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Posts tagged ‘Marcus Ampe’

Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 3

Radio-oproepen en boekjes

Vandaag zijn de Jehovah Getuigen de grootste bekende Bijbel Studenten organisatie in België. Eerst konden ze Bijbelonderzoekers groepen vinden die met hen, ten tijde van Rutherford, wilden associëren. Diegenen die Charles Taze Russell eerst hadden gevold en nu verder wensten te gaan met Rutherford begonnen verder uit te groeien. Maar de interne onenigheden veroorzaakten ook breuken, die zelfs tot in België voelbaar waren.

Français : Blason de Jumet (Charleroi-Belgique...

Blazoen van Jumet (Charleroi België), ook wapenschild van de abdij van Lobbes. (Foto credit: Wikipedia)

Als gevolg van radio uitzendingen, in het Frans en gesponsord door de Broeders van Dawn uit de VS; waren 3 Belgische gezinnen geïnteresseerd in de tegenwoordige waarheid. Het was Broeder Lechien Armand, die in contact kwam met broeder Félix Pilarski via de mail service van Radio Luxemburg: Broeder Félix richte zich tot hem in Jumet. Deze 3 families werden ook eerst lid van de vereniging met de naam “Jehova Getuigen” of Getuigen van Jehovah. Toen zij merkten dat Rutherford met zijn Genootschap meer en meer afweek van de leerstellingen van Russell en vonden dat de leringen die zij hoorden niet in harmonie waren met de Schrift, verlieten zij de beweging. Maar zij bleven verder de Heilige Schrift onderzoeken.

Families die samen kamen in huizen of Huiskerken vormden

De Pools-Belgische broeder en zuster Wlodarski hadden Franse broeders en zusters in hun kennissenkring en vonden meer broeders van de Franse vereniging Association des étudiants de la Bible die ook vaker bij hen wilden komen om te het Woord van God te dienen. Zo konden zij een paar broeders van Saint Etienne treffen: François Wozniak, Kosmalski A. Liszka, T. Kubiak, J.Osorowski S., TF et Ed Pilarski, Speil, en vele anderen; de familie Kula, hun jongste dochter en een zoon woonden de vergaderingen bij. In de volgende jaren, net als in Frankrijk, kwamen pelgrim broeders uit de Verenigde Staten en later uit Polen hen bezoeken.

De families – Armand en Louise Lechien Ernest en Helena Duchateau – Edmond en Jeanne Henrioule besloten bijeenkomsten tijdens de week (woensdag en donderdag) te houden waarbij zij een studie hielden over de Figuren van het Tabernakel. Met hun toestemming voegden zich de families Wlodarski en Kula bij hen. De studies werden gehouden in twee talen met de hulp van een vertaler (de 2 talen die werden gesproken waren Frans en Pools).
Broeder Félix Pilarski en andere broeders werkten veel voor het welslagen van deze bijeenkomsten, omdat ze
perfect Frans spraken.

De Sint-Lambertuskerk in Courcelles.

Broeder Félix Pilarski maakte een fraaie bijdrage aan de ontwikkeling van de vergadering van Courcelles met stichtelijke Bijbelse discoursen en met zijn bezoeken. Hij was ook persoonlijk actief in het streek van Liège (Luik) en in Brussel, waar hij een voorraad van boekjes had. Andere broeders leverden ook vele bezoeken af, onder hen kunnen we onder andere broeder Joseph Wozniak, Adolphe Debski noemen.
Nadat  Broeder
Ernest Duchateau plotseling overleed werden de bijeenkomsten nog  voortgezet voor bepaalde tijd. Toen broeder Lechien overleed na een heel lange ziekte konden we een repetitieve zaak zien rond de huis kerken. De ecclesia van Courcelles verdween in het midden van de jaren ’70.

Voormaling Gemeentehuis. Gebouwd in 1825-1827 door Jan Kuypers, waar de Bijbelstudenten film “Waarom kwam Hij naar de aarde?” werd vertoond.

Op 24 oktober 1987, organiseerde de ecclesia van Jumet twee uitsteeksels van de film Waarom kwam Hij naar de aarde?” In het gemeenschapscentrum van het stadhuis van Charleroi. Die shows werden aangekondigd met reclame: affiches op openbare plaatsen, reclame in de stad met luidsprekers, advertenties in de lokale kranten, op radio en tv, weergave op elektronische schermen, distributie van folders.
Meer dan honderd personen woonden deze filmprojecties bij. Pamfletten en traktaten werden gegeven aan de deelnemers, maar slechts weinigen vroegen voor meer informatie en andere boekjes.

De leer van Christus ‘regering op aarde’

Al snel in de geschiedenis van het Christendom zag men de meerderheid valse leraren nalopen. De mythen waren meer een lust voor het oor dan de werkelijke waarheid. Ze werden tot rust gewiegd met hetgeen zij zelf graag wensten te horen. Wat was er niet fijner om die zaken te horen die je niet moesten doen veranderen van gewoonten en zeden.

Al vroeg in de geschiedenis geraakten de ware volgers van Jezus Christus in de verdrukking. In sommige streken moesten zij zelfs voor hun leven gaan vrezen. Die angst voor vervolging maakte dat zij eerder verdoken hun godsdienst beleden.

De Broeders hun geloof van het ware evangelie was van oorsprong’ puur, maar door de menselijke onzuiverheden werd het ook heen en weer geschud doorheen de jaren. De verscheiden kleine groepjes die thuis de bijbel bestudeerden handelden verder in hun eigen kleine kring. Dit maakte ook dat er niet veel kennis naar buiten bloeide.

In België en Nederland bleven Bijbel Getrouwen naarstig de Bijbel bestuderen maar ook de opdracht van Jezus volgen, met het blijven prediken van het Evangelie van het Koninkrijk van God.
De eerste noch de tweede wereld oorlog had hen er van kunnen weerhouden, hoewel velen van hen angstvallig uitkeken naar de werking van de twee strijdende kampen, omdat ze
tegen het vechten waren en omdat ze handelden op grond van een geloof dat helemaal niet graag gezien werd door iedereen .

Dat Jezus en zijn apostelen spraken over het nieuws dat er een koninkrijk op aarde zou worden opgericht dat zou worden geregeerd door Jezus Christus en dat daar de gelovigen van alle tijden een plaats zouden krijgen naast hun Heer: dwz als coheersers, klonk natuurlijk niet fijn in de oren voor hen (die de Duitse Führer als de enige heerser wilde). Maar de blijde boodschap voor de mensheid overleefde nu de strijd onder de mensen en bracht een ongekende vrede in sommige families.

De leer van Christus’ regering op aarde werd eerst behandeld als zeer symbolisch, werd geleidelijk bestempeld als een zeer twijfelachtige en nutteloze gedachte en werd uiteindelijk als een absurde uitvinding van ketterij en fanatisme afgewezen.
Gods licht dooft gelukkig niet; het is een eeuwige vlam. Het volk van Israël in de oudheid bereikte ook detritus. Zij dienden ook andere goden. Toch blijven er op dit moment gelovigen in de Ene God die ook Hem Alleen als Allerhoogste willen dienen. Ook na de grote verschrikking van de wereldoorlogen kon de geschiedenis zich
nu herhalen. Trouw aan God wilden die Bijbel studenten, niet zo maar één werelds man en zijn organisatie (Rutherford en de Getuigen van Jehovah) volgen. Naast het trouw blijven aan de hoeksteen Jezus, als het enige fundament voor Gods Kerk, bleven er getrouwen aan Dr.Thomas en aan de Bijbel hun bevindingen met anderen delen en ondanks de voortdurende tegenstand durfden zij in te gaan tegen de meest populaire leer van de meeste mensen.

Het krijgen van een basis in Holland

Na pogingen die vanuit Nederland werden gemaakt om de Waarheid naar Engeland te brengen (in de 16e eeuw) en de vlucht van de waarheidszoekers naar de Nieuwe Wereld in de 19e eeuw, konden nu brieven van waarheidszoekers uit de Nieuwe Wereld weer de waarheid naar Europa toe sturen.
De Europeanen konden nu vanuit de Nieuwe Wereld de andere denkwijze horen van mensen die veel tijd hadden gestoken in het onderzoeken van de Bijbel. Het onderricht van Elias Smith en John Thomas kon nu de tijd rijp was, een gelegenheid geven aan een opleving’ van de Bijbel Getrouwen. Zij vonden ook hun weg over de oceaan en in alle Engels sprekende landen, waar ze een voet aan de grond kon vinden. Van daaruit druppelde het naar de Lage Landen.

Door de eeuwen heen, toonde het Evangelie van Gods Koninkrijk, zoals het voorheen gepredikt werd door Jezus en de apostelen, een dynamische kracht die alle tegenstand van de machtige religieuze groepen die het kon trotseren. Dat evangelie van Gods Koninkrijk dient nog steeds als de enige basis van het geloof voor hen die God willen zoeken. En de Engelsen die dat wisten en de Noordzee hadden overgestoken om te gaan verkondigen, konden in Nederland ook mensen vinden die dat Woord van God trouw wensten te blijven.

Website of the Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians in the Netherlands - Website van de Nedrlandse Broeders in Christus

Website of the Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians in the Netherlands – Website van de Nedrlandse Broeders in Christus

In 1956 kon in Nederland eindelijk de groep van Broeders in Christus soliditeit krijgen en ontstonden gemeenschappen in Den Haag, Amersfoort, Ede en Groningen. In Nederland officieel erkend sinds 1957, bleven zij het als hun plicht tegenover onze Heer zien, om zijn Naam bekend te maken onder de mensen in hun omgeving, alsook onder andere volken. Daarbij ligt hun nadruk op de Bijbel als de bron van alle kennis, waarbij hun leidraad daarbij het woord van onze Heer is:

“Om niet hebt gij het ontvangen, geeft het om niet.”

De gemeenschap van Broeders in Christus begon ook het magazine “Met Open Bijbelte verspreiden  waarvan Rudolf Rijkeboer de drijvende kracht was tot aan zijn dood vorig jaar.

