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SisKay

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Reply with quote  #31 

Errata

No one should doubt Brother Growcott’s intent in quoting from the pioneer brethren. Often he reprinted their complete works. On occasion, however, he would condense certain passages only for clarity and brevity. For example, in reprinting much of “My Days and My Ways” in The Berean, he removed certain personal items that were not necessarily germain to Brother Roberts’ development in the Truth.

 

Today, we endeavor to continue in a similar pattern of editing. Morover out of reverence for the Word, we typically will capitalize “Truth” and “Scriptures.” In the future, however, we will refrain from such edits in the works of Brethren Thomas and Roberts as we are now aware of this being offensive to some. We owe a great debt to the pioneer’s works and should keep these in tact inasmuch as is humanly possible.

 

Recently our attention has been directed to the misattribution of two articles in past Bereans. For these we appologize on behalf of the late editors. We are certain this action was unintential. Today, both computor programs and archiving of the standard works of the Truth make proofing against originals much easier and effective. Such was not the case years ago.

One article in question is on “Fellowship.” Originally appearing in Brother Thomas’ Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come. It was incorrectly attributed to the Doctor when, in fact, the author was Brother Albert Anderson. One other case of misattribution is an article on “A True Christadelphian Ecclesia,” also from The Herald. This piece was incorrectly attributed to Brother Roberts, when it was, in fact, authored by Brother Lemuel Edwards. The writings of Brethren Anderson and Edwards reveal the Truth as taught by Brother Thomas, and so it is quite understandable how such an innocent mistake could be made.

Bro. Fred J. Higham – The Berean Christadelphian Ecclesial News – May 2009


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JimPhillips

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Reply with quote  #32 

Case # 2

The last entry in my booklet, The Doctrine of Fellowship, was what is typically called a "filler,"  meaning a very small excerpt from another article placed on the page to take up blank space between articles.  It was briefly named "Fellowship," apparently by bro. George Gibson.  I say apparently, because fillers have a way of migrating from one publication to another.  Who knows exactly where this first came from. 

It is not unusual for editors to take great leeway in the use of fillers.  They are more observation and editorial opinion, than serious study.  I would presume most people know that.  The excerpt I used was from the 1953 Berean, a time of immense turmoil, as any student of Christadelphian history can imagine. 

The excerpt is made up of two separate quotes, one from an 1885 Christadelphian, the second from an 1887 Christadelphian. Bro. Genusa complains:

"That's two years after the first sentence appeared in print:"

Yes, well, that is true.  I'm not aware that anyone has ever suggested any change in bro. Roberts position on fellowship, so that the "two years," especially the two years from 1885 through 1887, would be relevant to this discussion.  These are the years of the "Partial Inspiration" division, and I have set out a month by month history of those events, called an "Anatomy of a Division," found on this page, showing how fellowship was practiced at that time in relation to that division.  It is very easy to see during this trying time, that the fellowship practice of the pioneer Christadelphians, was identical to that practiced by the Bereans today. 

Now, in 1953 bro. George Gibson of Toronto, Canada was the editor of the Berean Magazine.  Bro. Gibson now rests from his labors, so there is no way we can ask him his motive in the matter.  I never knew him, (though I was told on one occasion that I did meet him--I have no memory of it) so I have no idea one way or the other.  Bro. Genusa, though, apparently does understand his motive, for he writes:

"If anyone else engaged in this kind of editing they'd probably be accused of being dishonest and their book tossed in the trash for its untrustworthiness. My purpose is not to pass that kind of judgment but to warn readers that indeed, this book cannot be trusted. Loose fellowship and loose editing are both wrong."

Of course bro. Genusa's motive is to pass judgment!  Of course his motive is to have the book "tossed in the trash for its untrustworthiness."   Why else bring up such minutia, if not to try and attack the foundation of the booklet itself?  If the complaint was truly sincere, bro. Genusa would be showing us how the sentence above was contradicted by other writings from the pioneer brethren in the Christadelphian, or in their other writings.  He would be showing us all the places where bro. Roberts argued that the letters to the seven ecclesias show nothing about being careful in regards to fellowship.  Or he would show us all the places where bro. Roberts wrote the things that bro. Genusa defends, such as where bro. Roberts wrote that the faithful in Thyatira fellowshipped with the Jezebels there, or that the faithful Philadelphia ecclesia fellowshipped Thyatira, in spite of the woman Jezebel existing in fellowship there; and then he could show us that it is not wrong for us to remain in fellowship with ecclesias who defend the modern Jezebels and Balaams.  Then such a complaint would be substantive. 

But I'm sure by now, bro. Genusa has gleaned the pages of the pioneer's writings for any hint of support, and knows that his ideas are never to be found there.  In fact, what is written contradicts the very foundations he puts forth.  Unable to find any of the things that would matter to this discussion, bro. Genusa falls back on minutia for his complaints. 

This complaint is characteristic of the minutia bro. Genusa is using to distract brethren from the true issues relevant to fellowship.  He feigns great indignation about the blending of quotes, and marvels that such an error has not been corrected etc.  I'd guess the reason that there has been no correction, is that no previous critic complained, before.  And I'd guess that the reason no previous critic ever expressed concerned before, was that they no doubt feared that complaining about a filler would make them appear petty.  And they further knew that drawing more attention to this subject would only expose the fact that there is a lot of support for both of these quotes in the writings of the pioneers, while there is not a single reference they can claim for support for their ideas.  

The first section of the filler reads thus:

"Consider the messages to the seven ecclesias of Asia Minor, and we shall find that it is particularly important that we shall be careful in regard to matters of fellowship."

Lets look first at the minutia.  Bro. Genusa says it is clear that this is from bro. Macdougall, and not bro. Roberts.  While I agree that this is probably the case, I don't agree that the matter is clear at all.  Bro. Genusa says, "notice the double quotes all the way through."  Well, the double quotes become muddled in the last paragraph.  It is unclear that that paragraph begins with double quotes, so unclear that the typist for the Libronix series begins that paragraph with a single quote.  Further, there is no closed quote on the paragraph to indicate where the quote from bro. Macdougal stopped.  Bro. Roberts is the author of the article, so bro. Gibson could have thought the quotation was over somewhere prior to the final statement of the final paragraph. 

That whole final paragraph is unique.  We have bro. Roberts quoting bro. Macdougall, who says he is quoting bro. Roberts.  And there are no closed quotation marks to indicate the start and stop of bro. Roberts' quotation.  So another possibility is  that bro. Gibson thought the whole third paragraph came from bro. Macdougall  quoting bro. Roberts.  It is also possible that bro. Gibson felt entirely justified in attributing this quote to bro. Roberts, simply because he was the ultimate author of the article, and felt he had such liberty, since what he was producing was a simple filler. As I said, he is no longer with us, so we can't ask him.  But there clearly are other possibilities here beside the one chosen by bro. Genusa, ie. that bro. Gibson was intentionally dishonest.

But any complaint that bro. Roberts would somehow object to this quote, is rendered simply silly, due to the fact that it is bro. Roberts' article, and he is quoting bro. Macdougall.  If he objected in any way, he certainly could have controlled the destiny of this quote.  Now, bro. Genusa does not, for obvious reasons as we shall see, go into whether or not the quote fairly represents the position of bro. Roberts, but I will.  Because this is where the challenge stands or falls.  This is where we determine whether bro. Genusa's complaint is legitimate or simply a distraction from the true issue through minutia.  Does or does not bro. Roberts teach that the letters to the seven ecclesias teach us the importance in maintaining the doctrine of fellowship?  That is the question which we should be discussing.

To set bro. Genusa's position clearly before us, here is a correspondence he and I once engaged in, when I answered twelve questions he had offered.  This was question 6:

Bro. Genusa"  6.  "Did the Lord Jesus Christ advise the faithful brethren of any of the seven ecclesias of the Apocalypse — a minority in most of those ecclesias — to "start a new Fellowship"?"

Jim Phillips: A:  Same answer as number five.  Of course he did. 

Rev 2:14-16 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Here Jesus is telling the ecclesia at Pergamos that they have in their midst those who teach the error of Balaam.  They also have in their midst those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  Jesus tells them that because these false believers were in their midst, that he had somewhat against them.  The Nicolaitans were a Christian "fellowship" which was kept distinct from the believers in their "fellowship" in Ephesus, but included in their "fellowship" in Pergamos.  Those in Pergamos were told this was wrong.  They couldn't walk in darkness, and have fellowship with Christ  Therefore they were commanded to "repent" which means go back and change!  If they didn't change, Jesus warned them that their lampstand was going to be removed.  It is hard to see how this could be any plainer. 

Those ecclesias who refused the Nicolaitan "fellowship" and the Synagogue of the Satan "fellowship" such as Ephesus and Smyrna were commended.  Those who welcomed the Nicolaitan "fellowship," the Synagogue of the Satan "fellowship, " the Balaam "fellowship," and the Jezebel "fellowship" were condemned.

Response: The command was to 'repent'. It was not to GO OUT of the community and start a new Fellowship -- it was not to forsake the assembling of brethren as the manner of some was (who were condemned for doing so) -- and start a new Fellowship. So brother Phillips answer is no answer but a conflation of truth and error. He starts with one principle, withdrawal, and substitutes others radically different in its place, excommunication and a new fellowship.

Jim says there were "the Nicolaitan 'fellowship'", "the Synagogue of the Satan 'fellowship'", "the Balaam 'fellowship'", and "the Jezebel "'fellowship'". The suggestion is that, "see there were already all these Fellowships". In fact there was only one Christian fellowship and all the faithful persons in those ecclesias were in fellowship with one another. We do not read of any commendation of the Apollos Fellowship or the Pauline Fellowship. There were no rival Fellowships as have been established following the deaths of John Thomas and Robert Roberts.

So what does bro. Thomas say about this same subject?  Were the saints in Thyatira meeting in fellowship with the Jezebel class at Thyatira?

Eureka I:  328  "Paul’s anxiety was that the Corinthian brethren should ‘not have fellowship with demons,’ or deified imaginary ghosts, called ‘immortal souls.’ These demons had a table and a cup, as well as the Lord; and Paul taught that they could not partake of both without sin. The same demons have a table and a cup now, modified, however, in this, that bread cut up into pieces, emblematic of the divisions of antichristendom, is substituted for meats offered to the demons. The table spread by the clergy, and called by them ‘the sacrament,’ is the modern table of the demons. It is the table of those who believe in deified immortal souls, who are the gods of the clerical system. It is Jezebel’s table, at which a saint cannot eat without having fellowship with the demons she funeralizes to glory, which is sin. Her churches are a synagogue of unbaptized ‘miserable sinners,’ as they proclaim themselves to be in their prayers, and consequently, her table cannot be the Lord’s, for his teaching has no place for such there—the miserable patrons of demons belong to Jezebel, not to the spouse of Christ."

So no, a saint in Thyatira could not eat at Jezebel's table.  It was impossible.  Bro. Genusa denies that the names Jezebel and Balaam were titles the Spirit gave the apostate Christian "fellowships" who were distinct and separate from the true ecclesia.  He claims there was only one Christian fellowship.  Bro Thomas says:

 Eureka I:  270   "The name Christians comprehended all the adherents of Balaam and Jezebel, whether Ebionites, Gnostics or by whatever name or denomination of heresy, they might be known. The 'real christians' had NO FELLOWSHIP WITH SUCH; though among them, as in Pergamos, the poison of the serpent might be detected. The ecclesia and the synagogue of the Satan were institutions as distinct as they are now; for in the nineteenth century a true believer of the gospel of the kingdom is against all who have not obeyed the same, yet a congregation of 'real christians' may have in it some who are not true, as at Pergamos; these WILL SOONER OR LATER SHOW THEMSELVES, for their sympathies are fleshly, and they become impatient of principles which they regard as harsh, uncharitable, and severe."

So it is clear that bro. Thomas and bro. Genusa do not agree.  To bro. Genusa, there was only one Christian fellowship.  To bro. Thomas, there were many Christian denominations, which we know historically to be true.  They were Ebionites, Gnostics, etc.  But the Spirit renamed them more appropriately, Jezebel and Balaam.  Those groups which maintained the truth in its purity, distinct from these false Christians were called by the Spirit, Antipas.

Now we have demonstrated that bro. Thomas would have been in harmony with the quote as it appeared and was used in "The Doctrine of Fellowship."  How about bro. Roberts, for it was to him that it was attributed.  The following two quotes show his mind clearly on the matter, as to whether the letters to the seven ecclesias demanded clear fellowship action and separation from error, or whether they meant something else.

The obligations are often far from agreeable, and they are always opposed to a man’s temporal interests. What then? If we would please Christ, we have no choice: and if we please not Christ, we can have no object in hampering ourselves with its obligations at all. Christ’s last communication to his friends reveals his mind in the matter in a manner that precludes misconception. His messages to the seven Asiatic ecclesias through John, in Patmos, almost all of them insist in some form or other on the duty of scrupulosity with regard to error and errorists. Ephesus was commended because "thou canst not bear them that are evil and hast tried them that say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars." "Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes." To Smyrna: "I know the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie." Pergamos was found fault with, because "Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. . . . So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes." Thyatira was found fault with because "Thou sufferest that woman, Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants." So the others were found fault with for laxity and lukewarmness.

