John Thomas (Christadelphian)
Dr. John Thomas was an English religious leader, the founder of the Christadelphian movement, he was a Restorationist, with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists. John Thomas M. D. born in Hoxton Square, London, on April 12, 1805, was the son of a Dissenting minister named John Thomas. His family is reputed to be descended from French Huguenot refugees, his family moved as his father took up various pastorships including a congregation in London, a brief stay in northern Scotland, back to London, up to Chorley, Lancashire. At the age of 16, in Chorley, he began studying medicine, his family moved back to London. After two years, he returned to London to continue his studies at the Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals for a further three years, he trained as a surgeon and had an interest in chemistry and biology, publishing several learned medical articles for The Lancet, one of which argued in favour of the importance of the use of corpses for the study of medicine.
The Marquis of Wellesley docked in New York and Thomas travelled on to Cincinnati, Ohio where he became convinced by the Restoration Movement of the need for baptism and joined them in October 1832. He came to know a prominent leader in the movement, Alexander Campbell, who encouraged him to become an evangelist, he spent his time travelling around the eastern States of America preaching, until settling down as a preacher in Philadelphia. It was here on 1 January 1834. Dr Thomas wrote for and was editor of the Apostolic Advocate which first appeared in May 1834, his studies during this period of his life generated the foundation for many of the beliefs he came to espouse as a Christadelphian and he began to believe that the basis of knowledge before baptism was greater than the Restoration Movement believed and that held orthodox Christian beliefs were blatantly wrong. Whilst his freedom to believe his unique beliefs was accepted, many objected to the preaching of these beliefs as necessary for salvation.
This difference led to a series of debates between Dr Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Because Thomas rebaptised himself and rejected his former beliefs and associations, he was formally disfellowshipped in 1837; some people, associated with him and accepted his views. At this time the Millerite or Adventist movement was growing, in 1843 Dr Thomas was introduced to William Miller, the leader of the Millerites, he admired their willingness to question orthodox beliefs and agreed with their belief in the second coming of Christ and the founding of a millennial age upon His return. Dr Thomas continued his studies of the Bible and in 1846 travelled to New York where he gave a series of lectures covering 30 doctrinal subjects that formed part of his book Elpis Israel. Based upon his newfound understanding of the Bible, Thomas was rebaptised in 1847 and the groups of congregations and individuals who shared his beliefs continued to grow. In 1848 the movement became international when he travelled to England in order to preach what he now saw as the true gospel message.
Upon his return to America Dr Thomas moved from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City and began to preach there. He made a point of speaking to the Jewish community because Dr Thomas had come to believe that Christianity did not replace the Law of Moses but rather fulfilled it, he believed. It was at this time that Dr Thomas and those who shared similar beliefs became known as the Royal Association of Believers; this group of believers used a Greek word meaning "assembly", to describe them. However, the movement did not have an ‘official’ name until 1864, when a name was chosen during the American Civil War. Instead of having a system of clergy, all the brethren took equal responsibility on a rota to take on the role of presiding and speaking during their meetings; when in 1861 the American Civil War broke out, Dr Thomas travelled to the South and became concerned that the war had placed believers upon opposing sides. The movement as a whole considered that the war required them to make a stand for what they believed in as conscientious objectors.
In order to be exempted from military service, it was required that believers had to belong to a recognised religious group that did not agree with participation in war. Thus in 1864, Dr. Thomas coined the name Christadelphian to identify members of the movement; the term Christadelphian comes from Greek and means "Brethren in Christ". It was during the war that Dr Thomas worked on the three volumes of Eureka, which discusses the meaning of the Book of Revelation. On May 5, 1868, Dr Thomas returned to England where he travelled extensively giving lecturers about the Gospel message and meeting with Christadelphians in England. During this period of his life he found extensive support and help from Robert Roberts, converted during a previous visit to England by Dr Thomas. Following his return to America, he made one final tour of the Christadelphian congregations prior to his death on 5 March 1871 in Jersey City, he was buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery, New York. Thomas did not claim to be any kind of prophet, or in any way inspired, but through study and borrowing from the work of others he believed that many traditional church teachings were incorrect and that from the Bible he could prove that position.
