformation.


The Apocalypse on the Question of Fellowship
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                  The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 467-468
    This question is raised by dissensions in some quarters leading to division. An ecclesia tolerates
wrong teaching: a few men of understanding cannot bear it, and retire. Those who remain think the
matter unimportant and are inclined to find fault with the others as sticklers. How stands the matter?
    When a professed brother avows the belief that the visions of the Apocalypse have no application to
the accomplished history of Europe but are of a future significance, he raises a question of more serious
moment than may at first sight be apparent. A man confessing ignorance of the meaning of the
Apocalypse is a man who might grow in knowledge, and therefore a man to be borne with and helped;
but a man denying its meaning is a man to be antagonised on the following serious grounds:
    Over a dozen times, it is written in the Apocalypse: “He that hath ears, let him hear what the Spirit
saith unto the churches.” Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” He identifies the Apocalypse with his
voice in saying in it: “I, Jesus have mine angel to testify these things in the churches” (Rev. 22:16). Thus
the Apocalypse is an important part of the Shepherd’s voice which Jesus says the sheep will hear. He
goes further than this. He says “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (verse 19). On the other hand, he says “Blessed is he
that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things that are written
therein.”
    Among the “words of the book of this prophecy” is a heavy warning against participation with a
system described under the symbol of a beast and his image: “If any man worship the beast and his
image and receive his mark on his forehead, or on his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the
wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.”
    Now, if these things relate to institutions now current among men (which they undoubtedly do, as
can be and has been many times shown), how serious is the doctrine which would say they do not relate
to anything now upon earth, but to something in some future age with which we have nothing to do.
Such a doctrine, where received, would prevent a man from “hearing what the Spirit saith unto the
churches”: it would prevent him from “keeping those things which are written in this book”; and worse
than all, it would practically cause him to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy,”
since to take away the meaning is to take away the words in making them of none effect. It is
impossible, therefore, to agree with those who would make light of the subject, and it is impossible not
to sympathise with faithful men who cannot remain in any community where such nullifying doctrines
are tolerated.—ED.




                                                      181
Answers to Correspondents (The Apocalypse and the
Obedience of Faith)
                                          By bro. Robert Roberts
                                   The Christadelphian, 1872, p. 380-381
    W. D.—A correct interpretation of the Apocalypse is of more importance than may at first sight
appear. 1. It was given “that his servants MIGHT KNOW” (Chap. 1:1.) the things it treats of; and if a wrong
view of it prevails, the object of its communication is to that extent frustrated. 2. The Spirit pronounces
a blessing on those who understand it, (chap. 1:3.) from which it follows that a wrong apprehension of
its import deprives the wrong apprehender of the blessing. 3. Jesus pronounces a curse on those who
take away from its words (Chap. 22:19.); and no one takes away from its words more effectually than
the man who misrepresents its meaning. That misrepresentation of its meaning which asserts its
inapplicability to the present constitution of things in the world, and teaches that it has no fulfilment till
the saints are removed at the coming of Christ, is especially mischievous in its effects; for it interferes
with a scriptural attitude in relation to things and systems which are therein condemned, and
participation in which is declared to implicate the participators in the doom awaiting them. The
ecclesiastical systems and practices of Europe are exhibited under symbols perfectly intelligible to the
student of God’s word. A beast and its image, a ten-horned monster and a woman are introduced as
representatives of the constitution of things in Papal Europe, and a peculiarity of the saints therein
described is that they “worship not the beast neither his image, nor receive his mark upon their
foreheads nor in their hands (20:4.), that they “obtain the victory over the beast and over his image and
over the number of his name” (15:2); that unlike those dwelling on earth “whose names are not written
in the book of life,” and who worship the beast who makes war upon the saints, they “keep the sayings
of the prophecy of this book,” which declare, “If any man worship the beast and his image and receive
his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Now, if
you regard the whole matter as future to the Lord’s coming, do you not loosen and undermine the
terrible obligations arising from these sayings? Certainly; you place these obligations beyond the circle
of a saint’s duties, and leave him at liberty to imagine that he may safely take part with any system
extant in his own day. Of course, you are at liberty, in this day of liberty, to think and act as you will: but
such views are a serious impediment to the co-operation which you are disposed to ask on the part of
the Christadelphians. They could not admit such an element of corruption among them. They could not
identify themselves with so complete a neutralization of the last message of Jesus sent to his servants.
They could not make themselves responsible for such a departure from his testimony which he himself
has fenced with special imprecations. Your belief in the things concerning the kingdom of God and the
name of Jesus Christ, “the same as the Christadelphians,” may justify you in being immersed; but with
such a state of mind with regard to the important directions he has given for the guidance of his
servants in the Apocalypse, it is impossible they could enter upon that co-operation which has for its
basis an intelligent apprehension of the mind and will of Christ.
    The idea that “Revelations” is future in its fulfilment, would be dispelled by the effectual realization
of one or two points which we mention by way of conclusion. The angel interpreting to John the
meaning of the seven heads of the scarlet-coloured beast, says 17:10: There are seven kings: five are
fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come.” Here is a proof that in the day when these words were
addressed to John—nearly 1800 years ago—part of the symbolism had been realised in history. In
connection with its developments (chap. 11:18) “the time of the dead comes that they should be
judged,” which is inconsistent with the theory that those developments do not take place till after the
resurrection of the saints. A similar argument arises in the fact that the beast makes war upon the saints
and overcomes them.—(13:7.) Surely this is not after the saints are raised from the dead! So also with

                                                       182
the fact that saints, under the sixth seal, are seen in a state of death, and allowed to rest (6:9); that the
scarlet woman is drunk with the blood of saints. (Surely she is not to kill them after they are made
immortal.) “In her was found the blood of prophets and saints.”—(18:24.) The apostles were slain by her
(Rome under the pagan constitution.)—(18:20.) Surely the apostles are not to be killed a second time. In
addition to these and many other points that might be mentioned, the general character of the book as
to things said about to “shortly come to pass,” and as to keeping the things written in the book,
conclusively shows the fallacy of a theory which futurizes everything except the messages to the
churches, and reduces it to a thing of practical consequence whatever.


Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Synagogue, No.
51
                                         By bro. Robert Roberts
                                    The Christadelphian, 1874, p. 65-69
                                                 (Excerpt)
                                      “Exhort one another daily.”—PAUL.

