"Our community has all too often separated doctrine from
practice. We have not seen that doctrine is intended to bring forth living and
love towards others. The doctrines of the one faith are not merely empty
theological statements devised as a test of our understanding and obedience.
They are what they are so as to inspire in each one of us a life worthy of the
Gospel of Christ.
"We Christadelphians have analyzed some aspects of doctrine,
especially relating to the atonement, to an extent that is inappropriate; and we
have virtually -- and sometimes actually -- divided over these matters. And yet
the pseudo-intellectual minutiae over which there has been such strife contain
no power to enable the believer to live the new life. It is the basic Gospel
itself which has the power to bring forth the new man after the image of Christ.
"It is crucial to true 'theology' that it not be separated
from the call of doctrine to be the vital force for the transformation of human
life. After 150 years of 'holding the Truth' and not really preaching it very
much nor living it very deeply, western Christadelphia has developed a complex
intellectual system that is very much in need of a focus for application and
practice. That focus should be in the preaching of the Gospel to the poorer
world, and within the more desperate parts of Western society. In such areas
there is plenty of opportunity for practicing what we believe: especially in
developing an adequate doctrinal underpinning. People do not know their Bibles,
do not know doctrine, and yet they so want to be taught.
"Things are coming together, slowly, as western Christadelphia
starts to see its need to reach out, and is encouraged by the successes the Lord
has granted. We are starting to realize that the true theological cannot avoid
the challenge of knowing personally life in its most traumatic forms. It has
been truly observed: 'theology cannot but have a mission.' Unless 'theology' is
put to the service of our mission, to save men and women and glorify the Lord,
then there can only be an ever-increasing gap between the 'theologians' and the
grass-roots ecclesia, especially in the mission field. The two halves must come
together, or else the new converts will wander, and the 'theologians', shocked
at the lack of perception in the converts, will likewise go their own way, into
ever-increasing abstraction and theory.
"It is worth observing the very simple fact that the New
Testament is essentially a missionary document -- all the expressions and
articulations of doctrine and theology found there are in the context of the
preaching of the Gospel and the immediate problems of men and women who respond
to it. That is why we are not given a cold statement of faith or catechism in
the New Testament, but rather the history of the mission of Christ at its very