Christadelphian Origins

The Latter-Day Revival of the Truth

The early 1800's witnessed a dramatic revival in the study of the Bible. This was stimulated by the formation in 1804 of The British and Foreign Bible Society which resulted in widespread renewal of Bible reading. A revivalist movement headed by Alexander Campbell, attracted thousands of people. They were organized into churches under the name of Campbellites, later changed to The Churches of Christ. Among those so drawn was an English medical man, Dr. John Thomas. A person of considerable ability, he was induced by Campbell to take a leading part in the movement. This forced Dr. Thomas to a close, personal study of the Bible. He began to publicly teach what he found expressed therein, but this brought him into wordy conflict with the leaders of the sect. He found that they were prepared to give lip-service to the Bible, but not to accept its true meaning. The opposition Dr. Thomas received forced him to study the Bible more closely, to make certain that his teaching was sound. This strengthened him in his belief, for he found overwhelming support for his teachings from the pages of the Scriptures.

Public debates made this even more apparent, and forced him to the conviction that current Christianity was not only not founded upon true Bible teaching, but that its very teaching destroyed the hope of salvation in those who embraced it. By now, however, those who once sought his aid refused him permission to teach.

The Christadelpian Community Established

Nevertheless, though the door of utterance was closed against him as far as the churches were concerned, Dr. Thomas continued to proclaim Bible truths by pen and voice, and gradually others were attracted to these teachings, recognizing their truth. However, the gospel, is an appeal to a person's intellect, and not merely to the emotions, so that the number of converts was comparatively small. Still the movement grew, and communities - often small, but fervent - became established in all parts of the world. They are known today as The Christadelphians.

Dr. Thomas was not divinely inspired to reveal a new teaching. He was a medical man, whose attention was drawn to the Bible, and who, by systematically studying it, was able to set before men the clear, simple principles of its teachings. The doctrines he taught had been proclaimed for centuries before him. All he did was to revive the Truth from the accumulation of false teaching that had submerged it since apostolic days.