Jump to content


Photo

"Let Us Reason" Ministries


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:21 PM

An abridged version of this rebuttal to an online Christian ministry known as Let Us Reason first appeared on another Christian apologetics discussion forum at the Theology Online (TOL) Website.

The polemicist's comments appear in quotation boxes; my rebuttal follows in regular text.



Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science, 7th Day Adventism, Spiritism and the Christadelphian’s were all a product of a time of religious unrest.


Irrelevant. So too were Weslyism, Pentecostalism, Protestantism, and a host of other ‘isms’ which have since become mainstream. This proves nothing. (Interestingly, the doctrines of the Christadelphian sect were all confessed much earlier, by the Unitarians of the 16th Century, the Christians of the 1st Century, and a variety of independent groups in between these two eras.)

Christadelphianism are non Trinitarians much like Unitarians...


True. We are Biblical Unitarians (as opposed to Rationalist Unitarians or Universalist Unitarians.) For a precise explanation of these terms, see here.

...and are categorized as a non-Christian cult.


Current evidence suggests that the USA is the only place in the entire Western world where Christadelphians are habitually called a non-Christian cult - and even then, this is only said by US Christians. Christians in the other Western nations are perfectly happy to refer to Christadelphians as Christians. Secular scholars never refer to Christadelphians as non-Christians, though they will speak of Moonies, etc. as ‘cultists.’

Even Webster's Dictionary (which is regularly cited by US Christians) classifies the Christadelphian community as a Christian sect.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#2 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:33 PM

The Christadelphians do not believe in participating in war.


False. This implies that we are pacifists (which we are not.) Our stance is a Biblical one; we simply refuse to participate in the wars of the kingdoms of men. (For more on this subject, see here.)

They have contempt for churches that pay their ministers, (like Mormons) and refer to them as being ‘hirelings.’


False. Robert Roberts and John Thomas may have used such terms or similar (in accordance with the rhetoric of their day) but the author of this polemical diatribe is attempting to imply that Christadelphians as a whole, use the same language as a matter of course. That is slanderous.

Paid ministries are, of course, quite unBiblical.

Members are not to be part of politics, nor engage in any form of public service. They do not swear an oath in a court of law, but are prepared to serve on a jury.


It is not true that Christadelphians are prepared to serve on a jury. In fact, there are some places in Australia (and other nations) which now have a law exempting Christadelphians from jury service. It is true that we do not take part in politics. (See here.)

As for not engaging ‘in any form of public service’ - that requires a precise definition before it can be addressed comprehensively. Christadelphians do not refrain from accepting jobs in certain areas of the civil service (such as the national mail service, or a job in the Department of Education) but only if these do not carry any political responsibilities.

Women are not permitted to preach...


True. That is entirely Scriptural and the vast majority of Christian churches agree with us on this point.

...or pray in their meetings.


True. (See above.) Christadelphian women are not permitted to pray on behalf of the congregation. Of course, there is nothing to stop a woman giving her own private prayer during the course of a memorial meeting. And again - the vast majority of Christian churches agree with us on this point as well.

Members are not permitted to take communion in any other church. Doing so means excommunication.


True. This is entirely Scriptural (see Galatians 1) and most Christian churches agree with us on this point. We are not an ecumenical group. We do not believe that we can share fellowship with people whose fundamental doctrines are at odds with our own. (And it would appear that the author of this article believes the same - hence his attack on the Christadelphian faith!) Oh, the irony...

But it becomes their interpretation that guides their members.


True. Just like every other Christian denomination, it is our interpretation of the Scriptures that guides our community.

It would certainly make no sense for us to be guided by anything else.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#3 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:34 PM

Like all cults, Christadelphianism denies numerous essential core teachings of Christianity: The Triunity, Jesus as God in the flesh, the physical resurrection, afterlife...


I have repeatedly challenged mainstream Christians to prove that these are ‘essential core teachings of Christianity.’

I have yet to receive that proof.

...salvation by grace adding a requirement for salvation: baptism.


False. We do not ‘add a requirement for salvation’, nor do we believe that salvation is gained instantly by the act of baptism. Moreover, we agree that salvation is impossible without grace. We accept Sola Scriptura but reject Sola Fide.