    At the same time, it is always possible, as at Corinth, to come together, “not for the better but for the
worse.” We must guard against this by the avoidance of those conditions that lead to such a result. A
want of unity is fatal to edification. Union without unity is worse than worthless; it is pernicious; it tends
to frustrate the objects of fellowship. The ecclesia is not the place at all for discussing the principles of
the one faith. That belongs altogether to the outside. The plea of looking at both sides is plausible and
looks candid, but it belongs only to those who are uncertain of the faith; and uncertainty is no feature of
the full assurance of faith, whithout which it is impossible to please God. It is all very well for those who
do not know the truth to talk in such a style; such are in no state to form constituents of a community
whose function is to be the ‘pillar and ground of the truth.” Agreement in the things of the Spirit is the
first condition of ecclesial unity. The unity of the Spirit may be kept in the bond of peace; but the schism
of the Spirit—disagreement in the things of the Spirit—renders peace impossible. Those who are
indifferent can easily afford to ignore disagreement; and preach cordially of the virtue of “agreeing to
differ.” This is no characteristic of the church of the living God. It contends for the faith once delivered
to the saints, and obeys Paul’s command (1 Tim. 6:5) to “turn away” from the perverse disputings of
men of corrupt minds. The first characteristic of true saintship is zeal for the things of God. He is not
content to cultivate friendship on the basis of adhesiveness or any other merely fleshly instinct. He
stands “in God:” God’s ways and principles are the rule of his life, the measure of his aspirations, the
standard of his friendship, the foundation of all his doings. The Laodicean attitude of indifference—the
readiness to agree to differ within the precincts of the ecclesia—is impossible with him. He must have
the faith first pure, knowing that peace will follow, and from peace, edification, and the growth in every
good thing that shall prepare the brethren for the coming of the Lord. A contrary condition produces
every evil work. Unity in the Spirit will admit of growth to the stature of the perfect man in Christ. It will
help us to dwell together in love and hope, striving together for the faith of the gospel, abounding in the
whole work of the Lord with thanksgiving.
    Let us obey implicitly the advice of Paul, who counsels abstinence from strifes of words, foolish
questions and contentions, which he declares to be “unprofitable and vain.”—(Tit. 3:9.) “Charge them
before the Lord,” he says, “that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subversion of the
hearers . . . Shun profane and vain babblings.”—(2 Tim. 2:14–16.) He instructed Titus to “AFFIRM
CONSTANTLY” that believers should be careful to maintain good works, which were to their profit.—(Tit.
3:8.) Leaving perverse, uncandid, evasive and Jesuitical disputers, then, to themselves, let us be diligent

                                                      183
in every good work, against the impending day of account, relieving the afflicted, comforting the saints
in their tribulations, leading sinners into the way of justification and eternal life. These good works
wither before the hot blast of contention, strife, backbiting and vain glory; and by these, men, running
well for awhile, are destroyed. Let us take heed, and show ourselves men of God, whose seed
“remaineth in them;” who cannot be moved away from the path of duty or the hope of the gospel by
the wildest storms that may come; who stand stoutly, in their particular day and relations, in the
position described by Habakkuk: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the
vines: the labour of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat: the flock shall be cut off from
the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my
salvation.”—(3:17) The standing aim of this class is to be approved of God, however much they may
incur the opprobrium of men. Men work one way; the children of God another. God’s opinion of the
ways of men is clearly and abundantly recorded. This record they “read, mark, learn, and inwardly
digest.” They eschew the selfishness rebuked by Haggai, who was commanded by the Spirit to say to the
men of Israel, “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and My house lie waste? . . . My
house is waste, and ye run every man into his own house.”—(1:4, 9.) There is no stone-and-mortar
house of God to attend to; but there is another house—the house of God, the pillar and ground of the
truth, whose condition is that of wasteness, and to which we are called to attend in priority to our own
affairs. If we are of God, we feel not at liberty to do as the men of Israel did, and as the world around
does, to look after our own affairs, and see ourselves comfortably established without regard to the
desolate state of the house of God. While God is a pilgrim in the earth, His sons are not content to be
dwellers in the tents of sin. While Jerusalem and her children are in affliction, they aim not to seek their
ease. They have a heart to feel for the down-trodden house of Christ, and on its upbuilding their best
exertions are bestowed. They give not to the Lord the refuse, and fag end, and superfluity. They have
noticed the lesson of Mal. 1:6, 14 “A son honoureth his father and a servant his master. If, then, I be a
Father, where is Mine honour? If I be a Master, where is My fear? Saith the Lord of Hosts, unto you, O
priests, that despise My name. Ye say, Wherein have we despised Thy name? Ye offer polluted bread
upon Mine altar, and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is
contemptible? If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it
not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor: will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person? saith the
Lord of Hosts. Cursed be the deceiver that hath in his flock a male, and voweth and sacrificeth unto the
Lord, a corrupt thing. For I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and My name is dreadful among the
heathen.” These principles apply in the truth. Wise men will have them in remembrance, honouring the
Lord with their substance; sowing bountifully, that they may reap bountifully; that in the day about to
dawn, they may not be of those who will be rejected, for a faithless use of the “few things” now
entrusted to their care.


