History of the Christadelphians
The Christadelphians today were brought into being by the work of several men, a notable one being John Thomas (1805-71).
John Thomas was a doctor who was born in London but emigrated to the USA in 1832. During his sea voyage there was a tremendous storm that continued for a number of days which almost wrecked the ship. While he was in danger he realised that he knew little about what would happen to him after death and he decided that if he survived he would devote himself to studying God’s word – the Bible.
In 1839 he became a farmer in Illinois. Shortly afterwards and throughout the 1840s he began to attract a following of people sympathetic to his developing views, and gradually over a period of time the groups grew and congregations were formed in different locations.
The group became a recognised religious movement and took their present name in 1864, partly as a result of the American Civil War. Their views on violence meant that members wanted to be conscientious objectors and refuse to fight. They could only do this if they were members of a recognised religious group that opposed the war, and so the name Christadelphians came into being. The name was derived from the Greek, ‘Christou adelphoi‘, meaning ‘Christ’s brethren’ and Christadelphians began calling each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister’.