The Bible insists that baptism is essential for savation. (For more on this subject, see here.)

Interestingly enough, Luther (and other Protestant Reformers who are considered ‘orthodox’ by mainstream Christians today) taught the same. Here's a quote from Luther's Large Catechism:
In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.

For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly, because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit. But let it be ever so much an external thing here stand God's Word and command which institute, establish, and confirm Baptism. But what God institutes and commands cannot be a vain, but must be a most precious thing, though in appearance it were of less value than a straw.


[...]

But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what then, becomes of faith?

Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God's (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper's baptism). God's works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God's command and ordinance, and besides in God's name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.

Luther confirms that we cannot earn our salvation by works (with which Christadelphians agree) but also adds that baptism is God's work, not ours (with which Christadelphians also agree.)

It is manifestly impossible to accuse Christadelphians of being ‘cultists’ when our views on baptism are fully supported by one of the greatest Protestant Reformers.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#4 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:35 PM

Like all the cults they are exclusive.


Like the 1st Century Christians (and mainstream Christians today) we refuse to fellowship with those whose beliefs are contrary to our own. This is not ‘cultic.’ It is Biblical. Mainstream Christians have a long history of burning, torturing, stoning and flogging people whose beliefs are contrary to theirs. That is unBiblical and blasphemous.

As Dave Armstrong once commented during a debate by correspondence with Dr James White:
The [Catholic] Church has learned from its errors, as have the Protestant sects, which have an even worse history of intolerance and persecution, since your crimes are greater and more inconsistent with your supposed ‘freedom of conscience’ for all to follow God in whatever way is deemed best by the ‘individual with his Bible alone’ (see my treatise and synopsis on this subject which will provide copious documentation, lest you doubt this).

If all Christian groups who have persecuted are ruled out of the faith, then about all that is left are the Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish, and whoever else descended from the Anabaptists.

Christadelphians are proud to acknowledge the Anabaptist tradition as a part of our spiritual heritage.

They believe that there has been an apostasy and that Christianity is a false religious system.


False. We believe that mainstream Christianity is a false religious system. We agree that the Unitarians and Anabaptists of the Reformation era (among others) were true Christians.

We also see ourselves as true Christians.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#5 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:36 PM

Who is the Jesus of Christadelphianism?

Jesus had a sinful nature (The Christadelphians, What They Believe, by Harry Tennant, The Christadelphian, England, p. 74 - a Christadelphian book.)

‘And it was for that very reason -- being a member of a sinful race -- that the Lord Jesus himself needed salvation.’ (Answers, p. 24 -(Christadelphian Answers, ed. by Frank G. Jannaway, The Herald Press, p. 25 - another Christadelphian book).

‘Therefore, we conclude that it is not only that Jesus was called a sinner at his trial by his enemies or that he was ‘numbered with the transgressors’ when he was crucified between two thieves, but more particularly that he shared the very nature which had made a sinner out of every other man who had borne it’ (The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant page 74).

‘He [Jesus] saved himself in order to save us.’ (Christadelphian Answers, Compiled by Frank G. Jannaway. A reproduction of an original edition by, The Herald Press, 4011 Bolivia, Houston, Texas, 77092, 1920 p.24)

Bible answers to the Jesus of Christadelphianism - Heb.4:15: ‘For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin.’

Jn. 8:46 he asks the people ‘which of you convicts me of sin.’ Obviously they could not accuse him of anything. Since sin is falling short of God's perfection Jesus was never less than perfect at any time.

Heb 7:26 ‘For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens’  Heb 8:1 ‘Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens’ It is this high priest, one born of a virgin without sin that is the mediator. If it is not than you do not have Jesus as your mediator.

2 Cor. 5:21 ‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’

Jesus was without sin, 1 Pet. 1:18-19 ‘knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’  

1 Pet 2:21-22 ‘For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’ We don’t follow a sinners example but the pure Son of God,  ‘And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. ‘(I Jn. 3:5)

The Old Testament principle Lev.3 the sacrifice ‘offer it without blemish before the LORD.’ Lev.1:3 ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish’   Lev.6:25-29 tells us the sin offering is most holy before and after its death. A sacrifice was to be perfect and Holy throughout.


