12. The Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith
One of the questions posed at the beginning of
this study was: does our commonly accepted Christadelphian statement of faith
— the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith — go too far, or not far
enough, in defining essential doctrines?
Very few Christadelphians are truly familiar with
their own statement of faith. So, as a first step to answering the question
above, we reproduce the text of the BASF (the Foundation clause and 30 positive
A Statement of the Faith forming Our Basis of
The Foundation.— That the book
currently known as the Bible, consisting of the Scriptures of Moses, the
prophets, and the apostles, is the only source of knowledge concerning God and
His purposes at present extant or available in the earth, and that the same were
wholly given by inspiration of God in the writers, and are consequently without
error in all parts of them, except such as may be due to errors of transcription
or translation (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13; Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor.
14:37; Neh. 9:30; John 10:35).
Truth to be Received
I.— That the only true God is He who
was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by angelic visitation and vision, and
to Moses at the flaming bush (unconsumed) and at Sinai, and who manifested
Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the supreme self-existent Deity, the ONE
FATHER, dwelling in unapproachable light, yet everywhere present by His Spirit,
which is a unity with His person in heaven. He hath, out of His own underived
energy, created heaven and earth, and all that in them is (Isa. 40:13-25;
43:10-12; 44:6-8; 45:5; 46:9,10; Job 38,39, and 40; Deut. 6:1-4; Mark 12:29-32;
1 Cor. 8:4-6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Neh. 9:6; Job 26:13; Psa. 124:8; 146:6;
148:5; Isa. 40:25-27; Jer. 10:12,13; 27:5; 32:17-25; 51:15; Acts 14:15; 17:24; 1
Chron. 29:11-14; Psa. 62:11; 145:3; Isa. 26:4; 40:26; Job 9:4; 36:5; Psa. 92:5;
104:24; 147:4,5; Isa. 28:29; Rom. 16:27; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 28:24;
34:21; Psa. 33:13,14; 44:21; 94:9; 139:7-12; Prov. 15:3; Jer. 23:24; 32:19; Amos
9:2,3; Acts 17:27,28; Psa. 123:1; 1 Kings 8:30-39,43,49; Matt. 6:9; 1 Tim.
II.— That Jesus of Nazareth was the
Son of God, begotten of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, without the
intervention of man, and afterwards anointed with the same spirit, without
measure, at his baptism (Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16; Acts 2:22-24,36; Matt.
1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 3:16,17; Isa. 11:2; 42:1;
61:1; John 3:34; 7:16; 8:26-28; 14:10-24).
III.— That the appearance of Jesus
of Nazareth on the earth was necessitated by the position and state into which
the human race had been brought by the circumstances connected with the first
man (1 Cor. 15:21,22; Rom 5:12-19; Gen. 3:19; 2 Cor.
IV.— That the first man was Adam,
whom God created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul, or natural body
of life, “very good” in kind and condition, and placed him under a
law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience (Gen.
2:7; 18:27; Job 4:19; 33:6; 1 Cor 15:46-49; Gen. 2:17).
V.— That Adam broke this law, and
was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from
whence he was taken — a sentence which defiled and became a physical law
of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity (Gen. 3:15-19,22,23; 2
Cor. 1:9; Rom. 7:24; 2 Cor. 5:2-4; Rom. 7:18-23; Gal. 5:16,17; Rom. 6:12; 7:21;
John 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; Psa. 51:5; Job 14:4).
VI.— That God, in His kindness,
conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and
necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from
destruction, and people the earth with sinless immortals (Rev. 21:4; John
3:16; 2 Tim. 1:10; 1 John 2:25; 2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:2; Rom. 3:26; John
VII.— That He inaugurated this plan
by making promises to Adam, Abraham, and David, and afterwards elaborated it in
greater detail through the prophets (Gen. 3:15; 21:18; Psa. 89:34-37; 33:5;
Hosea 13:14; Isa. 25:7-9; 51:1-8; Jer. 23:5).
VIII.— That these promises had
reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of
Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain
a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of
condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him (1 Cor.
15:45; Heb. 2:14-16; Rom. 1:3; Heb. 5:8,9; 1:9; Rom. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4,5; Rom.
8:3,4; Heb. 2:15; 9:26; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 7:27; 5:3-7; 2:17; Rom. 6:10; 6:9; Acts
13:34-37; Rev. 1:18; John 5:21,22,26,27; 14:3; Rev. 2:7; 3:21; Matt. 25:21; Heb.
5:9; Mark 16:16; Acts 13:38,39; Rom. 3:22; Psa. 2:6-9; Dan. 7:13,14; Rev. 11:15;
Jer. 23:5; Zech. 14:9; Eph. 1:9,10).
IX.— That it was this mission that
necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him
to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof,
and, therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the
righteousness of God (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 7:14; Rom.
1:3,4; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:14-17; 4:15).
X.— That being so begotten of God,
and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus
was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh — yet was, during his
natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman, of the
house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh,
from all the effects that came by Adam’s transgression, including the
death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical
nature (Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb.
