Thomas Williams (1847–1913) was a Welsh Christadelphian who emigrated to America in 1872, and eventually became editor of The Christadelphian Advocate magazine and author of The Great Salvation and The World's Redemption, reserving him a place alongside Christadelphian founders Dr. John Thomas and Robert Roberts. When his appeals to English brethren went unheeded, he became the most prominent of the brethren who avoided these divisive factions, and later became known as Unamended Christadelphians because they never adopted a particular amendment to the Christadelphian statement of faith.
The Unamended Christadelphians are a "fellowship" within the broader Christadelphian movement worldwide, found only in the United States and Canada. They are, like all Christadelphians, millennialist and non-Trinitarian. The term Unamended Christadelphians is not the formal name of this community but is used informally to identify the grouping since a statement of faith traditionally used by many in this community is the "Unamended Statement of Faith". Similarly, most of the much larger grouping of Amended Christadelphians traditionally use a statement of faith that has been amended and therefore, in North America is known by the prefix "Amended". Nevertheless, Christadelphians worldwide and both Amended and Unamended Christadelphians in North America share fundamentally the same doctrines, with a few exceptions.
Williams was born on April 7, probably in Parkmill, near Swansea. Having apprenticed as a carpenter in Parkmill, he then found work with a William Clement, later his father-in-law, a member of the Christadelphian Ecclesia in Mumbles, and was immersed on Sunday January 15, 1868. He married Elizabeth Clement and the couple had eight children - Clement, William, Katherine, in Wales, and Gershom, Fred, May, George and Bessie in America.
The village of Parkmill is a small rural settlement in the Gower Peninsula, South Wales, midway between the villages of Penmaen and Ilston, about eight miles (13 km) west of Swansea, and about one mile (1.5 km) from the north coast of the Bristol Channel. The village lies to the north of the A4118, the main South Gower road between Swansea and Port Eynon, in a wooded area, at the bottom of a valley.
Mumbles is a headland sited on the western edge of Swansea Bay on the southern coast of Wales. The name Mumbles is also applied to the district encompassing the electoral wards of Oystermouth, Newton, West Cross, and Mayals. In the 2018 Best Places to Live in the UK report, The Sunday Times listed Mumbles as the best in Wales.
In 1872 he moved from Wales to Riverside, Iowa where he worked as a carpenter and joined the local "ecclesia" of 12 membersIn March 1885 he commenced publication of The Christadelphian Advocate Magazine at Waterloo, Iowa. In 1888 he met Robert Roberts in Wauconda, Illinois and again in Lanesville, Virginia for the first time since leaving Wales. In 1891 Williams began to publish a second magazine, The Truth Gleaner aimed at non-Christadelphians, and in 1892 relocated to Chicago. In 1893, in response to the expected visitors to Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition, Williams published 10,000 copies of the booklet The Great Salvation. By 1972 105,000 copies had been published. In 1905 J.G. Miller of Waterloo, Iowa translated the booklet as Die grosse Erlösung.
Riverside is a city in rural Washington County, Iowa, United States, along the English River on Iowa Highway 22. It is part of the Iowa City, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 993 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Highland Community School District.
Waterloo is a city in and the county seat of Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census the population decreased by 0.5% to 68,406; the 2016 Census estimates the population at 67,934, making it the sixth-largest city in the state. The city is part of the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the more populous of the two cities.
Robert Roberts is the man generally considered to have continued the work of organising and establishing the Christadelphian movement founded by Dr. John Thomas. He was a prolific author and the editor of The Christadelphian Magazine from 1864–1898.
Williams was also active traveling throughout North America as a preacher and Christadelphian speaker. As was typical of religious speakers of the period Williams participated in lengthy public debates with other religious groups.
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In 1898 a controversy in London, England caused the Birmingham Central Ecclesia meeting at Temperance Hall to amend its statement of faith to include an extra bracketed sentence implying that God could and would raise at least some unbaptised believers at the resurrection. Although 10 members had already been "disfellowshipped" for not accepting this teaching in Sydney, Australia in 1883,and some British ecclesias already had similar amendments, the status of Birmingham as, then, in the words of sociologist Bryan R. Wilson, primus inter pares, led to an escalation which saw many ecclesias without similar amendments being isolated, particularly in areas directly affected by the controversy such as London.
