The Cooper/Carter Addendum
STATEMENT REGARDING CLAUSES 5 AND 12 OF THE BIRMINGHAM AMENDED STATEMENT OF FAITH REFERRED TO IN THE MESSAGE TO THE 1956 CONFERENCE FROM BRETHREN C. COOPER AND J. CARTER.
We believe that Adam was made of the earth and declared to be very good; because of disobedience to God's law he was sentenced to return to the dust. He fell from his very good state and suffered the consequences of sin--shame, a defiled conscience and mortality. As his descendants, we partake of that mortality that came by sin and inherit a nature prone to sin. By our actions we become sinners and stand in need of forgiveness of sins before we can be acceptable to God. Forgiveness and reconciliation God has provided by the offering of His son; though Son of God he partook of the same nature--the same flesh and blood--as all of us, but did not sin. In his death he voluntarily declared God's righteousness; God was honored and the flesh shown to be by divine appointment rightly related to death. To share in God's forgiveness we must be united with Christ by baptism into his death, rising from baptism dead to the past to walk in newness of life. The form of baptism is a token of burial and of resurrection and in submitting to it we identify ourselves with the principles established in the death of Jesus "who died unto sin," recognizing that God is righteous in decreeing that the wages of sin is death; and that as members of the race we are rightly related to a dispensation of death.
In all His appointments God wills to be honoured, sanctified and hallowed by all who approach unto Him. By His promises God sets before man a hope of life and a prospect of resuming those relationships that are lost by sin. With the setting forth of this hope there comes a new basis of responsibility. Times of ignorance God overlooks but with knowledge a man becomes an accountable and responsible creature with the obligation to believe and obey God.
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All of the above is a precise exhibition of the Cooper/Carter Addendum found on page 12 of the Unity Booklet.
This addendum was necessary to forge the reunion between the Shield (Clean Flesh) Group and the Central group of Christadelphians in 1957 in Australasia. The Addendum alters several things, but especially two prominent things for the Shield Christadelphians.
First it removed the term "defiled our nature", from clause five of the BASF replacing it with "a defiled conscience." Since "Partial Atonement" groups like the Shield Group deny that the nature itself is defiled or "sinful", they could never agree to a statement which said that it was. According to this addendum, we are not born "constitutional sinners" as taught by bro. Thomas in Elpis Israel, but "by our actions we become sinners." This of course is false to those who know the truth. And Bro. Thomas directly contradicted this when he taught "Children are born sinners or unclean, because they are born of sinful flesh." (Elpis Israel pg. 129).
Secondly, it eliminated the expression "condemned sin in the flesh" from clause 12 which the "Partial Atonement" teachers all deny. Those five words are replaced with this phrase, "though Son of God he partook of the same nature--the same flesh and blood--as all of us, but did not sin. In his death he voluntarily declared God's righteousness; God was honored and the flesh shown to be by divine appointment rightly related to death." Since this addendum teaches that a man is not sinful till he acts in a sinful manner, they can agree to the saying that the body is shown to be related to death, without admitting that the body itself is Sin and was condemned. Again this strikes at the root of bro. Thomas' teaching saying "Inasmuch as this evil principle pervades every part of the flesh, the animal nature is styled 'sinful flesh'; that is, flesh full of sin." "SIN could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus if it had not existed there...the purpose of God was to condemn sin in the flesh, a thing that could not have been accomplished if there was no sin there." (Elpis Israel pg 126-127).