Verdwijnende interesse

Het bleek duidelijk dat na de gouden eeuw’ met de kinderboom en inwoners van België die hun leven steeds beter zagen worden, dat hiermee ook de belangstelling voor de Bijbelse boodschap van de Waarheid verminderde. De laatste jaren kan men spreken van totaal geen interesse meer voor Geloof, Bijbel of Kerk.
De Bijbel Studenten zagen hun leden aantal in Ecclesiae verminderen. De enige troost die zij konden hebben was dat ook in de algemeen reguliere kerk een neerwaarste spiraal op gang was gekomen. De bezoekende broeders en zusters van de Christadelphian Bijbel Missie [Christadelphian Bible Mission (CBM)] uit Groot-Brittannië, die voor 25 jaar regelmatige bezoeken maakten aan België om folders en pamfletten in de brievenbussen te steken, konden minder geestdrift vinden bij hun eigen leden, omdat het niets bleek uit te halen. Met hun korte bezoeken probeerden ze mensen op straat te bereiken en hoopten dat er op hun folders zou worden gereageerd. De Nederlandse Broeders die de algemene leiding toen nog hadden over het gehele gebied kregen echter verwaarloosbaar weinig reacties van het zuiden. Op het moment dat ze het allemaal wilden opgeven en verschillende Christadelphians Holland begonnen te verlaten om terug te keren naar hun geboorteland (Engeland of naar Australië), vond in België toch een kentering plaats in de wereld van Bijbelvorsers.
In de jaren ’90 vormden sommige Bijbel Studenten met exJehovah Getuigen de Vrije Christenen. In die beweging was ook de niet-trinitarische Doopsgezinde Marcus Ampe. Nog voordat hij zelf werd opgenomen in de Christadelphian gemeenschap had hij als niet-trinitarisch Baptist al anderen tot het Christadelphian geloof gebracht. Met hem predikend in Vlaams-Brabant en in Henegouwen, plus op het net, werd wederom een poging gedaan om het goede nieuws van het komende Koninkrijk te brengen.

Verwoede pogingen

Vorig jaar deed hij een poging om de verschillende Bijbel Studenten groepen bij elkaar te krijgen. Hij hoopte zo dat de verscheidene splintergroepen meer tot een uitwisseling van ideeën en vergaderingen zouden komen. Spijtig genoeg, werden zijn verzoeningspogingen tussen onderling strijdende groepen niet gewaardeerd. Een man uit het hoge noorden met zijn organisatie die nochtans het linken van hulp in haar naam heeft, hield het tegen dat door hem en zijn organisatie gedoopte Christadelphians met de Christadelphians van de Vrije Christadelphians (toen nog gewoon genaamd: Christadelphians en onder bescherming van CBM) met als basis de regio Leuven en met de Bijbelstudenten Christadelphians samen zouden kunnen komen. Broeder Marcus zijn onderneming liep faliekant uit. In plaats van de Christadelphians verenigd onder één dak te krijgen werd de kleinste groep nog meer uitgedund door onenigheid omtrent unificatie. Bepaalde mensen wensten zelf alles onder controle te hebben en konden het niet verdragen dat iemand anders in hun boeken zou kunnen mee kijken. Vooral de man van het Noorden zorgde voor de grootste struikelsteen.
Een aantal van onze medebroeders konden wij zelf niet zo ver krijgen dat zij over hun meningsverschillen heen zouden kijken. Voor onze Australische broeders, van de Australische Bijbel Studenten werden de CBM-leden niet zuiver genoeg gevonden. Volgens hen zijn de CBM leden te ver afgeweken van de originele leer van broeder Dr. John Thomas. Voor hen zou een samengaan met een groep, die (volgens hen) te los omspringt met de leer, het hele systeem verzwakken. Hierdoor kregen wij het ook moeilijk te verduren om mensen in eigen rangen er toe te bewegen over de menselijke tekortkomingen heen te kijken, en waren wij dan ook slachtoffer van een leegloop.
Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, opgericht door Marcus Ampe - Bijbelvorsers (Bible Scholars), association for Bible study, founded by Marcus Ampe

Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, opgericht door Marcus Ampe – Bijbelvorsers (Bible Scholars), association for Bible study, founded by Marcus Ampe

Onze uitnodiging om zich te verenigen als Broeders en zusters in Christus blijft open staan. Door al zijn tevergeefse inspanningen heeft broeder Marcus Ampe er ook genoeg van gekregen om de Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie verder te onderhouden en zal hij de website Bijbelvorsers in de nabije toekomst gaan afsluiten. Dit om zich meer te concentreren op de belangrijke opdracht die volgelingen van Jezus hebben gekregen, namelijk de verspreiding van het Goede Nieuws. Hij zal zich dan ook, met enkele doorzetters, verder het Goede Nieuws verkondigen. Broeder Marcus Ampe wil zich meer toeleggen op het prediken zelf in plaats van tijd en energie te verliezen aan het trachten mensen te verenigen, wanneer het er klaarblijkelijk geen tijd voor is om daarin te slagen.

We zijn ervan overtuigd dat ons prediking werk belangrijk is en dat zelfs als we niet zo veel mensen in België kunnen  bereiken, we toch ook hopen dat we enkelen hier kunnen bereiken, maar ook wat anderen die misschien wel ver weg van ons wonen. We hopen dat onze stem ook mag klinken in de duisternis en wat licht tot mensen zal mogen brengen die we niet kennen, maar die we hopen te ontmoeten in het Koninkrijk van God. We kijken ernaar uit om veel nieuwe gezichten, gelukkig te zien onder leiding van de Heer, niet begrensd door enkele mensen, maar gebouwd op de hoeksteen van Jezus Christus.
Hoewel we een andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten mogen hebben, geloven we dat we allemaal samen zouden moeten gaan voor dezelfde waarheid en voor de eenwording onder Christus, waarbij elke groep een andere naam zou kunnen hebben, maar bereid is om te worden verenigd in de geest, bereid te delen en samen te werken om positief op te bouwen, elkaar te helpen en constructief gemeenschappen onder Christus te vormen. Wij hopen dat er in de toekomst meer gegadigden kunnen gevonden worden die wel tezamen elkaar willen ondersteunen en er aan werken om nog meer mensen warm te maken om samen op weg te gaan en elkaar te helpen om door de nauwe poort het komende Koninkrijk binnen te kunnen gaan.

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Voorgaand:

Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 1

Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 2

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Aanvullende lectuur:

  1. Welkomstwoord
  2. Staat Europa voor vrijheid van godsdienst
  3. Godsdienstvrijheid mensenrecht
  4. EU wetsvoorstel banning levensbeschouwelijke symbolen
  5. EU wil christenen het zwijgen opleggen
  6. Werk maken van Godsdienstvrijheid
  7. Christendom blijft van invloed
  8. Politiek en macht eerste prioriteit #1
  9. Wat betreft Waar Elke mens recht op heeft
  10. Marx, het Volk, Religie, Christendom en verwrongen ideeën
  11. Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #1
  12. Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #3
  13. Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #4
  14. Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #5
  15. De Dag is nabij #8 Overzicht
  16. De nacht is ver gevorderd 2 Studie 1 Zijn het de laatste dagen? 1 Intro
  17. De nacht is ver gevorderd 20 Studie 4 Nu actueel: Financiële Crisis
  18. De nacht is ver gevorderd 22 Studie 4 Nu actueel: Nut van tekenen
  19. Een kerk naar smaak en taal
  20. De marketing van God een op maat gemaakt bedrijfsadvies
  21. Oorlog in kerkenland
  22. Manifest Gelovigen nemen het woord
  23. Fragiliteit en actie #6 Juistheid van handelen
  24. Fragiliteit en actie #7 Gebeurtenissen en Prioriteiten
  25. Redding, vertrouwen en actie in Jezus #6 Samenhoren
  26. Redding, vertrouwen en actie in Jezus #9 Omgang met anderen
  27. In de hand #5 Niet bang zich te geven
  28. Geloof heeft te maken met hoe je voelt
  29. Wegen die tot God leiden
  30. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen. #4 Volgelingen van Jezus
  31. Opwekking begint in het gezin
  32. Kerklidmaatschap belangrijk of niet
  33. Kerk niet bepaald gebouw
  34. Samen komen in huizen
  35. Opbouw van een ecclesia
  36. Schijnbaar onmogelijke opdracht
  37. Hermeneutiek om uit te dragen #10 Verkondigen
  38. Verkondigen
  39. Opdracht tot getuigenis
  40. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen #11 Vredelievende waarheidzoekers
  41. Zoeken naar waarheid, studiemateriaal, Jehovah Getuigen, ex-Jehovah Getuigen en anderen
  42. Wie, wat & hoe Christadelphians
  43. Volharding en Bijbelstudenten
  44. Overgang 2013-2014 en Met Open Bijbel
  45. Duncan Heaster en Carelinks onverbiddelijke verhinderaars
  46. Nieuwe naam een feit
  47. Seizoen 2013-2014
  48. Op weg naar 2014-2015
  49. Een nieuw seizoen voor de deur
  50. Een terugblik op Christadelphianisme en de Broeders in Christus in België
  51. Denken aan het ontbinden van de Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie: Bijbelvorsers
  52. Bij de opheffing van de Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie
  53. Jehovah steile rots en vesting, bron van inzicht
  54. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  55. By the closing down of the Association for Biblestudy
  56. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study

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Different approach in organisation of services #2

Time of the gentiles ending

After the Germans had invaded Belgium the faithful Bible students continued their preaching work. Even when they had to walk 99 kilometres from Liège to Charleroi along the railroad tracks, these humble coalminers were zealous to attend meetings.

The families Tilmant and Verdière continued to spread the Good News of the Kingdom.

Following Russell’s death, October 31st 1916, a seventh volume—entitled The Finished Mystery—was published in 1917 and advertised as his “posthumous work”. This seventh volume was a detailed interpretation of the book of Book of Revelation, but also included interpretations of Ezekiel and the Song of Solomon. An advertisement for the book in Zion’s Watch Tower called it “the true interpretation”, and had it promoted as being “of the Lord—prepared under his guidance.” Immediate controversy surrounded both its publication and content. It was soon established that it was largely written and compiled by two of Russell’s associates, Clayton J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher, and edited by Russell’s successor, Joseph Franklin Rutherford.

The position and air which Rutherford took was not appreciated by many. The Russellites accused him for betraying Russell. In Belgium as in other countries where the Present Truth was established, a few problems came to light, some people intended to divide.

