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Hello Ron

Thanks for writing and inviting a response. I would like to address your entire letter [not part, as you did mine] and explain why I differ. You wrote,


>>I read your comments with interest, yet I couldn't help thinking of the words of the LORD to Job in ch.38:2 "who is this that darkeneth counsel with words without knowledge"<<

I studied a number of Christadelphian 'Bible' courses and finished a Masters Degree on your sect. So I'm not altogether "without knowledge" but look forward having you [or any Christadelphian] teach me the truth. You wrote,

>>You make some strong accusations, suggesting that Christadelphians believe in justification by works, that we do not accept the need to have the Spirit of Christ<<

Yes Christadelphian's teach salvation according to works, with a list of vital conditions. There's no spiritual birth in your doctrine. You can never be sure of salvation because if your 'effort' or works are not good enough, you think you will be lost. But the truth is, if we could save ourselves, Christ didn't need to die.

I'm interested in your own words, how you are going to save yourself. Convince me of 'the truth' if you think you have it. Truth needs fear no foe. After all, salvation is THE most important subject. So tell me all the things I need to do to get to heaven. Because it appears to me that the Bible declares there's ONLY one way to heaven.

The Bible says, "all [are] under sin...none are righteous, no not one" [Rom.3:9-10]. "All our righteous acts are as filthy rags" in God's sight [Isa.64:6]. Ron man's nature is rotten to the core. "Dead in sins" what can a dead man do to come alive? How can we earn favour and good deeds make us alive to God? And then, be good enough for heaven? Jesus said, we "must be born again [or] born of the Spirit" [Jn.3:6-7]. The 'new birth' is not an end time event and received after a life of work. No! It's the only way to become a Christian (no exception). No where in your letter did you answer my question. Have you been born again? You wrote,


>>Reading the Bible does not suggest the former, all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, among other things, for instruction in righteousness, and it by the words of Christ Jesus that we can have life (John 6:63). How else can we learn of "the life" but by reading the scriptures, indeed the Bereans were commended by the Spirit for searching the scriptures daily to make sure that what they were hearing were the Truth (Acts 17:11)<<

You have read the Scriptures to no avail. A cult told you what to believe? There's a difference between (1) reading, learning and then accepting Christ as Saviour; and (2) religiously reading, learning and thinking that will be saved. The Berean's received the Gospel of salvation first and then examined to see whether what was said was true. Will you? You haven't addressed my entire letter and shown the error, instead you present Christadelphian dogma on the 'kingdom', we know already. You wrote,

>>I believe the Christadelphian focus on the Kingdom of God is absolutely correct. To suggest that this message was restricted to Jews and that before the resurrection is simply not correct. The disciples were instructed by Jesus for 40 days after the resurrection concerning the kingdom of God<<

It's not 'correct' because it's not the Good News. The central truth of the Gospel is missing. The 'disciples' were Jews. But the foundation of the Christian Church is not the Kingdom but the Gospel message Act 2:36-39. How clear can Acts 4:12 be? That's not the old message known to the OT Hebrews but the message of salvation and grace through Christ's death and resurrection. The Jews rejected Christ and His message that the King had arrived. The Kingdom would NOT now be set-up immediately. Jesus gave the disciples the NEW message for all the nations [Mt.28:19]. The nation Israel [some Jews] expected Christ to set up His earthly kingdom, instead they crucified Him. His disciples had to figure-out what that meant. Jesus instructed about a New Covenant and a change in God's plan. So like I said, Christadelphian's ignore the gospel of grace and forgiveness of sins; and instead major on the kingdom. You wrote,

>>Obviously an important element of their future message which Jesus said they would convey to Jerusalem, to Judaea to Samaria and the uttermost part of the world (Acts 1:3, 8). Men like Philip carried out that responsibility when he went down into Samaria and preached "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12)<<

Like I said, my concern is Christadelphian's focusing on "the Gospel of the Kingdom" and ignoring "the gospel of the grace of God" [Ac.20:24]. One can spend a life-time focused on His coming earthly rule and miss out on salvation. Since the resurrection, the prominent fact is that Christ was raised from the dead and gave His life for our sins. Hence this gospel could not have been preached while our Lord was on earth. It is carefully defined in I Cor.15:1-3 "I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand...how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures [the OT] and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures." Don't over look this verse, but explain where I'm wrong about it. Paul declares that he did not learn this gospel from man, but from the risen Lord [Gal.1:11,12] "If an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be accursed." You wrote,

>>The apostle Paul preached the gospel at Ephesus for over 2 years (Eph. 1:13) and his message was the "kingdom of God" (Acts 20:25)<<

Note vs.24, Paul says, "the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace". That should be your Gospel. Christadelphianism ignores this gospel and suggests good works saves us. You wrote,

>>All these were Gentiles, not Jews, who heard the gospel after the resurrection of Jesus, and which was altogether appropriate because the gospel was never intended to be restricted to Jews<<

Yes, the gospel [good news] of the grace of God is intended for all men, but the gospel of the Kingdom was intended for the Jews [who rejected it]. The Jews effectively said "We will not have this man to reign over us" [Lk.19:14 1:33]. You wrote,

>>Paul was imprisoned at Rome for two years during which time he "received ALL that came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Acts 28:30-31). The kingdom of God and name of Jesus Christ are an inseparable part of the same gospel message<<

What was this "same gospel message" in Act.28 ? Paul said, "..the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God BY HIS RESURRECTION from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord" [Rom.1:2-4 see also 1 Cor.15:1-3]. Ignore this gospel to your peril.

