The following is available in booklet form and can be obtained by contacting Sis. Henryetta Hagman at firstname.lastname@example.org
A COMPENDIUM OF EXCERPTS
ON KEY DOCTRINAL PRINCIPLES
Take heed unto thyself and
to the doctrine,
continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save
thyself, and them that hear thee (I Timothy )
It is reasonable to ask why there is a need for a work such as is before you. Of what benefit to our walk in the Truth is a review of early pioneer beliefs when the scriptures are surely our only safe and reliable guide? This project is undertaken with urgency at a time when the Unamended household is again at a crossroads. It is undertaken to strengthen brethren and ecclesias faced with difficult decisions impacting the beliefs our community has held so tenaciously these past 150 years. It is undertaken to defend and affirm our understanding and confidence in those things we profess.
Much is written regarding the revival of the Truth by Dr. John Thomas in the mid 19th Century. The Truth was eagerly received by zealous brethren, anxious to turn from the error and ignorance pervasive in Christendom. Pioneer brethren sacrificed much in their personal lives to spread the Word through travel, lecture and pen. Successive generations have valued and benefited from the works of these brethren. Like many before us, we are fortunate to have access to these early writings, which not only constitute a record of their authors’ beliefs and efforts, but also proclaim the gospel with a depth rarely seen in modern times.
Dr. Thomas had an active association with the gospel
beginning in 1834, but it was not until 1847 that he was re-immersed after
becoming convinced as to what the “faith of the gospel” was, which would
constitute a valid baptism. With that confession and re-immersion, he dedicated
his life to proclaiming and teaching the “things concerning the
Let it be known that this work is a defense and not an attack. Though it is necessary to identify those positions to which we take exception, it is done for the purpose of contrasting them to the beliefs of pioneer brethren and the Unamended community. Opposing beliefs cannot both be correct, and we cannot defer a defense nor allow the opposition to define us. Truth blurred or compromised is truth lost. The intent of this work is not merely to affirm, but to preserve.
It is recognized that this subject matter is uncomfortable for some and may be arduous for others in its lengthy comments and quotations. However, the presentation of early pioneer beliefs through written quotation may constitute the true value of this effort. It is hoped that the quotations provided would constitute a valued and ever present reference source for many who do not have access to original documents.
This writer is grateful for the many brethren who have encouraged this effort, and sincerely appreciates the recommendations and assistance with proofreading and publishing from brethren volunteering their time. Without this support and assistance, this work might not have come to fruition.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents ………………………………………………. 2
Introduction ……………………………………………………. 3
The Problem of Sin – Chapter 1………………………………. 5
The Flesh of Man – Chapter 2…………………………………. 21
Adamic Condemnation – Chapter 3…………………………… 30
Legal Condemnation From Adam – Chapter 4.,……………… 37
Alienation – Chapter 5…………………………………………. 44
Out of Adam Into Christ – Chapter 6………………………….. 49
Why Do Men Die? – Chapter 7………………………………… 52
Baptism – Chapter 8.…………………………………………… 61
The Lord’s Participation in His Own Sacrifice – Chapter 9…… 68
Who Will Rise For Judgment at Christ’s Return? – Chapter 10… 75
Changes in Pioneer Christadelphian Works – Chapter 11………. 81
Epilogue ………………………………………………………… 86
Index of References……………………………………………… 88
In the early 1850’s, a united body of believers received the then recently revived Truth. The unity of belief and fellowship that they shared, despite some challenges, continued for the better part of 40 years. However, at the end of that time differences in belief were being manifest and contentions and controversy grew. In 1898, an “Amended” Statement of Faith was formulated and utilized as a test of fellowship. Since that time there have been two bodies of believers operating under the name “Christadelphian”.
Brethren who supported the “amendment” to the Statement of Faith made the charge that their action was necessary due to the “changed” beliefs introduced into the body in 1894 by Brother J. J. Andrew. On the other hand, those brethren who elected to hold to the “unamended” Statement of Faith pointed to the “drift” in beliefs and writings within the community after 1883, away from the firmly declared teachings of the Christadelphian body prior to that time, thereby identifying the “change” to be on the “Amended” side.
This review is presented to address the charge that the Unamended community has departed from the beliefs and teachings of the pioneer community. It is intended to both defend the Unamended community from that false charge as well as establish the Truth as held by this community since inception around 1850. We recognize that the BUSF has undergone some changes over the years and it reads somewhat differently than when first formulated. We note there were minor changes made at various stages since the first Statements were issued in the late 1860’s, usually for grammatical or clarification purposes. However, no changes were made to the Unamended Statement of Faith to either “amend” a belief, or to exclude any person or group from fellowship. Readers are invited to examine the documentation for themselves to determine if the Unamended community is truly “in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. ) with the early beliefs and writings of pioneer brethren.
The Christadelphian community is truly fortunate that so
many early pioneer writings are available to us today. Readers will find
extensive documentation from these early writings with which to evaluate the
current Bible based beliefs to which our community attests. It is important to
establish that the Unamended community has stood “steadfast” and “unmovable”,
noting that scripture clearly foretells of a departure from the Truth in the
“last days”. (Luke 18:8; I Tim. 4:1; II Tim. 4:3-4; Acts 20:29-30; II Peter
2:1-3) We must keep in mind that a change in doctrine is involved in departure,
and scripture admonishes us to remain in the “old paths”. (Jer. 6:16; ; Jude 3) God upbraided
Unamended brethren have rightful concern regarding past and present reunion efforts with the Amended community. Where reconciliation efforts have been sustained, the Amended Statement of Faith has emerged as the sole basis of fellowship, thus chipping away at the Unamended community and Unamended Bible based beliefs. Shall it be that the Truth as recovered by pioneer brethren will disappear except in a small remnant community? Is the grim prediction of our Lord that, “shall he find faith on the earth” being played out before our eyes?
In a review of this nature, it is necessary that we examine the Amended positions and writings in order to define and contrast doctrinal positions and arguments. It is recognized that some of the quotations we will use from the works of the Amended/Central fellowship will not represent the doctrinal positions of 100% of the rank and file of that community today. They are, however, the positions of the Central leadership as well as the majority of members with whom this writer has had personal contact through the years. Many of these positions will be demonstrated to be departures from the teachings and writings of pioneer brethren. The comparison is not made in an attempt to establish Truth through the writings of fallible men, but rather to demonstrate who it was that changed their doctrine and departed from the first teachings of Christadelphia.
It is difficult to see brethren departing from any element of the gospel to join with those who have “gone out” from the body. In the example given in I John 2:18-24, John identifies false teachings as the problem, and admonishes us to, Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. Although the controversy attending the amendment to the Statement of Faith significantly impacts only one proposition, the writings and positions of the two Christadelphian households reveal that there is a surprising array of differences in belief that have grown out of original contentions, which are not reflected in the Statements of Faith. This review will identify and examine several differences in belief that have been the source of contention between our communities, for the purpose of contrasting those positions with the written record of pioneer teachings. We will begin in the first chapter with an overview of the problems surrounding the subject of “sin” which constitutes the basis for many of the doctrinal differences under consideration, and then move on to review individual subjects in greater detail in successive chapters.
May our Lord forbid that we should abandon “sound doctrine” when his return and the gift of eternal life is so near!
“Preach the word; be instant in season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (II Tim. 4:2-3)
The focus of this review will be to examine published doctrinal positions from some of the leadership of the Central Amended, as well as remarks directed against the teachings of the Unamended community, and indirectly, against the teachings of the pioneers. In this first chapter we will, as briefly as possible, review documentation that establishes differences in belief on subjects which will be covered in greater detail in the following chapters.
Please note that bold print indicates words and sentences that this writer wishes to emphasize, while italics within quotations reflect the original presentation.
What Is Sin?
