In this article I ask one simple question: would you fellowship me?
Where I was
Years ago, when the Web and I were still young, I set up www.christadelphian.org.uk, which was one of the major Christadelphian websites in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
On the homepage of that site, I had the following summary of Christadelphian beliefs
- The Bible is God’s word and the only message from him. It is without error except for copying and translations errors.
- There is only one God — the Father. The Holy Spirit is God’s power.
- Jesus is the Son of God, and a human being, through his mother Mary.
- Man is mortal, having no existence when dead.
- By living a sinless life, ending with his sacrificial death by crucifixion, Jesus has opened the way of salvation from death.
- Belief and baptism are essential steps to salvation.
- God raised Jesus from death. Jesus is currently in Heaven, on God’s right hand. He will one day return.
- When Jesus returns, he will raise his ‘sleeping’ followers from death and grant immortality to the faithful who have tried to live by God’s precepts.
- His followers will help him to rule, bringing justice, righteousness and peace to the whole world — the Kingdom of God.
I wrote that list, based upon a Christadelphian leaflet, and with a lot of input from other Christadelphians, including the assistant recording brother of one ecclesia I was associated with. The list describes Christadelphian beliefs as I understood them; it describes my beliefs as I held them. The list was first published in that form in 2001,1 was still on the home page of the site until at least 29 September 2014,2 unaltered from what I wrote, despite the fact that I have not been associated with that website since 2005.
Where I am
I am now in a same-sex relationship. That relationship is permanent, faithful, and stable. It is based on mutual love, companionship, and support. It is legally recognised by the state, and my husband and I have publicly marked our commitment to each other with a church service. In short, my relationship is everything a Christadelphian marriage should be, except it is between two men, not a man and a woman.
My beliefs are still in line with the beliefs I mentioned above.
Would you and your ecclesia fellowship me?
On one hand, I have sound Christadelphian beliefs. On the other, I am in a same-sex relationship, and I believe that being in a relationship like mine is fully in line with scriptural teaching (remember that the BASF and Commandments of Christ are silent on this topic, so same-sex relationships cannot be a fellowship issue).
Would you and your ecclesia offer me fellowship? If not, why not? What would I have to do to become a member of your ecclesia? Remember that the Lord hateth putting away, and even if you argue that my partner is not my husband, I still promised him that I would be with him until death do us part. That is a promise I cannot break, for it is a sin for a follower of Christ to break a promise.
Does my relationship mean that I can never be part of the Christadelphian body, which suggests that the vows I made to my husband are an unforgivable sin?
Or is it the case that Christadelphians in same-sex relationships should be offered the same fellowship as all Christadelphians?
So, after prayerful consideration, ask yourself this question: would you fellowship me?
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