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Greetings Mr Smith,

This is the reply to your last email where you accuse me of failing to reply. Keep writing and thinking. Many cults won't allow converts to read anything contrary to their group.

You insist the indwelling Holy Spirit only existed in believers in bible times. But contradict that, with your "Holy Spirit quotes". There you explain away those verses insisting they only mean 'the bible' in us, or Christ's attitude in us. And then suggest the Holy Spirit does indwell today. Another contradiction?

This is classic liberalism, the same approach used by Anglican's, modernist, atheists, materialist etc to explain away all supernatural elements in Scripture. I'm not impressed. This practice comes from the days of John Thomas. Scholarship has moved on from those days. The bible has been carefully and critically examined and survived with greater dependability in all it says. Its accuracy is not waiting to be verified by science. Science has not disproved the bible in any area – 6 day creation, angels, devil, soul, spirit, miracles, God in flesh, etc.


>>I am not interested in persuading you how nice Christadelphian doctrine is, even if you were persuadable. It is irrelevant whether people find the truth nice or not.<<

But "the truth" is not a system of "doctrines" that sound "nice," that one learns from "Christadelphianism." As said already, but you are slow of hearing. Christians might disagree on doctrinal points but all who have received Christ as their Saviour have received the Truth. It's not acquired by human endeavor. The Truth is a Person not a something. Jesus said, "I am the way, the Truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". You can't come to God any other way, "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph.2.18).

The Bible says, "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". I have received the Holy Spirit, "another Comforter, (He guides into all truth). "Even the Spirit of truth; who the world cannot receive, because it cannot see or know him". But I 'know Him'; for He dwells with me and is within [Jn. 1:17, 14:6,16-17]. You have not received the truth, by you own admission.

>>One preaches for a witness and a testimony, not to convert, and in this day and age the witness should be an anti-Christendom witness. The truth has never been popular or nice, and this side of Christ's coming, never will be.<<

Re. Our discussion regarding the word 'cult', you might be interested. Dr Hoekama [Th.D] in his book “Four Cults” provides the characteristics of cults. [1] Antagonism. Intolerant of other belief. [2] Isolationism. Closed mindedness ‘we alone are right’. [3] Propagandism. With the aim to – win converts – discredit others. [4] Perfectionism. The feeling of superiority to others. [5] An extra-source of authority. – from their literature and leaders. [6] Justification by grace is questioned. The Gospel is flavoured with the doctrine of the sect. [7] Exclusive community. They are particularly God’s chosen. The church/world is ignorant without their message. [8] Eschatology governed. Special dates or events after the Apostles. [9] Distinctive terminology. Double meaning of words and terms, its own gobbledegook. Seen the book - 'The Worlds "GREATEST CULTS" by N. Cawthorne? It has Christadelphianism on p.134 (Chancellor Press 1999) . So why expect me to be concerned about Catholics, Bishops, Baptists etc?

>>you seem to believe that once saved always saved, apostasy presumably does not really matter.<<

Of course "apostasy" matters, all should reject corrupt doctrine. I can't stop you clinging to error, but if by pointing in the right direction you become a Christian, that's great. I know it's impossible for you to believe 'once saved always saved', because the Christadelphian 'hope' of salvation is so corrupt it's anti-saved.

The true Gospel has the assurance you lack. My trust/faith is in what Christ has done for me, on the cross. You are striving to obey the conditions Christadelphianism specify. They have taught you without those you can't be saved. So you must please John Thomas all your life.

>>The truth is never popular, which is why the first century Christians were described as the sect everywhere spoken against and Jesus told the apostles that the world would hate them (John 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13). This state of affairs does not apply to contemporary mainstream Christianity, to which you are happy to belong.<<

While you talk about 'the first century Christians' you also argue the verses about the early Spirit-filled Christians don't 'apply' today. You deny the very 'signs' you should have, to prove Thomas' claim to have rediscovered the long lost gospel. In fact, 1st century doctrine is not 'popular' with you. You 'hate' it.

I'm
happy to belong to God's family. There are only two types today, Spirit born and unregenerate. There's only one true Church consisting of all the Spirit-born children of God.

>>I have attempted to answer your points generally about trinity, immortal soul, devil, Holy Spirit etc. I devoted considerable attention to these topics in my last e:mail to you. You choose not to answer them, probably because you cannot.<<

Wrong. I answered every point, but you used many words to say little and 'never able to come to know the truth'.

>>You then tell me that if I had the Holy Spirit then I would agree with your views on these subjects. You unsurprisingly ignore my point about how pagans and Moslems believe in the immortality of the soul, so raising the question do they have the Holy Spirit. After all, if one requires the Holy Spirit to believe in the immortality of the soul, then these people (pagans, Moslems) must have it.<<

No I answered that, go back and read. I don't assume just because Christadelphian's believe Jesus will return, they must have the Holy Spirit. But realize it must be because John Thomas said they can believe it. If 'Moslems believe in the immortality of the soul' I don't assume they also must have the Holy Spirit.

