Want Some Answers ???Christadelphian's
Dear Mr Smith,
Once again I find you disadvantaged not having the Holy Spirit to understand the bible. I shall struggle to convince you about anything. You wrote:
>>I wondered how long it would take you to use the word "cult" in relation to Christadelphians. You use it without providing a definition. If Christadelphians are a cult, then there are good grounds for thinking that early Christianity is also a cult.<<
A cult is defined as a group or church that deny all the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. They are close-minded. When others see the truth, they refuse [2 Cor.4:4]. Facts and truth make no difference. They are zealous for their doctrines rather than "the doctrine of Christ" (3 Jn.9). And hostile to traditional Christianity. Their very belief system blinds them to what the bible says and denies the joy of coming to know Christ as Saviour – ie they don't enter the kingdom of God. A VERY serious matter!!
Anyone can join a cult, be in bondage to it all life. Yet never come to know Jesus as their Saviour and go into a lost eternity. Mormonism and JW's qualify.
>>In your defence you may refer to the writings of ex-Christadelphian Branson Hopkins (I note that you have some of his works listed on your website), who also uses the term cult. He is hardly the most objective source.<<
I've met Branson, nice fellow. But I was calling Christadelphianism a 'cult' long before that. I recommend his books. He was faced with the same issues as you. He came to know Christ as his personal Saviour and received the Holy Spirit. A number ex-Christadelphians write to me about their departure. The truth makes them happier and free.
>>As I am not in fellowship with the main body of Christadelphians, I can hardly be accused of being locked into the Christadelphian sect. I have little personal contact with other Christadelphians. Quite a few would probably not regard me as being a Christadelphian. I am not even sure if I should use the name myself, although I hold to the traditional Christadelphian beliefs. You appear to be making assumptions about me on the basis of no evidence<<
I have Christadelphians disassociating themselves from their group. Hide, avoid, sidetrack, hostile, yet trumpet their doctrines perfectly to the official line. In fact, they are so identical it's obvious to all but them. The founders of their sect, with their doctrines, are ALWAYS followed, more than the bible. You reply
>>I am quite capable of coming to my own conclusions and thinking for myself. Dr. Thomas was wrong in claiming that the 2300 day period in Daniel 8:14 is better rendered as 2400…. I agree with Dr.Thomas on most issues, and I do so as a result of my own independent analysis and assessment. I am too well educated (for what it's worth, like you, I have several post-graduate degrees) to permit anyone to do my thinking for me.<<
Education means nothing. The Bible describes all as sinners needing salvation (Rom.3.23). You could have hundred post-degrees and still be blinded to the bible and truth (1 Cor.2.5-8).
In order to agree with 'Thomas on most issues' you need to study Christadelphianism. You have not proven yourself independent doctrinally. You are a clone and follow every doctrine they teach. Thomas and Roberts have done the thinking for you. If you want to defend Christadelphian doctrines (as you do) you need to follow other Christadelphian clones. And say the same things. Cults are all the same, their doctrine has taught to them, to keep them under control. Prove me wrong; tell Christadelphians you now realize the trinity doctrine is scriptural. Watch what happens, they will throw you out.
>>If I were to agree with all your interpretations of the Bible, would this be me allowing you to tell me what to think,<<
You have a choice. You must believe the bible or the man made religion originated by John Thomas. I have no religion to push; just what the bible says. You follow the Christadelphian 'interpretation' and have not yet explained why the bible agrees with it.
>>or would it be me allowing the Holy Spirit come into my heart? I do not mock the Holy Spirit. I mock your claim to have the Holy Spirit. Do not confuse the two. Your claim rests on…what? If you have the Holy Spirit, then prove it.<<
My claim rests on the promises of God "the promise is unto you….even as many as the Lord our God shall call' (Ac.2.38-39). God gives His Holy Spirit today to those He calls. He's calling you, He want to save you, wash clean and give eternal life. So far you haven't responded but refuse.
The Bible promises the Holy Spirit to all God's children. If you don't have Him in your heart (and you admit you don't) then you are not one of God's children "But if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" [Rom. 8:9]. Why do you disagree with the Bible? "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom.8.16).
So far you prefer to follow Christadelphianism not scripture. The Bible should be the final authority regarding doctrine and practice, not Christadelphianism.
