We live in an alarming age when some who claim to be members of the Christadelphian brotherhood are trying to introduce into our midst a dramatically altered, that is, shortened Statement of Faith. This is not the place to provide details but readers of The Testimony in particular and The Christadelphian will be aware of the warning bells sounded recently by those magazines. Add to this the fact that not all candidates for baptism spend a lot of time digesting the statement of faith which forms a basis of our fellowship, the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith or BASF for short. Therefore it was thought appropriate that this book be reviewed so that readers of The Lampstand may be encouraged to study it for themselves.

It examines in reasonable detail

  • the foundation and each of the clauses
  • the Scriptural and historical reasons for the existence and development of the Statement of Faith.

An exposition of the first point above forms the body of the book. The individual chapters and clauses covered are as follows:

1  The Bible—Wholly Inspired and Infallible (A. Nicholls)—The Foundation

2  Concerning God (F. Pearce)—clause 1

3  Concerning Mortal Man (T. Morgan)—clauses 3–5

4  Concerning the Nature of Christ (M. Ashton)— clauses 2, 8–10

5  The Saving Work of Christ (M. Ashton)— clauses 12–14

6  The Promise of a Kingdom (M. Owen)—clauses 6, 7, 11

7  “The Only Name under Heaven” (T. Pritchard)— clauses 15–17

8  “The Things of the Kingdom” (J. Morris)— clauses 18–23

9  Resurrection and Judgment (H. Tennant)— clauses 24, 25

10  The Millennium and After (S. Owen)—clauses 26–30.

Also included is a chapter on Doctrines to be Rejected by M. Ashton and a concluding one on The Commandments of Christ by H. Tennant that nicely balances the other subjects demonstrating that Christadelphians do not believe that faith is merely an intellectual exercise. One very helpful feature of chapter 11 is that alongside the Doctrines to be Rejected there are listed any clauses of the BASF which are relevant. For some of the points there is no corresponding clause which, as Brother Michael points out, “the declaration of our faith would be poorer and open to serious misunderstandings without it” (page 97).

The second point above, covered in an appendix study entitled Documents of the Faith, Past and Present, is by A. Nicholls and answers some of the objections raised to the BASF. Some subjects covered are Israel’s Statement of Faith and Constitution, The Apostles’ Doctrine and The Basis of Fellowship, the Faithful Sayings, Applying the Principles Today, The Royal Association of Believers, Apostolic Precedents, The Ecclesial Guide, The Statement of Faith, Amendments to the Statement, The BASF, and Inter-Ecclesial Fellowship. The need for a Statement of Faith is viewed as so important that it is reproduced in full from the Guide:

 “It is necessary to have the truth defined. It is not enough for an applicant (for baptism or fellowship) to say he believes the Bible or the testimony of the apostles. Multitudes would profess belief in this form who we know are ignorant or unbelieving of the truth, and, therefore, unqualified for union with the brethren of Christ.…To test this, the teaching requires definition. This definition agreed to forms the basis of fellowship among believers…”

The articles which formed the basis for this book appeared in The Christadelphian magazine from June 1989 to December 1990. An appendix contains the BASF together with Doctrines to be Rejected and the Commandments of Christ.

While it would be true to say that a book of this size is not the last word on the subjects covered, it would also be true to say that it is well written in an easy to understand style and is therefore recommended. We suggest that any who study this book will be much better equipped to defend the BASF and the unity of the faith we hold so dear.