However, if any want to understand what the bible teaches. They must come to God on His terms, not theirs. There is only One Way to understand things that come from God's Spirit. "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14). So obviously I would not expect you (who boast not to have the Holy Spirit) to understand the bible correctly. Notice it says, "does not accept" that is, they clearly will "not accept", but refuse! And notice it says "they are foolishness to him", this is true of you. And notice the words "cannot understand them", no matter how you try, or how many verses, none can make you "understand". In fact, I suspect its more likely you 'refuse to understand'.

>>I presume therefore that if someone agrees with you they have the Holy Spirit. However, if they do not agree with you then they do not have the Holy Spirit, but cannot be taught by you to see the truth, as they do not have the Holy Spirit. It must be very interesting when you meet somebody who claims to have the Holy Spirit, but whose understanding of scripture differs from your own. You presumably accuse each other of not having the Holy Spirit. You accuse me of simply proclaiming Christadelphian doctrine, but all you do is proclaim your own doctrine and say it is the truth because you have the Holy Spirit.<<

No, agreeing with me is not the yardstick if one has God's Spirit. If that was true, then call me 'John Thomas'. Because Christadelphian's measure their idea of truth by agreeing with him. There's no freedom in Christadelphianism to believe anything but what he taught. Ever met a Christadelphian who disagrees with Thomas on his fundamental doctrines? No. But there are Christians with various views on doctrine.

Yes Christians with the Holy Spirit hold differing views. A range of views and freedom to
disagree or agree. But what makes them all one, cleansed and God's children, is not a list of doctrines they agree on, but the fact they have the Holy Spirit within. A nine year old child can become a Christian, they don't need to know all about 'the deep things of God' or detailed doctrine before they accept Christ as Saviour.

However, any who desire to study scripture and seek God's revelation on spiritual issues, the Holy Spirit is vital.

>>If you had the Holy Spirit, then you could teach the truth to others. The Holy Spirit gave the apostles the power to do that. They did not turn to people and say, "Oh I cannot convince you of the gospel, because you do not have the Holy Spirit." But that is what you do. The Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to preach to Jews and Gentiles and converted some of them. These Jews and Gentiles did not need the Holy Spirit to understand what the apostles were saying.<<

I can 'teach the truth to others' in the power of the Holy Spirit. But I 'cannot convince' anyone to accept 'the gospel', only the Holy Spirit can do that. When the Holy Spirit is come "he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (Jn.16.8). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and the need to repent and accept Christ as Saviour. No one can become a Christian apart from the work of God's Spirit.

So if spiritual realities are confusing to you it's because those 'without the Holy Spirit' have no 'spiritual discernment'. Spiritual realities - the devil, Holy Spirit, God, Christ, scripture, salvation, angels, soul, death, eternity, etc. cannot be understood. That's a very serious matter, you reject the Teacher and Counselor who reveals the 'truth' of God's Word (Jn.14:16-17, 26).

>>The reason why I do not accept anybody's claim to have the Holy Spirit is because in the scriptures those who had the Holy Spirit were endowed with a power that was indisputably divine. They all performed miracles, with the exception of John the Baptist, but his speech, his authoritative words, had obviously more than human power, as is apparent from reading Matthew 3, and Jesus's endorsement of him. Having the Holy Spirit is having power, and divine power is something that is indisputably manifest to onlookers.<<

The 'reason why' you 'do not accept anybody's claim to have the Holy Spirit is because' you reject the promises of 'the scriptures'. AND you have accepted a list of corrupt doctrines that blind you to the truth.

On the Day of Pentecost there were about 3,000 'souls' added to the church. Not long after, about 5,000 men (Ac.2.41 4.4). There were no signs companying their new birth proving they had the Holy Spirit. Yet Peter had just promised that they would have the Holy Spirit (Ac.2.39).

As I said, Paul indicated that NOT all do miracles or spoke in tongues (1 Cor.12.29-30) yet they "all" had the Holy Spirit (1 Co.12.13). "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man" (every 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). Faith pleases God not miraculous displays "an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign" (Mt.12.38-39). So it's crazy to think miracles are required to prove one has God's Spirit. The new birth is seen by the eye of God, but growth in the new nature is seen by men.

"And he that keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us" (Jn.3.24). If you don't believe what the bible says, you certainly won't believe any miracle.

>>No one today can do miracles or preach like John the Baptist, therefore no one has the Holy Spirit. The only form of the Holy Spirit we have today is the word of God, which is why we are urged to study it.<<

True no one today can do miracles like the apostles or Jesus. They were for a limited season and reason. But the apostles when writing to their converts indicates they had God's Spirit (or were not God's children). "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal.3.2-3). Paul says, God's children begin by a Spiritual birth. And Paul says it would be "foolishness" not to continue in the Spirit, you say, it's "foolishness" to think you can.

