Want Some Answers ???
So you have read my mail to Mr Smith. If you are taking-over discussion from him, lets keep to the discussion topic. Some of your comment has issues that neither Smith or I covered. I will put those subjects aside or this reply will be too long. As with Smith, so with you, I will be unable to convince you about anything either. You won't understand spiritual realties and be hostile to me, and unwilling to believe, because you don't have the Holy Spirit.
>>You reply by simply contending he has no spiritual discernment since he is "not born again", he is "unregenerate", based on the supposition of him not having the Holy Spirit, and that only such as have can understand the Orthodox doctrines of Christendom which you propound. This is hardly a defence based on reasoned argument.<<
The defence is based on what God's Word states. Yes Mr Smith by his admission is 'unregenerate' and without 'the Holy Spirit'. Also true of you. The bible says those without the Holy Spirit have no 'spiritual discernment'.
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14).
So this is a very serious matter, you must not overlook. This is why subjects about spiritual realities are confusing to those 'with out the Spirit' (ie the devil, Holy Spirit, God, Christ, salvation, angels, soul, death, eternity, etc). I have studied many Christadelphian bible studies and read Roberts etc, and know this is a fact.
Eg. John Thomas, (without the Spirit) when putting together his gospel made mistakes in his study. He read his own ideas into the Bible. When he listed his beliefs regarding 'the gospel of THE HOPE' he substituted an alternative to repentance of the heart. He taught after baptism, a person receives both repentance and remission of sins. He was wrong; unrepentant and unregenerate people should not even be baptized. The Holy Spirit is vitally important in becoming a Christian, yet Thomas rejected practically every major doctrine of the Christian faith, because he hated the traditional church.
>>It implies that all those who do uphold Orthodox doctrines of Christendom are in possession of the Holy Spirit which gave them enlightenment. They are thus "born again" and "regenerate". They number untold millions (Papal and Protestant adherants).<<
No it doesn't imply any such thing. Read my mail carefully. Upholding "Orthodox doctrines of Christendom" does not give anyone 'possession of the Holy Spirit'. The only way is via the new birth. Jesus said, "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again" [Jn.3:6-7]. It's not believing 'Orthodox doctrine' the Holy Spirit enters the human heart, but by the new birth. You reply,
>>1.Born again. You don't quote this properly (Jhn.3.5) Christ says "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Born of water refers to baptism. Christ had just been baptised of John ("This it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness") (Mtt.3.13-17).<<
To force baptism into John 3:5 reads into it something not there. Jesus didn't say 'born of baptism' but, 'born of water'; whenever He referred to baptism He plainly said 'baptism' (Mt.20.22-23 21.25 Mk.10.38-39 11.30 Lk.12.50 etc). Jn.3:5 relates well to Ezek.36:25 where water and Spirit denote cleansing and regeneration respectively. Jesus said this birth was like the wind – unseen, from God, baptism however is appointed at a place and time. Have you noticed in Jn.3 the six clear commands to be born of the Spirit? A similar expression is used elsewhere (Jn 1:13, 1 Pet 1:23 1 Jn.2:29 1 Jn.3:9 1 Jn.4:7 1 Jn.5:4 1 Jn.5:18). This is a 'spiritual birth’, not a baptism (Compare with 2 Cor.5:17 1 Pt.2:2). The Greek reads ‘born from above'. Without this, you are still in your sin.
>>2. His was the example to follow - complete immersion in water. Paul expounds the principles in Rom.6 - a symbolic death (to the old ways of the flesh) and resurrection (rebirth) of a believer, thus being initiated into the Christ Covenant. This excludes millions of Orthodox from being regenerate or born again, and probably yourself in spite of your claims.<<
Water baptism is a reflection of the new birth that has ready happened. Water baptism is a public outward show of an inward cleansing that happened at the new birth. Those without the Holy Spirit, who are not God's Children and unregenerate should never be baptized. That's a mistake made by many today.