Thoughts And Thoughts.—No. 2
                                            By bro. L. B. Welch.
                                   The Christadelphian, 1892, p. 325-328
   THERE is a right and a wrong side to all things. A controversy presupposes that the parties to it have
defined their respective positions on the question in controversy; otherwise, there can be no true
controversy. The opponents may all be on the wrong side of the question but they cannot all be on the
right side and still be opponents; for, if they still claim to be opponents, they cannot and do not
understand the position of one another, or else some at least are mere praters of things they do not
understand. An objector or faultfinder to the teachings of another, who claims that the teaching is
wrong, is unworthy of notice till he defines his own position on what he conceives to be the right side of
the question. The most ignorant, puffed up with conceit, may object to and find fault with the teachings
                                                       184
of others, since to merely object or find fault without defining one’s own position, requires neither
wisdom nor judgment, Such persons may and often do find fault with the Lord Himself, and oft delight
themselves with picking flaws and pointing out contradictions and all manner of errors in the Word of
the Most High God. No one who has not positive knowledge to the contrary has a right to condemn the
sayings of others as false sayings; for to do so is bad taste and worse judgment.
     No doubt there be those in the household of faith, who, from a want of full knowledge of the truth or
from other causes, are prone to misjudge the positive teachings of others; calling them dogmatisms,
when they are the truthful sayings of a full assurance of faith resting upon a full and well-grounded
knowledge of the truth. In fact, the truth itself is dogmatic, because it is from God who alone has the
right to be dogmatic; and any saying of another that is according to the truth is simply the dogmatism of
the truth, and not the dogmatism of the person making it. A teaching involving the truth and not
positive (or dogmatic) in the statement of it, presupposes an uncertain knowledge of the matter on the
part of the person from whom the teaching comes. A teacher who is faithful to the truth will, in all his
teachings, use words of no uncertain sound, and positive words, even though the ignorant may accuse
him of dogmatism. Wisdom is justified of her children.
     Search the Scriptures and see if the thoughts in this paragraph are in harmony with the truth; and, if
so, then search thine own heart and see if thou art in harmony therewith. A true child of God receives
and rejoices in the truth, though it comes to him through the weakest brother in the Lord’s household;
but the envious are continually finding fault, and save their rejoicings for their own work. An humble
and honest heart before the Lord rejoices greatly in the progress of a brother in his attainments in the
truth, even though he may himself be outstripped in the race for eternal life. The truth can only beget
and bring forth love and obedience in and from the heart, if permitted to do its perfect work. If envy,
backbiting, malice, slander, reproach, fault-finding, be the fruit brought forth from the heart, it is not the
fruit of the truth, and the truth has not had its perfect work in that heart. If a brother or a sister have
faith in an untaught matter that does not conflict with revealed truth, let them have it to themselves
that the peace and harmony of the ecclesia may not be disturbed. False views may abide in an ecclesia
under concealment, but no ecclesia can harbour them when once they become known, or are open,
without becoming a partaker therewith. The Lord is the cleanser of His own household, it is true, but it is
in the matter of secret sins and doctrines, and personal character, since the ecclesia must purge itself of
open sins whether in doctrine or practice; for, if the ecclesia fails to purge itself thereof, it is living in sin
before the Lord. Whoever seeth his brother walking in sinful ways and hideth the matter in his heart,
hath sin lying at the door of his own heart. The character formed in this life must be in complete
harmony with the order of things in the eternal world, else unalloyed love and joy and peace could not
fill the heart and mind in the presence of a pure God. The Lord looks at the heart, and the heart that is
right in His sight can rejoice before Him; for “a broken and contrite heart the Lord will not despise,”
since He “looks to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at His word.” There can be no
contrition of heart where chastisement is not patiently borne and evil ways forsaken. Whoever rebels at
the chastisements of the Lord may well tremble when called to the judgment of His household. There
can be no ecclesial peace where purity does not precede the peace. There can be no ecclesial purity
where the bond of love does not bind every heart with sound doctrine and fellowship. “When the
judgments of the Lord are in the earth, then will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness;” and
the judgments that bring righteousness to the inhabitants of the earth are those of the Seventh Vial. If
each one looks into his heart as mirrored by God’s truth, he will know how he stands before the Lord,
and can draw comfort and hope or fear and shame from the revelation. “Blessed are the pure in heart
for they shall see God.” God can be seen by those only who are Spirit; for to Spirit nature only is His face
unveiled, since no other can behold His face and live.
     “Many be called but few chosen.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” These are
words of terrible import, and stand in a special and close relation to each other in the two sayings, one
                                                        185
from Christ Jesus and the other from Paul. When the two sayings are carefully weighed, the reason why
few are chosen stands out in fearful distinctness, causing one to tremble. The call has gone forth in the
gospel of the Kingdom of God, or “the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus
Christ.” All who accept the call become, by their obedience of it, the called as contradistinguished from
those who do not accept the call from whatever cause. At this point all the called stand alike. It is from
this point on that the line begins to be drawn between the first and last clause of the saying that “Many
be called but few chosen.” The line is drawn by one class of the called observing, and the other class not
observing, the second Scripture saying of “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The
choice or rejection of the called will depend upon which side of the line they will stand in the day of
account. “But few chosen”! Words of fearful and ominous import. Well might the Apostle, by the spirit
of God, say: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Were it not because of what He
further adds to those words, the hearts of the called would be heavy and sorrowful, and faint of hope
indeed of being among the few chosen. But bless the Lord for the saying: “For it is God that worketh in
you to will and do of His own good pleasure.” In whom does the Lord work to will and do of His own
good pleasure? Those of the called in whose hearts the love of God dwells in all richness unto good
works. Those who are walking in the truth with a humble heart. Those who do the works of the truth
“without murmurings and disputings, as blameless sons of God . . . . holding forth the word of life.” The
rich fruits of the truth that dwells in the hearts of the called brought forth in walk and conversation
before God and in the midst of a crooked and perverse people is God working in them to will and do
after His own good pleasure! All such have good hope of being among the few chosen. “But few
chosen”! Some might feel disposed to say: “Those are cruel words.” No: they are merciful words, words
of great caution. They are words that will cause the truly honest and humble of heart to bring a greater
zeal to bear in working out their salvation with fear and trembling. Let us therefore tremble at those
words, and seek the more earnestly to work out our salvation through works of righteousness wrought
in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Merciful High Priest, who maketh intercession for us before the Father in
whose grace we stand through the obedience of faith.
    Brethren, those of us who are parents, with what great love do we cherish our little ones; yet our
love for them is very small in comparison with the love of God for His children. He knows our weak
nature, and when we do wrong He corrects us by His chastisements. To those of His children who are
striving to keep His commandments, to walk in His way, how unspeakably great must be His
compassion, His tender mercy towards His erring children who turn from their sins and seek His
forgiveness with a broken and contrite heart? Yea, we can have no conception of it; and herein is our
heart comforted in hope of His mercy through Christ Jesus in the day when He shall choose His children
from among the called. If you or I be not chosen, brother or sister, it will not be God’s fault, but our
own; and we can therefore have no ground of complaint against a loving Father whose mercy is over all,
and whose love gathers in all who are of “a broken and contrite heart and who tremble at His word.”
“Many be called but few chosen.” Brethren, those are fearful words. Let us tremble at them, and the
more earnestly seek to “make our calling and election sure.”
    “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the
weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and
things that are despised, hath God chosen, and things that are not, to bring to nought things that are.”
Why has He done so? In order “that no flesh should glory in His presence.” If the foolish (unlearned) and
the base (of no honour, of low degree) and the despised of the world are chosen, whence then their
wisdom, and wherein is God glorified in and through them? Ah, brethren, just here is the supreme
wisdom of God. He is the wisdom of His chosen ones. He is their strength, their righteousness, their
sanctification, their redemption, through Christ Jesus. Their glory is of the Lord, and from their low
estate, their weakness, and their despised position among the wise and the mighty of this world, He will
raise them up and give them an honour and glory and nobility and wisdom and power such as the great

                                                    186
ones of this world have not known and never can know. It is therefore all of God and not of man. Out of
weakness does the Lord propose to bring strength; out of foolishness does He propose to bring wisdom;
out of poverty does He propose to bring riches. It is by the offerings of His people, out of their pinching
poverty, that the Lord has proposed to and does carry on His work in the earth till the day of His great
power is manifested to the nations in judgments such as will sweep from existence the wisdom and
power and greatness of the high ones of this world. To His people His truth is their wisdom, their
strength, their honour and glory, their power, their riches, their salvation, and in it they rejoice with
exceeding great joy in every circumstance of persecution, suffering, trial, want, and tribulation, pressing
on to “the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” How is it with so-called
Christendom? The high, the mighty, the honourable, the wise (worldly wise), and the rich are found in
and swelling the ranks of the world and ecclesiasticism to repletion. Ah, truly, the Lord is not in their
midst, nor hath He chosen them for the work He is doing in the earth in the matter of taking out a
people for His name, of taking out of the nations kings and priests for His Kingdom of the Future Age. Let
us murmur not at our poverty, brethren, nor at trials and persecutions and every tribulation, but rather
let us rejoice that the Lord hath given us an honest heart and a believing mind, and withheld from us
much riches in which are many snares. This is the day of little things, and low and despised things in the
Lord’s household; the day of great things is yet to come. Let us with patience wait for it.
    “All nations shall serve him” (Nebuchadnezzar). There is more in those words than a mere servitude
of all nations to Nebuchadnezzar. They are words of deeper meaning. The giving of all nations into
Nebuchadnezzar’s hand was the beginning of “the kingdom of men,” or “the times of the Gentiles,” as
bearing upon prophetic time periods of the Scriptures. All nations were to serve Nebuchadnezzar, for
the Lord had given them into his hand. Even His own nation was not excepted from the servitude to
Nebuchadnezzar. This was the beginning of a new era with the nations, from which dates the seven
times period of Gentile dominion. This seven times period to the nations is truly a dwelling with the
beasts of the field; for truly, in relation to their end, they do not rise above the beasts, since death and
destruction feed upon all alike. Being in ignorance, without understanding of the truth, they are “like the
beasts that perish.” As a type of this condition of the nations under Gentile dominion, Nebuchadnezzar
was dethroned of reason and made to dwell with the beasts of the field till seven times passed over his
head. Of a truth all nations are dwelling with the beasts of the field, and will continue to so dwell till
their seven times have run their full measure; after which the Lord will take them in hand, and give to
them reason that they may honour and praise and glorify Him to whom honour glory, dominion and
power alone belong.
    The work of bringing the nations to reason, and teaching them to honour and glorify God, is no small
or light matter. Only by judgments inflicted upon them can it be done. This will require much time. Of
course, the Lord could do it at once by an exercise of miraculous power, but He does not work that way
in developing obedient nations. He has not worked that way in developing kings and priests in His
Kingdom, and He will not work that way in bringing the nations to reason and teaching them and
developing in them an obedient spirit to honour and glorify Him as the Creator of all things, King over all
nations, and their Benefactor and Saviour. This work will all be done in a way that will seem natural to
the nations, so that the faith and obedience of the saved nations will not stand upon the foundation of a
suddenly-developed growth, but a gradual growth throughout the period of the Lord’s judgments in
conquest of the nations. This will take time, even years, as the Scriptures tell us, and as the types of the
Lord’s past work plainly show. The Lord is never in a hurry, and sudden destruction of a people or nation
occurs only when the Lord’s preparatory work is completed and has led to the final judgment of a
sudden destruction. Clearly “the times of the Gentiles” have nearly run their full measure, and the time
for calling the Lord’s household and the nations to judgment is close at hand. Oh, that judgment of the
household! who will abide it, and become constituents of the Mighty “Rain-bowed Angel” who metes
out the Lord’s judgments upon the kingdoms of this world and takes them unto Himself for an