The concept and meaning of “sin” is at the heart of the doctrinal disagreements between the Amended and Unamended households. It will be obvious that the matter of “sin”, as it is treated within the Amended community regarding redemption, is based entirely upon the principle of personal transgression. The term “sin” as viewed by that community is not considered to have any relevance to the nature of this “vile” (Phil. 3:21) body of flesh. There is one point in the Andrew/Roberts debate that has served as a springboard for that position, and the Central brethren have carefully followed in the footsteps of Brother Roberts since that time. Our point of attention is question number 406. Brother Andrew questions Brother Roberts:
“406. Does it not teach that sin nature, which in the first instance has no moral guilt, requires blood shedding in order that it might be cleansed or justified? – Answer – Bro. Roberts: Blood shedding is never spoken of except in connection with actual sin.”
Let the reader ponder the answer to question number 406. If “blood shedding” is never spoken of other than regarding actual or personal sin, how did Christ benefit from his own sacrifice since he had no personal sin? It is no wonder that throughout Central Amended works, strong emphasis is placed on the position that Christ’s sacrifice was for himself only in the sense that it was for us; that his offering for us constituted obedience to his Father, and thus it benefited Christ. It should be noticed that it is insisted that Christ needed no atonement for anything within himself. This is the reason for their strong insistence that the term “sin” is often used in the sense of a metonymy, and that our physical nature is not actually the “flesh of sin”. It is obvious that such a doctrine is a departure from scripture as well as original Christadelphian teachings.
Let us be aware at the outset that we do not agree that in
some passages the term “sin” is metonymy,
i.e., that which is called by the term sin is not “sin”, but merely a reference
to that which is associated or suggested by the term. God esteemed the
circumstance to which He referred as being synonymous with sin, so it matters
not. Even if we consider the term to be metonymy, God regarded it to be “sin”,
or astray of the mark. Let us keep in mind an important Scriptural truth. God
made it very clear that in the matter of physical uncleanness, He demands
atonement just as certainly as in the matter of personal sin. If that is not
correct, then we ask why it was that God prescribed that an atonement be made
for the tabernacle, the altar, and the sanctuary because of the uncleanness of the children of
It is contrary to scripture to insist that God only requires atonement for our personal sins, for Job 14:4; 15:14; 25:4 all inform us that everyone born of a woman is unclean, and we again point out that God demands atonement for that which is unclean (See especially Leviticus chapter 14 where even after the individual was declared to be healed, he had to be cleansed by atonement). Notice the phrase “he that is to be cleansed”, and, “make an atonement for him”, that occur all through the chapter after the individual is free of the disease. Only after atonement for uncleanness were individuals declared to have been cleansed. (Consider Heb. 9:13).
The pioneers’ position was that it is clearly taught in the law that this unclean body of death must receive atonement in addition to forgiveness of personal sins before it is acceptable to God.
Rom. - “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Rom. - “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Rom. 8:3 - “… God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
Dr. Thomas in The Ambassador (later named The Christadelphian) Vol. V (1868), P. 169 in an article entitled, “A Good Confession”:
“What do you think is meant by the devil in these pages?” Answer. “I think it means sin in the flesh.”
From The Christadelphian Vol. x, (1873) P. 361 Brother John Thomas writes:
“The logical consequences resulting from denying the true humanity of Jesus, are destructive of the mystery of the gospel; for if the Spirit did not take our nature, but a better nature; then is that better nature not our nature, and redeemed from whatever curse it may have laid under, and been reconciled to God. But if the human nature of Christ were immaculate (excuse the phrase, O reader, for since the fall, we know not of an immaculate human nature) then God did not send Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh; he did not ‘take hold of the seed of Abraham’, he did not ‘become sin for us,’ ‘sin was not condemned in the flesh’; and our sins were not borne in his body upon the tree.’ These things could not have been accomplished in a nature destitute of the physical principle styled ‘Sin in the flesh’.
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Page 460-468, Brother Roberts pens questions for Edward Turney:
“9. Why was Jesus ‘put to death in the flesh’ of Adam? Paul says it was that ‘THROUGH DEATH he might destroy that having the power of death.’ If ‘that having the power of death’ was not in his body, how could he ‘through death’ destroy it? On the other hand, how could he be a body of the flesh of Adam without also having in himself that which was ‘the power of death’ in it?”
“10. You say that the body of Christ was not sinful flesh, but ‘a likeness’ of it? In what did the likeness flesh consist if it was not of the same sort? Would you, therefore, say he was ‘not a man but a likeness of one’? If not – if you say he was a man, though Paul says he was made in the likeness, why not say he was sinful flesh though Paul says he was sent in the likeness of it?”
“11. Paul says that God sending forth His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, ‘condemned sin in the flesh:’ (Rom vii. 3) [Sic. should be viii. 3] how could this have been done if there be no such thing as ‘sin in the flesh,’ and if Christ was ‘not sinful flesh but a likeness of it’?”
“18. Even if we ‘sinned in Adam’ in the personal sense contended for on behalf of your theory, did Christ not bear the effect of that as well as all our other offenses? If so, did he not come under Adamic condemnation? If not, is our sin in Adam untaken away, and in that case, how can we be saved?”
“27. Paul says, ‘God hath made Jesus to be sin.’ (2 Cor. v. 21). How is this to be understood, if death, the wages of sin, had no hold on him? Was he not made sin in being made of a woman, who was mortal because of sin, and could only impart her own sinful flesh to a son begotten of her?”
“28. ‘Paul says, (Heb. ix. 28) that Christ will appear the second time without sin unto salvation. This is equivalent to saying that the first time was not without sin. In what sense did he come the first time with sin if his flesh was not sinful flesh, and the law of sin had no hereditary claim?”
“29. If you say it means a sin offering, can you explain how it comes that a sin offering is expressed by the word ‘sin,’ if the sin-offering is in no sense sinful? And how do you in that case understand Paul’s statement (Rom. vi. 10), that when he died, he died unto sin once? He did not die unto a sin offering; but in making himself a sin offering, he died unto sin. If the hereditary law of sin wrought in his members unto death, as in the members of his brethren, we can understand how in dying, he died unto sin; for as Paul says (verse 7), ‘he that is dead, is freed from sin,’ sin having no more claim after that.”
Comment: Notice in both the BUSF and the BASF under “Doctrines To Be Rejected”, number 27, “That there is no sin in the flesh.” It is a fact, however, that many do not reject this doctrine. It is apparent that the rejection of this doctrine is also the very point Brother Roberts was seeking to make in the above quotations.
We now move on with this subject, taking note of the uncleanness or defilement that Scripture, the pioneers and the Unamended proclaim to be a part of the physical makeup of the descendants of Adam. Notice that Proposition 5 of the BUSF as well as the BASF declares that the sentence “defiled”. As an example of Amended Central departure from the truth of this proposition, we now quote the Carter-Cooper addendum that is printed on page 12 of the book Unity in Australia, a unity arranged through the efforts of Amended brethren John Carter and Cyril Cooper. Here we quote part of the first paragraph of the addendum. Note how the defilement is changed to be a “defiled conscience” instead of “physical defilement”:
“We believe that Adam was made of the earth and declared to be very good; because of disobedience to God’s law he was sentenced to return to the dust. He fell from his very good state and suffered the consequences of sin - shame, a defiled conscience and mortality…”
Contrast this with Proposition 5 from the BASF:
“5. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken – a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity.”
Notice the contradiction to Proposition 5 of the BASF. We wonder how it is that the defense and description that Brother Roberts applied to “physical defilement” in his previous quotations was later changed to “defiled conscience”.
Proposition 12 of the BASF is also dishonored and violated, i.e., “…the condemnation of sin in the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all…” What we have presented clearly makes the point that those who now worship under the banner of the BASF disagree with the pioneers of the last century. Who will declare before the world of Christadelphia that God began the latter day ecclesial era with a system of doctrine that was apostate and full of serious error, which He must have done if the doctrines needed to be changed?!
As we have mentioned, the book Unity in Australia was
written by the Amended Brother John Carter, the late editor of The
Christadelphian magazine, who, along with the Amended Brother Cyril Cooper,
We now quote Brother Carter from several portions of this work as he in effect denounced the conclusions of the pioneers and the teachings of Unamended Christadelphians. He did not assail by name, however, he assailed the doctrines the pioneers had taught and which the Unamended hold to this day.