Error changes its form from age to age, but the dutiful attitude remains the same—the duty of individual repudiation and non-toleration in fellowship. We may not in the 19th century have those particular questions to trouble us that agitated the first; but we have the same duty to perform towards the errors that may belong to our time. It is a distasteful duty and in every way an inconvenient one. For this reason, many with whom the apprehension of divine obligations may be weak, or susceptibility to human considerations may be strong, are liable to swerve and sacrifice truth and duty to friendship. Their amiability may lead us to sympathise with them in a sentimental sense: but their attitude is none the less of practical unfaithfulness, and to be sorrowfully refused (on their account), by true friends of Christ.  Bro. Roberts, Chdn. 1890, 65-66.

And again:

Men obtained admission into the community of the believers in the apostolic age who did not possess or ever acquire the characteristics of that community. Jude refers to them as “men crept in unawares.” Paul speaks of them with tears, as “many” who were in reality the enemies of the cross of Christ, and who minded earthly things. Peter describes them as “false teachers, whose pernicious ways many should follow, and by reason of whom the way of truth should be evil spoken of.” Jesus had foretold the same thing in likening the kingdom of heaven in its doctrinal operations, to a net let down into the sea, into which all manner of fish would come, good and bad. The conclusion to be deducted from this is that it is necessary to exercise discrimination with regard to men called brethren whose influence and teaching are in opposition to the mind of the Spirit as embodied in the word. There will always be such: we must try every one, yea, ourselves also, by the one standard Jesus commended the brethren in the seven ecclesias addressed for this very thing: The very first words of the entire series of messages are: “I know thy works and thy labour, thy patience and how thou canst not bear them that are evil and thou hast tried them that say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars.” On the other hand, we find him condemning the carelessness and indifference of some ecclesias who tolerated wrong teaching in their midst. Thus to Pergamos, he says, “I have a few thing against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. . . . So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.” To Thyatira, he says, “I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which called herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants,” &c. The tendency of such teaching is manifestly in palpable contradiction to the spirit of the present age, which inculcates a “charity” that would sacrifice the truth to peace and love. There can be no peace or love acceptable to God that is not based upon that wisdom which as James says, is “first pure, then peaceable.” The truth, in faith and practice, is the rule of fellowship and peace with every son of God. He will be considered bigoted and uncharitable; but what matters the unfavourable opinion of men if the Lord Jesus approve at his coming? “We must contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” So says an apostle, and he is a higher authority than the uninspired thinkers and speculators of an easy-going age It but requires to be added that this faithful contention in the heads of true men will not degenerate into cantankerousness or bitterness: in the hands of such, it will be done in the true spirit of kindness and forbearance, anxious only for the ascendancy of the truth as Paul prescribes: “The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instruct those that oppose themselves.”   Chdn. 1880, :65-66
 Is it not clear from the above, that bro. Roberts belief was the same as quoted in the article in question?  Bro. Roberts believed that there were important lessons pertaining to fellowship that could be learned from the letters to the seven ecclesias of Asia Minor.  That lesson was that Christ commended the ecclesias who maintained the purity of the faith, and condemned those that did not, through those letters.  So, one might reasonably ask, where is the dishonesty in what bro. Gibson did? 

(Case 2 to be continued, though probably not till next week.)
JimPhillips

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Reply with quote  #33 

The second half of the quote comes from an Ecclesial Report from Birmingham and written by bro. Roberts.  It is a few sentences from the start of a report defending the use of the ecclesia's basis of fellowship.  In the quote that appears in my booklet, there is a word, "basis" dropped in the first sentence.  Here are the two sentences:

My Booklet:: A loose fellowship is convenient, and easily becomes popular with inexperienced believers or obtuse believers of long standing. It is agreeable to human feelings, but it is out of harmony with the apostolic standard which demands “the whole counsel of God” and “the unity of the faith.”

The loose basis admits of a large co-operation with men and a little more of the friendship of this world than is possible with those who accept the strangership-with-God which the truth always brings with it where it is earnestly and fully received.

The Original:  A loose basis of fellowship is convenient, and easily becomes popular with inexperienced believers or obtuse believers of long standing. It is agreeable to human feeling, but it is out of harmony with the apostolic standard which demands “the whole counsel of God” and “the unity of the faith.”  The loose basis admits of a large co-operation with men and a little more of the friendship of this world than is possible with those who accept the strangership-with-God which the truth always brings with it where it is earnestly and fully received.

The change of "a loose basis of fellowship" to a "loose fellowship" is something thought to be quite telling.  It s said to change the focus from the statement of faith a Fellowship may use, to the Fellowship institution itself.  Bro. Genusa makes this charge against the editors of the Berean, without making any effort to substantiate his claim, or explain to us why this would be relevant.  But there are far more likely scenarios.

The first rule of textual criticism is that in faithful copying, it is far more likely to omit a word than to add a word.  There was no such thing as "cut and paste" in 1953, and it was far easier and more understandable for simple mistakes to occur, when reading from faded magazines and retyping the material for "set up."

Another reason words in a filler are dropped is for space requirements.  While this does not appear to be the issue if bro. Gibson was the creator of this filler, it cannot be said with certainty where this filler came from.  Perhaps the publication he got it from had made the change, simply to make the filler fit the space.  We simply don't know, but the point is that there are many other possibilities besides the one bro. Genusa has chosen, ie. that bro. Gibson was intentionally dishonest.

If the case is as bro. Genusa said, and the effort is a dishonest attempt to alter bro. Roberts' intent, then we should marvel more at the Berean editor's ineptness, than at his dishonesty.  It would be down right foolish to drop the reference to the Statement of Faith in the first paragraph, yet allow it in the second, if the intent is truly to deceive.  Further, the entire sentence occurs in its completed form, in the Berean Magazine and in "The Doctrine of Fellowship" on page 45.  So if this is the great conspiracy to deceive as bro. Genusa alleges, it was certainly a poor one.

But is there any basis whatsoever, for the charge bro. Genusa suggests?  The second paragraph of the above condemns both the loose basis of fellowship, and the loose fellowship that evolves from it.  Bro. Roberts' point is that if you establish a loose basis of fellowship, then you will have more cooperation with men, and a closer association with the world, than the truth allows.  So both the loose basis, and the loose fellowship arising from such a basis is condemned by bro. Roberts.  So how can this support bro. Genusa's point?

Bro. Genusa concludes: 

And by combining the two quotes and pasting "By bro. Robert Roberts" on top, the Berean editors have attempted to dismiss any questions over fellowship practices at the end of the apostolic era and the Spirit-provided instructions those ecclesias received which bear no resemblance whatsoever to Berean practices.

    Lets put this quote in the context of 1953, and see if bro. Genusa's objection comes from anywhere other than his own fertile imagination.  I contend that the suggestion bro. Genusa is making is a conclusion derived from his own revisionist history.  It has no basis in reality.  There was no reason for bro. Gibson to defend the Berean Fellowship position, because IT WAS NOT UNDER ATTACK IN 1953.  The idea that it was acceptable to tolerate error in fellowship doesn't come into Central till the next round of reunions, with Suffolk Street and Shield.  In fact, in the years leading up to the Central Reunion (Berean Division) of 1952, Central Fellowship was going out of their way to show the Berean brethren that they agreed with the Berean position on fellowship, and had been practicing it.

In 1923, the Bereans had withdrawn fellowship from Temperance Hall, Birmingham, and the ecclesias associated with them,  over the Constabulary issue, at Temperance Hall, Birmingham; and the "Clean Flesh" teachings of A. D. Strickler of Buffalo, N.Y.  The ecclesias that withdrew reorganized themselves, and began to fellowship together, excluding those who affirmed or tolerated the actions of Birmingham, and Buffalo.  The reorganized ecclesias became known as the Bereans, and in harmony with apostolic command, and the consistent practice of the Pioneer brethren, they went out from the error and remained completely separate and distinct from those with whom they had to withdraw.

In 1938, A. D. Strickler died.  In 1939, John Carter, editor of the Christadelphian, which was by then the mouth piece of the former Birmingham, Temperance Hall ecclesia, which had moved to Central, and was now referred to as Birmingham, Central, published an obituary in the Christadelphian which was rather unique.  It was in effect an a post mortem withdrawal.  I don't think there is any thing which compares to this in Christadelphian history.  The obituary reads thus:

A brief word of comment may perhaps be made. As all know, brother A. D. Strickler’s writings have been the cause of much strife, contention, and of division in the Brotherhood. It is a matter of great regret that the labours of the closing years of one so long associated with the Truth and so beloved by his companions should have produced these results. But such being the case a reference to the position of The Christadelphian in relation to the teaching, or the reputed teaching, of our deceased brother seems to be timely. In 1921 when Out of Darkness into Light was published, brother C. C. Walker pointed out that the pamphlet challenged some of the statements in the pamphlets The Slain Lamb and The Blood of Christ, while he recognised the ambiguity of the language used, and the contradictions in the pamphlet itself. We know one brother who read carefully Out of Darkness, and marked in red all statements setting out one view, and in blue all the contradictory ones. It was not to be wondered at that difference of opinion followed, some condemning the writer, and others justifying him. Brother Walker said, “We repudiate the doctrines” (which brother Strickler had set out in opposition to the pamphlets named.)
Then in 1923 certain statements drawn up by Canadian brethren and signed by brother Strickler, appeared to justify the judgment of brother Roberts quoted in The Christadelphian, 1923, page 327, that brother Strickler was “Fundamentally sound, but very crotchetty.” Three references appear in The Christadelphian for 1923, when the correspondence was closed. But many were not satisfied and some ecclesias separated because of the views attributed to brother Strickler, although he complained that he was misunderstood.
A criticism by brother Strickler of a pamphlet published by this Office led to a correspondence for about eighteen months, now terminated by his death. This, with original letters and copies of letters which have passed through our hands written to other brethren (brother Strickler was an indefatigable and voluminous letter writer) led us to the conclusion that at the end of his life he did not accept without reserve some of the clauses in The Statement of Faith concerning the nature of man and the sacrifice of Christ. The republication of a Synopsis on “The Nature of Man and the Sacrifice of Christ,” by brother Roberts, in December, 1937, and Editorials in 1938, indicate the attitude of this Magazine on the doctrines in dispute. Our object is to maintain the teaching of The Statement of Faith, in opposition to the doubts on these subjects which have been put forward.
No longer taking part in contentions and wordy strifes, brother Strickler now sleeps, where the weary find unbroken rest until the coming of the Lord. He will judge us all, and the judgment of our sleeping brother we may all leave with him. But men pass, as we in turn shall pass in the continued absence of the Lord; yet the responsibility for upholding the Truth with its saving power remains, a duty devolving upon those who are privileged to know it.
The attitude of The Christadelphian we have declared. We believe it is the position of those who are separated from us. We pen these words, not to cause pain to those who loved brother Strickler, but as a possible contribution to healing a breach in which far greater numbers are involved.—Ed.
The Christadelphian : Volume 76 Bd. 76. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1939, S. 76:83-84

Note bro. Carter's synopsis.  No condemnation of the Bereans for separating.  No argument that it was wrong for the withdrawing brethren to have organized themselves into a body of believers.  Simply a matter of fact approach to the subject.  Some brethren judged bro. Strickler to be confused.  Others believed him to be an errorist.  Those who believe he was an errorist withdrew.  Whatever the real matter, God will judge.  And for the record, at the end of bro. Strickler's life the Christadelphian Magazine also considered him an errorist.  And bro. Carter wished to be clear that at all times, the Christadelphian Magazine agreed with the doctrinal position of those who withdrew from Central Fellowship over bro. Strickler's teaching. 

Now, if bro. Genusa's history is correct, why do we not see bro. Carter bringing up the concept that the Bereans were Hireling.  That they had been wrong to form a new fellowship.  That the wheat had to grow with the tares.  Where is the council to the Bereans that Philadelphia fellowshipped Thyatira?  We find none of that.  Just a calm and factual, one might say sympathetic explanation of Christadelphian history.

Bro. Carter follows this with an article called "A Time to Heal."   This article sets the tone for the Berean Division (Central Reunion) of 1952.  Many Berean ecclesias at that time, were convinced to begin fellowshipping the ecclesias associated with Birmingham, Central, thereby leaving association with the Berean ecclesias.

Now, remember that bro. Genusa claims that the Berean practice of forming an independent fellowship away from the body, which he perceives to be Central Fellowship, is a great error.  Please read the following appeal, with the associated articles and notice that this subject, which bro. Genusa imagines played such an important role that bro. Gibson would dishonestly change bro. Roberts words to defend this point, finds no place whatsoever in Central's reunion efforts.  The article is long, and much of it not relevant, but since bro. Genusa finds so much fault where none is intended, we will reproduce the entire article.

