Warning: Those who like censor could be offended with our open-minded attitude to tackle a problem which we have encountered the last few months.
We do request those who can’t bear open speaking to abandon from reading this article, because they might, perhaps by prejudice or partiality, be offended.
Previous days and years
The last few days there did not seem to have come any opportunity to publish anything on this recently opened website on WordPress.
Members of our community at a meeting in the Christadelphian ecclesia Brussel-Leuven. – Heverlee, Leuven
The Belgian Christadelphian community has been under attack by a person who lives in the North of Europe and leads a prosperous organisation which tries to bring people all over the world under their spell.
For years now the Belgian Christadelphians had tried to work together with that man and his organisation, with the idea that people should unite in their force to bring people to Christ. It must be told that this guy converts a lot of people to Christianity and gets them baptised under Christ. In previous years he baptised them as Christadelphians, but we came to understand this could be called very doubtful in the present circumstances.
‘Being in’ or ‘Belonging to’ a group
Normally one would think when people are taken into a group, be it for example Anglicans, you would expect such persons baptised in that church would be welcome in any Anglican church and considered as Anglicans. But this man baptising his followers and leading an organisation that calls itself Christadelphian does everything so that their members would not associate with other members of the worldwide community of Christadelphian brothers and sisters.
After loads of correspondence and trials to reconcile the founder of this website, who is also the responsible for the Belgian Christadelphians, and member of the Central Fellowship, with that man and his organisation and the organisation which helps us, the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM, in the United Kingdom as in Belgium we came to understand that there is no way to talk reasonably with that man, and the organisation which seems to be blinded by that charismatic figure.
After months of patience, the community of Brethren and Sisters in Christ, under the CBM, came to the conclusion we had to stop trying to come to terms with that man of the North and his organisation. By taking distance from this terrible division we clearly stepped on that man his toes. Probably for that reason he continued even more to twist our words and talked slanderous about Mr. Ampe, calling Marcus Ampe now the cause of all the problems and accusing him of slander. Therefore Marcus Ampe went in to defence and made clear why the Christadelphian community in Belgium could not give any addresses in Belgium of that man his organisation, because they did not allow us to have the addresses where people could come together to study the Bible and to have worship together.
We would have loved to see the different groups of Christadelphians having come together in unity, but because that person and his organisation not willing to share meetings with our members, we just could not help those people who asked us for advice and help.
Not willing to Care
The organisation which has the word “Care” in its name did not seem to care that the very few in Belgium could not have gatherings in unity. It looks like they are more concerned in their own membership and followers who want to say and do everything like they want it to be done. For us this became smelling more like being a cult or sect, which does not wonder us why we often are asked if or are accused of the Christadelphians being a cult. Though normally Christadelphians have no specific worldly leader, or any order of ranking, like you can find in so many Christian organisations or denominations, so no pope, cardinals and bishops. We all consider ourselves under the leadership of Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone who leads us to his Father. All of those who come to be baptised under the name of Jesus Christ, are considered equal brothers and sisters of Christ.
Marcus Ampe in 2006
Therefore it is also ridiculous of the organisation to consider that Mr. Ampe from Belgium would have been able to have a worldwide exclusion of the man of the North for the Christadelphian community. He even never disfellowshipped the man of the North, so why should the organisation from the Australian division request Mr. Ampe to restore fellowship in the Christadelphian community. It is to attribute Mr. Ampe with a power no one has in our Christian community. He is well aware of that and never claimed to have such a position or never demanded other Christadelphians not meeting with the Man from the North.
Living in the world obliged to laws and regulations
We do know we are living in this world and as such are bounded to regulations of this world, like having to pay our taxes and to confer other worldly obligations. As such, we also do need a working structure and an office. Mr. Marcus Ampe takes care of those duties in Belgium. For this he also has the responsibility to try to make the daily duties work. He not only has to provide material for the services and make arrangements so that the baptised people can come together; he also has to protect them and to make sure the community or parishes are kept clean of teachings and safe for all members who want to join.