The Lecturer commenced by denying a statement which had appea
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews and Rastafarians. What is regarded as canonical text differs depending on traditions and groups; the Hebrew Bible overlaps with the Christian Old Testament. The Christian New Testament is a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon about the Apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect. Attitudes towards the Bible differ among Christian groups. Roman Catholics, high church Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians stress the harmony and importance of the Bible and sacred tradition, while Protestant churches, including Evangelical Anglicans, focus on the idea of sola scriptura, or scripture alone.
This concept arose during the Protestant Reformation, many denominations today support the use of the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian teaching. The Bible has been a massive influence on literature and history in the Western World, where the Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using movable type. According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible "has done more to shape literature, history and culture than any book written, its influence on world history is unparalleled, shows no signs of abating." With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, it is considered to be the most influential and best-selling book of all time. As of the 2000s, it sells 100 million copies annually; the English word Bible is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in Medieval Latin and Late Latin and from Koinē Greek: τὰ βιβλία, translit. Ta biblia "the books". Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural, it came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun in medieval Latin, so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe.
Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια tà biblía tà ágia, "the holy books". The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book", it is the diminutive of βύβλος byblos, "Egyptian papyrus" so called from the name of the Phoenician sea port Byblos from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia was "an expression. Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE. The biblical scholar F. F. Bruce notes that Chrysostom appears to be the first writer to use the Greek phrase ta biblia to describe both the Old and New Testaments together. By the 2nd century BCE, Jewish groups began calling the books of the Bible the "scriptures" and they referred to them as "holy", or in Hebrew כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ, Christians now call the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible "The Holy Bible" or "the Holy Scriptures"; the Bible was divided into chapters in the 13th century by Stephen Langton and it was divided into verses in the 16th century by French printer Robert Estienne and is now cited by book and verse.
The division of the Hebrew Bible into verses is based on the sof passuk cantillation mark used by the 10th-century Masoretes to record the verse divisions used in earlier oral traditions. The oldest extant copy of a complete Bible is an early 4th-century parchment book preserved in the Vatican Library, it is known as the Codex Vaticanus; the oldest copy of the Tanakh in Hebrew and Aramaic dates from the 10th century CE. The oldest copy of a complete Latin Bible is the Codex Amiatinus. Professor John K. Riches, Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, says that "the biblical texts themselves are the result of a creative dialogue between ancient traditions and different communities through the ages", "the biblical texts were produced over a period in which the living conditions of the writers – political, cultural and ecological – varied enormously". Timothy H. Lim, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh, says that the Old Testament is "a collection of authoritative texts of divine origin that went through a human process of writing and editing."
He states that it is not a magical book, nor was it written by God and passed to mankind. Parallel to the solidification of the Hebrew canon, only the Torah first and the Tanakh began to be translated into Greek and expanded, now referred to as the Septuagint or the Greek Old Testament. In Christian Bibles, the New Testament Gospels were derived from oral traditions in the second half of the first century CE. Riches says that: Scholars have attempted to reconstruct something of the history of the oral traditions behind the Gospels, but the results have not been too encouraging; the period of transmission is short: less than 40 years passed between the death of Jesus and the writing of Mark's Gospel. This means that there was little time for oral trad
Robert Roberts (Christadelphian)
Robert Roberts is the man considered to have continued the work of organising and establishing the Christadelphian movement founded by Dr. John Thomas, he was a prolific author and the editor of The Christadelphian Magazine from 1864–1898. Robert Roberts, born in Link Street, Scotland, was the son of a captain of a small coasting vessel, his grandmother on his father’s side was of the Clan MacBeth. His mother was a religious Calvinistic Baptist and daughter of a London merchant. Though his family were of lowly circumstances, he was raised in a well disciplined, religious environment. Leaving school at the age of 11, he worked a short while as clerk in a rope factory serving in a grocers shop, thirdly as a sort of apprentice to a lithographer. At 13 he became an apprentice to a druggist taking lessons in Latin, learning Pitman's Shorthand, his mother took him as a boy of 10 to hear John Thomas speak in Scotland. He formally and became a member of his mother's church when aged 12. Shortly afterward he came across a copy of a magazine, belonging to his sister, entitled the Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, by Thomas, who knew Roberts' mother.
