There's a building in Toronto not far from my home, an anonymous boxy brick building, which bears on its side the enigmatic designation "Christadelphians". What IS a Christadelphian, I wondered? Some kind of Mason-like cult, perhaps? Or some kind of Christian-like cult?

The latter, it turns out.

According to, Christadelphians believe wholly in the Bible, which is the entire and only word of God. The name Christadelphian is Greek for "brothers and sisters in Christ". They don't build churches, but hold their meetings in halls or other buildings, one of which I assume is the building I see. They like to use Greek terms, and refer to the congregation as "ecclesias". The congregation supports itself and all members share the duties of ministry, as they believe the first Christians did. They call each other brother and sister. They stand to pray. They don't collect money in ecclesias. Christadelphian women must wear hats. They sound a sober and reverent lot.

They seem to be one of those (to me) scary sects who wait for Jesus' return to earth, when those who have believed in him will be given eternal life. The rest of us, predictably, are damned.

The website lists the following "key beliefs":

  1. The Bible is God's word and the only message from him. It is without error, except for copying and translation errors.
  2. There is only one God - the Father. The Holy spirit is God's power.
  3. Jesus is the Son of God, and a human being, through his mother Mary.
  4. By living a sinless life Jesus has opened the way of salvation from death.
  5. Jesus is currently in Heaven, on God's right hand. He will one day return.
  6. When he returns he will rule the earth and give immortality to those who have tried to follow him and do the will of God. His followers will help him to rule.
  7. Man is mortal, having no existence when dead. The reward for the faithful is eternal life on earth after Christ's return.
  8. Baptism is essential to gain this eternal life.
In 1844 medical doctor John Thomas came to America from England. He joined the Disciples of Christ, but decided that its teachings made it the apostate church predicted by the Scripture, and that it was ignoring some important biblical doctrines. He left the Disciples and spent some time organizing societies preaching the need to return to primitive Christianity. In 1849 he wrote Elpis Israel, which started the first stirrings of the Christadelphian faith. The movement crystallised when the War Between the States broke out (1861). The members' doctrine of nonresistance forced them to take a name in order to register as conscientious objectors. The name 'Christadelphian' was first registered by Brother Sam Coffman and six others at the County Courthouse in Ogle, Illinois, and the name spread quickly.

The name 'Christadelphian' come from the Greek words 'Christos' (Christ) and 'adelphoi' (brothers and sisters). The church is also known as the Brethren in Christ.

Christadelphians are both Unitarian and Adventist. They have ecclesias all over the world.

Primary sources: (Very Good)
Handbook of Denominations in the United States by Frank S. Mead, Revised Samuel S. Hill. (Not to be completely trusted).

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