Questions and Concerns (Pages 20-35)

Doctrinal Concerns

We appreciate your frankness in recognizing that our “perspectives are significantly different” than yours (page 20). We too “seek clarification, where clarity is necessary” and because of this your presentations have raised further questions which hopefully if answered will help us to appreciate where exactly you stand on specific doctrinal matters and fellowship practice. These questions are listed at the conclusion of this paper.

Your presentation goes to great lengths to link NASU with Christadelphian writings (five pages). We have never suggested that everything contained in the NASU document is wrong, if we had thought this to be the case our ecclesias would never have presented a Proposal to Restore Unity in 2008 that was based upon the NASU/UA08 agreement. We concur that the scriptures reveal man as “unclean, defiled, fallen, fleshly, carnal, wretched, corrupt,” and that he operates under the constitution of sin. This is not the issue, rather we are concerned that NASU does not adequately deal with how our sinful nature affects man’s relationship to God prior to baptism; we are concerned that NASU allows for something more in the sacrifice of Christ than the scriptures teach.

The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a complicated subject; in the simplest terms the scriptures teach “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). If man had not needed saving (to speak reverently) there would have been no need for the birth of Jesus Christ. It becomes complicated when we modify what has been said; when we interpret another person’s comment. For example you show a slide entitled Concluding Thoughts (page 21) in which the words “Potentially inflammatory language” are used. And yet when concluding your remarks on this section you urge us to review the many terms we have styled “inflammatory language” (page 25). We did not speak of inflammatory language, rather we said potentially. The reason for this is because some of the language used in NASU was understood differently by JJ Andrews/T Williams and continues to be understood in the same way by many Unamended Christadelphians. We are not looking for a document that has been tailored to a specific group of Unamended ecclesias but rather one that expresses in the clearest language humanly possible what we all believe.

We will now turn our attention to the questions you presented in this section of your presentation. We will attempt to be concise in this regard however where we feel that a fuller explanation is needed in order for you to fully appreciate our concerns we have added an appendix dealing with the subject in greater detail. Before addressing the questions posed we would like to outline in simple terms our understanding of the atonement; this can be summarized as follows:

  1. Death entered the world of mankind by Adam’s disobedience – Romans 5:12, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:22.
  2. Death came by decree extraneously to the nature bestowed upon Adam in Eden, and was not inherent in him before sentence – Genesis 1:27; 2:7; 1:31; 3:17, 19.
  3. Since that time, death has been a bodily law – Romans 7:23, 24; 8:10; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 5:4.
  4. The human body is therefore a body of death requiring redemption. – Romans 7:24; 8:23; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:53.
  5. The flesh resulting from the condemnation of human nature to death because of sin, has no good in itself, but requires to be illuminated from the outside – Romans 7:18, 20, 23; James 1:17; Matthew 15:19; Galatians 6:8; Ephesians 4:22.
  6. God’s method for the return of sinful man to favor required and appointed the putting to death of man.s condemned and evil nature in a representative man of spotless character, whom He should provide, to declare and uphold the righteousness of God, as the first condition of restoration, that He might be just while justifying the unjust, who should believingly approach through him in humility, confession and reformation – 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 2:14; 4:15; John 16:33; Romans 3:25, 26; 6:6; 8:3.
  7. The death of Christ was by God.s own appointment, and not by human accident, brought about by human instrumentality – Romans 8:32; Acts 2:23; 4:27.28; John 10:18.
  8. The death of Christ was not a mere martyrdom, but an element in the process of reconciliation – Colossians 1:21.22; Romans 5:10; Isaiah 53:5; John 10:15; Hebrews 10:19.22.
  9. The shedding of his blood was essential for our salvation – Romans 5:9; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28; John 1:29; Revelation 1:5; 7:14.
  10. Christ was himself saved in the Redemption he wrought out for us – Romans 8:17; Hebrews 5:7.9; 9:12; 13:20.
  11. As the anti-typical High Priest, it was necessary that he should offer for himself as well as for those whom he represented – Hebrews 5:3; 7:27; 8:3; 9:14; 13:20; 9:23.
Nothing could be more straightforward; this is what we believe; this is what Bro. Roberts believed and as is evident from such articles as “For Whom Christ Died” and “In Adam or In Christ” published by the Christadelphian Magazine in 1971 and 1975 respectively, this is what the Central fellowship believes.Your questions:

1) Can you please define your specific definition of the word “Andrewism”?

