By A.J. Pollock
WM. C. IRVINE
Loizeaux Brothers, Bible Truth Depot
First Edition, 1917 - Fifteenth Edition 1944
CHRISTADELPHIANISM makes a great show of appealing to Scripture. Every lover of the truth will be well content to judge this system by such an unerring standard. No seeker after light need fear the result. If it be of God, Scripture will surely be its amplest vindication; if not of God, its fullest exposure. Nor is it mere details we shall have to consider. There is not one important fundamental doctrine upon which Christendom has for ages been agreed that is not by this system denied. The book from which we cull extracts to show what they (Christadelphians) distinctly hold, and which was sent to the writer by a Christadelphian to convince him of their tenets, consists of thirty-six propositions, with about five hundred Scripture quotations. The number of Scripture quotations only proves their infatuation, for Scripture is their exposure, as we shall see. Read by the careless or ignorant, they may succeed in misleading, but once let the truth be clearly stated by Scripture, it will soon be apparent how great is the deception.
Unitarian In Belief
1. Christadelphians believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was not divine, but merely a man-thus aiming a fatal blow at the whole scheme of redemption. Let us quote their own words:
"Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not the 'Second Person' of an eternal Trinity of Gods, but the manifestation of the ONE ETERNAL CREATOR, who is 'above all and through all' (Eph. 4: 6) and 'out of whom are all things'2 (Rom. 11: 36). This Creator is Spirit, dwelling corporeally3 and personally in heaven, yet in His Spirit-effluence filling immensity. By this Spirit-effluence He begot Jesus, who was therefore HIS SON: by the same power He anointed him and dwelt in him, and spoke to Israel through him (Heb. 1:1). Jesus Christ, therefore, in the days of his weakness, had two sides - one DEITY; the other MAN; but not as construed by Trinitarians, which make Jesus the Son Incarnate. The man was the son whose existence dates from the birth of Jesus; the Deity dwelling in him was the Father, who without beginning of days, is eternally preexistent. There were not two or three eternal persons before 'the man Christ Jesus,' but only ONE-God the Father, whose relation to the Son was afterwards exemplified in the event related by Luke (chap. 1:35), by which was established what Paul styles the 'mystery of godliness;' 'God manifested4 in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to Glory' (1 Tim. 3: 16)."
In this proposition is stated, as clearly as words are able, that the Lord Jesus is not God the Son. No one believes in "an eternal Trinity of Gods," but Christendom believes in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost-ONE GOD. Christendom believes in a Triune God, not in a plurality of Gods. This can be proved most clearly from Scripture. Yet we are told in this proposition that there are not two or three eternal Persons, that Jesus is not the Son Incarnate, that He is only God's Son as begotten into this world, whose existence dates only from His birth, that DEITY is not essential to the Person of the Lord Jesus, but "the Deity dwelling in Him was the Father." The whole proposition is entirely false. Let Scripture, to which they so confidently appeal, answer them. The Christadelphians assert that the Lord Jesus had no existence previous to His incarnation. The Lord's own words are:-
"BEFORE Abraham was I AM" (John 8: 58). Again observe carefully the words of the Lord Jesus Himself:- "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5) "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever" (Rom 9:5). "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom" (Heb 1:8). "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3) "And 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" (John 1:14).
Could refutation of Christadelphian teaching be more convincing and clear? In denying the essential Deity of the Son, the fountain of Christadelphian teaching is poisoned at its source. What wonder then, that the stream emanating from such a source is baneful and poisonous! To proceed further:- Atonement Caricatured 2. Christadelphians deny the atoning value Atonement of the death of Christ, and thus would take from us, if they could, the Saviour. They say:-
The death of Christ was not to express the wrath of offended Deity, but to express the love of the Father in a necessary sacrifice for sin, that the law of sin and death which came into force by the first Adam might be nullified in the second in a full discharge of its claims through a temporary surrender to its power; after which immortality by resurrection might be acquired, in harmony with the Law of obedience. Thus sin is taken away, and righteousness established.