A Time to Heal
Careful readers of The Christadelphian from December, 1937, onwards will have noticed that there has been a certain emphasis on the Bible teaching concerning the Nature of Man and the Sacrifice of Christ. These are subjects upon which much dispute has arisen in the past—particularly during the early seventies, and at one or two periods later.
Some ecclesias in the U.S.A. for some years have been separated from the ecclesias represented by The Christadelphian because of doubts about the teaching of a brother now deceased, and of the attitude of ecclesias to the question of fellowship. The publication of the recent articles on the disputed subject has awakened hopes of a possible reunion of the ecclesias divided on this matter, and already some reunion has been effected. The Petersham ecclesia (Australia) asked the Arranging Brethren of Birmingham Central ecclesia whether they endorsed the statements published in The Christadelphian concerning both doctrine and fellowship. They at once replied that in their considered judgment the article in The Christadelphian, May, 1940, pages 228–230 set forth the truth in regard to doctrine and fellowship. [The article in question was actually May, 1939, pages 228 thru 230, which I have included below.--JP]  With this assurance the Petersham ecclesia resumed fellowship.
The Los Angeles ecclesia sent out an appeal (in March, 1940) that in view of the articles published in The Christadelphian, ecclesias in America should heal the wounds of division where no grounds for it existed. They circularised the ecclesias in the U.S.A. and Canada quoting the articles in recent issues showing that the barriers to fellowship were now removed, and urging that steps be taken to close up the breaches.
The response to this effort of the Los Angeles brethren has led them to send out a second appeal. In it they indicate the nature of the responses, the desire on the part of most for reunion, and the doubts, sincerely held, in the minds of some whether the right conditions exist for reunion.
This appeal is fourfold in form:
     1.     To ecclesias who separated from us in 1923, it is wisely pointed out that it would be profitless to engage in discussions on what a deceased brother may have believed and to demand a statement declaring his teaching to be erroneous, especially when some are not sure what the brother taught, but are quite clear what they themselves believe and are in absolute agreement with the Birmingham Statement of Faith. It urges that if there is doubt about the position of a neighbouring ecclesia they should ask if the statements put forward in the second portion of this appeal are approved.
     2.     The second portion is addressed to ecclesias who have remained in fellowship with Birmingham Central ecclesia throughout the controversy. It sets out in four items the doctrines to which objection was taken in 1923:
1.     That the nature of Christ was not exactly like ours.
2.     That the offering of Christ was not for himself, and that Christ never made any offering for himself.
3.     That Christ’s offering was for personal sins or moral impurity only. That our sins laid on Christ made him unclean and accursed of God, and that it was from this curse and this uncleanness that Christ needed cleansing.
4.     That Christ died as a substitute; i.e., that he was punished for the transgressions of others and that he became a bearer of sin by suffering the punishment due for sins.
In six items the truth is set forth:
1.     That death came into the world extraneously to the nature bestowed upon Adam in Eden, and was not inherent in him before sentence.
2.     That the sentence defiled him (Adam) and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity.
3.     That the word “sin” is used in two principal acceptations in the scriptures. It signifies in the first place “the transgression of law”, and in the next it represents that physical principle of the animal nature which is the cause of all its diseases, death and resolution to dust.
4.     That Jesus possessed our nature, which was a defiled, condemned nature.
5.     That it was therefore necessary that Jesus should offer for himself for the purging of his own nature, first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption for himself, he might be able afterward to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by him.
6.     That the doctrine of substitution, i.e., that a righteous man can, by suffering the penalty due to the sinner, free the sinner from the penalty of his sin, is foreign to scripture and is a dogma of heathen mythology.
The ecclesias addressed in this portion are asked to state their assent to these statements of truth and to give assurance to ecclesias now separated, and to help reunion.
3.     The third portion is addressed to the Birmingham Central Ecclesia. The soundness of this ecclesia is recognised and it is asked to give a clear cut statement that fellowship is only recognised when the truth is held. The readiness to give the assurance when asked by Petersham is approved, and it is urged that fifty ecclesias are now involved, and that to publish a repudiation of the four erroneous statements and an endorsement of the six positive statements of truth, would give immeasureable help to reunion.
4.     The fourth portion is addressed to the Editor of The Christadelphian. It expresses appreciation of the articles on the controverted subjects which have been published, and asks support in the appeal made for reunion.
We desire to help. In making a further effort, we would like first to try to clarify the position on the doctrines set out. Objections have sometimes been raised that the Statement of Faith is man-made. It is man-made, but how otherwise could we have a statement of what we believe to be the teaching of the Bible? It is because there are great differences among people who acknowledge the authority of the Bible that a definition of what we believe it to teach is essential. Every lecture is, in a way, a statement and demonstration of our belief as to what the Bible teaches. It does not consist of nothing but the words of Scripture, but of propositions attested by citations of Scripture. A statement in the words of Scripture could be accepted by every professing Christian who reserved the right to attach his meaning to them. The objection that it is man-made is not a good one.
It might be objected by some that the Statement has ambiguities, or that it might be expressed more clearly in other language. We agree that it has the limitations of human expression, but we believe it to be an honest and capable attempt to set out the essential truths of Bible teaching. The author’s meaning is well known and is illustrated in many articles and in books in active circulation to-day. A sympathetic supporter of truth will say, “We know what is meant and we agree with that”. As an example of such slight ambiguity, item 2 of the true teaching of the Scriptures, which is from the Statement of Faith, if rigidly construed, says “the sentence” was transmitted to all Adam’s posterity. The writer’s meaning is well known to be that the defilement which followed man’s sin, which came as the result of God’s sentence and which also became a physical law of man’s being, was transmitted to all his posterity. Any such form of words will make some small demand on the goodwill of the reader.
The need for definition is seen from certain terms which have been the cause of much strife of words. One of these is the word “mortal”. As a simple opposite of the word “immortal”, we are logically compelled to say that since Adam when made was not immortal, he must have been mortal. But then we have at once to define what we mean by mortal. If we say “capable of dying” it must be admitted that Adam was such. But if we say “subject to death”, then it must be denied that Adam was in that state when made. Hence the necessity that terms be clearly defined, and if ambiguous, avoided when an effort is made to set out controverted truth. The matter might be illustrated by the word “perfect”. If a thing is not perfect it must be imperfect; but the want of perfection may be due to some marring element, or merely to the fact of being unfinished, which is expressed in Scripture by the word “unperfect”. There is the imperfection of flaw and the imperfection of incompleteness.
Some have objected to having one form of words imposed: we have heard objections to the Birmingham Statement being used by other ecclesias. Wise men will not insist about the use of one particular form of words if the same thing is meant. On the other hand, when a particular form of words has come to be recognised and accepted as stating certain truths, wise men will not create doubt or risk misunderstanding by insisting on the liberty of saying the same thing in words of their own choosing, particularly when grave issues are involved.
We willingly declare again our attitude as Editor of The Christadelphian, in the hope of helping forward the present effort for reunion. We believe the Statement of Faith to be the best compiled to set out the teaching of the Scriptures. We accept it without reservation and believe it sets forth the minimum that should be believed as a basis of fellowship. As concerning The Christadelphian and fellowship, we have declared that we do not knowingly publish Intelligence from ecclesias who do not accept the teaching set out in the Statement of Faith. We believe that if a man or woman changes their belief it is the honourable course to say so, and resign from fellowship. It is not less so when ecclesias do not subscribe to the doctrines which are commonly believed among us, and which are accepted as the basis upon which fellowship and co-operation can be maintained.
The six statements, acceptance of which is asked, are from the following sources:
(1) is quoted in The Christadelphian, 1937, page 553; (2) is the fifth proposition of the Statement of Faith; (3) is from Elpis Israel; (5) is from bro. Roberts in The Christadelphian, 1873, page 468; (4) and (6) are statements of fact.
We have no doubt that the Central ecclesia will frankly indicate its position. We do not doubt ecclesias in Great Britain are doctrinally sound on this issue. We join in the appeal that ecclesias in Canada and U.S.A. should willingly re-affirm their position if by so doing this division can be healed. It is a time for doing all possible to remove misunderstanding, and so bringing union where there is oneness of mind.
It is a duty to withhold fellowship when error is taught; it is a duty to extend fellowship when “all speak one thing”.
The following reply has been sent by the Arranging Brethren of the Birmingham Central ecclesia:
November 17th, 1940.
To the Arranging Brethren of
Los Angeles ecclesia.
Dear Brethren,
We have read carefully your “Second appeal to the ecclesias of the United States and Canada”, and in reply to the section addressed to ourselves, we would say that in our judgment the four items of doctrine to which objection is taken in your appeal, are contrary to the Truth, and the six items in which you state the opposite view, are the Truth.
The teaching set out in these six items is embodied in Clauses III. to X. of The Statement of Faith.
We have already declared, as you know, our attitude to these questions in reply to an enquiry from the Petersham ecclesia, and accepting as we do the doctrines set out in The Statement of Faith, we regard them now and have always regarded them as the basis upon which fellowship should be maintained.
We hope that this declaration will help in your efforts to restore the harmony among the ecclesias in America, and our best wishes are with you in what you are doing.
With fraternal greetings,
Sincerely your brother in Christ,
G. T. Fryer,
Recording Brother.
The Christadelphian : Volume 77 Bd. 77. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1940, S. 77:564-566

Now the article referred to as that setting the basis for reunion is reprinted here:

“THE CHRISTADELPHIAN” ON THE NATURE OF MAN AND THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST
During the last eighteen months we have drawn attention to what we believe to be the true teaching of the Bible on these subjects (The Christadelphian, 1937, p. 552; 1938, pp. 127, 173). These doctrines have been maintained since the revival of the Truth nearly 100 years ago, and are set forth in the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, which is in use in the majority of ecclesias, in the following clauses:—
IV.     That the first man was Adam, whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body of life “very good” in kind and condition, and placed him under a law through which continuance of life was contingent on obedience.
V.     That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken—a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity.
VI.     That God, in His kindness, conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction, and people the earth with sinless immortals.
VII.     That He inaugurated this plan by making promises to Adam, Abraham and David, and afterwards elaborated it in greater detail through the prophets.
VIII.     That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him.
IX.     That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God.
X.     That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh—yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal men, being made of a woman, of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression, including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature.
On the other hand, the doctrine known amongst us as “Renunciationism,” and associated with the name of Edward Turney, is defined thus:
“That the body of Jesus did not inherit the curse of Adam, though derived from him through Mary; and was therefore not mortal; that his natural life was “free”; that in this “free” natural life, he “earned eternal life” and might, if he had so chosen, have avoided death, or even refused to die upon the cross, and entered into eternal life alone; his death, being the act of his own free will and not in any sense necessary for his own salvation; that his sacrifice consisted in the offering up of an unforfeited life, in payment of the penalty incurred by Adam and his posterity, which was eternal death; that his unforfeited life was slain in the room and stead of the forfeited lives of all believers of the races of Adam.”
This contention, with modifications, has reappeared more than once since it was first proclaimed in the early 1870s. Brother Roberts met a form of it in the teaching of one Cornish, in answer to whom he drew up a series of propositions which were reproduced in The Christadelphian, December, 1937. It has been revived in certain of its aspects in recent teaching in America, and it appears desirable that the attitude of this Magazine towards this teaching should be once again emphasised.
We believe that because of disobedience Adam was sentenced to return to the ground, and that this sentence brought him at last to death. “By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin” (Rom. 5:12). “By man came death” (1 Cor. 15:21). Death “came by decree extraneously to the nature bestowed upon him in Eden,” to use the words of brother Roberts; or, in other words of brother Roberts, “Death did not come into the world with Adam, but by him after he came.”
We believe it is contrary to the meaning of Scripture to say (1) that the words “Dust thou art, to dust thou shalt return” described the condition of man when first created, and are therefore not a sentence of death subsequently passed by God upon Adam as a result of transgression; and (2) that the “death which has come by sin” is not the death common to all men, but the second death. The true teaching of the Bible, we assert, is that we are dying creatures, inheriting a nature which is “evil” (Matt. 7:11), in which “evil is present,” which evil is further described as “a law in our members,” “the law of sin in our members” (Rom. 7). Such phrases could not be used of Adam before he sinned.
The Scriptures define sin, in the primary sense, as transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4) or, as in the R.V. with a closer reproduction of the original, “sin is lawlessness.” In a few passages of Scripture the word “sin” is used in a secondary sense, by metonymy, of human nature. As Paul could speak of “sin that dwelleth in me” so he could describe the nature in which dwells “the law of sin” as “sin,” inasmuch as it inevitably produces sin in all, with the exception of the Lord Jesus who always obeyed God. Thus Paul says, “God made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Cor., 5:21); again, “He shall appear the second time apart from sin” (Heb. 9:28 R.V.).
Jesus possessed our nature, which is a condemned nature. Because of this he shared in the benefits of his own sacrifice, as Paul declares:—
Heb. 7:27: “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
Heb. 9:12: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Heb. 9:23: “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
Heb. 13:20:“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
Therefore, it is testified that “he obtained eternal redemption” and that “he was saved out of death” (Heb. 9:12; 5:7–9).
We believe that we cannot consider Jesus alone in this matter, but must always remember that he was “the arm of the Lord,” raised up for the work of reconciliation of mankind who are perishing. God set forth Jesus to declare His righteousness as a condition for the forgiveness of sins in the exercise of His mercy. To effect those objects it was necessary that Jesus should be of our nature, yet sinless. If he had not been of our nature which is under condemnation he could not have righteously died: had he not been sinless he could not have been raised from death to everlasting life. The wisdom of God is shown in the raising up of a Son who, though tempted and tried like all of his brethren, was yet without sin; who, therefore, by the shedding of his blood confirmed the new covenant for the remission of sins and obtained eternal redemption for himself and for us.
The denial that Jesus had our nature strikes at the root of the Principle stated by Paul, that the righteousness of God was declared in his death; and because of this the apostles were insistent that believers should test all doctrines presented to them for acceptance, and that teachers of error and their doctrine should both be rejected. John says (1 John 4:2):—
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.”
Again (2 John 7–11):—
“For many deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for the that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
When John says “in the flesh” he means the same flesh as ourselves. These false teachers attributed some other nature to Jesus, different from our own. Because of this apostolic injunction, we believe it is necessary to maintain the truth on this subject by declining to have fellowship with any who uphold the contrary.
The statement of the principle underlying the sacrifice of Christ in “The Statement of Faith” is elaborated in the pamphlet The Blood of Christ, which, in our judgment, sets out the truth on this subject.
The Christadelphian : Volume 76 Bd. 76. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1939, S. 76:228-230

Now, after examining these articles from Central, it has to be crystal clear that Central Fellowship at no time made the objections now advanced with bro. Genusa's revisionist history.  There is no reference at all to the Bereans having violated the doctrine of fellowship by withdrawing fellowship, and reorganizing themselves into a separate and distinct fellowship.

