Christadelphians base their beliefs on the revelations of their founder, John Thomas. Thomas was born April 12th, 1805 in London. His father was a Baptist Minister in London.
In 1837 Thomas went to the U.S. There he joined a group affiliated with Disciples of Christ, a reformed Presbyterian group with similar doctrine to the Baptists. Thomas became disenchanted and claimed he found the true faith through study of the Bible. This 'true faith' was that taught by Jesus and the apostles. He said the Roman Catholic Church is the great harlot and all other churches are a part of this harlot. As a result of his new beliefs, Thomas was disfellowshipped from the Disciples of Christ and branded a heretic in 1848. He then formed his own group which were known as the Thomasites. In 1864 he began publishing a 16 page monthly magazine called THE AMBASSADOR OF THE COMING AGE. the group took on the title Christadelphians (meaning: "brothers in Christ").
Thomas wrote many books. Prominant are; Thirteen lectures on the Apocalypse, Seasons of Comfort, Nazareth Revisited, Visible Hand of God, Ways of Providence and Law of Moses. His book Elipsis Israel (Hope of Israel) and that written by his successor, Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray, are the basis of the group's beliefs. In 1869, Thomas in a letter to the Rock, set forth a full and explicit statement of the 'Christadelphian Creed'. It has often been re-printed, and so may be taken as authoritative.
Christadelphianism is a lay movement and has no clergy/laity distinctions. They have rendered to the claims of Scripture by the exercise of the inestimable right of private judgement. Ecclesiastical privacy is a principle jealousy conserved by Christadelphians, through mutual co-operation. Each ecclesia has a "recorder" to keep its own records. There is no central office and no attempt to compile statistics; no responsibility to any district union or general assembly. They meet every Sunday to partake of their communion and read the scriptures according to the prophets for edification and comfort. The Morning service is generally confined to the bretheren. Here 'practical' and 'moral' topics are discussed. In the meetings for 'alians' - held as a rule on Sunday evenings - the subject is usually prophecy and its fulfillment.
Christadelphians do not regard themselves as a new sect. They do not regard themselves as originating from any new inspiration or their beginnings to a new leader. They claim to be the sect spoken against in the first century, newly revived. Their revival, neverless is given to one man and is traceable to that man - John Thomas.
METHOD OF EVANGELISM
Their main method of evangelism is through advertising in newspapers. These ads emphasise the return of Christ, the decline in morality, world affairs, the resurrection of Christ or that we need not fear a personal devil. You are invited to a public meeting to hear a special message. They do no door-to-door as in the past but they are known to have displays at country Shows and Fairs, selling their literature and offering answers to todays problems. Their literature is very deceptive. At first glance it looks like orthodox Christian literature.
DOCTRINES OF THE CHRISTADELPHIANS Where they Differ from the Historical Christian Church
They deny the Trinity, that there are three persons called God. they say there is only one eternal person - the Father.
They deny Christ is the eternal, incarnate sinless Son of God. Jesus did not pre-exist with the Father and the Father's relationship started with Jesus after his virgin birth to Mary by the Holy Spirit. They deny Christ's sinless nature and believe Christ had a sinful nature like us. They teach that Christ overcame his sinful nature as he grew.
They deny the personage of the Holy Spirit and believe that the Holy Spirit is an invisible power or radiant force.
THE BIBLE ANSWER:
We agree the Father is called God. The Bible teaches that Jesus was called God (Isa 9:6; Matt 1:23; John 1:1, 5, 18; 10:30; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Heb 1:8) The Bible also teaches that Jesus existed prior to coming to this earth (Mic 5:2; John 1:1-18) The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3,4. You cannot lie to an invisible force, nor can a non-person grieve, love, direct, command etc. All these are things the Holy Spirit does.
They ridicule the atonement as taught by the Church. They believe Christ has given no satisfaction and paid no debt. If the blood of Christ could be found it would not be of any spiritual value. the death of Christ was not to appease the wrath of an offended Deity but to express the love of the Father in a necessary sacrifice for sin, that the laws of sin and death might be nullified.
One is not assured of salvation if baptised into the Christadelphians. Assurance of eternal life on earth is gained only if we keep Christ's commands.
The way to salvation is to repent and be BAPTISED in the name of Jesus Christ. Then one is born of water (essential for salvation) and having entered 'His name' his sins are covered (ONLY Covered and not washed away). The person's transgression is hid, and whole past life is cancelled. He then commences a life of probation in which he is a lawful candidate for the birth of the Spirit from the grave which will finally constitute him a son of God. He then is a child of the resurrection but his ultimate acceptance will depend on the character he develops in this new relationship.
The best a Christadelphian can offer a sinner bowed down beneath a burden of sin, is yet another period of probation. No assurance of salvation is theirs.
THE BIBLE ANSWER: Ephesians 2:8-10 teaches FAITH + NOTHING = SALVATION. As Christians, we should produce works (James 1:26) but these come as a result of our salvation NOT as a condition of salvation - lest no man can boast (Eph 2:9).
HEAVEN AND HELL
Earth and not heaven is the inheritance of the saints that have eternal life. Christ will return and rule for 1,000 years and at the end of that time man will be judged. Those who do not gain eternal life will be cast into Non-existance. They do not believe in a literal hell. DOCTRINE OF SATAN
Another predominate doctrine they have is that Satan is not a real person. They deny a personal devil. All the passages that refer to Satan are figurative. They teach that Satan is in all of us - our own personal lusts. We all have good and evil in us. When Jesus returns to the earth he will weigh up the good and evil and if the evil outweighs the good we will be judged at the end of the 1,000 years and cease to exist.
THE BIBLE ANSWER:
Was God rebuking sin within Himself in Zechariah 3:1,2 ? Here Satan was standing before the angel of the Lord and God spoke to Satan.
Was Jesus carrying on a conversation with himself in Matt 4:1-11 when he was being tempted in the desert ?
Who was it who returned from wandering about the earth to stand before God's throne in Job 1:6,7 ?
Jesus called Satan the "father of lies" and a "murderer" in John 8:44. He was not referring to the sin within ourselves or an abstract thought.