Robert Roberts began his Bible studies in earnest. After reading Thomas’ book Elpis Israel, with Bible in hand, he became convinced of its soundness, ceased attending chapel with his family, he was baptised in 1853 aged 14 as part of the "Baptised Believers". He developed a reading plan to facilitate his daily systematic reading of the Scriptures. A form of this plan was published as The Bible Companion and is still used by many Christadelphians today, he married Jane Norrie in Edinburgh on April 8, 1859. They had only three of whom survived into adulthood; when Robert Roberts was 17 he became shorthand writer for a modest paper, the Aberdeen Daily Telegraph, after which he worked as a casual reporter, once being called on to assist in reporting the speeches delivered at an investigation into the merits of the Suez Canal scheme, conducted by Aberdeen Town Council on the occasion of a visit by Ferdinand de Lesseps. He left Aberdeen for Edinburgh to work as a reporter on The Caledonian Mercury. Leaving Edinburgh 1858, he worked for The Examiner in Huddersfield briefly for the same employer in Dewsbury.
He accepted a travelling assignment as shorthand writer for the American phrenologists, Orson Squire Fowler and Samuel R. Wells, who were visiting Huddersfield as part of a lecturing tour, he returned to his job on the Huddersfield Examiner in July 1861. During his time at The Examiner he was appointed as the Huddersfield correspondent for the Leeds Mercury, the Halifax Courier, the Manchester Examiner. In the winter of 1863-64, Roberts moved to Birmingham, but failed in his attempt to set up a general reporting and advertising agency there. In 1864 he became a reporter for the Birmingham Daily Post as a result of a testimonial from John Bright MP. In July 1865, he became a shorthand writer for the Birmingham Bankruptcy Court, working there until 1870, when a change in the Bankruptcy Act of 1869 brought an end to his appointment. At the suggestion of Thomas, it was arranged that he should receive a salary for his editorship of The Christadelphian magazine, so his career as a reporter came to an end.
It was 1856. In 1858 he tried, but failed, to raise funds for travelling expenses to invite Thomas to visit England again. During the American Civil War Thomas had to suspend publication of The Herald of The Kingdom magazine, thus on October 8, 1861 Robert Roberts wrote to Thomas urging him to visit, which he did in 1862. Shorthand notes taken by Roberts during this visit formed the basis of Roberts' book Dr John Thomas: his life and work; some time after this visit, due in part to misunderstandings and misinformation, there was a short breach of friendly relations between the two men. Subsequently they enthusiastically supported each other’s work. Roberts collected subscriptions and organised the distribution of John Thomas’ exposition of the Book of Revelation, Eureka, in England, many of his other works. Roberts raised the money to fund what would be the last trip of Thomas to England in May 1869. Toward the end of this trip, March 1870, Thomas made Roberts custodian of all his affairs in the event of his death, which occurred sooner than anticipated in 1871.
Roberts died in 1898, was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, New York City, beside the grave of Thomas. In his early days Roberts endeavoured to organise preaching events wherever he went, his first serious attempt was in 1860, when he delivered a course of 8 public lectures in Senior’s School Room, East Parade, Huddersfield. The Huddersfield meeting took on Spring Street Academy, for Sunday meetings including public lectures; some Sunday afternoons he would give out-of-door addresses, either in St. George’s Square or the Market Place, Huddersfield, it was at Spring Street, in the winter of 1861, that Robert Roberts delivered a series of twelve Lectures on successive Sunday afternoons, systematically setting out Christadelphian beliefs. In 1864 after moving to Bi
Jesus in Christianity
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God and the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life; these teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make us right with God. Jesus' choice positions him in contrast to Adam's disobedience. Christians believe that Jesus was both divine -- the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, "true God and true man"—both divine and human. Jesus, having become human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead, he ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts. Christian views of Jesus are derived from various biblical sources from the canonical Gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline epistles. Christians predominantly hold that these works are true; those groups or denominations committed to what are considered biblically orthodox Christianity nearly all agree that Jesus: was born of a virgin was a human being, fully God did not sin was martyred and buried in a tomb rose from the dead on the third day ascended back to God the Father will return to Earth. Some groups considered within Christianity hold beliefs considered to unorthodox. For example, believers in monophysitism reject the idea that Christ was human and God at the same time. Others, such as the Latter-day Saints, consider Christ to be in possession of a physical body after his resurrection; the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus are his baptism, crucifixion and ascension.
