Want Some Answers ???
>>Dear Dr. Mark, Jesus said "Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God" That scripture says to me it is vitially important to understand what it means to be born of water and spirit. You affirm that there's a liberty to hold various views! How do you reason that one from scripture? <<
I didn’t say people can hold any view and it doesn’t matter. “I am sure you would not intentionally wish to misrepresent what” I said would you? I indicated that outside the CD’s there’s a liberty to hold various views. Whether a right or wrong view was not my point. My point is that there is NO freedom in Christadelphianism for various views. You are told what to believe and think, with NO choice. Regardless of anything, this questions your claim to “have no fear to question their teachings and to put them to the proof. The truth should hold up to questioning if it is indeed truth”. You must follow CD’s on every point or be excommunicated and lose salvation. This fact has been proven by every email you have sent.
So this Scripture is ‘vitally important to understand what it means’ to be “born of water and the Spirit”. Have you noticed in Jn.3 the six clear commands to be born of the Spirit? A similar expression 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 Gk reads ‘born from above’ (anagennaw) not ‘born when we get above’. CD’s believe the new birth occurs at Christ’s coming (pg.15 The Responsibilities of a ‘Born Again’ Christian. Herald. Vol.34 Feb.87). John reads - The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (Jn.3:8). Is the ‘wind’ is Christ’s return? Then that’s reading into Jn3, something not there. Why take the word ‘water’ turn it into a ceremony and then ignore the command to be ‘born of the Spirit’? You wrote,
>>I fear reasoning like that shows the flaws in your view of what it means to be born again. Nicodemus did not understand and neither do you if you believe you can hold various views of what it means . That suggests people are at liberty to hold incorrect views and still know how to be born again! This reasoning is illoglical.<<
I didn’t say ‘holding’ various ‘incorrect views’ was acceptable. You're reading into my words something not there. Eg. How you can read ‘baptism’ and Christ’s return into Jn.3, both are not there so that's 'illogical'. There is no excuse for disobeying the command to be ‘born again’. The fact you see baptism and Christ's return in Jn.3 and not the new birth is because Christadelphian's tell you what to see.
>>No wonder our Lord said that many would seek to enter the kingdom and few would find it. Be sure of this, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" To read being born again as "accepting Jesus as your personal saviour" into John 3 is to read something which is not there.<<
But its Christadelphian baptism (with all it’s rules and regulations) which is not there. Christadelphian baptism does not equal an entering the Kingdom at all. A baptized Christadelphian will lose the kingdom if he simply has a change of mind. If you were to believe the soul survives death (Mt.10:28) then God will wipe your name out of the book of life.
The hope of salvation in Christadelphian doctrine is never sure. No one can be sure of the Christadelphian salvation with all it’s rules and regulations etc., all their life. If you leave your sect, they consider you lost forever. “No man” can be saved without Christadelphian doctrine or a CD explaining salvation (pg.229 CA. Roberts). You won't accept Christ as you Saviour because you are trusting Christadelphianism. You wrote,
>>The view I've heard is that water is equated with the "water of the word" in Eph. Ok If the water in this context represents the word what does "spirit" represent. Oh, you say, that is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Oh I see! The water is symbolic of the word but the Spirit is symbolic of the spirit! Is that not twisting scripture to fit a preconceived idea? Without a doubt!<<
Again not something I wrote. You have a habit of reading into my mail something not there. But it proves my point, Christadelphians are not allowed to have any other view of a verse, word, chapter, book than those of Thomas. There’s no liberty inside Christadelphian circles, no thinking, just study CD doctrine and obey. How you twist baptism and Christ’s return into Jn.3 beyond me. So far you've provided more evidence that ‘water’ is 'symbolic' of the Word, than baptism. You wrote,
>>Also if as you affirm you need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to understand the truth how come there are various views? Our Lord told the disciples that the Spirit would lead tham into all truth. There are many "born again" denomitions who claim to have the Holy Spirit who believe mutually exclusive things. The word tells us to test the spirits to see if they are of God. If the "spirits" tell us something which contradicts the word of God we know they are false.<<
(Could you give examples of "mutually exclusive things"? Didn't think so). Your mind-set is that ‘truth’ is a set of doctrines, without which you are lost. When in reality the truth is a Person, not a system. Sure there are various denominations and doctrinal views. But just because one has the Holy Spirit within doesn't mean, they know everything or are perfect. But it does mean they are saved. Hey, even the most simple of the born again Christians seem to know more about the Bible than your average Christadelphian who is basically a clone. The man without God’s Spirit loses his strength, wisdom and peace.
