'Replies from Christadelphians'

5.  Tim Miles……(cont.)

19th September, 2004

(Continued from page 233)

You write: 'vs 6 is an interesting vs. However you read it, John came from God. (in the original Greek its say 'a man sent from beside God) How then is there a belief in Christ being alive before he was born? because if you believe that, then you must believe in John living in Heave before he was born. and Jeremiah (in Jeremiah 1.5)'

TCE:  Verse 6 reads:

'There came a man
sent from God, whose name was John.'

The Greek translated 'sent from God' is defined by Vines as a derivative of:

apostello and means, literally, 'to send forth' (apo, 'from'), akin to apostolos, 'an apostle,' and denotes (a) 'to send on service, or with a commission.' (1) of persons; Christ, sent by the Father, Matt. 10:40; 15:24; 21:37; Mark 9:37; 12:6; Luke 4:18, 43; 9:48; 10:16; John 3:17; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3, 8, 18 (1st part), 21, 23, 25; 20:21; Acts 3:20 (future); 3:26; 1 John 4:9, 10, 14; the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:49 (in some texts; see No. 3); 1 Pet. 1:12; Rev. 5:6; Moses, Acts 7:35; John the Baptist, John 1:6; 3:28 ...

So there is no evidence that it means '
'a man sent from beside God' as you claim, but is a word used in a wide variety of ways with the meaning clearly defined.

Jeremiah 1:5 is regularly used by the cults to try and prove the pre-existence of men and the verse reads:

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Many try to claim that God knew Jeremiah before he was born and also before he was 'formed in the belly,' before he was even conceived in the womb.  Does this prove that Jeremiah, John, and others, lived 'in the spirit' before we were born in the flesh?  No, because the Bible states clearly that the exact opposite is true:  'That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual' (
1 Corinthians 15:46).  Notice that even the next verse (v47) in 1 Corinthians affirms the difference between ordinary mortal men and the Lord Jesus Christ: 'The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.'  Man's spirit does not pre-exist independently of the body; rather, the Bible says that God 'formeth the spirit of man within him' (Zechariah 12:1). Thus, when God asked Job: 'Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding,'  Job was left speechless, because he had not yet come into existence at the time God was speaking about (Job 38:4; 40:3-5).  We remind you that it was God who knew Jeremiah before his birth and conception, and 'The things which are impossible with men are possible with God' (Luke 18:27).  It is 'God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were' (Romans 4:17).  He was able to call and ordain Jeremiah even when Jeremiah did not yet exist.  The Creator is the one:  'Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done' (Isaiah 46:10).  His divine ability to look into the future means that it is no problem for God to know someone who does not yet exist.  But the Bible bears clear witness to the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have already quoted
John 17:5:

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which
I had with thee before the world was.

Isaiah 42v8 declares:

'I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images';

The God of the Old Testament declares that He will not share His glory or praise with another - yet, in the New Testament, He clearly shares both with Jesus! So Jesus must be equally and fully God who was always with Yahweh God of the Old Testament!

Clearly, Jesus pre-existed, but does
John 17:5 prove that we all lived in the spirit before we were born in the flesh?  Clearly not, but it proves Christ's pre-existence!  Did everything that happened to Jesus Christ also happen to you? Were you born in Bethlehem? of a virgin? without a human father? to die on the cross and rise three days later?  No, of course not! So, if the other circumstances of Jesus' unique life do not reflect our circumstances, there is no basis to assume that his prior existence finds a parallel in us or John the Baptist. 

So your other statement: '
and John 3.13 is an interesting verse if u believe in Heaven going' is answered clearly by Jesus' declaration in this verse: 'no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven' (John 3:13).

It is clear that Scripture proves that the Lord Jesus Christ had prior existence before His incarnation.

You write:   'and in vs 14. The word became flesh. It became soemthing else. (Jesus)'

TCE:   John 1:14 reads:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (NIV).

14And
the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (KJV)

Westcott and Hort Greek text (the correct Greek font for this is available at:
http://www.teknia.com/index.php?page=tekniagreek ):

kai o logoj sarx egeneto kai eskhnwsen en hmin kai eqeasameqa thn doxan autou doxan wj monogenouj para patroj plhrhj caritoj kai alhqeiaj   

The word 'made' (
egeneto) has the meaning 'became' rather than 'constructed.'  The priority of Christ over creation is taught throughout John (cf. Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2) and verse 14 marks the fourth statement about the Word in this introduction to the presentation of Jesus. Note the contrast between v1 and 14. Verse 1 states that the Word 'was,' referring to its permanent condition or state, while v14 states that the Word 'became' flesh, involving a change in state. This is merely the basic statement of the Incarnation, and does not support the Christadelphian view, for Christ entered into a new dimension of existence through the gateway of human birth and took up his residence among men. The verb translated 'dwelt' or 'lived' means 'to pitch a tent, to dwell temporarily'.  He left his usual place and accepted the conditions of human life and environment, with the attendant temporal limitations that all humans experience.  Allusions to this appear elsewhere in the Gospel of John (3:17; 6:38-42, 51; 7:29; 8:23; 9:5; 10:36; 16:28).