As we saw previously with our other two polemicists (see here and here) the author of this article tries the same trick of deliberately misrepresenting Christadelphian theology.

Not once does the author make any attempt to define what Christadelphians mean by ‘sinful nature.’ He merely presents his comments in the context of ‘Original Sin’, and allows his readers to conclude that this is what we believe Christ possessed. This blatant disregard for the truth is, of course, only to be expected from people who do not actually understand what Christadelphians believe and have absolutely no intention of representing it accurately on those rare occasions whey they do.

For the record, let it be understood that Christadelphians wholeheartedly agree with all of the verses which were quote here in support of the ‘sinlessness of Christ’ issue. We believe that Jesus was capable of sin, but that he never actually sinned. That is entirely Scriptural. I have met Lutherans (and other Christians) who also believe that Jesus was capable of sin but never sinned. The author of this article is trying to imply that Christadelphians believer Jesus was a sinner.

That is totally slanderous, for we do not believe any such thing.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#6 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:36 PM

On the Atonement

That Jesus' atonement was not substitutionary (Answers, p. 25; What They Believe, p. 71).

‘But it is equally true that, being 'made sin for us' (2 Cor. 5:21), he himself required a sin offering...’ (Answers, p. 24)

The second secret of the cross is that it is the source of the forgiveness of sins. It is not a debt settled by due payment. It is not a substitutionary offering whereby someone is paid a price so that others might then go free’ (p. 71 The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant).

Bible answers to Christadelphianism on the Atonement

1 Cor. 15:3: ‘For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.’

Romans 3:25 ‘whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously’

Romans 5:8 ‘Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.’


Christadelphians agree with all of the verses which were quoted here on the ‘Christ died for us’ issue. But none of the verses quoted above, prove that Jesus was ‘our substitute.’ Indeed, the Bible repeatedly affirms that Jesus was our covering (which is what the word ‘atonement’ actually means.) This is typified by the covering of skins that was given to Adam and Eve, and also by the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant - neither of which are adequately fulfilled by the concept of Jesus as ‘our substitute.’

Thus, from Brown-Driver-Briggs:
kapporeth

kappôreth

1) Mercy-seat, place of atonement.

1a) The golden plate of propitiation on which the High Priest sprinkled the seat 7 times on the Day of Atonement symbolically reconciling Jehovah and His chosen people.
1a1) Tthe slab of gold on top of the ark of the covenant which measured 2.5 by 1.5 cubits; on it and part of it were the two golden cherubim facing each other whose outstretched wings came together above and constituted the throne of God.

A few points:
  • We see that this was originally the place on which the sacrifice was made. It was not the sacrifice itself or even a word to describe the effects of the sacrifice.
  • That same word was later translated by the writers of the LXX and NT as hilasterion and hilasmos. Its definition, however, remains the same.
  • It does not denote a ‘replacement’ or a ‘subsitute.’ It is intimately connected with Christ because he alone is in the unique position of having become both our sacrifice and then later, our High Priest and Mediator.
Thus:
  • I Timothy 2:5.
    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
  • Hebrews 2:17.
    Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
It's important to notice that there is no mention of a ‘replacement’ or ‘substitute’ in these passages. The meaning is clear. On the cross, Jesus was made a sacrifice for us. In heaven, he is our mediator.

Naturally enough, the apostles urge us to follow Christ's example:
  • Romans 12:1.
    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
  • I Peter 2:5.
    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
The very word ‘atonement’ itself, means ‘a covering.’ That's the whole point. That's how it fulfils the typology of Genesis 3, in which Adam and Eve's sins were first covered by themselves (using an insufficient covering) and later by God Himself (providing a sufficient covering.) The key words involved (from the kpr group of Hebrew words) are:
  • kippurim (kippurim) - plural, and used as Yom Kippurim (‘Day of Atonement.’)
  • koper (koper) - ransom, in the sense of money.
  • kapporet (kapporet) - the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • kippur (kippur) - a highly flexible verb, with definitions including ‘to forgive, purify, cleanse, atone, cover, propitiate, expiate, reconcile, avert God's wrath, compensate.’
Thus, from standard authorities:
The lexica of the nineteenth century [including Gesenius and Tregelles] associated Heb. kipper with the Arab. kafara, ‘cover,’ describing the act of atonement as the covering of guilt. Since Heinrich Zimmern's reference to Bab. kuppuru, the two etymologies agree.