>>4. Mk.16.16 "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved" Notice the Lord's words, Belief first, then Baptism. To believe a thing a person must have knowledge and understanding of the doctrines expounded by the apostles to the Gentiles e.g. Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Phillipi, Colosse etc. as regards "the things of the Kingdom and the things of the Name" (Acts 8..12, Acts 2.42).<<
Water baptism itself does not 'save'. Belief which results in the new birth comes first. That's not what Christadelphians believe, they say a person must have "knowledge and understanding of the doctrines expounded by the" Christadelphians. And only that will do. We must all accept Thomas' doctrines and reject any he did. We must become clones of Thomas. Reject all baptism but the one he taught. Yet today, some Christadelphians are re-baptized when going from one Christadelphian group to another.
The JW's, Mormons, Catholics, Christadelphians are all the same regarding baptism. They have a list of doctrines to believe. So they lock you into their group and doctrine and you are never saved from sin or 'born of God'.
>>5. The necessity of believer's baptism excludes millions of so called regnerate Christians from the Hope (of Israel) (Acts 28.20).<<
Many people 'believe' but they are not God's children. Without the re-birth first all baptism is deceptive. The only way to become a child of God is to be born into God's family. "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God -- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" [Jn.1:12-13].
>>6. Rom.1.16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is THE POWER (Gk. DUNAMOS) OF GOD UNTO SALVATION to every one that believeth.." So Paul says the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Paul and the Lord before him preached the Gospel. OK how many Orthodox Christians know what the Gospel is as preached by the Lord and his apostles? If a person is ignorant of the Gospel he is without Hope, without salvation! (Eph.2.12). Ignorance alienates a person from God (Eph.4.18).<<
But you don't believe in the power of the gospel. You have a man made gospel of human works to earn salvation. My concern about Christadelphianism is (1) it focuses on “the Gospel of the Kingdom” [which was preached ‘only to the Jews’ and rejected by them]. And (2) it ignores "the gospel of the grace of God" [Ac.20:24]. The power spoken about is the power of the blood of Christ to wash totally clean from all sin, past and future. That's power!
>>This excludes millions more who remain ignorant of the Gospel as expounded by the apostles. Furthermore the Gospel alone has the power (dunamos = dynamo) to save. So says the inspired apostle. No mention of the Holy Spirit?<<
Gospel means 'good news'. The Holy Spirit reveals the good news that Christ died for our sin so that we can escape God's punishment for sin, receive new life. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and tells us we must repent (Jn.16.8-14). He tells us we are a sinner for whom Christ died, and the gift of sins forgiven. When we accept these facts and invite Christ into our heart, the Holy Spirit (who knows our heart) enters, cleans, gives new life, opens our eyes. Then He can teach, lead, guide, comfort, strengthen us in God's Word.
>>7. Born of the Spirit. This is the second part of "regeneration" (spiritual rebirth) mentioned by the Lord in Jhn.3.5. What does it mean? Jhn.6.63 "It is the spirit that quickeneth (maketh alive - spiritually as opposed to being spiritually dead); the flesh profiteth nothing: THE WORDS I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT, THEY ARE LIFE." Christ's own words are the source of life, i.e. an intelligent comprehension of the teaching of the great Rabbi brings the hope of life (immortal life).<<
Yes Christ's words are the source of spiritual life (Jn.3.3). But just to comprehend his words doesn't mean one has received the Holy Spirit. There are PhD's in biblical studies who are not Christians. So you can "hope for life" all you like. But if you are not born into His family as a little child, you won't have eternal life (Jn.3.36). 'Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the midst, And said, truly I say to you, Except you are converted, and become as a little child, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'. (Mt.18.2-3). I entered this world as a little child in the flesh. So with God's family and the new birth, we start as babies and need to grow.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit, "another Comforter, (who guides into all truth). "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him". But I know Him; for He dwells with me and is within [Jn. 1:17, 14:6,16-17]. He doesn't give 'hope' of life, He is the Life. Concerning the word 'Comforter' you reply,
>>1. Comforter (Jhn16.7). A plain reading of this chapter will reveal that the it is part of a discourse by Christ to his apostles which commenced ch.13 and was the occasion of the 'Last Supper' or Passover feast on the eve of his betrayal. The words are spoken to his apostles or 12 disciples preparing them for his imminent depature from them (v.5,7,16), when they will have to fend for themselves in a hostile world (Jhn. 15.18,19). Part of this preparation was to wait in Jerusalem when they would receive the Comforter or Holy Spirit (Gk. paracletos) which would give them powers to show their authority and enable them to establish the Gospel message or the Bible Hope in Christ (nothing to do with the pagan fiction of transkyania and immortal souls) This found its initial fulfillment in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.<<
Yes the Comforter or "He" (personal pronoun) was promised to Christ's disciples. No where is it said the Holy Spirit was taken from them after a certain time. But the commission goes on to the ends of the earth, baptizing in the "name" of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mt.28). All God's family today are born of the Spirit.