Andrewism refers to the views expressed by Brother JJ Andrew in his pamphlet The Blood of the Covenant. His erroneous views centred around ‘Adamic Condemnation’ which involved the violent death theory and racial alienation affecting all of Adam’s descendents. The theory may be summarized as follows:

  1. When God introduced His law in Genesis 2:17 it was God’s intention, should the law be disobeyed, to execute His sentence on that very day.
  2. By disobeying the Edenic law Adam would have incurred an immediate death, one which required death by slaying (a violent death).
  3. In the case of Adam, this violent death was averted. God did not carry out His own law, thus leaving Adam condemned legally.
  4. Believing that the violent death had yet to be administered, it was advocated that everyone born of Adam inherited his condemnation because they sinned in Adam, being in his loins. Therefore all of Adam’s descendents (including Jesus Christ) are born in a state of legal condemnation which alienates them from God because of their sin-nature.
  5. Under this state of legal condemnation there is a racial accountability for Adam’s transgression; all deserve the same violent death, a condition which can only be removed by covenant relationship. In Adam’s case the condemnation was removed by the shedding of blood when the coats of skin were provided; in our case (and the Lord Jesus Christ) it is removed by baptism.
  6. All who remain outside of covenant relationship stand already condemned and will remain in the grave, God’s law requires it.
This we believe is a reasonable summary of Andrewism. A more detailed coverage of this question is provided in the Appendix.

2) Do you believe Adam was created in a very good state and fell from their very good state when they embraced this carnal thinking and disobeyed God’s law?

We fully support your use of the quotes taken from the Christadelphian Magazine to support the scriptural truth that there was a change that took place in the constitution of Man after Adam sinned. The scriptures attest to this throughout the Word of God: “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…” (Isaiah 55:8). “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” Jeremiah 10:23). “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19). “Who can bring a clean thing out of unclean thing? not one.” (Job 14:4). “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. (Romans 5:19). Paul styles this fixed principle within us as being “a law in my members” (Romans 7:23), “the law of sin” (Romans 7:25), “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), “the flesh” (Romans 8:4-9), “the carnal [or animal] mind” (Romans 8:7). This language is used by Paul to describe the natural law of the inward mind when it works in opposition to the will of God. In Romans 7:18-19,24 he says: “In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing… For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do… O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death (RV: ‘this body of death’)?”

John says that when our desires are used in opposition to the will of God they are ‘lusts’ that are ‘of the world’: “the lusts of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are not of the Father but of the world.”(1 John 2:16). Other Apostles also use similar language describing them as: ‘deceitful lusts’ (Ephesians 4:22); ‘foolish‘ and ‘hurtful lusts’ (1 Timothy 6:9); ‘youthful lusts’ (2 Timothy 2:22); ‘divers lusts’ (2 Timothy 3:6 / Titus 3:3); ‘worldly lusts’ (Titus 2:12); ‘fleshly lusts’ (1 Peter 2:11); and ‘ungodly lusts’ (Jude 18).

3) Do you believe that Adam’s descendents are born into an unclean condition?

Mankind inherits from Adam (i) mortality and (ii) a proneness to sin (See above).

4) Do you believe that all mankind, including Christ shared an unclean nature?

Christ inherited from Adam (i) mortality and (ii) a proneness to sin (See above).

5) Do you believe that “sin” is used to mean both the unclean (defiled) nature… with its carnal inclination and actual transgression?