[...]

Arabic lexicographers derive the word from kafara, ‘cover.’

Botterweck, Ringgren, Fabry (1994), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Vol, VII.
The sacrifices of the Law of Moses symbolized a ‘covering over’ of sin which had to be regularly performed in a ritual sense until it was literally performed by the atonement of Christ. The OT covering, therefore, was temporal - the NT covering was complete and immutable. The first use of the root word for the Hebrew kippur, is in Genesis 6:14 (twice.) It is the word ‘pitch’ which was the oil based product used to seal and cover the joins and any cracks in Noah's Ark. The NKJV renders the verse: ‘cover it inside and outside with pitch.’ So we are introduced to the idea of covering, from the very first use of this word in Scripture.

Hence the following quote from Smith's Bible Dictionary:
Mercy-seat:-
(Exodus 25:17; 37:6; Hebrews 9:5)
This appears to have been merely the lid of the ark of the covenant, not another surface affixed thereto. (It was a solid plate of gold, 2 1/2 cubits (6 1/3 feet) long by 1 1/2 cubits (2 2/3 feet) wide, representing a kind of throne of God, where he would hear prayer and from which he spoke words of comfort. --ED.)

It was that whereon the blood of the yearly atonement was sprinkled by the high priest; and in this relation it is doubtful whether the sense of the word in the Hebrew is based on the material fact of its ‘covering’ the ark, or derived from this notion of its reference to the ‘covering’ (i.e. atonement) of sin.

Notice that he says that the sense of the word in Hebrew (kippur) might be derived from the fact that it was a covering for the ark, or else from the fact that it was a symbol of our ‘covering’ (atonement) for sin. Either way, he is certain that it represents a covering - and either way, it is inextricably linked to the idea that the atonement itself is a covering for our sin.

The curious idea of a ‘substitutional atonement’ finds no support from Scripture.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#7 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:38 PM

Like all the cults they deny salvation by grace through faith.



I have already refuted this false accusation.

Baptism is necessary for salvation.


...as taught by the Bible, the 1st Christians, Martin Luther, and many others.

They teach there is only one God. (Isaiah 43-45) Christ is not God and neither is the holy Spirit.


I am greatly indebted to the polemicist for confirming that Christadelphians believe what the Bible teaches. He seems to think that this is actually a bad thing; by contrast, I take it as a compliment.

Meanwhile, let us introduce a little perspective to the question of the Holy Spirit as God (a dogma which did not even become ‘orthodox’ until the work of the three great Cappadocians in the 4th Century AD.)

First, an Anglican priest:
To ask whether in the New Testament the spirit is a person in the modern sense of the word would be like asking whether the spirit of Elijah is a person. The Spirit of God is of course personal; it is God's dunamis in action. But the Holy Spirit is not a person, existing independently of God; it is a way of speaking about God's personally acting in history, or of the Risen Christ's personally acting in the life and witness of the Church. The New Testament (and indeed patristic thought generally) nowhere represents the Spirit, any more than the wisdom of God, as having independent personality.
Richardson, Alan (1958), Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament.

Next, the Catholic Encyclopaedia:
In regard to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the passages which can be cited from the Synoptists as attesting His distinct personality are few. The words of Gabriel (Luke 1:35), having regard to the use of the term, ‘the Spirit,’ in the Old Testament, to signify God as operative in His creatures, can hardly be said to contain a definite revelation of the doctrine. For the same reason it is dubious whether Christ's warning to the Pharisees as regards blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31) can be brought forward as proof.
The C.E. goes on to fabricate an argument on the basis of several NT proof texts, but admits that - overall - the evidence is scant. At the very most, Trinitarians might be able to cobble a few pieces of personification together and claim that these are not examples of personification at all... but indeed, that is the very most they can do.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#8 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:40 PM

Baptism

Like all the cults they deny salvation by grace through faith. Baptism is necessary for salvation (What They Believe , p. 71,72, 207-210)

‘Therefore the wonderful work of baptism is essential to salvation’ (The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant page 210).

