"dirty linen" petition


We are aware of an on-line petition being circulated on the Internet, the object being to pressurise us into restricting access to the Contending for the Faith section of our website. We do not know to what extent the petition is being circulated, or how many names are on it, but are amazed as to the lengths people will go to in order to force their point forward in the absence of Scriptural support. Instead of utilising Scripture to show the point, a petition to gain strength in numbers is used to coerce us. The worldly and emotive expression “dirty linen” is used, with it being claimed that we are “airing” “Christadelphian dirty linen” “in front of unbelievers”, as a substitute to Bible phrases. We have responded to this challenge on the FAQ section of the website, as follows:

Why are you airing Christadelphian “Dirty Linen” in public?

This query was posted and discussed on an online discussion-group (by those who object to individuals being openly named as proponents of wrong doctrine) in response to the “Contending for the Faith” section of our site. “Dirty Linen” is not a Bible expression: we prefer to use Bible words. Whereas men speak of “different points of view”, deviations from Bible Truth are described in the Bible itself as “damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). Those who teach things that are different to the Bible are described as “men of corrupt minds” (1 Timothy 6:5) and wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29). We realise that these terms are generally unpopular in the humanistic “multi-faith” community in which we live, but they are Bible terms, and Christ’s followers are to “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

The Bible itself gives an example of naming offenders in practice or doctrine. Jannes and Jambres are named as resisting Moses (2 Timothy 3:8). King David is named as an adulterer and a murderer (2 Samuel 12:7). Many other kings of Israel and Judah are named as idolaters, and murderers (cp. 2 Kings 21:16). Saul is named as failing to obey God (1 Samuel 15:23). Achan, Ananaias and Sapphira are named as stealing from God (Josh. 22:20, Acts 5:1). Judas is named as betraying Christ, Peter as denying him. The list could go on. And what about if an individual is disseminating false doctrine which undermines the Truth? Yes, Scripture names them also: see Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose “word will eat as doth a canker” (2 Tim. 2:17). Also, Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Ti. 1:20).

Notice that the Bible does not hide the identity of offenders: millions of copies of a book rendered in many languages, being available all over the world (i.e. The Bible) names all these individuals – and many more also before all men. Their names are laid bare before all, believers, non-believers, and disbelievers alike, to learn from, and heed their examples.
The example of The Bible (as seen above), shows that it is not wrong to identify those who are apostate in either doctrine or practice. Simply because a person claims to be a Christadelphian does not grant them immunity from scrutiny, or being named. Where false doctrine is openly taught, as in the cases described on this website, it is appropriate for a refutation to also be openly taught. The fact of the false teaching being open and public means that the difference is not simply an “internal” matter for Christadelphians to deal with privately amongst themselves: where those who claim to be Christ’s brethren teach things different to Christ, and different to Christadelphians, we have a duty to point out the fact. If we do not point out the difference, folk may well assume that the doctrines of the pretenders are what the Christadelphians as a body believe, when in fact they do not. (There are cases of this nature).

To summarise, where folk openly claim to be presenting Bible (and Christadelphian) teaching, they should be ready to have their teaching scrutinised. By contrast to the claims of our detractors, it is not at all “Christian” to allow false teachers to influence the Flock of God anonymously.

Christopher Maddocks