                                                     187
everlasting possession? Oh, the long and terrible judgments of the nations! Who among the nations will
abide them and be able to enter into the blessedness promised in Abraham and his seed? A time of
terrible woe to the unfaithful and the nations is near at hand. Oh, that we may all be safe in the
incorruption of Spirit nature in the day of that terrible woe!
    “Why Four Gospels?” I have read brother Harvey’s article. It is good. His answer to the question has
in it all the elements of a strong probability. It is the most reasonable of all the reasons given for the
necessity of four Gospels. It is an explanation in complete harmony with Scripture typical and symbolical
teaching. It is an explanation that must strongly arrest the thoughtful reflecting mind. It is an
explanation that brings out in beautiful and strong relief the special features of each of the four gospels,
and does away with the many laboured “harmonies” of the Gospels, showing why no two of them could
be exactly alike, but that all taken together are a complete unity of the four-square encampment of the
Israel of God, initiated in the Personal Christ, and completed in the Mystical Christ. My faith is strong
that brother Harvey has given us the right answer to the oft-repeated question: “Why Four Gospels?”
Truly, the more one looks into the Bible from the standpoint of a knowledge of the Gospel of the
Kingdom and the Name and searches among its rich treasures, the stronger does his faith become that it
is of a verity the infallible Word of the living God. The search among its types and symbols makes old
features of the truth grow brighter and brighter, and brings to view new phases of the truth in rich
profusion; yet, with all we may do in that direction, we are simply adding a polish to the jewel of Truth
mined from the mountain of error by Dr. Thomas, where tradition had buried it.


Fellowship
                                           By Albert Anderson
                                  Herald of the Future Age, 1847, p. 215
    "That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon,
and our hands bare handled of the Word of Life ; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen (it,) and
bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto
us ;) that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us;
and truly, our fellowship (is) with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ." Thus writes one of the
Apostles, showing the true ground and importance of Christian fellowship, or partnership. We ought,
therefore, to understand the things declared by the Apostles, in order to the enjoyment of society with
them, and with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. Let us attend to a primitive and a well instructed
disciple, expressing himself very emphatically and summarily, with reference to the same things. Thus
he writes: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things
which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning
were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word; it seems good to me also, having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed." From this
passage of Luke, in connexion with his account of the things, testified concerning the Kingdom of God,
and the name of Jesus Christ,—it is clearly of vast importance, that we labor for a perfect understanding
of all things as from the first, as things delivered by eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word. It is this
perfect understanding, which is symbolically styled, light, and in which, when we walk, we have
fellowship with God. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that
God, is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in
darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." The Apostles, and the
Holy Spirit and the Father, all witness concerning Jesus, all have partnership or society in him and with
all his.
                                                       188
    Now, in view of these high and holy associations, can they, who enjoy them, get their own consent to
pollute such associations by seeking communion with darkness?
    Let us hear an Apostle, on this point, speaking thus: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? And what communion hath
light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with
an infidel? And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? for ye are the Temple of the living
God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, &c." Surely, with these promises, we must advocate purity,
individually and congregationally. Indeed, the apostle says: "Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you, and will be a Father
unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Truly, such as have obeyed
this injunction, are placed under the highest obligations to avoid all corruptions, and to contend, with all
fidelity and boldness, for the faith, as formerly delivered to the Saints.
    It is not the approbation of any number of uninspired men, although called a church or congregation,
which satisfies the enlightened man. He seeks the approbation of the High and Holy One, whether in
regard to individuals or to congregations. It is evident, that the first congregations were composed of
individuals, who had all submitted to baptism for the remission of sins, in obedience to the Gospel of the
Kingdom, divinely authorized. Even John the Baptist, preached the baptism of repentance for the remis-
sion of sins. And certainly the Apostles were plain upon this point, as exemplified in Peter on the day of
Pentecost. It is of the greatest importance to build according to divine injunction.
    If I have received that which was from the beginning, as reported by the witnesses and the ministers
of the Word, I am in society with the most illustrious personages in the universe. Shall I mingle myself
with congregations or collections of men and women, partly purified and partly not purified, some of
them not having obeyed ? Are they not all defiled?
    The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable; God is pure, and he will not dwell with the
impure. I would, ten thousand times, rather be in society with the few purified ones, than with the many
impure ones. It is the truth obeyed, which makes pure; let us then persevere in the doctrine of Jesus and
know the truth and be purified or freed from sin by it. Let us study all the truth, in the scriptures of
inspiration, as being profitable, or able to profit, in doctrine, in conviction, in correction, in instruction,
or training in righteousness. When fully enlightened by these sacred studies, we shall in the ratio of this
light, enjoy fellowship, or society with all the enlightened sons of God, and with the Father, and with his
Son Jesus Christ. We shall then joyfully wait for the hope, which is predicated upon the righteousness by
faith. We shall contemplate the future, as rendered unspeakably resplendent with the glory of God, in
the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we shall be animated and strengthened unto all patience and
all long suffering, and shall conquer through him, who has loved us, and more than conquered,—being
made stronger than all enemies,—and shall obtain a triumph in honor of being conquerors,—and enter
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    I am, I humbly trust, one of the sons of that liberty, with which Christ makes his people free,—the
liberty of the truth.
                                                                                    Brethren, let us do or die.
                                                                                          Caroline, Va., 1847.


Ecclesial Fellowship
                                           By bro. F. G. Jannaway
                                The Christadelphian, 1892, p. 59-63, 99-103
    The following argumentative conversation arose out of a private verbal discussion between W. and
F. as to whether a particular doctrine had to be believed before immersion, and as a condition of
                                                       189
fellowship. W. seemed distressed at the idea of separation on a single doctrine (while agreed on all
others), and groundlessly charged the Christadelphians with teaching that all brethren out of fellowship
with them were practically regarded as without hope; hence F. replied that W. should keep in mind the
proposition stated below, and which proposition called forth the discussion that follows thereon. All the
paragraphs headed “W” are the very words of the essay written by W., and which essay has been
divided into sections so that the arguments contained therein might be the more thoroughly dealt with.

                                      PROPOSITION TO BE REMEMBERED
     “That in many cases we have to refuse fellowship to those we hope to see accepted by and bye
through the mercy of God, but that it would not be Scriptural to allow this hope to be the ground of
fellowship; otherwise, fellowship would vary with the amount of hope a man possessed.”