The above two articles show that at no time was bro. Genusa's complaint ever a part of the formula for the 1952 Central/Berean Reunion.  So the question must be asked, why would bro. Gibson be addressing an issue which did not exist?

The following article shows how wrong bro. Genusa's revision is.  This is a report of early efforts to reunite the brethren who had left in the Partial Inspiration division of 1886, and the Advocate division of 1898.  The objections made by the Central brethren, are identically the same as those made by Berean brethren today. Of course we know that Central abandoned these objections in 1956, but that is not the point.  The point is to show that bro. Gibson had no reason to alter the articles in the manner suggested by bro. Genusa, because there was no reason to make the point suggested by bro. Genusa.  At this point in time, the Bereans and Central brethren agreed on the principles of fellowship, but had a disagreement over the application of the same doctrine.

DISCUSSIONS ON FELLOWSHIP AND BELIEF
We have received reports of two series of meetings which have been held to discuss the differences between the Central Fellowship and the Suffolk Street Fellowship, which cannot be given in full because of their length. We will, however, try to summarise them faithfully.
Bro. H. W. Craddock (Croydon) reports that in London two meetings were held of representatives of the ecclesias in the London area in our fellowship, when the following resolution was adopted:
“That those brethren and sisters who desire the association of our fellowship shall accept, adopt and profess the principles of the One Faith and the Commandments of Christ as defined in the Birmingham Central Statement of Faith, at present in use”.
Arising from this resolution it was agreed that “the Suffolk Street brethren must accept unreservedly what we impose on ourselves”; and for any reunion there must be “a unanimous vote of the brethren and sisters comprising an ecclesia in the Suffolk Street Fellowship. A majority vote will prove unacceptable”.
An invitation was then sent to a committee of Suffolk Street brethren, to meet these representatives of our ecclesias. Representatives of the Suffolk Street ecclesias in Colliers Wood, East Ham, Finsbury Park, Forest Hill, Watford, Willdesden Green, held three meetings with brethren E. C. Ayres (Walthamstow), S. W. Boulton (Enfield), R. P. Bull (Tooting), G. S. Clark (North London); H. W. Craddock (Croydon), W. H. Dean (Wood Green), A. J. Drakes (Streatham), H. Entwistle (Ealing), W. C. Hookham (Brixton), F. Johnson (West Norwood), D. J. Lander (West Hendon), J. Newton (Ilford).
It was found that on the subject of the Inspiration of the Scriptures, those who were formerly on the “Advocate Basis” had a definite paragraph in their Statement, and the ecclesias in Suffolk Street had recently added “a printed slip affirming such belief”, and it was stated that “an individual declaration of unqualified belief in the total inspiration of the Scriptures” could be obtained.
The representatives jointly studied in detail the Birmingham Central Statement of Faith. It was found that clause 24 presented a difficulty. Evidence was produced by bro. Hookham, of the teaching long held by us, from Anastasis, bro. Roberts’ writings in The Christadelphian for 1882, and from a London Statement of Faith of 1882.
Discussion shewed that Clause 24, on Resurrectional Responsibility, was not acceptable to the Suffolk Street brethren, and that there was “a pronounced cleavage of view”.
As there was failure to reach agreement on this subject it was agreed that “detailed discussion on ‘Fellowship’ matters would serve no useful purpose”.
“A brotherly spirit was maintained throughout the discussion, and it was mutually agreed to discontinue the meetings”.
Five meetings have been held between representatives of Lancashire and Yorkshire ecclesias of the two sections. The brethren taking part in the discussion were:
Central Fellowship: S. Fowler, W. Gee, F. Grosvenor, F. E. Lindars, W. Norcross, A. Norris, R. Tennant.
Fraternal Visitor Fellowship: T. Grosvenor, A. E. Owler, H. Sanderson, J. Smith, P. Standeven, A. Standeven, T. M. Stevens.
Discussion shewed that there was agreement between these brethren on the subjects of Inspiration, Military Service, Taking Part in Politics and Immortal Emergence. On the subject of Resurrectional Responsibility the following resolution was unanimously accepted:
“That resurrection affects all those who are responsible to God through a knowledge of His revealed will (God only being the judge as to where sufficient knowledge exists). All such, just or unjust, baptized or unbaptized, will be brought forth to judgment”.
On the question of fellowship the following was agreed:
“That the above points (on which differences of views have been alleged to have existed between the two fellowships) must form part of any basis of faith, and be accepted without reservation, in any fraternal co-operation which may ensue from these meetings”.
On the question of marriage, all agreed that marriage with the unbeliever is against the law of Christ, but there was a difference concerning the nature of the action to be taken in such a case.
We have also received another communication from these brethren, requesting the publication of the following resolution, passed unanimously at one of their meetings:
“That the representatives appointed by the ecclesias in the North of England to consider the question of Amity send a letter to the Editor of the Fraternal Visitor, signed by brethren J. Smith and A. Norris, on behalf of their respective fellowships, protesting against, and deploring the appearance in the Fraternal Visitor for October, 1939, of an article by bro. Moye, Australia, on the Nature of Christ, which advocates views that we, and the ecclesias we represent, consider both unsound and unscriptural”.
The following comments may be made. We are glad to note the measure of agreement on some disputed points on the part of the brethren who met. It is important that the necessity should be emphasized for individual acceptance, and not a majority vote of an ecclesia, of the matters that are under discussion. It is evident that the brethren in Suffolk Street fellowship hold divergent views on the question of resurrectional responsibility (as we know, they also do on the question of Immortal Emergence). In this connection we cannot see how the brethren who have subscribed to the fellowship resolution in Yorkshire can consistently retain fellowship with those in the south. Must they not either get their brethren who cannot accept our position to change their minds, or, alternatively, cease to fellowship them?
In connection with the article which appeared in the Fraternal Visitor to which exception is taken, it will be remembered that some reference to this was made in The Christadelphian for January, pages 40–42, and the error pointed out. We approve the description of it as “unsound and unscriptural”. But when an article is printed in a magazine which gives the Intelligence of ecclesias, it can only be regarded as representing the teaching of the fellowship.
These notes give an opportunity to emphasise that The Christadelphian supports the doctrines defined in the Birmingham (Central) Statement of Faith; and the Intelligence is accepted on the understanding that the ecclesia sending it accepts that Statement of Faith. We would also draw attention again, for the assurance of enquirers in United States in particular, to the statement on “The nature of man and the sacrifice of Christ” in The Christadelphian, May, 1939, page 228, and to the endorsement of this statement as setting forth the truth in regard to the doctrine and to fellowship, by the Arranging Brethren on the Central Ecclesia, June, 1939, page 276.
With this assurance we appeal to the ecclesias in the States who have been separated on this doctrine to heal the wounds of division where no grounds for it exist.
The Christadelphian : Volume 77 Bd. 77. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1940, S. 77:131-132

 

The last sentence shows that this article is placed in the Christadelphian Magazine for American Berean consumption.  Bro. Carter is not condemning the Bereans for their fellowship practice as bro. Genusa does, but is saying, "Look at us!  We practice fellowship exactly as you do.  Sure the Advocate brethren in Yorkshire are sound.  But they refuse to separate themselves from known errorists in the south.  We therefore tell them they must convert their brethren or cease fellowship with them.  Otherwise, the division between us must continue.  You see, Berean brethren, we are just like you!" [Obviously the foregoing is my paraphrasing of the intent of this article by bro. Carter.  --JP]

Now it is true that after the reunion of 1952 is completed, Central throws all the sound teaching concerning fellowship out the window, and many of the ideas now advanced by bro. Genusa begins to take hold.  But they did not exist prior, and if they had, the reunion of 1952 would have been impossible.  So there was absolutely no reason for bro. Gibson to combat an idea which didn't even exist yet, at least in Central.  (To be continued)

JimPhillips

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Reply with quote  #34 

Case 2, Final Point

In our second post, we showed that the point bro. Genusa leans on to justify his calling bro. Gibson dishonest, was fictitious.  There would be no need for bro. Gibson to be dishonest in regards bro. Genusa's point, because such a point was not being raised by Central Fellowship.  At this point in history, Central was busy showing the Bereans that in fact, they agree with the Berean position on fellowship.

Bro. Genusa is by no means unique in rewriting the history of this period.  On a Central message board one evening, a Central brother told me that the Berean reunion was only possible after the Bereans had "repented" of their error in 1923, and that those rejoining Central in 1952-1953 had done so.  Oh that such men as these had been around in those days to have made such points to those brethren deceived by bro. Carter.  Then there never would have been such a devastating division among the Bereans. 

That bro. Genusa is inventing history is born out by the fact that loose fellowship was not under attack in 1953, but rather the loose basis.  The very word he accuses bro. Gibson of dishonestly omitting, is the very word which would have made bro. Gibson's point, had such a point needed to be made.  It was the "basis" for fellowship that the Bereans were rejecting in 1953.

Throughout the reunion discussions the "10 Point Statement" had been insisted upon by the Bereans as a protection against the events of 1923.  Even bro. Carter, in his "Obituary" (above) of bro. Strickler admitted that bro. Strickler did not accept the clauses of the BASF, though bro. Strickler and his ecclesia always had insisted that they did.  This showed that the BASF by itself, was inadequate to guard against this error.  Ecclesias had found ways to twist words to make them say something the original writers never intended.  The 10 Point statement was to clarify this matter.  But, by 1947, it was clear to bro. Carter that he would not be able to get all the Central ecclesias to accept the 10 Point Statement.  He then switched his emphasis to simply the "Acceptance of the BASF without Reservation" as the basis for reunion.  But this basis had already proved too "loose" in the matter of "Clean Flesh," which is why it was attacked as a loose basis by bro. Gibson.

The change in bro. Carter's attack at this time is interesting, and shows just how invented bro. Genusa's history is.  Realizing that there is an element in the Bereans who will not accept reunion apart from the 10 Point Statement, bro. Carter should have turned his attack on the doctrine of fellowship, if bro. Genusa's reasoning has any basis in reality whatsoever.  It should have been an easy thing to explain that all ecclesias are free to select their own basis of fellowship, etc.  It should have been an easy thing for bro. Carter to use bro. Genusa's arguments to show that this is the same attitude that led to the division of 1923 in the first place, and that that division had been wrong and unscriptural. 

Instead, bro. Carter begins to accuse the dissenting Bereans who are insisting upon the 10 Point Statement of "Andrewism."  There is probably no greater testimony to the inventive nature of bro. Genusa's history. 

The Jersey City Resolution retains the Berean teaching on fellowship.  It refuses to strengthen its basis in regards the Nature and Sacrifice of Christ.  It is the latter point, which causes bro. Gibson to refer to it as loose.  But it is the basis, and not the fellowship, which is under attack.  That bro. Gibson dropped the word from bro. Roberts' statement would have actually hurt his argument against the one posed by bro. Genusa, which is further proof that the one offered by bro. Genusa had no existence in Christadelphian teaching at that time.  The Jersey City Resolution reads as follows:

1.  That we agree that the doctrines set forth in the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith are a true exposition of the first principles of the oracles of God as set forth in the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and that therefore these doctrines are to be believed and taught by us without reservation; the doctrine of the Scriptures on sin and its effects and God's salvation from sin and death in Christ Jesus being defined in the clauses three to twelve of the Statement of Faith.

2.  That we recognize as brethren and welcome to our fellowship all who have been immersed by whomsoever after their acceptance of the same doctrines and precepts, and that any brother departing from any element of the One Faith as defined in the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith is to be dealt with according to apostolic precept.