"...ye shall receive THE GIFT of THE HOLY SPIRIT. For THE PROMISE is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL" (Ac.2.38-9).
Jesus uses the word 'Counsellor' of the Holy Spirit [see Jn.16:13-14]. He says, “another Counsellor”. This doesn’t mean another of a different kind but another of similar nature. How could one who pleads another’s case; an intercessor, helper, assistant be an impersonal force (Jn.14:16)? See the problem? If I interpret the Holy Spirit as only God’s power [not a person] then words don’t mean what they say.
>>2.Rom. 6.23."For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." The clear teaching of Paul is that death is man's natural entitlement (his wages); eternal life (immortality) in contrast is a gift from God to those who are worthy of it. It is conditional. This is a fundamental apostolic doctrine "conditional immotality".<<
All those born again have eternal life now. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". When you realize your need to have your sins forgiven (which you don't yet) when you repent, come to Christ, and accept Him as your Saviour, you receive 'the Life'.
Jesus the crucified and risen Son of God, is "the true God and Eternal life" [I Jn.5:20], I received the gift of God (everlasting life) and passed "out of death into life," [Jn.5:24]. Since then I work, not in order to be saved, but because I am saved. Only the saved can work, [Eph.2:10; Titus 3:3]. For all others, "this is the work of God, that I ye believe on Him whom He [God] hath sent" [Jn.6:29]. I also read the Scriptures, not in order to get eternal life, but because I have already obtained eternal life and require spiritual food suitable for one born anew and from above.
It's impossible for spiritually dead to obtain eternal life by their own efforts, (which are dead works). It is only by "the gift of God" as Jesus declared in Jn 4.10 (and see Rom.6:23).
>>3.1 Tim.6.16 Paul speaks of the Deity "who ONLY hath immortality (Gk. athanasia = deathlessness) dwelling in the light which NO MAN can appraoch unto; WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN NOT CAN SEE..." So Paul here confirms the position that only God hath underived immortality.<<
But God has given "immortality" to angels (Lk.20.36) and men as well. "And this is the record, that God hath GIVEN to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye HAVE eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 Jn 5:11-13)
So I have "eternal life" now and it’s a promise of God's Word. In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life (eionion zoes) is the present possession of every believer in Christ. So we see that the believer, having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, already possesses never-ending life as a continuing quality of conscious existence.
>>4. 2 Tim.2.10" Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light THROUGH THE GOSPEL." Access to immortality is only possible through the Gospel.<<
Yes by accepting the Gospel, not the Christadelphian gospel (or good news, which is not really good news at all). This verse in Timothy shows that life and immortality were NOT brought to light in the times before the Gospel came. Life and immortality were existent before Christ but not clearly revealed. Christadelphians have a weak ‘HOPE’ centred not on the Gospel but on Thomas and themselves. If they’re good enough; know enough and baptized by Christadelphian’s then, they might be “counted worthy” for recreation. Don't hold your breath!!