Jesus gave no warning that the Spirit would flee soon after bestowal. But promised "He shall be with you, and shall be in you ... forever". (Jn.14:17, 18,23) John wrote, "He that believes on the Son of God has the Witness in himself" (1 Jn.5:10). That is, God's Spirit dwelling in their body, He is the 'life'. Paul said, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?" (1 Cor.6:19). Paul warns, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed until the day of redemption" (Eph.4:30). This says two things - 1, an ever abiding presence of the Spirit until Christ's return, and 2, the indwelling Spirit was the seal or guarantee of redemption.

>>Let us look at the verses you cite. The promise of the Comforter in John 14:26, and John 16:7-13 was fulfilled in the dynamic outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Thus was fulfilled Jesus' promise of Luke 24:49. The apostles were endued with power. The promise of the Holy Spirit teaching them all things was fulfilled in Acts 2, as their exposition had a dynamism that was beyond their natural ability, as they were unlearned and ignorant men. They spake in tongues and the proceeded to do miracles (Acts 3:8) and performed signs and wonders, which enabled them to confirm the word they preached (Mark 16:19). The book of Acts is full of miracles performed by the Apostles that gave added credibility to the word they preached. You cannot detach the Holy Spirit from this miraculous aspect.<<

The new birth is a miracle, so God still does miracles, but God doesn't give the gift of miracles today. His task has changed from early NT times. The gifts of miracles were for a limited time period, only until the formation of the NT and then withdrawn. They confirmed to the Jewish people God was changing His plan and that they should believe the good news - the gospel. The miracle gifts confirmed the apostles as sent from God. The Jews required signs. The miracle gifts also had to do with revelation to those who didn't have the NT. Today we have the complete bible, God doesn't send miracle workers, He expects men to believe what's written. And accept His promises (Ac.2.38-9).

Nothing in the NT indicate the Holy Spirit was withdrawn "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". (Mt.28.20) "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you". (Jn.14:18).

>>The verse that you quote from 1 Corinthians 12:7 as proof you have the Holy Spirit, is taken out of context. The chapter is talking about the miraculous spirit gifts, and verse 7 is right in the middle of that discussion. You say that I should have faith in your claim, and quote Hebrews 11:6 in support of this contention. Hebrews 11:6 is about having faith in God and his promises, not in some person's unverifiable claim to have the Holy Spirit.<<

That verse is not 'taken out of context'. The "miraculous spirit gifts" are given to a few (1 Cor.12.28-29) but "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man". Paul says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit". (1 Cor.12:13). Not "all" were Apostles, did miracles, healings, etc yet they "all" had the Holy Spirit. Yes God doesn't expect you to believe men's unverifiable claims, but He does expect you to have "faith in God and His promises" in His Word. But you refuse this promise

"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). This promise is not only their generation, but the next (30 years on) and intended "to all that are afar off". And "as many" not a selected few and then NONE!!

>>To say that it requires a revelation of the Holy Spirit to understand doctrines such as the immortality of the soul, trinity and devil etc is a cop out. As I said above and in a previous e:mail, pagans believed in the immortality of the soul, as do Moslems, who also believe in a devil. By your logic, they must have had a revelation from the Holy Spirit. So must have Anthony Buzzard of the Atlanta Bible College who believes in Holy Spirit possession and the devil, even though he does not believe in the trinity and immortality of the soul. So why has the Holy Spirit revealed some things to him and not others? Why has the Holy Spirit revealed the alleged truth to Moslems about the devil and the immortal soul? Your contention that a Holy Spirit revelation is necessary to believe these things therefore does not add up.<<

But I don't assume because Moslems, Buzzard, Christadelphian's or an 'ordained Anglican clergyman' believe what I believe, they must have "a revelation from Holy Spirit" or have 'the Holy Spirit'. Because the Holy Spirit only comes via the new birth not a list of nice doctrines (Jn.3.3). Anthony Buzzard's 'possession' of God's Spirit is questioned by the fact he doesn't know God. Who is Father, Son or Holy Spirit to him? He doesn't accept "things that come from the Spirit". It's likely he claims to have 'a spirit', but clearly doesn't know who or what the Holy Spirit is. It would be wrong of me to reject what the bible says just because those without the Holy Spirit - Moslems, Buzzard and Christadelphian's are confused.

And even if a "
ordained Anglican clergyman" wants to correctly understand the truth that comes from God there is only one way. Via the new birth. As I said, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned
" (1 Cor 2:14). So obviously I would not expect you (who boast not to have the Holy Spirit) to understand the bible correctly.

