'Replies from Christadelphians'

7.  Jannene Elmer……(cont.)

25th October, 2006 >

(Continued from page 248)

You write:   "CDs are certainly 'sinister' as far as the definition includes 'devilish, harmful, wicked' for they clearly oppose the historic gospel of Christ and Paul therefore declares them 'accursed'!" And how then do we contradict the gospel preached by paul'  If you are such an expert in our faith, then you would know the loving, caring, selfless (basically Christ-like) attitude that we promote - active social, physical, financial and above all spiritual support to all our members in need - what could be less sinister/devilish/harmful/wicked'!'!

TCE: If you can show us that the Bible teaches that anyone demonstrating a 'loving, caring, selfless (basically Christ-like) attitude ... [and] active social, physical, financial and above all spiritual support to all our members in need' must also be teaching the true gospel then you would have a point.  There are many groups who demonstrate such qualities, e.g. Quakers, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses; but this does not make them true Christians any more than it qualifies Christadelphians as Christians.  Perhaps you are also not aware of the views that your historic leaders hold towards others - they would certainly not accept us as Christians, or the groups just named, yet come to their reasons on the basis of faulty exegesis and foolish bias.

You write:   You call on the point that we are a unique organisation, i do not know how you can doubt that, i certainly have never heard of any other that professes to believe all the same things. And this makes us a cult'  Maybe you should turn your attention to evolutionists, or does modern-day 'christian teaching' incorporate this too now'

TCE: It was Palmer who said: 'We're a lay organisation...if organisation you can call it.' And we merely replied: 'Well, we will call it an organisation Stephen - since you have!'  Christadelphians certainly like to think of themselves as unique, but the evidence certainly shows that there are some disagreements within the camp of Christadelphianism - as a few Christadelphians have admitted - and this fact really answers your personal view on miracles.  Certainly the same claims would be made by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons!  Perhaps you picked up earlier on our obvious reply to those who would seek to add the false pseudo-scientific teaching of evolutionists (another cult!) to their Christianity? 

You write:   "another mark of the cults is the ability to major in minors, such as baptism - Christendom is not concerned whether the believer is sprinkled or immersed for the thief on the cross proves it is not essential to salvation - but it is an absolute must for the CD, to the extent that he will twist Scripture to try and prove the thief was baptised!"  Um....I'm sorry'!'! Twist scripture to prove the theif was baptised'!'! i would like to know where you got that idea from! 

TCE: We have dealt with this point in previous replies to Christadelphians and will give the basic statements, certainly defended by Christadelphians in Cardiff:
"A believing, repentant person receives forgiveness of sins
by being baptized" (pages 207-8).

"True baptism
removes past sins" (page 208).

"Therefore the wonderful work of baptism is
essential to salvation" (page 210).

All quotes are from Tennant's book and Christadelphians have stated to us: '
The thief must have been baptised'!  When we point out that it was impossible for the thief to baptised, since he died immediately after expressing faith in Christ, we meet with no response.  Again, your views are not supported by official Christadelphian publications or personal statements made by Cardiff Christadelphians: 'I think its important to note that only God can see into the hearts of men, and if that thief had turned his heart to God, believing on His Son then there is no reason why he should not be judged righteous. Therefore, in circumstances like this, then no, it is not necessary to be baptised.'

This is your personal view of Scripture - which we dealt with earlier.  The problem you have with interpretation of Scripture is immediately shown by your next statement.

You write:  'You also say that christendom is unconcerned with the details of emmersion vs sprinkling. well i will plainly say that you are wrong.  it is MAN that is unconcerned with details, that will interpret scripture to suit himself, such is the way of human nature.  In fact i think that some details are entirely fundamental.'

TCE: You have just 'interpret[ed] scripture to suit [your]self' to try and explain the 'baptism essential for salvation' problem Christadelphians have - and then you try and insist 'some details are entirely fundamental'.  Clearly, like Palmer and every other serious Christadelphian, you mean only the details that suit you are fundamental - but only when you determine that they are essential!  As we have proven in other replies to e-mails - baptism is not essential to salvation and total immersion is certainly the preferred mode.