>>5. The Gospel are good news has nothing to do with enabling people to go to Heaven. This is a pious fiction. The gospel as Paul tells the Galations was preached to Abraham (Gal.3.8). It concerned the promises God made to Abraham - possession of the land of Canaan for ever. Abraham as the apostle says died in faith not having received those promises. He has to be resurrected. Paul taught the resurrection (1Cor.15). The Hope of the Bible is the Hope of the resurrection. (Acts23.6, Acts24.14-15).<<
No one will get to heaven through the maze of Christadelphianism. The Gospel of the Kingdom is: "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Christians are “citizens of heaven” [Eph.2:19] it’s their ‘home’ [Phil. 3:20LB Heb.10.34 11.16]. A “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” [2 Cor.5:1] a place for Christians [Jn.14:2]. Believers go to be with the Lord in heaven [Phil.1:23 Rev.5.9-13]. It’s called the kingdom of God and of Christ [Eph5:5] Called paradise [2 Cor.12:4] where people go 'Today shall thou be with me in paradise'... 'set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God' [Col.3:1].
>>8. Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (ch.26)shows this was the earnest belief of the First Century Christians, but was gradually set aside as a profound allegory as the Apostate Catholic church became increasingly minded of earthy glory and power, enthroned by Constantine 312AD.<<
Gibbon is quoted ad nauseous in Christadelphian literature. Read the Introduction. “No modern historian can agree with Gibbon’s supercilious dismissal of the Byzantine history as ‘a tedious and uniform tale of weakness and misery’ This failure of understanding is even more disastrous when he has to deal with the problems of the rise of Christianity. Christianity was essentially something new…. All this was invisible and unintelligible to him. He had no understanding of specifically religious values. They were for him an unknown dimension. That is his real difficulty in dealing with Christianity: not concerning miracles or metaphysical absurdity of dogmas but the fundamental concepts of divine revelation in short the idea of what Christianity was all about. Consequently his chapter on the Rise of Christianity entirely failed to touch the root of the matter he hast to account for the vast development of creeds, sects, ecclesiastical establishments. His attitude to Christianity is marked by a note of personal animosity and the cause of his rejection of it… he reduces it’s place in history by treating it with irony and seeking to discredit it with sneers and innuendoes. [This is his] ... great defect as a historian and a very serious one since it invalidates his judgment on the very issues which are most vital to his subject….no discreet inquirer would go there for his ecclesiastical history” [4th Ed. 1968 Chatto & Windus pg.xii-xiv]. But only Christadelphians "go there" we might add, no wonder he is their hero.
>>Cast away your churchy twaddle to the moles and bates and get yourself wise in the deep things of God more precious than gold, yea than much fine gold. To the Greeks foolishness and to the Jews a stumbling block. Benaiah<<
'Cast away your' trust in Thomas. The only way to become God's child is by birth. " born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" [Jn.1:12-13]. Without which you will never know 'the deep things of God' (not church twaddle, the bible's declaration). If you refuse but follow Thomas instead, then you live in a state of disobedience to what God commands. You must be born again. We all need this spiritual birth (not religion). If you do not have "the Spirit of Christ" you are not a child of God but unregenerate and lost in sin. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" [Rom.8:9].
Of course I am not surprised if I don’t convince you of the error of Thomas. It’s very seldom that those who commit themselves to the teaching of men are delivered from it. Particularly those who are involved in the great systems of error flourishing today which seek to justify their teachings by some method of interpretation of Scripture. Most unfortunate people drawn into these systems and have no desire whatever to be convinced of error. They become simply zealous partisans of a cult and would compass sea and land to make one proselyte.
As I said to Smith Christadelphians are hostile to Christians; they hate God's children and have nothing but venom and poison for them. You will not understand spiritual things. When born into this world in Adam, we are spiritually blind. God's Spirit with God's Word reveals our fallen state and need for repentance, a Saviour and rebirth. This is why Christadelphians have never had their eyes open to spiritual realities and will always be blind to what the bible really says. And their hope is so weak and lifeless.