Christadelphia Facebook page not available, or blacked-out on 2014 February 15
Having confronted with the person of the North, trying to jam the Christadelphian movement in Belgium, he felt pressed to undertake action and to defend his actions. For that reason he placed his defence on his religious website Christadelphian World and put notices up on his Facebook and the Christadelphia Facebook page. Being confronted that the truth about this dilemma was put onto the net the accuser felt bitten and wanted to have Marcus Ampe his Facebook close down. We where warned of this request to close down the Facebook account by that man, but the Facebook site of Mr Ampe stayed public. (Though surprise today 15/02/2014 there was a picture of a wounded thumb up saying the page did not exist any-more.)
Black-out of Christadelphian World
Going further in the attack, we cannot tell if it was the man of the North himself or one of his co-workers, they succeeded to silence Marcus Ampe his voice on Blogger. Incredible, but true, Christadelphian World was silenced under the norm “inappropriate postings”. As soon as Marcus Ampe got to see that his website was obstructed for public viewing he send in a request to Google to reconsider their action. Later that day the main postings seemed to be available to the public again, but all the comments where and are still not visible to the public today (Saturday 15 February 2014).
It is unbelievable that someone could close down a website for reasons which make no serious ground to do such a thing. We do know “truth may hurt one mentally as much as an antiseptic balm may hurt on a wound”, like Vichar Prachar says it so nicely in his article Freedom of Speech and the Right to Offend. Sometimes we come to a point where we do have to bring the dirty linen into the open. First the people in Belgium tried to solve the matter between themselves with the man from the North. Afterwards we brought in the linkman from our British main organisation CBM. Than the CBM linkman tried to bring CBM in reconciliation with the man from the North and the organisation linked with him. Following the Christian rule of have first no witnesses, than two witnesses, then more witnesses from the own community, we did have to bring it more into the open because people from outside our organisation where also affected.
To wash one’s dirty linen in public
We do not like it at all to bring out internal matters, but this situation has ran our of hand and the accuser attacks us with all he can do.
The Belgian Christadelphians have showed patience for more than one year, and tried sincerely to bring all baptised Christadelphian members, be it Amended or non-amended, or from any group linked with one or the other organisation, together.
The Belgian Christadelphian also sincerely tried and still try to spread the Good News of the Gospel, and want to unite all people who would like to follow Jeshua, the Nazarene Jewish rabbi, who is better known in the West as Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah and should be our only mediator between God and man. According to our faith it is Jesus people have to follow and not one or the other organisation. We should all be parts of the body of Christ and feel united as such.
When washing has to be done, those who are made dirty should have to receive the opportunity to be cleansed. We also consider that all things should be made clear and to do so everybody should have the right to speak openly.
The Indian writer says also:
A society that endeavors to consist of an enlightened citizenship will always put Truth central to its constitutional preamble. Our constitutional visionaries took vision from an age old Dharmic saying ‘Satyameva Jayate’ and enshrined it in our Constitution. Yet we have been only paying lip service to the underlying importance this has towards developing an enlightened, civilized and developed society. We have been steadily contorting ‘abuse’ to imply ‘offense’ and ‘hurt’ irrespective whether the hurt or offense is caused by Truth or untruth.
Imposing their will on others
Freedom of Speech (preliminary version) (Photo credit: cliff1066™)
The person from the North and his organisation do want to have to tell things in the world, want to take on ministerial positions, but do not want to accept the political controversy with it. Those involved in politics should know that they always stand open for criticism. In case they can not endure such criticism they better would withdraw and do other things, but not wanting to take the lead.
In case every politician could silence a website or newspaper when criticism was given on him or her or on the work of the party, or when they told the truth, many websites would face a close-down and many papers would fall in oblivion. But clearly than our world would be in dictatorship. In the West we can not accept that we would be placed under absolute or despotic control or power.