We believe that the WORD ‘sin’ is used in Scripture in its primary sense to describe our moral transgressions. It is also used in a derived sense, by common figures of speech such as metonymy and personification, to describe our physical mortal nature with its inherent tendencies towards sinning as ‘sin’, whereby, the effect is put for the cause, or cause for effect; i.e. our nature is called ‘sin’ by a figure of speech, not because it is a ‘form’ of sin but because it is the cause of us sinning. Our mortal, sin-prone nature is also the result of Adam’s sin and, therefore, it is quite appropriate to term our flesh and blood natures as ‘sin’ by a figure of speech because our nature came about as a result of sin (Cp. 2 Cor. 5; James 1:15).

A fuller examination of this question is provided in the Appendix.

6) Do you believe Jesus was miraculously begotten of God, yet born of a human mother “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (i.e., the same nature that was the result of Adam.s original transgression)?

The root of the JJ Andrew/Thomas Williams error was the false teaching that the flesh was a ‘form’ of sin. And, thus, if ‘both forms of sin (moral and physical) have been justified or atoned for, then the inherited legal alienation that came upon the race can be removed. Without atonement for both ‘forms of sin’ inherited legal alienation cannot be removed and therefore, a man is confined to the grave without its removal. Therefore, identification with Christ’s DEATH is essential so that not only are our moral sins atoned for but physical sin (or racial, original, Adamic sin) is also atoned for as well.

This is the error that found its way into the BUSF which led to the false belief that entering into ‘covenant relationship’ through baptism is the basis of responsibility to resurrection and judgment. It is this error that lies at the heart of the issue.

In Central, we believe that “knowledge and calling” are the basis of responsibility and those who come to a “knowledge and calling” of the gospel WILL be raised to judgment, but baptism assures resurrection to judgment.

You seem to reject this understanding.

Rather, you seem to believe that coming into ‘covenant relationship’ is the basis of responsibility to resurrection and judgment, and that God will also raise others upon a different basis.

It is this belief that responsibility to resurrection and judgment is tied to ‘covenant relationship’ through baptism that we reject. It seems to us, that this is the doctrine of Andrewism but in a different guise.

Other Considerations

Before considering the questions posed under this heading we would like to consider some of the comments made in your presentation. For example on Page 26 you say, “We have heard comments like: ‘If they (Unamended) want to join Central…’ indicating a significant misunderstanding of the NASU process. The motivation to explore what we commonly believe was not born out of a desire to change communities. The motivation was simply to seek peace, and pursue it and to work toward the ideal that Jesus so fervently expressed in one of his last prayers”. From this comment, and from others you have made to us, you evidently do not believe that you are required, nor do you desire to become members of the Central community. We consider this to be a serious issue and one that must be resolved. In actual fact what you are seeking is not unity but periodic affiliation. As far as we are aware, it was never the understanding of the Central community that the end result of the NASU process would be the continuance of two separate communities with some ecclesias only enjoying periodic fellowship; this was never presented at any of the NASU explanatory meetings.

What this shows is that you are content to remain in a community that openly promotes the erroneous doctrine of racial alienation; you have declared that you will continue to fellowship with Unamended ecclesias on the basis that they do not reject your ecclesial position. In other words you are eager to benefit from the best of both worlds.

You also say in this connection, “We do not feel that scriptural “fellowship” and “membership” are synonymous terms” (page 26). We cannot agree with you on this point as we believe that the scriptures teach precisely this.

Paul reminded the Corinthians, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (koinonia, fellowship) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (koinonia, fellowship) of the body of Christ?” (1Corinthians 10:16); the Corinthians fellowshipped those in the Body of Christ; but they were also members of that body as pointed out in a later chapter, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1Corinthians 12:27). They are synonymous terms and the Unamended community has chosen to remain outside of the fellowship that they once belonged to. During the formative years of the Christadelphian faith there were others who “went out from us”, but who later elected to return to the worldwide community under such reunion documents as the Jersey City Resolution (1952); the Suffolk St Agreement (1956); the Australian Unity Agreement (1958). Why cannot you do the same? The success of all previous reunions was achieved because all parties agreed on a common statement of faith and became members of the same community.

