Want Some Answers ???
Thanks for your letter, which was appreciated and the invitation to write. Lately I have been so busy but now have time to write. I had mentioned the Christadelphian "website" You replied,
I know you "fairly well" as a
Christadelphian. Some Christadelphians try to fool people into thinking they are
not like the rest. They deny they teach what the 'others' teach. One popular denial is to say their
doctrine of salvation is not a works doctrine. Yet their good news of the
kingdom ignores the good news of God's grace. Tell me about all the 'conditions'
that you are required to keep or you can't be saved. Your doctrine is salvation by works. You objected and wrote,
>>Well, some of them do. But I never was so taught, nor have I ever preached it, nor has any member of any Christadelphian church to which I have belonged. I do not know how it is possible to read Romans or Ephesians or Galatians or 1 John, etc etc and come up with a gospel of salvation by works<<
Well, they have told you only what they want you to know [fooled you]. Or you are not honest, or don't know what you believe. Can I lose salvation, yes or no? Do you know what's on the Christadelphian website? Have you ever read their Statement of Faith? You now say, "I was never so taught." Yet after two or three emails you will be saying 'but that's what we believe'. Unless you are separate from all the rest. You wrote,
>>I will grant you that there is a very vocal group of Christadelphians, particularly in USA/Australia/NZ, who seem to have hit the internet hard, and take a different view from me - and they make it clear that they look askance at my understanding - but I reckon the majority of Christadelphians world-wide (I was born and bred in the UK) would agree to a fair extent with me. Granted it has taken many quite a while to come round to the implications of salvation by grace in response to faith, but then you will not find all that many books on the subject from other churches before about 1990<<
Yes, but what hope of salvation do you have? It depends on you following Christadelphians doctrines. What about the Trinity doctrine? The soul after death? No devil? No eternal hell? Can I be a Christadelphian and believe the Trinity doctrine? Are you are different from the others? It would be strange having Christadelphians write and deny what I know they teach. The website was written after 1990 but has all the same old doctrines Christadelphians believe. Has there been a change? Christadelphians have held that infants and imbeciles cannot be saved for both are incapable of indulging in the intellectual exercise of knowledge and baptism. Is this still true? You wrote,
>>Your dismissal of Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand as being only applicable to the Jews strikes me as a bit of a facile judgment. Granted that Jesus and his disciples spoke almost totally to Jews, does that mean that the lessons of Matthew 5 which centered around the Law of Moses are not applicable to us? I accept that with the advent of the King, the kingdom had in one sense arrived - as J.B. Phillips puts it," The kingdom of God has swept over you", and that in several senses we can consider the kingdom to be a present event, but to be able to dismiss the message of the Lord as irrelevant today without being told so strikes me as a bit presumptuous - but you may be able to enlighten me. (That was not said ironically - I do welcome enlightenment).<<
The message "Repent for the Kingdom of God" was only to Jews. Would you say Jesus was showing "bit of a facile judgment" in Mt.10:6-7 ? And when Jesus said, "Do not go among the Gentiles" with this kingdom message was He "presumptuous"? [Mt.10:5].
Regarding Mtt.5, a basic rule for bible understanding is to note, 'whose speaking and speaking to who'. Ignore this rule and confuse yourself. J.B. Phillips wasn't a Christadelphian of course, even though his translation is well known for it's lack of faithfulness to the text and he didn't use the best Greek. However, you must learn to distinguish with what is spoken/written to Israel and what is spoken/written to the Church. And distinguish what is said to the Jews and what is said to the Gentiles. You will find that enlightening. You wrote,
>>You say it was expressly limited to the house of Israel. It may have been. But the principle still holds nowadays in that repentance is still necessary, and I reckon the kingdom, with the fulfilment of the promises, could well be close at hand since the State of Israel has been re-established. But I never thought of this as being our gospel message anyway<<
I accept that 'repentance is necessary', but the "repentance" of the cults is a "repentance" from all else, to their wrong interpretation. Their "conversion" is into their group, rather than to the gospel of God's grace. Hence the cultist is hooked into everything of their group. You have not established that you believe anything other than the error of Christadelphianism. You object to this and wrote,
>>It all depends what you mean. I see all sorts of errors held by different people in Christadelphia - and an even greater variety held by members of other churches<<
What error? The "errors" in the Christadelphian Statement of Faith, the website with your email address? You wrote,
>>So what is your background. Were you one of the fortunate few (blessed would be a better word) who learnt the gospel in its fullness from scratch, or have you changed some of your views but now believe that other people cannot show the same openness to the Lord as yourself?<<
When we use the word "gospel" we refer to 2 different gospels. You the gospel of the Kingdom [taught by Roberts, Thomas]. I, the gospel of God's grace. You wrongly assume one must study hard to "learn the gospel in all its fullness". That's NOT the gospel of God's grace. The "fortunate few" are simply those that - "...confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." [Rom 10:9-10].