Regarding “sin in the flesh” we quote from pages 19-20 of Unity
“A few words might be added in response to requests made several times to clear up points of uncertainty concerning the usage of Bible language. What are the broad facts of Scripture teaching? Adam sinned and death came by sin. But two other things followed: death passed through to all men for that all have sinned (Rom. ). It is a fact that all have sinned (except the Lord Jesus) and this fact is applicable only because through Adam’s sin the original very good state was lost, and his posterity inherited a nature with a tendency to sin to which all have succumbed. Because this inherited tendency is so evident a characteristic of human nature, and because it is the result and cause of sin, Paul by the use of metonymy can describe it as sin: “It is no more I but sin that dwelleth in me.” He gives it other names as well, such as “a law – evil present with me,” the ‘flesh’, ‘ a law in my members’, etc. (Rom. 7).”
Consider and compare the above with Page 50 of the February 2002 Christadelphian:
“Rom. reminds us that ‘the wages of sin is death’. This follows directly from God’s judgment on Adam, after his disobedience, as recorded in Gen.3:19 – ‘til thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: and unto dust shalt thou return.’ We do not die because of Adam’s sin. His sin simply brought mortality into man’s experience. Rom. confirms that ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’. We are all responsible for our own failings and as such accept God’s justice.”
Comment: It is easy to see from Brother Carter’s statement, as well as the one from the 2002 Christadelphian, that it is the Amended position that each man dies because he himself sins, not because of Adam’s sin. Brother Carter said, “All men have sinned (except the Lord Jesus)”. If we only die because we each sin, and all men die, then why did the Lord Jesus die? Did he die as a substitute for us? It is published Central Amended doctrine that he died for himself that he might die for us. Therefore, if that is so, he was not “our forerunner” (Heb. ); he did not offer first for himself and then for the people (Hebrews ) rather, he would have died for himself only so that he might die for us. Let us believe Paul. Let us ask, how could he have died for himself if he had nothing in himself for which to offer?
Amended thought regarding that point is found at the top of Page 21 of Unity in Australia, in which we find the following:
“Another cause of difficulty arises out of the Lord’s relationship to his own death. It is affirmed in Scripture that, “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption”; and that God brought from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep “through the blood of the everlasting covenant”; and that he was saved out of death. He needed redemption; he needed salvation from death. The confusion arises when we isolate him from his work. He was there to be our saviour, and but for our needs, we may reverently say he would not have been there.”
Comment: It is not the Unamended who isolate Jesus in his work. We do exactly what Paul did. Paul considered the qualifications of Jesus in his work and put him squarely in the middle of the work he was to do for himself and for us. Paul did not hesitate to identify Jesus as one of us in every sense, yet he was without sin (Heb. -17; ). The position of John Carter was that death was not naturally in store for Jesus as it was for us. Yet, it is alleged that he died, who was not naturally subject to death, and that he did it solely for us. Where is the concept of a representative of the race in Brother Carter’s statement above? Is this not substitution?
We now quote from page 33 of Unity in Australia under the subtitle of “Metonymy Applied To Sin”:
“…‘All flesh is grass’ is a metaphor. ‘All flesh is grass’ is the figure simile. The figure simile is literally true. Figure metaphor is boldly true though not literally accurate. Jesus said, ‘this is my body’’ but would you say that there are two aspects of the body of Jesus, one of flesh and one of flour? Because ‘all flesh is grass’ would you say there are two aspects of grass, one with roots and the other with legs? You say NO! One is used as a figure and one is used as an expression of a literal fact. So it is with regard to this, we mustn’t preach sin that dwells in us, which is a word used metonymically for the impulses within us, in being sin in the sense of lawlessness of which the Apostle speaks. I think that if we can get that clear in our minds, we are going to get rid of some of the problems that have beset us in connection with this…”
During the 1970’s the Amended Brother R. R. Stone wrote several articles that were printed in The Tidings magazine regarding differences between Amended/Unamended doctrines. During the process of those articles he declared his agreement with John Carter and gave him credit for his own understandings. We now quote from some of the paragraphs from those articles.
The Tidings magazine March/April 1977 Pages 6-7:
“Was this possession of sin nature by Christ a cause of God’s disfavor being manifested toward him? Did the fact that Jesus partook of the same flesh and blood nature of sinners in any way hinder His relationship to God? Inasmuch as sin nature is purely physical and has no moral connotations, we are inescapably led to the conclusion that its possession was no barrier to the Father’s love and favor bestowed on Jesus.”
“These facts make God’s unqualified commendation of His Son palpable to us. How else could we understand the meaning of His words on the occasion of Christ’s baptism, and later on the mount of transfiguration, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”? Were the possession of sin nature a cause for the Father’s anger or wrath, we would be incredulous to the announcement of Jesus, “for I do always those things that please him” (John ). But sin nature is not the cause of disfavour.”
Comment: Let us not forget that Jesus was a member of the Hebrew nation. He was a Jew under covenant to God from his 8th day. The sin nature of Jesus had received an atonement that permitted his entrance into the nation as well as temporal covenants that related to all members of the nation; else they were not permitted to live (Gen. 17: 14). Jesus did not live for 30 years as an alien from his father. The whole nation was under God’s temporal covenant. They had become His (Ezekiel 16: 8). Jesus simply had not fulfilled ALL righteousness until he was baptized (Matt. ).
Let the reader consider that God did not make this public announcement concerning Jesus until he had emerged from the waters of baptism. As Brother Thomas remarked in The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 500:
“Jesus had been God’s most excellent Son for thirty years, but He withheld His acknowledgment of Him till he signalized his filial obedience in being baptized.”
The Tidings Magazine 1977 March/April, The Amended Brother Richard Stone continues on Pages 8-9:
“DID CHRIST BENEFIT FROM HIS OWN SACRIFICE? The answer to this question is obviously, yes. He did indeed benefit from his faithful performance in every detail of God’s requirements. He first benefited himself, that he might be in a position to redeem others. Those requirements necessitated His crucifixion and were requisite to his own redemption from mortality.”
“It will be obvious to the discerning mind that the benefits that Jesus derived were not, in every detail, the same as those which we receive. For example, we have the blessing of having our sins forgiven, while Jesus had none to be forgiven. His violent death on the cross was demanded of Him for our redemption. Had the Saviour demurred to obey this command, His own resurrection and glorification would have been forfeited…”
“The type of death suffered by Jesus was expedient, not because sin nature required it, but rather as 1) an offering for the sins of others; 2) part of the obedience which the Father demanded; and 3) to confirm the promises made to the fathers. We can therefore see the force of Paul’s statement in Heb. 13:20, that the God of peace . . . brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
“FLESH - UNCLEAN UNTIL THE RESURRECTION: Does the foregoing suggest that the nature of Jesus was different from that of the rest of Adam’s descendants? Not at all. His body was as unclean, physically as theirs. It remained unclean until after He was resurrected and endowed with immortality. The bodies of sin nature of those baptized into Christ are not cleansed by the process. They are absolutely the same as before, and will remain in that state of impurity until they, like Christ, will experience the “change” spoken of by Paul after the resurrection.”
Question and Comment: What is the truth of this matter of cleansing at baptism? We hope that the reader has paid close attention to the verbal slight of hand that is so evident in the above remarks. In all of the history of Christadelphia, no one has ever sought to make a case for a physical cleansing of nature at baptism. One would think from the remarks in the quotation above that someone had sought to teach that we are cleansed physically of our nature in baptism. That simply is not true.
A pertinent question is proper at this time: Is physical cleansing the only sort of cleansing that is dealt with in the Scriptures, or are there other types of cleansing? Should anyone have maintained that God’s dealings with the nature of man is limited to physical cleansing alone, there might be excuse for such attention to that issue as we see above. However, since there are references to cleansings that did not refer to a change of physical nature, such loose dealings with the oracles of God are without excuse. Let us observe other references to cleansing:
John 15: 3 – “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Question: Did Jesus mean that his disciples had changed their nature; that they had been immortalized from hearing his words of truth? We know that Jesus meant no such thing. Jesus clearly referred to a symbolic matter by his words. Throughout Scripture God presented symbolic processes through which His servants must pass in order to obtain the benefits of his appointments and be acceptable to Him.