Until you, as members of the Unamended community, declare your intention to draw a clear line between those ecclesias that are not in fellowship and those that are, so that the practices understood by the Central Ecclesias, as expressed in the December Tidings Magazine article on Fellowship are complied with, we cannot acknowledge there being a reasonable basis for fellowship. By remaining part of the Unamended community you continue to perpetuate the division that occurred with JJ Andrew.

Another section causing concern is your statement (page 27): “In general, our observation has been that the ecclesias that have severed fellowship with us are those ecclesias that are most often perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being associated with Andrew error. We don’t know that they espouse error, however, we do accept and respect their decision to withdraw from our ecclesias due to the stand we have publicly taken. We no longer consider these brethren in fellowship.” We find this statement confusing ; it questions whether error is being promoted in the Unamended community by some ecclesias in spite of clear statements that have been made in the Advocate Magazine in 2006 on the Atonement and Resurrectional Responsibility issues.

You comment a great deal on the practice of the Central community accepting Unamended members in fellowship throughout the world (page 27-29), providing a selection of photographs to illustrate the point. We do not doubt your claims about Unamended members travelling worldwide and being accepted in Central environments; we do however question whether this is accepted Central practice. It has been an unfortunate fact of community history that not all Central members are fully aware of the differences that exist in North America nor, sadly, do some really care about community protocol; we would be naïve to say otherwise. Notwithstanding the exception does not make the rule and some of us who have also travelled widely are not aware that the Central community has changed its position over the past one hundred years.

The Christadelphian Bible Mission has stated that it maintains a very firm policy that they only break bread on the basis of the BASF, and that they teach this as part of their routine work (quoted from correspondence with the CBM Chairman, 2012). Because of the difficulties arising from WCF visitors in mission areas, funding is no longer accepted from the WCF. The Christadelphian Bible Mission of the Americas issued a policy statement some years ago stating its determination to continue meeting under the BASF and to discourage the involvement of individuals who were not members of the Central community. Similar examples can be provided.

Our purpose for submitting this information is not to question your word in these matters but to point out that presenting a list of areas that have accepted Unamended members does not qualify as a shift in position for the Central community and therefore cannot be used to support your own acceptance in fellowship without belonging to the Central community.

With these general comments we will now consider the questions posed in this next section.

7) What is your position as regards fellowshipping ecclesias that fellowship Unamended Brethren?

The Central position is that true fellowship is predicated upon a common understanding of the “one faith” and of being of “one mind and one judgment” when it comes to fundamental first principles of Truth. We do not believe that UA08/NASU in its present form is consistent with the first principles of truth as contained in the BASF. We have applied the principles of Matthew 18 with the Central UA08 ecclesias directly. In the meantime, we hope and pray that UA08 ecclesias (Amended and Unamended) will consider working in a collective spirit to address the doctrinal concerns that Central brethren and sisters have so that we can continue forward of “one mind and one spirit.”

We must understand that outside North America agreements have been reached with the BASF as the keystone statement of faith. The question remains; why are the UA08/NASU ecclesias able to say they meet on the BASF outside Canada but insist in Canada that they meet on the NASU? (see NASU, page 9) Please note that the 2001 NASU originally included the BASF as the touchstone for inter-ecclesial fellowship but was later excluded when the 2003 NASU was proposed.

a. Do you apply your position consistently throughout the world as you do in North America?

b. Would you fellowship someone from an overseas ecclesia that fellowshipped Unamended Brethren?

c. Would you accept in fellowship an ecclesia (from anywhere) that fellowshipped Brethren who fellowship Unamended Brethren?