These are the saved people [Jn.3:18 6:29 20:31 Ac.15:7] You can join them if you want. But the Christadelphian kingdom message is not the bible's salvation gospel. It's not the same. You wrote,
>>So do I - whenever I am investigating topics from then Lord's word. And so do almost all my friends in Christadelphia, - they pray for me to be open-minded as well as being concerned for themselves too<<
An open mind can make you the victim of spiritual deception. Christian's need to 'renew their minds' daily and have 'sound minds'. They must examine the facts. An unexamined faith is not worth believing.
Maybe your open-mindedness is an illusion? When reading your letter I see you have no desire to be convinced of error. Ever met a Christadelphian who holds the Trinity doctrine? Ever met a Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormon who is not a clone?
When I wrote, 'I have eternal life' I knew this contradicts Christadelphian doctrine. They don't believe salvation is so simple. The cardinal doctrine of Christadelphianism is that salvation is a process. Salvation involves learning doctrine [as you imply], baptism, keeping all Christ's commandments, remaining faithful all life [ie, a good Christadelphian]. So you can never really be totally sure of salvation if you don't do your part. But surprisingly, you agreed with me, and wrote this is what you, quote -
>>have believed and taught for over 30 years<<
Are you telling me that for 30 years with them your teaching contradicts theirs? Hard to believe Paul, they would kick you out. You have already indicated you are a normal everyday Christadelphian regarding the doctrine of salvation. In my original letter when I indicated I had a conversion, born again and received eternal life your immediate response is to challenge,
>>And why should it be possible for YOU to find out Biblical truth - or have you known it from birth? - while assuming that others have not the same ability?<<
In other words you object. My letter was offensive. And frankly Paul you have said nothing other than what I expect from a Christadelphian. When I explained that "I have eternal life now, it's based on my identification with Christ in His death and resurrection". And "the one who says he has not eternal life that denies the resurrection of Christ [see Rom.6:6-11 8:2, 9-11 Eph.2:6 Col.3:1 etc]" . You wrote,
>>I reckon you have jumped a step. All this comes because we are now under the New Covenant<<
Spoken like a true Christadelphian. You haven't "believed and taught for over 30 years" what I have been saying to you at all. Your exposition about the New Covenant had nothing to do with the reception of eternal life given NOW to the children of God who know Christ as their Saviour. If you disagree say so, or if you agree say so clearly.
The fact is, the Bible teaches in the most dogmatic and unambiguous fashion, that eternal life is the present possession of all who believe on the crucified and risen Son of God. He who hears and believe "has everlasting life..and is passed out of death into life" [Jn5:24]. God "hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together:" [Eph.2:5-6]. "We know that we have passed out of death into life" [I Jn.3:14]. "He that hath the Son hath life and he that believes not this testimony of God concerning His Son hath made Him a liar " [I Jn.5:10-12].
And what did you say to that? Did you agree? No you objected! You don't say, "I've believed that for 30 years". No! You write,
>>You do get very disparaging about people like me. I am getting an unfortunate picture of you in my mind. I do hope you will write back and give me a better one<<
After saying this you talk about "brilliance of intellect", the "ability to read and believe" and 'light shining' etc. Yet all this has nothing to do with the subject. So instead of addressing the subject you disagree but give no reason why.