You grieve the Holy Spirit. You wrote, "the Holy Spirit which guides you is making a mistake…..God the Holy Spirit has obviously not informed God the Son….THE HOLY SPIRIT GETS IT WRONG ". So refuse what He wants to tell you. Instead accept a false belief system that turns you against the bible. You reply,
>>Such a claim should be measured by an objective yardstick, so that there can be no reasonable doubt that the claim is true. Merely claiming that you have it proves nothing.<<
I agree. The 'objective yardstick' for measuring all claims should be God's Word. I have quoted that, allow it to speak to you. Allow the Spirit to convict you of your need. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth.... if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me" (Jn.16.7-9). Are you saying Jesus proves nothing?
>>I have met all sorts of people, including Mormons, who claim they have the Holy Spirit, and they say "I just know that I have it," and quote all the verses that you quote.<<
Me too, I've 'met all sorts'. You are not required to know the certainty of their claims, but you are required to believe and obey God's Word. (1 Jn.3.24 4.13 Ac.19.2,3. Eph.1.13 11.16 19.4. Lk.11.13 Jn.8.14).
You can tell by their doctrines what they believe, but in the end, "The Lord knows those who are His" (2 Tim.2.19). When Christadelphians or JW's tell me they are Christians I'm always skeptical. Their doctrines are unscriptural and point them away from the truth. If you ask, 'how do you know who has their sin forgiven? I can only go by scripture. Does scripture promise it? And the answer 'yes'. So I know there are people today who have their sins forgiven. God's Word says so, I believe God, why don't you? "and ye shall receive THE GIFT of THE HOLY SPIRIT. For THE PROMISE is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL" (Ac.2.38-9).
>>Saying that you have a belief that you have it, and that you know you are saved proves nothing. You refer to the case I raised of the disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19). Yes, afterwards they did receive the Holy Spirit, and they could prove it, by speaking in tongues and prophesying (Acts 19:6). There was an objective yardstick by which a disciple's claim to possess the Holy Spirit could be measured: the ability to do miracles.<<
Paul said that NOT all do miracles or speak in tongues (1 Cor.12.29-30). And yet he said they had "all" had received the Holy Spirit (1 Co.12.13). "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man" (child of God) (1 Cor.12.7). Asking miracles to prove the Holy Spirit is unscriptural. 'Without faith it's impossible to please God' (Heb.11.6). If you don't believe what the bible clearly says, you certainly won't believe any miracle I claim. Anyway, your 'yardstick' is Christadelphian doctrine.
>>Presumably if I started agreeing with your interpretation, then you would agree with my claim to have the Holy Spirit. If I disagreed with your interpretation you would probably say that I have not got the Holy Spirit and possibly that the devil was hindering me. I would then say the same about you. A third person who also claimed to have the Holy Spirit and who disagreed with both of us would also say the same about you and me. So what does that prove?<<
As I have said already, it's not a matter of agreeing with what men say, but agreeing with the promises of God's Word. People believe all sorts and make all sorts of claims. God doesn't ask you to believe them, but He does expect you to believe His Word. So I don't let men determine what you believe.
>>I was not rubbishing the Apostle Peter as any attentive reading of my e:mail would make clear. Peter had made a mistake over an important doctrinal issue. He made this mistake over doctrine even though he had the Holy Spirit. You seem to be claiming that you have a superior understanding of scripture because you have the Holy Spirit. My point is even if you had the Holy Spirit it does not guarantee that you cannot make a mistake over understanding scripture and important doctrinal issues. By contrast you claim to be have been guided into all truth, and therefore imply that you cannot make a mistake over any doctrinal issue.<<
As I wrote, the Bible indicates making mistakes is not sin, breaking God's Law is. God knows the difference between sinfulness and human error. He doesn't necessarily stop human's making mistakes. But having the Holy Spirit does make a person a Christian (Rom.8.9). Why you think having the Holy Spirit means Christians must be perfect is beyond me. No one in the whole Bible was perfect apart from Christ.
When Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall 'guide into all truth', what He meant was "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he (the Holy Spirit) shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (Jn.16.15). Indeed God takes scriptural truth and reveals it "unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God". (1 Cor.2.10). The scriptures are 'God breathed, given by inspiration of God' (2 Tim.3.16), "so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God." (1 Cor.3.10). Your rebellion is not against me, but Jesus. And so you can't understand the bible.