    1. W.—I cannot agree to remember this, as I have never learned it. The only book I rely upon for my
ideas of fellowship is the Bible, and I find nothing in its pages requiring any such thing. . . . I only hope to
see men in the Kingdom when I believe there is some possibility of them being there; and when I could
see no reason for hoping, there I should refuse fellowship, but nowhere else. . . . . It is a principle that I
have plainly taught in the meetings, and my teaching has never been challenged. I take the liberty of
enclosing an address that I once delivered upon the subject.
    2. F.—The real drift of a theory is seldom gathered from an address that is read. Perhaps this is the
reason your teaching was not challenged, for your address contains ideas totally subversive of the unity
of the faith which Christ’s brethren have to maintain. Your contention that in fellowshipping others we
incur no responsibility for their actions or beliefs is quite opposed to Bible teaching, and some of your
admissions will help to make such manifest.
    3. W.—Search the Scriptures and measure all I have said by the rule you will find there, and if you
find any discrepancy, discard it and shew me where I am wrong.
    4. F.—Just so; that is our intention, but we would ask you to confine yourself to points on which you
are at issue with us, as there are many statements in your essay which we do not question, and
therefore to repeat them will only unnecessarily occupy time. Now for your first complaint.
    5. W.—I believe fellowship is a subject that has really received very little consideration, and,
consequently, is but imperfectly understood.
    6. F.—By whom, yourself or others?
    7. W.—I have thought carefully and long upon what I am about to lay before you.
    8. F.—So you mean it is your brethren who are ignorant on the matter! What leads you to that
conclusion?
    9. W.—Is is a significant fact, that among the voluminous literature that has sprung into existence
dealing with almost every phrase of the Truth, the doctrine of fellowship has been given little or no
place.
    10. F.—But that is no evidence that the subject has not been carefully thought out by the brethren.
Speaking of the ecclesias in London with which we have been connected for nearly 17 years, we can
truly say that “fellowship” has repeatedly been most critically discussed, as much if not more so, than
any other doctrine. But further, your assertion respecting our literature is not true. The doctrine alluded
to has been given a large place, by bro. Roberts, in the pages of the “Christadelphian,” especially so
when false brethren have introduced heresy into our midst. So that what you ought to have said was—
“Not having heard or read much on the subject, I have concluded that little or nothing has been said or
written thereon, and that all others are no better informed than myself.” But this way of expressing the
fact you will not endorse; for you profess even greater progress than others. This self-confidence is
distastefully manifest throughout your address (to wit, your first paragraph—pronoun, first person
singular, 13 times).

                                                       190
     11. W.—It is now nearly two years since I came to the conclusion that our understanding of the
doctrine of fellowship was radically unsound, and since that time, I have been looking for some brother
to come forward and instruct us more perfectly upon this subject.
     12. F.—Two years looking for instruction! Surely that cannot strike you as a commendable attitude
for a servant of Deity. You must have been doing something in the meantime.
     13. W.—Meanwhile, the cogitations of my own mind, assisted by the experiences through which our
Church has passed, and also by the exchange of thought with other brethren, have compelled me to a
conclusion with which I am pleased to know many agree.
     14. F.—No wonder at your unscriptural conclusions. Your guide has been your “own mind,” assisted
by certain “experiences,” and “the thoughts” of others with a similar mind. It looks almost as though you
had forgotten that Book wherein alone is to be found infallible guidance which should be used as a
“lamp” for our feet and a “guide” for our path, and which Book warns us that “it is not in man to direct
his steps.” But there, let us proceed with the subject of fellowship. Go on.
     15. W.—First of all, and in order that its bearings may be fully appreciated, it will be better to give
some sort of a definition of fellowship as it is generally understood by us. It is usually believed to consist
of the act of breaking bread and drinking wine in memory of the death of our Lord, and in recognition of
our adoption into the family of God.
     16. F.—Nonsense. That “fellowship consists of this act” is not usually believed by us. In fact, you are
the only person we ever heard had such an idea, and a moment’s reflection will make manifest your
error; for if fellowship “consists of this act,” then fellowship only exists between those who have actually
met together, and thus we should have no fellowship with our brethren abroad. You must know we do
not so believe or teach. We also have fellowship with God and with Christ without the act of breaking of
bread (see I. John 1–3). We would recommend you to again read paragraph 10, and reflect on the moral.
     17. W.—It is usually believed that in this act of fellowship we bid God-speed to all with whom we
partake of the sacrificial emblems.
     18. F.—True, we do so believe, and when you give reasons for believing otherwise, we will deal with
such and give you testimony to support our belief. We shall also have something to say of our belief that
breaking of bread is simply an act of fellowship, and not its sum total. But go on.
     19. W.—It is usually believed that we involve ourselves in the responsibility of errors of belief that
may be held by them or unrighteous conduct that they may practise.
     20. F.—True also; provided (a) that the errors affect first principles; (b) that the unrighteous conduct
had not been repented of, and (c) that we are cognisant of such errors of belief and conduct.
     21. W.—And we have refused to break bread with brethren, whose faith we know to be identically
our own, because they are not prepared to disconnect themselves from others who hold an error of
belief upon some point or other.
     22. F.—If by “some point or other,” you mean errors referred to in paragraph 20, we are justified in
so refusing, and the grounds for such refusal will be manifest as we proceed with our arguments.
     23. W.—Our fear has been that the responsibility of error would be transmitted to us through the
medium of one, who had himself become subject to that responsibility through the act of fellowship.
     24. F.—What do you mean by “responsibility transmitted?”
     25. W.—To make myself clear by using a simile that has been quoted before to convey the same
thought—that evil either of faith or practice is conveyed from one to another by the act of breaking
bread, much in the same way as uncleanness was conveyed from the leper, through another who came
into personal contact with him, to a third person, a fourth, and so on.
     26. F.—Then your understanding of the matter is not correct. As to responsibility being transmitted
through mediums, we have never held any such idea. A man is only responsible for his own errors (and
quite enough too). We believe that if he knowingly fellowships false teachers, he is responsible for so
doing, but that is a very different thing to having the particular evil of such teachers transmitted to him.

                                                      191
By careful reading, you will observe that “knowing” was an important element in the law to which you
refer. (Lev. 5:3.)
    27. W.—Now if this principle be a true one, it———
    28. F.—But we have not contended it is, and, therefore, there is no need to speculate as to where it
leads, or what the results may be of the application of such principle.
    29. W.—It has led to the severing of the brotherhood.
    30. F.—As the principle has no existence with us, it cannot lead us to anything. What has led to the
severance of the brotherhood is the fact of certain ones bringing into its midst ideas contrary to sound
doctrine (1 Tim. 1:10) thus causing division, which has been ended by the earnest contenders of the
Faith withdrawing themselves (2 Thess. 3:6), marking those who have been the cause of the division
(Rom. 16:17).
    31. W.—It is continually troubling us with questions of an aggravating character that prevents us
occupying our whole time in building ourselves up in the Faith.
    32. F.—Surely you fail to recognise what is included in that “building up.” A “scamping” builder is not
particular as to what material he uses. A wise builder uses only that which will meet with the architect’s
approval. And so a faithful workman in assisting to build up the Spiritual temple (2 Cor. 6:16) will
scrupulously avoid compromising the work by using what he believes the Divine Architect does not
approve of. The work is not ours but His and must be done according to His specifications. Wind and
water-proof (Matt. 7:24–29). As to the disastrous effect a little bad material will have on even a large
building, you will do well to read 1 Cor. 5:1–11, and such like testimony.
    33. W.—We spend too much time in considering whom we ought to admit to be in faithful service to
Christ.
    34. F.—In view of your circumscribed ideas of “building up,” we cannot wonder that you think so.
    35. W.—And leave too little time to do our own faithfully and well.
    36. F.—We have already seen that to be faithful needs our doing what you condemn.
    37. W.—The way out of this difficulty we believe to be through an acknowledgment that this
doctrine of fellowship just mentioned (which is responsible for such a lamentable state of things) is a
false doctrine.
    38. F.—As we are in no difficulty, we have no occasion to seek for a way out. In your desire to avoid
unpleasantness, you would purchase peace at the expense of purity. Christ will not countenance this. He
would prefer that sword separate father from son than that such a price should be paid. Yea, he
predicted that such should be the case (Matt. 10:34–35). When trouble arises, through faithfulness to
the doctrines of Christ, it would be an easy “way out of the difficulty” to conclude that the doctrines
were false, and thus (but only for the present) avoid a “lamentable state of things.” But, says the Bible,
“In all things consider the end.” A wise man will do so, always bearing in mind “that through much
tribulation we must enter the kingdom.”
    39. W.—Actions which have been made upon its basis are steps in the wrong direction, that have
brought us into a position that is altogether unjustifiable, and must be displeasing in the sight of God.
But it is not enough that we should say this. We must show that this doctrine of fellowship is
unscriptural, and also what the Bible really does teach upon the subject.
    40. F.—Hear, hear.
    41. W.—The word fellowship occurs 17 times in the Bible.
    42. F.—Well.
    43. W.—But not in one instance is it used as meaning the act of breaking of bread.
    44. F.—That is denying what is not affirmed. The converse is what we believe, viz., that breaking of
bread is fellowship, one of the highest forms of it in fact; but this is a very different thing from what you
are opposing. If you affirmed that an oak was a noble tree, and we began to show you that all noble