>>It is an easy way of avoiding my questions over the Athanasian Creed and its differences with the Apostle's Creed, and whether the Holy Spirit played any role in producing those creeds. It is an easy way of avoiding my questions over why the Anglican authors of Towards the Conversion of England reject the immortality of the soul as a biblical doctrine. It is an easy way of ignoring my question about the current Bishop of Durham's rejection of the immortality of the soul as a biblical doctrine. It is an easy way of avoiding my question whether these ordained clergy men from a mainstream Christian church had the Holy Spirit. To these men one could also add William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury 1942-44. He also conceded that the immortality was not taught in the Bible. He was an ordained Anglican clergyman, by your logic, he must have had the Holy Spirit. The Wesleyan theologian Agar Beet also accepted that the immortality of the soul was not taught in the Bible. By your logic he must have had the Holy Spirit, as he was from a mainstream Christian church.<<

I believe the Holy Spirit guided the understanding of those in that day and the end result was creeds that can't be improved on. And even if you are the "Archbishop of Canterbury", Baptist, Anglican, or belong to the 'mainstream Christian Church' that does not mean you have God's Spirit. You can even believe correct doctrine, yet that doesn't give you the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again." [Jn.3:6-7]. God's Spirit enters the human heart, by the new birth. And "ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, 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). The bible indicates all are sinners needing repentance and spiritual birth.

If the "
Archbishop of Canterbury" wants to improve his understand on the 'soul', he cannot without the new birth, God's Spirit.

>>You assume that I have not accepted Jesus as my lord and saviour or been born again. That is quite a presumption on your part. I thought Jesus would be the judge of such things. I did not realise that anyone else could be. I have been born again. Through baptism, and have been begotten of the word (1 Peter 1:23). Been born of the spirit will come if I am accepted into God's Kingdom when Christ returns.<<

No 'presumption' on my 'part'. You insist NOT to have God's Spirit, or the new birth. I 'assume' what you say is true. Your comments about the Holy Spirit, Trinity, soul, and devil indicate lack of 'spiritual discernment'. Peter said, "Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And you haven't. So for you to insist others don't have God's Spirit because you 'don't believe their claims' is 'presumption on your part'.

Your eschatological interpretation of the new birth is unsatisfactory. Nicodemus asks, "How can a man be born when he is old"? (v4). Jesus doesn't say 'when I return', or 'you must first die'. He likens the birth to 'wind', not His 'return' or a church ceremony. It's unexpected, 'every one that is born (not will be) of the Spirit (v8) (here and now). Jesus said, 'We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen" (v11). John says, "every one that loves is born of God, and knows God." (1 Jn.4.7). He refers to those here and now who are born of God already.

So Nicodemus asks for information to act on during his life, Jesus is not saying to enter the Kingdom Nicodemus 'you must wait or die'. It's a birth in relation to God's Spirit and not a resurrection body. Jesus has the idea of 'birth' (not 'death') and new life Nicodemus could have while still living.

>>Anyone can parrot John 14:6 and talk about having a relationship with Jesus as a person. Saying I believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore I am saved, I am a child of God and I have the Holy Spirit is emotionally satisfying and very attractive, but not a substitute for what Paul calls "sound doctrine," in his letters to Timothy.<<

You are talking about two different things here. Sound doctrine and becoming a Christian. To be sound in doctrine is impossible if you have not received "the gift of the Holy Spirit" to start with. Even if you accept what I say is 'sound doctrine', that's still no substitute for disobedience to Christ's command (Jn.3.3). When we see ourselves as sinners in God's sight, all together wicked, 'dead in sins' and helpless to do anything. Then we can look to what Christ has done on the cross. We repent, turn from our ways, and man's ways, and prayerfully address God asking for forgiveness and His washing, to be a new creature. Then we can see the need of a new birth.

Many cults claim '
sound doctrine' I'm not expected to know everything but am required to be born again. "You must be…" "Truly truly you must be…." "unless you are…" Jesus didn't say, 'wait till you lean more', or 'wait till I return'. This is expected now. "Behold now is the day of salvation…..how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation…" (1 Cor.6.2 Heb.2.3).

Not only is it '
emotionally satisfying' it's intellectually satisfying. And very attractive to sinners who recognize their need. The proud and self righteous trusting a religious system (ie you) will always reject God's free gift of salvation.

>>You say that you are a child of God and once a son always a son. A father can always disown and disinherit an unworthy son. The Judgement Seat will reveal who is worthy and who is unworthy.<<

He may have 'unworthy' sons but never disowns them, "He has said, I will never leave you or forsake you" (Heb.13.5). Jesus said, "I give to them eternal life; they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (Jn.10.28). If He allowed His Son to suffer and die for sinners, then His children should always live so they never "grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph.4.30).

Salvation is decided here not at the Judgment Seat. "He that believes on the Son has eternal life; but he that obeys not the Son (born again) shall not see life, but God's wrath abides on him" (Jn.3.36). "He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but passed from death to life" (Jn.5.24). "There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom.8.1).

You might call me a "
disowned and disinherited and unworthy son" but my salvation doesn't depend on me, its something He has done. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (Eph.1.13). Believing and receiving the Spirit go together, if not there is something wrong in what you believe.

