The Heresy of the Christadelphians - Prep Sheet
Christadelphians appear Christian on the surface, but as you dig deeper they have a different God, a different Jesus, and a different salvation. Many see similarities between them and Jehovah's Witnesses; however, unlike Jehovah's Witnesses, they do not believe Satan is a personal being, they do not believe Christ pre-existed before being born on earth. They are not "organization-centric" like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and the Unification Church. Unlike JW's and Moonies, they believe Jesus physically rose from the dead.
Christadelphians Then and Now
Christadelphians were founded by John Thomas. He was a Campbellite who left the group in 1838. There are many Christadelphians today in Australia. He wrote down his doctrines in his books Elpis Israel (Hope of Israel), Phanerosis, Eureka, and Anatolia. Others have charged that Thomas plagiarized parts of these books from other sources. For more on this see http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~pdover/histmyst.htm. Thomas' successor John Roberts wrote Christendom Astray and started the magazine The Christadelphian.
Christadelphians are pacifists, but within their movement there are two types: amended, and unamended. There are around 67,000 Christadelphians today, with about 27% of them in Great Britain and 16% in Australia. According to Wikipedia (6/9/2016), there are about 7,500 in Mozambique, 7,000 in Malawi, 2,400 in Kenya, 1,000 in Tanzania, 6,500 in the U.S., and 3,400 in Canada.
What Christadelphians Believe
Christadelphians have deadly errors on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, end-times, Heaven and Hell, the devil, and other things.
God: Christadelphians deny the Trinity, and think only the Father is properly God. Like Christians they say that Christ and the Holy Spirit came from the Father, so in that sense they claim they believe the divinity of Christ. However, Christadelphians do not believe the Son and Spirit are the same level as the Father. Like some United Pentecostals and Muslims they misrepresent the Trinity by saying it is three gods.
Jesus: They deny that Jesus existed prior to being born of the Virgin Mary. They believe that Jesus did not become "Christ" until His baptism by John. They believe that Christ is not now a king, but will only be after His coming.
Holy Spirit: Like Jehovah's Witnesses, they deny that the Holy Spirit is a personal being. They say the Holy Spirit is just a localization of the Father's power. They believe the Holy Spirit worked in the first century, but He is not active among us now.
Salvation: They do not believe Jesus died as a ransom for our sins. Rather they believe Jesus' death was a representation of how man deserved to be treated. Christadelphians believe that people are saved by their own merit in obeying the commands of Christ.
End-times: Like Jehovah's Witnesses, they have predicted the time of Christ's coming. In 1866 they said that Christ would come in the lifetime of the present generation. They also predicted that papal power would be destroyed in 1866.
Ultimate destinies: They believe people do not exist after death. Resurrection is only for those who followed God, such as Christadelphians and faithful Jews who sacrificed. They will be raised and reign immortally on earth with Christ. Like their founder Thomas, they believe that pagans, infants who die, and the mentally retarded will die and cease to exist just like animals. Their souls will be annihilated.
The devil: Christadelphians deny that the devil exists as a personal being; they think the devil in scripture is just a personification of evil. Jesus spoke of the devil as a person to accommodate His hearers, it was not really true. John Thomas taught that the three frogs in Revelation are not demons, but rather France in Elpis Israel, 1983, 14th edition, p.381.
Baptism: Unamended Christadelphians think that a faithful person who died before getting baptized will not be raised from the dead; amended Christadelphians be they still can be raised. But if someone was baptized as a believer in a Christian church, and then they join them the new converts are told they have to be baptized again.
The church: Christadelphians believe that the Christian church is a false, apostate religious system. They call their assemblies "ecclesias" instead of churches, because they don't want them to be thought of as churches of Christians. However, they still sing many Christian hymns from the "apostate church" by Charles Wesley and others.
Helping Christadelphians See the Truth
God and the Trinity
1. Only One Being is True God Dt 4:35-39;6:4; Mk 12:29-33; Isa 43:10-12; 44:6,8,24; 45:5-6,14,21; 46:9; Joel 2:27; Mal 2:10; 1 Tim 1:17; 2:5; 6:15-16
2. There is a "threeness" about God Mt 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Pet 1:2; Eph 2:18; 3:14-17; 1 Thess 1:3-5; Rev 4:8; Rom 15:16; Heb 9:14; Jude 20,21; Isa 48:16; 2 Thess 2:13-14; John 15:26.