In the course of events, for what concerns Jumet and the district of Charleroi, the Tilmant family and other people joined Rutherford who was elected president of the Watchtower Society. The strong personality of Rutherford like the one of Robert Roberts made people choosing for other lesser dictatorial figures. Several core doctrines of the Millennialist Restorationist Christian movement that emerged from the teachings and ministries of Dr. John Thomas and Charles Taze Russell, also known as Pastor Russell, got changed. Throughout the world thousands of members left congregations of Bible Students associated with the Watch Tower Society throughout the 1920s prompted in part by Rutherford’s failed predictions for the year 1925, increasing disillusionment with his on-going doctrinal and organizational changes, and his campaign for centralized control of the movement.

Followers in Belgium

Prolific writer and bible Student Paul Samuel Leo Johnson

Prolific writer and bible Student Paul Samuel Leo Johnson

The U.S.A. immigrant from Poland and a prominent Hebrew scholar, Paul Samuel Leo (formerly Levitsky) Johnson attracted many followers in Belgium and other places. In 1903 he had begun began fellowship with the Columbus Ecclesia of the Watch Tower Society and was appointed by Russell as a Pilgrim of the Bible Student movement in 1904. He eventually served as Russell’s personal secretary and in time became Russell’s most trusted friend and advisor. Though for him it became very difficult to cope with those Bible students who challenged the teachings of Pastor C.T. Russell on questions around his understanding of the new covenant and the ransom for all.

The illegal introduction of new by-laws for the Watch Tower Society gave the President Rutherford full control over the affairs of the Society. However, this was not Pastor Russell’s wish. In his last will and testament he had provided for a seven-man board of directors to succeed him. Four members of the Society’s Board of Directors, a majority of the Board, took strong exception to what they regarded as Rutherford’s high-handed behaviour and opposed him. Eventually tension between Rutherford and the directors grew and on July 17, 1917, Ruther­ford simply announced to the Bethel family in Brooklyn, New York, during meal time that he had replaced the four directors with his own appointees, using the legal jargon that the directors who had opposed him did not hold their positions legally under Pennsylvania law.
Ru­therford falsely claimed that the four directors and others with them were refusing to cooperate with the Society. Even today Jehovah’s Wit­nesses are told that the four directors who were expelled from the Watch Tower headquarters were wicked and self-serving.

Missionaries

Lots of serious Bible students like the Thomasites, Russellites and several associated members of the Bible Student Movement opposed the way Rutherford wanted to have the Bible Students moving. The four directors formed an institute to continue the work of Pastor Russell independent of the Society. Others would form corporations of their own. Some Bible Students followed the lead of their favourite elder or teacher. Still others, leery of organization and societies, stayed independent of all others.
Brother Paul Johnson gave his movement the name “Interior Missionary Laity Movement” (one of the unincorporated names used by Pastor Russell and the early IBSA).  From that group the Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Bible Students gave their ideas to some Belgians. Some joined Alexander F.L. Freitag, also known as Freytag, who at the end of 1917, still was responsible manager of the Watchtower edited in French in Switzerland. Freitag founded the group Angel of the Lord (inspired by a verse of the Apocalypse), Angel of Jehovah Bible and Tract Society, then Church of the Kingdom of God or the Philanthropic Assembly of the  “Friends of Man”. A small group was living in the area of Charleroi. Some of them have not followed the 3 movements and have formed an Association of Bible Students. The Young Men’s Mutual Bible Study Associations of brother Robert Ashcroft could attract others. The talks of Frank George Jannaway and his work to protect those who did not want to fight in the World War got probably also some attention, but the different groups were very small and as such came in the danger of oblivion.

Pearls not seen

In 1915 worldwide 50 million Tracts were distributed by the Bible Students.

Belgium got through a period that pearls were not seen.
“47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous” (Matthew 13:47-49 NIV)

During World War I there were two small groupsBible Researchers in the Netherlands, namely in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In 1918 three trial issues of The Watchtower were issued, but there proved insufficient incentive to switch to regular edition.

20° century cries

Members of the Christadelphian Bible Mission (CBM)regularly came to the Low Countries (Holland, Belgium and North of France) or the Netherlands and some of them even found some base to stay in Holland where they started to from again some little groups of Bible Students.

Albert O. Hudson

Albert O. Hudson, founder of the Bible Fellowship Union

Bible Fellowship Union Web site in 2014 November The Bible Fellowship Union has published the ‘Bible Study Monthly’ and literature since 1945 continuing a magazine founded in 1924. Its objective is to promote Bible knowledge. - Bible Fellowship Union Web site in november 2014 - De Bijbel Fellowship Unie heeft  sinds 1945 de 'Bible Monthly' en andere literatuur gepubliceerd in voortzetting van een tijdschrift opgericht in 1924, met als doel de Bijbel kennis te bevorderen.

Bible Fellowship Union Web site in 2014 November The Bible Fellowship Union has published the ‘Bible Study Monthly’ and literature since 1945 continuing a magazine founded in 1924. Its objective is to promote Bible knowledge. – Bible Fellowship Union Web site in november 2014 – De Bijbel Fellowship Unie heeft sinds 1945 de ‘Bible Monthly’ en andere literatuur gepubliceerd in voortzetting van een tijdschrift opgericht in 1924, met als doel de Bijbel kennis te bevorderen.

Also from Great-Britain, where the Bible Fellowship Union was formed, they began publishing The Bible Students Monthly in 1924, later renamed The Bible Study Monthly so as not to be mistaken with the new Watch Tower which previously published a paper by that name. Albert O. Hudson became the general director and served in that capacity until his death at age 101 in 2000. Today it is run by an editorial committee.

But they too had to face a split, with William Crawford, an original member of the British Board of Directors, founding the Old Paths Publications and produced the monthly journal Old Paths. Countless booklets, books, and tracts were produced.

At the time of the split in 1917, the Forest Gate Church was the second largest Bible Student group in England. F. G. Guard, father-in-law of William Crawford, led the class in ­divorcing themselves from the Society. In 1939 they started publishing The Forest Gate Church Bible Monthly, along with booklets and tracts. This group disbanded in 1979.

Facing an other war

The Thomasites found too many where gone to far away from Dr. John Thomas his ideas. They and Australian Biblestudents who also found the Birmingham Christadelphians and CBM were not any more real followers of John Thomas got in contact with some Belgian Biblestudents who wanted to stay as close as possible to the Biblical Truth.

Freitag, former Branch manager of the Swiss Watch Tower Society since 1898, claimed he was the legitimate successor of Charles Taze Russell and sent to the Bible Students The Message of Laodicea (Le Message de Laodicée) and published two journals, the monthly The Monitor of the Reign of Justice (Le Moniteur du Règne de Justice) and the weekly Newspaper for All (Le Journal pour tous).

Freitag’s movement was later continued under the leadership of Édouard Rufener, then Marie Roulin, then Mr. Kohli and the main headquarters became based in Cartigny, Switzerland.

When Freitag died in 1947, one of his followers, Bernard Sayerce (1912–1963), a Roman Catholic schoolteacher, claimed he was his successor. Almost all of the 900 French and Belgian assemblies joined this new group which had a peak of 9,700 members between 1958 and 1962. In 1963, Lydie Sartre (1898–1972), who was named the “Dear Mom”, then Joseph Neyrand (1927–1981) in 1971, replaced Sayerce as leaders of the movement, named “Amis sans frontières” (Friends without borders) in 1984 which is still active today.

The Association of Bible Students and the Association of Bible Researchers (Associatie of Vereniging van Bijbelonderzoekers) got alls sorts of people, from all sorts of denominations, who wanted seriously to investigate what was written in the Holy Scriptures and how we had to interpret it.

Throughout the world many small independent bible student groups got to see how several who first followed Rutherford, also became dissatisfied of the way things where going. As the years went by, more and more of the brethren seeing a change of direction and attitude within the Society soon departed and thus the big exodus started. By 1930 the majority of the brethren who worked closely with Pastor Russell had left the Society — many had been forced out. By this time, all of Pastor Russell’s writings were discarded in favour of the writings of Ruther­ford, writings that contradicted each other. By 1929 over a hundred changes in doctrines had been made; the Society no longer resembled that which was established by Pastor Russell and his early associates. The Society had a new look and a new attitude. No longer was it simply a publishing house for the dissemination of Bible literature. Now it was “God’s Theocratic Organization.” To disagree with it was tantamount to treason against God himself.

Shortly after founding the “Goshen Fellowship” after he was disfellowshipped by N.H. Knorr in 1951 Jesse Hemery died. Jesse Hemery was appointed overseer of the Watch Tower Society’s British Isles branch office by Russell in 1901, holding that post until 1946. In Belgium this group became known under this name but from the 1960-70ies also under the name “Zion’s Herald” after their publication (which started in 1965), which was for years published under directorship of Frank Lewis Brown.

Pamphlets published by opposing sides during t...

Pamphlets published by opposing sides during the dispute over Rutherford’s leadership, 1917. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although many of the original 19° century Bible Students have died, their grandchildren and faithful followers of the first hour group still carry on. Though even today there may be disputes between certain groups claiming that they and not the other one is following the original teaching of Dr. Thomas or Pastor Russell. The Christadelphians became the lesser group in the Bible Student Movement, whilst the International Bible Student Association (IBSA) may find it very difficult to have people to come to see that they are the true followers of Charles Taze Russell and not the Jehovah Witnesses who claim unjustified that Russell would have founded their organisation.

The Watchtower and Tract Society from Brooklyn has gone so far as to state that Bible Students no longer exist, that they have died out and none remain or they say they are the only bible Students.

Hopefully we can convince you that this is not the case and that all over the world several students of the Bible or Bible Students can be found who have nothing to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The American Association of followers of Charles Taze Russell his teachings: the International Bible Students Association (IBSA), not to be confused with the English IBSA of the Jehovah's Witnesses - De Amerikaanse Vereniging van de volgelingen van Charles Taze Russell zijn leer: de International Bible Students Association (IBSA), niet te verwarren met het Engelse IBSA van de Jehovah's Getuigen

The American Association of followers of Charles Taze Russell his teachings: the International Bible Students Association (IBSA), not to be confused with the English IBSA of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – De Amerikaanse Vereniging van de volgelingen van Charles Taze Russell zijn leer: de International Bible Students Association (IBSA), niet te verwarren met het Engelse IBSA van de Jehovah’s Getuigen

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Let us not fret or worry about next season

Map of Belgium showing the provinces (black li...

