A little over a year ago we discussed the Lampstand Magazine & Australian Christadelphian Bible Mission intervention in Taiwan. We compared the calamitous situation of the ecclesia pre and post the actions of Australian based brethren. Bro Jonathan Burke was disfellowshipped and his wife cut off (without a word) from the community as well. Today? An ecclesia of two (sometimes three?) remains affiliated with ACBM. Another group of sheep have no contact and the Burkes remain cut off. As the Australian community considers how to treat varying approaches to creation, it is worth remembering the fruit borne by literalist hardline actions.When we previously brought this to readers’ attention the reaction from some quarters was quite strident. We were interfering in a delicate situation. Our numbers were inflated (they were drawn from ACBM resources!). All a smokescreen. The interference came from senior brethren determined to stamp on ECs generally and Jonathan Burke in particular. ACBM has poured massive amounts of money into Taiwan with regular visits, bible weeks and the like. But they have presided over the destruction of an ecclesia.
Has anything been learnt? The situation 12 months on in Taiwan is if anything worse. By their fruits we should discern good leadership, according to our Lord. Trying to blame Bro Burke is a shallow excuse. He was immediately cut-off completely, as was his not-disfellowshipped-but-thrown-out wife. (As a side note – one wonders why this sister was and remains totally ignored by the brethren in ACBM). The ACBM’s hands have owned the field in Taiwan and they determined the agenda and who could be involved. The fruit though is obvious.
From the same quarters strident voices are making demands on the Australian fellowship. From motions at conferences to carefully selected review panels, the intention is to replicate the “success” in Taiwan. Pray God their disastrous seeds are not allowed to be sown again. If we can’t move to reasoned discussion and acceptance in this space there is no reason to expect anything more than a repetition of the sad demise of the Taiwan ecclesia.