>>Paul preached the same gospel as did the Lord Jesus Christ and the same gospel as that of Peter. Peter's message in Acts chapter 2 was not restricted to Jews, it was directed to "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord" (Acts 2:21). That this reference includes Gentiles is confirmed by Paul himself (Romans 10:11,12) and Peter in reference to Cornelius (Acts 10:43)<<

Surprisingly Paul and Peter didn't preach an identical message to that of Jesus. They had to revaluate it in the light of what had happened to Him. And differentiate what He had said to Israel and what He said to the disciples. When Peter said, "whosever" he was speaking to the Jews [Ac.2:5,14], indicating primarily the "promise is unto you [Hebrews] and your children" [Ac.2:39]. The Gentiles had not yet embraced the message. Why else would Peter say this? -

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know" Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

So Paul wrote the Gospel was "to the Jews first" [Rom.1:16 2:10]. When they had not accepted it the Holy Spirit turned to the Samaritans [Ac.8:5,12] and then to the Gentiles [Ac.10:45].

You remind me of the college professor who reads, studies and teachers the Bible [has knowledge] yet has never trusted Christ as Saviour [no Spiritual birth]. So you can't be sure you have eternal life.

You spend your entire letter on 'the gospel', yet don't know the Good News of Grace of God. Ron, it won't work; you will never get to heaven by good works. You wrote,


>>As you noted, Paul received the gospel from the risen Lord (Gal.1:11,12) and it was the same gospel that was preached to Abraham (Gal.3:8) and involved ALL nations - "In thee shall all nations be blessed". When Jesus was born God was remembering His covenant which He made to Abraham (Luke 1:68-73) - a reference to Gen.22:16-18). The gospel of the kingdom is the gospel of grace, because it is a gospel of faith - "they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" again "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heir according to the promise" (Gal.3:9,29)<<

The significance of Lk.1:68-73 & Gen.22:16-18 was that the Gospel was to be realised at an appointed period [Jn.1:17]. Although the Jews hoped He would, "...rescue us from the hand of our enemies" [Luke 1:74], yet that was not the Gospel. Christ's coming was "to give knowledge of salvation...by the remission of...sins" [Lk.1:77]. That stamps the spiritual nature of the salvation intended and explains Lk.1:71,74. Abraham's experience was one of faith [Gal.3:6-7], but the message of the kingdom relates to the law ["not of faith" Gal.3:12], which also relates to Israel. The kingdom agreement depended Israel's covenant keeping and receiving the Messiah [Rom.10:21]. The Good News of the new agreement is all nations can enjoy God's unconditional love. God has not finished with Israel [Rom.11:1 7-12] Jesus will one day establish the kingdom but the Church needs to proclaim the Gospel of John 3:16. You wrote,

>>There is much that can be said about the remainder of your comments but you seem to believe that to disagree with your views is a sign of a closed mind. Before I comment further I would be interested in your comments on the above<<

It's Christadelphian's who think they are the only true church. I'm looking forward to you answering the rest of my letter, we shall see whose closed-mind. Particularly when you start telling how you will save yourself. R. Roberts makes a list of "conditions" to keep, without which there is NO salvation. These 'conditions' bind followers to your sect. And there are the hidden conditions, which clutter the list, not to mention those who 'cannot be saved' [pg.226-240 "Christendom Astray" Birmingham 1984]. Roberts got these from Thomas [Elpis Israel pg.260-261]. H. Tennant wrote, "This work of salvation continues throughout the life of the disciple. He is saved finally because he has held fast to the lifeline secured in Christ" [pg.212 "The Christadelphian's What they Believe and Teach" Birmingham 1986].

Many religious people [like yourself] think they can live a good life and do what their 'church' leaders say they, then they will have earned their way to heaven. Unfortunately, the Bible does not allow anyone to earn his way to heaven. The Scriptures teach that good works have nothing to do with one entering into a right relationship with God. This relationship is nothing we can earn, because God has done everything for us.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this notfrom yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.

If our salvation was on the basis of works and we could earn it successfully, God would be our debtor: He would owe us something [Rom.4:1-3]. The Bible teaches that God owes no man anything, and our righteousness is as filthy rags [Isa.64:6]. The simple reason is that God has a perfect standard and all of us have sinned and come short of this mark [Rom.3:23]. We like to compare ourselves to others and thus we feel that we are not so bad after all. But God compares us to Jesus Christ and next to Him we cannot help but fall far short, all of us, without exception. Hope to hear from you in due course.

Regards
Mark Purchase



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