Map of Belgium showing the provinces (black lines) and regions (colours). Yellow = Flanders Dutch speaking, Red = Wallonia French speaking, Blue = German-speaking part, Orange = Brussels Capital Region (37 languages). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last season we like the Belgian Christadelphians perhaps had set our hopes to much on human beings, hoping they would not be as partial to prohibit brothers and sisters in Christ to join hands and have meetings together.

In the midst of our many activities our minds should have been on the eternal and the magical ways of the universe, trusting God He would be the One Who brings the Chosen ones unto Him. Perhaps we thought of hastening. We thought maybe the business to accelerate by trying to bring the different Christadelphian groups together and by showing our openness to all those who believe in the Only One God.

Marcus Ampe and his ecclesia could not convince Carelinks to share the love of Christ. Also other Christadelphian groups did not want to unite with the man from the North or with Australian Bible Students. We too are somewhat left in the cold, not seeing an opportunity to have many brethren and sisters meeting each other and finding more places in Belgium to Break Bread together.

We stay convinced that we should not show partiality and try to get the impartiality of God in our midst as well. If we take time for books of a spiritual nature, deep conversation, singing songs together, sharing helpful exhortations, watching uplifting movies, our meditations will be much more effective. Our subconscious will also act on what it has been programmed by all day.

We often hear :

Focus on miracles and beauty you get miracles and beautiful situations. Focus on problems and competition and you get more problems, competition and worries.

We, for sure, want to concentrate on the positive, and want to forget soon what happened this year in the Belgian community.

When we heard of the trials of Mr. Ampe we where afraid it could turn wrong. Our fear turned grounded. Certain people are too stubborn and on their own and to much looking for personal gain, so that they would not be ready for such unselfish openness Mr. Ampe presented to them and the different groups.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to fail trying to do good or to fear. Fear can be part of a survival instinct, and the Scriptures tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Still, there is a fear that can overwhelm us at times. There’s a fear that can rob us of faith and trust. Faith and fear are opposites in some Biblical texts. We should not let the fear of being alone or being a small group take us. We are not with many, but this should not frighten us. In the present world it shall become even worse for God fearing people. They will find themselves even more isolated from the rest of the world. Because the world is not interested in God and does not like so much people who love God. We just have to accept that and have to live with it.

Panic can take over when we have our eyes on the worldly things. We had our hopes on a growing community. We did have our hopes on the possibility to offer people living in Oostende, Brugge, Gent and Antwerp to find more people willing to join them. It would have been lovely if we could have send the Bible Students living around the Belgian coast to a Carelinks meeting or to have other brothers and sisters in Christ finding each other so that they could make arrangements to meet each other in their own region.

The apostle Paul knew very well what it meant to be in isolation. He also got to see how important it was not to focus too much on the human beings, but to remember that the peace of God can guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7) whilst we put all our hope to the Most High.

We like Paul wanted all the household churches and all the Christians to be harmonious so that they could stand firm against the opposition as one body. We can listen to him who said:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)

Though it did not work out, we should not be sad. Though we still are with few (less than before) , we should be glad in the Lord at all times. We shall not get us depressed and shall show to others that we keep our doors opened to all who want to join us. Like the Belgian Christadelphian ecclesia shall keep her doors open and all the time showed their gentle behaviour, we too shall show our friendliness and love to others, working with them and not against them who show their love for the Only One True God. We do want to be clear to all men, we shall not give in to the doctrines of people and keep to the Word of God, having Christ Jesus as our cornerstone and not one specific human organisation.

We are convinced that Jehovah God is near and that we should not be afraid to stand in the cold, left behind. to our brothers and sisters we also would say:

Have no cares; but in everything with prayer and praise put your requests before God.

We shall keep asking to God that He will guide us and will provide us with the right people to make us grow as a good Christian Community, according to His wishes. We are convinced that in our hopes we shall not have to be saddened but can trust on the peace of God, which is deeper than all knowledge, which will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For next season we do ask our members not to fret or worry.

Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

The coming season we shall continue to show people how human beings made up a church which sought to further define what is meant by the foundational creedal statements she has, at various important moments in history, drawn up creeds, confessions, and catechisms, but how throughout the times several people seriously took the Word of God as the Book of books to follow. We shall continue to give preference to God’s Word as our guide instead of adhering human groups and specific personalities.

When Jesus said

 “You are the light of the world,”

he meant that you and I are to let our lights shine for Jesus.  In the original Greek, Jesus uses the plural meaning

“you all together are the world’s light.”

(We don’t see this in English because we make no distinction between plural and singular.)  Jesus meant Christians corporately are the light, not any one individual. How could any single light brighten this dark world?

As such we still shall try to unit as much people as possible and to show them who Jesus was and is, what role he plays in our sanctification and our possibility to find a better life.

We shall continue to show people that it is not just by faith we shall be saved.
We shall hope we can bring many more to the faith in Christ Jesus. But we shall also show them we do need to live according to that faith we choose. We shall also show them that we need to help each other to reach the goal, so that we when we come in front of the returned Jesus shall be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of God. We shall show the people that  Jesus will judge everyone according to what they have done. (Romans 2:5-6; Matthew 5:22; 7;2;25: 31-45; Revelation 20: 12.13).

Keeping that in mind we shall continuously try to bring more people together under the name of Christ, following his example, doing good, seeking after the glory honor and immortality God offers.

Those who  wanted to live for themselves, have power for them selves, we shall try to bring to a better attitude, showing that we all need together to work for the same good cause, giving ourselves in the Hands of God, obeying the truth and giving full ear to Jehovah God and not preferring human organisations above God His Wishes.

Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and we did find hope in the willingness of the few to continue preaching and going forward trying to unite people in the love of Christ.

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Preceding articles:

An academic year ending, again a new year standing ready for us

Our openness to being approachable

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Read also:

  1. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  2. Hope does not disappoint us
  3. Focus on outward appearances
  4. Walking alone?
  5. God doesn’t call the qualified
  6. Christadelphian people
  7. Not many coming out with their community name
  8. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  9. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation
  10. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  11. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  12. Iranian refugees in Belgium baptised by Carelinks
  13. Antwerp Ecclesia
  14. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  15. Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation
  16. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  17. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  18. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  19. Prayer, important aspect in our life
  20. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  21. Give your worries to God
  22. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  23. Work with joy and pray with love

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  • Soul-searching questions, by Charles Box (fellowshiproom.org)
    Paul exhorted the Philippian Christians to diligence and seriousness in the Christian life. His teachings to these brethren provide us with some soul searching question.
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    We are required to work out our own salvation. We cannot be saved on the goodness of our parents or the faithfulness others. Salvation is a personal matter and each person must obey God himself.Our obedience begins with our belief in Christ as our Savior, repen­tance of our sinful ways and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins. Our obedience continues as we live according to His word as revealed to us in the New Testament.
  • Philippians 2 (King James Version.) The Bible in government. (moralupbringing.com)
    If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded , having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind . 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
  • Fan or Follower? | Part 2 (comeawake.org)
    Don’t be too quick to choose one over the other. Don’t make the mistake of answering this question like all the other questions you’ve been asked by preachers, Sunday School teachers, and Small Group leaders. This isn’t a knowledge-based question. It’s a heart-based question. It’s a conviction-based question. It’s a commitment-based question.
  • Find the good, hold fast to it, and be not moved. (madisonamydunne.wordpress.com)
    This week a lot of us had emergency changes because a lot of new missionaries came to our mission from other missions in Peru
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    We must read the Bible, realize that He formed it built upon prophets, apostles, and that His church has the authority of God.
  • Faith Is Based On Knowledge By Andrew Wommack (zillasnetworks.wordpress.com)
    all things that pertain unto life and godliness are given unto us through the knowledge of God.
    Certainly, faith must be one of those things because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). So faith must come through the knowledge of God.
  • Needs (johnjohnsonsgranddaughter.wordpress.com)
    There are 21 verses from the bible on Needs
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    The only thing that I truly need, everyday, more than food and water, is Christ.  But you knew that, right?
  • Book of Philippians (brakeman1.com)
    The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 14; and in 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21.
  • earth moving principles (mobilisedbygod.wordpress.com)
    It is amazing that many of our opportunities to serve others comes through praying for those opportunities. Nehemiah understood the power of prayer, and so he prayed as soon as he received news of Jerusalem’s continued desolation.
  • ‘Not Just a Blonde’: Worrying Steals… (cultureofawareness.com)
    Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it steals today’s peace! Worrying is just not a helpful thing to do! Worry keeps us stuck in our fears. It forces us to focus on the negative possibilities and blinds us.
  • Fear: The Absence of Peace (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
    When fear is present, peace is absent. Fear robs our peace of mind, weakens our resolve, disturbs our rest, and even causes us to question the presence of God. Fear is an emotion that will hinder our walks with Christ unless we learn to face it and overcome it with the grace of God.

Our openness to being approachable

In the 2013-2014 season we gave attention on the way we can give praise to the Most High Jehovah and ‘Sing for His Name’.

English: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter ...

According Catholic Faith: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the academic year 2013-2014 much discussion went on about a revision of the educational program in the Belgian schools and about a renewal of the attitude of the Catholic Church which kept loosing more and more people. They decided to make one parish from 5 parishes so that the costs could be tempered and priests would be available to do a service every few weeks, for at least one per month in a village.

The Bible Students did not have it easy either to attract people to their services. Most people are also afraid of non-trinitarians and do not like to put away their traditions, like baby baptism, first and second communion, and other Catholic celebrations. More and more people Focus on outward appearances and are not any more interested in a Supreme Higher Being, which they can not see or do feel to have connection with.

More and more people also give a voice accusing God to be a cruel partial being, Whom let others suffer a lot and let so many things happen without interfering. Several people also became angry with those people who call themselves People of God and wanted to see a Jewish nation living in Israel the Land given by God to His Chosen People.

This last season, we looked at the apostle Peter who perceived that God is not partial, (Acts 10:34) being aware that the Greek word rendered “partial” literally means “taker of faces.” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures) Regarding this term, one scholar explains:

“It refers to a judge who looks at a man’s face and renders a verdict, not in accord with the merits of the case, but according as he likes or dislikes the man.”

