In 1873 the Christadelphian community split in two over the difference in their
understanding of the Atonement.
During the last three or four years of his life Dr Thomas seriously questioned his earlier
understanding of the subject and when he died in 1871 , Robert Roberts, Editor of the
Christadelphian magazine, completely ignored these latest thoughts of Dr Thomas and went
back to the teaching that Christ had sin in His flesh and had to die in order to be cleansed of
it. All the old writings which Dr Thomas was hoping to change were revived and taught with
increased vigour. “We have passed the investigation stage” said Robert Roberts, and made
haste to formulate a Statement of Faith that would exclude any ideas not in accordance with
his own thinking. Thus the doctrine of Original Sin which had been held by all Christian
denominations for nearly two thousand years was accepted and then modified to include
Jesus within its grasp.
In contrast to this Edward Turney followed on where Dr Thomas left off and did his best
to enlighten others to this new thinking on the Atonement, which rejected the idea of any
change in the flesh of Adam when he transgressed in the Garden of Eden.
Sadly this was forcefully opposed by Robert Roberts who continually refused to debate
the matter though both Edward Turney and others were keen that he should do so.
As editor of the Christadelphian magazine Robert Roberts repeatedly published
tendentious reports accusing Edward Turney of believing things which just did not make
sense and advising others to have nothing to do with him and his ‘false teachings.’
It will be seen as the reader goes through these monthly publications that Christadelphian
history has never been correctly reported by Christadelphians. Those who have hitherto
researched this history and endeavoured to write it have not had these magazines to hand and
as a result thier findings have been one-sided. It will be seen, for example, that something
like half of all Christadelphians agreed with Edward Turney; a matter that was naturally
played down to ‘just a small number’ by Robert Roberts and of ‘little consequence.’
It will be seen also that Edward Turney and all those with him were people of the
greatest integrity in which truth and the love of God and their fellow man as their aim. Their
greatest sorrow was that of leaving the community with their close friends and relatives.
They felt it wrong to divide the community in this way and would never have done so if only
honest and prayerful discussion had triumphed.
We hope the reader will find much of value in these journals written in an age of keen
study of the scriptures the like of which has not been seen since. Over the years knowledge
of the ancient languages has increased and some things are more clearly seen and understood
and the truths which they saw have only been made clearer than ever.
The Christian LampVolume 1
The Christian LampVolume 2