Common misunderstandings regarding the doctrine of 'eternal' generation relative to the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the great stumbling blocks in any intelligent approach to dealing with the Christological questions of the New Testament. The original language of Scripture describes the Lord Jesus and His pre-incarnate existence, referring to Him prophetically in the Bible as the 'eternal Son,' but without ambiguity as the eternal Word of God (
John 1:1) who 'was' from all eternity and who 'became' flesh (John 1:14), taking upon himself the nature of man, and as such was 'begotten' of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. The 'unique,' 'only' Son of God, then, whether as a description of his eternal, intimate relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit or as the incarnate One, was obedient in life and death, and His uniqueness stems from the fact that, of all men, He was the most precious in the Father's sight.  He is beloved above all His brethren, so much that the Father could say of Him when He sent Him into the world, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee' (Hebrews 1:5), and he is not a creature or a demi-god but 'God over all, blessed forever. Amen' (Romans 9:5, RSV footnote).

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ before His incarnation was the eternal Word (Logos) of God, pre-existent from all eternity, co-equal, co-existent, co-eternal with the Father, whose intrinsic nature of Deity He shared and, even though clothed in human form, He never ceased to be Deity, 'God … manifest in the flesh' (
1 Timothy 3:16), or as Paul put it so directly, 'In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily' (Colossians 2:9).

7.   When these truths are so clearly enunciated in Scripture, why do Christadelphians continue to deny them?

You write:  Romans8.3 - He sent his own son not himself in the likeness of sinful flesh. (so Jesus is described as being God's son even before he was made into flesh!)

TCE: the verse reads:

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

This is no problem to orthodox Christians, as described earlier.  But it is a massive problem for Christadelphians who say:

'Sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, if it had not existed there. His body was as unclean as the bodies as those for whom he died'
(John Thomas: Elpis Israel, p.128)

'A 'lamb of God'... guileless from his paternity, and yet inheriting the human sin-nature of his mother' (Christendom Astray p.169)

8.   Can you explain how the Christadelphian leaders can make these statements when the Bible teaches that Jesus is the
unblemished Lamb of God (John 1:29 & Exodus 12:5), the acceptable sacrifice.
9.   If sin was found within Jesus' flesh, how could He qualify as the perfect sacrifice that Christadelphians reject? See
Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 1:19 & 2:22; 1 John 3:5.
10.   Do you agree with Christadelphian leaders that 'His body was as unclean as the bodies as those for whom he died' when Scripture reads:

'21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God' (
2 Corinthians 5:21).

Christadelphian leaders say:

'The idea that Christ has borne our punishment and paid our debts and that his righteousness is placed to our credit and that all we have to do is believe in it, is demoralizing'
(R. Roberts: The Blood of Christ, pp.11 & 30)

'[God]... is not obliged to forgive us. Christ ...  has ... paid no debt' (R. Roberts. The Slain Lamb, p.23)

'He did not die as a substitute for sinners' (J. Carter: God's Way p.136)

But the Bible teaches:

Jesus was, 'wounded for our transgressions... bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed' (
Isaiah 53:5).

Jesus died for us and totally paid the debt of all our sin: 'He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we might die to sin, and live to righteousness' (
1 Peter 2:24).

He, 'appeared in order to take away our sins' (
1 John 3:5).

1 Peter 2:21-22 declares that Christ had no sin:

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since
Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;

Since we are justified by faith (
Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9), it is crucial to have the proper object of faith.  Jesus warned His disciples that Satan would try and counterfeit Him so that people would be deceived and follow a false Christ and thus be lost (Matthew 24:24).  A false Jesus cannot save and only the true Jesus reveals the true God (John 14:6; Luke 10:22; John 17:3).  Since Jesus is actually God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:8), it follows that those who deny His divine nature and ascribe a sinful one to Him, as the Christadelphians do, cannot have the true Jesus and are, therefore, serving a false God and are eternally lost. 

The Christadelphians also deny the substitutionary atonement of Jesus and deny that He took our place on the cross or bore our sins. This is in direct contradiction to Scripture as
1 Peter 2:24 reveals:

'He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.'

Instead, Christadelphians teach a kind of 'representation' that was not effective to remove sin and claim:

'Christ did not die as our substitute, but as our representative' (
Answers, p. 25).