All these sub-questions amount to the same thing. We do not believe that ecclesias should fellowship with people who have a different basis of fellowship i.e. unamended who are outside of the Central fellowship. We practice ecclesially-based fellowship. That is, we fellowship brethren and sisters who come from ecclesias that fellowship upon the same basis as us, i.e. they use the BASF as their basis of inter-ecclesial fellowship. We believe that an ecclesia that belongs to the Central fellowship has responsibilities to other ecclesias to uphold the integrity of the doctrines and precepts contained in the Statement of Faith, and that includes restricting fellowship to those ecclesias which fellowship on the same basis. This has held Central fellowship in good stead for over one hundred years and has in some measure stopped the fragmentation that has taken place in other fellowships.

In answering items ‘b’ and ‘c’ we would direct you to your quotation from Bro. C.C.Walker The Christadelphian, 1900, p.526 A.E.F. in your section entitled: “Meetings and Mediators” with bold highlighting “But we have no power to deal with disputes in a far country” (your presentation, page 32). We remain committed to the belief and practice of fellowship in the Central community is on a common doctrinal basis. We do not knowingly support cross-fellowshipping. We are aware that inconsistencies exist and that being consistent will be only more difficult with the UA08.

8) Do you feel your fellowship practice is geographically defined? In other words, do you feel a responsibility to sever fellowship with UA08 Amended Ecclesias because they are local – in Ontario – or would you take this position if the Ecclesias were in Oregon – or Australia, etc?

It seems that, in keeping with your presentation, you are implying that it is common practice for Central ecclesias to fellowship Unamended ecclesias; this has already been commented on in our general comments. We believe that the closer to home the greater the responsibility; we are most responsible for ourselves, our ecclesias and local ecclesias, but we have responsibility to our entire community. Out of a love for the truth and the brethren we will do our best to maintain the simplicity of the saving truth in these last days.

We would like to ask you to consider what impact your fellowship arrangement is having on the Central community and its resultant division.

9) Do you consider Unamended Brethren to be true Brethren of Christ?

To re-iterate the points made in the fourth study at the Book Road study day and provide further amplification to the point: no one is in a position to judge who is, or is not a true brother of Christ, this amounts to making a judgment regarding who will be in the kingdom of God (this would be presumptuous). Our judgment is confined to the area of fellowshipping those who agree on fundamental doctrine and behaviour. It is on this basis that we operate, not on a feeling of who is the one body, but rather on the basis of common doctrine and integrity of fellowship in that doctrine (i.e. those who “walk in the light” are those that “have fellowship” and we are to “not receive those that do not bring the doctrine of Christ” 1John1, 2 John). In general, the complication we see in the unamended community is that some believe the same as we do and some do not. Those that do we would like to reconcile with us, but they must be willing to join the world-wide community of believers and to separate from the identified errors.

We consider ourselves to be in fellowship with ecclesias that use the same doctrines and precepts as their basis of fellowship. At present, we believe that there are material differences between the BUSF and BASF and that the historical doctrinal differences between the two communities remain and have not been adequately clarified. Until such time that we can determine whether we have a common basis of fellowship, we do not consider ourselves to be in fellowship with Unamended ecclesias.

10) We have heard the explanation that Unamended Brethren may be “Brethren in error” and as such you cannot accept them in fellowship. Is this your position?

We believe that the BUSF teaches a different gospel that is inconsistent with the gospel of truth. If brethren affirm their continued support of these doctrines by using the BUSF as their basis of fellowship, without clarification of these errors (unfortunately the NASU does not provide the required clarification), in good conscience we cannot extend fellowship to Unamended ecclesias. Our basis of fellowship with other Christadelphian ecclesias in Central remains our common understanding of the same gospel as expressed in the BASF. We believe that we have a responsibility to uphold those same doctrines and precepts as the basis of our inter-ecclesial fellowship within the community to which we belong. We also believe that there is a limit to which “ecclesial autonomy” applies as expressed by the Editor of the Christadelphian Magazine:

