"Oh, that men would praise Yahweh for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men" (Ps. 107:8).
enlighten the intellect, purify the heart and pray (Rom 8:14).
Effectual Fervent Prayer of a Righteous Man (James 5:16)
Prayer has two main purposes: all else is secondary.
(1) Thanksgiving -- perpetual moment-to-moment thankfulness for everything: for to the eye of faith and love all is glorious, all is joyful.
(2) Seeking help to know right and think right and do right -- in every circumstance, every condition. Get these on track as a fixed way of life, and all else will flow in a mighty, irresistible stream of goodness.
-by Brother Growcott
Prayer is the reasonable and appropriate act of creatures intelligently related to the Great Intelligent Source of their being. It is a pleasure to God who delights in the recognition of his supremacy...
- - Brother Roberts
is a term representative of the system of the truth taught by the written word concerning Christ and his brethren. It represents the truth disinterred from the rubbish of clerical and denominational tradition, and sufficiently developed for all practical purposes connected with the remission of sins and eternal life. This is the great spiritual feature of the time of the end-the great light which shines upon the dark peoples of Britain and America.....The scheme of human redemption has been brought out in all its particulars and scriptural proportions.
It is not now a matter of search or discussion.
What it is, is known to the initiated, who need not now to waste their energies in vain speculations and bootless investigation. They know what the truth is, and need not vex themselves in discussing the vagaries of mere novices who, like silly women are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth...They repudiate everlasting investigation, which implies search after the unknown.
Periodicals that are always investigating are nuisances and not worth the postage.
The apostacy abounds with these. They discuss everything and settle nothing...
Such investigating periodicals are of no use to genuine Christadelphians.
These wisely seek to digest what they already have, that they may not remain babes and weaklings all their lives."
Brother Roberts, 'The Christadelphian' 1892 page 388
"To the charge of holding 'that the knowledge of Scripture, in the writings of Dr. Thomas, have reached a finality,' we plead guilty...Our judgment is distinctly to the effect imputed-- that in the writings of Dr. Thomas the Truth is developed as a finality, and that they are a depot of the Christian doctrine. In this sense we are 'committed to Dr. Thomas.' God used him in the doing of His work. In His sight, and with His help, we shall hold fast to the Truth brought to light by his means."
Brother Roberts - Christadelphian 1898, p. 128.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS
An Accusation Answered. S. F.
If Dr. Thomas and ourselves are "self-constituted arbiters" of what is sound doctrine, we are only what every man is in a free country. We only judge for ourselves, and utter the conclusions we come to. If others come to the same judgment, it is because the reasons which satisfy us satisfy them.
There is no compulsion, no ecclesiastical coercion, nothing but argument and example. Wherein do we differ from you? In nothing but the views we hold and the conclusions we come to, and, perhaps, the opportunities we have of expressing and advocating them. Endure this difference without so much heat, and you may live to praise that which you now condemn, and to endorse that which you now repudiate with so much wrath.
Ambassador, August 1866. p157
The obedience of the commandments of Christ is essential to the salvation of those who believe the Gospel. While faith (made effectual in baptism) turns a sinner into a saint, obedience only will secure a saint's acceptance at the judgment seat of the Christ. A disobedient saint will be rejected more decisively than even an unjustified sinner.
From Christendom Astray
Brother Robert's on standing fast to the revived faith
"We would rather walk with an afflicted few in the scriptural purity of the Hope of Israel (with all that that involves) than run with a prosperous multitude... Looseness may be convenient for the time being, but there hastens a time when it will be highly inconvenient. When God speaks again by Christ returned, the inconvenience of this adhesion to His holy narrow ways will turn to easement, felicitation, joy and gladness. "What are His holy narrow ways? This is not an open question. If it is so with some, it cannot be with those whose minds have been made up for more than 40 years, ever since Dr. Thomas pointed out these holy ways in the Scriptures. "Dr Thomas sent them to the Scriptures in the understanding thereof, and in the daily company of the Scriptures they have remained, and are therefore rooted and grounded and planted and built up immovably, knowing what they are about, and why they present an indomitable front to all suggestionists and investigators of various shapes and colours, who either cannot see, or think they see farther, or think they discover flaws in the Christadelphian 'platform', or who imagine they have discovered improvements in the position originally defined in Dr Thomas' writings... "Experience over a wide and constantly fermenting field shows that unless there is resolute adhesion to the position of Divine wisdom recovered with much difficulty during the last two generations, there is danger of easily losing it all: not all at once, but point by point-one point at a time till all is gone. "How many are now drowning in the dark and turbid waters of human folly who were once on the safe and sunny terra firma of Divine truth. They became engulfed through an inveterate propensity for dabbling in the polluted flood. "Though we are to 'prove all things' we are not to be always proving them. Having once proved them, the next thing is to 'hold fast to that which is good.' "This is the attitude of the Christadelphian, from which it cannot be drawn or driven while the present editor lives. There are a thousand voices against it, and they are always filling the air, but wisdom is wisdom, however faintly heard in the hubbub."