Here the death of the Lord Jesus is looked at as the expression of the Father's love. Doubtless it is the expression of God's love, and who would wish to question that? But mark, reader, the righteousness of God demanding satisfaction for sin is entirely ignored. The death of Christ, they say, was not to appease the wrath of God. Surely holiness and righteousness had their claims, and if God's love is to be righteously shown to sinners in the offer of forgiveness of sins and salvation, there must be satisfaction rendered to God's holiness and righteous claims against sin. In the book quoted from, Christ is not referred to as Saviour, nor the precious blood as that which alone can cleanse from sin, and the confession of Jesus as Lord is altogether ignored. How inexpressibly sad! Spirit Impersonal 3. If Christadelphianism denies the divine personality of God the Son, we are quite prepared that they should deny the divine personality of the Holy Ghost. They teach that: The Spirit is not a personal God distinct from the Father, but the radiant, invisible power or energy of the Father, filling universal space, and forming the medium of His omniscient perceptions and the instrument of His omnipotent behests, whether in creation or inspiration; the distinction between the Father and the Spirit being not that they are two persons, but that the Father is Spirit in focus so intense as to be glowing substance inconceivable, and the Spirit, the Father's power, in space-filling diffusion, forming with the Father a unity in the stupendous scheme of creation, which is in revolution around the Supreme source of All Power.
Thus in grand, swelling, empty words they deny the personality of the Spirit of God. On the contrary, Scripture repeatedly refers to the Holy Ghost as a Person.
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come" (John 16: 13). [See also Matt. 28: 19; John 14: 16, 17, 26; 15: 26-Ed.]
Satan's Personality Denied The Devil is not (as is commonly supposed) a personal supernatural agent of evil, and that in fact, there is no such BEING in existence. The Devil is a scriptural manifestation of sin in the flesh in its several phases of manifestation-subjective, individual, aggregate, social and political, in history, current experience, and prophecy; after the style of metaphor which speaks of wisdom as a woman, riches as mammon and Satan as the God of this world, sin, as a master, etc. The purpose of Satan is well served if people can be persuaded that he does not exist. We do not fear what does not exist. Can subtlety go further?* Hell Denied Christadelphians, not content with denying heaven to the believer, refuse to believe in a hell or eternal punishment at all. They settle it in very few words. They say: "It also follows of necessity, that the popular theory of hell and 'eternal torments' is a fiction." As Christadelphians deny heaven to be the believer's portion, and deny the very existence of hell, they are forced to propound what they call "conditional immortality" to cover their retreat. Enough has been shown to prove that this system is anti-Christian and Satanic. We can understand that, once having started with a wrong premise as to the Person of God the Son, error after error was needed wherewith to bolster up this daring attack on Christianity. It may be contended that amidst this mass of error the Christadelphians at least are sound as to their acknowledgment of God the Father. Even this contention Scripture takes from them, and they are left most completely under the curse of Scripture. They deny the Divine Personality of the Son. Scripture tells us in this connection that:- "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father" (1 John 2: 23). "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist . . . Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. . . . if there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God-speed; for he that biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 7, 9, 10, 11).
Without God, without the Father, without the Son, without the Holy Ghost, without atonement, without a hope of heaven, how truly terrible their condition is! Theirs is indeed a system of error without one redeeming feature.
* Christ asserts that He saw Satan, Luke 10: 18, Scripture says He spake with Satan, Matt. 4:4,7,10, and that -Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20: 10.-Ed.
1. [This article is abridged from A. J. Pollock's able pamphlet, Christadelphianism, briefly tested by Scripture. The writer is well qualified for his task and exposes this system to its very heart. - Editor] 2. "Of Him ... are all things," is the correct quotation. 3. How strangely careless yet deceptive is this piece of writing! The Creator is Spirit. How, then, can He dwell corporeally, in heaven? 4. Should read "manifest" but we quote exactly.]
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