Ecclesial Autonomy means that an ecclesia can decide how it is going to take certain decisions within its own ecclesia so long as those decisions do not disturb that basis of fellowship which they have in common with surrounding ecclesias. Within those parameters an ecclesia can do what it wants without any outside interference… Ecclesial Autonomy does not allow an ecclesia to fellowship those who deny a foundation scriptural principle contained in the Statement of Faith. It cannot do that because to do that is to step outside of the basis of fellowship that they share in common with all of the other ecclesias in the world… Ecclesial Autonomy gives great freedom but within limitations, and those limitations are set by our basis of fellowship. It does not allow an ecclesia the opportunity to extend the emblems to someone who is in a different fellowship. If there are issues of fellowship, they must be resolved. An individual must join an ecclesia in the Central fellowship in order to share the memorials… Ecclesial Autonomy does not allow us to step outside of that… An ecclesia cannot comment upon the internal affairs of another ecclesia, so long as they do not involve First Principle matters. If they are starting to involve First Principle matters then it is not unreasonable for an ecclesia to ask an ecclesia what they are doing. In fact, it would be the right thing for an ecclesia to do. If an ecclesia departs from the One Faith then that ecclesia forfeits its place in the Central community. How that is handled is a different matter.”

CMPA Editor, Mid-Atlantic Bible School 2006, talk on Ecclesial Fellowship, Part 1 (

It is erroneous to suggest that simply because someone is called “a brother” or has been baptized, they form part of the body of Christ. Who forms part of the “body of Christ” will be revealed in the Last Day. However, while we believe that we have a responsibility to restrict fellowship from those who do not believe the same things, we also believe that we have a responsibility to extend fellowship to those who do believe the same things. In Central, it is our common understanding of the First Principles of Truth which forms the basis of our fellowship together. Our inter-ecclesial fellowship is based upon this principle and it is through the voluntary application of this principle that the integrity and harmony of the Central Christadelphian body has been maintained. We have a heartfelt desire to be able to extend to a hand of fellowship to Unamended ecclesias. Our appeal to you is that, for conscience sake, you give us peace of mind that the Unamended ecclesias that wish to fellowship with us have a common understanding of the same doctrines and precepts of the Truth that bind us together in the Central Fellowship.

11) On a similar note, do you feel the baptisms of Unamended Brethren are legitimately in the saving name of Jesus and should be recognized?

A valid or legitimate baptism is based upon the scriptural principle, “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). The things believed consist of “the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12), which things we believe are conveniently summarized in the BASF. When application for baptism is made an interview is arranged to determine if the candidate believes what we consider to be the truth; this would be equally true for those applying from a different fellowship. This principle is outlined in most constitutions: “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 it is determined that an individual did not believe the same truths when they were baptized then, as long as the individual can affirm their belief in the first principles of the one faith as conveniently summarized in the BASF, we would advise them of their situation and recommend rebaptism. The precedent for rebaptism is established in Acts 19:1-5 where those who had been baptized by John were required to be re-baptized because of a deficiency in understanding.

No doubt as in all things human, there are inconsistencies. However, scripturally, doctrine is the focus of our responsibility and as believers we must hold to the fundamental truth of the gospel. Doctrine is a public matter and is not an area for compromise. Whatever inconsistencies and flexibility have been shown on the baptismal front it matters not. Common doctrine is the basis of fellowship and the Unamended brethren do not share that with us. We do not know the numbers of who believes what, but we genuinely desire to reconcile with those who believe the same things as we have believed in the Central fellowship.

12) Do you really believe these are accurate descriptions of either UA08 Amended or Unamended Brethren?

This question is based on the incorrect conclusions stated on pages 31-32 of your presentation under the heading Are Unamended Christadelphians Brethren? You list nine quotations taken from Appendix F of the Book Road study day booklet (page 63, bullet no.3) then draw the conclusion that these verses were used to describe members of the Unamended community. Nothing could be further from the truth; the appendix is headed “The Scriptural Principles, Wisdom, and Practical Outworking of the Central Fellowship Practice” and the verses came under the sub-heading “Wrong doctrine, arising even from within the ecclesia, jeopardizes salvation, etc.” The verses were cited as conveying Biblical principles, not that we are suggesting that the many characteristics you listed apply to the Unamended; they are listed to demonstrate that the Scriptures clearly teach that problems left unchecked will have a leavening effect.

