“PURITY OF DOCTRINE – This has always been at the centre of inter-ecclesial controversy. The main issue on this point is just how far we go in certain matters, some will always wish to go further than others. It is therefore essential that all concerned should keep closely to the actual agreement reached and not try to go further.”
Dangerfield, AC (1973) “The Unity Book – Conclusion” The Australian Christadelphian Shield Magazine, page 110 Vol 76 # 5
When you obsess over Adam you might as well go the whole hog and make him foundational. Inserting Adam into the foundations is an odd choice compared to Jesus the second man, the last adam. One man is the purpose and pinnacle of creation, the other a dead sinner. Why don’t we stop seeking division over old man Adam and try unifying around the one foreordained before the foundation of the world.
Christadelphian fellowship is based on (among other things) assent to the Birmingham (oft) Amended Statement of Faith. Clause one speaks about creation in clause 1 saying “He [God] hath, out of His own underived energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them”. Nothing about methodology, timeline or prior situations. Simple and accurate. Too many people – including literalists – ignore God’s challenge to Job, which essentially tells us we don’t know – Job 38:4. While the evidence around us points clearly to long periods of uninterrupted life, the exactitude of God’s miracle is beyond us. Rather than fight about how God did something and obsess about Adam, surely time would be better spent acting out our calling as God’s new creation in Jesus.
The ACCE discussion paper on creation/evolution has dropped. Its called a Stimulus paper (access via link). Immediate observations? By denying any consideration of science there is zero fact checking of scriptural interpretation. The AACE committee includes many outstanding individuals of goodwill. They are dealing with the instructions given to them. Result? The paper is written for literalists and addresses predominantly their concerns and emphasis. The questions provide a platform for division not a process for understanding, a path to judgement and separation not a means of healing. Jesus is the centre of God’s plan, yet too many want to argue over old man Adam.
“you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Cor 3:3 (ESV)
We are not meant to be “in Adam” but “in Jesus” (1 Cor 15:21). That is a great and worthy challenge which needs all our attention. Instead we are focused on arguing about Adam and making inconvenient facts inadmissible. This is a potential step on the road to distraction, division and the destruction of faith for the young (in particular).
The process outlined by Motion 8 – the cause of this paper – has led to a black box process where constructive interaction is absent. Instead we have a secret subcommittee whose composition excludes any non-traditional views evaluating and summarising opinion. What certainty can any have that non traditional positions and evidence will be fairly evaluated without a voice at the table? We have nothing to say against the AACE members, or even the subcommittee. But the process shaped by literalists is biased towards the literalist conclusion from the outset. Hence the paper poses questions focused on division and difference without any addressing the reality of congregations who have already found a way to successfully implement unity.
Debate about creation is not unique to our community. This link leads to a resolution described by an evangelical church who suddenly wrestled with evolutionary creation. They came up with 10 points on which they agreed. To quote the article:
“The upshot was the development of a series of ten theses on creation and evolution that we believe (most) evangelicals can (mostly) affirm. We weren’t looking for perfect unanimity. Our ultimate goal was to maintain the “unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3) and to prioritize the gospel as of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). It was important for us to arrive at a position on creation and evolution that was in keeping with that faithful Christian saying, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.””
“O that men could be induced now to devote themselves to the study of the scriptures without regard to articles, creeds, confessions, and traditions! These things are mere rubbish; monuments of the presumption and folly of former generations indoctrinated with the wisdom from beneath. If a Berean spirit could be infused into them; if they could be persuaded to “search the scriptures daily” for the truth as for hid treasure; they would soon leave their spiritual guides alone in all their glory of mysticism and patristic lore, and rejoice in the liberty of that truth which can alone make them “free indeed”.”  Continue reading