In this matter, we refer again to Leviticus Chapter 14 and the “cleansing” that took place symbolically in the process of carrying out the appointments of God. In verse 8, regarding the priest applying the matter of cleansing to the defiled leper, it is said, “And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, etc…” Did God wish to be understood as implying, “he that is to be immortalized”? In verse 9, did God mean that the man would become immortal when He said, “and he shall be clean”?
Will anyone seek to apply the Amended logic in verses 11, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23 and on through the 14th chapter of Leviticus, and assert that God was speaking of a change of nature in all those passages? What folly that would be! Yes, God’s oracles have many instances where the matter of cleansing did not refer to a change of nature. The appointments of both the Old Testament and the New Testament had symbols in the appointments of God, symbols that represented things that went beyond the visible!
The Relationship of Christ to His Death On The Cross – John Hensley
We next want to look at a booklet written and published in the early 1980’s under the above title by the Amended writer John Hensley. This work was a strong criticism and rejection of the position of J. J. Andrew, Thomas Williams, the Unamended community. We wish to point out that the writer of this work quotes Brother Roberts’ views seeking to demonstrate that the Unamended position was always different from that of Brother Roberts. However, the quotations from Brother Roberts used in order to prove his opposition to “Unamended” views, are taken from a time after Brother Roberts’ change of mind and doctrine.
We begin by first quoting from pages 7-8 of John Hensley’s booklet. The section we are quoting is entitled: “Is The Sin Of Adam Imputed To His Descendants?”
“In the 1894 Christadelphian, Brother Roberts wrote these words, ‘As to the charge of believing that the disobedience of Adam is NOT IMPUTED to his descendants’ we own to it. To believe anything else would be to PROVE CHRIST A SINNER. By one man’s disobedience many have (truly) been made sinners. . . not at birth – as the circular of J. J. Andrew says, and which the Scriptures NEVER say.’ ”
“On page 242, he asserts, ‘The idea of imputing the sin of Adam to helpless babes is one of the old monstrosities of papalized theology from which we have become emancipated. We are not going back to that suffocating smoke.’ ”
“This, of course, drew a rather severe rebuke from Thomas Williams in the Christadelphian Advocate Magazine of October 1894. But the fact remains that if you substitute the word ‘legal’ for the word ‘moral’ you virtually have the Papal doctrine of ‘original sin’ in the teachings of J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams.”
Comment: One wonders why Brother Roberts’ first teachings as well as Brother Thomas’ teachings were not also to be classified as the Papal doctrine of “original sin”. They both wrote of “legal” condemnation from Adam. Notice and contrast Brother Roberts’ 1894 position to some 20 years earlier when he and Dr Thomas were in agreement:
From The Christadelphian Vol. vi (1869) P. 216, Brother John Thomas wrote:
“Our flesh is the same as Adam’s before he sinned, only the worse for wear: for Paul says that we sinned in him, and he was sinless before he sinned, and we were as much in his loins when he was sinless, as in the act of sinning. His flesh undefiled by sin is constitutionally the same as the flesh of his posterity defiled legally thereby. The Christ Deity veiled himself in Adamic nature defiled by sin in order that he might condemn sin to death in the nature, though created ‘very good’, which had legally defiled itself by transgression of the Edenic law.”
In The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Page 500 in an article by Brother John Thomas entitled “Aaron and Christ” Brother Thomas wrote concerning Jesus:
“He was not permitted to officiate as high priest in his ordinary attire. He must (put off) and (put on) the holy linen robe; and had he put this on without bathing his flesh in water and proceeded to officiate, this unbaptized high priest of Israel would have been struck with death. When legally invested and arrayed, the Aaronic high priests were ‘holiness to Jehovah,’ and the representatives of the Holy and Just One in his character and priestly office…”
And on page 501, “Jesus, with the sin of the world thus defined, rankling in his flesh, where it was to be condemned to death when suspended on the cross (Rom. viii. 3), came to John as the ‘Ram of Consecration,’ that his inwards and his body might be washed according to the law. - (Ex. 29:17, 22). But these representations of the law and the prophets could not have found their antitype in Jesus, if in the days of his flesh he had possessed a holier or purer nature than those for whom he was bruised in the heel. His character was spotless; but as being the seed of the woman, of whom no clean flesh can be born (Job xxv. 4), and seed of Abraham, which is not immaculate, be it virgin or Nazarite, his nature was flesh and blood (Heb. ii. 14), which Paul styles ‘sinful flesh,’ or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle which makes the flesh mortal; and called ‘sin’ because this property of flesh became its law, as the consequence of transgression.”
Again in The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873), Robert Roberts on Page 417 writes:
“He must suffer the curse. This he did, and, at the same time, his blood being that of a perfectly righteous being, cleansed him from the legal defilement, just as it cleansed all Jews who manifested that faith which would be counted to them for righteousness.”
In The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) Page 225 Brother Roberts wrote:
GAB. (C) -Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives remission of sins… As soon as the treaty is signed, they are legally at peace…”
We can readily see that John Hensley proves too much by his onslaught against Brethren Andrew, Williams and the Unamended. If he proves them to be on the outskirts of Rome by their doctrine of legal defilement from Adam, he also proves Brethren Thomas and Roberts to have been on the same outskirts of that apostate city at the time Christadelphian doctrine emerged from the darkness into the light. It would appear, according to his claims that the truth of this matter did not emerge into the light until the 1890’s. He cannot have it both ways.
We now quote from page 9. John Hensley writes in the section subtitled: “What We Inherit From Adam”:
“What we inherit from Adam was a major issue between Robert Roberts and the two brethren; J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams. It remains a major issue between the two groups of Christadelphians; the Amended and the Unamended or Advocates. What we inherit from Adam has a direct bearing upon how we view the nature and sacrifice of Christ, because what we inherit from Adam, Christ inherited. If we inherit only the physical consequences of Adam’s transgression, including the impulses to sin, then Christ did not inherit legal condemnation; and if He did not inherit legal condemnation, He could not have been under legal condemnation for sinning the sin of Adam. Apart from sinning the sin of Adam He could not have been alienated from God at birth. If he was not alienated from God at birth, then the theory of inherited alienation, or estrangement, cannot be sustained. Hence, the Advocates uncompromisingly insist that we not only inherit the physical consequences, or effects, of the sin of Adam with the impulses to sin in our members; but also, in addition, the legal consequence as well; such alienation, or estrangement, which carries with it such things as anger, wrath, displeasure and disfavor.”
“What we believe that we inherit through birth, from Adam, is a determining factor in what we believe concerning the purpose and reason for baptism. If we believe that we inherit the legal condemnation from Adam, as well as the physical nature, termed mortality; then it would logically follow that this legal condemnation, which involves estrangement (or alienation), anger, wrath, disfavor and displeasure, must be remitted, or lifted at baptism as well as our personal sins, before we can be reconciled to God. This is known as being baptized for Adam’s sin, as well as for our own sins. It is contended that sin nature must be legally cleansed at baptism before one can be acceptable to God. If one denies that sin nature, or flesh of sin, is cleansed at baptism, then a charge of ‘clean flesh’ is leveled at him.”
On pages 9-10 - “When Is Sin’s Flesh Cleansed?”:
“How we look at the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, depends upon what we think we inherit from Adam. If we think that legal condemnation for Adam’s sin is inherited, then it will be reflected in our thinking on the reason why Christ died on the cross. It is essential therefore, that we understand what it is that we inherit from Adam...”
“…In answer to question 79, Robert Roberts states, ‘A child, before it is born cannot sin.’ When asked if all descendants of Adam are sinners by birth, he answers in question 83, ‘As a result of birth from Him. There is a distinction there.’ In answer to question 280, he replied, ‘Adam sinned and was condemned, and we, as his children, inherit the mortality, which was the consequence. God does not hold us responsible for what he did, but for our own sins.”
