Who are the Old Paths Christadelphians?

Who are the Old Paths Christadelphians?

A common link

As a body of believers in the true and accuracy of the Bible, we seek to ensure that we cut through the varied and often-changing ideas of man and find an authority that we can rely on; one that gives us absolute confidence in where our lives are leading.

The Old Paths Christadelphians is a community of men and women who, despite differences in age, race, background, knowledge and a host of other attributes, are brought together by a common love and acceptance of the Bible as the word of God, and the only authority to guide our lives:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:105 

What’s in a name?

The term ‘Christadelphians’ is coined from two Greek words ‘Christou’ and ‘Adelphoi’ and means ‘brethren of Christ’; a scriptural term describing how Christ views those who faithfully follow him.

 

“For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Mark 3:35 
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse…” Colossians 1:2 

‘Old Paths’ is another scriptural term; the Bible describes life as a journey along a path of our choosing:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14

The path which the Bible guides its true believers down is one which few find, for most blindly follow the falsehood of orthodox Christian teaching or have no faith at all.  It is the path which Jesus and his first century believers walked, and it is the same path which the Old Paths Christadelphians walk today:

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…”Jeremiah 6:16 

History

The Christadelphians as an organisation date back only as far as the mid-nineteenth century when a man named John Thomas, after nearly dying in a shipwreck, vowed to find out the truth about life.  He recognised that this could only be achieved through personal Bible study rather than trusting the leaders and pastors of the churches, for reasons explained in the previous article in this series.

Following much study, and with no claim of vision or direct revelation from God, he came to an understanding of the Bible which differed in many ways from orthodox Christian teaching, highlighting the extent to which the latter had strayed from the truth of the Bible.  His efforts drew the attention of others who, upon studying the Bible for themselves, came to the same conclusions.  His approach of using the scriptures alone as the basis for all beliefs has stood the test of time in the face of much scrutiny, and is shared by all Christadelphians today.

For this reason, we are at pains to point out that there is no such thing as ‘Christadelphianism’; we believe and preach nothing of our own accord, but take everything directly from the scriptures.  We think of ourselves as a community of believers rather than an organisation - our name was adopted purely out of a need to register as an organisation for the purposes of conscientious objection in wartime.

A flat structure

Because our ‘organisation’ exists purely for administrative purposes, we have no hierarchy or paid employment – our only leader is the Lord Jesus Christ himself:

“And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” Colossians 1:18 

Christadelphians meet together in groups (known as ‘ecclesias’) around the UK and other parts of the world, using simple halls or even homes as meeting rooms.  We meet to obey the commandment Jesus gave his believers to break bread and drink wine to remember the great sacrifice he made for them:

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22:19-20 
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” Acts 20:7 

Arrangements

Meetings are simple affairs, with no robes, elaborate ceremonies or other rituals. They consist of hymns, prayers, Bible readings, exhortation (words of encouragement from the Bible), and the aforementioned breaking of bread and drinking of wine.  Proceedings are commonly followed by a Bible talk on an important topic which the public are invited to. It is our belief that a believer from a first century ecclesia would find our twenty first century ecclesias a familiar environment.

Each ecclesia looks after its own affairs, although most tend to operate in a similar fashion.  Duties are shared out equally amongst those capable of performing them; weekly duties such as presiding over meetings, reading from the Bible, praying, and giving talks are carried out by different people each week.  Other duties require a specific individual for the sake of consistency (e.g. managing finances, handling correspondence, looking after advertising) but such posts are elected and accountable to the rest of the ecclesia.  Ecclesias are self-financed through voluntary weekly collections from members, with all income being used to fund the work of the ecclesia.

Bible students

As you read any material we produce, we ask you not to take our word for it, but look everything up for yourselves and make your own mind up. If you think the scriptures prove us wrong then please challenge us!  All we care about is the truth, and if any of our beliefs can be shown to be wrong, we want to put that right.

We therefore invite you to join us in exploring the Bible and navigating the path through life that culminates in its wonderful hope; the hope that binds all Christadelphians together; the ‘hope of Israel’.