3.  If any ecclesia is known to persist in teaching false doctrines, or to retain in fellowship those who do, other ecclesias can only avoid being involved by disclaiming fellowship.

Note how strongly clause three is worded.  It is the Berean position on fellowship. But it is still the "basis" which bro. Gibson is accusing of being "loose," not because the fellowship was loose, but because the loop hole pertaining to the teaching of bro. Strickler, was not closed

(To be continued.)

broBW

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Reply with quote  #35 
Final Communication with bro Steve Genusa re: Fellowship

Pursuant to my post of April 3  - bro Steve's missive to me - I had one or two more email exchanges with him concerning the present fellowship issue. I shan't be reproducing these here. Suffice it to point out that, as he stated, my apology which had been offered either early this year or late last year, was added to his site:

Bro. X: Since bro. Bob Widding of the Bereans banned me from the Berean forum, and blocked my IP address (please note: Bro. Widding apologized to me in writing for this), I have made a policy of not reading Berean forums. I have only been back once since then, and that was to read comments regarding an article produced by an Unamended brother. I would welcome some interaction with the Bereans but not when the ground rules are that Bereans can say anything they like, but when someone challenges Berean claims, those postings get deleted and their IP addresses blocked. These were the practices of a forum advertised as a place to "debate the issues"! I didn't realize it meant, "debate the [non-Berean] issues". -SG

I really will have nothing more to say other than this: 

Brother Steve's above policy statement makes for good theatre, but it is based upon irrelevant information.
My forum is gone now. My actions then have absolutely no bearing upon what actions may or may not be taken on this forum now.

As forum readers will note - and have noted since the outset - I am neither the moderator nor do I have any say concerning how it operates. In fact, it was up and running at least a month before I even knew it existed.

And so, bro Steve, there is no need to define both the past and the present to your readers as a monolithe.  If you are to judge righteously concerning this new effort, please do so on its own merits. 


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"I have made a policy of not reading Berean forums."

If my fellowship arguments consisted of:

1).  three arguments that could always be tied back to the enemies of bre. Thomas and Roberts, 

     a).  Bro. Thomas' pre 1857 writings    

     b).  Transferrence of evil through fellowship

     c).  Withdrawal = excommunication

2).  two Scriptural references which oppose bre. Thomas and Roberts explanations of those passages;
     a).  Parable of the Hireling
     b).  Parable of the Tares 

3).  a complete revision of Christadelphian history to the point where a collection of bre. Thomas and Roberts writings can be called "error":

then I probably wouldn't want to frequent Berean sites, either. 

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To number three above, I should add bro. Genusa claim that
b).  Regardless of what bre. Thomas and Roberts said, in observing what they did we know that this is not how they practiced fellowship. 
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Final comments on Case #2

In introducing his case #2, bro. Genusa wrote:

It tells us much about the sandy foundation of the Berean claims about pioneer teachings on fellowship. This quote occurs in The Doctrine of Fellowship book and also The Berean magazine.

So now, after thoroughly examining the quotes and and the context in which they originally occurred, what have we learned?  We have learned that the assembled quote which was used as a "filler" was completely in harmony with the articles from which they were extracted.  That is how a successful "filler" should appear after examination. 

We learned that the editor of the Central publication, John Carter, came ultimately to agree with the Bereans that A. D. Strickler did not accept the BASF as Christadelphians always had, thus justifying the Berean separation in 1923.  We learned that Central claimed to be practicing the same fellowship procedures as the Bereans in 1952, the time commensurate with the filler (we suppose) being written, thus making bro. Genusa's arguments that the Bereans were in error for their fellowship practices, a revisionist argument.     

We learned that while bro. Genusa is quite anxious that brethren not judge his motive in these matters till they are exposed at the judgment seat, he himself feels no such limitations and is very quick to bring forth charges of dishonesty against the Bereans, where he feels it fits his purpose.

It is this last point that I would comment on, just a little further.  We have pointed out before, that bro. Carter, when working to create the 1952 Berean Division, didn't criticize the Berean position of fellowship after the example of bro. Genusa.  In fact he published things like a condemnation of sending representatives to conferences to form reunions, which would appeal to Bereans.  Yes, he was also publishing the results of the representative meetings at the same time; but the point is, he was making himself look like he practiced fellowship as did the Bereans, because his appeal was to the Bereans.

It was hard, for brethren like bre. Gibson and Growcott, to fight against this.  It was a much more complex argument for them to show that what bro. Carter was doing, did not match what he claimed.  Bro. Genusa is doing our work for us.  In this way, we are far more blessed than those who went before.  It is a very simple thing for us to explain that Central does not practice fellowship as do the Bereans, when a Central brother is very much front and center in condemning us for our practices.

This goes to audience.  The audience for bro. Genusa is not the Bereans.  We already know that the things he claims about us are not true.  We know we have no centralized form of government, nor do our ecclesias function in any uniform way as he claims.  We know that we don't believe in the transference of evil through fellowship.  We know we do not practice excommunication.  We know the silliness of his constant reference to your "fellowship card."  A lot of us are old enough to know the characters of the men he disparages.  So obviously, he is not appealing to us. 

His appeal is to the Central and Unamended brethren who don't know, and who have no point of reference to fall back on.  These brethren see the corruption of the body in which they work, and wonder if these things are as they should be.  They read Paul's argument that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  They know Paul commanded to "purge out" the old leaven.  And now, with the leavening effect clearly dominant in the Central and Unamended bodies, many are having doubts. 

I think everyone who has spent even a small amount of time on the subject, quickly comes to the conclusion that the Bereans still practice today, what the pioneer brethren practiced in the latter end of the 19th century,  at least as regards to doctrine.  Some brethren believe that practice to be wrong, and the change in Christadelphian practices to be good.  These agree with bro. Harry Whittiaker, who in the 1960s lamented the historical practices of the Christadelphians this way:

"The apostle John counseled "if there come any unto you and bring not this (true) doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed. For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds." For over a century these words have been made the sheet anchor of a policy of root and branch disfellowship."

"Is it not high time that iron curtains fashioned in the Victorian workshops be rolled up? Or shall their rust continue to be a witness against us now and in the day of judgment?"

But there is another class of brethren, who sees the truth of Paul's testimony, and now feel uncomfortable in those bodies.  These have been learning of the Bereans and taking a stand with them.  This is the class of brethren bro. Genusa is aiming at.  He knows in advance that his arguments won't hold up.  So bro. Genusa then, must remain so very heavily invested in the minutia of the articles, that those brethren never actually read and understand them, or seriously consider the Bereans.

When I was young, and in Central, some of the Central brethren referred to the Berean ecclesia as "the Berean basket" a derogatory term implying that the Bereans were all basket cases, or imbalanced.  It was just a tool to discourage sincere brethren from examining the Berean position.  What bro. Genusa is now engaged in is the same process.  And sadly, on a lot of brethren, it will work.

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Case # 3:  Has no existence in "The Doctrine of Fellowship."

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Case # 4

This is actually a repeat of the complaints  in Case # 2.  Bro. Genusa's complaint is that the article is a "redirection."   This is offered with no explanation of exactly what is intended by this, so we are left to guess.  I would guess, from reading bro. Genusa's general material, that his complaint is that the article, from his perspective, is talking about the basis for fellowship, while the title focuses on "fellowship' itself.  But as we saw in #2, this is unfounded.  Both the loose basis, and the "larger cooperation with men" than is possible with those who would please God is condemned in the article.  So both the loose basis, and a loose fellowship is the subject of the article. 

This is even more apparent than was the case in the filler, because specific fellowships which the brethren have separated from are mentioned.  Note bro. Roberts' comments (and you will have to read that here, as bro. Genusa does not include this in his critique}:

Dowieism was welcomed by Renunciationism when Renunciationists broke away from the restraints of the Truth. And Partial Inspirationism is repeating the same evil course. Friends of the Truth have need of the adamant face and brazen forehead enjoined on Ezekiel. It is an unpleasant necessity, but must be accepted if the Truth is not to slide back once more into the slough of worldwide corruption from which it has been fished up and washed in these latter days.. 

The men who broke away from the truth, never recognized that this is what they had done.  So when they were withdrawn from by the Christadelphians, they organized themselves into separate and distinct groups, as the above sentence observes.  We saw in Case # 2, that they were still separate and distinct groups 60 years later, past the 1952 division.  This directly refutes bro. Genusa's revisionist history, which denies that such separation ever occurred.  Now the separated brethren did not name themselves "Renunciationists" any more than the separated brethren in Smyrna named themselves "The Synagogue of the Satan."  But as bro. Thomas points out, (which bro. Genusa denies,) these are distinct Christian groups.  So there is no "redirection."  But of course, if bro. Genusa can get you to not read the article, you will never figure that out.

The article then goes on to complain about redactions.  But unlike case # 1 & # 2, with this case (#4), we are left to guess as to what bro. Genusa views as so heinous about them.  Some of his "redactions" are downright silly, complaining of changing "which" to "with" which is clearly not a change, but a typo.  It is odd to see one who masquerades as an historian, but who can't even seem to sympathize with the difficulty of an age when there was no "cut and paste."  This is rendered even more comical, in that bro. Genusa's web site doesn't even get the minutia correct, himself.  The maroon text below is the section bro. Genusa records as redacted, but was actually included in the text printed in the Doctrine of Fellowship. 

But there are 4 large redactions to the piece.  If you examine them, even superficially, it is not difficult to see the intent.  Just as with the redactions in Case # 1, the first two are to make the article more universal in its nature, and less specifically focused on the trial which was before the brethren at that time.  Particularly redacted are the comments relative to a brother (or brethren) who was arguing that the only basis needed was "Jesus Christ and Him Crucified."  The third redaction was probably due to the fact that the paragraph is very hard to follow, and is an ambiguous reference as to why some may not see the matter clearly; and the final is simply redundant.  A sane man would get out of an unsound ship.  This comparison to an unsound ecclesia is included.   A sane man would get out of an unsound house.  This section was redacted, obviously because of its redundancy. It certainly was not redacted because Bereans do not believe this.  This is, in fact, exactly what we believe.  And bro. Genusa writes specifically against our argument that when a house is on fire, you warn the occupants with all your strength, and then leave.

Like last time, the blue is the redacted material, the green is the changed material, and the maroon is the material bro. Genusa claimed was redacted, but was not.

 

Loose Fellowship

A loose basis of fellowship is convenient, and easily becomes popular with inexperienced believers, or obtuse believers of long standing. It is agreeable to human feeling, but it is out of harmony with the apostolic standard which demands "the whole counsel of God" and the "unity of the Faith."

The loose basis admits of a larger cooperation with men, and a little more of the friendship of this world than is possible with those who accept the stranger-ship-with-God with the Truth always brings with it where it is earnestly and fully received. Of course, it is defended as a scriptural thing. No man would admit his way to be unscriptural, but it may be very unscriptural for all that.

A man thinks he takes very scriptural ground when he says he is content with what Paul required: "Jesus Christ and him crucified." This phrase was never intended as an indication of how little of the Truth would do, but as a definition of the whole Truth, in contrast with the wisdom of the Greeks which Paul determinedly ignored in his intercourse with believers.

In every other attempt by the quotation of phrases to excuse a loose and limited basis of fellowship, the same fallacy will be apparent. The Truth is a complete thing. It is made up of coherent parts, and any consent to ignore any of the parts is unfaithfulness to the whole; and must inevitably lead, as it always has, to first the gradual corruption and then the ultimate surrender of the whole. There is no safe, or logical, or scriptural position but that of requiring the whole Truth in its integrity.

[Note:  Bro. Genusa ends his comparison here.  I encourage you to read the rest of this section, as it does show his ideas that separated Christadelphians historically continued to meet together, is revisionist.--JP]

Dowieism was welcomed by Renunciationism when Renunciationists broke away from the restraints of the Truth. And Partial Inspirationism is repeating the same evil course. Friends of the Truth have need of the adamant face and brazen forehead enjoined on Ezekiel. It is an unpleasant necessity, but must be accepted if the Truth is not to slide back once more into the slough of worldwide corruption from which it has been fished up and washed in these latter days.

What is the "popery" that some cry out about, but inflexible insistence on the right-with courtesy where possible, but always with inflexibility. Would the outcriers do less than insist on the right?

"Oh no," say they, "but you are not the judge of the right."

Who is? Is it you? Suppose they say, "No one." What then? Is there no right?

"Oh yes," they may say, "but it is for each man to judge for himself."

Very good: "each man"-and we as well? Are we not to judge for ourselves? Must we accept their judgment? Must we make "popes" of them?

Our friends are not reasonable with us. We judge for ourselves alone in all matters of faith and practice. We impose our judgment on no one. If we cannot agree with the critics, we are sorry. If others agree with us, we ask in vain for the one hundreth time, why are we to be charged with this as a crime?

And then this "unrighteous action"-what was it? Merely throwing aside a human arrangement when it no longer answered the divine ends for which we all agreed to it. A ship is good when she is sound. But if she gets scuttled by pirate or mutinous crew, the sane passengers will not be leisurely about getting into the boat.