Comment: John Hensley in his remarks above, seems oblivious to the fact that Psa. 58:3 declares, “the wicked are estranged from the womb.” In other words, all men at birth are classed among the constitutionally wicked and are estranged or alienated from God. Does he assert that infants are alienated by ignorance and wicked works? That would be folly.
Also, under the three subtitles above, John Hensley repeatedly quotes Robert Roberts in the era of the 1890’s, a time in which he is known to have changed his views. He never bothers to mention that Robert Roberts, early in his work, had agreed with what he identifies as Unamended doctrine. Let us again read from the pioneer writings that were produced during the founding of the latter day ecclesia, at the time of the revival of the truth, declaring truths that continued about forty years before brethren began to depart.
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 500, Brother Thomas in an article entitled “Aaron and Christ”:
“Nor was he permitted to enter even when habited with these, unless he had been previously baptized, upon pain of death. The law said, ‘he shall wash his flesh in water and so put them on.’…When legally invested and arrayed, the Aaronic high priests were ‘holiness to Jehovah’ and the representative of the Holy and Just One in his character and priestly office;”
“Jesus, with the sin of the world thus defined, rankling in his flesh where it was to be condemned to death when suspended on the cross (Rom. viii. 3), came to John as the ‘Ram of Consecration,’ that his inwards and his body might be washed according to the law (Ex. xxix. 17, 22.) But these representations of the law…could not have found their antitype in Jesus, if in the days of his flesh he had possessed a holier or purer nature than those for whom he was bruised in the heel. His character was spotless; but as being the seed of the woman, of whom no clean flesh can be born (Job xxv. 4), and seed of Abraham, which is not immaculate, be it virgin or Nazarite, his nature was flesh and blood (Heb. ii. 14), which Paul styles ‘sinful flesh,’ or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle which makes the flesh mortal; and called ‘sin’ because this property of flesh became its law, as the consequence of transgression. ‘God made Jesus sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. v. 21).”
Pages 502- 503 – “Shall it be said that it was necessary for the Melchisedec High Priest, who was innocent of transgression, and who, for thirty years, had enjoyed the favor of God and man, to be immersed in a baptism of repentance for remission of sins; but that it was not necessary for the pious, who would compose his household, who are sinners by nature and practice?”
COMMENT: Is it not obvious that the truth began over a century ago with the doctrine that we all are “sinners by both nature and practice”? Yet, those who went out from us now seek to teach us that the term “sin” can rightfully be attributed only to a transgression of God’s law.
The Christadelphian Vol. x (July, 1873) P. 322-323 Brother Roberts writes regarding the nature of Jesus:
“All the desires of the Adamic nature which he had in common with ourselves were kept in absolute subordination to the Father’s will. But he partook of the flesh of sin (English version-sinful flesh); and if this is what is meant by ‘a sinner by constitution,’ then he was a sinner by constitution. His mission required that he should be in the nature of the transgressing race. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, (1) because they had nothing to do with the transgression. The nature of angels had nothing to do with the transgression. Therefore, ‘he took not on him the nature of angels;’ but the seed of Abraham was the transgressing and condemned nature. Therefore, he took on him the seed of Abraham, and was made, in all things, like unto his brethren.”
Page 327: “Seeing that these Scriptures teach the deathfulness, instead of the deathlessness of the nature of Christ, it is impossible to doubt that his nature, body, or flesh, was sinful. This must be so, for death is always the consequence of sin in some shape or form. “The wages of sin is death” - (Rom. vi. 23). We ought not, therefore, to think that this is degrading to the Son of God, as thousands do who hold the immaculate view, but rather to enquire into the reason and necessity of the arrangement. For God does nothing without a reason, and there is a necessity for everything he does.”
Page 329; “The Substance of The Matter” by Robert Roberts:
“That the Father is the Redeemer of man. No second person redeems us from Him; but He redeems us from sin. He does it on a principle that (1) excludes the glorying of the flesh, and (2) preserves a harmony between His work in condemnation and His work in salvation.”
“Illustration of the first point. - He manifests Himself by the Spirit in the nature condemned. The result was a Son in whom He was well pleased, holy, harmless and undefiled.”
“Illustration of the second point. – Man condemned in Adam must bear the condemnation, for God in His ways is without variableness or the shadow of a turning. But, if man is left to bear the condemnation himself, it destroys him, because his own transgressions stand in the way of escape. Therefore God provides him one who can bear it and be rescued from it after it is inflicted. This required one in the nature of the transgressor, for in God’s ways, sentence upon man cannot be borne by angel or beast, but by him only on whom it lies. Jesus was such an one, for he partook of the very flesh and blood of Adam’s condemned race through Mary. Yet the sufferer, though in the nature of the transgressor, had to be personally sinless, otherwise God could not raise him. Hence it was necessary that God Himself should manifest Himself in the seed of Abraham, thus producing a sinless character in the condemned nature of the first man. This was done by the miraculous conception of the Son of Mary, who through the eternal spirit, offered himself to God.” - (Heb. ix. 24.) Raising His Holy One from the grave, He offered all men forgiveness by faith of what had been done in Him, and obedience to His commandments. He who renounces this, renounces the truth, and repeats the history of first century declension.”
Page 362 – “However
perfect and complete the moral manifestation of the Deity was in Jesus of
From The Christadelphian Vol. v P. 160 midway in the article entitled “Chatechesis” by Brother Thomas, we quote question 45 along with the answer he gives:
“But if a man believe the gospel of the kingdom of the Deity and Name of Jesus Christ, and upon this belief has been duly immersed, is he not ‘IN Christ Jesus,” and therefore free from all liability to condemnation?
“Such a person is,
without question ‘in Christ Jesus’; and on being introduced into him, the
sinner, who out of Christ is condemned
already (John iii. 18), passes from that condemnation, and comes under the
sentence of ‘justification of life’- (
The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 97-98 Robert Roberts in “Answers to correspondents”:
“P.M. ‘the new birth’ is a theological phrase originating in a misapprehension of a New Testament metaphor, and as currently employed, represents a fallacy. There is a sense in which a man, to enter the divine relation, ‘must be born again.’ In the order of nature, a man is born into the position of Adam, when condemned to return to the ground. In this position, he is an outcast in every sense; both as regards present relation to the Almighty, and future destiny. He is an exile and an alien, a mere groundling, existing under a law (of sin and death) which sends him to his original nothingness. This is the natural condition of the race as a whole. Now, God has devised an arrangement by which he ‘takes out’ from the race so situated, a ‘people for His name.’ (Acts xv. 14). The people so taken out are introduced to the relation of children - (John i, 12; 2 Cor. vi, 17, 18; John iii, 1). They constitute a family of sons and daughters to the Almighty. This being so, their taking out is their birth, so that whatever process it is by which God develops them from the outer darkness of natural-man-ism, is the process of birth… belief of the gospel and baptism completes the birth of water…”
The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866), P. 190 Robert Roberts in an article entitled, “The Judgment Seat of Christ” states:
“He shall judge the secrets of men by Christ, and award to every soul of them who do not obey the truth, but are contentious, ‘tribulation and wrath and anguish;’ and he may not know that this is according to Paul’s gospel. If this be so he is ignorant of an element of Paul’s gospel, and destitute of an important constituent of the ‘word of God’s truth,’ by which, through the washing of water in baptism, a man is cleansed and begotten, as a kind of first fruits of his creatures.’ –(James i, 18; Eph. v, 26.)
We quote again from The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) P. 225 Robert Roberts wrote:
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins…”
The Christadelphian, Vol. vii (1870) P. 75 Brother Thomas writes in an article entitled “The Rock” and the Christadelphians:
“‘Testimony’ says that if the manifestation of Jesus was in sinful flesh, then Jesus was a sinner, and desires to know if I mean to say this? Christadelphians mean to say neither more nor less than Paul saith. This unsurpassed teacher of the truth says that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sin’s flesh, which he declares was the same as ours. Compare Rom. viii. 3, with Heb. ii. 14-17. And he says, too, in Heb. vii. 27, ‘he offered for his own sins and the people’s, when he once offered up himself.’ But what is to be understood by ‘his own sins?’ The sins committed by others and borne in his own body on the cross, as testified in I Pet. ii. 24, saying ‘who his own self bare our sins in his own body to the tree,’ upon which ‘he became a curse for us.’ In the Mosaic and Christian systems, the unsinning victim is regarded as the sinner, in the sense of being … the sin-bearer of the world; the purpose of God being the condemnation of sin in the nature that transgressed in Eden, in the person of one who had committed no sin.”