As Christians we may be happy God gave His son to liberate us all and to give the goyim (people, nation) or heathen also a chance to become part of His people, not favouring one face over another because of race, nationality, social standing, or any other external factors.

Knowing that in every nation the man that fears Jehovah God and works righteousness is acceptable to Him, we tried to work at ourself and help others to find the right direction, growing in truthfulness and righteousness.

At the services we talked about what it means to fear God. We tried to see how we have and can respect, honour, and trust Him, avoiding anything that displeases him. To work righteousness involves willingly doing what is right in God’s eyes. Jehovah finds pleasure in the man whose heart is filled with reverential awe that moves him to do what is right.(Deuteronomy 10:12, 13.)

The Christadelphians in Belgium did not face an easy year. The Belgian Christadelphians from the ecclesia Brussel-Leuven tried to get all the different groups of Christadelphians together. Their intentions where very good, but did not take account of the human selfishness, pride, likes of power, and stubborn attitude. We do have to admit that also certain Bible Students did not like a liaison either, with certain other groups. A shame it did not work out positively and left division in the ranks.

We spend lots of time in arguing and discussing the matter of unity. Shamefully we encountered hesitation and opposition. We also experienced discrimination or prejudice which made good reason for us to take heart from Peter’s words about God. Jehovah is drawing people of all nations to true worship. (John 6:44; Acts 17:26, 27) He listens and responds to the prayers of his worshippers regardless of their race, nationality, or social standing. (1 Kings 8:41-43) We can be confident that when Jehovah looks down from heaven, he sees just one race—the human race.

Facing the problems of the Brothers and Sisters in Belgium we also reminded ourselves that Jesus foretold that the Christian congregation would come under attack. Remember, in his prophetic illustration of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus warned that a newly planted field of wheat (anointed Christians) would be oversown with weeds (imitation Christians). The groups, he said, would be allowed to grow side by side—undisturbed until the harvest, which would come at “a conclusion of a system of things.” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) It was not long before Jesus’ words began to come true.

The apostasy made some inroads in the first century, but Jesus’ faithful apostles acted “as a restraint,” holding back the contamination and influence of false teachings. (2 Thessalonicans 2:3, 6, 7) However, once the last of the apostles died, the apostasy took root and flourished during a long growing season that lasted for many centuries. Additionally, during that time, the weeds became many and the blades of wheat were few. There was no consistent, organized channel for dispensing spiritual food.

As the end of the growing season neared, there were strong stirrings of interest in Bible truth. Recall that in the 1870’s, a small group of sincere truth-seekers got together and formed Bible classes apart from the weeds—imitation Christians within the churches and sects of Christendom. With humble hearts and open minds, those sincere Bible Students, as they called themselves, made a careful and prayerful search of the Scriptures.—Matthew 11:25.

Those Bible Students’ diligent study of the Scriptures yielded rich results and they also found their way to Europe where they originally came from. In the States as in Europe different Bible Students groups found new light and got several little independent groups spreading locally the Biblical Truth. Belgium, as a very strong Roman Catholic bastion was a difficult place to convince people of what was really written in the Bible.

Tetragrammaton (God's name, see Jehovah) at th...

Tetragrammaton (God’s name, see Jehovah) at the Roman Catholic Church Saint-Germain-des-Prés, at Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Jehovah Witnesses found more interest by the believers the Roman Catholic Church started taking away the Name of God from their publications. They also had used the name Jehovah until the mid 1960ies, but then they wanted to avoid any  resemblance with the group of Bible Students which used God’s Name but did not want to accept Jesus as the god.

There where some trials to bring different Bible Students joining forces, but last season Marcus Ampe did a last effort to bring the non-Jehovah Witnesses Bible Students and Bible researchers together. He had hoped to bring the different Christadelphian Groups, Old Paths, Central Fellowship, Amended and Unamended Christadelphians, Dawn Students, Australian and Belgian Bible Students, together with Logos and Carelinks members. To no avail. He got a ‘big slap in his face’, finding his efforts not being appreciated, and being more shunned than before. He with the Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven and with the Belgian Bible Students became more isolated because they wanted to be impartial and open to any serious Bible Student, no matter which background or organisation.
They lost their support from the English organisation and made it now clear to the public they wanted to be an independent Christian organisation, free from human directorate, giving themselves to the ruling of Christ Jesus as their only cornerstone.

They like we, want to be united under Jesus Christ, facing total impartiality in the ranks, with the impartial God as our Most High example.

We, after our bad experience this season, therefore dare to ask every person coming to us or reading these pages:

Are you moved to learn more about this impartial God?

Are you willing to become part of the People of God?

Are you willing to understand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, understanding that there are and may be different parts or groups, like you have the kidneys, reins, stomach, veins, lungs, etc, in a human body?

Tbilisi St. Peter-Paul Catholic Church

the Love of Christ, by his good heart – Tbilisi St. Peter-Paul Catholic Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having noticed how difficult it even is in the own ranks or denomination to find the love of Christ fully, and getting to see how it is not always to get the right quality of approachability, we wondered how we could help it to bring people together.

How would you describe an individual who is approachable? You might say,

‘Someone who is kind, readily available, and easy to talk to.’

You can often discern whether a person is approachable or not by listening to what he says and by observing his body language—gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal signs.

Confronted with all those communication problems we looked at Jehovah how He demonstrates that He is approachable. Although He is the Almighty Creator of our vast universe, Jehovah assures us that He is willing and eager to listen to our prayers and to respond to them. (Read Psalm 145:18; Isaiah 30:18, 19.) The Belgian Christadelphians also presented a series about the way we can speak to God at length at any time or place. They looked at ‘prayer‘, how we can bring prayers which are worthy in the eyes of God.

Ελληνικά:

Ελληνικά: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We where happy this year in the knowledge that we always can approach the Divine Creator Jehovah God freely, knowing that He will never reproach us for doing so. (Psalm 65:2; James. 1:5) God’s Word describes Jehovah in human terms to indicate that he wants to be approached. For instance, the psalmist David wrote that “the eyes of Jehovah are toward” us and that his “right hand keeps fast hold” on us. (Psalm 34:15; 63:8) The prophet Isaiah likened Jehovah to a shepherd, saying:

“With his arm he will collect together the lambs; and in his bosom he will carry them.” (Isaiah 40:11)

We, though we had to face a very difficult time in Belgium, the last few months, still could find happiness in the knowledge that we fully could trust God Who wants us to be as close to Him as a little lamb nestled in the bosom of a caring shepherd.

We where convinced, and still are, that a key to being approachable is showing genuine interest in others. If an elder cares about others and is willing to give of himself in their behalf, his brothers and sisters, including young ones, will likely sense this attitude. (Mark 10:13-16) Of course, it is not enough for an elder to say that he is approachable; he should manifest that quality. (1 John 3:18)

Customs may vary from land to land, but usually when we give our brothers and sisters a warm smile, a welcoming handshake, a relaxed greeting, we are signaling that we are genuinely interested in them. Who should take the initiative in this? Note the example Jesus set. Matthew reports that at a meeting with his disciples, “Jesus approached and spoke to them.” (Matthew 28:18) Likewise, elders today take the initiative to approach their fellow believers and speak to them. How can that affect the congregation? An 88-year-old pioneer sister observed:

“The warm smiles and encouraging comments I receive from the elders when I enter the Kingdom Hall endear them to me.”

Another faithful sister added:

“It may be viewed as a little thing, but when an elder welcomes me to the meeting with a smile, it means a lot to me.”

This coming year we would like to continue working at the openness we do have to have, making ourselves more approachable to others. Obviously, we cannot be approached if we are not available. Jehovah sets a fine example in that regard.

“He is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27)

One way in which elders make themselves available to others is by setting aside time before and after Christian meetings to converse with their brothers and sisters—young and old.
A pioneer brother noted:

“When an elder asks how I’m doing and then stops to listen to my answer, I feel appreciated.”

A sister who has been serving Jehovah for nearly 50 years commented:

“Elders who take some time to talk to me after the meeting make me feel valued.”

We would love to give more time to those who have questions and are willing to listen to them and to give answers to the many questions people may have.

This coming new season we do want to give extra attention to the sheep showing others we are open to any body, being fair, free from having or showing bias or favouritism.

One who is impartial will pay due regard, not to an individual’s outward appearance or circumstances, but to his or her character as a person. We would like to find people who have the right attitude to come closer to Jehovah, our God, the greatest example of impartiality. His Word states that he “is not partial” and that he “treats none with partiality.”

34 At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial,+35 but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.+ (Acts 10:34, 35)

17 For Jehovah your God is the God of gods+ and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty, and awe-inspiring, who treats none with partiality+ and does not accept a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17.)

As always are full attention next season shall go to the God of gods, Who executes justice for the fatherless child  and the widow and loves the foreign resident, giving him food and clothing. (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 24:14, Psalm 146:9) Once more we shall also give full attention to hired worker who is in need and poor and protecting the foreign residents, looking carefully what shall happen to the country Belgium in those political difficult times, where the politicians do not take into account the votes of the people, and created a new sort of monarchy of the political parties, where each party delivers politicians from father to son and keeps ruling the country and creating different posts for the own political family.

We do hope to convince people how no human political system shall ever be able to bring total peace. We shall keep trying to bring them the knowledge of what the purpose is of the Kingdom of God and why it is so important we look forward to the return of Christ Jesus, the Messiah.

We do admit we with the Belgian Christadelphians hoped we could bring much more people together, clinging to each other. We shamefully failed and have to admit we should put all our hope to God, and got perhaps too much fear in man.

20 “Jehovah your God you should fear, him you should serve,+ to him you should cling, and by his name you should swear. 21 He is the One you are to praise.+ He is your God, who has done all these great and awe-inspiring things for you that your own eyes have seen.+ (Deuteronomy 10: 20-21)

We shall continue to to invite all sorts of fellow believers, including those whose background differs from ours as well as those who are poor, orphaned, or widowed. (Read Galatians 2:10; James 1:27.) Further, in the Kingdom-preaching work, we shall keep sharing the good news impartially with people of all backgrounds, including those from foreign countries.

Preaching without impartility

We shall continue to take time to reflect on how approachable and impartial Jehovah is. In the knowledge that Jehovah is near to all those calling upon Him, we shall keep trying to bring others to know Him and to imitate Jehovah’s qualities to the full, demonstrating them in our dealings with fellow believers and with those to whom we preach.