                                                      192
trees were not oaks, you would conclude that we were ignorant of the most elementary logic. Your
denial is on a par with this illustration.
     45. W. — The original word translated fellowship is given in a lexicon as “companionship,
agreement, or communion.”
     46. F.—That is just how we understand it, provided the idea of “distribution” is combined therewith;
in fact, the Greek word had been so rendered in 2 Cor. 9:13. This goes to show the permeating character
of fellowship.
     47. W.—In Acts 2:41–42, we are told “there were added unto the Church about 3,000 souls, and
they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in
prayers.” This, of itself, is sufficient to show that fellowship is not breaking of bread, for the two things
are separately spoken of.
     48. F.—Quite so. The converse of your statement is what we impugn.
     49. W.—And are as distinct as the two others mentioned—the apostles’ doctrine and prayers.
     50. F.—In a sense, yes; but from the Bible point of view, they cannot be separated. They stand or fall
together. True fellowship, like true charity, comprises many items, but consists in no individual one.
(Cor. 1:13).
     51. W.—In the tenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we are taught the true
distinction between the breaking of bread and fellowship, for the apostle plainly declares that the one is
the representation or acknowledgment of the other.
     52. F.—Quite true; and you will do well to note and bear in mind the two admissions involved in
your statement; (a), that we must not separate the breaking of bread from the fellowship which “it
represents;” and (b), that when we break bread it is “an acknowledgment” that fellowship exists.
     53. W.—The 20th verse confirms this idea, for he wrote that “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice,
they sacrifice to devils and not to God, and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.”
     54. F.—That completely overthrows your contention that we do not involve ourselves in the errors
(of belief or practice) of those with whom we partake of the sacrificial emblems. Here Paul distinctly
counsels them not to fellowship devils by eating and drinking to them.
     55. W.—But they could not break bread and drink wine with devils.
     56. F.—Just so, and therefore the way in which these Corinthians could fellowship devils was by
breaking bread and drinking wine with those who believed in the devils, and in that manner they would
involve themselves in the errors of devil worshippers. Thus it is plain from Paul, that to fellowship
anything does not necessitate personal communion. A profession of agreement with their votaries is all-
sufficient, and such profession you have already admitted is found in the “breaking of bread” (see
paragraph 51). Moreover, Paul in the chapter to which you refer — (1 Cor. 10:18.) — plainly declares
that those who eat do thereby “fellowship.” (The text reads “partakes,” but the original is the same as
translated, “fellowship,” in verse 20).
     57. W.—In the second letter to the Corinthians, 8:4, we have the word fellowship used with
apparently a still different meaning. Writing of the churches of Macedonia, Paul said—“To their power I
bear record—yea, and beyond their power—they were willing of themselves; praying us with much
entreaty that we would receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
Here a certain office or capacity appears to be spoken of. . . . . It is manifest that the ordinance of
breaking bread can have no reference to Paul’s words.
     58. F.—If you would but recognise that breaking of bread is but one of many forms of fellowship,
these passages would all become plain to you. The word in the text you quote is, as we have already
said, rendered, in verse 13 of the next chapter, “distribution,” which is another form of fellowship
among the saints.
     59. W.—We have probably adduced sufficient passages to prove the present contention—that the
word fellowship, as used in the Scriptures, is not an equivalent of the act of breaking bread.

                                                      193
     60. F.—You have not adduced a single passage that proves we are wrong in maintaining that to
“break bread, and drink wine,” in remembrance of Christ, is a form of fellowship, by reason of being the
acknowledgment of such.
     61. W.—We admit that the ordinance instituted by Christ is an acknowledgment, or an outward sign
of fellowship, but it is not the thing itself.
     62. F.—True, the ordinance of “breaking bread” is not the sum total of fellowship, but, nevertheless,
it is “an act of fellowship,” as you (no doubt unwittingly) admit (see paragraphs 18 and 23). Paul’s
reasoning with regard to the body, and its many members, forcibly applies to your mode of argument (1
Cor. 12:14). Although the whole body be not simply the eye, or the ear, yet both form portions of the
body, and so, though fellowship be not simply “breaking of bread,” or “prayers,” yet both form
important elements of it.
     63. W.—It is a matter entirely beyond our control, and there is no meaning in our words when we
will fellowship this brother, and we will not fellowship another.
     64. F.—If your statement is true, then we must deprive the early Christians of any merit in
continuing “steadfastly in fellowship” for, according to you, to do otherwise was “beyond their control.”
Paul says (Heb. 13:16)—“To do good and communicate (original, “fellowship” as in Acts 2:42) forget not,
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Your statement teaches that we need no reminding to
fellowship, as to do otherwise is “beyond our control;” and for the same reason there can be no sacrifice
in the matter, and therefore God is simply well pleased with our doing a thing that we cannot help doing
as it is “beyond our control” to do otherwise.
     65. W.—Brethren who believe the same Gospel and are working in the service of Christ are in
fellowship with each other.
     66. F.—True.
     67. W.—Their common faith and common labour constitute that fellowship and it cannot exist
without them.
     68. F.—True, always remembering that such common labour includes “Assembling together” and
“eating” of the sacrificial emblems when the circumstances admit of it.
     69. W.—We cannot be in agreement with any upon the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ without being
in fellowship with them.
     70. F.—It would be more scriptural if you used the expression “things concerning the Kingdom of
God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12), and “continue in well-doing” (Rom. 11:7). But perhaps
you mean such—if so your statement is true
     71. W.—Neither can we be in disagreement upon the essentials of that Gospel and yet be in
fellowship.
     72. F. — That follows as the logical sequence.
     73. W.—We cannot fellowship false doctrine concerning the teaching of the Scriptures without
being in agreement with it, and therefore believing it.
     74. F.—That is not true; the Scriptures declare we can fellowship false doctrine without believing it.
One illustration will suffice. In the chapter already referred to (1 Cor 1:10), we have seen that Paul tells
his brethren that those who eat of the sacrifices offered to idols are “partakers” (original same as
fellowship in verse 20) of the altar, and therefore fellowship all represented there by, which in this case
were demons or idols (for all gods but the true one are idols) Now you have admitted that they did not
eat with the idols (paragraph 55) but with their worshippers, and the Corinthian believers knew with
Paul that an “idol is nothing in the world” (1 Cor., 8:4); therefore it is clear from Paul’s counsel to them
that they could fellowship false doctrine without being believers in it themselves.
     75. W.—We cannot fellowship the evil deeds of another without being in agreement with them and
doing the same things.