November 1896 Robert Roberts
THE RECOVERED TRUTH IN THE LATTER DAYS
BROTHER, sister, do you often, from your vantage ground in the truth, take a look upon the world of a so-called Christendom lying in darkness profound and unlifting. All around you is this darkness and moral and religious death, involving all in one common ruin. Ignorance of the purpose of God in creation is profound, and enlightenment is refused. The light of truth is lost in that darkness and fails to enlighten that ignorance. Who will rouse them from their slumber of death? Nothing but the judgments of God abroad in the earth will be able to rouse them out of that death sleep.
A gruesome and sorrowful picture it is indeed to greet the eyes and mind of him who lives and moves and has his moral and intellectual being in the light of the truth of Abraham's God. The faith of Abraham and the hope of Israel find no place in the minds of the teeming millions who have a faith and hope bound by the cords of death. Upon such a picture with what terrible force fall these words of Jesus: "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find the faith upon the earth?" What means that language? Is it not that while there may be an abundance of abstract faith in the earth, there will be little or none of the faith that embraces the substance of the Promises, the things of the Kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, the faith of the fathers and the prophets and the apostles of the Lord? There is no other interpretation to be put upon these words. They mean that the true and saving faith will be as scarce upon the earth as righteousness was in Sodom and Gomorrah.
With such a picture before the mind, what is the duty of him who stands in and looks out from the saving light and blessed promises of God's truth embodied in the Gospel of His dear Son? Is it not to let the light shine into the minds of a benighted people, to sound forth into their ears the things that constitute the true and saving faith, whether they will or will not hear? No one who is of the light can be silent without being disobedient. Remember the "candle" and the "bushel." Who would want to be silent when he is the possessor of such light and the world groping in the darkness of a false faith and dead hope? A selfish and disobedient person alone could think of shutting up the light in himself before a world perishing for the want of the bread of life.
While it is true that each child of the light should be light to a world sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, yet there is a more pressing duty resting upon each one in this "the time of the end." There is an ecclesial and a personal work to be done that is of greater moment. Whilst the enlightenment of the world should not be neglected, and the fishing in that world for children for Abraham should be pushed energetically, yet there are fish already in the net that require preparation for the assortment of the Great Fisherman.
Putting figurative language aside, let us plainly look at the work before the children of God. This is no longer a time for discovering the truth. That work has been done, even done in the days and by the labours of Dr. Thomas. Since then it has simply been a work of sounding known and established truth into the ears of all who will hear to take out of the world by its power a people for the seed of Abraham, or heirs with Christ Jesus to the promised inheritance. The day for that work is now far spent and another work is about to take place on the earth, even a work that begins with the household of Christ and ends with the nations of the earth. That work is the work of judgment.
The greatest drawback to the preparation of a people for the Lord at his coming to complete his work upon the earth is the failure of some to recognise the character of the work now being done. As a consequence of this failure, the ecclesia has been caused to pass through great turmoil and many critical phases of its existence, to the sorrow and anxious solicitude of those who have fully recognised the character and the phases of the work the Lord has been doing in the earth during the past half-century or more.
The work the Lord has been doing is susceptible of two great divisions, to wit: The recovery of the truth to mankind and the preparation of a people for the Lord at his coming.
The first was completely accomplished through Dr. Thomas and his faithful coadjutors in his days. The second has occupied the time and labour of the faithful and wise of the household during and since the days of Dr. Thomas. Since his days it has been and is the sole aim of those who know the truth to do the work of taking out of the nations and preparing, by the power of the truth brought to light, a people for the Lord.
This work has been hindered time and again by those who failed to recognise the fact that the whole truth had been recovered, and who were constantly searching out this and that crotchet to the dismay of the faithful, distress and embroilment of the ecclesia, and injury of the truth. Instead of there being that peace, communion and fellowship of the truth in the ecclesia, so essential to the development of character and the preparation from the Gentiles of a seed of Abraham to inherit the promises, turmoil, selfishness, backbiting, crotchet-mongering, confusion, and all manner of evil work were brought into the ecclesia, to the sorrow of all who had the work of the truth and welfare of the ecclesia at heart. In truth, it has been a repetition of apostolic days.