But the fact remains, salvation does not depend on how clever you are or head knowledge. No one will enter the kingdom based on CD doctrine. Only by Christ's blood and God’s grace. CD salvation is a set of doctrines, rules, ‘conditions’, works and a life long process, contrary to Scripture. But baptism is always connected with death and not spiritual birth in the NT. You replied,
>>V 5 says "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also in the likeness of his resurrection" I would suggest that word if is significant. What happens if we are not planted in the likeness of his death?<<
Christian baptism is a logical sequence from the new birth, but it is not that birth. It's an outward show of an inward creation. CD baptism is only one step of many. If you don't take the other steps there's no salvation. So CD baptism makes nothing certain. If I'm right and the new birth is followed by baptism then, "been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection (vs5). Notice how certain the Christian view of salvation is. How different to the uncertain Christadelphian view that depends on a fixing up the old human nature. You reply,
>>Could you please give me a direct CD quotation which states we believe in a "fixing up of the old nature"? There is none is there?<<
There are many. “But his ultimate acceptance will depend upon the character he develops in this new relation” (pg237. Christendom Astray’ R. Roberts). That’s a fixing up the old nature."His character has to develop..." to the "likeness to Jesus". "Starting with our human frame and a heart well-used in the ways of sin, the Lord works his wonders...... this cannot be achieved (in one day but)from time to time" It's a "probation .... progression" (pg213, 219-20 The Christadelphians H.Tennant). And the ‘new nature’? Christadelphians say that’s given “at Christ’s return” (pg15 Christ’s Death & Your Salvation, Explanation of Jn.3. Herald of the Coming Age. July 88). Christadelphian believe salvation is a life long process. But fixing the old nature is not enough, baptism is not enough, in the CD salvation nothing is ever enough. You wrote,
>>You are in error if that is what you believe CD's teach as you are in error we don't teach salvation by grace<<
Not sure what you are saying here. You wrote,
>>When we are baptized we are sybolically dying being buried and resurrected. When we go under the waters of baptism we have put the "old man" to death. When we come out of the waters of baptism we have been symbolically raised from the dead to walk in the "newness of life"<<
The born again Christian has two natures. One is born of God; the other is the ‘old man’. For the Christadelphian he doesn’t begin with a new birth or new creation. Instead, he starts with the old nature and fixes it with steps. The first step is knowledge. The second baptism, etc. What the Christadelphian must do is “manifest in human nature a character with which the Father” will be “pleased” with (Pg.229 CA Roberts). Slowly, over time, by following Christadelphian doctrine and the steps on every point (‘walking in the newness of life’) the old nature is ‘developed’ (fixed up). It’s impossible to take the next step “without compliance” to the first steps. Any steps undone disqualify the whole ‘process’ to none effect (pg.228 CA Roberts).
Fail one step and all are cancelled out. For Christadelphian Baptism, we must be a ‘lawful candidate’ first. A ‘candidate’ has a list of vital conditions (fail one, you can forget baptism). Why don’t you tell us about them Paul? After much effort, work and learning one can qualify for baptism only if Christadelphians check him out and he proves to be a good Christadelphian. You wrote,
>>V 11 "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" How does one according to scripture - without the interpretion of man - wash away their sins? Baptism! Acts 22:16<<
Paul was a Hebrew (2 Cor.11:22) and persecuted Christians (Ac.8:3 9:1-3,13). This was connected with his baptism as those of Acts 2 who had crucified Christ and rejected Him as Messiah. The instructions in Acts 2 and ch.22 were only given to Jews, no Gentiles were present or even told to be baptized for the remission of sins. The Jews were guilty in a special way of the sin of rejecting and murdering the Messiah. In this sense we can understand the proper application of this verse. You wrote,
>>How does one put on Christ? "For as man of you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" Gal 3:27 My understanding is the reason why people reject baptism is because they believe it is a "work" They fail to understand the difference between "works of law" and "works of faith". They don't believe in works of faith so they ignore the the clear teaching in book of James. Luther could not reconcile James and Paul . But they agree! They are both inspired by God. Your doctrine is confusing. Yours truly Paul<<
What Paul is saying in Gal.3:27 is that they who have believed in Christ as the promised Messiah went on to receive baptism as a public proof that they had received Christ as their Lord and Savior. In that manner they "have put on Christ".
Many religious sects and cults teach water baptism is essential for salvation and they require converts be baptized into their group and accept their doctrines or they cannot be saved, i.e., Christadelphian's, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Armstrong churches, etc. They all view themselves as the only true people of God. While baptism is important it does not wash away sin. Only the power of the blood of Jesus can do that. Grace has always been the means whereby one can come to God and receive sins forgiven.
But instead of ignoring my comments on ‘James, works and faith’, why not show where I was wrong? Saying my ‘doctrine is confusing’ without an explanation why won’t convince anyone of the ‘truth’ you claim. Don’t worry about Luther, give me a decent explanation of the difference between "works of law" and "works of faith". And the differences between the words ‘faith and works’ with the Apostle Paul and James. If God's gift is by faith apart from works (Rom.4:16 11:6) then this means faith is not a work. Faith is the opposite of a work or something one does. It's something God does and enables and which one unworthily and unworked-for simply receives. Looking forward to your reply.