‘A believing, repentant person receives forgiveness of sins by being baptized’ (The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant pages 207-8).


Bible answers to Christadelphianism on Baptism

Titus 3:5 ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us through the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.’

Hebrews 10:22 says, ‘Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’ This based on the previous chapter showing where cleaning comes from.

Heb 9:21-22 ‘Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.’

‘In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.’ (Eph. 1:7)’In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.’ (Col.1:14).

Heb. 10:20, the veil was His flesh by which we now have access.  The Old Testament sacrifice for sin shows it is always through the blood that gave us forgiveness- without water.

Rom. 5:1 says, ‘Therefore having been justified by faith.’ ‘Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.’ (Rom. 3:24-25)


The argument from ‘blood’ is irrelevant, as Trinitarian theologian Marvin R. Vincent (Word Studies in the New Testament) has shown. This was specifically addressed in my refutation of Matthew Slick (here.)

The objections to baptism are addressed in my rebuttal to Robert Turkel (here.)
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#9 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:42 PM

God and Christ

There is no Trinity - Scriptures that Christians use to support the trinity doctrine referring to Elohim are dismissed as only referring to angels.


False. We have always insisted that the word elohim is not restricted to angels. It can refer to God, angels, and mortal men. (For more on this subject, see here.)

The angels they say, did the work of creation, because it was beneath God to engage in such a work.


False. John Thomas (and some others) believed that the angels did the work of creation on God's behalf, but that they were only capable of this because they were empowered by God to do so. (For more on the relationship between God, the angels and the work of creation, see the relevant sections in my refutation of Fruchtenbaum: here and here.)

Incidentally, Christadelphians have never claimed that the work of creation was ‘beneath God.’ That is totally slanderous.

Jesus is not God in flesh.


True. This is entirely Bibical. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the logos made flesh - not ‘God in flesh.’

A more striking contrast would be difficult to find.

Jesus Christ is not God. They deny that Jesus existed in any form before he was born of Mary. In The Christadelphian' official journal of the church, No XI, from 1874 they say, ‘He (Jesus) was not God, neither a mere man, nor had he any existence prior to his supernatural birth.’

As far as being a man this is true but not as being God.

‘There is no hint in the Old Testament that the Son of God was already existent or in any way active at that time’ (The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant page 85).

‘We reject the doctrine of the Son of God was Co-eternal with the Father.’ ‘We reject the gospel alone will save without the obedience of the commandments.’ ‘Jesus Christ did not exist as a person from eternity as one of the triune Godhead. ‘He did not actually come into being until he was begotten of the Holy Spirit in Bethlehem.’(Christadelphian messenger no.46, the word made flesh p.3)

‘Jesus was a manifestation of the Father in man, begotten by the Spirit. He did not become the Christ until his water baptism; until then he simply had a body prepared for the divine manifestation that was to take place through him...’ (Christendom Astray', p. 1089 )


True. This is entirely Biblical. (Incidentally, the Christadelphian magazine is not ‘the official journal of the church.’ It is just one Christadelphian magazine among many which are published all over the world. We have no hierarchy, no paid ministry and no ‘official journal.’)

Bible answers to Christadelphianism on God and Christ

Becoming the Christ at baptism was an early Church heresy by Paul of Samosata, a modalist who was the bishop of Antioch. He taught Jesus was a mere man begotten of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. He became the Christ at his baptism and was adopted by the Father after His death (adoptionism).


Firstly, Christadelphians are neither Modalists nor Adoptionists. (For a precise explanation of these terms, see here.)

Secondly, the title ‘Christ’ simply means ‘annointed.’ So it is perfectly true to say of Jesus that he was not ‘the annointed’ until he was literally annointed. And yes, this did indeed occur at his baptism. Let this be clearly understood: we do not believe that Christ became the Son at his baptism - only that it was at this point that he became ‘the annointed.’ Certainly, it is difficult to imagine how he might possibly be called ‘the annointed’ without actually being annointed.

