Other Sheep


These are just a few of many examples of real Brothers and Sisters who either have or are suffering and have not received the support and care needed to heal and remain or return to the fold. There are many more. Though these are all real cases, details have been changed to ensure anonymity. To those involved in the various Care Groups, any number of names could be found to fit each example.

"My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them."

(Ezekiel 34:6)

Case 1: the sexual abuse in marriage victim

A young woman was introduced to the Truth by a male friend, was baptised and eventually married him. Several years later she left him following severe and repeated sexual abuse. The ecclesia did not believe her and disfellowshiped her for divorcing the Brother (who was the son of the RB). The Sisters family who had come to the Truth as a result of her faith also left the meeting. Years later, when the RB died, his widow admitted that he too had been very abusive throughout their marriage. The ecclesia realised the mistake they had made in disbelieving and disfellowshipping the Sister, but by that time all contact had been lost and those sheep were never found.

Case 2: the alcoholic

A young man grew up in a Christadelphian home and was baptised. However, his parents wanted him also to be successful in the World and gain University qualifications, while the young Brother wanted to preach. He quitted University and travelled, incurring the displeasure of his family. Never being able to live up to their unrealistic expectations of him, he fell into depression and from there sought refuge in the bottle. Though he has tried on several occasions to break free, he receives very little support (it is a family secret), and fails in his efforts. Each time he fails, he feels more unworthy of the blood and saving grace of Christ and isolates himself further from the ecclesia. This sheep, like so many others, is slowly getting lost and will soon be out of sight.

Case 3: the depressive

A young sister suffers from severe depression, but will not take any medication or seek outside counselling because she believes and hears on a Sunday, that in Christ we can overcome and be perfect. Though a couple of Christadelphians try to support her, they are often drained and at a loss how best to help her, and over the years there is very little if any improvement. Many others ignore her because she can be difficult to deal with emotionally.She is a sheep walking on the edge of a deep gorge who could topple over at any time.

Case 4: the co-dependent

A sister who is highly co-dependent finds herself involved with a physcially and emotionally abusive Brother, sinks into depression and hits the bottle, believing she has no option but to marry him and unable to either see or escape the downward spiral of abuse and co-dependence. Although the ecclesia is aware of the problems, everyone denies them and pretends there are none - hoping they will disappear after the marriage ceremony. In this case the sheep is blindly heading for the motorway while the sheperds encourage it on with denial.

Case 5: the male survivor of childhood sexual abuse

A Brother was severely abused in childhood and as a result suffers from depression, DID and many other trauma induced symptoms. As a result of the inescapable pain and nightmares he took to the bottle and took to self-harming and suicidal actions. Though the ecclesia was asked for support and help on his behalf a number of times, they denied any real problem apart from his drinking. Eventually he was disfellowshipped for an act of violence though he was repentant and seeking outside help. This poorly sheep was thrown out of the fold and left to wander alone and sick.

Case 6: the survivor of emotional and physical abuse in childhood

A sensitive young Brother was brought up in a Christadelphian home where his parents were sometimes caring and sometimes emotionally cruel and distant and set very high unachievable standards for him. His father used a belt to punish any 'naughtiness'. The parents however were of a high standing in the ecclesia, where they appeared perfect. As an adult the Brother could not tally the different personalities he saw in his parents, suffered chronic self-worth problems and continued to try to present himself as perfect to please them and live up to the role-model they had given him. Unable to keep this up on a constant basis and feeling as though he was a failure, he took to drinking in private and in part reproduced the strict upbringing on his own children. This sheep is struggling with self-doubt and is at risk of giving up and leaving the fold.

Case 7: the abuser

This Brother encountered various troubles while growing up and was largely unsupported by parents due to their own issues. Many of these left him with a very poor self-image, no self-worth and the need to control and manipulate his surrounding to feel safe. As a baptised adult he took these coping mechanisms into marriage with him and was largely unintentionally abusive towards his wife. When she finally asked the ecclesia to intervene and encourage him to seek counselling, they refused to raise the issues and encouraged him in his denial. This sheep, while still in the fold, is suffering without any effort of help for the deep-seated issues from the shepherds, and poses a risk to other sheep as a consequence.

Case 8: the sufferer of an eating disorder

Having grown up in a Christadelphian home where problems were never discussed, this teenage girl was traumatised by the break-up of her parents marriage. Her struggles went unnoticed due to the parents being pre-occupied with their own pain. Feeling out of control of her home life she took to controlling her food intake in a vain attempt to find some form of security. Despite weightloss this went unnoticed. After baptism and through early adult life she would return to this coping mechanism whenever she felt emotionally vulnerable or out of control. This sheep is still in the fold, but suffering from a deep-seated fear and coping mechansims she cannot admit to, hence feels isolated and trots on the brink of the fold, denying herself the security the fold could offer due to her shame.

Case 9: the female incest survivor

An RB sexually abused his daughter. The abuse was never never admitted and as a young woman she married a non- christadelphian. Though she herself was never baptised and died fairly young, she sent her children to a Christadelphian Sunday School and some were baptised. This sheep was thought to have 'turned her back on the Truth' and was never approached by those 'safely' in the fold.

Case 10: the post-natal depression sufferer

This Sister suffered from post-natal depression after the surprise arrival of another child in her 40s during difficult times. This was not treated and resulted in long-term depression, which in turn made her 'difficult' at times. She received more condemnation than support from her ecclesia, including 'hate mail' dressed up as edifying and concerned. As a result she eventually left the ecclesia and joined various different Churches but could not settle due to the doctrinal differences. Finally she was left in isolation. This sheep was standing on the edge of a cliff and was encouraged to jump.

Please also read A Sister's Testimonial.



These Brothers and Sisters are all suffering and struggling within our Community, often silent and confused, having to deal not only with the various issues they face, but with a sense of guilt, failure and shame, which exasperates those problems and often drive them further from the ecclesia, and sometimes from the Lord.

As a Community of Believers who strive to follow the example set us by our Lord and Saviour, we need to admit these problems, try to understand and reach out to help those suffering.

"Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

(Mat. 25:44,45)

This page was last updated September 2005