Based on the examples of scripture, fundamental departures in a single area of doctrine or practice are sufficient to engage in a process to recover and reconcile (this process includes in the end if unsuccessful in earlier stages, withdrawal). Consider the following:

Jesus gave up his life and he calls us to do the same – do we really do it – not even close to what he did – but in principle we must. Can you relate to Job? None of us have experienced the loss he has – but we relate to him even though our suffering and loss may not be comparable. Can you relate to David’s murder and adultery? We might not have sinned as he did, but we understand the principles of sin, lust, pride, death and forgiveness. In the end they are the same. Can you relate to a brother like Hymenaus? Either being him or dealing with him? It might not be the specific doctrinal error that he had, but we can relate to it because it is another fundamental error.

If you cannot see this, then the scriptures will become powerless and empty page after page. While none of the characteristics listed by these verses may apply to any one of us (yet who can claim such a high standard?), nonetheless the principle stands; this is the exhortation emphasized by the apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 10 where he parallels the Corinthian ecclesia to those in the wilderness, idolaters, fornicators etc., (verses 6-10). The Corinthians may not have literally built a golden calf or danced naked; they may not have literally brought in a Midianitish woman into the ecclesia, but the principle held true and Paul extended a sober warning to the brethren and sisters. The exhortation applies equally to us all.

13) If they do not represent an accurate description, is it appropriate use of scripture to categorize brethren this was as a means of “drawing from a principle”?

Your comments lead us down a serious path of making the scriptures irrelevant. Do the words of scripture apply to brethren who have departed from sound doctrine or do they not? Yes, they do, otherwise they are filler on a page. No one wishes to see a brother in a negative light, but when they persist in certain behaviours and/or doctrine, these scriptures become highly relevant. They were relevant in the first century and they are now. Yes, in the 21st century there is error from within the brotherhood. We are well aware that while certain behaviour is insincere and wicked from every angle, that others may be sincerely wrong.

14) For clarification, have the Book Road and London Ecclesias taken the official position of severing from fellowship the UA08 Amended Ecclesias? If so, was this done by a majority vote of the whole Ecclesia?

No they have not officially severed – they have stated positively their fellowship policy which has not changed in principle from the past and have indicated to the wider community that the UA08 have departed from the fundamentals we have cherished and aim to change Central fellowship practice.

Our basis of inter-ecclesial fellowship remains the gospel of the ‘One Faith’ as conveniently summarized in the doctrines and precepts contained in the BASF. This has been our basis of fellowship for over 100 years and it remains our basis of fellowship today. We do not believe that UA08 provides an adequate basis of fellowship with Unamended Christadelphian ecclesias because we do not believe that it is consistent with the doctrines and precepts contained in the BASF.

15) Do you agree with the Pioneer writers on this issue – that Bible Schools, and other unions larger than the ecclesia must not attempt to exercise any authority or influence over other ecclesias?

Bible schools should be in harmony with the direction of ecclesias. The position of most Amended Bible Schools continues as they were originally established. They welcome all who meet only on the basis of the BASF. This is recognized in England and Australia which have agreements based on the BASF. The existing discord lies at the feet of those forcing a change which has and continues to cause problems in Ontario and now outside of Ontario.

It is accepted that each ecclesia is independent and can make their own decisions, but not without ramifications. If it is a matter of fundamental doctrine, then the ecclesia concerned must understand that they have departed and that their straying will not be accepted by the group. It is sad that the implementation of the UA08 has resulted in members being forced to leave their ecclesias and further that ecclesias have forced their will on the larger community such as never has been seen before in this area. It is surprising that a question like this can be asked. A small number of ecclesias have banded together and have unilaterally imposed a different basis of fellowship and a different way of practicing fellowship upon the local ecclesias and are attempting in the process to break down Central fellowship.