John Hensley has quite a bit to say as to how Robert Roberts viewed the matter of the death of Jesus on the cross. However, it is a fact that what Brother Roberts believed and taught regarding the life and death of Jesus depends on the era of time in which he wrote. His later years produce a different position than his early years.
There is a noticeable amount of violence done to Rom. 5:12-14 by those who departed from us. Since just before the turn of the century, Amended brethren have dealt with Rom.5:14 as though Paul was applying the phrase, “even over them who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression”, to the time when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. They seek to make the passage refer to the time of the sin, seeking to interpret Paul’s words as saying that all men were not in the garden at that time and therefore could not have sinned after the similitude of Adam’s sin.
That is not what the passage refers to at all. Paul’s
reference is entirely to the time between the casting out of
Would anyone contend that Paul does not say in Hebrews that God considered Levi to have paid tithes to Melchisedec when Abraham paid tithes to him, just as God considered Levi to have been in the loins of Abraham? Of course Paul said that. In like manner, when the race of man consisted of only Adam and Eve, the entire race is considered by God to have sinned because the entire race was in their loins as much so as in the case of Abraham and Levi.
Lastly, we quote from John Hensley’s booklet, pages 28-29, where the author contrasts the teachings of Thomas Williams, J. J. Andrew and Robert Roberts. This section may serve to help define the areas and extent of the differences in belief between the two Christadelphian bodies as viewed by the Amended community.
“Adam’s Transgression and Sentence”
J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams:
Immediate death theory – violent blood shedding death theory – Violent and immediate death averted by skins of slain animals.
‘Dying thou shalt die,’ or a natural death. Mortality sentence unaffected by skins: hope of redemption from the grave.
J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams:
All sinned in Adam; legal status of Adam and Eve transmitted to offspring. Suffer legal condemnation as well as physical. Sin of Adam imputed to his descendants – must be lifted. Adamic or original sin alienates or estranges at birth; children inherit wrath, anger, displeasure, disfavour – objects of anger because of inherited physical nature with impulses to sin in their members.
Only physical consequences with impulses to sin transmitted – legal status or moral condemnation of Adam not transmitted. Not in existence at time of Adam’s sin, not held legally responsible for something not morally responsible for. Sin of Adam not imputed – only one’s personal sins imputed.
Must be baptized for inherited legal condemnation as well as personal sins…Baptism legally cleanses physical sin nature. Flesh legally unclean until cleansed at baptism - flesh then legally clean.
Baptism is for personal sins only, not for pardoning or lifting of Adam’s sin. Cleansing of physical sin-nature reserved till resurrection and physical change to immortality. Flesh with its impulses to sin unclean until immortalized. No legal physical cleansing at baptism.
“Nature of Christ”
J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams:
Sin of Adam imputed to Christ – penalty required. Christ liable (legally subject) to a violent blood shedding death. Personal condemnation, punishment for sin nature. Had to atone, or pay the penalty for his unclean physical nature – penalty for sin nature same as for transgression.
Christ inherited a natural ‘dying thou shalt die’ death. Would have died a natural death from old age if left alone. Raised up to die a transgressor’s death for repentant sinners. Christ not punished or penalized – not individually condemned. Only sin as represented was condemned.
“Baptism of Christ”
Born alienated – needed a legal cleansing of his physical sin nature at baptism – was reconciled to God at his baptism; alienation lifted at baptism.
Christ made an atonement for sin or iniquity. Benefited by it through resurrection, immortalization, exaltation. Not liable (or legally subject) to a violent death until he stretched forth his hands on the cross in obedience to God’s will. His death on the cross a declaration (pointing, showing) of God’s righteous treatment of sin. Ceremonial destruction of sin in all form. Condemned sin by showing what is due sinners. A real live exhibition of what is due sin as a principle.
J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams:
Only those who have the inherited Adamic or legal condemnation lifted through contact with the blood of Christ by coming into covenant relationship with God through baptism are responsible to the resurrection and judgment seat of Christ. Others may be raised arbitrarily, but not as a principle.
Understanding or enlightenment of the gospel of Christ constitutes ground for responsibility to the judgment seat of Christ. The enlightened rejecter will be brought to the judgment seat on this principle.
Closing Comments: In this initial chapter we have reviewed several “early” quotations from Brethren Thomas and Roberts. Those early quotations clearly agree with J. J. Andrew and Thomas Williams. However, if one considers quotations from Brother Roberts beginning in the 1890’s, a change in belief is easily demonstrated. The positions of Brother Roberts cited by John Hensley were all from the time in which Brother Roberts had changed his beliefs. One will notice that he stayed away from the first thirty-five to forty years of Brother Roberts’ writings.
Again at this time, we want to clarify that this effort is not an attempt to establish the Truth by quoting pioneers who were all fallible men. The comparison is made in order to demonstrate who it was that changed their doctrine and departed from the first teachings of Christadelphia in respect to sin and its effect. In consideration of the documented beliefs regarding the nature of sin held by our community for the first 35 to 40 years after the Truth’s revival, it would seem appropriate for the Amended community to confess their departure rather than level accusations against the Unamended. We suggest that the documentation provided will demonstrate that the Unamended community has held fast to those early confessions, believing them to be the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), an examination of which will be presented in greater detail in the following chapters.
THE FLESH OF MAN
Job 14:4; 25:4 “…how can he be clean that is born of a woman?”
Matt. 15:17-20 “…out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…”
Rom.7: 18 “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.”
is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed…”
his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity.”
From The Ambassador (Christadelphian) Vol. v P. 169 an article of nine pages by Brother John Thomas entitled “A Good Confession”:
Question number 120 “What do you think is meant by the devil in these pages? I believe it means sin in the flesh.”
From The Ambassador Vol. v P. 333 (1868), an article by Brother Z:
“How then can flesh and blood be undefiled? It is very easy to answer this by the admission that the flesh and blood of men in general is not undefiled, but those which constitute the body of Jesus were an exception, and not alluded to in Paul’s statement. But stop; is that so? Where is proof that they were an exception? Assertion sometimes sounds plausible, but, however much so, assertion is no proof. We ask again, therefore, where is the proof that the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ was not the same as the flesh and blood of all other men? While the reader is trying to find something like a sound answer, let him not shut his eyes to the New Testament statements on the question. Paul, in Phil ii, 6, says Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man;”
From The Christadelphian Vol. viii (1871) P. 354. An article by D. Handley:
“First, what is the position of every son of Adam? ‘By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation;” so that every son of Adam being under sentence of death, it was not possible for any to escape from it, unless redeemed.’ … The law could not be set aside. It had no power to release the dead until a sacrifice had been offered in the flesh that sinned. Here we see the need of Jesus being in the likeness of sinful flesh... A body in our nature; a life independent of our race; the life of the flesh is given for the life of the world; here is what men of business call twenty shillings in the pound. But, again I say, there could be no virtue in the giving-up of his life, if he were a mere man, or if he had derived his life in any way from the seed of Adam, for all who derived their life from Adam, lost it; for in him all sinned. But Christ in our flesh could suffer the penalty, and then redeem his brethren, for he had never forfeited his life by personal transgression;”
From The Christadelphian Vol. ix (1872) P. 89, Robert Roberts in “Answer to Correspondents Brother Roberts remarks:
“An unjustified sinner can never pass from under the sentence of death by “a life of charity, self-denial, or self-sacrifice.” There is only one way of reaching this result, and that is by the belief and obedience of the truth proclaimed by Paul.”