Pointing out such a danger of having being censored, though Marcus Ampe is only a very, very small player on the field, he now had to go into the pen for more than one reason. Such a jamming of his writings and a censoring of the commentators, without him being consulted or having the possibility to keep the postings on the net, are an infringement of freedom of public speech.
Unwanted and dangerous censorship
A good example of how in the past also one certain church wanted to silence other believers. – In “Panegyricae orationes septem” (1596) Henric van Cuyck, a Dutch Bishop, defended the need for censorship. Van Cuyck argued that Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press had resulted in a world infected by “pernicious lies.” He singled out the Talmud and the Qu’ran, and the writings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and Erasmus of Rotterdam.
This whole situation seems ridiculous, but we do have to question, in case some organisations can silence ordinary folks, what can be done to silence those who really bring out a voice which can change a country? Such blue-pencil, having done its work, for such a small website should make us all think about the power certain organisations and blog-providers may have. The black-out of Christadelphian World and the censor having brought on by Google on Marcus Ampe his Google+ account should have us all think about the danger of such actions to which the involved persons do seem not to be able to do something against. They even were not consulted or could give any defence for their writing.
We know Marcus Ampe does not take any important position in blogging world, and his writings shall never reach so many people, because the subject he writes about, most people are not interested in. But having him to be silenced, though everybody may come to see his writings are not offensive at all, should make question about the liberty of speaking out freely. When you consider how much spam every day comes into our mailboxes and how many porn sites and websites about violence and with awful words can be seen by many every day on the internet, without them being black-out, we may wonder in what sort of world we have come to live in. Mr. Ampe’s writings are integer and about what is happening in the world as seen from a Christadelphian and Christian viewpoint. If he gets silenced one can wonder why so many others have not been silenced, though they hurt many people, use a much more inappropriate language than Mr. Ampe.
This Marcus Ampe, though coming from the performing world also may not be confused with an other Mr. Marcus, who is an an American pornographic actor who in 2012, was the main person in a syphilis-infection scandal in California when several porn-performers were infected during video production.
Please: Look for yourself
We would like to ask our readers to look for themselves. In case they can (again) view the writings on Christadelphian World, that they let us know if those writings are so offensive or so dangerous as others want the public to believe. Let us also know if the comments are visible again and if in it are used inappropriate words. Our community want to learn, so we do not mind response.
This annoying situation has consumed lots of time of several of our members. We came to the conclusion we shall have to row on our own and shall have to find ways to reach the Belgian public, without help of outsiders.
The Belgian Christadelphians do want to buckle their belt and continue the necessary work of preaching.. We do not mind to make shift with what we may have in our small country. To make the best of it, any help is naturally welcome, spiritual and/or financial support. Mostly we would appreciate already the spiritual support, to encourage us to continue spreading the Word of God.
We shall soon take up again our regular duties and bring the Gospel of the Good News. But this time we were so ‘flappergasted’ (taken by) the bad news, we did have to share it with our regular readers and with those who are interested in what is happening in the religious world in Belgium.
In the time we are
Christadelphian – Community house in Esslingen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We do know in what sort of time we probably have come. In the Bible we can find many prophesies and also prophesies about the end-times. A prediction of what shall happen in the world when it comes closer to the end makes us aware we shall have to endure certain attacks, which shall even come from those we considered to be our brothers.
Reading the Bible and finding many answers in it, we also come to know there will be an even greater need for believers to be in harmony and to pray together as our world starts to fall apart. Therefore we would like all those who believe in the Divine Creator, to join hands, preach the Gospel of the Good News and the coming Kingdom of God.
Please do find
Mr. Ampe his reaction after continued exclusion by the man of the North his continued refusal to allow different Christadelphians meet with each other: No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
Additional writings by Marcus Ampe concerning the controversial situation in Belgium:
- Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
- Priority to form a loving brotherhood
- Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
- Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
- Censorship possible by a person and his organisation
Please do find other additional readings:
- Belonging to or being judged by
- A Voice to be heard
- Good or bad preacher
- One Mediator between God and man
- Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
- Parts of the body of Christ
- A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
- Called Christian
- Breaking up with a cult
- Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
- Making church
- When discouraged facing opposition
- Fearing the right person
- Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
- How to look for and how to handle the Truth
- Reasons to come to gether
- Congregate, to gather, to meet
- Meeting – Vergadering
- Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
- The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
- Many churches
- Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
- Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
- Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
- What’s church for, anyway?
