The History of The Christadelphian Advocate
In March 1885 the founding editor, Thomas Williams, sent out the first edition of The Christadelphian Advocate magazine to the brotherhood.
Our Name and Object
Forasmuch, as many among us have for some time, desired a monthly periodical in America, for the purpose of advocating the truth "concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ;" and also to be used as a medium of communication between Christadelphian bodies scattered throughout this continent; we now make our appearance in response to such desires, under the name of The Christadelphian Advocate.
It hath pleased God in these last times of the Gentiles, to cause a revival of promulgation of the "one gospel" which had for ages been perverted and almost-if not altogether-extinguished, by the power of that "mystery of iniquity", whose coming has been "after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish."
The Truth's Revival
The revival of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus came about in the mid-eighteen hundreds through one John Thomas, whose indefatigable labors in the glorious cause of truth, have resulted in arresting the attention of many good and honest hearts. Their studies caused them to embrace the one gospel apostolically delivered almost two thousand years ago. Those having embraced the one gospel, have necessarily come out from the broad ways of the apostasy, and have banded together in groups known as ecclesia's (brethren in Christ), now to be found in many places in the world.
The Name Christadelphian
The word "Christadelphian" having become what it was intended to be – a distinguishing name - has been chosen on that account, so that it might be distinctly understood that we belong to, and shall to the best of our ability represent, that sect everywhere spoken against. "Advocate" has been selected because our object is to devote our-selves to the advocacy of those Bible truths which are essential to be believed in order to become brethren in Christ. In entering upon a work of this character of publishing a magazine, we are not unaware of the responsibilities assumed. We suppose that every work issuing forth from the (printing) press, has to become a target for the sharp and penetrating arrows of the critic. The mere literary critic, however, we care but little for, as we make no claim to excellence in the literary sense, and do not expect to be proof against criticism from such a standpoint. Our purpose is that we may write so as to be understood by the "partially educated" and the poor of this world. We know from experience and observation that it is among the impossibilities for anyone to conduct a periodical in such a manner as to please everyone.
Inasmuch as there is much diversity in "running a paper" there has to be someone to hold the reins, and so, we must ask that we be allowed to guide The Christadelphian Advocate; to decide what goes into the pages and that which goes in the waste basket.
Forbearance then must therefore play its part, and why shouldn't it, as long as it continues to be a virtue? In laying down this rule by which we intend to be governed, it must not be understood that we by any means ignore the fact that "where no counsel is the people fall, but in the multitude of counselers there is safety."
"Counsel is what we shall at all times crave from those who have proven themselves "workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth".
The Conservative Way
Our object is to declare to the dying race of humanity the unadulterated word of the gospel, and to maintain the "form of sound doctrine delivered unto us". In carrying out this object, we shall do as advised in the language of a brother, namely, "Let your contributors be none others than veterans in the truth-not in rhetoric, nor "the wisdom of this world,"-but in sound doctrine. This conservative method may not be the most popular, and indeed may end in disaster, financially, to The Christadelphian Advocate, but what of that? Were we after of popularity and financial success, we should be found in different ranks than those of the despised Nazarene. If the work cannot be carried on in accordance with the principles of the truth, which lead in none other than the "strait and narrow way", and if in pursuing the strait and narrow way, it becomes crippled, and falls for lack of financial support, then let it fall rather than step out into the "broad way that leads to destruction".
We shall then conclude that the Master has no use for us in this field of operation, and we shall bow in humble submission to his will. Let us also, while taking this uncompromising and unflinching stand, "cry aloud and spare not," let us sound out the alarm to this godless and mammon-worshipping nation, that the day is near at hand when the judgments of God's intervention will be poured out upon the world of humanity, causing "a time of trouble such as never was...even to that same time" (Daniel 12:1). Let us herald the gladsome news of the soon-to-be-established kingdom of Yahweh upon the ruins of the ungodly kingdoms, empires, and republics of men.
Brother Thomas Williams, as stated above, founded The Christadelphian Advocate (or The Advocate) in 1885, and continued as owner and editor until his death in 1913. Prior to his death, Brother Williams contacted with six brothers who were to become by transfer, the owners of all assets associated with the magazine, and the right to publication. This included the printing press as well as all books, tracts, pamphlets and sundry electrotype plates. All property of the magazine was transferred by sale to the six brothers by Sister Williams.
It is very evident that The Advocate originated as an independent private enterprise, and has continued as such to the present time, with ownership vested in the committee, and further, that the committee has the responsibility and the authority to appoint the editor and committee members as the occasion may require. The succeeding editors, up until the 1980s, were burdened with not only editing, but also publishing the magazine. In the early 80s, the publishing of The Advocate was separated from the editor, thus easing his burden somewhat.
Current Basis and Objective
The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee stands today as its founder, the late Thomas Williams stood, namely, upon the Scriptural basis set forth in the Bible which we believe to be the Word of God; and which is conveniently summarized in The Christadelphian Unamended Statement of Faith. The Committee is dedicated to the task of encouraging its readers to faithfully uphold the original Faith once delivered to the Saints; and to reflect their dedication to these doctrines by leading a life set apart from the world by close observance of the Commandments of Christ, without which holiness unto the Lord is impossible. The Christadelphian Advocate exists for the purpose of bringing the following services to the Christadelphian Brotherhood:
Publication of a monthly magazine, The Christadelphian Advocate, intended for the strengthening and enlightening of those who profess the Name of Jesus Christ, and as a bond of inter-communication between those of like precious faith.
A publishing service, making available to Brethren of Christ and interested friends, books and pamphlets published by the Committee. Literature published by others is also made available, which is deemed useful in the cause of the Truth.
The charges to be made for The Christadelphian Advocate Magazine, and for any books or pamphlets distributed by The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee shall be determined by the actual cost of publication and distribution. No profits are to be taken from the Lord's work, nor are any members of the organization to receive any salary or remuneration other than for authorized "out of pocket" expenses. All labor is to be gratis, as unto the Lord.
– The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee
(The above information was gleaned from the March 1985 100th Anniversary Issue,
a 1971 history written by Paul Safford and the Constitution and Bylaws of the Advocate dated 4/1/83.)