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Taipei Christadelphian Ecclesia Timeline


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Posted 10 June 2017 - 02:02 AM

Taipei Christadelphian Ecclesia Timeline
 
Prepared by founding members of the Taipei Ecclesia (Brethren James Larsen and Abraham Wang) based on their first-hand knowledge and extensive interaction with the members of the Taipei Ecclesia.
 
25 October 2016
 
For the consideration of all ACBM Regional Committee Members and the Ecclesias they represent
 
Note: In this document the term God-directed evolution (GDE) is used to refer to “Theistic Evolution” (TE), "evolutionary creationism"(EC) and “creative evolution” (CE) and all variations of these that propose that God used a natural process of evolution over a long period of time to create human beings from animal origins.
 
Ephesians 4:13-16 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
 
Matthew 18:15-17 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
 
Matthew 23:8 “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.”
 
Roberts, R. The Ecclesial Guide (p. 10) “One principle ought to permeate all appointments in the house of Christ, and that is the one laid down by Christ, when speaking of the exercise of authority of one Gentile over another; he said, "IT SHALL NOT BE S0 AMONG YOU".

 



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Posted 10 June 2017 - 02:09 AM

Foreword
 
The objective of this timeline is to provide an accurate and detailed record of the events and correspondence that led to the disfellowship of Bro. Jonathan Burke in December 2015 owing to his belief in God directed-evolution (GDE) which is at variance with the teachings of scripture and the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF).
 
In particular it focuses on events beginning from September 2015 when Bro. Jonathan attempted to force acceptance of GDE on the Taipei ecclesia by demanding they baptize one of Bro. Jonathan's converts, someone they had never met, and who believed, as Bro. Jonathan does, in GDE.
 
Bro. Jonathan gave the ecclesia an ultimatum, threatening to withdraw himself from them and begin a new ecclesia with his new convert if they would not baptize him. Bro. Jonathan was asking the Taipei ecclesia to set a world-wide precedent, and put itself out of fellowship with the vast majority of Christadelphians, both historically and currently.
 
Specifically, to our knowledge this is the first time in Central Fellowship a candidate for baptism included in his personal statement of faith an open belief in GDE, and declared that he would not be baptized unless his views on this subject were accommodated.
 
In the events which transpired as a consequence of this crisis, Bro. Jonathan behaved in a manner that many believed was deceptive. This behaviour further complicated the matter and heightened the level of distress. Consequently, members of the ecclesia reached out and called for the assistance of other brethren including the founding members of the Taipei ecclesia, and other individuals they knew personally and who they trusted. Later they appealed to the ACBM for long term spiritual support to help rebuild and strengthen their ecclesia.
 
This was a time of great distress and sadness for this small group of less than 10 brethren and sisters at the Taipei ecclesia, and their distress continues throughout 2016 as accusations continue to be made that they didn’t know what they were doing, and/or were influenced by outsiders who forced them to disfellowship Bro. Jonathan. Undoubtedly this was a very stressful time for Bro. Jonathan and Sis. Dianne as well. However, it is important to keep in mind that the many crises this small ecclesia encountered during 2015 were of Bro. Jonathan’s making.
 
This document, written in response to Bro. Jonathan's understanding of how events transpired, also provides an historical context to his activities in Taiwan and his writings on the Internet to evangelize GDE among Christadelphians on a global basis. It outlines the steps taken to try and maintain Bro. Jonathan within the One Faith, while avoiding damage to the ecclesia. A timeline format is used based on eyewitness evidence and, as much as possible, on written records including emails, text messages and online group chats between ecclesial members. Key supporting evidence and official documentation is included in the appendices.
 
Unfortunately due to Brother Jonathan’s many factual discrepancies and distortions, the distress felt by the Taipei ecclesia spread and escalated into a regional ACBM conflict, culminating in an extraordinary ACBM National Committee meeting that was held in Adelaide on the 3rd September, 2016. While Bro. Jonathan’s perspective was well represented in submissions made by three Regional ACBM Committees in the lead up to this meeting, it is most unfortunate to note that these Regional Committees did not ask for input or seek to confirm matters from the Taipei ecclesia or its founding members before finalizing their submissions (as required by Matthew 18:15-17) to the National Committee. Nevertheless, at this extraordinary meeting at long last we were given an opportunity to convey before representatives of the three Regional Committees the Taipei ecclesia’s perspective of the events that transpired. The circumstances were presented in the form of an early draft of this timeline.
 
If anyone has a problem with how a single member of an ecclesia or a whole ecclesia calls for help, or disputes certain events that led to an ecclesia withdrawing fellowship from a brother or sister, they are duty bound to follow the principles of Matthew 18:15-17 to ascertain the truth of the matter. This should be without exception – it applies to both ecclesias and individuals - as per the wise advice of the Ecclesial Guide. It is both disturbing and noteworthy that three Regional ACBM Committees tasked with preaching the gospel and the pastoral care of overseas mission areas failed to perform basic fact checking with the Taipei ecclesia before escalating this matter, based largely on inaccurate hearsay.
 
It is hoped that this document will be of assistance in putting to rest the distress caused and distortions of truth that Bro. Jonathan and those supporting his view have caused across the Christadelphian brotherhood.
 
The Taipei ecclesia remains hopeful that Bro. Jonathan will reconsider his position and return to the One Faith which he believed when he first moved to Taipei in 2004.

Attached File  Taipei_Timeline_25Oct_2016.pdf   2.56MB   361 downloads

Attached File  CoverLetter_25Oct16.pdf   661.8KB   132 downloads





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