Want Some Answers ???
Thanks for your mail. You are certainly a man of few words. Do you want to change the subject? May I explain myself? You write,
>>Oh, really? I don't know what you are a 'Dr' of Mark, but you sure don't know much about Christadelphians<<
I've done the Christadelphian 'Bible' studies and a Masters on your group. So I "know" a few things "about Christadelphians". If you can rectify my lack of knowledge, go-ahead. Good to have you [or any Christadelphian] teach "the truth". Also have a ThD and PhD in Christian Apologetics.
When answering my letter you wrote, "I agree" about four times. So I will address your main objections. When I said, "Christadelphianism suggests that man is to be saved by his own works - Bible reading, etc". You wrote,
>>This is nonsense. I have been a Christadelphian for over 35 years. To the best of my knowledge we have always preached salvation by grace - through faith, not of works as the scriptures clearly teach<<
The standard denial? Or you "sure don't know much about Christadelphians". Mansfield wrote in, "The Responsibilities of a 'Born Again' Christian" "We have to do something towards our salvation" [pg.13]. And Roberts wrote,
"Nothing will serve [save] a man in the end, but an exact knowledge of the will of God as continued in the Scriptures, and faithfully carrying out of the same" [pg.231 "Christendom Astray" Roberts].
This should concern because even the greatest Biblical scholar would not claim to have "an exact knowledge of the will of God as continued in the Scriptures". And even the most humble and godly saint would not dare suggest he has faithfully carried out 'the same'. Most Christadelphian booklets provide steps to "work" out salvation. The first is 'knowledge'. We must work to have a "correct" understanding of CHRISTADELPHIAN "truth". In other words the doctrines of Christadelphianism must be accepted. [ie none can be saved who believe the immortality of the soul for that "nullifies the whole system" [pg230 Roberts]. None who believe the Trinity will be saved either [pg.1-2 God is not Three. Mansfield].
And baptism of course is "essential to salvation" without which NO ONE can be saved [pg2 'Baptism essential to Salvation' Mansfield].And then, one must work and live right [ie a life long attendance keeping the Lord's Supper and a life long effort to be a good Christadelphian]. If these Christadelphian 'conditions' are not obeyed the result is "...the effect of shutting out from [heaven] the great majority of mankind" [pg.226-227 Roberts]. Salvation for Christadelphians is gained from effort, striving, faithfulness, and 'a life long process', meeting the 'conditions'. In other words, it's WORKS. If these works don't exist there is no salvation [pg.243 Roberts]. Do you deny this? If 'yes' then you have a problem with Christadelphianism. If 'no' you have a problem with the Bible.
With the true Gospel of salvation, I'm confident of going to heaven while you [with the gospel of the kingdom] can never be sure. You are busy full time striving. This striving is a human work, which questions any claim of 'faith in Christ only'.Eph.2:8 says salvation is "...NOT of yourselves" [or could you tell me what it means?]. You're striving to keep conditions your group specify. And without this obedience you have been told you can't be saved.
These requirements pledge your loyalty to your sect, and only then [they say] salvation is possible. Well, the fact is that, Jehovah's Witness, Adventists, Mormons, Roman Catholics, and others all have their requirement lists as well, to keep their converts. They believe one can be saved one day and lost the next, so they strive [work] for salvation. They talk about "faith" and "grace" yet redefine these words to allow for "faithful works". But we are not saved by our faith but saved by grace. The instrument of salvation was and is grace. I'm not saying good works are unimportant, but that they are insufficient for salvation. All religions teach salvation by good works, but only true Christianity offers salvation by grace alone through faith. I asked 'Have you had a conversion? And you replied,
Christadelphians believe the spiritual birth occurs "at Christ's return" and "a water birth at baptism". Don't confuse being born again with baptism. If baptism were the same as being born again, then 95% of West Germany would be God's children. Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini also. Not to mention the many whom God awakens their hearts and they have a change of heart, but then remember they have had a baptism and so think all is well. All the water in the world can't wash one sin away and make anyone alive to God.
You will say that before baptism one must prove themselves a good Christadelphian in many ways. And a Christadelphian alone can baptize, which means salvation is only found in your little group. I tell you that's nonsense.
Water Baptism is not the 'born again' experience Jesus referred to. When Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus didn't refer Nicodemus to the Second Coming, or to John's baptism or to something men do, but to something God does. The Bible says that God's children are "born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" [Jn1:13]. If you have not had this new birth you do not have God's Spirit within your heart, but are dead in sin [Jn.3:3Rom.8:9].
You can never be sure of salvation and have "the peace that passeth understanding" which I enjoy [Phil.4:7]. If you are not truly 'born again' you can work, keep the law, hope, be baptised and pray but you won't have eternal life even after 35 years. Is there anything keeping you from accepting God's free gift of salvation now? This is what the Bible is all about, I pray you come to know Christ as Saviour.
You have a condition list for God's pardon. In other words, you work for salvation. I believe that good works cannot be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God. Because, the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect and in all respects conformable to the divine law. And also, our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin. So 'forgiveness' means to me, that God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction will no more remember my sins. Nor remember my corrupt nature against which I have to struggle all life. But He graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ; that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God. You wrote,
>>Hmmm. Paul didn't seem to think he had attained, until at least the end of his life<<
Clyde, I strive, run, watch and work but not to earn "salvation" but because I am saved. "Running the race" cannot make me 'worthy enough' to earn salvation only Christ's payment for ALL my sin can do that. I give Christ all the credits for He paid in full the price of my redemption [1 Cor.6:20 1 Pe.1:18-25 Rev.5:9-10]. The Bible says, "All our righteous acts are as filthy rags" in God's sight [Isa.64:6]. Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us."
So do you believe Christ died for all your sin or only past sins?Since Christ is my Saviour I was not only acquitted of sin, but also forgiven. I will never be judged for my sins. That is a settled issue. Settled in the mind of God at the moment of the new birth [Jn.5:24]. Love, mercy and grace make God so wonderful. He loves with an unconditional love, an "everlasting love" [Jer.31:3]. Yes there's a reward to be won or lost but that is not salvation itself.
Once you see that salvation is a work of God from beginning to end - a Divine work, not of us, then you will realise Christadelphianism has problems. For me to walk with the Lord is a joy, for you, it's uncertain and a deceptive hope.
This answers your comments.