These are bracketed by two other episodes: his nativity at the beginning and the sending of the Paraclete at the end. The gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus are presented in terms of specific categories involving his "works and words", e.g. his ministry and miracles. Christians not only attach theological significance to the works of Jesus, but to his name. Devotions to the name of Jesus go back to the earliest days of Christianity; these exist today both in Eastern and Western Christianity -- both Protestant. Christians predominantly profess that through Jesus' life and resurrection, he restored humanity's communion with God with the blood of the New Covenant, his death on a cross is understood as a redemptive sacrifice: the source of humanity's salvation and the atonement for sin which had entered human history through the sin of Adam. But who do you say that I am? Only Simon Peter answered him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God — Matthew 16:15-16 Jesus is mediator, but…the title means more that someone between God and man.
He is not just a third party between God and humanity…. As true God he brings God to mankind; as true man he brings mankind to God. Most Christians consider Jesus to be the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, as well as the one and only Son of God; the opening words in the Gospel of Mark, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God", provide Jesus with the two distinct attributions as Christ and as the Son of God. His divinity is again re-affirmed in Mark 1:11. Matthew 1:1 which begins by calling Jesus the Christ and in verse 16 explains it again with the affirmation: "Jesus, called Christ". In the Pauline epistles, the word "Christ" is so associated with Jesus that for the early Christians there was no need to claim that Jesus was Christ, for, considered accepted among them. Hence Paul could use the term Christos with no confusion about who it referred to, as in 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Romans 12:5 he could use expressions such as "in Christ" to refer to the followers of Jesus. In the New Testament, the title "Son of God" is applied to Jesus on many occasions.
It is used to refer to his divinity, from the beginning in the Annunciation up to the crucifixion. The declaration that Jesus is the Son of God is made by many individuals in the New Testament, on two separate occasions by God the Father as a voice from Heaven, is asserted by Jesus himself. In Christology, the concept that the Christ is the Logos has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed; this derives from the opening of the Gospel of John translated into English as: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God." In the original Greek, Logos is used for "Word," and in theological discourse, this is left in its English transliterated form, "Logos". The pre-existence of Christ refers to the doctrine of the personal existence of Christ before his conception. One of the relevant Bible passages is John 1:1-18 where, in the Trinitarian view, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word.
This doctrine is reiterated in John 17:5 when Jesus refers to the glory which he had with the Father "before the world was" during the Farewell discourse. John 17:24 refers to the Father loving Jesus "before the
Thomas Williams (Christadelphian)
Thomas Williams was a Welsh Christadelphian who emigrated to America in 1872, became editor of The Christadelphian Advocate magazine and author of The Great Salvation and The World's Redemption, reserving him a place alongside Christadelphian founders Dr. John Thomas and Robert Roberts; when his appeals to English brethren went unheeded, he became the most prominent of the brethren who avoided these divisive factions, became known as Unamended Christadelphians because they never adopted a particular amendment to the Christadelphian statement of faith. Williams was born on April 7 in Parkmill, near Swansea. Having apprenticed as a carpenter in Parkmill, he found work with a William Clement his father-in-law, a member of the Christadelphian Ecclesia in Mumbles, was immersed on Sunday January 15, 1868, he married Elizabeth Clement and the couple had eight children - Clement, Katherine, in Wales, Gershom, May and Bessie in America. In 1872 he moved from Wales to Riverside, Iowa where he worked as a carpenter and joined the local "ecclesia" of 12 members In March 1885 he commenced publication of The Christadelphian Advocate Magazine at Waterloo, Iowa.
