Hope For Ex-Christadelphians
Leaving, or being excluded from the Christadelphians can be a traumatic experience. A wide range of emotions sweeps through the soul. These emotions can last for just a season, but often last a lifetime. Some who leave feel only relief, because they realize that they are free to pursue and do things they could not openly do while in the ecclesia. However, a greater number of people experience fear, sadness, anger, confusion, frustration, rejection or outright depression. This webpage is not here to persuade ex-Christadelphians to go back to their ecclesias. Our purpose is to give former Christadelphians hope and a means by which they can contact others, share their feelings, help those who left or were disfellowshiped by Christadelphians and are deeply hurting over it. .
Is There Life Outside of Christadelphia?
It's our belief that a person can leave Christadelphia without leaving God or Jesus. You can leave the Christadelphians without 'leaving the truth'. There is salvation outside of Christadelphia! Christadelphia does not own the Truth. God owns the Truth, and God is bigger than Christadelphia. One can be out of fellowship with his/her ecclesia, yet remain in fellowship with God, just as one can be outside of Christadelphia and still know the Truth. It's not the ecclesia that sets you free. It's the Truth that sets you free. And the Truth can be known by anyone, anywhere...not just in a Christadelphian ecclesia. A lot of former Christadelphians, especially those who came from conservative ecclesias, are unaware that disfellowship is only between you and your ecclesia. Other Christadelphians and Christadelphian ecclesias will fellowship you, even if your old ecclesia won't. This is what 'ecclesial autonomy' means.
I personally understand how difficult it is to go back to your ecclesia. Being a member of an ecclesia is much like a marriage. And when that marriage breaks up, it's difficult to mend the wounds. When the thought of going back enters your mind, your emotions may play havoc with your mind and your nerves. Doubts begin to form. "Should I really go back? Have things changed? Would they even be happy to see me again?" And all of these are valid questions. These are normal questions for anyone who has left and has thought about returning. However, the very fact that one has these questions shows that there is something lacking in typical Christadelphian thinking and practice. One should not fear returning to the ecclesia. One should not be embarrased to return. One should be longing to return to their brothers and sisters, even if they understandably don't long to return to a dysfunctional local situation.
Why is it that we have so much fear in Christadelphia? I believe it's because we put too much importance on the ecclesia, and not enough importance on the Person of Jesus Christ. We put the ecclesia up as the harbinger of fellowship or disfellowship, and forget that our fellowship is truly with the Father and the Son. It's when we truly understand grace that we can have peace with God. And this grace can be found outside of Christadelphia! I came to understand grace 13 years after my baptism. Perhaps you have found it since you left Christadelphia! But the fact remains: whether in Christadelphia or out of Christadelphia, you need God's grace. If anyone thinks that they are saved simply because they are a member in good standing in their ecclesia, then they don't really understand what salvation is. Salvation is a fact only when you have a relationship with God through His Son. Salvation is not a fact simply because you are a good Christadlephian, because the Bible says, "While we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us." It doesn't say, "While we were yet good Christadelphians." Salvation is when you reach out and accept God's gift of grace, which is a free gift! Salvation is not when you try to be saved by following Christadelphian traditions. A wonderful truth is that you can have a relationship with God through faith, and by grace, outside of Christadelphia. This is not to say that you can't have a relationship with God through faith, and by grace inside of Christadelphia.
Perhaps you have already found spiritual peace. We hope that you have. However, if you are still experiencing any fear, sadness, anger, confusion, resentment or depression over your having left Christadelphia, or having left Christadelphians, then we want you to know that there are options for you!
1) you can attempt to reconcile with your ecclesia. We know that this may not be an option for you.
2) you can join our online breaking of bread! It's held without fail every Tuesday. Go to onlinebb for more information.
3) we can attempt to put you in contact with other ex-Christadelphians who are seeking fellowship, but who are not ready or willing to go back. There are also some independent ecclesias out there that teach basic truth, but do so in an open, non-traditional way. Actually there are nowadays probably more grace-focused, Christ-centred ecclesias and brothers and sisters around than when you left Christadelphia- and they likely would be totally open to you if you were to come into contact with them. Admittedly they might not be located just where you are geographically- but that's where the internet is a great blessing! One can enjoy a level of fellowship and encouragement online. For all the dysfunction of Christadelphia, it's impossible to say that the most basic doctrines of Christadelphia aren't in fact Biblical and right. I believe they are. We probably can't change Christadelphia, but we can change ourselves, and we can still function as part of the body of Christ by reaching out to those other arms, legs, fingers and toes who are in the same position as yourself.
There is life outside of Christadelphia. Leaving Christadelphia was doubtless a part in your life story which God's grace is eager to use. We are here to listen to you and to fellowship with you.
With love in Jesus' grace and the hope of His Kingdom
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website at http://www.tacomaecclesia.net. There's another related article by Sister Bev Russell (Hurstville ecclesia, Australia): Christadelphians: Institution, Club Or Truth?