Resurrection is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of ancient religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects.
Bryan Ronald Wilson,, was Reader Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Oxford and President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (1971–75). He became a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1963.
Primus inter pares is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group but is accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office. Historically, the princeps senatus of the Roman Senate was such a figure and initially bore only the distinction that he was allowed to speak first during debate. Also, Constantine the Great was given the role of primus inter pares. However, the term is also often used ironically or self-deprecatingly by leaders with much higher status as a form of respect, camaraderie, or propaganda. After the fall of the Republic, Roman emperors initially referred to themselves only as princeps despite having power of life and death over their "fellow citizens". Various modern figures such as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, the prime minister of parliamentary regimes, the Federal President of Switzerland, the Chief Justice of the United States, the Chief Justice of the Philippines, the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion and the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers in important senses.
Following the death of Robert Roberts in 1898 the role of editor of The Christadelphian Magazine in Britain was taken by Charles Curwen Walker. From May to August 1900 Williams visited Britain, meeting Walker and Henry Sulley in Birmingham and John James Andrew, in London. Walker was reluctant to speak as any kind of "representative" of the British Christadelphians, but strongly counseled Williams to support the amendment without regard for the peace of the original Christadelphian ecclesias in North America.
Charles Curwen Walker (1856–1940) was a Christadelphian writer and editor of The Christadelphian Magazine from 1898 to 1937.
Henry Sulley (1845–1940) was an English architect and writer on the temples of Jerusalem.
From October 1903 to June 1904 Williams visited Britain again at the invitation of Albert Hall of the Sowerby Bridge ecclesia in Yorkshire.,and of John Owler of the Barnsbury Hall, Islington ecclesia in London. Hall and Owler had previously followed Andrew in the "resurrectional responsibility" controversy, although by 1903 Andrew himself would not fellowship with his previous supporters and reportedly been rebaptised in 1901. At a lecture in Leeds, which 40 visitors from those aligned with Birmingham Temperance Hall attended, Williams failed to state clearly that God could and would raise some unbaptised, and this was taken as supporting Andrew's teaching. However the next year Williams in print rejected Andrew's views as "extreme". Correspondence with Andrew continued till the latter's death in 1907. The result of the visit was a further distancing of the two sides.
In 1906 Williams held a public lecture in Toronto against the "Hell-fire" teaching of R. A. Torrey which drew an audience of 4,000, and was later published as a booklet "Hell Torments". Notes of an earlier debate in 1888 with the atheist Charles Watts led to publication of "The Divinity of the Bible" in 1906.
From June 1907 to August 1908 Williams made a third visit to England, leaving James Leask to run the magazine. In Wales he persuaded four ecclesias which were in fellowship with the "Fraternal Visitor" magazine of J.J. Hadley ("Suffolk Street") to avoid the extremes which characterized their brethren, but this only resulted in a third group which was rejected by both Birmingham Temperance Hall and Birmingham Suffolk St...
The process of division was unstoppable, and in November 1909 when Williams published an Unamended Statement of Faith, which was the old 1878 Birmingham Statement of Faith (BSF) with 7 minor changes, the new statement became known as the "BUSF" (though the 'B' for 'Birmingham' had in fact been dropped) and continued to be used by the Unamended Christadelphians.
In 1911 Williams relocated both home and magazine from Chicago to Orlando, Florida
In 1913 he made a fourth visit to Britain visiting Sowerby Bridge, Heckmondike, Leeds and Huddersfield in Yorkshire arranged by Hall, then London for meetings arranged by Owler. Heading back by train from London to Mumbles he collapsed and died on December 8, aged 66.After William's death his role of editor passed to A.H. Zilmer, formerly a Lutheran pastor, then a Church of God Abrahamic Faith minister, then as a Christadelphian the associate editor of The Faith magazine, which he resigned on taking up William's position. After two years he was replaced with John Owler, mentioned above. Some years later editorship also passed to Albert Hall, also mentioned above, who had emigrated to British Columbia.
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The Christadelphians are a millenarian Christian group who hold a view of Biblical Unitarianism. There are approximately 50,000 Christadelphians in around 120 countries. The movement developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century around the teachings of John Thomas, who coined the name Christadelphian from the Greek for "Brethren in Christ".