XI.— That the message he delivered
from God to his kinsmen the Jews, was a call to repentance from every evil work,
the assertion of his divine sonship and Jewish kingship; and the proclamation of
the glad tidings that God would restore their kingdom through him, and
accomplish all things written in the prophets (Mark 1:15; Matt. 4:17;
4:20-48; John 10:36; 9:35; 11:27; 19:21; 1:49; Matt. 27:11-42; John 10:24,25;
Matt. 19:28; 21:42,43; 23:38,39; 25:14 to the end; Luke 4:43; 13:27-30;
19:11-27; 22:28-30; Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44).
XII.— That for delivering this
message, he was put to death by the Jews and Romans, who were, however, but
instruments in the hands of God, for the doing of that which He had determined
before to be done — viz., the condemnation of sin in the flesh, through
the offering of the body of Jesus once for all, as a propitiation to declare the
righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins. All who approach God
through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam’s disobedient
race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin
(Luke 19:47; 20:1-16; John 11:45-53; Acts 10:38,39; 13:26-29; 4:27,28; Rom. 8:3;
Heb. 10:10; Rom. 3:25; Acts 13:38; 1 John 1:7; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter
3:18; 2:24; Heb. 9:14; 7:27; 9:26-28; Gal. 1:4; Rom. 3:25; 15:8; Gal. 3:21,22;
2:21; 4:4,5; Heb. 9:15; Luke 22:20; 24:26,46,47; Matt.
XIII.— That on the third day, God
raised him from the dead, and exalted him to the heavens as priestly mediator
between God and man, in the process of gathering from among them a people who
should be saved by the belief and obedience of the truth (1 Cor. 15:4; Acts
10:40; 13:30-37; 2:24-27).
XIV.— That he is a priest over his
own house only, and does not intercede for the world, or for professors who are
abandoned to disobedience. That he makes intercession for his erring brethren,
if they confess and forsake their sins (Luke 24:51; Eph. 1:20; Acts 5:31; 1
Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:1; Acts 15:14; 13:39; Heb. 4:14,15; John 17:9; Heb. 10:26; 1
John 2:1; Prov. 28:13).
XV.— That he sent forth apostles to
proclaim salvation through him, as the only name given under heaven whereby men
may be saved (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19,20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 26:16-18;
XVI.— That the way to obtain this
salvation is to believe the gospel they preached, and to take on the name and
service of Christ, by being thereupon immersed in water, and continuing
patiently in the observance of all things he has commanded, none being
recognized as his friends except those who do what he has commanded (Acts
13:48; 16:31; Mark 16:16; Rom. 1:16; Acts 2:38,41; 10:47; 8:12; Gal. 3:27-29;
Rom. 6:3-5; 2:7; Matt. 28:20; John 15:14).
XVII.— That the gospel consists of
“the thing concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus
Christ” (Acts 8:12; 19:8,10,20; 28:30,31).
XVIII.— That the things of the
Kingdom of God are the facts testified concerning the Kingdom of God in the
writings of the prophets and apostles, and definable as in the next twelve
XIX.— That God will set up a kingdom
in the earth, which will overthrow all others, and change them into “the
kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ” (Dan. 2:44; 7:13,14; Rev. 11:15;
Isa. 32:1,6; 2:3,4; 11:9,10).
XX.— That for this purpose God will
send Jesus Christ personally to the earth at the close of the times of the
Gentiles (Acts 3:20,21; Psa. 102:16,21; 2 Tim. 4:1; Acts 1:9,11; Dan.
XXI.— That the kingdom which he will
establish will be the kingdom of Israel restored, in the territory it formerly
occupied, viz., the land bequeathed for an everlasting possession to Abraham and
his seed (the Christ) by covenant (Micah 4:6-8; Amos 9:11,15; Ezek. 37:21,22;
Jer. 23:3,8; Gen. 13:14,17; Heb. 11:8,9; Gal. 3:16; Lev. 26:42; Micah 7:20).
XXII.— That this restoration of the
kingdom again to Israel will involve the ingathering of God’s chosen but
scattered nation, the Jews; their reinstatement in the land of their fathers,
when it shall have been reclaimed from “the desolation of many
generations”; the building again of Jerusalem to become “the throne
of the Lord” and the metropolis of the whole earth (Isa. 11:12; Jer.
31:10; Zech. 8:8; Ezek. 36:34,36; Isa. 51:3; 60:15; 62:4; Jer. 3:17; Micah
4:7,8; Joel 3:17; Isa. 24:23).
XXIII.— That the governing body of
the kingdom so established will be the brethren of Christ, of all generations,
developed by resurrection and change, and constituting, with Christ as their
head, the collective “seed of Abraham”, in whom all nations will be
blessed, and comprising “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the
prophets”, and all in their age of like faithfulness (Dan. 12:2; Luke
13:28; Rev. 11:18; 1 Thes. 4:15-17; John 5:28,29; 6:39,40; Luke 14:14; Matt.
XXIV.— That at the appearing of
Christ prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, the responsible (namely,
those who know the revealed will of God, and have been called upon to submit to
it),1 dead and living — obedient and disobedient
— will be summoned before his judgment seat “to be judged according
to their works”; and “receive in body according to what they have
done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rom.
