Consistent with Christadelphian values and priorities, this unity process has focused on the Word of God and the doctrinal truths found therein. Delegates from participating ecclesias in each fellowship were encouraged to do their own study in advance of joint meetings on each of the four topics which have traditionally been associated with the division between Central and Unamended Christadelphians:
1. Adamic Condemnation [Nature of Man]
2. The Lord’s Involvement in His Own Sacrifice [Nature of Christ]
3. In Adam/In Christ [Meaning of Baptism]
4. Responsibility [Resurrection to Judgment]
An outline (not the full clarification statement) of these topics with associated scriptural references was provided as a suggested starting point for study. It was recommended that this study be done in their home ecclesia with broad participation from members and arranging brethren through such venues as adult Sunday School and mid-week Bible classes. In this way, delegates brought to the joint discussions a solid scriptural foundation of their own understanding and an appreciation for the views of the ecclesia they represent.
Typically, each joint meeting focused on one of the four topics. In the morning, a break-out session of each fellowship was held to permit the delegates of different ecclesias to compare notes and benefit from each other’s study and experience. In the afternoon, all delegates from the two fellowships met jointly to discuss their understanding of the topic, seeking clarification in areas of concern and points of confusion arising from jargon. Discussion continued as long as necessary for the delegates to be satisfied in their own consciences that they clearly understood what each other believe. At the conclusion of this discussion, a draft clarification statement on the topic was reviewed to summarize and bring into focus their common belief. The draft statement was discussed to determine if it accurately represented the views expressed and held by the representatives present. Feedback from this discussion was recorded for updating of the document to improve its clarity of expression and accuracy. Any updates to these statements were reviewed with delegates who participated in discussions in other geographic areas. The resulting statements have been incorporated in the NASU document.
Through advance preparatory study and candid joint discussion, in a non-partisan and Christ-like spirit, the delegates developed a first-hand understanding of each other’s beliefs. The clarification document was not distributed in advance and was only used in summary at the conclusion of the meeting. This use of the document was intended to avoid leading the delegates’ thinking and to encourage thorough, candid discussion. Trust and respect for our mutual understanding of scriptural truth developed.
Brethren that have completed the process feel reconciliation should be possible based on the oneness of mind they have found. This process has taken six to twenty-four months in each region. Many of the remaining regions on the continent lack sufficient local counterpart ecclesias for meaningful discussion in this format. For these reasons, it was felt to be impractical to complete this process in all areas of North America. Further, with the input of approximately 40 ecclesias and 1000 brethren, the NASU document has reached a level of maturity that it was felt it was time to share it more broadly.
We pray that the Lord will continue to bless this effort so that oneness of mind may be found in the two communities broadly in North America, providing a foundation upon which discussions could proceed to determine and implement a basis of full fellowship one with another.