But that is a problem for our adversary to solve...
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#10 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:44 PM

Christ means the anointed one Luke 2:11 ‘For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’   ‘and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’


Irrelevant. Mere names and titles do not a god-man make.

Trinitarian theologian Albert Barnes (Notes on the Bible) correctly observes that any Trinitarian appeal to this verse can only be a matter of personal preference, rather than an argument constructed on the basis of objective facts:
Immanuel -
Hebrew ‘God with us’ - immanuel ‛immânû'êl - from el 'ĕl, ‘God,’ and ymmanu ‛ýmmânû, ‘with us.’ The name is designed to denote that God would be with the nation as its protector, and the birth of this child would be a sign or pledge of it. The mere circumstance that this name is given, however, does not imply anything in regard to the nature or rank of the child, for nothing was more common among the Jews than to incorporate the name, or a part of the name, of the Deity with the names which they gave to their children.

Thus, ‘Isaiah’ denotes the salvation of Yahweh; ‘Jeremiah,’ the exaltation or grandeur of Yahweh, each compounded of two words, in which the name Yahweh constitutes a part. Thus, also in ‘Elijah,’ the two names of God are combined, and it means literally, ‘God the Yahweh.’ Thus, also ‘Eliab,’ God my faather; ‘Eliada,’ knowledge of God; ‘Eliakim,’ the resurrection of God; ‘Elihu,’ he is my God; ‘Elisha,’ salvation of God. In none of these instances is the fact, that the name of God is incorporated with the proper name of the individual, any argument in respect to his rank or character.

It is true, that Matthew Mat_1:23 uses this name as properly expressing the rank of the Messiah; but all that can be demonstrated from the use of the name by Matthew is, that it properly designated the nature and rank of the Lord Jesus. It was a pledge, then, that God was with his people, and the name designated by the prophet had a complete fulfillment in its use as applied to the Messiah. Whether the Messiah be regarded as himself a pledge and demonstration of the presence and protection of God, or whether the name be regarded as descriptive of his nature and dignity, yet there was an ‘appropriateness’ in applying it to him. It was fully expressive of the event of the incarnation. Jerome supposes that the name, Immanuel, denotes nothing more than divine aid and protection.

Others have supposed, however, that the name must denote the assumption of our nature by God in the person of the Messiah, that is, that God became man. So Theodoret, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Lactantius, Chrysostom. Calvin, Rosenmuller, and others. The true interpretation is, that no argument to prove that can be derived from the use of the name; but when the fact of the incarnation has been demonstrated from other sources, the ‘name is appropriately expressive of that event.’ So it seems to be used by Matthew.

It may be quite true, that no argument can be founded on the bare name, Immanuel; yet that name, ‘in its connection here,’ may certainly be regarded as a designed prediction of the incarnation of Christ. Such a design our author allows in the prophecy generally. ‘The prophet,’ says he, ‘designedly made use of language which would be appropriate to a future and most glorious event.’ Why, then, does he speak of the most pregnant word in the prophecy as if Matthew had accidentally stumbled on it, and, finding it would appropriately express the nature of Christ, accomodated it for that purpose? Having originally rejected the Messianic reference, and been convinced only by a more careful examination of the passage, that he was in error, something of his old view seems still to cling to this otherwise admirable exposition.

‘The name Immanuel,’ says Professor Alexander, ‘although it might be used to signify God’s providential presence merely Psa_46:8, 12; Psa_89:25; Jos_1:5; Jer_1:8; Isa_43:2, has a latitude and pregnancy of meaning which can scarcely be fortuitous; and which, combined with all the rest, makes the conclusion almost unavoidable, that it was here intended to express a personal, as well as a providential presence ... When we read in the Gospel of Matthew, that Jesus Christ was actually born of a virgin, and that all the circumstances of his birth came to pass that this very prophecy might be fulfilled, it has less the appearance of an unexpected application, than of a conclusion rendered necessary by a series of antecedent facts and reasonings, the last link in a long chain of intimations more or less explicit (referring to such prophecies as Gen_3:15; Mic_5:2).