3. The three are inseparable Mt 28:19; John 10:27-30; 12:44-46,49-50; 14:9-11; 15:26; 16:13-15; 17:10; Rom 8:9-11; 1 Cor 2:11-12.
4. They're the same in nature, honor & glory
John 5:18; 5:23; Col 2:9-10; (Is 44:6; Rev 1:8 vs. Rev 1:17-18; 22:13). As John 5:18 shows, a father is equal in nature to the son he begets. Otherwise, your father must be greater than you, your grandfather greater than him, and your 100th ancestor must have been one super guy. People make things but "beget" only people. God made created things but "begets" only God, his only begotten Son. Shouldn't church worship be modeled after heavenly worship? If you have never sung to God and the Lamb, prayerfully read Rev 5:9,12-14.
5. They're three distinct "persons" who interact with each other Mt 3:16-17; Lk 3:21-22; Jn 1:1; 6:38; 14:31; 15:26; 16:28; 17:5; Acts 5:31-32; Heb 5:7-8
The Three communicated when Jesus was baptized.
6. The three differ in role and rank: Father sends the Son, Spirit sent by both
1 Cor 15:25-28; Mt 12:18; Ephesians 1:17; John 1:33; 14:16,26,28; Rom 8:26-27; 1 Peter 1:3-4.
Mt 17:5 The Father spoke at the Transfiguration
Jn 20:17 Jesus said, My Father ..., my God
Heb 7:25 Jesus intercedes for us.
Rom 8:26-27 The Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
1 Cor 11:3 Father head of a son; God is head of Christ
Jn 14:28 Jesus said the Father is greater than I.
Heb 5:7-8 Christ, the Son, learned obedience
7. They indwell each other If you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father; they are in each other. Jn 14:8-11
Jesus Christ Existed Before the Incarnation
All things were made through the Son. Hebrews 1:2 [God] "has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;"
All things were made through Christ (Colossians 1:16-17), the Word in Jn 1:1,3,10. Jesus was glorified in the Father's presence before the world began in Jn 16:5.
Here is what Ignatius of Antioch (-107/116 A.D.), a disciple of the apostle John said. "who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time and in the end was revealed." Letter of Ignatius to the Magnesians ch.6 p.61 [Greek, Latin is similar]
Likewise, "Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the ages, and in the end was revealed." Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians ch.7 p.52
The Holy Spirit is a Living Being
The Holy Spirit has a mind:
He knows and performs the activity of searching all things, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11); He possesses a mind (Romans 8:27), and he can teach people (1 Corinthians 2:13). The Holy Spirit does in fact "know" the thoughts of God, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). This shows the Spirit is a part of God, and not a distinct person.
The Holy Spirit has feelings:
He was grieved (Eph 4:30), and insulted (Heb 10:29). He can think things are good (Acts 15:28); intercedes with groanings too deep for words (Rom 8:26).
The Holy Spirit has a will:
He chooses to give gifts to some (1 Corinthians 12:11), He directs activities of Christians (Acts 16:6-11). He intercedes (prays) for the saints (Romans 8:26)
He interacts with people as a person:
The Holy Spirit speaks (Acts 10:19; 13:2; Hebrews 3:7, Revelation 22:17; John 16:13; Romans 8:26-27; ~Matthew 10:20; ~Mark 13:11)
He speaks directly, person to person (Acts 10:19-21)
He can be lied to (Acts 5:3)
He is our helper [masculine] (John 14:16)
Salvation: Jesus Died as a Ransom for Us
"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to server, and to give His Life a ransom of many." Mt 20:28. See also Mark 10:45.
"Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time," 1 Timothy 2:5f-6;
"And for this reason He [Christ] is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant,..." Hebrews 9:15b
Saved by Jesus' Blood Shed on the Cross
They believe Jesus death was not a substitute for us.
Answers, p.25; What They Believe, p.71). In fact, some but not all believe Jesus had a sinful nature (The Christadelphians, What They Believe, by Harry Tennant, The Christadelphian, England, p.74). Some said even Jesus needed salvation (Christadelphian Answers, ed. Frank G. Jannaway, Herald Press, p.25).