Preceding article: An academic year ending, again a new year standing ready for us

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Additional reading:

  1. Words in the world
  2. Funeral service only belongs in church building according to Catholic Church
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  5. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  6. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  7. Focus on outward appearances
  8. People are turning their back on Christianity
  9. Christianity to be enshrined
  10. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  11. Walking alone?
  12. Stand Up
  13. Quit griping about your church
  14. Accents in schools and tools of survival against aliens
  15. Two states of existence before God
  16. God, my father, my closest friend
  17. God doesn’t call the qualified
  18. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  19. A Society pleading poverty
  20. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  21. Christadelphian people
  22. Not many coming out with their community name
  23. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  24. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  25. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation
  26. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  27. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  28. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  29. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  30. Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation
  31. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  32. Springtime!
  33. Christian values and voting not just a game
  34. Human relations 2013
  35. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritually
  36. Preparing for an important election
  37. Standing aside or looking at election days
  38. 2014 European elections
  39. Yellow wave over Belgium
  40. Walloon politicians have proven they will never be willing to be open to Flanders
  41. A Jewish Theocracy
  42. Call for prayer to help with unity crisis
  43. Do You Expect God’s Answer
  44. Prayer, important aspect in our life
  45. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  46. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  47. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  48. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #1 Creator and His Prophets
  49. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  50. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  51. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity
  52. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  53. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  54. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  55. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  56. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  57. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  59. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  60. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  61. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  62. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  63. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  64. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  65. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  66. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  67. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  68. Praying and thinking positively
  69. “Prayer 2″ – Child Abuse
  70. Genuine prayer
  71. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  72. 7000 to 20000 words spoken each day
  73. If you think you’re too small to be effective
  74. Does God answer prayer?
  75. Being sure of their deliverance
  76. Work with joy and pray with love
  77. Give your worries to God
  78. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow

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  • Nearly 6,000 attend Jehovah’s Witness convention (wwlp.com)
    The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations from across the Northeast came to Amherst this weekend. They participated in a three-day program that included sermons, songs and prayer.
  • My Family Was Catholic Until the Almighty Got a Hold of Us (sandradeden.com)
    Ever wonder how all the different religions came about? Well, wonder no more, because I have a highly sophisticated theory. I think entire families stand in a long line before they are born, and a deity hands out religion like an ice cream truck guy hands out SpongeBob SquarePants bars, strawberry shortcakes, and fudgsicles. How do I know this? It’s the only way to explain my family.
    +
    She liked the Jewish emphasis on family and being a good person (as opposed to say, burning in hell for transgressions). The final piece was the idea that children must be born to a Jewish mother be considered Jewish, so she converted. It was toughest on my mom. Julie’s religious departure was still based in Christianity, but for my mom, Sharon had left the fold entirely.
  • A Letter to Brother Bramwell Chandrakumar’s Questions (garylordsway.wordpress.com)
    Jesus has defined God for us in scripture: Jn.4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. If we then know God is a Spirit, because God cannot lie
  • Chapter 25-Christ in the Old Testament (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    It is well to see that the true doctrine as to the Saviour of man is not that of the New Testament only, but of the whole Bible. The unity of divine revelation will thus appear. The testimony of prophecy will be added to that of the miracles which attended the life of Jesus and the ministry of his followers.
    +
    The prophecy of the second coming of Christ which Jude (vers. 14, 15) tells us was made by “Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” betokens a degree of knowledge to the very end of the world which, but for that record, would never have been imagined. We are therefore not to be hindered by any presumption that our first parents did not know what God was promising, from carefully scrutinizing the record left us, nor from giving to it all the fullness of meaning its literal interpretation may convey.
  • Psalm 9 (kittyjonesblog.wordpress.com)
    Since you provide my righteousness and appoint my cause, /I know that my enemies, /the world culture that surrounds me, /my own self-absorbed flesh / and the devil, /will stumble and perish before the righteous judgment / that comes from your throne.
  • What do you need…? (prayerconfessions.wordpress.com)
    The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.Encounter Him as:
    Elohim: the God above all gods

    Jehovah Jireh: the God who provides

    El-Shaddai: the almighty God

    Jehovah Rapha: our healer God

    Jehovah Shalom: our God of peace

  • Names of God (girlfriendscoffeehour.com)
    El Roi, the God Who Sees
    You are My Banner, Jehovah-Nissi
    The All Sufficient One, El Shaddai
    Jehovah-Jireh, You Will Provide
    Rapha, the Lord Who Heals
    Shalom, You are my Peace
    The Lord of Hosts, Jehovah-Sabaoth
  • Week 15: Friday – The Great I am (bolmdevotional.wordpress.com)
  • Jehovah “Is Not Partial” (byronfliwalker.wordpress.com)
    Have you ever been a victim of discrimination? Have you ever been denied a request, refused a service, or otherwise treated with disdain because of your skin color, ethnic background, or social status? If so, you are far from alone. Here, though, is the good news: Such indignities, though commonplace on earth, are nonexistent in heaven. “God is not partial,” said the Christian apostle Peter with the utmost conviction.—Read Acts 10:34, 35.

A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium

Figures in history

Photograph of Charles Taze Russell.

Photograph of Charles Taze Russell. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout history lots of religions had troubles with certain figures wanting to have control over everything and wanting to be the main leader.

The Biblestudent movement is no different than any other Christian denomination. In its coarse of history there have been strong leaders creating schisms or denying there where divisions having come out of their group.

One of the pupils of Dr. John Thomas never wanted to have a following of a singular person. Charles Taze Russell managed to create a big amount of followers who were genuinely interested to make the best out of Bible study. Their leader had arranged that they could have additional literature which could be of help to their study, but it was never intended to replace the Bible.

Centralized authority

Russell did not believe in any centralized authority except Jesus and the apostles through the Bible. Because he did believe that Jesus returned in 1874 and that the Gentile Times ended in 1914 he could not be associated with other Bible Students who do not believe that Christ returned in 1874, or that the Gentile Times ended in 1914. The Christadelphians for example are such a group who think Christ still has to return. Whilst his freedom to believe Thomas his unique beliefs were accepted many objected to them being preached as necessary for salvation and this led to a series of debates particularly between Alexander Campbell and Dr Thomas.

John Thomas

John Thomas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Thomas might have had a particular vision on what was predicted in the Bible. His exposition of Bible prophecy led to him making various detailed predictions about then current day events many of which did not come to pass, as was noted in the foreword to subsequent editions of Elpis Israel after his death. those predictions make it sometimes, mainly for Roman Catholics, difficult that he could have followers, because they expect that they would accept everything their teacher would have said or written. But Dr. Thomas Thomas never claimed to be any kind of prophet, or in any way inspired, and as such his writings should not bind any body to believe other things than those which are clear in the Bible. All other findings are ideas, of which some may be accepted and others rejected, without having to be excluded of the community, because in the community there should be freedom of thought. Everybody may say his opinion of how he thinks things could be. But what we can not know for sure we do not have to accept the predictions or guessing of individual members. Nobody can or should force his or her ideas on somebody else. Every person should come into the faith by independent study and should not bound himself or herself to any  particular person or organisation and not be placed under any specific ranking, like in the traditional churches, with their pope, cardinals, bishops and priests.

Time of the end

c131

Dr. Thomas may have written:

There is a part of prophetic time, upon the heels of which, our race is now treading, called “the time of the end”—“a time of trouble,” says the Messenger of God, “such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.”

and have thought that end-time could have been very close. Thomas thought that they had at length arrived at

“the time of the end,” in its bearing upon the congregation of the Lord Christ.

At the time when he lived he considered

The political signs of the disastrous times—“the time of the end”—coming upon the nations, are crowding the page of history; and the rumbling of that voice, which is to “roar out of Zion,” already trembles upon the ear.

For him it was time to put on the complete armour of God, and gird the loins of your minds with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, preparing our feet with the glad tidings of peace, taking up the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, and arming ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

If you would win you must fight; and you must either take a decided stand on the one side or the other. You may delude yourselves with peace here, and happiness hereafter; but be assured that these states are incompatible; for, if you would reign hereafter, you must suffer here.

The Christian Church, or “the Lamb’s wife,” has arrived at the period of preparation, and the proclamation of the Great Captain is — Make ready! And how are the Christians to do this? — By a reformation of morals and combining together heart and soul, and purse, for the restoration of the Christian institution to what it was in apostolic times. This is what must and will be done before the Messiah comes; and, if the faint hearted professors of this generation won’t do themselves the honor of effecting it, the next generation will, and our contemporaries will have the mortification of losing that great recompense of the inheritance, to secure which is now within their grasp.

He believed it was time to rejoice and exult, and give glory to him, because the marriage of the Lamb had come.

But the congregation of the Lord — the Lamb’s wife — will only have attained to this glorious character, when every individual member shall have been immersed into Christ; instead of being composed of persons, as it is now, some of whom have put on Christ and others their own experience. Every saint must have his robe washed white in the blood of Christ; no speckled garments will be admitted there.

What we do know from Scripture is that at the end-times certain signs would be given to the world, like more earthquakes and tsunamis, floods and storms. But there is also been told about a starting of the troubles in the land of Euphrates and Tigris, after which children would come to resist their parents and religions would come up against other religions, even having wars in the own families and religious groups. And when you look at it that is just what we are encountering today.

Powerful engines

In Dr. Thomas his time the press was a powerful engine.

It is a mighty messenger, whom all the combined power of the Kings of Europe cannot control. Without his aid, Luther’s revolt could not have been effected, and the world might still have been groaning under the despotism of kings, priests, ignorance and superstition. His voice is loud, as when a lion roars; and when he cries seven thunders utter their voices.

“A little book” is a mighty weapon, and like the tongue, has “set the wheel of nature in a blaze.” We rely, therefore, a great deal on the potency of a little book, in our efforts at reformation and restoration. It has done wonders, and will yet do more. It has embittered the stomach, but sweetened the taste; and, while the ponderous tomes of systems of divinity encumber the dusty shelves of the libraries of the downy doctors of the day, from which they pilfer the chopped logic of their sermons, — the wayfaring man though unlearned, can recline under the shade of a tree, and, drawing from his pocket the little book which contains the will of his heavenly Father, he can imbibe the divine words of the Holy Spirit which are able to make him wise to salvation, and far more learned, too, than the gods of the people, though charged to the full with the crudities of Whitby, Gill, Scott and Henry. Despise not, therefore, the day of little books and small things, but promote, as far as you can, the circulation of the fearless and independent “Advocate” of the ancient gospel and apostolic order of things. Editor.