Our paper Constitution [not the Statement of Faith] was powerless against the organized perfidy of two regularly published papers with a phalanx of secret sympathizers. There was nothing left but to put aside the paper Constitution, which was a human expediency. There was nothing divine in it when it ceased to be useful.

It was necessary to adopt measures that would make manifest to each other those who were sworn to maintain the Oracles of Divine Truth against the secret unfaithfulness that had just become public, and which was carrying all before it like a flood.

Those who could not diagnose the situation were naturally taken by surprise; and putting a bit of this and a bit of that together in an irrelevant manner, they made an evil matter of it. Faithful men enquired, and learned to read the matter correctly, and were glad of an opportunity of showing themselves unambiguously on God's side.

The "unrighteous action" will be seen in a totally different character when things on earth come to be exhibited in a divine light, as they will shortly. What seems "unrighteous action" to men may be, and often is, righteous action in the sight of God. God sees differently from men. Actions prompted with a view to Him have always in the world's history appeared shocking in the eyes of those who cannot rise above the views, impressions and surroundings of the moment. Our appeal is to another day.

 

ECCLESIAL NOTES
A loose basis of fellowship is convenient, and easily becomes popular with inexperienced believers or obtuse believers of long standing. It is agreeable to human feeling, but it is out of harmony with the apostolic standard which demands “the whole counsel of God” and “the unity of the faith.” The loose basis admits of a large co-operation with men and a little more of the friendship of this world than is possible with those who accept the strangership-with-God which the truth always brings with it where it is earnestly and fully received. Of course, it is defended as a scriptural thing; no man would admit his way to be unscriptural; but it may be very unscriptural for all that. A man thinks he takes very scriptural ground when he says he is content with what Paul required:—“Jesus Christ and him crucified.” But his misuse of the words he quotes becomes manifest when he attempts to answer very obvious questions. Does he mean that he would not require a belief in Christ’s resurrection? Does he mean that he would ignore the question of whose son Christ is? Does he mean that he would leave out baptism and the condemnation that has come on all men through Adam? Does he really mean that he would require no more as a basis of fellowship in the truth than a belief that there was such a person as Christ and that he was crucified?
I would probably turn out that he meant no such thing. It would probably turn out that he would require all that is meant and involved in these terms. “Jesus Christ and him crucified” is a brief periphrasis of “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”; and was never intended as an indication of how little of the truth would do, but as a definition of the whole truth in contrast with the wisdom of the Greeks which Paul determinedly ignored in his intercourse with believers.
In every other attempt by the quotation of phrases, to excuse a loose and limited basis of fellowship, the same fallacy will be apparent. The truth is a complete thing. It is made up of coherent parts; and any consent to ignore any of the parts is unfaithfulness to the whole, and must inevitably lead, as it always has done, to first the gradual corruption and then the ultimate surrender of the whole. There is no safe, or logical or Scriptual position but that of requiring the whole truth in its integrity. To say it is a sufficient basis of fellowship if the mortality of man is admitted and the Kingdom of God allowed—whether a man know God or not, or understand His Son or not, or know of his Spirit or not, or receive the commandments or not, or believe in the priesthood of Christ or not, or in his appointment as judge for life or death at his coming or not, or in the nature of the devil he came to destroy or not, is to show either one of two things—either that there lacks capacity to grasp the commonest issues of divine truth or that there is a predominant susceptibility to human sentiments and friendships and conveniences. We have long since washed our hands of such unfaithfulness to the truth of God: and we will not now consent to those who say there never ought to have been such a hand-washing (though they took part in it). Dowieism was rewelcomed by Renunciationism when Renunciationists broke away from the restraints of the truth. And partial inspirationism is repeating the same evil course. Friends of the truth have need of the adamant face and brazen forehead enjoined on Ezekiel. It is an unpleasant necessity but must be accepted if the truth is not to slide back once more into the slough of world-wide corruption from which it has been fished up and washed in these latter-days.
Antagonism, if allied to ardour and acerbity, is liable to be unfair without intending it, perhaps. It indulges in those euphemistic and ambiguous allegations in which every faction, in whatever question, vents its heat against those who differ from it. The inexperienced or the undiscerning are liable to be led away by these ex parte dogmatisms. They do not enquire into the substance of the high sounding generality, which when brought to the test of precise definition, collapses like an air-blown bag under a juvenile blow.
What is the “popery” that some cry out about but inflexible insistance on the right—with courtesy where possible, but always with inflexibility? Would the out-criers do less than insist on the right? Do they give in to the wrong? Oh no! say they, but you are not the judge of the right. Who is? Is it you? Suppose they say, “no one,” what then? Is there no right? Oh yes, they may say; but it is for each man to judge for himself. Very good: “each man”? And we as well? Are we not to judge for ourselves? Must we accept their judgment? Must we make “popes” of them? Our friends are not reasonable with us. We judge for ourselves alone in all matters of faith and practice. We impose our judgment on no one. If we cannot agree with the critics, we are sorry. If others agree with us, we ask in vain for the hundreth time, why are we to be charged with this as a crime?
And then this “unrighteous action”—what was it? Merely throwing aside a human arrangement when it no longer answered the divine ends for which we all agreed to it. A ship is good when she is sound, but if she gets scuttled by pirate or mutinous crew, the sane passengers will not be very leisurely about getting into the boat. A house rented from the landlord will be occupied by a tenant so long as it is in a state that answers the objects of the tenancy: but if bad drainage that cannot be cured shew itself, or infectious disease adheres to the locality, or the structure begins to give way all over from the dry rot, the sane tenant will clear out without much formality.
Our paper constitution was powerless against the organised perfidy of two regularly published papers with a phalanx of secret sympathisers. There was nothing left but to put aside the paper constitution. It was a human expediency. There was nothing divine in it when it ceased to be useful. It was necessary to adopt measures that would make manifest to each other those who were sworn to maintain the oracles of divine truth against the secret unfaithfulness that had just become public and which was carrying all before it like a flood. Those who could not diagnose the situation were naturally taken by surprise, and putting a bit of this and a bit of that together in an irrelevant manner, they made an evil matter of it. Faithful men enquired and learned to read the matter correctly and were glad of an opportunity of showing themselves unambiguously on God’s side. The “unrighteous action” will be seen in a totally different character when things on earth come to be exhibited in a divine light, as they will shortly. What seems unrighteous action to men, may be, and often is, righteous action in the sight of God. God sees differently from men. Actions promted with a view to Him, have always in the world’s history appeared shocking in the eyes of those who cannot rise above the views, impressions and surroundings of the moment. Our appeal is to another day.
The Christadelphian : Volume 24 Bd. 24. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1887, S. 24:470-472

 

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Case # 5.

This article was not included in "The Doctrine of Fellowship."
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Case # 6

Heresy Hunting a Duty is an article which is written by bro. Andrew, but appears in "The Doctrine of Fellowship" as by bro. Roberts.  The authorship of this article in the original was also misconstrued by contemporary readers, as this note appears in the month following the article:

S. R.—The article last month, entitled “So-called Heresy Hunting a Duty,” was by brother J. J. Andrew, of London. The fact was obscured by the insertion of a sub-heading over the last paragraph on a special subject on which another brother had written, whose communication was to be added. The continuity of the article was interrupted by the first part exactly filling the odd page, sending the finishing part over the leaf.
The Christadelphian : Volume 23 Bd. 23. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1886, S. 23:572

Bro. Genusa appears to understand how it was possible for this mistake to have occurred.  He writes:

"This misattribution is an understandable mistake, at least to start with."

This observation by bro. Genusa is good, and a correct reflection of the event.  But then he goes on to show us just how out of touch he is with the true history of the period, in two forms.  First he believes the continuing of the error is somehow abominable, and second, he fails to acknowledge that the very thing he complains about is ultimately corrected.  Bro. Genusa writes:

"...one would think that someone reading the pioneer writings would come across the proper attribution and correct future publications of the article."

Does bro. Genusa actually believe that these magazines were readily available for study by the brethren?  Growing up, I knew of no collection where I could have gone to read them.  I later found out that there actually were two collections in the meeting I attended (Santa Barbara) but I had no idea they were there, while growing up.  I knew bro. Growcott had a collection of the old magazines, and I knew that they were in such bad shape, that he spent at least as much time repairing them, as he did reading them.  This inability to sympathize with the difficulties and realities of the time period, continue to reflect on how poorly bro. Genusa has grasped the true history of that period.  It explains why his history is so revisionist. 

And as a history, it also lacks accuracy.  He attributes the formation of this error to have been 1923, and complains that this mistake is not corrected over a period of 80 years.  This is not accurate.  The 1923 reprinting of the article is not attributed to bro. Roberts.  It occurs in a collection of articles on fellowship, and is clearly labeled this way:

Fellowship in the Truth.

ITS NATURE AND CONDITIONS.

SO-CALLED " HERESY HUNTING," A DUTY.

Articles by brother R. Roberts and other brethren.

Note that it is a collection by bro. Roberts and "other writers".  The article itself is not attributed to any specific brother, but its page and year from the Christadelphian is noted.  In 1958 and 1975 the article is attributed to bro. Roberts by bro. Gibson.  Whether bro. Gibson had access to the old magazines, or whether or not he was a reader of them, I do not know.  As I said before, I never knew him.  It was the 1958 article which I used in "The Doctrine of Fellowship." 

By the time 1981 comes, with bro. Growcott as editor, the matter is further clarified in the Berean.  The following note precedes the article:

We do not favor 'heresy-hunting' as such, and neither did bro. Roberts. But when faithful obedience to divine command concerning sound fellowship is stigmatized by loose-fellowship advocates as 'heresy-hunting/ then the true doctrine of fellowship must be defended, as in the following—which appears to be by bro. Roberts himself, tho it may have been by another. Bro. R certainly endorsed & printed it.

So, as we have grown accustomed in this exercise, bro. Genusa's facts are as inaccurate as those he criticizes, and in these modern times, with far less excuse.  Now bro. Genusa refers to this article as a Berean "favorite."  Of course it is.  Why?  Because bro. Roberts was the editor who printed this article, at a time when the brotherhood was experiencing much turmoil over the subject which now separates Bereans from many other Christadelphian groups.  That is, are we responsible for beliefs in other ecclesias?  So the article clearly shows the mind of the pioneer brethren on this question.

Deut. 13 is the basis for this article.  And the article says "It is on this principle that ecclesial action has been taken on the Inspiration Question."  The action is described this way:

The comparison drawn in Peter's epistle between false teachers in fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel is evidence that this Mosaic enactment contains a lesson for us. The use of the sword or anything destructive is out of the question: a practical protest by refusing to fellowship is the full extent of permitted action.  The command to "enquire" is not at variance with New Testament injunction; it is in harmony with it. When, therefore, it is reported that any brother OR ECCLESIA is following false doctrine, it is not only permitted but obligatory on other brethren and ecclesias to "enquire, and make search, and ask diligently" to see whether it be true and the thing certain. If it is, the responsibility of their position leaves no option but that of repudiating complicity with the evil.

It is on this principle that ecclesial action has been taken on the Inspiration question.  It was reported that false teaching existed in Spiritual Israel concerning the authorship of divine writings; and on "enquiring, making search, and asking diligently," many have found "the thing certain." Some, it will be said, have enquired without finding its existence; but it is necessary to remember that there are different ways of enquiring, and that none are so blind as those who do not wish to see. The evidence of its existence is indisputable, and there are no excuses to justify its being ignored.

The repudiation of responsibility for the false teaching of those at a distance shows a DEFECTIVE APPRECIATION of the unity which should exist between all members of the One Body — "The members should have the same care one for another; and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it" (1 Cor. 12:25-26).  [Emphasis by bro. G. Gibson]

Bro. Genusa ridicules the idea that we can be responsible for those in other ecclesias.  The article published by bro. Roberts during the heat of the "Partial Inspiration" division, says that to argue this way, is to have a defective appreciation of the unity which should exist between members of the One Body.  So yes, this is an article which exhibits that the fellowship practice encouraged by bro. Genusa is not the fellowship practice of the pioneer brethren.

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Case # 7

This is probably one of the more over the top critiques bro. Genusa makes.  He claims the article is misattributed.  This is false.  The article appears in "The Doctrine of Fellowship" with no attribution. 

Next he complains about the change in title from "A True Christadelphian Ecclesia" to "The True Christadelphian Ecclesia."  He suggests this change is significant.  I suggest his suggestion is desperate:  a  definite "the king has no clothes" moment.  The complaint is nonsense on its face.   The complaint is made further ridiculous by the fact that every section by bro. Edwards begins as "The Christadelphian Ecclesia..."  If every section begins with that word, its hard to see a complaint about the title.

We will produce the article with the redactions, so that what is criticized as extreme by bro. Genusa, can be seen in its proper light.  The redactions in this case, just seem to be for space.  As we have seen in all cases, they do not in any way effect the article.

The True Christadelphian Ecclesia

The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have Love.

"This is MY COMMANDMENT" (says Jesus) "that ye love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12 and 13:34).

"We know that we have passed from death into life -- because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14-16).

"ABOVE ALL THINGS, have fervent love among yourselves, for love shall cover the multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).

