0 Christadelphianism

 
Christadelphian logo :
Christadelphians "reject as unbiblical the idea that Christ could die as a replacement sacrifice for us"1, saying: "let us get one thing clear: although Christ died for us, he did not die instead of us"2. This differs to what the Bible actually says; that God ascribed the guilt of our sins to Christ, who, in our stead, bore the punishment.3
Christadelphians are unitarian in that they believe there is only one person in the Godhead. Like Mormons, they see Jesus as one of the many Elohim who were at one time mortal men, and like JWs, contrary to what the Bible teaches4, they believe the soul enters a sleep state after death and that there is no eternal punishment, no hell and no devil.
The Christadelphian Church was begun by Dr. John Thomas who was born in London England and was raised in a Congregational Church. He had some Christianity in his background.


   Thomas immigrated to the United States in 1832 with his father, who had associated with the Baptists.  On the trip over, the ship on which he traveled went through several terrible storms that threatened his life.   Thomas promised God that if he were spared, he would then devote his life to the study of religion. He made it to   America and kept his promise.
  When he arrived he associated himself with the Campbellite group who were then known as the Disciples. He joined and was baptized. Alexander Campbell, the leader of what became known as the Campbellites. He claimed at that time that Jesus Christ would return to earth in 1866. Thomas believed Campbell and also taught that the date 1866 was significant. When the American Civil War began, Thomas along with others believed that the war was the beginning of the Bible “Battle of Armageddon.” In 1834, Dr. Thomas launched a magazine called “The Apostolic Advocate.” This is where he really began to spread his teachings. As with many of this time, he was interested in prophecy and devoted his efforts to understanding prophecy. Thomas was on a search to discover the true meaning of the doctrines of the Bible.
  As he began to study with the Cambellites, he soon found himself in disagreement with their teachings. He left with many of the Campbellite group following him. Thomas initially called his followers the “Brethren of Christ.”  
 Thomas inaugurated his 'church' in 1838, although some claim the date of 1844. Dr. Thomas gave them the name “Christadelphian” in 1864 which in Greek means “Brethren of Christ.”

The Christadelphians do not believe in participating in war.   When the Civil War broke out, they refused to go. In order to be recognized as a religious group that did not believe in fighting, they needed a name. In 1839, Thomas moved to Illinois where he became editor of a magazine called “The Investigator” in 1842. Thomas later moved again and became a practicing physician in Richmond Virginia where Thomas began “The Herald of the Future Age.”
  Thomas then returned to England to speak on his new-found religion.  While he was in England, he wrote the book called “Elpis Israel” which means “Hope of Israel.” It is a detailed work of his beliefs discussing creation, sin, death, God’s law, immortality, and the coming Kingdom, etc. He then returned to America.
    On page 209 of  Elpis Israel there is an excerpt from Thomas' magazine “Eureka” which says, “...the 42 months of the Apocalypse and the time and a half of Daniel were expected to terminate in 1864-1868.”

      In 1862, Thomas again returned to England and completed his book “Elpis Israel” birthed congregations that followed his teachings. He lectured extensively and Christadelphianism became popular in England. He returned to America again. In 1869, after writing his book “Eureka,” Thomas visited England, one more time and left an influence that is still felt today. Because of his efforts as England has the largest number of Christadelphians in the world.
     In the 1890’s, controversy began between Roberts and J. J. Andrew on the issue of “resurrectional responsibility” (an important argument). This split the church into two factions called Amended and Unamended (those judged unworthy to receive immortality and life in the Kingdom will be annihilated). The majority accepted Robert’s position, and his position was amended.
     Like others in the middle of the 1800’s, Thomas began a religious movement as an outgrowth of his own personal interpretations.   Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, 7th Day Adventism, Spiritism and the Christadelphian’s were all products of a time of religious unrest. They all were trying to find truth by new revelation or combining some truth through their own opinions.

Christadelphianism is non Trinitarian (much like Unitarianism) and is categorized as a non-Christian cult. They regard paid ministry as  unscriptural. They have contempt for churches that pay their ministers, (like Mormons) and refer to them as “hirelings.” They do not vote or support a nation's war effort, even if it is in self defense (like Jehovah's Witnesses). 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. Women are not permitted to preach or pray in their meetings. Members are not permitted to take communion in any other church. Doing so means excommunication.
     They believe that  the Bible is the infallible and inerrant word of God. (The Christadelphians: What They Believe and Preach, p. 82). But it becomes their interpretation that guides their members for it is not a sound interpretation.
     Like all cults, Christadelphianism denies numerous essential core teachings of Christianity:  The Tri-unity, Jesus as God in the flesh, the physical resurrection, afterlife, and salvation by grace. They add a requirement for salvation: baptism. (Certainly  from the early influence of the Cambellites). 
Like all the cults they are exclusive. They believe that there has been an apostasy and that Christianity is a false religious system. (tract-”Christendom Astray Since the Apostolic Age, Detroit Christaindelphian Book Supply)
Actually, it has been Christianity that has kept the Bible intact and preached the true salvation message. But most cults make merchandise of certain Scriptures, ignoring the fact that the Church was never to be overcome.
  Who is the Jesus of Christadelphianism?
They believe 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).
Did Jesus need to be saved when only sinners need salvation.
   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, Jesus 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, and who was without sin that is the mediator. If it is not this Jesus, then Jesus is not 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.”