                                                     194
     76. F.—The remarks made in paragraph 74 will apply to this—but further; John in his 2nd epistle
calls false teaching concerning Christ an “evil deed,” and he says if we bid the man with this false
doctrine “God speed,” we become partakers of his evil deeds. It is quite clear he is not referring to those
who believed or were doing the same things, for he says it is the bidding him God speed that creates the
participation. Now what is meant by “God speed?” Reference to its use in the New Testament soon
enlightens us. The word (original) is found 74 times, and while only rendered “God speed” twice, is
translated—hail, rejoice, rejoicing, greeting, joy, glad and farewell 72 times—so that evidently the
primary meaning is “welcome.” Not to welcome a holder of false doctrine. Not to welcome him where?
At our homes or at the table? Why at the table of the Lord, for surely you cannot contend that we ought
to welcome a person there when we cannot welcome him at our house.
     77. W.—The idea of responsibility for the beliefs and doings of others being transferred to us by the
breaking of bread is a false idea.
     78. F.—Your ideas on this “transference of responsibility” are entirely without foundation, and we
would recommend you to study paragraphs 23 to 26.
     79. W.—The principle taught throughout the Bible is that declared in Ezekiel’s prophecy, “The soul
that sinneth it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither shall the father bear the
iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the
wicked shall be upon him.”
     80. F.—Yes, and everytrue Christadelphian heartily endorses that testimony. In no way does it
militate against their belief that God will not hold him guiltless who presumes to “hail” or bid “God
speed” to those who fail to respect the “holy,” “separate,” or peculiar position to which He calls them.
     81. W.—This was said by God in reply to a statement made by the Israelites to the effect that His
way is not equal because they believed that the evil doings of an individual should be visited upon
another.
     82. F.—What then?
     83. W.—Let us be careful how we make this same accusation against God.
     84. F.—Nay; rather let us refrain from making it at all. The accusation is certainly not to be found in
the Christadelphian doctrine of fellowship, one of the principles of which is that each member is
responsible to God for the company he keeps.
     85. W.—It is as true in the 19th century after Christ’s death as it was five centuries before he was
born that “the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall
be upon him.”
     86. F.—Yes, quite as true. And that man who bids erroneous teachers and evildoers “God speed” or
“joy” by partaking of the emblems with them will not suffer for the “evil deeds” of his companions, but
for his own unfaithfulness in holding fellowship where God has forbidden it.
     87. W.—There are many other considerations that plainly shew the fallacy of the idea that the
breaking of bread is a medium for the transference of evil.
     88. F.—No doubt—but such a thing as “transference of evil” is not believed by the Christadelphians,
hence there is no need to go into “other considerations.” But while the “breaking of bread” cannot be
the medium for the “transference of evil,” it can be the means of making a man an “evildoer” by
partaking with evil doers, as we have most clearly proved from the epistles of Paul and John.
     89. W.—We constantly see brethren and sisters do things of which we disapprove and would not
practise ourselves. We constantly hear of some item of belief that we consider out of harmony with
Scripture teaching—but do you think for a moment that we become responsible for those actions and
beliefs because we partake of the emblems with those that practise them?
     90. F.—Firstly, we again have to deny that any such responsibility is created (see paragraph 26).
Secondly, God has allowed liberty in many matters in which conscience must guide us—hence, what is
sin to one may not be to another. You yourself have introduced the word “essentials” (paragraph 71),

                                                       195
and by that we presume you mean “first principles.” Only errors which multiply those “essentials” or
“first principles” should bar our fellowship.
     91. W.—If we break bread with a brother whose idea upon some doctrinal subject is different from
our own, does that act make us believe the same as he?
     92. F.—Of course not. The question is too ridiculous to think you seriously ask it.
     93. W.—Then we have no agreement with such belief, and consequently do not fellowship it.
     94. F.—You have made that last statement before (paragraph 73), and we have shown the
unscriptural character of it (paragraphs 74, 76).
     95. W.—If evil be thus transferred, then upon the same principle, the good would also.
     96. F.—Certainly; but as “evil” is not transferred, on the same principle “the good” is not. It would
be better if you kept to the word “partake” or “fellowship” instead of coining the word “transfer” for us.
     97. W.—Why should we become partakers of a brother’s sin by breaking bread with him, and not be
partakers in another brother’s well-doing by the same means?
     98. F.—Just as we “partake” of sin in bidding “God speed” to evil-doers, so we “partake” of good in
doing likewise with “well-doers” (Mal. 3:16).
     99. W.—If every time we break bread in the same company with a righteous and a wicked brother,
we have fellowship with their righteousness and iniquity respectively, then both righteousness and
wickedness would be imputed to us as a consequence?
     100. F.—With regard to the typical uncleanliness under the law of Moses, created by contact with
unclean persons (to which you have referred), it distinctly states, “When he knoweth of it, then he shall
be guilty” (Lev. 5:3). In like manner, under Christ’s law, iniquity is not imputed where we unwittingly
“sacrifice” or “break bread” with a “wicked brother.” We only, knowingly, fellowship righteous brethren,
and therefore only righteousness is imputed to us.
     101. W.—John wrote, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Now, we
read from the same writer that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
us,” for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” But, although we are all sinners, yet “we
have fellowship with the Father and the Son.” Does our fellowship of them involve them in our
wickedness?
     102. F.—If we are “walking in the light” then the “sin” which we have is not imputed to us, but the
righteousness of Christ; and clothed with this garment, we have the fellowship of the Father and Son.
Without this garment, they will not permit us to have their fellowship. While we have fellowship with
them we “are clean every whit,” and thus there is no wickedness for them to be “involved” in.
     103. W.—If responsibility for evil is incurred in the case of our brethren, it is also incurred in the
cases of the Father and the Son, and that cannot be put negatively.
     104. F.—Are you not reducing God and Christ to your own level? Have you never read that the One
forgives through the mediumship of the other? Have you omitted to read the next verse to the one you
quote from 1 John 1.?—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Bearing this
in mind, can you not see that we have fellowship with the Father and Son not as sinners but as children
“cleansed from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and that therefore, there is no sin for the Father and
Son to be involved in, Without this forgiveness, there is no fellowship, and that man is not forgiven who
unrepentantly continues in sin and whose fellowship therefore we cannot knowingly entertain without
separating ourselves from the fellowship of Father and Son.
     105. W.—If the Father and Son are not involved in our wrong doings by the fellowship that we are
permitted to have with them—then our brethen are not made responsible for our sins by means of that
same fellowship they have with us.
     106. F.—Firstly, by our previous arguments, you will see there is no longer wrong doing for them to
be involved in; and, secondly, responsibility for other men’s sins we do not believe or teach, but that it is
for our own sins in knowingly partaking with unrepentent wrong doers that we are held responsible.

