The Christadelphians are a community of Bible believers who follow the faith and beliefs of the first century Christians as recorded in the Bible. We believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and it is our only guide. Colossians 1:2; Hebrews 2:11
The Christadelphians have been spreading the Gospel Message in Canterbury since 1954. We are a small religious body who aim to reflect the faith and character of the early Christian church in New Testament times. The name ‘Christadelphian’ has been in use for about 150 years. It comes from two Greek words and means “Brothers and Sisters in Christ”.
We are located in over 120 countries throughout the world with large groups of Christadelphians in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, North America, India, Asia and Africa. Like the early Christians, we meet in homes, rented rooms and, in some cases, our own halls. Acts 1:13-14; Acts 2:46-47; Acts 18:7; Acts 19:9; Acts 28:30
We are a lay community patterned after first century Christianity. Each congregation is called an ‘ecclesia’ (the Greek New Testament word for church). We have no paid clergy or church hierarchy. Members of each congregation are addressed as ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, and all are involved in organising our activities. All members contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God. A strong common belief binds our brotherhood together. Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-27; Galatians 3:28
Each ‘ecclesia’ is self-governing. There is no national, or international ‘leadership’ or ‘central office’. But Christadelphians do share a fellowship worldwide based on a common faith. In this way the relations between assemblies are more like a family than in many traditional churches. This is the New Testament model.(Ephesians 3:15; 4:1-6, 1 John 1:6-7)
The original Jerusalem church had twelve elders responsible for “the ministry of the word” (preaching and teaching), and seven deacons responsible for “the ministry of tables” (welfare). Likewise the church in Ephesus had several overseers (literally “bishops”), meaning elders. We use the same model with a group of members in each ecclesia responsible for the administration of the ecclesia. We do not have paid pastors. (Matthew 23:8-11, Acts 1:23-26, Acts 6:1-6, Acts 20:28)
Many believers since the apostles have held the same faith as the Christadelphians. There have been countless independent communities around the world who have eagerly studied the Bible and accepted its simple teachings.
The beliefs and practices of the Christadelphians can be traced from the New Testament to the earliest Christians of the 1st and 2nd Centuries in documents such as the Epistle of Clement, The Didache and The Apostles’ Creed.
With the advent of religious freedom in Europe in the 16th Century Reformation, the same beliefs and practices resurfaced in Bible-minded groups such as the Swiss Anabaptists and Polish Socinians. The early English Baptists held similar beliefs (although these beliefs are not held by Baptists today). In the 18th Century many leading figures in the Enlightenment such as Sir Isaac Newton and William Whiston held these beliefs.
The modern Christadelphian movement has its origin in the 1830s, an age of revival and reform in America and England. In America a medical doctor, John Thomas, published the Herald of the Kingdom, which set out Bible teaching on the resurrection and the Kingdom of God. In Britain a journalist named Robert Roberts took up the same cause in the ‘Ambassador of the Coming Age’. Thomas and Roberts made no claims to any vision or personal revelations - only to try to be honest students of the Bible.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 those Christian groups who did not fight were required to register with the Union government. Sam Coffman and other brothers in Ogle County, Illinois, registered themselves as “Brethren in Christ, or in a word Christadelphian”.
This name was soon adopted by many like-minded groups of believers in America and Britain. Since then, independent Christadelphian groups have been established in countries all over the world.