From The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 361 Brother John Thomas writes:
“The logical consequences resulting from the denial of the true humanity of Jesus, are destructive of the mystery of the gospel; for if the Spirit did not take our nature, but a better nature, then is that better nature not our nature, and redeemed from whatever curse it may have laid under, and reconciled to God. But if the human nature of Christ were immaculate (excuse the phrase, O, reader, for since the Fall, we know not of an immaculate human nature) then God did not ‘send Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh;’ he did not ‘take hold of the seed of Abraham;’ he did not ‘become sin for us;’ ‘sin was’ not ‘condemned in the flesh;’ and ‘our sins were’ not ‘borne in his body upon the tree.’ These things could not have been accomplished in a nature destitute of that physical principle, styled ‘Sin in the flesh’.
From Christendom Astray P. 190 By Robert Roberts:
“…Satan filling the heart was the spirit of the flesh, which is the great Satan or adversary, moving him to the particular line of action which evoked Peter’s rebuke. James defines the process of sin as follows: “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust is conceived, it bringeth forth death” (James I: 14, 15). Hence, the action of lust in the mind is the action of the New Testament Satan, or adversary. All sin proceeds from the desires of the flesh. This is declared in various forms of speech in the Scriptures, and agrees with the experience of every man.”
Robert Roberts in The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) penned a continuing series throughout a number of months. The subject was “The Sacrifice of Christ”. One installment of the article appeared on pages 358-365. On Pages 360-364 Brother Roberts writes concerning Dr. Thomas at various times on the condemnation of sin in the flesh. We quote several paragraphs from that section of the article:
“In Elpis Israel, page 114, the following sentences occur: - ‘Sin, I say, is a synonym for human nature. Hence the flesh is invariably regarded as unclean. It is therefore written, ‘How shall he be clean who is born of woman?’ – (Job xxv, 4.) ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’ (Job xiv, 4.) ‘What is man that he should be clean? And which is born of a woman that he should be righteous? Behold, God putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water?’ (Job xv, 14-16). This view of sin in the flesh is enlightening in the things concerning Jesus. The apostle says, ‘God made him sin for us, who knew no sin’ (2 Cor. V, 21); and this he explains in another place by saying that, ‘He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. viii, 3) in the offering of his body once. – (Heb. x, 10, 12, 14). 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 of those he died for; for he was born of a woman, and ‘not one’ can bring a clean body out of a defiled body; for ‘that’ says Jesus himself, ‘which is born of flesh is flesh.’ (John iii. 6)
According to the physical law, the seed of the unclean woman was born into the world. The nature of Mary was as unclean as that of other women, and therefore could give only to ‘a body’ like her own, though especially ‘prepared of God.’- (Heb. x, 10,12,14). Had Mary’s nature been immaculate, as her idolatrous worshippers contend, an immaculate body would have been born of her; which, therefore, would not have answered the purpose of God; which was to condemn sin in the flesh; a thing that could not have been accomplished if there were no sin there…
‘To say, then, that Jesus was not made in all things like to this – that he had a better nature – is to say that ‘Jesus did not come in the flesh.’ This is the heresy that Elpis Israel is condemned for not teaching.”
In yet another installment of the article in The Christadelphian Vol. x (pages 392-409), Brother Roberts comments on pages 407-409 regarding the nature of flesh, and in this place, the flesh of Christ.
“Now, the type being so wholly unclean, what is the uncleanness of the antitype? The heifer was without spot and had never been put under yoke, pointing to the sinlessness of Christ and of the fact that he was brought into the world for the service of God alone; but what counterpart had the uncleanness? The answer is found in the fact that he was ‘the seed of Abraham,’ the flesh of David, - the sin nature of the condemned Adam, for the condemnation of sin in the flesh. The condemnation rested on him, which was the uncleanness, and this anti-typical uncleanness of the “one great offering” could only be cleansed after the example of the type - by death and burning: the burning being the change effected by the Spirit on the risen body of the Lord after his death for sin. The new theory contains no parallel to this uncleanness of the typical “bodies of those beasts burnt without the camp.
“So with the two goats (Lev. xvi, 15, 21, 26): the one that was burnt without the camp was unclean, necessitating ablution on the part of the man who carried out the body to be burnt; and the one that was allowed to escape alive into the wilderness, as the sin-bearer of the people, imparted uncleanness to the man who let her go. The sins were ceremonially put upon the goats before the goats were fit for sin-bearing, testifying beforehand that there is no such thing as substitution, but that death can only come where condemnation is, and that the antitypical sin-bearer must be clothed with the condemned nature before he could suffer the condemnation.
“But not only the bodies of the beasts, the whole system of law was pre-figurative of Christ. Thus, the priest was his type (Heb. ix. 11); the brazen altar was his type (Heb. xiii, 10); the tabernacle was his type (Heb. viii: 2; ix. 9-11); so with the golden altar of incense, the mercy seat, and the whole furniture of the sanctuary. - (Heb. ix. 1-9).
“Now in view of this, the fact has to be noted that the whole had to be atoned for once a year. (Lev. xvi.) Aaron was first to offer a bullock for himself and his household. - (verse 6.) He was then to offer a goat for the people. - (verse xv.) He was then to make an atonement for the holy place. – (verse xvi.) He was then to go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it, touching it with blood. - (verse xviii). In short, he was to ‘make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and for the priests and for all the people of the congregation.’- (verse 33). As Paul expresses it (Heb. ix. 22), ‘Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the pattern of things in the heavens (that is the things pertaining to the law) should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THESE.’ Now Jesus was the substance of all these. He was “the heavenly things” in compendium; and the testimony of the law, argued out by Paul, is that before his sacrifice, they were unclean, and had to be purified by his sacrifice. The exact meaning of this is not obscure when it is recognized that Jesus was the sin nature or sinful flesh of Adam, inheriting with it the condemnation clinging to it; that sin being thus laid on him he might die for it. He bore in himself the uncleanness of the sanctuary, the altar, the high priest, his own house, and of the whole congregation; for he was born under their curse, being born in their nature, and could therefore bear it. A theory takes all this away, which says that he was not under the curse at all.
“Jesus was born a Jew to redeem those that were under the law. How did he redeem them that were under the law? Was it by dying to compromise a law that had no hold on him? No. Paul states the matter clearly: ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:’ how? ‘It is written, cursed is he that hangeth on a tree.’ (Gal. iii.13). So that in the mode of his death, he came under the actual personal curse of the law. Now, as brother Smith pithily asked: If it was necessary that Jesus should come under the actual curse of the law of Moses to redeem them that were under it, how can he redeem them that were under the Adamic curse except on the same principle, that is, of coming actually under it? The answer is obvious and is fatal to a new theory, which, as Dr. Thomas says, ‘destroys the sacrifice of Christ.’ ”
At this point we wish to quote again from Robert Roberts’ writings in The Christadelphian, Vol. xv (1878) P. 225, for it verifies the position of the pioneers regarding the Adamic curse and condemnation at baptism.
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually, its physical effects remain until “this mortal” (that is this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming…”
We now quote from Vol. x (1873) of The Christadelphian, Pages 460-468. In these pages, Brother Roberts poses 85 questions to Edward Turney, the Father of The Renuciationist or “Free Life” theory. We shall quote the questions that are pertinent to the present subject, and that includes many of them.
“4. Jesus tells us (John x. 18) that he had received a commandment from the Father, to lay down his life, by submitting to be crucified. If Jesus had disobeyed this command, would he not have committed sin? If so, could he have been saved? How was it possible, then, that he could ‘enter into life alone?’”
“7. Peter testifies that ‘Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.’ - (I Pet. iii. 18; iv. 1). What flesh was this? Was not this the flesh of his brethren? -(Eph. v. 30; Heb. ii. 16). If so, was it not mortal flesh? And if ‘mortal flesh,’ was it not as much under destination to die as the mortal flesh of all men? If not, how can it be the flesh of the children?”
“8. Is not our destination to die an inherited physical law in the flesh, resultant in the first instance, from the sin of Adam, and, therefore, called sin? If not, in what sense has death passed upon all men? But it is not a matter of argument. We see it every day with our eyes that a fixed tendency to dissolution is a quality of the flesh of Adam. Can a man partake of the flesh of Adam and not partake of this? Where is the testimony that he can? (An opinion is worth nothing).”
