• COVID-19 UPDATE Face-to-face talks are currently cancelled, but you can access talks online Find out more

  • BIBLE READING GROUP Held on Zoom at 2pm every Sunday (or at another time by arrangement) Find out more

About

Background

The Open Bible Learning Group is for those enquiring into the Bible, the revealed Word of God.

Members of the Open Bible Learning Group first met in 1957 in the Reading Rooms Billericay High Street, as a place of study and worship.  We are Christadelphians; (ordinary people from diverse backgrounds who have studied the Bible and questioned traditional mainstream Christian teaching).

Christadelphians have for well over 150 years devoted their lives to an objective study and understanding of the scriptures as God’s revelation to man. They apply this understanding to every aspect of their lives in accordance with the teaching of Jesus’ followers established in the first century AD.

This is a significant commitment, as it entails a complete change in the whole way of life of the individual in question. Each member of the group strives to live their lives in complete obedience to Jesus' commandments, statutes and precepts. This is the hope of the Bible that, through the mercy of God, eternal life might be conferred on them by Jesus Christ, God’s son, when he returns to the earth.

Our brief history

John Thomas a medical doctor who was born in London emigrated to the USA in 1832. While on a sea crossing to North America the ship was caught in a violent storm and all aboard feared shipwreck and loss of life. So he did what many would do, he prayed that God would spare his life, but unlike most, he did not forget his pledge in that prayer when he reached safety - to understand God's revelation to man. However, being dissatisfied with the answers that the established church gave him; he set about discovering the truth for himself.
John Thomas never saw himself as a figurehead for followers or disciples, therefore today Christadelphians see him as being a pioneer who rediscovered first century beliefs, but nothing more. He, of course, encouraged others to search out these things for themselves.

Eventually, this group became a recognised religious movement and only took upon themselves a collective name during the American Civil War because church affiliation was required to register a conscientious-objector (non-fighting) status. For this reason reluctantly in 1865, Thomas proposed, for registration purposes, the name of Christadelphian.

The chosen name Christadelphian is derived from New Testament Greek and means “Brethren in Christ”. This is a term used by the Apostle Paul to describe followers of Christ. The expression in the Greek refers to both genders therefore, Christadelphians will refer to each other as brothers and sisters. The first UK groups were formed between 1848 and 1850 when John Thomas was on a lecture tour. These groups were referred to as “ecclesias”, again from the Greek word usually found translated as “church” in the New Testament. They did this to differentiate themselves more accurately from other churches and religious groups as ecclesia means a group of believers.

Key beliefs

Introduction to key beliefs here...

Created heaven, the earth and all things

(Genesis 1v1, Isaiah 42v5)

Is One God, dwelling in heaven in unapproachable light

(1 Timothy 2v5 & 6v15-16)

Is all powerful, all wise, a God of love, mercy, holiness, righteousness and truth

(Exodus 34v6-7, Psalm 103v7-11)

Has a purpose with planet Earth and its mortal inhabitants

(Isaiah 45v18, Revelation 4v11)

This purpose, made flesh in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, can involve you

(John 3v16-18, Romans 5v6-8)

Is a revelation of God's purpose, given through chosen men

(Hebrews 1v1-2, Deuteronomy 18v18-19, 2 Samuel 23v1-3)

These men, in ages past, were moved to write by the Holy Spirit, which is God's power

(2 Peter 1v21, Nehemiah 9v30)

It is thus 'inspired' by God, or God-breathed, being profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness

(Isaiah 8v20, 2 Peter 1v19-21)

Therefore, it is infallible and an authoritative expression of His will for Man

(Isaiah 8v20, 2 Peter 1v19-21)

Is the only begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary

(Matthew 1v20-21, Luke 1v35, 1 John 4v9)

Was born with human nature, tempted like us, yet without sin

(Galatians 4v4, Hebrews 5v7-8)

This allowed him to remove, through his death and resurrection, the evils that resulted from the sin of Adam

(1 Corinthians 15v21/22/45/49)

Becoming a mediator, after being raised to God's right hand

(Hebrews 2v16-18, 1 Timothy 2v5)

To return to Earth, at a future time, to set up God's kingdom

(Acts 1v9-11, Matthew 16v27, 2 Timothy 4v1)

Man was created from the dust of the earth, having life breathed into him by God

(Genesis 2v7, Psalm 103v14 & 104v29)

As a consequence of Adam's disobedience (the first man) Man became a dying creature; all humankind being subject to the same end, due to sin

(Genesis 3v19, Romans 5v12)

The death state is a total loss of consciousness and vitality

(Psalm 146v3-4, Ecclesiastes 9v5-6/10, Isaiah 38v18-19)

The soul, therefore, is mortal (it simply describes a 'living creature')

(Ezekiel 18v4/20, Genesis 1v20/24, Isaiah 38v17)

Meeting us

Social Distancing restrictions, prevent meeting face to face at Sunday afternoon Open Bible Learning Group Seminars and Presentations.

However, we have introduced a Zoom Virtual Bible Reading Circle which takes place at 2 pm each Sunday and if you'd like to join with us, by phone or computer, then just email oblg@mail.com for connection details. There is also a selection of Audio Recordings in our "Talks Archive" where we hope you will find something both of interest and help. For more information, please message us via “Contact us” and someone will be in touch.

What to expect when our Seminars and Presentations restart

Most Sundays our presentations start at 3pm unless otherwise stated (see “Events” where the year’s programme will show meeting times / location details).

Depending on the topic, the format on the day will either be a talk/presentation, or a more often an interactive seminar style. Talks and presentation meetings will usually start and finish with a prayer, for which everyone will stand, whereas on Seminar days the format is more informal and participative.

As a visitor no, other than standing during prayers either side of talks and presentations. However, during seminars, we would encourage the audience to ask questions and get involved so that you get the most out of your time with us, but it is your choice and some will prefer just to listen and then ask questions later 1 to 1.

No.

Presentations last around 35 minutes and Seminars last around 50 minutes or so and including the introductions and announcements not more than an hour.

No. You will probably find it useful to bring a Bible, but if you don’t have one, we always have a spare Bible for you to use. We mainly use the traditional King James (KJV) or New King James (NKJV) although presenters and discussion group leaders will often use other versions where appropriate and put quotations and references on the large multi-media screen.

No, just come in what you like, but for the most part, people wear smart casual. One question people sometimes ask is “during meetings with prayers, why do all of the ladies appear to be wearing hats?” This is because like many other Christian denominations we believe that during services women members should cover their heads. But don’t worry; as a visitor, no one will expect you to wear a hat.

To be informed of up and coming events where you can meet us in your local area please register to receive an occasional newsletter and your personal invitation to events.