Want Some Answers ???


Hi Jonathan

Thanks for the reply. Interesting you believe I have a "false impression of your community and our beliefs." I can get different stories from different Christadelphians, and thank you for clearing up "some misperceptions about Christadelphian beliefs." Are Roberts, Tennant and Mansfield good scholars I should read to learn more? I have their books.

With Christadelphians [not yourself] I find they don’t like those who differ with their doctrines. Sorry if my letters sounded like they were judging you personally. I'm told not all Christadelphian groups are the same. But I’m yet to find a group who differs from the standard belief. All believe [more or less] the same without offending the main corpus of teaching. Ever met a J. Witnesses who believes the Trinity is Biblical? That would be
“remarkable to say the least”. Equally remarkable if you differ from other Christadelphians. You wrote,

>>The most remarkable thing about Christadelphians is that they are not a "system" but a community of people whose head is Christ<<

The word “system” from Robert’s book applies not to people but doctrine. He wrote that the immortality of the soul doctrine must be removed from the mind before the gospel can enter, “for it nullifies the whole system” [pg.230 Christendom Astray]. He used this word a number of times regarding his doctrine. You wrote,

>>we do not have a central organization, we do not have a Pope or an archbishop, we do not have a Utah or a Watchtower organization, we simply share the same beliefs. The highest human "authorities" are the elected elders in our individual ecclesias, and they too have to answer to the members, because the members fundamentally only accept the Word of God as an authority<<

I wasn’t objecting regarding, "organization, elders, members" etc but the doctrinal “system”. Quote, “My concern is about Christadelphian doctrine”. That focus' on "the Gospel of the Kingdom" which was preached 'only to the Jews' and rejected by them. But ignores "the gospel of the grace of God" [Ac.20:24]. You reply,

>>Paul clearly told us all that "for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain" and that was when he was in Rome towards the end of his life<<

The expression, "for the hope of Israel” here is not a coming kingdom. Paul says he was delivered to the Romans; because he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. He maintained though Jesus was crucified by the Jews he rose again. And, through Jesus he preached the general resurrection of mankind: as Israel professes to hope for; and yet because of the Jews persecuted Paul. So here the Messiah or resurrection could be 'the hope of Israel'. It's hard to tell which: see Acts 13:6; 24:15, 21; 26:6. But he's not referring to the kingdom as Christadelphians teach.

>>Moreover (Act.28:23) he "expounded and testified concerning the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus" and after failing to reach the Jews he turned to the Gentiles (v.28) and spent two whole years in his own hired house (v.30) "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ"<<

What was this "preaching" 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 also made the point in Galations that the gospel was preached to Abraham (3:8) which doesn't fit too well with your theory that the gospel couldn't have been preached while Jesus was alive on the earth, especially after berating them about "preaching another gospel" in ch.1<<

The message “to Abraham” wasn’t preached while Jesus was alive on earth. Find me one verse in the gospels saying otherwise. The Gospel was to be realised at an appointed period [Jn.1:17]. Yes the Jews hoped Jesus would, "….rescue us from the hand of our enemies" [Luke 1:74], but that's NOT the Gospel. Christ's coming was "to give knowledge of SALVATIONby the remission ofSINS"[Lk.1:77]. Abraham's experience was faith [Gal.3:6-7]. But the “gospel of the kingdom” relates to Israel and their laws ["not faith"Gal.3:12]. The kingdom agreement depended on 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. Yes, Jesus will one day establish His Kingdom but the Church needs to proclaim the Gospel of grace [John 3:16].

So I wrote "Christadelphianism contradicts this gospel and suggests that man is to be saved by his own works - Bible reading, etc.” You reply,

>>This is simply false. We are saved by faith (and that by grace), but it is also true that faith without works is dead<<

A contradiction here. Christadelphians are quick to say ‘salvation is by grace’ but slow to say what their ‘gospel of the kingdom’ really teaches. 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 Christadelphians What they Believe and Teach" Birmingham 1986]. This “work” of salvation is not by grace “because” someone “held fast” [did the right things, works etc]. It’s a “works” salvation by effort. The Bible says, ‘by grace ye are saved, not of yourselves” [Eph.2:8]. Perhaps you could explain what that means?

Christadelphians are busy working and hope “at the coming of the Lord” they will “participate in salvation” [pg.226 Christendom Astray]. Then what of ‘faith and works’? The “faith” James speaks of is faith that a person claims. Many claim to be Christians but no evidence. Their ‘faith’ is unreal. Jas.2:14 “though a man say he hath faith”. James is a book written not merely to believers but also those who profess faith. They were "brethren" after the flesh [Cp. Rom.9:3-4]. And needed to be saved. Many today claim a faith in God [but are not genuine]. Many observe ritual, the commandments, diet, religion, customs, but need to be saved. James is saying, “I will show thee my faith by my works” [2:18]. So James does not contradict Paul, he uses words differently. Eg-

For Paul - "works" - these cannot earn salvation.
For James - "works" - these flow from genuine faith.
For Paul - "faith" - trust in Christ's atonement.
For James - "faith" - one who claims to have faith.
For Paul - "justified" - not by good works.
For James - "justified" - to do good works.

I'm not saying works are unimportant, but insufficient for salvation. All religions teach salvation by works, but only the true gospel offers salvation by grace alone through faith.

>>On that score we wouldn't even regard Bible reading as "works". Bible reading is simply what we do to grow in our understanding of the mind and purpose of God...because we love it! There is precious little value in it if we think we are earning our salvation or something equally bizarre<<

I agree. But Christadelphians are not truly God’s children. 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 reject Him. 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]. Those without God's Spirit are not God’s Children, nor saved. So you could know Scripture and all about salvation yet never truly receive it. Or receive the Holy Spirit, the gift of eternal life. Jesus said, “Ye shall die in your sins if ye believe not that I AM He”.

In no religion does God leave heaven to save man. Through Jesus God became a man: the Word became flesh and lived for a while among men - “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. You concluded by writing,

>>I trust that I have relieved you of some of your objections, and I hope that you will be more circumspect in your judgements and accusations against me in the future<<

Thanks for writing. I shall "be more circumspect" in my judgments about you. Look forward to your reply.

Kind regards
Mark Purchase