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Friday, July 26, 2013

 

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Contents|| Preface || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || Thanks || INDEX||

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Brethren In Christ

BY ALAN EYRE


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Preface

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PAGE 5

 

The question has often been asked, "Were there believers of the Truth during the Middle Ages when the power and influence of the Roman Church prevailed throughout the world of Christendom?"

Daniel's prophecy contains a distinct implication on this matter. When the prophet enquired concerning the Fourth Beast, 'dreadful and terrible', it was explained to him that the little horn of this beast 'with eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things' would make 'war with the saints and prevail against them' (7:8, 20, 21). Furthermore this arrogant power would contest the authority of God Himself and 'wear out His saints'. This dominion over the saints would last 'until a time and times and the dividing of time'. Our standard interpretation of these details is that the Papacy would speak boldly against God and persecute His saints for a period of 1260 years, from the decree of Emperor Phocas in AD 610 to the Vatican's loss of temporal power in 1870.

The only conclusion one can make from this is that there must have been saints throughout this period, else how could they be 'worn out' during this time? Besides, is it logical to reason that God was without witness in the earth throughout these long centuries?

What reason also perceives is that the voice of Truth would never have been prominent. The saints have never been a mass movement of mankind but rather a faithful remnant 'called out of the Gentiles' 'shining as lights in the world'. Before the advent of the printing press in the 15th century we should therefore expect very little documentary evidence of this peculiar minority. The art of printing, however, provided much greater opportunity for some circumstantial evidence to remain of a witnessing community for Truth.

All documents would have been produced in vastly increased numbers and this would apply especially to those wishing to disseminate saving truths.

The great significance of this work of Bro. Alan Eyre and its forerunner, "The Protesters", is that for the first time the beliefs and behaviour of a community with essentially the same doctrines as ourselves has been documented for our study and appreciation.

It is surely a source of great interest and comfort to find that there has been throughout the countries of Europe a scattered community of people simply known as "Brethren in Christ", deeply devoted to Bible study, faithfully contending for the same promises and doctrines

PAGE 6

as the Christadelphians today, resolutely refusing to be identified with the Mother of Harlots or with the defence of human governments. Strangers and pilgrims in this present world, their faith and their way of life present to us rich exhortation. In that they preserved their convictions despite fire and sword, they dramatically appeal to our conscience in this day of ease and materialism.

The Christadelphian Brotherhood is a witnessing Community with unique doctrines rooted in Biblical truth. Our charge is to 'contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints' and to stand clear of the Apostasy lest we be partakers of her sins. Our lives should be examples of the holiness of the Father, whose honour and principles we defend in every issue in life.

The following pages will surely help in this way. The reader is warmly recommended to first read "The Protesters" (available from The Christadelphian Office) to see the pattern of principles that led to the work of our beloved pioneer brethren, especially the independent love of God's Truth for which Bro. John Thomas so gallantly stood.

"Today the Christadelphian community -- 'Brothers in Christ' -- is the inheritor of a noble tradition, by which elements of the Truth were from century to century hammered out on the anvil of controversy, affliction and even anguish. These pages may help us to appreciate a Bible doctrine that God does not establish truth by the counting of heads, but by the trying of hearts, and also to understand why we as Christadelphians today resist the outstretched hands of broad oecumenical unity and consider as traitors any among us who sell their birthright for this cause."

 

So wrote the author in "The Protesters" and the words are equally suitable for the second volume now before you.

 

The Committee May, 1982

 


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