Another erroneous idea has found lodgment in the minds of some respecting a journal devoted to the spread and defence of the truth and the upbuilding of the ecclesia. It is claimed that such a journal should give a hearing to both sides in doctrinal matters. The idea would be true enough if it were a matter of searching for or discovering the truth; but when the truth has been already discovered in its entirety, as is the case, it is a mistaken idea to make a journal devoted to it the battlefield of opposing views in matters of doctrine. To state a false teaching for the purpose of showing its falseness and establishing the truth to all is permissible, and often desirable, for the welfare of the ecclesia; but to permit false teaching in its pages, in the form of controversy, when known to be such in the face of established truth, is neither discharging one's duty towards the truth nor the ecclesia. The truth does not permit it. Duty does not permit it. The wise of the household condemn it. No one having a clear understanding of the truth would demand it.
When any one is now invited to enter the ecclesial fold through a belief and obedience of the truth, it is not asking him to identify himself with an ecclesia of searchers for the truth, but an ecclesia that has found the truth and is built upon it; it is not inviting him to enter upon the arena of controversy with the members of the ecclesia in matters of truth, but to be one and harmonious with the ecclesia in the upbuilding of all in the most holy faith of known and established truth. There is no controversy in the ecclesia with the members thereof in matters of doctrine or truth.
That controversy was thoroughly carried on and exhausted by Dr. Thomas, while identified with the Campbellite body, and was consummated in the discovery and full establishment of the whole truth of God as revealed in the Bible. Ecclesial controversy in matters of truth is thus at an end. This is fully recognised by those who clearly understand the truth. This fact may not be pleasant or palatable to those who dislike the idea of Dr. Thomas being ahead of them in the discovery and establishment of the whole truth revealed in the Bible. Nevertheless, they would display a commendable wisdom in submitting to it with that humbleness and joy of heart which the truth alone can beget in rebellious human nature.
A failure to recognize the foregoing duty to the truth and the ecclesia has led to much bitterness of personal feeling, and has torn and distracted numerous ecclesias. A true and humble and faithful child of God should see that the Lord will never approve a work that injures His truth and His children. To throw open the pages of a periodical devoted to the spread and defence of the truth for the airing of false doctrines and hurtful crotchets would meet the condemnation of the righteous Judge when judging the works of His people in the day appointed.
If a journal devoted to the spread and defence of the truth may not permit the entrance of false teachings and hurtful crotchets into its pages, in the form of controversy, neither may the ecclesia be a battlefield for the same; and whoever would seek to make the ecclesia such a battlefield has sadly mistaken the purposes for which the Lord called His children out of the world into an ecclesial fold.
The ecclesia is the Lord's vineyard. Each of His children is a worker in it. The work is the upbuilding of all in the truth, the growing into the full measure of the stature of the Christ. The fulness of that measure is consummated at the judgment seat. Such being the work of the ecclesia, as an ecclesia, who would wish to mar or interfere with its work by making it the arena of controversial work in the airing of crochets, false doctrines, and matters of doubtful disputation?
Let me say a few words relative to Dr. Thomas and his continued communion with the Campbellite body after he had advanced far in the discovery of the truth. I have heard condemnation meted out to him on that score, and his course offered as a plea for controversy within the ecclesia on doctrinal matters. First, it must be borne in mind that many years passed by before the Doctor discovered that his early baptism into the Campbellite faith was not a baptism into Christ. This would justify his continued identification with that body, so far as his knowledge of duty extended. This blindness of the Doctor to the validity of his baptism was essential to the work before him, as it held him in the Campbellite body.
Second, he had a work to do which could only be done in that or a similar body, and by being a member of it. Had not Dr. Thomas been subjected to the terrible antagonism he experienced in his search for the truth, he would never have found it. Had not that antagonism arisen in the Campbellite body and through his continued connection with it, he would equally have failed. There was an overruling providence in the whole matter.
