From early childhood I attended our local Methodist Church, and became more involved as a teenager when I was accepted into membership.
After I married, we moved several times but always joined the local Methodist Church. That was, until we moved to Cornwall and visited the Bodmin Methodist Church. However after six weeks of attending, and no-one made any effort to speak to us, we became disillusioned and stopped attending.
Then the Christadelphians held a Bible Exhibition in the town. Although we didn’t attend the exhibition, two Christadelphian brothers visited the old people’s home where we lived and worked, to arrange for a group to sing hymns there. Afterwards they both came up to our flat and we talked well into the night. They discovered we were moving to Warwick to take up new positions, and arranged for someone to come and talk to us there.
During the following weeks we talked about Christadelphian beliefs, some of which I questioned, but some that made much more sense, as everything was backed up in the Bible, which they studied in depth.
It took some time for me to realize that I wanted to be part of their fellowship, and I was baptized into Christ on 1st April 1976. That was the best decision I have made in my life!
I was brought up in a Christadelphian household, and was taught in a Christadelphian Sunday School. But that doesn’t mean that you automatically become a Christadelphian when you grow up! Every Christadelphian’s faith is based on a personal reading of the Bible, and a confession based on an understanding of Bible teaching is expected of everyone who applies to be a member before they are baptized into Jesus Christ.
My father and his friend were keen attenders of the Church of Scotland, and often discussed religious matters together. But when they approached the minister to ask for answers to questions they had about the Bible and its teaching, they were fobbed off and told that such matters should be left to ministers and theological professors.
About this time they saw an advert in a newspaper advertising a set of Bible Reading charts, called “The Bible Companion”. Having sent off for copies, they found that, by using it, they could read the whole Bible within a year, the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. Living in Paisley, about 7 miles west of Glasgow, they began attending Christadelphian meetings in Motherwell, about a dozen miles to the east, and were eventually baptized.
I was a few days old when my parents had me christened, making me a member of the Church. They were churchgoers and Bible readers and always puzzled – “Why was Church teaching so different from Bible teaching?”
One Saturday, Dad was digging his garden when a canvasser came knocking, inviting people to a Bible meeting, but Dad was far too busy to go to his meeting. Mum had been twitching the curtain, willing Dad to get rid of the man and get on with the garden. But when she heard what the man had talked about, she insisted they call him back – she wanted to speak to him too!
They went to a few Bible meetings, but there it rested for four years. They carried on going to Church. Then at work, a remark from a sales rep. trying to sell him ball-bearings reminded Dad of those meetings. Both the door-to-door canvasser and the ball-bearings rep. were Christadelphians, and this time Dad decided to follow it up more thoroughly. He asked a lot of questions and got clear answers, always from the Bible. A few months later Mum and Dad were both baptized, and became Christadelphians.
Me? Well, my christening wasn’t Bible baptism, and it was up to me to decide whether I wanted to be baptized properly. I made that decision when I was 16, and I too was baptized into Christ – I became a Christadelphian.
“A Christa-what?”……I asked the only girl that had shown any interest in me after a whole first year at University.
“Christadelphian” came the response……so, trying to look interested, I asked “what’s that all about then?”
Having spent the first 21 years of my life not having any beliefs and having never read a bible, that question became the start of a different direction in my life. I had always felt I had a strong moral code of doing things that are right, being honest and putting others before yourself, but the journey I was about to take put life into perspective. It made sense of where we come from, what we are doing on earth, why we are like we are, and where we are going.
I was about to find out that the Bible was not just a collection of old stories, but it had a consistent message. An account of God’s creation of the world, his dealings with his chosen people in the Old Testament. It went on to show the impact that Jesus had on the world and how he overcame sin and gives an opportunity to everyone….even me, to be part of his family.
The main reason I followed up on my question “what’s that all about then?” was that Christadelphians read the Bible and believe only what is written in it. This was a surprise to me but by reading it for yourself it is clear that God wanted me and you to be part of his family.
I didn’t choose to be a Christadelphian, or have God in my life, God chose me….to be part of my life. I just needed to meet someone who could help me find my way to the real Gospel message. Christadelphians can help you find the real “Meaning of life”.