2:5,6,16; 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:5; Rev. 11:18).
XXV.— That the unfaithful will be
consigned to shame and “the second death”, and the faithful,
invested with immortality, and exalted to reign with Jesus as joint heirs of the
kingdom, co-possessors of the earth, and joint administrators of God’s
authority among men in everything (Matt. 7:26; 8:12; 25:20; Dan. 12:2; Gal.
6:8; 5:21; 2 Thes. 1:8; Heb. 10:26-28; 2 Pet. 2:12; Rev. 21:8; Mal. 4:1; Psa.
37:30-38; Prov. 10:25-29; 1 Cor. 15:51-55; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; James 1:12; Rom. 2:7;
John 10:28; Matt. 5:5; Psa. 37:9,22,29; Rev. 5:9; Dan. 7:27; 1 Thes. 2:12; 2
Pet. 1:11; Rev. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; Psa. 49:7-9; Luke
XXVI.— That the Kingdom of God, thus
constituted, will continue a thousand years, during which sin and death will
continue among the earth’s subject inhabitants, though in a much milder
degree than now (Rev. 20:4-8; 12:15; Isa. 65:20; Ezek. 44:22,25; 1 Cor.
XXVII.— That a law will be
established which shall go forth to the nations for their “instruction in
righteousness”, resulting in the abolition of war to the ends of the
earth; and the “filling of the earth with the knowledge of the glory of
Jehovah,2 as the waters cover the sea” (Micah 4:2; Isa.
42:4; 11:1-5; 2:4; Hab. 2:14).
XXVIII.— That the mission of the
Kingdom will be to subdue all enemies, and finally death itself, by opening up
the way of life to the nations, which they will enter by faith, during the
thousand years, and (in reality) at their close (1 Cor. 15:25,26; Rev. 21:4;
20:12-15; Isa. 25:6-8).
XXIX.— That at the close of the
thousand years, there will be a general resurrection and judgment, resulting in
the final extinction of the wicked, and the immortalization of those who shall
have established their title (under the grace of God) to eternal life during the
thousand years (Rev. 20:11-15; 1 Cor. 15:24).
XXX.— That the government will then
be delivered up by Jesus to the Father, who will manifest Himself as the
“all-in-all”; sin and death having been taken out of the way, and
the race completely restored to the friendship of the Deity (1 Cor.
Doctrines to be Rejected
To the BASF is also attached 35 “Doctrines
to be Rejected”.
- That the Bible is only partly the work of inspiration —
or if wholly so contains errors which inspiration has
- That God is three
- That the Son of God was co-eternal with the
- That Christ was born with a “free
- That Christ’s nature was
- That the Holy Spirit is a person distinct
from the Father.
- That man has an immortal
- That man consciously exists in
- That the wicked will suffer eternal torture in
- That the righteous will ascend to the kingdoms
beyond the skies when they die.
- That the devil is a
supernatural personal being.
- That the Kingdom of God is
- That the Gospel is the death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ merely.
- That Christ
will not come till the close of the thousand years.
the tribunal of Christ, when he comes, is not for the judgment of saints, but
merely to divide among them different degrees of
- That the resurrection is confined to the
- That the dead rise in an immortal
- That the subject-nations of the thousand years
- That the law of Moses is binding on
believers of the Gospel.
- That the observance of Sunday
is a matter of duty.
- That baby-sprinkling is a doctrine
- That “heathens”, idiots,
pagans, and very young children will be saved.
- That man
can be saved by morality or sincerity, without the
- That the Gospel alone will save, without the
obedience of Christ’s commandments.
- That a man
cannot believe without possessing the Spirit of
- That men are predestined to salvation
- That there is no sin in the
- That Joseph was the actual father of
- That the earth will be
- That baptism is not necessary to
- That a knowledge of the truth is not
necessary to make baptism valid.
- That some meats are to
be refused on the score of uncleanness.
- That the English
are the ten tribes of Israel, whose prosperity is a fulfilment of the promises
made concerning Ephraim.
- That marriage with an
unbeliever is lawful.
- That we are at liberty to serve in
the army, or as police constables, take part in politics, or recover debts by
- This phrase, in bold italic, was added to the earlier
Birmingham Statement in 1898, as a result of the “resurrectional
responsibility” controversy. It gives the Birmingham Amended Statement of
Faith its “Amended” label, and also gives the largest fellowship of
Christadelphians its designation of “Amended”, particularly in North
America — where the division has persisted. (See the discussion, chapter
- It is worth noting, in a time when the use (and
pronunciation) of the “Memorial Name” of God has become a
controversial and sometimes divisive issue, that the BASF never refers to God as
“Yahweh” but only (and that only once) as “Jehovah”. It
is also worth noting that, while the New Testament occasionally transliterates
Hebrew words (including one of the titles of God: “Sabaoth” —
hosts — in James 5:4), it does not attempt to transliterate the
Tetragrammaton, even when directly quoting the Old Testament, but uses —
simply — “Kyrios”, or “Lord”, in its