The peculiar mental and moral organisation of Dr. Thomas admirably fitted him for the work he accomplished. His sterling honesty, great faith, resolute will, utter disregard of human opinion, and what seemed a reckless independence of leadership of men, enabled him to do a work that would have failed under other conditions, And it was only through identification with a so-called Christian body taking the Bible alone as its rule of faith and hope and practice that the above qualifications could have full play in the discovery of the truth. There was, therefore, a providence in the whole course pursued by Dr. Thomas from the time he set out to find the truth till he discovered it in its entirety, and whoever condemns him in any part of that course condemns the providence overruling all. This is all clear to those who have attained to the same understanding of the truth.
Where the great mistake is made by those who take the course of Dr. Thomas as a criterion of judgment, and make it a plea for the same kind of controversial work within the ecclesia, is in not recognising the fact that the conditions are now not the same. Then it was an ecclesia of searchers for the truth, and now it is an ecclesia, a true ecclesia, built upon known and established truth; then the truth could only be discovered through the channel of stubborn controversy, often spiced with acrimony, but now the need for controversy has ceased in the presence of the whole truth fully searched out and established.
The work is now, as before stated, one of spreading and defending established truth before the world and the upbuilding of the ecclesia in the most holy faith of that truth. The ecclesia is therefore no longer an arena over which the storms of controversy may sweep and leave behind them angry feelings, heart burnings, bitterness of mind, divisions, and the biting frosts of enmity. No; it is now, or should be, a true ecclesia of God, all of one mind and one spirit, and all drawn together by the cords of love begotten in each heart by the sweet influence of that truth which was recovered from its burial in tradition, and recovered amid the storms of controversy bitter and long waged.
Whenever an ecclesia of Christ is not of the character stated above, a great fault lies at the door of some of its members. That fault could assume, and probably has assumed, one or all of three leading phases, to wit:-Either some have been admitted to the ecclesial fold believing it to be an ecclesia of searchers after hidden truth, and they soon proceed to introduce the controversial feature, or else some have been admitted to the fold who do not believe that the whole truth has been discovered, and soon the angry storms of controversy arise within the ecclesia by reason of their efforts to promulgate various winds of doctrine; or else there has been admitted to the ecclesia those who cannot crucify their jealousies, envies, love of pre-eminence, applause of men, and itchings for controversy, whereby they are continually disturbing the peace and harmony and unity of spirit of the ecclesia by bringing in doctrines and crotchets new and strange.
Alas, that such is the case! But why complain? Had not the ecclesia of Apostolic days the same misfortune? Did they not get rid (as far as possible) of the disturbing elements after due efforts to reform them? They were certainly commanded to do so. If, after the same manner, false teachers and the disturbers of ecclesial peace and harmony and purity are withdrawn from, who will complain save themselves and those of like mind? A true child of God will never complain. Purity in doctrine and practice is greater than any man, yea, greater than all men, for it is from and of God.
In conclusion of this article, let me press home to each heart and mind the preceding matter treated of. Are there some in the ecclesia who still believe that it is an ecclesia of searchers after hidden truth as revealed in the Bible? Then, if there are such, those who do not believe the truth has been discovered in its fulness, let me say that they should withdraw from the Christadelphian ecclesia and organise one built upon and in harmony with their belief, for the Christadelphian ecclesia is not such an one. It is built upon known truth and the whole truth as revealed in the Bible, and is not a searcher after unknown truth in that Book. You cannot bring the plea of Dr. Thomas's course to bear, for then it was truly the case of an ecclesia of searchers after the truth, which was completed in the finding of it.
While it is true that there is such a thing as ever learning and never being able to find the truth, yet there is such a thing as learning and finding the truth and being established, rooted and grounded in it. The latter was the case with Dr. Thomas, and is the case with those who have laid hold of the truth he found. So, if you are not in harmony with it, you would best withdraw from the Christadelphian ecclesia; and especially so if you cannot bring yourselves into harmony with it in doctrine and practice.
Surely this is not a time for searching after unknown truth, on the very eve of the Lord's coming to judge character built out of the truth. Nay, rather, it is a time for each one to be searching into his character to see of what manner it is; to see how he stands with the ecclesia of God; to see if he is in harmony with it in doctrine and practice; to see if he has crucified the lusts of the flesh, got rid of his envies, his jealousies, his ambitious fleshly desires, his hatreds, his evil surmisings, his rivalries; to see if he loves the brethren with an unfeigned love and out of a pure heart, in honour preferring them, rejoicing with them in all humbleness of mind in hope of glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Let us therefore right all wrongs as far as we can, cultivate brotherly love, be of one mind in the things of the Spirit, seek to build up the ecclesia in our most holy faith as becometh faithful and true workmen in the Lord's vineyard, not disturbers of ecclesial peace and harmony and purity, that we may be prepared to give to the Lord of the vineyard a good account of our stewardship in matters of truth and love and practice, and of the manifold blessings of the Lord towards His people as they have flown to them through the ecclesia.