In 1888 he met Robert Roberts in Wauconda and again in Lanesville, Virginia for the first time since leaving Wales. In 1891 Williams began to publish a second magazine, The Truth Gleaner aimed at non-Christadelphians, in 1892 relocated to Chicago. In 1893, in response to the expected visitors to Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition, Williams published 10,000 copies of the booklet The Great Salvation. By 1972 105,000 copies had been published. In 1905 J. G. Miller of Waterloo, Iowa translated the booklet as Die grosse Erlösung. Williams was active traveling throughout North America as a preacher and Christadelphian speaker; as was typical of religious speakers of the period Williams participated in lengthy public debates with other religious groups. In 1898 a controversy in London, England caused the Birmingham Central Ecclesia meeting at Temperance Hall to amend its statement of faith to include an extra bracketed sentence implying that God could and would raise at least some unbaptised believers at the resurrection.
Although 10 members had been "disfellowshipped" for not accepting this teaching in Sydney, Australia in 1883, some British ecclesias had similar amendments, the status of Birmingham as in the words of sociologist Bryan R. Wilson, primus inter pares, led to an escalation which saw many ecclesias without similar amendments being isolated in areas directly affected by the controversy such as London. See the history section of the article Christadelphians for background information. Following the death of Robert Roberts in 1898 the role of editor of The Christadelphian Magazine in Britain was taken by Charles Curwen Walker. From May to August 1900 Williams visited Britain, meeting Walker and Henry Sulley in Birmingham and John James Andrew, in London. Walker was reluctant to speak as any kind of "representative" of the British Christadelphians, but counseled Williams to support the amendment without regard for the peace of the original Christadelphian ecclesias in North America. From October 1903 to June 1904 Williams visited Britain again at the invitation of Albert Hall of the Sowerby Bridge ecclesia in Yorkshire. and of John Owler of the Barnsbury Hall, Islington ecclesia in London.
Hall and Owler had followed Andrew in the "resurrectional responsibility" controversy, although by 1903 Andrew himself would not fellowship with his previous supporters and been rebaptised in 1901. At a lecture in Leeds, which 40 visitors from those aligned with Birmingham Temperance Hall attended, Williams failed to state that God could and would raise some unbaptised, this was taken as supporting Andrew's teaching; however the next year Williams in print rejected Andrew's views as "extreme". Correspondence with Andrew continued till the latter's death in 1907; the result of the visit was a further distancing of the two sides. In 1906 Williams held a public lecture in Toronto against the "Hell-fire" teaching of R. A. Torrey which drew an audience of 4,000, was published as a booklet "Hell Torments". Notes of an earlier debate in 1888 with the atheist Charles Watts led to publication of "The Divinity of the Bible" in 1906. From June 1907 to August 1908 Williams made a third visit to England, leaving James Leask to run the magazine.
In Wales he persuaded four ecclesias which were in fellowship with the "Fraternal Visitor" magazine of J. J. Hadley to avoid the extremes which characterized their brethren, but this only resulted in a third group, rejected by both Birmingham Temperance Hall and Birmingham Suffolk St... The process of division was unstoppable, in November 1909 when Williams published an Unamended Statement of Faith, the old 1878 Birmingham Statement of Faith with 7 minor changes, the new statement became known as the "BUSF" and continued to be used by the Unamended Christadelphians. In 1911 Williams relocated both home and magazine from Chicago to Orlando, Florida In 1913 he made a fourth visit to Britain visiting Sowerby Bridge, Heckmondike and Huddersfield in Yorkshire arranged by Hall London for meetings arranged by Owler. Heading back by train from London to Mumbles he collapsed and died on December 8, aged 66. After William's death his role of editor passed to A. H. Zilmer a Lutheran pastor a Church of God Abrahamic Faith minister as a Christadelphian the associate editor of The Faith magazine, which he resigned on taking up William's position.
After two years he was replaced with John Owler, ment