{Thomas, J. (1834-1836). The apostolic advocate. Title from caption. (1:277-284). Richmond, Va.: s.n.}

Lots of little books, newsletters and exhortations have been written by now. Today certain people become more afraid of the small writings by many persons or want others to follow only their “little writings”. They even want to go so far to take care that what is published can be taken away from public view.

Forcing ideas in other’s heads

Dr.Thomas did not force his ideas onto others and never suggested that he was speaking under inspiration from God or had any personal visions. In this we should find the big difference between what John Thomas did and the false prophet of Deuteronomy 18. We should remember when people read the Bible they are just humans who also can easily miss the mark. He too like any of us could err on doctrine. There is one of the big differences in our believes, we do not belief that any person can be having all the wisdom and be infallible. Some religions claim infallibility for their leaders, but the Christadelphians are not among them.

John Thomas changed his mind several times during the course of his life on many Biblical matters as his understanding became clearer. He was a Bible student of the first order whose main purpose in life was to sift through the myths and dogmas and understand what was the original teaching of Christianity. John Thomas never wanted or desired for people to follow him. His desire was that people would follow God and Jesus Christ as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

Today once more the Biblestudent movement is having a person who is forcing his ideas onto others and who wants that they follow him and his organisation and no other.

No prophets and no solo teachers

Despite being wrong on the date of Christ’s return, John Thomas was amazingly accurate in many of his interpretations of prophecy. He predicted with uncanny accuracy, among other things, the establishment of the state of Israel a hundred years before the fact. Again, the only credit John Thomas can take for this accurate prediction is for the countless hours he put in as a Bible student and not as a prophet.

Other Christadelphians have predicted the date of Christ’s return only to see the time come and go. We always should remember that even Christ Jesus did not know when he would be coming back, so how could we say when he would be coming back? Mark 13:32 should put an end to the practice of guessing or predicting. Speaking of the Second Coming, Jesus states

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

The bottom line is that neither John Thomas nor any other Christadelphian is a prophet or has claimed to be and should not claim to be so. We should go to the infallible word of God for our prophetic visions and most importantly for our understanding of the Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20).

That Book of books should be our infallible Guide and not a singular man.

Excessive zeal

Some  Christadelphians and other Bible Students might have had an

excessive zeal carried to the point of harshness on the part of a few that has led to the Christadelphians being everywhere spoken against. {Robert Roberts in The Sect Everywhere Spoken Against}

English: Variants of symbol of Cross and Crown...

Variants of bible Students symbol of Cross and Crown enclosed within wreath(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the years there came to be moments in the Bible Student movement that a particular person got master of the strings and forced his ideas on others. One of such persons imposing his law was Joseph Franklin Rutherford with his “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma. Rutherford wanted to distinguish himself from other Bible Student groups and by taking the name Jehovah’s witnesses wanted to symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell’s traditions. Others just wanted to have the power themselves and love to be the one in the spotlight.

Today Belgium is been hit by the attempts of a man from the North to get in charge of what is to happen in the Christadelphian community in Belgium. Previously he had already made some attempts to have a good crack to become the leader in Belgium as part of his strategy to be a leader of a worldwide organisation which would “link” all people together to him.

He wanted a cat flap in the Belgian community by having the Belgian responsible, under the wings of the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM, denouncing his connection with that group and giving all honour to Mr.D.H. and his organisation C.l..

The difference with the other members of the Biblestudent movement which consider them the only one sincere Biblestudents, is that they as Witnesses of Jehovah have the zeal to reach everybody and as much as persons they can reach. The present group forbids its members to take contact with other members of the Christadelphian community and do not allow them to look for other like-minded people. Their members are also not encouraged to go out preaching and do not seem to bring the gospel to other people. Though their organisation has the word “Care” in their name they do not seem to care about other people. They do not seem to be interested to meet other Christadelphians, though they call themselves Christadelphian. We do find it strange, that all those people baptised in Belgium by Mr. D.H. do not look for other Christadelphians, when they themselves would call themselves Christadelphian. There are enough Christadelphian websites by which people in Belgium could find some Belgian Christadelphians. We wonder why they do not take any contact then with those very few Brothers and Sisters in Christ, who live in isolation in that small country!

Asked to defile

CBM Feb. 18 18.13

Christadelphian Bible Mission U.K. or CBM – 2014 February

Mr.D.H. asks from every person who wants to become a member of or to be associated with his organisation “C.l.” to “defile” (his words) the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM members. Mr. D.H. is even proud he can find enough people who were under the wings of the CBM but got attracted by his organisation and were willing to denounce the CBM and to corrupt the name of the other Christadelphians.

Mr.D.H. also writes to the association of Belgian Christadelphians:

You describe yourselves as “CBM brethren”, but the policies of that organization preclude you from fellowshipping with us, … There are at this time 7 brothers and sisters from British ecclesias having a great time in Riga, Latvia fellowshipping with us and witnessing baptisms there. They have had to defy the CBM to do so but it has been to their and everyone’s blessing.

All the previous members of the Biblestudent movement except Mr. Rutherford never did ask that of their members. Therefore we are concerned about seeing once again a schism coming into existence where the leader of the group who excludes the other shall proclaim the others are the bad guys and have many schisms under them, while they go out in the clear. This time it looks more dangerous than with the group of Rutherford which became the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We would not consider them a sect, and would not consider they are following just one leader. They at least do have a committee. Now everything seems to turn around one man having everything in control and the others having no opportunity to say something against that person in charge.

During Russell’s ministry congregations continued to form and each of them remained self-administrative, functioning under the congregationalist style of church governance. Russell’s organization maintained hundreds of “pilgrims,” or travelling preachers. By 1910, about 50,000 people worldwide were associated with the movement. {The New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1910, vol 7, pg 374} but his organisation became under the influence of an autocratic and secretive person who was enjoying to have power. Like Rutherford centralized organizational control of the Watch Tower Society the Man from the North would like to have control over the Christadelphians as well.

It is a pity many people do not know that because being disappointed by the changes, tens of thousands of defections occurred during the first half of Rutherford’s tenure, leading to the formation of several Bible Student organizations independent of the Watch Tower Society. Though today the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be the original and only true Biblestudents, founded by Russell.

Here we see a repetition of history, Mr.D.H. from the North claiming to be the organisation bringing the Truth and being the real followers of Christ and the real followers of John Thomas. They consider all others as the “bad ones”.

Concerns

Belgian Christadelphians English pages

English web-pages of the Belgian Christadelphians

The CBM was and is concerned about Mr.D.H his many converts.

“The issue with CBM is that it feels these converts are not properly taught, instructed and baptised. … it is not the converts fault at all, hence bringing them into a small fellowship group would be to their benefit.”

Mr. Marcus Ampe from the Belgian Christadelphians tried to bring the Central Fellowship CBM members (Amended Christadelphians) together with other Christadelphians. He and some committed members of the Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven engaged in an effort to bring all different souls under one roof and having them meet in peace at different places in Belgium.

Currently people might find different Christadelphian groups like the Bereans, mostly in North America and the remnants of the Dawn fellowship mainly in the UK and Australia. In Ghent there live some Old Paths who do not want to meet with us, though an other person from the Old Paths is already several years happy meeting with us at different places in Belgium and France. From those Old Paths, in the world you might find also the Companion and Lightstand fellowships resulting from splits within this group, but with some of these later joining with the Dawn group and some remaining separate. All refuse association with any other fellowship, and all share three main characteristics of which the claim that the Central fellowship is either apostate or willing to accept apostasy, is one.

For months discussions and writings went on and lots of time was spend to come to a solution to have baptised Christadelphians in Belgium a place to meet other brothers and sisters, plus having an opening to invite non-baptised people to different places in the country.

Christadelphia Black-out Feb. 15 10.47

Christadelphia Facebook page being blacked-out in February 2014

It might not be. Mr.D.H. keeps refusing and doing everything to break the unity of the Christadelphian community. The last few days he even went so far to go into attack against Mr. Ampe and his publications on the net, hindering all his preaching work. The Man from the North succeeded to silence Mr. Ampe by jamming his personal Google+ pages and publications, as well as having taken away from public viewing his website Christadelphian World and the Facebook page Christadelphia.

When a person goes so far he takes down the websites of others,we do come in a very dangerous situation where the dictator manages to silence anybody who does not agree with him. This did not happen yet in the world of the Biblestudents before. Lots of screaming to each other and having lots of words going to and fro, might have happened more than once in the community where many people were very concerned to preach and to get as many people as they could to the Truth.

Necessity for union

Mr. Marcus Ampe tried to get the people living in Belgium, to meet with others, no matter to which Christadelphian group they might originally belong. for him unity between followers of Christ is most important.

According to him the ecclesia or the parish is part of the Body of Christ. Each community having its own independance, but joining hands in the general basic creeds. all those different communities should feel the bond with each other, though all keep their own choice and responsibility to appoint representatives, for the discharge of all the duties of an ecclesia: for the instruction and proper baptism of new members; for the spiritual as well as physical welfare of all its members; for the repudiation of error and, where ultimately necessary, for withdrawal from disorderly or erring members. These duties are carried out by the ecclesia concerned on behalf of the whole body of believers, and therefore there must be complete agreement among all ecclesiae as to the basis on which fellowship is shared.

It is not good for the Body of Christ when there is division in it. All should have brotherly love and be willing to accept the differences of character of each individual. Each person should feel that he or she is fully respected and taken on in the community of believers and recognised as a follower of Christ, full member of the Body of Christ.

Central fellowship practice

Marcus Ampe does regret that many groups have continued to differentiate and divide because their members either can’t resist (or don’t want to resist) the urge to police anyone and everyone in their “fellowship”.  today Mr.D.H. and his organisation also have shown their true face, certainly after creating a black out for some of the Belgian websites and pages (Google+ and Facebook).