This is written in the spirit of love towards all who have named the name of Christ through obedience of the faith, and by one whose greatest joy would be in seeing all saved and blessed in the Kingdom of God. I have no fault to find with any particular one, as each must be the judge of his own faith and actions in this life in the presence of the truth till the Lord comes for judgment of all; for, if we judge ourselves by the standard of the teachings and commands of the truth, and be honest and faithful and loving and forgiving of heart, we will all speedily place ourselves in harmony with the truth and ecclesial peace and purity and unity of doctrine and practice.
How urgent is the need of such self-judgment and obedience to all the commands of the truth in faith and practice, as we see the clear and multiplying signs of the coming of the righteous Judge for the impartial and infallible work of the judgment seat! There is no righting of past wrongs; no placing of ourselves in harmony with the precepts and commands of the truth after the call to judgment has gone forth from a descended Lord and Master and Judge.
This is our day for making our calling and election sure; but then it will be the Lord's day for the purpose of that judgment which begins with His own household. If we would not be condemned then, let each judge himself now by the light of the truth, even that truth which will either justify or condemn us then. Oh, that the Lord would set His people to a self-judgment by and before His truth! To forgive and love those who wrong us is to display the spirit of Christ; and the display of such a spirit is as much the duty of the suffering body as it was of the suffering head of the Christ of God.
Brother L. B. Welch.
The Christadelphian 1894, P 144-148
History of the Christadelphians and the theory of Seven Ecclesial Epochs
The following should be read in conjunction with the Apocalypse chapters 2 & 3. Below you will find an apparent connection between the messages to the apocalyptic ecclesias and each revival of the truth. The theory does not contradict or set aside the exposition of Brother Thomas in 'Eureka'... but may be an additional layer of prophecy fulfilled among the Christadelphian ecclesias up to our own day.
In the first message to Brother Thomas and the early Christadelphians the Lord Yahoshua walks in the midst of 'the seven golden lampstands' - The truth has been revived and the early Christadelphians are in a heightened state of illumination and spiritual vitality following their patient, earnest spiritual labours.
'I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil...and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured and hast not fainted'.
The first crisis...
'Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou left thy first love...thou art fallen...repent and do the first works'.
The first significant attempt to subvert the truth from within the brotherhood came from the Dowieites.
Their error: Immortal soulism.
The reward for overcoming - 'to eat of the tree of life' (the true doctrine of immortality)
The second message draws attention to the Lord's nature and sacrifice...
'the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive'
The second crisis to rock Christadelphia came when Robert Turney and his blasphemous followers 'them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of satan' opposed the true doctrine concerning the nature and sacrifice of the Lord Yahoshua.
'be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life' - The reward is linked to the atonement. The true doctrine concerning the nature and sacrifice of the Lord was upheld by Brother Roberts and the impoverished yet spiritually rich Christadelphian community 'I know thy works tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich)' when they withdrew fellowship from Turney and his followers (Nazarines)
The third crisis faced by the Christadelphians came when the divine inspiration of the whole Bible was called into question - on this occasion the Lord describes himself as having the 'sharp sword with two edges' (The word of Yahweh). The error came from within Brother Roberts Birmingham ecclesia 'I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is and thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith'.
Brother Roberts faithfully opposed this error in the Birmingham ecclesia almost single-handedly wielding the sword of the spirit 'Antipas my faithful martyr' (against all). He faced the potential loss of all his brethren as the ecclesia turned against him 'slain among you where satan dwelleth'. This was a dreadful period for Brother Roberts in which contemplated 'though all the brethren forsake me...and I stand alone on a mountain top...'
Brother Roberts prevailed, the partial inspirationists were purged and the reward for maintaining the purity of the inspired testimony is 'to eat of the hidden manna'.
'The Son of God who hath his eyes like a unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass' - judgement.
Resurrectional responsibility was the fourth and last trial of Brother Roberts 'service and faith and patience'. 'I will put none other burden upon you'- Brother Roberts died shortly after the burden of this fourth crisis. The reward for faithful Christadelphians who opposed the resurrectional responsibility error is to exercise judgement -'he shall rule the nations with a rod of iron'.
To be continued Yahweh willing.