>>I am well aware of all the biblical quotations that talk about having eternal life in the present tense. Paul tells Timothy to exhort rich bretheren: That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:19-20. What if they do not do these things? What if they have not laid up in store for themselves a good foundation? Will they then have laid hold on eternal life?<<

Here Paul is writing about 'laying up treasure ...for the coming age', and taking "hold of the life that is truly life" [NIV]. The reward is by the free mercy of God and is not achieved by almsdeeds, good works or law.

>>The present tense is used because God "calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17). Jesus uses the present tense about eternal life, because a faithful believer will receive eternal life. If he ceases to be faithful then he will not.<<

You seem to think it's 'faith' that saves and not His work on the cross (contrary to Eph.2.10). God's Covenant is sealed with His blood, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Rom.3.3). The answer is 'no'. God is faithful to His promises and Covenant, even if men are not.

>>The use of the present tense to describe a future state is sometimes used in contemporary language. For example death row prisoners are referred to as "dead men walking." How can a dead man walk? Because it is a certainty that he will be executed, so he is spoken of as a dead man, even before he is executed. A similar idea is expressed in Exodus 12:33 (AV). The Bible even uses the past tense to talk about future events. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:2 Her warfare is not yet accomplished. Isaiah is using the past tense to describe a future event, because God "calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17). It is the same with eternal life. Jesus tells Peter that he will inherit everlasting life at some point in the future. Matthew 19:27-28. This accords with Paul, who looked forward to receiving his reward on the day when the Lord appears. 2 Timothy 4:8.<<

Note the three tenses of salvation - spoken in the past "we were saved" [Rom.8:24] in the present "being saved" [1 Cor.1:18] and in the future "will be saved" [1 Cor.3:15]. You of course, can never really be sure about salvation. If concerning my salvation God can "call those things which be not as though they were" then He is giving assurance it is sure and certain. When He said that to Abraham, it was more than just a promised, it was a 'done-deal'. (Rom.4.17) "I have made thee a father of many nations…"

If you are NOT 'born again' you can study, read, work, go to church, keep the law, hope and think you are ok, pray you are, but it’s all for nothing. ALL are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin and need to be made alive to Christ [Eph.2:1]. All need an awakening to their lost hopeless condition, not the doctrines of a sect. The Good News is that Christ's sacrifice on the cross covers all sin - past, present and future. This is what the Gospel is all about.

>>This is what Paul said about salvation: By which also ye are saved, IF ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2.<<

If I accept that as you insist, then it says "ye are saved". Contrary to the idea - that none can be sure. You would say, it's not "if ye keep in memory" what Paul said, but also John Thomas. And that's not all, there are a dozen other conditions you will add to the list. For you, all other belief is 'vain'.
"Paul adds the words if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. It was by the gospel of the resurrection that they had been saved—unless, of course, there was no such thing as resurrection, in which case they could not have been saved at all. The if in this passage does not express any doubt as to their salvation, nor does it teach that they were saved by holding fast. Rather, Paul is simply stating that if there is no such thing as resurrection, then they weren’t saved at all."
(MacDonald,W. & Farstad. Believer's Bible Commentary Old & NT (1 Co.15:1). Thomas Nelson).

>>Your comments about Hebrews 3:6, 14; Hebrew 4:1 are only partly correct. It is true that the author of Hebrews is addressing Jewish Christians about the dangers of going back to the Mosaic covenant. But why would it only be them who would be guilty of abandoning Christ's household? What if a Gentile Christian reverts to paganism? He has also failed to hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Furthermore, if your contention that once saved always saved is correct, then it would not matter if the Jewish Christians went back to the Law of Moses. Therefore the author of Hebrews is wasting his time exhorting them. Logically he should be saying to them: "you are saved, do what you like."<<

Re. Heb.3.6 At first this might seem to imply that salvation is dependent on a man holding fast and with all that might suggest. In that case, salvation would be by works, efforts, and ceremonies, and all with endurance, rather than Christ’s finished work on the cross. The true meaning is that we prove we are God’s house if we hold fast. Endurance is a proof of reality not the means by which God saves.

Verses like Heb.3.14 are often misused to say a person can be saved and then lost again. But that's impossible because the overwhelming testimony of the Bible is that salvation is freely bestowed by God’s grace, purchased by Christ’s blood, received by man’s faith, and evidenced by his good works. True faith always has the quality of permanence. Christians don’t hold fast in order to hold salvation, but as proof they are genuinely saved. Faith the root of salvation; endurance the fruit.

Heb.4:1 says no Christian should think God's promise of rest is no longer valid. It has never had a complete and final fulfilment in the past, so the offer is still in effect. But all who profess to be believers should make sure that they don't come short of the goal. If their profession is empty, there is always the danger of turning away from Christ and embracing some religious system that is powerless to save like Christadelphianism.

>>Similarly, if your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10: 12 is correct, why is falling under God's disciplinary hand a problem? If they are already saved it does not matter what they do. You also contradict Hebrews 12:5-11, which states that God's discipline is inevitable, and disciples should submit to it.<<

When Paul says 'Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall'. Obviously this refers to the strong believer who thinks he can play with self-gratification without affect. Such is in danger of falling under God's discipline. Discipline is grievous but not a salvation issue. From Heb.12.5-11 we see God’s discipline is a proof of His love and no son escapes chastisement.