"ABOVE ALL. . put on love, the bond of PERFECTNESS."

"Let us not love in word, but in DEED and in truth".

It may be objected that we cannot force love; but it should be remembered that love is a spiritual principle required by the Law of Christ, and it should be our pleasure to obey that law. If we cannot do this we cannot please him.


The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have the Spirit of Christ.

"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is NONE OF HIS

... as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are Sons of God."

"Because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts: IF
ye are Sons, then are ye heirs of God!"

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness" (Gal. 5:22-23).

The Spirit of Christ is a gentle Spirit --

"When he was reviled he reviled not again, when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (1 Pt. 2:23).


The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have a living Faith.

"Without Faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).

The Faith that pleases God is a Faith that works --

". . works by Love" (Gal. 5:6) . . "purifieth the heart" (Acts 15:9)

... "overcometh the world" (1 John 5:4).

"Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26).


Works of the Flesh not tolerated.

The Christadelphian Ecclesia, having CRUCIFIED the flesh with its affections and lusts, does not tolerate the works of the flesh as enumerated in Gal. 5:18-21, of which we appropriately mention --

"Enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension" (RV).

It will be observed that the apostle says with great emphasis that --

"They that do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom."


Fellowship in Christ.

The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows that --

"If we SAY we have fellowship with Christ, and walk in darkness, we LIE ... IF we walk in the Light, as he is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another . . . and truly our fellowship is with the Father and Son" (1 John 1).

She knows that righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness, no concord of Christ and Belial, no communion of light and darkness. She knows that she walks in the light by keeping the commandments of Christ, who says --

"IF ye love me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS" (John 14:15).

"Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you"

"Why call ye me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not the things I say?"

Christ's brethren have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. The tares and the wheat cannot grow together in Christ. They can, and do, in the world.


"A Spiritual House."

The Ecclesia, having a LIVING Faith, is made up of --

". . lively stones, built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

It is the --

"Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in it, and if any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy."

Christadelphians are --

"A people taken OUT of the Gentiles for the Name of the Lord."

They are, therefore-

"A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people -- that they might SHOW FORTH the praises of Him Who hath called them OUT OF darkness into His marvelous light."


The Christadelphian Ecclesia is the Bride of Christ --

--and knows that when her Bridegroom comes she must have on the wedding garment, if she would be presented to him as --

"A GLORIOUS Ecclesia, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but should be HOLY, and WITHOUT BLEMISH"

The "spots and wrinkles" CAN BE OBLITERATED by the righteousness of Christ, who is always our Advocate with the Father: provided -- that we confess AND FORSAKE our sins, and pray earnestly for mercy and forgiveness.


Her Work and Purity.

The Christadelphian Ecclesia is engaged in the work of "making READY a People PREPARED for the Lord." And having a glorious Hope -- based on great and precious promises -- she will purify herself by --

". . PURGING OUT the old leaven of malice and wickedness, keeping the Feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

Her work is not a work of ignorance and indifference, which says,

"Christ fellowshipped Judas . ."

"Let the tares and the wheat grow together..."

"Everyone must give an account for himself..."

'"I have nothing to do with what another says or does..."

"Let us have peace ..."

"You must not judge etc..."

-- and this (to be said by) the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ, the "pillar and ground of the Truth," and the "Temple of God" in which His Spirit dwells!!


Her Warfare

The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows she has a great conflict with foes within and without -- the world, the flesh, and the devil -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.

And if she can be the victor in the warfare, through Christ who strengtheneth her, she will receive an eternity of blessed life for her reward. And this the gracious gift of God through Christ.

She knows the gate is strait and the way narrow that leads to life, and though there be few who find it, she is not discouraged. She strives to the end with an honest, sincere, and pure motive. And what she lacks, through the weakness of the flesh, her Redeemer -- in whom she trusts -- will supply by his all-prevailing righteousness to her unspeakable joy and everlasting blessedness.

 

a true christadelphian ecclesia.”
Such an Ecclesia is based exclusively on the Bible and its doctrines of salvation, as enunciated, for example, in the Apostolic Advocate, Herald of the Future Age, Herald of the Kingdom, and Age to Come, Elpis Israel, Eureka, and other works published by Dr. John Thomas, and also in the numerous works of Robert Roberts, of Birmingham, England, and especially in his Periodical called The Christadelphian, which he has published successively for the last 22 years, and accepted by all true Christadelphians from Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia to England, Canada, and Texas as the leading organ of the Christadelphian Ecclesias. In these works may be found the Bible doctrines for the salvation of man, and among them the necessary and absolutely essential practical doctrines, without which no Christadelphian Ecclesia can exist.
Some of these I may appropriately mention as follow:—
1st. “Love.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have Love. “This is my commandment, ” says Jesus, “that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Jno. 15:12; and 14:34–5. “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1. Jno. 3:14, –16. “Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves, for love shall cover the multitude of sins.”
1. Pet. 4:8.Above all these things put on love which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:14. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. 1. Cor. 13:1. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.’ 1. Jno. 3:18–19.
It may be objected that we cannot force love, but it should be remembered that love is a spiritual principle required by the law of Christ, and it should be our pleasure to obey that law. If we cannot do this we cannot please him.
2nd. “The Spirit of Christ.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have the Spirit of Christ. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his. * * as many as are led by the Spirit of Christ, they are the Sons of God.” Rom. 8:9–14, &c.And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son in to your hearts crying Abba. Father. “* *” “And if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal. 4:6–7. “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance against which there is no law,” Gal. 5:22–23.
The Spirit of Christ is a gentle Spirit, “when he was reviled he reviled not again, when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” 1. Peter. 2:23.
3rd. “A Living Faith.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia must have a living faith. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Jas. 2:26. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Heb. 11:6. The faith which pleases God is a faith that works—works by love.” Gal. 5:6.—“purifieth the heart.” Act. 15:9, and “overcometh the world.” 1. Jno. 5:4. It does not consist in going to church every Sunday and observing the letter ceremonial of spiritual sacrifices seeming to suffer penance listening to the reading and expounding the Scriptures for an hour.
4th. Works of the Flesh not tolerated.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia, having crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts, does not tolerate, but sincerely deprecates the works of the flesh as enumerated in Gal. 5:18–21, of which I may appropriately mention hatred, variance, emulations, strife, envyings, revellings, and such like.” It will be observed that the Apostle says with great emphasis that “they that do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
5th. “Fellowship in Christ.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows that “If we say we have fellowship with Christ and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” “And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” 1. John 1. She knows that righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness, no concord with Christ and Belial, no communion with light and darkness. (2 Cor. 6:14.) She knows she walks in the light by keeping the commandments of Christ, who says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say.” “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Christ’s brethren do not fellowship liars, for “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” and no lie is of the Truth. They “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” therefore if a man calls another a liar, and still fellowships him, he is no Christadelphian. The tares and the wheat cannot grow together in Christ. They can, and do, in the world.
6th. “A Spiritual House.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia having a living faith is made up of “lively stones built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” It is the “Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in it, and if any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy.”
Christadelphians are “a people taken out from the Gentiles for the name of the Lord,” knowing that being “Gentiles in the flesh they are without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” They are, therefore, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. That they might show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvellous light.” Their citizenship or commonwealth (R.V.) is in Heaven, from whence also they wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore, Christadelphians, while subject for the time being, to “the powers that be,” are not the “sovereign people” themselves, and do not cast their votes for men to represent them in Gentile govern ments. The right of franchise is spiritually denied them by virtue of their allegiance to the commonwealth of Israel.
7th. “The Bride of Christ.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia is the Bride of Christ, and knows when her Bridegroom comes she must have on the wedding garment, if she would be presented to Him as a glorious Ecclesia, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but should be holy, and without blemish. The spots and wrinkles can be obliterated by the righteousness of Christ, who is always our advocate with the Father; provided, we confess and forsake our sins, and pray earnestly for mercy and forgiveness.
8th.Her Work and Purity.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia is engaged in the work of making ready a people pre pared for the Lord, and having a glorious Hope based on great and precious promises, she will purify herself by “purging out the old leaven of malice and wickedness, and keep the feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Her work is not a work of ignorance, idleness and indifference, which says “Christ fellowshipped Judas,” “Let the tares and wheat grow together,” “Every one must give an account for himself,” “I have nothing to do with what another says or does,” “Let us have peace,” “You must not judge,” &c.
And this, the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ the pillar and ground of the Truth, and the Temple of God in which His Spirit dwells!!
9th.Her Warfare.”
The Christadelphian Ecclesia knows she has a great conflict with foes within and without—the world, the flesh and the devil—the lusts of the flesh—the lust of the eye, and pride of life; and if she can be the victor in the warfare, through Christ who strengtheneth her, she will receive an eternity of blessed life for her reward, and this the gracious gift of God through Christ. She knows the gate is strait and the way narrow that leads to life, and though there be few who find it, she is not discouraged. She strives to the end with an honest, sincere, and pure motive, and what she lacks through the weakness of the flesh, her Redeemer, in whom she trusts, will supply by his all-prevailing righteousness to her unspeakable joy, and everlasting blessedness.”
The Christadelphian : Volume 24 Bd. 24. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1887, S. 24:168-170

 

JimPhillips

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Case # 8

This article is listed with very little complaint about it.  The title was changed.  There were many redactions.     But it is limited to that. Bro. Genusa complains that the original title is more "conservative."  I'm not sure I understand what that means. 

The redactions and changes appear below.  Here is another article where the redactions are clearly to remove the historical references pertaining to a specific correspondent, and leave the pertinent information pertaining to fellowship.

Fellowship and Division

There is such a thing as "the Truth." There is such a thing as "coming out from among" and "having no fellowship with" the indifference and error and evil that prevail, however many may have become insensible to the obligation.

It is the recognition of these that leads to division, and not any insensibility to the advantages of union. The many are indifferent; a few are faithful. Hence the fermentation. It was Christ's understanding of men, and his foresight of the working of things among them that led him to say-- "From henceforth there shall be division" (Luke 12:51-52).

The result is inevitable in an evil world, so long as there's any faithfulness left. It is insinuated that withdrawal from errorists is an evil thing. This is a fashionable sentiment, but it is not in accord with the mind of Christ as expressed through the apostles. Love and union are beautiful. They are the most exquisite manifestations of intelligent life possible upon earth, and the earth will yet see their universal triumph when the purpose of God is finished.

But meanwhile, there are other duties. The loving John says concerning those who "bring not the doctrine of Christ" that the faithful are to "receive them not into their house" (2 John 10). And Jesus, in his message through the same John, commends one ecclesia for acting on this discrimination, and condemns one for not--

"Thou (Ephesus) CANST NOT BEAR them that are evil, but have tried them that say they are apostles, and hast found them liars" (Rev. 2:2).

"Thou (Thyatira) sufferest that woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants..." (Rev. 2:20).

Schism is the result of acting out these principles, and it is a good thing, if intelligently and faithfully done. It is a painful and apparently unfriendly process: but there is no choice with those who would be friendly to God first.

The Truth has been an' obscure and weak thing from the beginning. From its nature it cannot become popular, because it runs counter to human feeling in so many practical ways not seen at first. Its true friends know this, and they are not working to obtain public success, or even public notice. They are simply carrying out orders. Christ calls for the exhibition of the Light, and they exhibit it.