I said, "If you have not eternal life, it is because you do not belong to Christ, for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His". Did you agree? No, you reply,
>>Interesting, but a bit basic again<<
Paul you pretend to agree; but don't. And can't hide it nor provide a good reason to disagree. You don't know Christ as your Saviour, do you? You have never received the Holy Spirit. Paul you will never get to glory via Christadelphianism. It is a false religious system. In fact they tell you, that you are not going to heaven but waiting for the kingdom to come to earth.
Many people are trying to work for salvation by works. They keep conditions and made faith into a religion. True Christianity is not a religion. Religion tries to reach God, Christianity is God reaching down to man. Religion is man's search for God but Christianity is God's search for man. You say this is,
>>A bit simplistic<<
But it's true! But not for you. Why follow a religion trying to find God. So you insist God,
>>requires a bit from us<<
What "bit"? Does God need Paul to save Paul from himself otherwise God will lose Paul? You talk about 'salvation and grace' but these words have a different meaning for us. Salvation is a divine work of God not us. I'm not talking about God bringing us "into a complete relationship and union with Him". But, the free gift of salvation.
I know some argue 'God's holiness demands certain things of those with whom He maintains a relationship. His nature will not allow Him to stay in a relationship with an individual who continually spurns His love'. If His holiness is a condition, His love is not unconditional. If His nature forces Him to disassociate from certain types of people, His nature stands in the way of His ability to love unconditionally. I give Christadelphians this verse and ask them to explain. What does it mean?
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast". [Eph.2:8-9] How does "this not from yourselves" fit in with your 'God requires a bit from us'? Write and explain. You conclude,
>>Well - I may not know him as well as I should, but I reckon I know him a bit better than you have given me credit<<
I doubt you are God's child or really know the message of salvation taught in Scripture. Roberts wrote, "The Holy Spirit is given to none in the present day" [pg.83,86 Christendom Astray]. Universally Christadelphians deny the Trinity, the personality of the Holy Spirit and don't accept the Holy Spirit as a person. The Bible says, "The Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" [Rom.8:9].
That means, those who have not received the Holy Spirit are not God's Children, they are not saved. One could know Scripture perfectly, call Jesus "Lord", yet they don't "belong to Christ". You insist Christ is other than Who He claimed. So He warns you, "Ye shall die in your sins if ye believe not that I AM He". "He was in the world, the world was made by Him, yet knew Him not" [Jn.1:10]. Apparently you don't know Him either.
Hi Paul, you write,
>>You will have gathered that there are different groups among Christadelphians, as among other churches. The "other" group have some difficulties with me<<
I can believe Christadelphians are divided in fellowship, but not in cardinal doctrines. Their website is a clear picture of their beliefs worldwide. I have yet to have one write to me anything different than old time Christadelphianism.
>>My method of approach is education via Bible teaching, and with the Lord's blessing there is a real change in attitudes, due not just to my work, but to that of many like-minded people<<
Careful how you build. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" [1 Cor 3:11]. Your building can be a nice wooden 'church'. But burnt up on judgment day because the framework is on a false Jesus. To you Jesus is only a man, to me He is "God manifest in the flesh" [1 Tim.3:16]. So all your "work" is just a waste. It's God's Spirit that gives true "education" through the Word. Christadelphians don't need a "change in attitudes" they need a spiritual rebirth.
"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]. "Born of God" is not "baptism". After reading the doctrines you people teach I must say you have a long way to go and you won't make it.
>>You will appreciate that what I write to you is written in confidence<<
Why? You are writing on the web for Christadelphians. Why hide it?
>>And I use the Bible in a way they understand to show the Gospel message (as the writer of Hebrews used the Old Testament to convert the Jews)<<
Which gospel? - The kingdom Christadelphian style or the wonderful message of God's free gift of grace?
>>I have a pretty severe heart problem)<<
Sorry to hear that, that's concerning. I nearly didn't reply. I don't wish to increase your blood pressure :) But after prayer and consideration I felt these matters are important. And besides, you wrote a stern letter without a problem. I hope our views are "in reasonable alignment" as you mention. Maybe after a few more letters I will see if you are correct. You conclude,
>>I look forward to your reply to my letter. I am sure you will find some other points with which to bombard me!<<
Usually those with the truth are eager to share it. Truth has nothing to hide. Trust this finds you healthy and looking forward if you reply. Perhaps you could address the questions asked?