- Rebirth and belonging to a church
- Commitment to Christian unity
- United people under Christ
- Breathing and growing with no heir
- Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
- An ecclesia in your neighborhood
- Intentions of an Ecclesia
- Christadelphians children of God
- Christadelphian beliefs
- Major Points of Belief
- Christadelphian or My Beliefs and the World
- What we believe
- What Christadelphians teach
- Intentions of an Ecclesia
- Politics and power first priority #1
- A Society pleading poverty
- Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
sssh! (Photo credit: Stephen Dagnall)
From other people, denominations and atheists:
- A beautiful photo: #leadership at Inspiration Daily Shared publicly – 13 Feb 2014
- Why so religious?
- Freedom of speech or political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- European Convention on Human Rights
- American Convention on Human Rights
- African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- Find also more information on libel, slander, obscenity, sedition
- Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
- Liberty-human-rights – article 10 – freedom of expression
- Freedom Of Speech And Expression inclusive Importance Of Freedom Of Speech And Expression
- Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition
- The Paradox of Liberty: the Freedom of speech (re)considered
A screenshot of the default WordPress theme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- On the site of ABC you may find the article Who are the Christadelphians? (blogs.abc.net.au) where a wrong picture is given of our community. Though we do agree like in any denomination you may find very conservative groups but also very progressive groups in our community.+
“it sounds like Vanessa belonged to an extreme group. Adelaide is not typical of Christadelphians worldwide. I’m a Christadelphian from the UK and I can safely say that those I mix with enjoy a drink, theatre going, football, movies, read lots of novels, wear scarlet – and yes we bring friends home.I’m sorry that Vanessa seems to have had a poor experience of Christadelphians. We’re not all so insular. But yes we believe the Bible and try to follow its principles in our lives. In this messed up world to keep focused on the big picture of the Return of Christ and his kingdom on earth is a certain hope. It’s a true hope – Bible prophecy about the Jews is compelling evidence.” Sarah Joiner
- Marching not to war (christiantoday.com)
Britain was virtually alone in recognising the rights of COs and this clause was seen as a major coup for the No Conscription Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The latter was a Christian ecumenical movement which had long campaigned for such recognition.The Fellowship of Reconciliation arose out of a friendship between a German Lutheran and English Quaker. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultz and Henry Theodore Hodgkin met at an ecumenical conference in Switzerland that was disrupted by the onset of war.
- Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech (andrewwhalan.com)
The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.
- Taking offence and freedom of speech (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
All religious groups benefit from freedom of speech, because their beliefs have the power to offend others. As our leading article this week sets out, that includes the rather mild and doddery-seeming Church of England, which teaches that personal sin is a serious matter requiring repentance. That’s the sort of thing that can offend people, too, but the Church and other groups benefit from the freedom to say it. Religious groups who argue for curbs on freedom of speech must realise that in the end, this would damage their own freedom too, not just that of others they don’t like.
The fanatical ideologists need to be defeated, either they accept this free democracy or go and live elsewhere. They have nothing to offer us and we do not want anything from them. Spectator journos should pop out to Tower Hamlets or further north, and see the level of islamification of this green and pleasant land.
- Silence is the true freedom. (priscillaescamilla28.wordpress.com)
Silence is power, / the freedom of speech is nothing but a lying blood sucking leach,
- Free Speech or Regulated Silence? (amresolution.com)
How did our founders ever manage to establish a republic committed to free speech and the rights of the individual without a Federal Election Commission to regulate that speech and force disclosure of the speaker?
- What if Freedom Meant Exodus? (pumabydesign001.com) +What if Freedom Meant Exodus?
With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?