Socinianism is a system of Christian doctrine named for Fausto Sozzini, which was developed among the Polish Brethren in the Minor Reformed Church of Poland during the 16th and 17th centuries and embraced by the Unitarian Church of Transylvania during the same period. It is most famous for its nontrinitarian Christology but contains a number of other unorthodox beliefs as well.
The Polish Brethren were members of the Minor Reformed Church of Poland, a Nontrinitarian Protestant church that existed in Poland from 1565 to 1658. By those on the outside, they were called "Arians" or "Socinians", but themselves preferred simply to be called "Brethren" or "Christians," and, after their expulsion from Poland, "Unitarians".
The Church of God General Conference (CoGGC) is a nontrinitarian, Adventist Christian body which is also known as the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith and the Church of God General Conference . The Church of the Blessed Hope, some of whose congregations also use the name Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith (CGAF), are a separate denomination, although they share the same origins.
The Church of the Blessed Hope is a small first-day Adventist Christian body. The churches¹ have common roots with the Christadelphians and the Church of God General Conference.
Dr. John Thomas was an English religious leader, the founder of the Christadelphian movement. He was a Restorationist, with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists.
Not to be confused with the Wesleyan Church of the Nazarene, or the German Nazarene movement of religious artists.
Biblical Unitarianism encompasses the key doctrines of nontrinitarian Christians who affirm the Bible as their sole authority, and from it base their beliefs that God the Father is a singular being, the only one God, and that Jesus Christ is God’s son, but not divine. The term "biblical Unitarianism" is connected first with Robert Spears and Samuel Sharpe of the Christian Life magazine in the 1880s. It is a neologism that gained increasing currency in nontrinitarian literature during the 20th century as the mainstream Unitarian churches moved away from belief in the Bible and, in the United States, towards merger with Universalism. It has been used since the late 19th century by conservative Christian Unitarians, and sometimes by historians, to refer to Scripture-fundamentalist Unitarians of the 16th–18th centuries. Its use is problematic in that Unitarians from the 17th to the 20th centuries all had attachment to the Bible, but in differing ways.
The Christadelphian is a Bible magazine published monthly by The Christadelphian Magazine and Publishing Association (CMPA). It states that it is 'A magazine dedicated wholly to the hope of Israel' and, according to the magazine website, it 'reflects the teachings, beliefs and activities of the Christadelphians'. The magazine's office is located in Hall Green, Birmingham, England.
Christendom Astray From the Bible is a polemic work by the Christadelphian Robert Roberts that claims to demonstrate that the main doctrines shared by most Christian denominations are at variance with the teachings of the Bible. In the preface to the book the author states the rationale of Christendom Astray From the Bible as follows:
THE enlightened reader will bear with the seeming arrogance of the title. It is a proposition-not an invective. The question proposed for consideration is a question for critical investigation. Attention is invited to the evidence and the argument. They are strictly within the logical sphere. They can be examined and dismissed if found wanting. What the title affirms is that Christendom, the ostensible repository of revealed truth, is away from that truth.
The Berean Christadelphians are a Christian denomination.
This article refers to a distinction that is today only directly relevant in North America. For more complete information on Christadelphians please see the main article
F. G. Jannaway was an English Christadelphian writer on Jewish settlement in Palestine, and notable for his role in the conscientious objector tribunals of World War I. His reaction to controversy was to separate from others in the name of purity, and he was instrumental in the formation of minority factions, such as the Berean Christadelphians. However, this reasoning eventually caused him to separate even from his own brother, A.T.Jannaway.
The following is a bibliography of books in the English language relating to the general topic of Christadelphians.
John Carter (1889–1962) was editor of The Christadelphian from 1937 to 1962.
Thomas Turner Sc., A.R.S.M., F.R.I.C. was the first Professor of Metallurgy in Britain, at the University of Birmingham. The University was created in 1900 and the department founded in 1902. He was instrumental in the early development of the sclerometer for testing hardness of metals. He retired in 1926. He was also a leading member of the Christadelphian church.
The earliest Christadelphian hymn book published was the "Sacred Melodist" which was published by Benjamin Wilson in Geneva, Illinois in 1860. The next was the hymn book published for the use of Baptised Believers in the Kingdom of God by George Dowie in Edinburgh in 1864. "The Golden Harp" was put together in 1864 by Scotsman Robert Roberts.