A guide to the formation and conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias


Introduction

THE object of the Gospel, as apostolically promulgated in the first century was to take out a people for the Lord's use, in the age that he will inaugurate at his coming. The mode in which the taking out was effected, was by the preaching of the Gospel. Whoever believed this Gospel, and yielded obedience in baptism, was, by that belief and obedience, called to the kingdom and glory of God. But all the called are not to be chosen. The choice is to be made at the Lord's return. The reason of the choice will be faithfulness in the chosen, exhibited during life, subsequent to their taking of the name of Christ in baptism. These things are all known to those who know the Truth.

1. The Term Ecclesia 2. The Name Christadelphian 3. The Apostolic Ministry 4. Revival of the Apostolic Faith 5. Problems of the Modern Situation 6. What is the Solitary Man to Do? 7. The Administration of Baptism 8. Form of Procedure 9. Baptismal Formula 10. Course After Baptism (Alone) 11. After Baptism (in Company) 12. Objects of Ecclesial Work

The objects of ecclesial operations are two-fold: "The edification (or refreshment, encouragement, strengthening, or building up) of its individual constituents in the faith" the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4: 16); and "The exhibition of the light of truth to those that are without". In this two-fold capacity, the ecclesia is "the pillar (that which upholds) and ground (that which gives standing room) of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). These two objects will always be carefully pursued by enlightened and earnest men. Neither is to be lost Light of, and neither sacrificed to the other. Edification is the more agreeable: but the testimony of the truth is equally a dutiful function. We must, therefore, resist the tendency to exalt the former over the latter; and, at the same time, be equally on our guard that we pursue not the latter to the sacrifice of the former. There is a tendency in young ecclesias to give the public testimony the more prominent place; and in older bodies, perhaps the tendency is to prefer that which is individually profitable to that which may seem to them a fruitless exhibition of divine matters to a heedless public. A right condition of things gives both an equal place. Duty to Christ will sustain older ecclesias in a course from which their individual preferences would withdraw them: and the need of comfort, and the luxury and service of worship, will help the younger bodies to give due place to breaking of bread and exhortation.

13. Rules and Modes 14. Absence of the Spirit's Appointments 15. The Necessities of the Present Situation 16. Mutual Consent the Basis of Order 17. Exercise of Authority out of the Question 18. Serving Brethren, not Rulers 19. Suitable Qualifications 20. Ecclesial Control 21. Mode and Term of Appointment 22. Eligibility for Re-election 23. Arranging Brethren 24. Arranging Meetings Open to All 25. Presiding Brethren 26. Recording Brother (Usually called Secretary)

27. Finance Brother (Usually called Treasurer)

28. Exclusion of Business from Sunday Meetings

29. Fraternal Announcements 30. Mode of Conducting the Meetings 31. Introduction of New Brethren 32. Cases of Sin and Withdrawal 33. Examination of Applicants for Immersion 34. Basis of Fellowship 35. Disputes 36. Individual Offences 37. Ecclesial Differences 38. Dissatisfied Minority 39. Absence and Separate Meetings Unlawful 40. A Time to Separate, and How to go about it

41. Involved in another Ecclesia's Trouble 42. Ecclesias in Relation One to Another 43. The True Secret of Success 44. Fraternal Gatherings from Various Places 45. Marriage 46. Sunday School A SYSTEM OF RULES EMBODYING THE FOREGOING SUGGESTIONS A STATEMENT OF THE DOCTRINES FORMING THE CHRISTADELPHIAN BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP Doctrines to be Rejected

* Paragraphs 32-35 added at dates subsequent to 1883,

The Commandments of Christ

When we believe the truth, we must next obey the commandments. If we fail to do this, the truth is not only no advantage to us, hut will be to our condemnation. A community in which the commandments of Christ are not obeyed is not the house of Christ, but the synagogue of Satan, however correctly the truth may be discerned as a theory.

It cannot be too prominently held in the foreground that Christ has said, "YE ARE MY FRIENDS IF YE DO WHATSOEVER I COMMAND YOU", and "Not every man that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father ". " Many will say unto me in that day, Lord have we not preached in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works. Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity".

Now the commandments of Christ may be divided into two classes, one of which, perhaps, calls for more attention than the other, on account of the greater difficulty the natural mind experiences in the obedience of them. There are those that commend themselves to all man as beautiful and excellent, and which are more or less easy to conform to. And there are those that go so directly against the grain of human nature, that the obedience of them is each time an act of self-crucifixion .

These latter are the most likely to be slipped over. We, therefore, place them first. Their observance is in every way most important. They effectually chasten the natural man and bring us into submission to the will of God; and they do this because they are contrary to natural impulse. But, because they are contrary to the natural man, they are liable to be overlooked or explained away, and, consequently, to be disobeyed. All our other compliances are, in this case, rendered of none effect. To keep the commandments that are easy and agreeable, while habitually violating those that are otherwise, will not take us out of the list of transgressors. Abraham's general righteousness of character would have been of no advantage to him had he failed in the test commandment concerning Isaac.

Class I. Commandments Difficult to Obey

Class II. Not easy but less difficult

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