                                                      196
     107. W.—These few points, if carefully reflected upon, especially bearing in mind the fact that not a
tittle of Scripture evidence arrays itself against them, are sufficient to destroy the idea hitherto held by
most of us.
     108. F.—It ill becomes you to talk about “Scripture evidence,” for, from beginning to end, you quote
but seven texts, and those, be it noted, in a long written address in which you profess to have
demonstrated the unscriptural nature of what we contend is a Bulwark of the Unity of the household of
Christ. Your quotations are: Lev. 6:2, Ps. 94:20, Acts 2:41, 1 Cor. 10:15, 2 Cor. 8:4, Ezek. 18:4, 2 John. We
have shown that these do not help you, but us, and we have amply supported them with other
quotations. Your assertion about “not a title of evidence” is on a par with your statement about the
“subject being imperfectly understood” (see paragraphs 5–10).
     109. W.—The idea has gained a place in our minds by being handed from one to another and
accepted without examination; and thus it has operated for a considerable time without any feeling
called upon to give a reason for it.
     110. F.—If the “our minds” consists of your own, we do not object to your assertion, but if you mean
the brethren generally, we impugn it, and have already given our reason for so doing.
     111. W.—This doctrine has been responsible for most of the awful divisions that have taken place
among the brotherhood.
     112. F.—But that is no reason, to a student of the Word, for rejecting the doctrine. The beloved
Apostle alone informs us of three divisions on account of Christ in the short space of one year (John
7:43; 9:16; 10:19). Christ Himself tells us that obedience to Him would result in division (Luke 12:51).
Peter and Paul both speak of Christ as “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence” (1 Pet. 2:8, Rom.
9:33, 1 Cor. 1:23); and upon one occasion, Christ said even “all” His disciples would be “offended”
because of Him (Matt. 26:31). But shall we reject Him because He was the reason for all these divisions?
Nay, is it not rather to be expected that as Christ was Himself the “fruitful source” of so many divisions,
so His doctrines would also, if faithfully contended for?
     113. W.—If we are in agreement upon the subject matter of “The One Faith” and mutually strive to
walk in harmony with Christ’s commands—our fellowship remains even though we may not “break
bread together” till Christ comes.
     114. F.—That is true, provided it is not our fault that we do not break bread with others, such as
inability to get to the meetings, etc., but if we refuse to break bread when opportunity occurs, then we
are wilfully disobedient and cannot expect the fellowship of God and his faithful children.
     115. W.—Do not let me be misunderstood . . . We ought not to acknowledge fellowship where there
is no agreement upon fundamental elements of the Gospel of Christ. That is the basis of our
fellowship—of our communion.
     116. F.—And a Scriptural basis it is, too, but in the statements you have made, you decline to
confine your acknowledgment of this fellowship to those who are in agreement on this question, being
willing to extend it to those who do not see the need for such agreement on those fundamental
elements, and who thereby destroy unity of mind among the ecclesias on this highly important doctrine
of fellowship.
     117. W.—If there be agreement among ourselves and others upon the ground of our faith and
companionship in our efforts to conform to the spirit of God’s commands, then we ought to be glad and
willing to acknowledge the fellowship.
     118. F.—Yes, if! but there is no such agreement if you acknowledge fellowship with those who,
while believing with you on the “essentials,” are nevertheless willing to acknowledge fellowship with
others who do not see the need for having the same mind on those doctrines.
     119. W.—Don’t let us think that perfection of agreement is requisite upon all sorts of recondite
matters in connection with the truth in order to the establishment of the fellowship of the Gospel.


                                                      197
     120. F.—You must know we have never so believed, and therefore such a remark is not creditable to
you.
     121. W.—Those things that God has plainly declared are necessary before a man can be truly
baptised into Christ are the only essentials of fellowship, and there can be no fellowship without them.
     122. F.—True, and that must be the gauge or test to be applied not only to those with whom we
personally acknowledge fellowship, but also to those who are acknowledged by them, and so on.
     123. W.—Where they are believed and observed, fellowship is established, whether we recognise it
or not.
     124. F.—Believed and observed! True.
     125. W.—It behoves us to act towards each other as we would have Jehovah act towards us.
     126. F.—Yes, provided no command of God is thereby violated, for in some cases faithfulness
prohibits us so acting.
     127. W.—He admits men into His fellowship who are not perfect.
     128. F.—That is not true. Only those clothed in His Son’s righteousness (and therefore perfect in
him) are so admitted.
     129. W.—Not one of us dare say that many brethren who are denied the privilege of sitting with us
at the Lord’s table are not the adopted children of God even as we.
     130. F.—And neither do we so say, but there are faithful and unfaithful children, and connivance at,
or condonation of, unfaithfulness is not permissible.
     131. W.—Not one of us dare assert that they are less worthy of the divine approval, or that they are
not admitted into the fellowship of the Father and Son.
     152. F.—And we have no desire to make such assertions. We leave Christ to do the asserting. We
simply say we believe you are dishonouring God and His Son by partaking with those who do not
maintain the Unity of the Faith or do not recognise the essentiality of entire separation from the isms of
the world, and we decline to participate in unfaithfulness by receiving your fellowship.
     133. W.—I say again that there is only one way in which we can fellowship iniquitous conduct, and
that is by practising the same things or conniving at their practise.
     134. F.—Yes, but you have simply given us such “say,” while we have clearly proved from the Bible
that this “say” is unscriptural.
     135. W.—Let us require no more on the part of others before we will recognise the fellowship that
actually does exist between us, whether we consent or not; let us require no more of them than we are
ready to render ourselves.
     136. F.—If that means anything at all, it means that you believe we are those “who say and do not”
(Matt. 23:3), in fact, “whited sepulchres, hypocrites” (Matt. 23:27). In making such grave charges (by
implication or innuendo), it would be as well if you kept yourself to a pronoun of the first person
singular instead of plural, as you have proved yourself incompetent to speak for the brethren generally.
     137. W.—On the one hand let us continue to refuse to break bread with all who hold not the truth
as it is in Jesus.
     138. F.—Good. But then you decline to insist on like conditions throughout the brotherhood
generally with whom you are in fellowship, maintaining that you are in no way involved in the errors of
those whom you may so recognise in fellowship. The logical result can be but one—and that is, you will
be compelled to throw in your lot with a community that permits acknowledgment of fellowship with
those who do not admit the absolute essentiality of those doctrines you now believe to be fundamental,
and your alleged unity of faith will go to the winds and be destroyed by unsound principles.
     139. W.—Let us cease to think so much of the responsibility for the actions of others that cannot
belong to us.
     140. F.—It will be more scriptural to cease to talk in that way and begin to remember “He that
biddeth him God-speed is a partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 11). To remember also that Christ

                                                    198
threatened the early Churches for keeping in the Church evil thinkers and evil doers (Rev. 2:14, 15),
while not charging them with personally believing or doing the same things.
     141. W.—Let us spend less time in the unnecessary carefulness to keep ourselves immaculate from
the blemishes of others by reason of touching but the border of their garments.
     142. F.—A smart sentence: but it is sad to hear it from one who has known the truth. In reply we will
simply give you a few texts to think over and which some day you may see inculcate the carefulness you
now condemn: Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:6; 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14, 17; Eph. 5:7, 11; 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Tim. 5:22; Rev.
18:4.
     143. W.—Let us take greater care to keep our own garments unspotted from the world.
     144. F.—To do this effectually, we must attend to the counsel given in the texts just quoted.
     145. W.—Christ came into direct contact with worldly filth enough, but it did not adhere to his own
robe of righteousness.
     146. F.—Aye! but although “in the world,” he was not “of the world.” He had “no fellowship with
the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reproved them” (Phil. 5:11). We are counselled to “follow
his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).
     147. W.—In conclusion . . . If you conclude that the principle I advocate is true, and is taught in the
Scriptures, then accept it as you would all divine truth, and let us together act in accordance with the
truth we have found, and rejoice to be delivered from the most fruitful sources of disagreement,
difficulty and disunion we have ever experienced.
     148. F.—But we do not so “conclude,” for the simple reason that the Scriptures do not so teach—
therefore we cannot act in accordance, nor rejoice in deliverance from a difficult situation which is of
our Heavenly Father’s good providence.
                                                                                         FRANK G. JANNAWAY.
     London, November, 1891.




                                                     199

								
To top