The consistent Jewish practice of incorporating the Name of God into the names of their children confirms that no reference to ‘nature’ or ‘essence’ was intended here. (Nor do any of the apostles make an attempt to prove the alleged deity of Christ on the basis of this name.)

Moreover, some modern Bibles (most notably the Contemporary English Version, God's Word and NRSV) translate the corresponding cross-reference in Matthew 1:23 as ‘God is with us’ - a far more accurate rendition of the text.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#11 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:46 PM

Col 1:16-17 ‘For by Him (the Son) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.


The Son is here credited with the new creation - not the old. (See here for a study on Colossians 1:16-17.)

John 1:2-3  ‘He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.’


These verses say nothing of the Son. (See here for a study on John 1:1-14.)

The bible attributes creation to God,  Isa. 42:5 Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out’


Irrelevant. This verse says nothing of the Son.

Heb.1:8 The Father speaking to the son,’ But to the Son he (the Father)  says ‘Your throne ,O’ God is forever and ever.’


Irrelevant. Mortal men can bear this title as representatives of God. (As seen in my refutation of Slick, here.)

V:10 The Father speaking of the Son, ‘And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning has laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands...’If the father says He (the son) is God then one has an argument against God himself)


This is one of the more reckless attempts to vindicate the Trinitarian argument.

Observe:
  • The first problem here for the Trinitarian interpretation is that the Father never calls the Son ‘Lord.’ Indeed, this would result in a hopeless contradiction, for the Father is above the Son, as we see clearly in Psalm 110:1.
  • The second problem for the Trinitarian interpretation is that this verse quotes a Messianic psalm in which the psalmist is speaking as a type of Christ. He therefore addresses the Father, not the Son.
  • The third problem here for the Trinitarian interpretation is that the rigid hierarchy of what we might call the ‘divine family’ (God, Christ, angels) is strictly maintained throughout the course of Hebrews 1. To take verse 10 as a reference to the Son is to disrupt the entire flow of the argument and destroy the sense of the passage in question.
I have more on this, but it requires rewriting and reformatting. It will be posted at my earliest convenience.

’To God our Savior.’(Jude 1:25) ‘To God our Savior.’(Jude 1:25)


Irrelevant. Mortal men were called saviours. (See here.) This proves nothing.

In Jn.17 he states Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.’


Irrelevant. Mere figurative language, of the sort with which Jews were perfectly familiar. Jeremiah was said to have been "ordained a prophet" while he was still in his mother's womb - was this literal, or figurative? (See also here and here for more on the alleged pre-existence of Christ.)

Gen.1 tells us the first thing created was the heavens and the earth. so if he had glory with the father before the world was he preexisted as God- for only God existed at that time.


Mere ‘if’ statements are not enough to prove the point. I require solid, Biblical evidence.

How soon can I expect to see it?
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#12 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:46 PM

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is not a person but a ‘...radiant visible power from the Father. It is an unseen power emanating from the Deity, filling all space, and by which God is everywhere present. It is the medium by which God created all things...’ (Christadelphians by Lita Hutchins, page 7).

‘The Spirit is not a 'separate' or 'other' person. It is God's own radiant power, ever out flowing from Him, by which His 'everywhereness' is achieved. The Spirit is personal in that it is of God Himself: it is not personal in the sense of being some other person within the Godhead’ (The Christadelphians:  What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant page 115). Like Jehovah's Witnesses, they refer to the Holy Spirit as ‘it’.

So they have no Holy Spirit to assist them in their study and interpretation of the Scriptures!


Christ and Paul both exhorted us to study the Scriptures. Not once did they say that we would require the Holy Spirit in order to perform this task adequately.

Bible answers to Christadelphianism  on The Holy Spirit

In Gen.1 we find the Holy Spirit partook in the creation of the earth. Job 26:13 ‘By His Spirit He made the heavens.’ (Job33:4). If God created all things then His Spirit is God as well.


Fallacy of equivocation. Not once is the Holy Spirit said to be God Himself, which is precisely what this argument requires. Moreover, Psalm 33:6 says that the heavens were created ‘by the breath of His mouth.’ Must we also now believe that God's breath is an individual person; a member of the Godhead?