>>Your claim is based on your own subjective feelings and nothing else.<<
But I can quote scripture 'and nothing else'. In your reasoning, it means nothing. Your mind is closed to the bible and anything I say. I can't convince you of the truth but I know Someone who can. And until you open your heart to the Lord, repent of your sin, acknowledge you need of the saviour, then and only then, God can make you alive to Him. Cleans, renew, give eternal life and open His Word to you. What a nasty cult Christadelphianism is, it blinds to God's Word!!
>>The same can be said of your claim that you are saved now and possess eternal life now.This is an erroneous claim.<<
Yes you only HOPE you might be saved and have eternal life. Its a very weak HOPE based on Christadelphian doctrine and on the best you do. The bible says, that's NOT good enough. Even if you work hard and keep Christadelphians happy all life its still no guarantee. They don't teach salvation by God's grace and never have. They say who will, and won't be saved. Turn your back on them, join God's real family via the new birth.
My claim is not 'erroneous'. "And this is the record, that God hath GIVEN to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye HAVE eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 Jn 5:11-13).
So I have eternal life now and it’s a promise of God's Word. In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life (eionion zoes) is the present possession of every believer in Christ. So we see that the believer, having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, already possesses never-ending life as a continuing quality of conscious existence.
>> The apostles taught that one could lose the inheritance. Only those of Christ's household will be saved, and it is by no means certain that all disciples will remain in that household. Hence the warning in Hebrews 3 (a warning which was addressed to disciples): "whose [Christ's] house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; If you do not hold that confidence of the hope firm unto the end, then you are not part of Christ's household, or partakers of Christ, and your hope of eternal life will vanish. Hence let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Hebrews 4:1.<<
You have it all wrong. It should read - if you don't hold Christadelphian doctrine "firm unto the end….. hope of eternal life will vanish (or) you are not part of Christ's household". We must be good Christadelphians 'unto to end'. That's not all, there are other conditions for salvation Christadelphians don't mention (at first). Christadelphians only use verses that sound like you will lose salvation in order to keep you in their group. All cults use the same verses. This is why salvation is not through a group, the church or sect. You must come to God on His terms, not yours. Until you are born again, you haven't even started on the road and haven't even begun. For me "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Col.3:24 see also Eph.1.11,13-14 4.30 Tit.3.5 Heb.9.15 Rom.10.13).
As for Heb.3,4. Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians. Some going back into Judaism, so the author of Hebrews explains why Christ is better than the old covenant. And they should keep the faith. The subject is not one of salvation but continuance. Some of those the author was writing to, seemed to be wavering between going back to the Jewish system so they need warnings.
>>Similarly Paul warned Ephesian disciples that engaging in sinful behaviour could cause them to lose their inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. It is in the Kingdom that one receives the inheritance. Until then, one is on probation, and as the writer of Hebrews 3 warns, one could fall short. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (I Cor 10:12). Presumably these verses do not apply to you as you already have eternal life?<<
But you won't even "see" let alone enter God's Kingdom unless you are born again (Jn.3.3). So these verses 'don't apply to you'. Where is your reference for Paul's warning? The mention that 'he that thinks he stands….lest he fall' isn't referring to loosing the free gift of salvation. It refers to a strong believer who thinks he can dabble with self-gratification and not be affected. Such is in danger of falling under God's disciplinary hand. When someone is born into God's family they are His forever. I am a son of my father and will always be. So it is with God's family.
>>If the present possession of eternal life is true, then these verses make no sense whatsoever.<<
The reason they don't 'make no sense whatsoever' is because Christadelphians have been telling you what to believe in the bible and how to be a good Christadelphian. You ought to read the bible and throw away their books. I'm shocked Christadelphians haven't told you what the bible says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (Jn.3.36).
>>This is why I raised the issue of Demas. He was a disciple, and therefore by your understanding presumably had eternal life. He then forsook Paul for the love of the present world. In other words, he failed "to hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Therefore the question arises: if he remained a lover of the present world, will he be saved?<<
You say this but don't mean it. You are the one lacking confidence, not me. Do I take it from this that rejoicing and “confidence” alone is all that is required for a reward of salvation. No you wouldn't say that, CD's will throw you out. That is what these verses are saying, if I interpret them as you want.
I think 'a lover of the present world' could mean they weren't saved to start with. But Demas was a 'co-worker' with Paul, so 'God knows those who are His'. But why side-track concerning Demas? The real issue you avoid is that you are not saved and need to be.