The Bible is clear, 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 of the sacrifice in Lev.3: “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.

 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.”
  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.”  It is the Holy Spirits work not a physical work of baptism that saves us.
     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 is based on the previous chapter showing from where cleaning comes.
    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).
Bible answers to Christadelphianism onGod and Christ
     They teach there is only one God. (Isaiah 43-45) Christ is not God and neither is the Holy Spirit.
    There is no Trinity - Scriptures that Christians use to support the trinity doctrine referring to Elohim are dismissed as only referring to angels. The angels they say did the work of creation, because it was beneath God to engage in such a work.  Jesus is not God in flesh (Answers, p. 22).
  Jesus Christ is not God. They deny that Jesus existed in any form before he was born of Mary. In The Christadelphian's 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)
  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).
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.   The Bible states, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.
The bible teaches that God is the creator- through the Son. 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 Bible attributes creation to God,  Isa. 42:5 “Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out.

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.” 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.  To God our Savior” (Jude 1:25).
 The Bible also tells us that He was pre-existent.  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. 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.”  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 pre-existed as God -- for only God existed at that time. The same argument can be used for all cults that deny the deity of Jesus Christ.
     on 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! Because the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit is personal, intelligent and can speak.
Bible answers to Christadelphianism on The Holy Spirit
     In Gen.1 we find that the Holy Spirit partook in the creation of the earth. Job 26:13 “By His Spirit He made the heavens.” (Job 33:4). If God created all things, then His Spirit is God as well. “Now the Lord (Yahweh) is that Spirit” (2 Cor.3:17).
     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 that the Scripture states the Spirit is eternal. The word allos ‘another” is used 34 times in John's 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.
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 or force. He has a mind (Rom.8:26-27). He groans along with us,  and He intercedes for the saints to the Father, (this gives Him personality and feelings). He has love (Gal.5:22; Rom.15:30), the Bible says God is love.
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.”
The Afterlife
They deny the existence of hell and eternal punishment. (What They Believe, p. 188-189)
  They deny that a person exists after death. (What They Believe, p. 17)
  Bible answers to Christadelphianism on the Afterlife
     Christadelphian's teach Man is just a body - and not a body and soul. The Bible mentions all these even at the same time. (see article)
     Jesus’ own words teach that there is an existence of rest and reward for the faithful and certain types of punishment and torment for the evil. Death is not a cessation of existence for either the rich man or Lazarus. “ The rich man also died and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment . . . and cried . . . send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:22-24).  Luke 12:4-5 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him , who after he has killed , has power to cast into hell, yes, I say to you, fear Him!” Jesus is saying the death of the body is not the end of one's existence.
  2 Cor. 5:1-8. V. 8 “ we are always confident knowing that while we are home in the body we are absent from the Lord. He goes on to say that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. This is impossible if there is no immaterial existence of the person after death (soul/spirit). When all our earthly tent is dissolved, we can be assured that we will be in the presence of the One we serve and we love here on earth. We will be further clothed. We are immediately ushered into our new home like moving from one city to the next. In 2 Peter 1:13, Peter talks about putting off his tabernacle, or tent, calling it a temporary dwelling place. 2 Cor.5:6-8 Paul affirms, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Obviously something survives that has life after the body dies. Heb.11  “has the hall of the faithful who died” and Heb 12:1 tells us we are surrounded by a great crowd of living witnesses.  When Stephen was martyred he looked up to heaven, saying under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Lord Jesus receive my Spirit” He knew he was going to be immediately transferred into heaven where the Lord is located .
In Lk.23:46 Jesus said to the Father,  into your hands I commit my spirit,” proving his body would go into the grave and his spirit would be received into the Father's hands. Yet we are told by Peter in 1 Pt.3:19, “Being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. By whom also he went and preached (proclaimed) to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah... This is a place of confinement for those angels of Gen.6 and those who died in the flood. (Jude 6, 2 Pt. 2:4)
    Overall Christadelphianism cannot be classified as Christian in any right sense. Though they use the Bible they have changed the core teachings to be mean something very different than what the Bible intended.

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