’Now the Lord (Yahweh) is that Spirit’ (2 Cor.3:17).


Fallacy of equivocation. Yahweh is the name of the Father, not the name of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. This quote from II Corinthians does not say that Yahweh is the Holy Spirit, nor does it say that the Holy Spirit is Yahweh. This is another feeble equivocation, which has been loosely constructed on a verse ripped out of its original context. I see this a lot in Trinitarian apologetics. The Holy Spirit is personified in the New Testament, just as wisdom is personified in the Old Testament. Not once is the Holy Spirit referred to as a literal person.

Moreover, just because the Holy Spirit dwelt within the 1st Century Christians, doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit is God.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#13 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:47 PM

In Jn.14:16-17 Jesus says, ‘And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.’ The Holy Spirit is another of the same kind as Jesus. We find the Scripture states the Spirit is eternal. The word allos ‘another’ is used 34 times in Johns Gospel, every time it is used of personal subjects. Paul uses the word Spirit as the masculine pronoun He, giving Him identity (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:8,13,14). The Holy Spirit is identified as a Person by John, using in the Greek the masculine ekeinos in Jn.16:13.


Mere personification. This proves nothing.

In Jn.4:24 ‘God is Spirit’ this is his nature. In Rev.14:13 the Spirit speaks from heaven saying ‘write.’ ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Cor.13:14) you can’t have fellowship with only a power. He has a mind (Rom.8:26-27). He groans along with us, He intercedes for the saints to the Father, (this gives Him personality and feelings). He has love (Gal.5:22; Rom.15:30)

2 Cor.6:16: ‘For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them.’ Paul states we are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells in us (Rom 8:9, 8:11, 1 Cor.3:16, 6:19). To have the Spirit in you makes one ‘the temple of God.’


Fallacy of equivocation and mere personification (as above.) This proves nothing.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo

#14 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Omega

  • Christadelphian MD
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,351 posts

Posted 09 March 2003 - 06:48 PM

They deny the existence of hell and eternal punishment.


*snip*

True. This is entirely Biblical. Luther and Tyndale did the same.

From Luther:
  • Salomon judgeth that the dead are a sleepe, and feele nothing at all. For the dead lye there accompting neyther dayes nor yeares, but when are awaked, they shall seeme to have slept scarce one minute.
    An Exposition of Salomon's Booke, called Ecclesiastes or the Preacher 1553, folio 151v.
  • But we Christians, who have been redeemed from all this through the precious blood of God's Son, should train and accustom ourselves in faith to despise death and regard it as a deep, strong, sweet sleep; to consider the coffin as nothing other than our Lord Jesus' bosom or Paradise, the grave as nothing other than a soft couch of ease or rest.

    As verily, before God, it truly is just this; for he testifies, John 11:11; Lazarus, our friend sleeps; Matthew 9:24: The maiden is not dead, she sleeps. Thus, too, St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, removes from sight all hateful aspects of death as related to our mortal body and brings forward nothing but charming and joyful aspects of the promised life. He says there [vv. 42ff]: It is sown in corruption and will rise in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor (that is, a hateful, shameful form) and will rise in glory; it is sown in weakness and will rise in strength; it is sown in natural body and will rise a spiritual body.

    Christian Song Latin and German, for Use at Funerals, 1542, in Works of Luther (1932), vol. 6, pp. 287, 288.
From Tyndale:
  • And ye, in putting them [departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection.

    [...]

    And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?

    An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (Parker's 1850 reprint), bk. 4, ch. 4, pp. 180, 181.
  • The true faith putteth [setteth forth] the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put [set forth] that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the Spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man. And because the fleshly-minded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it.
    lbid., p. 180.

They deny that a person exists after death.


See above.

Man is just a body - and not a body and soul. The bible mentions all these even at the same time.


Man is a body with the breath of life within him.

The Bible refers to the ‘soul’ in two contexts:
  • As the breath of life which is given by God.
  • As a literal, living body.
It is also used in reference to humans and animals.

Not once is the ‘soul’ said to be immortal. Specific proof texts on this subject (such as those presented in the polemicist's article) will be addressed in time.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users