Ecclesial Guide. version,. A GUIDE. TO THE FORMATION AND CONDUCT OF ECCLESIAS (Editor of the Christadelphian) First produced in , this valuable guide “to the formation and conduct of Christadelphian ecclesias” has been re-set and reprinted, and is hightly. reflect the wisdom of a spiritual mind than that of the Ecclesial Guide. A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias.
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Berean Christadelphians Australia – Ecclesial Guide
This topic is locked. He is the Head and the only infallible guide. A spirit of service not of superiority should characterise the words and actions of every member whatever ecclesial work he does. Each faithful christadelpbian is a member of the body of Christ 2 Timothy 2. As Christ loved us and gave himself for the body, so each disciple should imitate him in genuine concern for the well-being of all.
No one should seek his own advantage or aspire to ecclesial office for self-glory. It is an cjristadelphian to belong to an ecclesia of the Lord Jesus Christ in whatever part of the world it might be, ecclesia the ecclesia be large or small, long-established or newly planted.
It is a disgrace to dishonour the call of Christ, to neglect his service or bring shame to the ecclesia in which we are enrolled. Alongside these high and proper ideals, each ecclesia has to run its everyday affairs. Unity, harmony, order, zeal, sympathy, meekness, yuide, righteousness and peace should be manifest in the behaviour and arrangements. There is no set of rules within the pages of the Bible, Instead we have to glean from the words of the Lord and of his apostles how the first ecclesias conducted their business and eccldsial themselves in times of joy and sorrow, in poverty and abundance, in faithfulness and under threat of heresy, the stain of ungodliness and persecution.
The pages which follow set out reasonable and practical procedures arising directly or indirectly from such a study of the Scriptures.
They are commended to the use of ecclesias today. The overall purpose The purpose of every Christadelphian ecclesia is to organise in a unity of fellowship those who believe the gospel preached in New Testament times, for whom Jesus Christ is Lord of their lives, and who love his appearing. At that time the American Civil War made it necessary for the body to have a single distinctive name in order to obtain legal exemption for members from compulsory military service.
This is fundamental to all our ecclesial arrangements. Any spirit of Human domination is utterly foreign to the principles of our community 5. Baptism Baptism is the only scriptural means of entry into the spiritual body of Christ. Through baptism he becomes a child of God, and christadel;hian must continue faithfully in well-doing. For baptism to be valid and effective there should be a serious disposition to follow God and a heartfelt repentance for the errors, misdeeds and ignorance of the past.
Ecclesial Guide – CBM Edition
It is the duty of the ecclesia to ensure by means of a careful interview of each candidate that these requirements are met. It is a tremendous privilege to be baptized as a Christadelphian and it must never be undertaken lightly.
Interviewing the candidate This should be carried out by not less than two of the arranging brethren of the nearest ecclesia. If necessary, help from another ecclesia can be obtained.
The interview should be carried out in a friendly manner and not made into a long examination. But the candidate should be encouraged to answer as far as possible unaided by others, since it is the extent of his knowledge which is the essential qualification for baptism. He should try to support his answers by scriptural references. The baptismal ceremony It does not matter who performs the mechanical part because if it is done in obedience to the apostolic command it is an apostolic act.
It is usual for two brethren to assist one another in immersing a candidate. The nature of the water does not matter —it can be equally well carried out in river, sea, pool or bath, provided that it is done publicly before witnesses and the candidate is completely covered by the water.
If a candidate lives at a distance from an ecclesia it is preferable for the baptism to be performed in their presence. But if this is not practicable, the baptism can still take place in the presence of the immersing brother. When there is obedience and proof of readiness, and the ecclesia, or immersing brother, has been informed of this, the baptism should be performed as soon as practicable.
It is a wise practice for an appropriate reading from the Scriptures and hymns to accompany the baptismal ceremony.
The baptismal Name When the candidate is ready the immerser asks him: It is customary to do this while the brethren and sisters stand, and is followed by an appropriate hymn or anthem.
The beginning of an Ecclesia If more than one obey the truth together, the weekly breaking of bread will be an enjoyable exercise, and the nucleus of an ecclesia will have been formed.