Furthermore, in
Answers, page 24, we read:

'But it is equally true that, being 'made sin for us' (2 Corinthians 5:21), he himself required a sin offering...'

This statement makes it even clearer that Christadelphians have 'another Jesus' (
2 Corinthians 11:4:  'For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough') who also needed to be saved. This is completely un-Biblical and heretical doctrine that leads only to Hell.

Scripture is clear - Jesus was without sin (
1 Peter 2:22) and the exact representation of the nature of God (Hebrews 1:3). God is sinless and Holy and we have proven that Jesus was fully God, even while He was the 'Man of Sorrows' (Isaiah 53:3).

Furthermore, the Christadelphians, by preaching a Jesus who has a sin nature, do not have a sacrifice to atone for their sins, for the Old Testament makes clear that the sacrifice for sins had to be without blemish (
Deuteronomy 17:1). If Jesus had a sin nature, as Christadelphians claim, He would be blemished and this would invalidate the sacrifice He offered at Calvary, as attested by the Scriptures above.

11.   Can you explain the obvious contradictions between Scripture and the teachings of Christadelphian leaders?

You write: Eph1.4 we were also predestined before the foundations of the World

TCE:  Ephesians 1:4 reads:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (KJV)

and does not mean that we pre-existed in the way you are inferring, but simply interprets:
'He hath chosen us' (Greek:  eklegomai means to pick out, to choose). This is a definite statement of God's elective grace concerning believers in Christ ('in him'). Apart from Christ, there would have been no election and no salvation. God always deals with man in Christ, who is the one and only Mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5).  Paul traces man's salvation back in God's will: 'before the foundation of the world'.  The fall of man was no surprise to God, and redemption was no afterthought. God provided for our salvation before one star glittered in infinite expanse. We must be careful not to draw false conclusions from this sublime truth. God is not stating a fatalistic doctrine in which He arbitrarily elects some to heaven and consigns all others to hell.  There is no Scriptural doctrine of election to damnation. God's election provides for the means as well as the ends. God's infallible Word plainly states, 'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Romans 10:13).  Man either receives or disbelieves God's provisions in Christ.  The danger is in accepting a counterfeit Jesus, such as the one promulgated by the Christadelphians.  'That we should be holy and without blame before him in love' is the purpose of God's election. The real purpose of God's elective grace is not 'pie in the sky by and by,' but has to do with a separated life here and now (cf. Romans 8:29).  Holiness is the positive side of a Christ-like life (Hebrews 12:14), separated from all evil courses and connections.  God's expectation is for His saints to live on a high spiritual plane.

We know you will agree with at least some of these latter thoughts, because Christadelphians pride themselves on their high moral standards.  However, as we have shown, the Christ of the Christadelphians is not, 'the same yesterday and today and forever' (
Hebrews 13:8).  He was, according to Christadelphian teaching, born a man; anointed by the Holy Spirit to become Christ and raised from unconscious death to a position of divinity. He is, therefore, not the true Christ of the Bible, but a false, pseudo-christ.

Christadelphians teach that to be saved you need to have an absolute knowledge of the Bible, be baptized and keep a list of commandments.

But the Bible says, salvation is by the grace of God, not conditional on certain works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can not be saved by searching the Scriptures unless we come to the real Jesus, who is able to forgive us our sin (John 5:3940 & Mark 2:5-10). Through Jesus we can KNOW that we are saved and have already passed from spiritual death to spiritual life (John 5:24 & 1 John 5:13).

These are part of the other important truths we would like to discuss with you, Tim.

There is another factor:

No Christadelphian has yet responded to our challenge to elucidate doctrines when they have claimed that not all the beliefs discussed on our web-pages are held by all Christadelphians.  An example of the problem is found at:


http://users.chariot.net.au/~aleck/Web_folder_AWC/HSABTareplyg3.HTML
under the title:
'THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER TODAY - A REPLY' by John Allfree. 


We wonder just how many Christadelphians have realised the paucity of their religious life which makes claims on Christ which are not supported by Scripture.  It seems that some have tried to respond to the obvious failings and are now responding in ways that traditionalist Christadelphians, such as John Allfree, cannot accept.

We pray you will ask the Spirit of Christ to guide you into all truth.

In His Precious Name

TCE

Note 1:  the references to 'The Trinity' sent to Tim are now available in expanded form (uploaded in answer to an article in the magazine Awake!, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnesses) on page 68 of this site.

Note 2:  we did not hear further from Tim; he is probably too busy, as a 16-year old, to answer our questions in detail - but even a cursory reply would have been appreciated from such a polite lad who, as you can read, went further than previous Christadelphian correspondents.

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