See also 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Mark 4:24; 14:24; Luke 22:20; Acts 20:28; Rom 3:29; 5:9; 1 Cor 11:25; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20; Heb 9:12-14,22; 10:19; 1 Thess 5:10; 1 Peter 1:2,19; 1 John 1:7; Rev 1:5; 5:9
End-times: Jesus Has Not Returned Yet
"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up form you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'" Acts 1:10-11 (NKJV)
"Behold He [Jesus Christ] is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)
Even the Wicked will be Resurrected
"Do not marvel at this; for the time is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." John 5:28-29
"Then He [ Jesus] will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart form Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;" Mt 25:41 (NKJV) Who will Jesus be talking to, if they don't exist anymore. How will they "depart" into everlasting fire if they were never resurrected?
2 Thess 1:6 "since it is a righteous thing with Go to repay with tribulation those who trouble you."
Heaven and Hell are Real
2 Corinthians 5:8 "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." (NKJV)
Philippians 1:23 "For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." (NKJV)
Matthew 21:46; John 3:36; 5:40-43; 6:45; 8:24; 10:8; 12:47-48; 14:6; (implied) Acts 4:12; 2 Thess 1:8-9
Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:44-48; Luke 3:17; Jude 7
(implied) Revelation 20:10
Matthew 10:15; 11:22-24; Mark 12:40; Luke 12:47-48
The Devil and Demons are a Real Beings
In Revelation 20:10 and Mt 25:41 the devil is cast into the lack of fire where the beast and false prophet were. They will be tormented day and night forever.
Christadelphians and many liberal "Christians" deny that Satan is a personal being. However, Satan talked to God, accusing Job in Job 1:7,9; 2:1-6. Satan incited David to number Israel (1 Chr 21:1). In 2 Cor 2:11 Satan has a brain; Paul did not want Satan to outwit us.
The devil and Jesus spoke to each other in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:2-13. If Satan was just an evil force, and there was no one else with Satan, then did Jesus have an evil force within Him? - certainly not!
Satan or the devil is referred to as "he" in 2 Cor 2:11; 11:14; 2 Tim 2:26; Heb 2:14; Rev 12:9; 20:2-3. Jesus mentioned Satan as a person in Mt 4:10; 12:26; 16:23; Mk 1:13; 3:23,26; Lk 11:18; 22:31.
The devil, demons and evil men all go to the same place: Rev 20:12-15; Matthew 25:41.
Michael contended with the devil in Jude 9.
The devil has been sinning from the beginning. 1 John 3:8. Satan or the devil is referred to as "he" in 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:14; 2 Tim 2:26; Heb 2:14; Rev 12:9; 20:2-3. It was Lucifer, not just a human being, who was "fallen from heaven" in Isaiah 14:12.
The demons are not just viruses or evil forces. A legion of demons left a man and entered into pigs in Mark 5:1-20. A man with just a physical or psychological sickness does not see a stranger like Jesus and say, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that do not torment me!" (NKJV)
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Answering Other Christadelphian Objections
Q: In Ps 49:10-12, if even wicked souls are immortal, how can the wicked be "like the beasts that perish" and "never see light"?
A: These verses are all true in three ways. Physically the wicked will perish from the earth like the beasts. In Hell these verses say their beauty and any honor will perish. Ultimately the wicked will be resurrected to be judged and sent to the second death, where they will remain forever.
Revelation 20:10 "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (NKJV)
"Then He [ Jesus] will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart form Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;" Mt 25:41 (NKJV)
Q: In Prov 21:16, how could the wicked rest in the assembly for the dead?
A: See the answer to the first question. In addition, the dead before Christ were in Sheol/Hades, in one of two parts: prison or paradise.
Q: Why does Isa 26:13-14 say the dead will not rise and the memory of them will be gone?
A: Isaiah 26:13-14 says they will not live anymore; this is true, they will be in Hell, and ultimately exist in the lake of fire, the second death.
They will not be remembered on earth, nor will creatures in heaven for that matter.
Even though they will not rise, they will still stand before Christ in the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:12-13. But regardless, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, not rise, in Revelation 20:15.
Q: In Jer 51:37,39-40,57 why does it say that the people of Babylon will not awake?
A: Jeremiah 51 is speaking of the evil place of Babylon. Jeremiah 51:37 says that no one will live in Babylon anymore. There will be no more empire, power, culture, or even people from Babylon. When they will "sleep" not "awake" that is a metaphor for saying that they are all dead.
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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.