You write:   Rawlins white - I do not know anything about the man, or why such a big point was made about him, maybe he was a CD, maybe he wasnt, but i do think it is very indicative of how people react to others that are different - in their believes, language, appearance, anything. individuals and groups are persecuted because of their differences.  For example, why are you so intent on labelling us a cult anyway' because we dont believe the same as you' So what. why dont you just let us get on with it, i dont think we are guilty of  brainwashing, abduction, mass suicide etc!  Which begs another point. your page loves to emphasise the fact that we appear not to know what a cult actually is, maybe then we arent one, otherwise we would know more about it' So what evidence is there then that Rawlins was not a CD' being referred to as a protestant' you point out yourself that the term CD was not adopted until the 1850's. Protestant simply means that we protest against the roman catholic teachings. But anyway, whether of not this man shared our beliefs, it really has no relevance to either cause, it just backs up my point that 'different' people are persecuted, like witches!

TCE:  We have already amply answered the points you try to raise (on the pages you claim to have read) and proved that there is absolutely no evidence that White was a Christadelphian.  Exactly what kind of a Christian he was is unsure, but for you to try and gloss over the matter is ludicrous considering that we looked into the matter because we knew why Palmer was trying to claim him for your cause!  We also carefully pointed out that we never claimed Christadelphians were 'guilty of  brainwashing, abduction, mass suicide etc!,' or any of the strawmen that Palmer tried to put up. It is apparent that you completely misunderstand much of which we wrote because you show a clear lack of understanding and attention to simple detail.  And for you to try and argue from silence that 'the fact that we appear not to know what a cult actually is, maybe then we arent one, otherwise we would know more about it' is really laughable. Next time you take a test or examination of any kind try this argument and see if they let you pass!

If you are going to write '
incidentally you havent used any biblical 'evidence' to support your aguments on the page even though you make a point of using it to decide that we are wrong' you need to make a point that we haven't thoroughly refuted to show us where we need to point out how Scripture shows Christadelphian error.  If you can do this we will have something to answer but, to quote Shakespeare, your e-mail really is 'much ado about nothing'.

You write:   i would just like to say before i finish that this does rather sound bitchy but it wasnt intended that way.  I am mearly upset by your comments and decided to reply.  I did not intend to start an argument i just really dont think your points can be backed up, some of them could be considered libel. I have heard palmer speak, he is a very intelligent and spiritual man, and downright rude of you to launch a personal attack.

TCE: To compound your errors you accuse us of 'libel' and of launching a 'personal attack'!  Do you even understand what these mean?  Our replies dealt purely and thoroughly with the points Palmer made and there is not one personal comment.  Did you also miss our point (page 62 - http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page62.html ):

'the religious chaos in Christendom today. One of the reasons for the modern ecumenical movement is the awareness that the existence of so many different churches is a reproach to Christianity itself.....Supposedly centred around one Bible, the Protestant churches have in the course of the centuries multiplied their differences" (Christadelphian G.D. Gillett, 'One Bible Many Churches - does it matter?' p. 3,4). ..... We did not despise the CDs as 'troublemakers' in any form - our only criteria was Scripture and, at this meeting, no attempt was made to answer the Scriptural points we emphasised. The reader may notice that in private the CDs freely talk and write (as we have just shown) about the Protestant churches of Christendom in words such as those of Gillett - but object to labels being put on their group! The known history of the CDs shows that Robert Roberts is renowned for his vitriolic attacks on other churches and we find the same unchanged views in their writings today.'

Perhaps you haven't noticed that you fail to refute one point we made, just as Palmer failed to answer our charge that the Christadelphian movement is cultic?

You write:   My final point would be to leave us alone really. People will always have differences of opinion, i am simply grateful that in this country we have the freedom to voice these and practice what we believe without threat.  Im actually intrigued as to what denomination if any you belong to'  and what your motives are for 'exposing' the CDs'  I really cant see what you can gain from it.  Any way, this is long enough, i am in danger of sending myself to sleep! interesting to see if a reply arrives.....