>>Paul exhorted believers to continue in the faith (Acts 14:22). He was obviously wasting his time. If you are already saved then you do not need to continue in the faith.<<

When we talk about 'faith,' we need to keep a few things in mind. Humans find themselves imperfect when it comes to God's law or human 'faith'. Human imperfection also applies to the area of human 'faith'. 'Faith' that originates out of the human heart is flawed just like anything we undertake as humans. One person may have a weak 'faith', always stumbling, another a strong. But salvation is not from faith, its what you have your faith in that matters. Your faith is in Thomas and his doctrines, my faith is in Christ and His work.

So ALL the
faith [1 Cor.13:2] and ALL the works, love and kindness in the entire world can't save anyone who has not had a rebirth. Without which you will "never see the Kingdom of God" [Jn.3:3].

>>Demas was a disciple. The references to him in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 make that clear. He then forsook Paul for the love of the present world. Therefore the question arises: will a disciple who then abandons the faith for the love of the present world be saved?<<

The 'question' might arise, so you base doctrine on what you don't know? Paul didn't say Demas wouldn't be saved. His action does not necessarily mean he abandoned the faith or wasn't a true believer. Possibly fear for personal safety caused him to become a backslider. But the fact remains, salvation is not based on human works.

>>Hymenaeus and Alexander were disciples. Look at 1 Tim 1:19. They were among those who had made a shipwreck of their faith. They had to have faith in order to be able to wreck it. If they had faith, then they were disciples. They became disobedient disciples because they opposed Paul. In Hymenaeus' case he began preaching false doctrine (2 Tim 2:17). It is quite clear from the context of Paul's letters to Timothy that he is talking about the church and disciples, not about people from outside the church.<<

Yes as far as you are concerned they are lost. They "suffered shipwreck" of their faith by failing to maintain correct doctrine. Their faith foundered on false doctrine. The Greek reads they 'made shipwreck with respect to the faith' (p.1356 J.F.B Bible Commentary). However, if salvation is based on human faith, no one could be saved and Christ did not need to die. But if is based on His work and sealed with His blood, none of His children can be lost. John Thomas mixed works & faith and partly why you cannot be sure of salvation.

If they lost salvation, they worked to earn it (contrary to Rom.4.4-5). Salvation is no more of 'grace through faith' (Eph.2.8) and Christ lied when He promised never to 'forsake and leave', and His children are not 'sealed unto the day of redemption' (Eph.4.30). This is all nothing to you, anyway because have not started on the Christian road.

>>You say that Jesus believed that the soul is conscious after death, and quote Matthew 10:28 and Matthew 22:32 to support this. If I take your interpretation of Matthew 10:28, then I would have to accept that the body survives death as well, because the verse says that both body and soul go to hell. I thought that the body remained in the grave while the soul went to either heaven or hell. You obviously believe that once dead, the body goes where the soul goes. It does not remain in the grave. The verse is saying that do not fear man who can only destroy the body, but fear God who could destroy your prospects for eternal life for ever.<<

The body is mortal and can be 'killed' but 'the soul' cannot be touched according to "Jesus" (Mt.10.28). After death there is a resurrection of 'the body' so 'fear the one' who in the final judgment can destroy both. Obviously the body dies, but not the soul. So Jesus regarded a man's soul of greater value than the body or life itself. Those who try to 'save their life' will lose it, but what can a man give in 'exchange for his soul'? (Mt.16.25-26). Clearly the soul has greater value than life or body (Mk.9.47).

>>If the soul is immortal, then it is indestructible. Yet this verse says God will destroy the soul. The word soul in Matthew 10:28 is better translated life, as it is in Matthew 16:25.<<

The word 'soul' is NOT 'better translated life', which would read "They can only kill your body; they cannot kill your life." How silly! Read Mt.16.25 and v.26 'life' is contrasted with 'soul' which have different meanings. Soul is 'psuche' while life is 'Zoë's. No understanding of NT Greek?

The words 'destroy' apollumi and "perish" apolonto don't mean extinction or cessation of existence. Check the Greek words. Whether, Apoleia, Katageo, Kathaireo, Luo, Kataluo, Olothreuo etc, they never mean extinction. The Greeks [NT language] didn't believe such a condition for man.

Greek Dictionary. Quote, “Destroy – "to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luke 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution, Luke 15:4, 6, etc.; the lost son, 15:24; of the perishing of food, John 6:27; of gold, 1 Pet. 1:7. So of persons, Matt. 2:13, “destroy”; 8:25, “perish”; 22:7; 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved." (Vine, Unger & White, (1996). Vine's expository dictionary Old & N.T. words (Vol. 2, Pg 164).

