Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unamended faith?

"Faith" describes itself as "a monthly magazine devoted to the exposition of the faith once for all delivered to the saints". This volume contains issues from 1910-1911. The faith in question is that of the Christadelphians. Since John W Lea and A H Zilmer are listed as editors, I assume that these are the Unamended Christadelphians, who are said to be even more sectarian than the Amended ditto. Christadelphians deny most traditional Christian doctrines: the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, "heaven" and hell, and the existence of Satan. They do affirm the resurrection. Jesus, while being born of a virgin, was an ordinary man who lived a life of perfect obedience to God, and hence became the perfect sin offering when crucified. At his second advent, Jesus will establish a literal earthly kingdom for his faithful followers. Any similarity to the Jehovah's Witnesses is probably co-incidental, however, the two movements having different origins. John Thomas is regarded as the founder of Christadelphianism, with Thomas Williams being the leading light of the Unamended current.

The Amended Christadelphians apparently believe that some people with similar beliefs to those of the Christadelphians will be saved, even though they aren't members of Christadelphian churches. The Unamended fellowship holds that only properly baptized members of Christadelphian ekklesias will be saved, no deviance allowed! I find it difficult not to wax ironic over this. Presumably, then, the Amended faction believes that Anthony Buzzard will be resurrected unto life everlasting, while the Unamended faction believes he will stay dead? Buzzard (co-author of "The Doctrine of the Trinity") has ideas similar to those of the Christadelphians, but he is not *actually* a Christadelphian. Ouch! On an Unamended website, we also learn: "We reject the doctrine of: Resurrection of Heathens, Idiots, Babies, etc. We believe: That `heathens', idiots, pagans, and very young children, will never see the light of resurrection, but pass away as though they had not been: the resurrection being restricted to those who are responsible to the divine law."

I see.

As for "Faith", I admit that this magazine didn't exactly thrill me. It consists, naturally enough, of articles delineating the Christadelphian doctrines on the soul, the kingdom of God, the resurrection, speaking in tongues, etc. The articles are liberally sprinkled with Bible quotations. It seems "Faith" was often spread by placing it in libraries and YMCA reading rooms. For some reason, there is hardly any mention of "The Christadelphian Advocate", the main organ of the Unamended Christadelphians (still being published). Zilmer later became editor of the "Advocate".

Not really my cup of vanilla tea, but since it does exposit on the faith once given to the Christadelphians, I will give it three stars.

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