TCE:  Here you are un-Scriptural, again.  We have already detailed the responses Christians should give to those who present 'another gospel' and 'another Jesus' (Galatians 1v6-9; 2 Corinthians 11v4) at:
http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page34.html (Section 72 forward ......)

There we wrote:

'This doctrine of addressing the errors of a preacher or writer as publically as they taught is not held to by many denominations today, and is usually handled in a hushed up manner through un-Scriptural bishops courts or the equivalent, such as the Baptist method, or Elim's 'superintendent' system.  In response to this I would say:

It is Biblical to name names. Paul did it both positively to commend ministries (Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus in 1 Corinthians 16; Epaphroditus in Philippians 2; Onesimus and Ephaphrus among others in Colossians 4; and so on) and negatively to warn against ministries (Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20; Alexander the coppersmith in 2 Timothy 4:14; cf. 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:17 & 3:1; Titus 1:10-16).   The beloved apostle John is also unafraid to be specific: 'Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words' (3 John 9,10).  Thus we see that much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching. Would Calvary Baptist Church and the Baptist Union presume to accuse the Apostle John of lacking love?

It is consistent to name names negatively if we are happy about praising people positively.  Nobody objects to biographies detailing the mighty works of men greatly used by God, such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Whitefield or Spurgeon.  These biographies are written not that we might admire them, but rather that we might 'imitate [them] just as [they] also imitate Christ' (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Is it not equally just that we should speak as clearly about men who are instrumental against God and who resist discipline by the body of Christ?  When we write letters it is not so that anyone might hate the perpetrators of error and heresy, but rather that believers might 'beware of [them], for [they] have greatly resisted our words [the words of Scripture]' (2 Timothy 4:15).

It is practical to name names. The sad facts are that people, as a rule, follow preachers rather than preaching - and this was clearly shown to be the case with the faction that followed Wheelhouse!  It is not so much that we hear that: `Brother Kendall is speaking on the law of Christ' that is said, as much as:  `Dr. R.T. KENDALL is speaking on the law of Christ'.  It should be no surprise that people like Wheelhouse fall into Antinomianism when they are clearly influenced by Kendall's books and the Doctor has clearly been shown to have an Antinomian outlook!  Principally, people go to hear men like Kendall because he is a big name and not so much because they are interested in the topics or passages of Scripture that are advertised.  If people will follow personalities, then we have no choice but to attack these `personas', because they have become, to a greater or lesser degree, idols in the minds of their followers.   This is why we hear people say things along the lines of:  `If Dr R.T. Kendall, or Pastor Wheelhouse says it, then it must be of God'?  Or the Yes-men who are in the heretics faction even go so far as to try and frighten you away from a Scriptural appraisal of a man's work with the ludicrous and un-Scriptural: `touch not the Lord's anointed' if you dare to level critique at their man!

It is historical to name names. Throughout church history, believers have not shrunk from clearly naming the men and women against whom they were objecting, as well as detailing the teachings that they spoke out against. Look at the titles of works by early church fathers, such as Contra Celsus or Contra Pelagius. Luther wrote Bondage of the Will as a direct criticism of Erasmus' Freedom of the Will, and was vociferous in his criticisms of that individual.  Of course, those were the days before flabby, mealy-mouthed, spineless Milquetoasts came to power!  In the apostolic, and post-apostolic era, men who daily lived in fear of death were still speaking out bravely in defence of the 'faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3:3).  Where once men spoke out in the power of the Spirit, now the pre-eminent dictum is `be nice and inoffensive and as vague as possible at all costs'. `Not hurting people's feelings' has become more important than 'speaking the truth in love' (Ephesians 4:15).  It is incumbent upon us to speak the truth in love, to protect our brothers and sisters who are in slavery to men who lie to them, cheat them of their money and take the minds captive to carnal philosophies and experiences. We will not keep quiet while these men practice their foul trade on the body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul withstood the Apostle Peter to his face publicly for his false interpretation of the law that caused him to disassociate himself from fellowship with Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-14)!  In the private meeting with the deacons of Calvary Baptist Church, I asked them to check out this Scripture as well as the clear example of 1 Corinthians 5-6. I pointed out that the apostle Paul does not mention love once in these passages. ... In Galatians 2, verses 11 and 14, it clearly states how Paul opposed Cephas (Peter):

'I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned … when I saw that they were not straightforward with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all …!'