>>Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their SOUL from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:18-19 To deliver their immortal, deathless indestructible soul from death. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my SOUL from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? Psalm 56:12-13.To deliver my immortal, deathless indestructible soul from death.<<

The bible is a progressive revelation; it's not until the New Testament and Christ's life there's a burst of information and revelation. “But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). The Gospel [before hidden in God’s purposes] does not allow OT statements or persons to affect our judgment on this subject. This verse in Timothy shows that life and immortality were not brought to light in the times before the Gospel came.

'Soul from death'. The problem with translating Hebrew into English is that the word 'nepes' (has a variety of meanings) doesn't always mean 'soul' (as we understand 'soul'). So: "While this serves to make sense in most passages, it is an unfortunate mistranslation of the term. The real difficulty of the term is seen in the inability of almost all English translations to find a consistent equivalent or even a small group of high-frequency equivalents for the term. The kjv alone uses over 28 different English terms for this one Hebrew word. The problem with the English term “soul” is that no actual equivalent of the term or the idea behind it is represented in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew system of thought does not include the combination or opposition of the terms “body” and “soul,” which are really Greek and Latin in origin". (Vine Unger & White, (1996). Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and N.T. words (Vol. 1, Pg.237-238).

So you will find in Psa.33.19 the writer is simply saying
"He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine." And in Psa.56.13 "For you have rescued me from death" (LB). These verses are not a commentary on whether the soul survives death. The words, "
To deliver their immortal, deathless indestructible soul from death." Are not in the text they are your words.

>>Matthew 22:32 does not support your case. If you look at Abraham's life as recorded in Genesis, you will see that God makes lots of promises to Abraham. Nowhere does He promise Abraham a place in heaven. He promises Abraham the land of Canaan for ever (Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8). This promise is extended to his seed. They will therefore be resurrected in order to enable them to inherit the land. This is why the Bible says the meek shall inherit the earth. Because it is a certainty that they will be resurrected, then Jesus speaks of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being the God of the living, not of the dead, as God "calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17). If Abraham is in heaven, then it is strange why Isaiah says that Abraham is ignorant of the Jews (Isaiah 63:16). If he was in heaven then he must have known what the Jews of Isaiah's day were doing. He could not have been ignorant of them, but Isaiah says he was.<<

Apparently Jesus did not share your interpretation that "Nowhere does (God) promise Abraham a place in heaven". You say Abraham is dead in the grave, Jesus says Abraham is 'with the angels'. And others are there "with Abraham" (Lk 16:18,22). Although dead Abraham doesn't reek and stink, but speaks, thinks and eats (Lk.16.22 GNB). He's not ignorant of the Jews either. Isa.63 simply indicates God's fatherhood is greater than Abrahams. Isaiah says God is still their Father, "even though" Abraham and Israel were to disown them. And on the Mt of Transfiguration Moses who had been dead for a thousand years also 'speaks and thinks' as Jesus speaks to him.

>>Jesus also speaks of living people being dead (Luke 9:60), as people outside the pale of salvation are as good as dead, as they will go to the grave with no hope of the resurrection. So although they are alive, they are ultimately dead for ever, so Jesus regards these living people as dead. This is somewhat analogous to my example of death row prisoners (see above).<<

Yes the bible calls living people dead. Many living now are 'dead in trespasses and sin' (Eph.2.1). They are not extinct yet they are "dead" now. So death doesn't mean extinction!! Your idea that unsaved "go to the grave with no hope of the resurrection" is unscriptural. The bible says, "Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan.12.2)

The NT teaches that the immaterial nature man (soul and spirit) is separate from the body (Mt.10:28; Lk.8:55 1 Thes.5:23; Heb.4:12; 12.22. 12.9 Rev.16:3), it's independent of man's material form and departs at death to go either into the presence of the Lord (Phil.1:23) or into a place of punishment (Lk.16). In Ac.7:59, Stephen committed his spirit (pneuma) into the hands of Jesus. This establishes the fact that the immaterial nature of man is independent of his body. At the same time, Scripture says, "He [Stephen] fell asleep" in death; that is, his physical body took on the appearance of "sleep." But he as a unit did not die; he merely experience separation of the soul from the body and he went to be with the Lord, into whose hands he had committed his spiritual nature.

>>In your correspondence with someone else you state that "The spirits of all human beings went to Sheol prior to the resurrection of Christ [Gen37.35 Psa.9 17;16. 10]. Since His resurrection believers go to be with Him in heaven [Phil.1:23]. You therefore contradict yourself by using Matthew 22:32 to "prove" that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in heaven, as Jesus uttered the words in Matthew 22:32 before his resurrection<<

No, its your understand of bible words (ie death, grave, Sheol etc). The Jews believed 'Abraham's bosom' was the place where the righteous dead go, a place of bliss. So Jesus correctly "uttered the words" (which you deny are true) before His resurrection. After His resurrection believers go to be with Christ Gen.37.35 Psa.9 17;16 10 Phil.1:23. Apparently Jesus' death and resurrection changed what takes place.