 

THE CHRISTADELPHIAN
(He is not ashamed to call them brethren.—Heb. 2:11.)
February, 1891
A correspondent sends us an article cut from the Christian Commonwealth of January 15th, with mark at a reference to the Christadelphians. The article is entitled, “Why Men Divide.” It does not expound the subject undertaken. It dogmatises in shallow style, in flowing facile sentences, on a matter requiring deeper penetration than the article-writer evidently possesses. By “men” he means “followers of Christ,” and he thinks they divide because they do not see the advantage of union. At all events, that is what he says. It is a self-evident mistake. No man need go further than his own experience for its confutation. The Christadelphians do not stand off from the general body owning the Christian name from any idea that division is better than union. Speaking for ourselves, we mournfully submit to it as a necessity. Union with the great through would be a present advantage in every sense and way. But it is not a possibility with any man having discernment of what the Spirit teaches and faithfulness to what it requires. There is such a thing as “the truth” whether the common run of men know it or not. There is such a thing is “coming out from among” and “having no fellowship with” the indifference and error and evil that prevail, however many may have become insensible to the obligation. It is the recognition of these that lead to division, and not any insensibility to the advantage of union. The many are indifferent: a few are faithful. Hence the fermentation. It was Christ’s understanding of men and his foresight of the working of things among them, that led him to say, “From henceforth there shall be division.” The result is inevitable in an evil world, so long as there is any faithfulness left.
The article writer, arguing in favour of union, says, “. . Christadelphians attracted considerable attention while they were united in their pertinacity: but as soon as they were numerous enough to seem worth counting, schism began, and since that process set in, nothing they have said or done has excited even languid interest.” There is more than one false implication in this sentence.
1. It insinuates that withdrawal from errorists is an evil thing.—This is a fashionable sentiment, but it is not in accord with the mind of Christ, as expressed through the apostles. Love and union are beautiful. They are the most exquisite manifestations of intelligent life possible upon earth, and the earth will yet see their universal triumph when the purpose of God is finished. But meanwhile, there are other duties. The loving John, quoted by the writer, says concerning those who “bring not the doctrine of Christ,” that the faithful are to “Receive them not into their house,” and Jesus, in his message through this same John, commends one ecclesia for acting on this discrimination, and condemns another for not acting on it. To Ephesus he says, “Thou canst not bear them that are evil, but have tried them that say they are apostles, and hast found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). To Thyatira he says, “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants, &c.” Schism is the result of acting out these principles, and is a good thing if intelligently and faithfully done. It is a painful and apparently unfriendly process: but there is no choice with those who would be friendly to GOD first. It is one of the bitternesses of the situation that men holding fast by the faith originally delivered should be taunted with the eccentricities of men who were in native darkness a while back, and who, after being honoured by introduction to the light, only used their position to obscure it with their superficialities and worldly affinities.
2. It implies that apart from the divisions which the fermentations of error have produced among us, the truth attracted public notice, and that its success is to be measured by the fact and extent of this notice. On both points, we join issue. The truth never has received a public hearing. It has been an obscure and weak thing from the beginning. From its nature it cannot become popular, because it runs counter to human feeling in so many practical ways not seen at first. Its true friends know this, and they are not working to obtain public success or even public notice. They are simply carrying out orders. Christ calls for the exhibition of the light, and they exhibit it. Their operations in this respect are necessarily misunderstood by the public which judges from its own motives, and cannot judge in any other way. The Christadelphians cannot fail, because they are not aiming at what is humanly considered—“success.” They are simply engaged in doing their duty in the faith of a stupendous world-stunning success which is impending, and which depends on no human effort. Christ will shortly show himself on the earth, and put his hand to the work in a way that will startle so-called “Christian” mankind. True Christadelphians plod away with this in view. For this reason, they cannot be quenched by scorn or crushed by failures of any kind. The very last thing they desire is the attention and patronage of the “public,” which looms so large in all ordinary enterprises. Nothing is so dangerous to the truth as “respectability,” because the truth is a matter of God’s importance, while respectability is an affair of man’s importance. The two cannot work well together.
3. It infers that the truth is less effective now than it has been in unspecified previous times. This is contrary to fact. It is of course a matter difficult to bring to a definite test, but so far as tests can be applied, the result is not in favour of the writer’s suggestion. If some have seceded from us, many have come to us, and the process is steadily going on from month to month without any diminution in the rate of increase. The popular maxim “There are as good fish in the sea as were ever caught,” applies to the sea of human life as well as to the ocean.
The well-known maxim is also applicable, “No man is essential.” The truth is a thing of peerless excellence and power: and if some throw it up, their place is soon taken by others who have eyes and hearts; while others again, with intellect enlightened and a-fire, “hold on to the end” with a grip of iron. This process is quietly going on all the world over, while the Athenian newspaper gossips have dismissed “even the languid interest” which the misunderstood operations of the truth at first inspired in their somnolent bosoms. The work is in fact better at the end than at the beginning: for, with some exceptions both ways, the later crop of believers is of a higher moral and intellectual type than those who assented to the truth in the days of its first emergence from the dust.
Much, of course, depends upon the individual point of view as to how these things appear: but the facts, taken broadly, justify these rejoinders to the smooth-tongued article in question, which can only weigh with those who are captivated by appearances.
The Christadelphian : Volume 28 Bd. 28. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1891, S. 28:67-69

 

JimPhillips

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Reply with quote  #45 

Case # 9:

Bro. Genusa finds much fault with some redactions in this article, (Union and Unity) but it is really hard to understand why.  Some of it grows out of his perception of who the Bereans are.  We have tried to disabuse him of his perception, but to this point with little success.  He consistently takes the tone that Bereans are followers, subjecting themselves to a common authority who makes decisions for the body.  I have already noted that this is a reflection on who he is writing to.  He is not writing to Bereans.  It would make no sense to write to Bereans about how we are a highly organized association of ecclesias, all conforming to some centralized authority.  We know that the truth is that trying to organize us, would be the equivalent of trying to herd cats.  We have had brethren who have tried.  They usually leave us when they realize that this is not going to end well.  This goes to my point that bro. Genusa perceives his audience to be those considering the Bereans, not the Bereans themselves..  He needs to discourage them from examining us, and this accusation is among his consistent tools.

Bro. Genusa makes two charges concerning the redactions in the article.  The first deals with those where bro. Roberts was being condemned as a leader.  He believes the Berean editors have redacted this,  because we have leaders, and therefore would not want to publish an article which would discourage followers.  The second redaction deals with brethren who were going too far on the question of what defines the "light," which makes one responsible to the judgment.

Bro. Genusa's two complaints in this section reminds me of an event in bro. Growcott's lifetime.  Bro. Growcott once had a very severe critic  The critic sang the praises of Central, and highlighted every perceived inconsistency (real or imagined) in the Bereans.  The critic eventually left us for Central, where he appears to be much happier.  Near the end of bro. Growcott's life, an article was published in one of the Central magazines, confirming bro. Growcott's observations about the toleration of certain beliefs in Central, making it impossible for his critic to seriously affirm that no such belief existed in Central Fellowship.  Bro. Growcott was asked how he thought his critic felt when he read that article.  Bro. Growcott responded, "I don't think [he] reads, just writes."  We are starting to get similar feelings concerning bro. Genusa.  Is he actually reading what he is commenting on, or is he just writing for the sake of being heard?  Its a hard call.  Its actually my son in law, bro. Mark Braune, who made this observation.  He was explaining to me how bro. Genusa might be using a program which finds the changes in articles, and is most likely posting the results of the program without actually reading them.  That would account for calling obvious typos, "alterations." 

 Nevertheless, the first complaint bro. Genusa makes is this:

Please read the paragraph which starts "To confound". Notice the part the Berean editor struck. That text is not to be found in the Berean Doctrine of Fellowship anywhere.

The redacted text complained about reads thus:

The “plea” shows some heat against those who are described as “every assumed leader amongst us.” I suppose I am intended as one of those, and as such, I am to be “repudiated once and for ever.” There is either misunderstanding or malice here. I am no “leader” except as a man’s individual actions may influence others. I have always repudiated the imputation of leadership. I but do my own part on the basis of individual right. I claim no authority. I dictate to no man. I only act out my individual convictions, and advocate my individual views. Which of the demurring brethren do not do the same thing? Why should they find fault with me for doing what they do? If others are influenced by what I do or say, is this wrong? Is it not what the critics are aiming to do? An enlightened man would refuse to be responsible for such an unreasonable criticism.
The Christadelphian : Volume 35 Bd. 35. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1898, S. 35:i-126

The redaction is consistent with the earlier redactions.  These are historical complaints made specifically against bro. Roberts, followed by his specific defense.  These are not germane to the discussion of union an unity , itself.  These things are interesting to historians, but of little value in determining the truth between union and unity.  And since both the accused and accuser await our Master, there is little to be gained in airing an one hundred year old personal dispute. 

But what is the proof that Bereans are not trying to "hide" the fact that bro. Roberts always denied being a "leader" and always affirmed that the only sense in which he led, was by example.  All we have to do is look back to the material covered in "Case #7, and we see the identical argument posted there.  This was only two cases ago.  How could bro. Genusa miss this?

What is the "popery" that some cry out about, but inflexible insistence on the right-with courtesy where possible, but always with inflexibility. Would the outcriers do less than insist on the right?

"Oh no," say they, "but you are not the judge of the right."

Who is? Is it you? Suppose they say, "No one." What then? Is there no right?

"Oh yes," they may say, "but it is for each man to judge for himself."

Very good: "each man"-and we as well? Are we not to judge for ourselves? Must we accept their judgment? Must we make "popes" of them?

Our friends are not reasonable with us. We judge for ourselves alone in all matters of faith and practice. We impose our judgment on no one. If we cannot agree with the critics, we are sorry. If others agree with us, we ask in vain for the one hundreth time, why are we to be charged with this as a crime?

And then this "unrighteous action"-what was it? Merely throwing aside a human arrangement when it no longer answered the divine ends for which we all agreed to it. A ship is good when she is sound. But if she gets scuttled by pirate or mutinous crew, the sane passengers will not be leisurely about getting into the boat.

So here is bro. Roberts, in "The Doctrine of Fellowship" making the same identical point which the editors of the Berean is accused of trying to deny.  Again, how could this be missed.  There is another article in "The Doctrine of Fellowship" page 53 which makes the same point.

If this is a right position (and it has been proved in the article on Fellowship to which you object) [see The Nature and Conditions of Fellowship] , then it is no faithful man's part to unite himself to those who may "differ from himself in his reading or interpretation of the Scriptures." He is under apostolic obligation to withdraw, where the Truth--as he conceives it--is not received.

You call this "setting up as judge and jury." This is a mis-description. The man in such a case judges and jurifies himself merely. He decides that his surroundings in a given case impose upon him a certain line of duty. In this, he is a "divinely appointed arbiter" insofar as God requires him to discern and perform his duty.

You look at the act as it bears on those from whom he withdraws. It is this that confuses your view. You speak of "excluding" from fellowship. This is not the question. It is "withdrawal". There is a great difference. No enlightened man will claim jurisdiction over another. His jurisdiction is limited to himself. And here, surely, it is absolute. If the conditions of scriptural association do not exist, he is bound to perceive the fact and ACT upon it, or else accept the character of neutral--of which the divine law provides no recognition.

So we see that point is well made in "The Doctrine of Fellowship"  "We judge for ourselves alone in all matters of faith and practice. We impose our judgment on no one."  And again, "No enlightened man will claim jurisdiction over another. His jurisdiction is limited to himself."  This is the point made consistently in "The Doctrine of Fellowship."

The charges some brethren were bringing against bro. Roberts, is the same charge bro. Genusa levels against an unnamed central authority in the Bereans.  While the focus is on the leader, this style of arguments is actually an insult against the people, no different than the Pharisees complaint that "This people who knoweth not the law are cursed."  The real argument, whether made by those Pharisees of old, by bro. Roberts' critics, or by bro. Genusa is the same.  It is this. 

"My arguments are so good and so obviously correct, that anyone with any intelligence and Scriptural training at all, should be able to see it.  That you can't see it, means you are not learned in Scriptural things, and you are not following my brilliant arguments.  Therefore, I can only conclude that you are merely a follower, incapable of making up your own mind, or coming to a reasonable conclusion.  Since you disagree with me, you are obviously following an authority figure, and not thinking for yourself." 

So while the attack appears to be against the "pope" figure, it really is an attack on the people who are perceived to be followers of the "pope" figure, and not independent thinkers.  It is hoped by those making use of such an attack, that those who lack personal self confidence and conviction will be anxious to prove that they really are independent thinkers and therefore move away from the "pope" figure.

We now move on to bro. Genusa's second complaint about the article, which is a redaction about uncalled for disunion. 

The Berean editor(s) had room for the parts of the article that justified cases of separation. But the editor(s) deleted the section of the article that spoke about taking the matter of separation too far in the section "Plea For Uncalled-For Disunion":

Again, it is impossible to understand bro. Genusa's complaints, for over 17 pages of an 105 page booklet, are dedicated entirely to this subject.  Two articles assembled by bro. Growcott explain in great detail where bro. Roberts drew the line, both as regards the Andrew error itself, and against those who were going to far in their fellowship demands on the brethren.  Obviously, it is not expedient to reproduce all seventeen pages here.  But let the following excerpt from bro. Growcott's article show that bro. Genusa's allegations are false.

"The Andrew faction was extreme (teaching that God could not raise any for judgment from Adamic “eternal” death who were not in the Covenant by the blood of Christ). In Britain, this faction seems to have soon separated itself, but the issue did not subside, as a great range of views remained in the Body, short of the Andrew extreme. From 1894 to 1898, Bro. Roberts wrote much in exposition of the truth of the matter, and in pleading with the extremists not to force the uncertain details or to insist upon the specific application of the agreed basic principle to specific amounts of knowledge or opportunity, or to specific individuals. Some felt that having access to a Bible would make a man responsible to Christ’s judgment seat, and that all should agree to this. Some felt it would take the occurrence of an open manifestation of the power of the Spirit to be able to be sure we could say there was resurrectional responsibility in any particular case.

It is clear from the record of the time that over-reaction to the error (as concerns fellowship requirements) was the problem, rather than under-reaction. This was Bro. Roberts’ major concern, and that is apparently why some have gotten the impression that Bro. Roberts did not consider it a matter of fellowship."  (TDOF, pg. 73.)

Bro. Growcott goes on to carefully document the situation from the pages of the Christadelphian.  He showed how the stand against Andrewism was clear and precise, but how he had to continually urge brethren not to go too far in their fellowship demands on the brethren, which some clearly did.  Those who went too far in their demands on the brethren would end up out of fellowship with bro. Roberts.  The same would be true of the Bereans today.  Bro. Genusa would lump us in with those who go too far on our fellowship demands on the brethren, but, to my knowledge, has never defined precisely what doctrine he feels we go to far with.

(to be continued.)

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