A first necessity in such a case will be a room to meet in. At first it is wise for a small group in a new area to be attached to the membership of the nearest established ecclesia, until the numbers make it practicable to become a separate ecclesia. It will probably be sufficient at first for a company of two or three to meet m the home of one of them. But this is not wise as a lasting arrangement It is better for brethren to have a separate place for the proclamation of the truth It certainly enables them more effectively to discharge their function as witnesses of the truth than christadelphain their meetings are in a private house.
Christaeelphian meeting place This need not be large or substantial at first. There are many great church buildings where the spirit of Christ is not to be found. The members of even a small ecclesia can often do much themselves towards construction and maintenance of a modest place of guice and witness, using local resources and their labour freely given to the Lord. They never appeal to non-Christadelphians for money for buildings or any other purpose. They seek to impress people not by the largeness of their buildings but by the largeness of their hearts.
The objects of ecclesial work The objects of ecclesial operations are twofold: It is not our duty to condemn other men: Jesus alone will reveal the motives and search the hearts of mankind.
Ecclesial Guide – CBM Edition – Christadelphian Publications – CBM Resources
Arrangements within the Ecclesia In all communities, large and small, there must be order and mutual submission, in order to attain the objects of their existence. Much can be done by the loving co-operation of brethren and sisters who follow the Lord. The simplest rules would be easy to carry out in a community so made up. The only practicable basis of order in the circumstances existing in our age is that of mutual consent.
The principle of government by consent can only be practically applied by listening to the eclesial and advice of brethren of maturity and spiritual experience, and when their counsel has been carefully weighed, accepting the decisions of the majority.
What other principle can be acted upon? Shall many submit to the few7 Is it not more reasonable that in matters of general convenience the lesser number should submit to the greater? There is no other practicable alternative in the absence of our Master. It is a principle that may give excellent results if the commandments of Christ are followed by his true disciples.
Servants not masters The great principle which must inspire every ecclesia is the one laid down by Jesus himself: The appointment of brethren christaxelphian certain duties is not the appointment of men to exercise authority, but of men to serve.
The Ecclesial Guide
All such brethren are only performing duties for the good of the rest. They have different duties, but all are brethren. It is important to remember this all the time.
Christ places this principle foremost: Having returned to it, let us hold on to it. There must be no authority, only service. As it is impossible for the ecclesia as a whole to do the things that are to be done, it requests individual members to accept the serious responsibility of doing them on its behalf.
The servants of the Ecclesia Many ecclesias appoint the following servants: Some of these duties sisters can carry out: In some parts of the world e. Qualifications of serving brethren Paul defines these in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and every effort should be made to follow his apostolic instructions.
This is the first qualification— a point liable to be overlooked in young ecclesias. If it be asked, How is a brotherly spirit to be known?
If so, the man has a brotherly spirit. Then he is not a brotherly man, and not suitable, however great his practical abilities may be.
Of course, to expect perfection is both impossible and foolish, and perhaps one outstanding quality which is really essential in any arranging and recording brother is that stated by Paul: Pride in any brother or sister with duties to carry out for the ecclesia is an abomination.
The recording brother particularly should be discreet, not easily upset or liable to take offence —in fact a gentleman. He and the arranging brethren should seek to obtain the feeling and wishes of the ecclesia before making decisions other than the most trivial ones.
Duties of the Treasurer As the holder of the bag, the principal quality in any treasurer is trustworthiness. It is significant that of all the twelve apostles the only one who became a failure was the one appointed to be treasurer. In an ecclesia of the living God it is needful that besides this quality he also exhibit the mind of Christ. He must be a safe keeper of all monies. He will mix the enthusiasm of the servant of Christ with the care, forethought and accuracy of a banker.
A clear and full record of all receipts and payments, in conjunction with the recording brother, and a clear report at each business meeting, completes his part —an essential, honourable, though humble part. Business Meetings Full business meetings of the ecclesia should be held not less than once every six months, preferably once quarterly, and at the annual meeting ecclesial servants should be appointed and the ecclesial constitution where it exists read.
A separate meeting should always be held, even if it follows the other meetings, and a special opening prayer indicates that a business meeting has begun. It goes without saying that a business meeting at which there is strife and contention is a disgrace to any ecclesia.
In parts of Africa the above arrangements will be modified in accordance with established ecclesial practice. Cases of sin and withdrawal Withdrawal is a serious step, and ought not to be taken lightly against any brother. It erects a barrier not easily removed. It ought never to be taken unless all the resources of the scriptural rule of procedure have been exhausted.