Like you may find on different Central Fellowship websites, the Central Fellowship members of Belgium believe that all ecclesiae in a community should be regarded as part of a single body; the division into individual ecclesiae being only a matter of geographical convenience. For this reason the concept of “ecclesial autonomy”, where individual ecclesiae accept different standards in matters relating to fundamentals of belief and practice, is rejected by the Dawn community. But on non-fundamental matters there must be ecclesial independence. We firmly reject any idea of an overall controlling body.

The Central fellowship has been using the Ecclesial Guide, appreciating ecclesial autonomy and ecclesia-based fellowship, as based upon the Scriptural principles encapsulated in the BASF. It has rejected those who demand the BASF only, and allowed instead for different expressions of the same saving truths, both in its different reunion documents, and in individual ecclesial statements. This has given the breakaway fragments, if they sought unity again, a way back into the larger group. And the reasonable combination of ecclesial autonomy, a common set of beliefs, and a more or less standard fellowship practice has allowed ecclesias and individuals of some diversity to remain together. It is a paradigm that works (with some glitches, of course) for a worldwide community. {Christadelphian Divisions and Fellowship, Glad Tidings, March 2013}

Sad occurrence

Having Mr. D.H. such an aggressive stand, blocking any form of co-operation and not only making that the CBM members can not meet with other brethren, worse him silencing several of the Belgian internet places to meet the general public, or a real intrusion of democratic freedom of speech and of showing brotherly love and willingness to give everybody the same possibilities to reach others to bring them to the Kingdom of God.

Also the Association of Bible Students got a red notice from Google and got the message their reply on Christadelphian World was taken of public viewing because of ‘inappropriate language’. For our readers to decide if it was really a language which should not be open to the public we here present a photograph of the reply to the article: No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks:

Biblestudents comment on Christadelphian World - Blogger Feb. 14 14.04Such an action of silencing all who have some remark to make or have other ideas, is creating a ground for a dictatorial community and would not resist others to accuse such a community for being a cult. Sectarianism is something none of the Bible-students would like to be associated with. Many groups face already difficulty, by being called a cult, that we can need such a group of Mr.D.H. like we need a hole in the head.

It is incredible that such a single man can create such upheaval and cause a black out of websites or voices on the international internet. We do not understand how he managed to this, but it is an inadmissible action. The man from the North his attitude is impermissible and all those involved in the building up the body of Christ here on earth should warn their flock of the dangers of such a person, who does not recoil to use all means to get his goal.

Reason to react

We can not just do if nothing happened.  The man of the North keeping back ways to reach non-believers and believers, making the Belgian brethren to fail to talk to them about salvation, he is essentially condemning them to separation from God and withholding them from getting in contact with lovers of God.  When we see such un-christian action been taken to silence a follower of Christ, certainly when such events are caused by somebody who calls himself a Christian, the community should act. According to us when a Christian sees a fellow Christian sinning and does not say anything, the person who stays silent is not showing them the love of Christ and in effect is actually “hating” the other person. When people have an argument with somebody they should come to terms and solve the matter, first in private, than by bringing it the eyes of some private brothers or/and sisters, and when nothing helps they should let more people from the community know what is going on and where there are problems. Mr. Marcus Ampe followed this path of trial to come to reconciliation between all the parties involved. He and the members of the Belgian ecclesia wanted it to work it out. They did not want to have seeds of anger and hostility sown in anybodies heart toward any person or organisation.  The Belgian Christadelphians have been pushed in the corner and are obliged to defend themselves.

All those who consider themselves to be a follower of Christ should try to unite with the other followers of Christ. All those sincerely studying the bible should show others the way Christ Jesus has paved for us and how he wanted us to unite. Therefore let us show that brotherly love to each other, give each other hands and unite under the body of Christ.

In the peace and love of Christ, peace be with you all.

***

Without freedom of thought there can be no suc...

Without freedom of thought there can be no such think as wisdom & no such thing as puclick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The cause of maddening:

After months of trying to get reconciliation and getting nowhere Mr. Marcus Ampe found it necessary to let his public know that he nor his ecclesia members could do much against the unbearable situation not to meet with others or being able to give the addresses of other communities in Belgium. After having placed the articles Duncan Heaster en Carelinks onverbiddelijke verhinderaars and  No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks, Mr. D.H. accused him of slander. In his defence Mr. Ampe replied to the articles and accusations, but found that very quickly his defence was taken off the net, with the accusation of being of “inappropriate language”.

Other reactions were given afterwards:

  1. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God (2/10/2014)
  2. Priority to form a loving brotherhood (February 10, 2014)
  3. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them (2/12/2014)
  4. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech (Friday, February 14, 2014)
  5. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation (February 14, 2014)
  6. Attackers silenced freedom of speech (2014/02/15)
  7. Attackers silenced freedom of speech (17 , Feb, 2014)
  8. Delay in publications because attack from outside (February 17, 2014)

Dutch articles:

  1. Vertraging door ongehoorde moeilijkheden (February 15, 2014)
  2. Vertraging door ongehoorde moeilijkheden (17 , Feb, 2014)

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Please do also find to read:

  1. Christadelphian Divisions and Fellowship
  2. Integrity of the fellowship
  3. Secret or public return of Jesus
  4. Signs of the Last Days
  5. Weapons of our warfare
  6. Creator and Blogger God 9 A Blog of a Book 3 Blog about Prophecy
  7. Belonging to or being judged by
  8. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian

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  • One Mind, One Accord (propheticsteps.com)
    How often do you find total agreement with other people? I often find myself in agreement with others, but not always for the same reason. There are times I can see someone else’s point of view, but I do not agree with their assessment. Just because people laugh at the same joke does not mean they find the same thing funny.This is one of the many problems plaguing the body of Christ today. I have found myself in different congregations, in different denominations, among friends and strangers, and have discussed some of those differences. If this were a solvable problem, the many denominations of churches would be reduced to one.
    +
    Today I simply ask that you pray for the churches. Prayerfully ask for Godly knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Pray for strength to stand strong on truth. Pray for humble submission to God’s word, God’s will and the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment. Pray for the leaders of the body of Christ, the burden is great for those in positions of authority, as is the judgment they assume in taking positions of leadership.
    +

    Another gospel?
    The church, in general, today is experiencing perilous times. There are so many denominations, doctrines, teachings, and ideas. What I find to be most dangerous is this: The general acceptance of all things. If someone thinks it, believes it, and says it loud enough multiple times, someone else is willing to accept it and repeat the process.
    +
    If we find a gospel being preached that is easy to digest and a gospel that tickles the ears, we better be alarmed. If we hear soothing words that eases the burden of sin without true repentance and cheapens the grace which God has given, it must become our duty to defend the truth.

  • “Shut Up!” – One Year Bible – February 18 – Tuesday (jerryrothauser.wordpress.com)
    Cheatin’ goes, always shows!  If someone snookers his neighbor in any way, he had to repay and add 20% to it. To boot, he had to sacrifice a ram.Maybe we take sin too casually.  If we had to buy a smelly ram and then have it slaughtered in front of our eyes and smell the burning flesh and see the blood maybe we wouldn’t be so casual about sin.  Or would we?  Maybe we’d also appreciate the lamb slain for us a bit more, too?  Naaah.
  • SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:17-18 (settledinheaven.wordpress.com)
    Christ’s message was meant for both Gentile (afar off) and Jews (nigh).  Keep in mind, although the ministry of Christ centered upon the Jews (Matt 15:24), Christ did minister to Gentiles as well:
  • Dealing With Problems (dailybibleplan.com)
    As problems arise for us, we often do not know exactly how to handle them and we can easily be tempted not deal with them at all.  When we see a non-believer who does not know the Way, we can be tempted to “bury our heads in the sand” and not talk to them about Christ because it might be uncomfortable.  When we see a fellow believer sinning, we can be tempted to “bury our heads in the sand” and not confront them on their sins because we want to maintain the peace.  Just like Festus, we can be tempted to try to send others on their way to allow someone else to deal with the problem, but none of this is biblical.  Being a follower of Christ does not afford us the opportunity to “bury our heads in the sand”.  Jesus was very specific when He told us how to deal with problems, and regardless of the situation we are called to deal with problems head on.
  • “But did you pray for the wolf?” (standupforthetruth.com)
    First of all I want to say up front that I do not believe praying for a wolf is wrong, a sin, nor am I saying that you shouldn’t do it. Furthermore, this post is not intended to discourage you from doing so, but only to raise the question are wesupposed to pray for the wolves?I would also like to preface this thesis by clarifying that when I speak of wolves in this post, I am not referring to the rank and file who have fallen under the spell of their leaders, but the leaders themselves (Think: Helen Ukbato, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, et al).

    With that said, allow me to present some thoughts on this matter.

  • Bibles removed from Iowa State guest rooms (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    On January 29 I put up a brief post noting that someone had complained about the presence of Gideon Bibles in the guest rooms at Iowa State University’s (ISU) Memorial Union, lodgings that are part of a public university. I also reproduced the letter that the ISU got from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) saying that those Bibles were a no-no—a violation of the First Amendment. The letter worked: no litigation was necessary. The University removed the Bibles.

    There are many reports of this victory on the internet, but I was most interested in the one at the Christian News Network, as the coverage was most extensive and I hoped there would be some funny comments.

  • After Christian Politicians in Northern Ireland Force Cancellation of Satirical Bible Play, the Backlash is Fierce (patheos.com)
    Remember how the Mormon Church responded when The Book of Mormon musical came out? They embraced it (without quite endorsing it), placed ads in the Playbill, and even issued a well-crafted public statement:

    The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.
    +

    When “keeping the peace” becomes of higher value than God’s glory, tolerance begins to set in. It is one thing to have a nation where everyone is free to worship as they please. It is another to promote false religion and to censor the worship of Jesus. One protects people’s right to worship the other promotes principles contrary to the Bible and works against the worship of Jesus.

    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

    In an effort to appease, Solomon opened the door for the eventuality of his wives’ religions to be on an equal footing with the law of God in matters of law and order leading to the acceptance of anti-biblical principles whose practice cannot be blessed by God.

  • Freedom of Speech (keithgarrettpoetry.com)
    Freedom of speech, the words, phrase, and the meaning are not clear,

    It Is our right we are told that speak we may In public our own way.

    There Is no such thing as saying what you’re thinking out loud In the streets,

    They say that It’s your right but you better be careful of what you are saying.

    How much freedom of speech do we really have, I do know not that much,

     

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