There are two places the dead go. The wicked dead don't go to the same place as the righteous - "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave" (Isa.14.9-11). This refers to the place of the wicked dead. Note, there are many there, they can see, speak, think and exist.

"They lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit. Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, saith the Lord GOD. For I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD. (Ez.32.30-32). Pharaoh who was long dead, mocks those entering the place where he is. At the great judgment John said, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened. (Rev.20.12). If the dead are non-existent how do they stand before God?

The Bible refers to "the spirits of the departed" [Isa.14.9-10NIV]. It reveals death is not the end [1 Sam.28.18-19, see also Ez.32.21-27. Lk.16.22-23, Mk.17.2-3, 2 Cor.5.8, Phil.1.23. Heb.12.23 Rev.6.9-11. 7.9-17. Jesus promised the penitent that very day he would be with Him in paradise, so when Jesus died He did not cease to exist either.


>>Luke 16:19-26 does not prove Lazarus was in heaven. Jesus is taking the pagan beliefs of some of the Sadducees as a basis for a parable. Assuming for the sake of argument that the soul is immortal, how could it be cooled down by something as tangible as water? How could the water be transported across the great gulf (verse 26) between heaven and hell? How could Lazarus and the rich man communicate across this great gulf? How enjoyable can heaven be, if one can see hell from it?<<

Jesus is speaking to the 'Pharisees' (16.14) not the Sadducees. The Pharisees regarded the physical of greater value (16.14,15). The whole narrative proves the value of a soul, is greater than even life. What can a man give in place of his soul? He was not using pagan belief or misleading anyone. Sadducees were closer to Christadelphians. They also had no true repentance, they didn't believe in the immortality of the soul, angels, eternal punishment or the resurrection. That's why Jesus said 'you brood of vipers' how can you 'escape from the wrath to come'.

Your comments PROVE you have no spiritual discernment. And that the Holy Spirit does not take the scriptures and reveal them to you. Lk.16 is clear. Yet as with the subject of the devil, the Holy Spirit, eternal punishment, so here also, you ignore the plain words of scripture. That's because you follow John Thomas not the bible. All the fear and dread Jesus warned about this place is true 'where the worm does not die' (Mk.9.16).

>>Revelation 20:14 Hell is destroyed. What happens to the indestructible immortal souls of the wicked after hell is destroyed? I imagine you will respond by saying that it takes a revelation from the Holy Spirit to understand these things. Yes, I know the book by F.C.Payne entitled The Seal of God as well, so I know where you get this argument from….<<

Rev.20.14 doesn't say 'hell is destroyed', go and look. I don't get theology from F.C.Payne but the bible. Read slowly, think about it. The bible says, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14).

Your mail changes the subject from here. I wrote that 'The Good News is that Christ's sacrifice on the cross covers all sin - past, present and future. This is what the Gospel is all about' You reply,

>>It does not automatically cover all present and future sin. If it did, it would make redundant Jesus' role as High Priest and Mediator. Sins are forgiven provided believers confess them 1 John 1:9.<<

Conversion does not mean the eradication of the sin nature, but the implanting of a new nature, with power over indwelling sin. For Christians to walk in fellowship with God and other believers, they must confess sin and be open before God. Confession involves forsaking sin: “He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Pro.28.13). Children should renew the fellowship with their dad.

>>So what about your attitude to the Roman Catholic church, the biggest of the mainstream Christian churches. Can there be salvation outside of it? Do you celebrate the non-biblical festival of Christmas?<<

The RCC is similar to Christadelphianism. They believe in meritorious grace for meritorious works. If we only keep trying, mean well, follow RCC doctrines, the right baptism, go to mass, then God might grant salvation. Not to please the RCC, means excommunication and lost. Similar to Christadelphianism.

Re. '
Christmas' a side issue. I've read the Christadelphian publications and done their bible studies. But it concerns me you are avoiding much of what I have written. I'm trying not to repeat myself, and have said this before, but it's important you need to know.

I leave you to ponder the most important subject –

[1] 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.
[2] You CAN NOT save yourself
(Pr.14.12 Gal.2.16 Eph.2.8-9 Jn.14.6 Ac.4.12) no one can.
[3] And God has PROVIDED salvation
(1 Thes.5.9-10 Jn.3.16 Isa.53.6 1 Pe.3.18 Rom.6.23).
[4] Why NOT 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 saved, you are lost. This is the prayer –

Lord Jesus Christ I believe you are the Son of God and that you are Lord. I thank you that you have died for me and that through your blood I can be set free from my sin and be washed clean. Lord I confess that I am a sinner and need you to wash away my sin. Please forgive me and accept me into the family of God. I renounce all of the works of Satan and His kingdom of Darkness. I want you Lord Jesus to take over my life and I ask you to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus with my lips, I confess that you are Lord and I invite you into my life now. Amen.

Why not? The doctrines of John Thomas stopping you?

Regards,
Mark



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