If you asked a Christadelphian what he or she believed, this is the type of answer you might receive: “My faith is not just a set of Bible doctrines which I believe in theory. It is a faith to be lived as I try to follow the Lord Jesus day by day, and try to be like him. My greatest desire is for the Lord Jesus to return to earth so that I might glorify God, with Jesus, in his everlasting, worldwide kingdom here on earth!”
1. The Bible
I believe the 66 books of the Bible are the word of God, all directly inspired by him. Through inspiration, God has given me a message without errors except where errors of translation or copying have occurred. My faith and beliefs are based entirely on the Bible.
Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
I believe there is only one God, the Father, who created all things. He is the eternal king, all wise and all powerful, everywhere present by his power, the Holy Spirit. God is righteous, just, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.
Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalms 103:8-10; 139:7-10; Isaiah 45:6,12; Luke 1:35; Acts 17:24-29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2:5; 6:15-16.
I believe the man Jesus of Nazareth is the only begotten son of God, born of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. He was sent by God to be the anointed king and “righteous one” predicted by the prophets and shown to be the Son of God by miracles performed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although sinless, he suffered and was crucified, yet did not decay but rose to everlasting life and ascended to heaven having been glorified and appointed judge of the living and the dead.
Luke 1:26-35; 3:23-38; Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-26; 17:31; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 2:5; 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15.
4. Sin and death
I believe sin is disobedience to God and it results in death. Death is a state of unconsciousness as a person turns to dust.
Only Jesus has obeyed God completely, making him the only acceptable person able to be a sacrifice for our sins. So, God raised him from the dead, and he became “the first fruits of those who have died,” giving me a wonderful hope of resurrection for the future, when Jesus returns.
Psalms 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; John 3:13; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15; Hebrews 4:14-15.
I believe God has selected particular people throughout history (such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Mary) and made promises to them. In this way God promised possession of the land of Israel and the coming of a special son and a blessing for all nations. This special son will rule on the throne of David for ever. These promises have only been fulfilled in part and are to be completely fulfilled in Jesus – the special son who was promised – when he returns.
Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Luke 1:30-33; Galatians 3:26-29.
I believe God chose the nation of Israel as his own because of his love for their ancestors (e.g. Abraham), and to provide a witness to humankind of His existence and how to be made right with Him. God gave them his law, prophets, promises and the land of Israel, and cared for and disciplined them through their history. Jesus was sent first to the nation of Israel which rejected him as prophesied, and in doing so rejected the salvation he offered.
Despite this, God has not rejected the nation of Israel. People from all nations may be part of God’s family and heirs of the promises, by being adopted as God’s children, through His mercy, which is offered to all who wish to turn to Him.
Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 2 Chronicles 36:15-16; Matthew 15:24; Acts 13:46; Romans 11:1-2, 25-27; Galatians 3:26-29.
7. What is offered to believers
I believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice on my behalf, so that my sins can be forgiven and I can be made right with God. By the grace of God in Jesus – salvation, resurrection and eternal life in God’s kingdom are offered as fulfilment of God’s promises to all people on earth who will believe.
Acts 4:12; 8:12; Romans 6:3-5; 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Ephesians 2:4-8; 5:2; Hebrews 10:12-14; 1 Peter 1:3-9.
8. Kingdom of God
I believe that Jesus will return to earth to raise the dead, both the just and unjust, who God views as responsible, and judge them. The wicked will perish, but those who have lived their lives for God will receive the blessing of eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
When Jesus returns he will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem and rule with righteousness, justice and peace. His kingdom will extend over the whole earth. Eventually all enemies, including suffering and death, will be destroyed. He will then hand over the kingdom to God who will be “all in all”.
2 Samuel 7:1-16; Isaiah 11:1-9; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:26,28; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Hebrews 2:14.
9. What is required of believers?
I believe God has commanded me to repent of my sins, to be baptised (by total immersion in water) in the name of Jesus. I am also asked to worship God sincerely and with all my heart, in faith and obedience to his commands.
We cannot earn our salvation because we are saved by God’s grace. But we are also told that: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and “that faith without works is dead”, so my gratitude and love for God will naturally be shown in the way I try to live.
Ecclesiastes 12:13; Mark 2:17; 6:12; 16:16; Romans 6:1-23; Philippians 1:27; James 1:19-27; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 1:13-25.
I believe I must constantly seek God’s help and forgiveness through prayer, and also offer thanksgiving and praise to Him. I try to read the Bible every day, in order to listen to God’s wisdom by the thoughtful reading of his word.
I meet as regularly as I can with other baptised believers, so we can encourage each other and share bread and wine in memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I must strive for unity and peace with all fellow disciples in the One True Faith.
Matthew 6:9-15; John 15:7-8; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-4; 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 10:24-25; Jude 1:3.
11. Fruit of the Spirit
I believe that God requires me to stop following sinful ways such as jealousy, pride, temper, sexual immorality, violence, drunkenness, gossipping, greed and materialism. Instead, I aim to show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 13:4-8; Galatians 5:19-25; Philippians 4:4; Colossians 3:5-14.
I believe that I must always tell the truth, and speak to others with courtesy and respect. In all I say, my aim is to help others to grow in the Lord – so I try never to gossip, blaspheme, or use foul language. I am always ready to explain my beliefs to anyone, as preaching is an essential part of my discipleship.
Matthew 12:36-37; Mark 16:15; Ephesians 4:29-31; 5:4; Colossians 3:8-9, 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:24-25; 1 Peter 3:15.
I believe marriage is a partnership between a man and a woman which is intended to provide loving companionship. Children are a heritage of the Lord and must be cherished and nurtured.
Husbands are to love their wives as Jesus has loved us, and wives are to love and submit to their husbands. Sexual relations outside marriage are forbidden. I believe I should marry a fellow believer, in order to walk and work together in fellowship.
In such a marriage it’s important that both partners are heading in the same direction, to provide maximum stability and love for family life. I believe marriage should be entered into for life – God hates divorce. When marriage does break down, compassion and support should be shown.
Genesis 2:18-24; Psalms 127:3; Malachi 2:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 7:39; Ephesians 5:22-23; Titus 2:4; Hebrews 13:4.
14. Dealing with people:
I believe that in all my dealings with people I must maintain godly conduct and show love to my neighbour. I must do all things as if doing them for the Lord, and serve others cheerfully without favouritism. I will be judged in the same way that I judge others, so showing mercy and understanding is very important.
Matthew 5:38-6:4; 7:1-5, 12; 22:34-40; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:23-24; James 2:1-13; 1 Peter 2:11-21.
I believe I must avoid loving money. Instead, I must be content and responsible with the money and possessions I have, and rely on God to provide for my needs. I must be generous, giving cheerfully and willingly to those in need.
Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians. 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:8-10, 17-19; Hebrews 13:5.
16. Law and violence:
I believe that I must obey the laws of the country in which I live, provided they do not contradict the commandments of God. I refuse to participate in politics, industrial action, violence or go to war. I consider myself a “stranger and pilgrim” on the earth. If others are violent towards me or seek to defraud me, I believe I should “turn the other cheek”.
Matthew 5:38-48; Acts 5:29; Romans 12:16-13:7; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Hebrews 11:13.
In summary, my aim is to be like Jesus, and to try to follow him throughout my life. I recognise that I may not live up to the ideals of my faith, outlined above. I realise my constant need for the mercy and forgiveness of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of my awareness of my need for God’s mercy, I know that I should not condemn others, but forgive them as I have also been forgiven, and try to show them the same love which the Lord has shown to me.
Based upon an extract from Rob Hyndman’s The Way of Life