You are striving to keep Christadelphian doctrine and hoping all will be well. And attempt to reach up to God; Christianity is God reaching down to man. True Christianity is a relationship, a focus on a Person. Salvation is a Person, not a something, it’s a SOMEONE – Christ Himself. Your hope is in Christadelphian doctrine, no wonder you are uncertain. My assurance lies in the fact that God keeps me, my trust is in Christ.
Many today observe days, diet, laws, creeds, doctrine and assume this means they will be all right. But true Christianity is not man doing his best to reach God, but God reaching down and giving His best Son – Jesus – for mankind. In religion we have man’s answer to man’s problems, but in Christianity we have God’s answer to man’s problem.
>>In many respects, I wish you were right. If I possessed eternal life now, I would be saved, and I could disregard those verses in Hebrews 3 and 4, plus numerous other verses. You criticise the Christadelphians for stating that one must "walk the path of self-denial." Matthew 16:24. Luke 14: 26-27,33.
Matthew and Luke don't deny that salvation is a free gift (Eph.2.8) or say we must earn it (contrary to Rom.4.4-5).
Mt.16:24–28 relates preparation for true discipleship. Jesus states what is involved in being His disciple: denial of self, cross-bearing, and following Him. So with Luke 14, disciples should first count the cost, if they really will abandon their lives for Christ.
The Bible says, ‘by grace ye are saved, not of yourselves” [Eph.2:8]. Perhaps you could explain what that verse means? When I accepted Christ I believed on the crucified and risen Son who is "the true God and Eternal life" (1 Jn.5:20). I received the gift of God which is eternal life, I passed "out of death into life" (Jn.5:24). Since then I work 'self-denial', not to be saved, but because I am. Only the saved can work (Eph.2:10; Ti.3:3). For all others, "this is the work of God, that I ye believe on Him whom He [God] hath sent" (Jn.6:29). I read the Scriptures, not to get eternal life, but because I have eternal life and require the spiritual food suitable for one who has been born anew and from above.
It's impossible for the dead to obtain eternal life by their own efforts, (which are dead works). It is only by "the gift of God" as Jesus declared in Jn 4.10 (see also Rom.6:23).
>>My comments about you being in league with the devil were tongue in cheek and aimed at provoking a response (which they did). I oppose Christendom (or mainstream Christianity as you term it); but I have no opposition to individuals.<<
And also I 'have no opposition to individuals', people are not to blame when deceived by cults. But cults do get personal. Part of what makes a cult a cult.
>>You still have not dealt with 1 Timothy 1:20. Why does Paul deliver two disobedient disciples to your personal Satan? I will answer your other points later on. Regards<<
If you read 1 Tim.1.20 I wouldn't need to comment. "Hymenaeus and Alexander" were not "disobedient disciples" but men who hated Paul (2 Tim.2.17 4.14-15). Satan is the lord of all those outside God's family (Ac.26.18). The only disciple Paul did "deliver… unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh (was so that his) "spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord." (1 Cor.5.5). He wouldn't lose salvation, but could lose a life of good works.
Good works are important but insufficient for salvation. All cults teach salvation by good works, but only the true gospel offers salvation as the gift of God. Faith should be in God, not works or doctrines of men.
So are you going to believe what the Bible says "think for myself" (as you claim) or believe what Christadelphianism says regardless? Are you going to argue by using Christadelphian writings or allow the bible to speak? Will you be closed minded or prepared to change what you believe when you hear the truth of scripture? We shall see.
Answering my 'other points' will be interesting, but you must really answer the bible –
 You NEED to be saved (Rom.3.23 6.23 Isa.53.6 Heb.9.27 Jn.3.3 3.6) there is no other alternative.
 You CAN NOT save yourself (Pr.14.12 Gal.2.16 Eph.2.8-9 Jn.14.6 Ac.4.12) no one can save them self.
 And God has PROVIDED for your salvation (1 Thes.5.9-10 Jn.3.16 Isa.53.6 1 Pe.3.18 Rom.6.23).
 Why don't you accept the gift? Because the Lord Jesus is ABLE to save and KEEP you (Heb.2.18 7.25 Ju.24 2 Co.5.17). Until you are saved, you are lost.
Hope you come to know the Saviour,