Paul had a great deal to say about discernment and correction and practiced what he preached. He discerned that some of Peter's actions were not only contrary to the gospel but were forms of hypocrisy which caused Jewish and Gentile believers alike to stumble in the faith. Paul administered correction. His rebuke of Peter seems harsh according to today's heretically psychologised and 'religiously correct' mindset. Yet the Holy Spirit presents it as God's standard and the absolutely righteous thing to do. Paul saw that Peter, his beloved brother in Christ (as well as his co-worker, Barnabas), in reverting to the law, "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14). They and others, in fear of Jewish legalists, withdrew from the Gentiles, who were considered unclean under the Mosaic law. Rather than a private dialogue which could have protected Peter's prestige, ministry and self-esteem, Paul, "before them all," opposed "him to the face, because he was to be blamed" (Galatians 2:11-14). If one is willing to believe God's Word, one can only admit that Paul did the very best thing for Peter--according to the Psalmist:

"Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.' (Psalm 141:5).

So how did Peter respond to Paul's 'attack?' Was there a 'counter-attack?'  Did Peter complain that Paul was causing untold damage to his ministry?  Did Peter complain that Paul's public correction could cause a severe drop in financial support for Peter's work? Wouldn't unbelievers be put off by the 'airing of dirty Christian laundry' or this public demonstration of discord among Christians? Wouldn't the church suffer and make it necessary for years of 'psychiatric pastoral-counselling' to repair the damage? And wouldn't Peter take the personal bitterness generated by Paul's public 'attack' to his grave? The answer to every question is - No!  Instead, some time later, Peter called his public disputer 'our beloved brother Paul' and proceeded to commend 'all his epistles,' which he tells us were 'according to the wisdom given unto him' by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:15-16). Amazingly, especially from today's ego-sensitive, self-esteem-nurturing perspective, Peter included the very epistle which displayed for all time his own public 'embarrassment' at Paul's hands. Rather than causing emotional trauma, Peter's experience affected him in a way foreign to the teachings of today's deterministic and humanistically oriented 'Christian' psychotherapists.

Paul's approach to discernment and correction was faultless. Peter and Barnabas weren't the only ones he admonished. To them we can add Hymenaeus, Philetus, Demas, Phygellus, Homogenes and Alexander (cf. 1 and 2 Timothy). The beloved John makes the readers of his third Epistle aware of the problems caused by Diotrephes. This follows the pattern of the Old Testament where we should note that all of the prophets, from Moses and Joshua onwards, were addressing error and named those who were erring - whether it was personal sin, such as David with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12), or Micaiah prophesying defeat for wicked king Ahab (1 Kings 22) - or a letter from Elijah the prophet to wicked king Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21) in which God judged him:

12  Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, "Thus says the LORD God of your father David, 'Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah,  13  but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you,  14  behold, the LORD is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a great calamity;  15  and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.'"

It ought to be clear to all that such warnings and public correction were what God desired. And we are to do likewise - with one important qualification. How we do something in obedience to the Lord is just as important as what we do. Paul made that clear to Timothy:

'And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will' (2 Timothy  2:24-26).

Gentle to all, able to teach, patient, and showing meekness in dealing with opposing views are qualities in too short supply today and the reader will have to determine for himself whether he believes we were too strong in the wording of our letters, or in the words spoken during the meeting.  The tapes are still available to show that Wheelhouse and his followers were the ones who frequently ranted and raged.  The reader should also bear in mind the bluntness of correction demonstrated so often in disciplinary action in Scripture, such as Nathan's 'You are the man' (2 Samuel 12:7) to David. Indeed, in Galatians we find that Paul has no kind words for those who were leading the flock astray and wrote (Galatians 5:12): 'Would that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves'. The Greek translated here 'mutilate' means, literally, 'castrate themselves.'  This is the Holy Spirit speaking and, if He speaks in this way, who are we to say this is wrong!  This is the same hostility shown to deceivers in the Old Testament, such as the Midianites (Numbers 25:17-18):

(Continued on page 250)

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