“9. Why was Jesus ‘put to death in the flesh’ of Adam? Paul says that it was that ‘THROUGH DEATH he might destroy that having the power of death.’ If ‘that having the power of death’ was not in his body, how could he ‘through death’ destroy it? On the other hand, how could he be a body of the flesh of Adam without also having in himself that which was ‘the power of death’ in it?”
“10. You say that the body of Christ was not sinful flesh, but ‘a likeness’ of it? In what did the likeness flesh consist if it was not of the same sort? It is testified that he was made in “the likeness of men.’ – (Phil. ii.8.) Would you, therefore, say he was ‘not a man but a likeness of one?’ If not –if you say he was a man, though Paul says he was made in the likeness, why not say he was sinful flesh though Paul says he was sent in the likeness of it?”
“11. Paul says that God sending forth His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, ‘condemned sin in the flesh’ (Rom. vii; 3) (should be viii. 3 WRT) how could this have been done, if there be no such thing as ‘sin in the flesh,’ and if Christ was ‘not sinful flesh but a likeness of it?’ ”
“12. Moses says that Adam begat a son ‘in his own likeness’ (Gen. v. 3): does this mean that the son so begotten was, in any sense, a dissimilar nature to his father? If you say No, as you are bound to, why do you contend that a ‘likeness of sinful flesh’ is dissimilar to sinful flesh itself?”
“14. Peter says ‘he bore our sins in his own body on the tree.’- (I Pet. ii. 24; Isa. liii 6). Does this mean the very acts of disobedience themselves or their effects?”
“15. If you say that our sins were laid on him in the same way as they were laid on the sacrificial animals in the Mosaic system of things (which was a mere ceremonial or artificial imputativeness,) how comes it that those sacrifices never could take away sins? (Heb. x. 2,) and where then is the substance of the shadow? The ceremonial imposition of sins upon the animals was the type; the real putting of sin on the Lamb of God in the bestowal of a prepared sin-body wherein to die, is the substance.”
“18. Even if we ‘sinned in Adam’ in the personal sense contended for on behalf of your theory, did Christ not bare the effect of that as well as all our other offenses? If so, did he not come under Adamic condemnation? If not, is our sin in Adam untaken away, and in that case, how can we be saved?”
“27. Paul says, ‘God hath made Jesus to be sin.’- (II Cor. V. 21). How is this to be understood, if death, the wages of sin, had no hold on him? Was he not made sin in being made of a woman, who was mortal because of sin, and could only impart her own sinful flesh to a son begotten of her?”
“28. Paul says, (Heb. ix. 28,) that Christ will appear the second time without sin unto salvation. This is equivalent to saying that the first time was not without sin. In what sense did he come the first time with sin if his flesh was not sinful flesh, and the law of sin had no hereditary claim?”
“29. If you say it means a sin-offering, can you explain how it comes that a sin-offering is expressed by the word ‘sin,’ if the sin-offering is in no sense sinful? and how do you in that case understand Paul’s statement (Rom. vi. 10,) that when he died, he died unto sin once? He did not die unto a sin-offering; but in making himself a sin-offering, he died unto sin. If the hereditary law of sin wrought in his members unto death, as in the members of his brethren, we can understand how in dying, he died unto sin; for as Paul says (verse 7), ‘he that is dead, is freed from sin,’ sin having no more claim after that;”
“30. Then, suppose we accept your paraphrase of it, and read for ‘sin’, ‘sin-offering,’ in what did the sin-offering consist? Was it not his body, even as Paul says, that ‘we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once’? -(Heb. x. 10). And in what sense can his body be called sin, if it was clean from the hereditary effects of the sin-nature from which it was extracted?”
“31. Paul says (Gal. iv. 4), that Jesus in being born of woman was ‘made under the law’, which law he tells us (2 Cor. iii. 7), was a ‘ministration of death.’ Now, why was Jesus made under this death-ministrant law? If you answer according to Paul, you will say, to redeem them that were under it. Does it not follow from this, that in the divine process of redemption, the Redeemer had to be personally subject to the law to be redeemed from?”
“32. How, on your theory of redemption, as applied to the Edenic law, can you make out this to have been necessary? If the life of a free, uncompromised man, standing outside the Edenic law, could be accepted in substitution for that of offenders under the law, why could not the life of a free, uncompromised man, outside the Mosaic law, have sufficed in the same manner, to redeem those who were under it?”
“34. Presuming you will not say that any of God’s ways are unnecessary, are you not bound to admit from these premises, that before Jesus could deliver those who were under the curse of the law of Moses, it was necessary that he himself should come under that curse, though guiltless?”
“35. If so, was it not equally necessary that he should come personally under the operation of the Adamic curse, in order to redeem those who were under it?”
“36. As a matter of fact, did he not come under that curse in precisely the way we do, in being born of woman condemned?”
“47. It is truly testified that Christ died ‘for us;’ but it is evident that the phrase ‘for us,’ means on account of us, and not instead of us. It is not only testified that he died for us, but that he died for our sins. - (I Cor. xv. 3). Does this mean instead of our sins? So while it is said that he was sacrificed for us (I Cor. v. 7), it is also said he was sacrificed for sins. - (Heb. x. 12). Should you understand he was sacrificed instead of our sins?”
“52. But though the appearance of Jesus in the flesh, and all that he went through, was ‘for us,’ surely you will not deny that in all he did for us, he was individually comprehended as the elder brother of the family. For instance, his birth was for us; ‘hath raised up for us an horn of salvation in the house of his servant, David;’ but was his birth not for himself also? If he had not been born, where would have been the Messiah and the glory to be revealed? I could understand a Trinitarian saying that it was unnecessary for him to be born for himself; but one believing that Christ was Son of God from his mother’s womb, and that the Deity in him was the Father, is bound to recognize the fact that Christ was not only born for us, but born for himself as well.”
“54. So he died for us; but did he not die for himself also? How otherwise could he have been made free from that sin which God laid upon him in sending him forth in the likeness of sinful flesh? Paul says that ‘he that is dead is freed from sin,’ and that ‘in that Christ died, he died unto sin once, ’ being raised from the dead, death hath no more DOMINION over him. -(Rom. vi. 7, 9, 10). Is it not clear from this that the death of Christ was necessary to purify his own nature from the sin-power of death that was hereditarily in him in the days of his flesh?”
“57. As Christ was the anti-type of the high priest who ‘went alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people.’ (Heb. ix. 7), is it not required that his sacrifice should comprehend himself as well as his people in the effect of its operation?”
“60. It is testified that he rose again for our justification, but was it not for his own justification as well? If not, how do you understand Paul’s declaration, that in rising, he was ‘justified in the spirit?’ (I Tim. iii. 16).”
“74a. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the High Priest, offering for himself? – (Lev. xvi. 6)”
“75. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the scarlet which entered into the composition of the veil – (that is to say, his flesh)? - (Heb. x. 20).”
“76. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the uncleanness- imparting bodies of those beasts burnt without the camp? (Heb. xiii.11).”
“77. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the making atonement for the holy place (Lev. xvi. 16)?”
“78. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the atonement made for the altar? (Lev. xvi. 18).”
“79. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the atonement made for the holy sanctuary? (Lev. xvi. 33).”
“80. Can your theory furnish the antitype to the atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation wherein God dwelt? (Lev. xvi. 33).”
“81. If you attempt an answer, do not content yourself with ‘yes;’ but show us wherein all these things which were typical of Christ, have their counterpart in a theory which teaches he had not the condemned nature on him, and therefore, needed not to offer for himself.”
”82. Paul says that as it was necessary that these pattern-things in the Mosaic system should be purged with blood, so it was necessary that the things signified should be purged; but with a better sacrifice, that is the sacrifice of Christ-(Heb. ix. 23). The Christ of your theory needed no ‘purging’: therefore does it not follow that he is not the Christ of Paul, who required purging from the law of sin and death, by his own sacrifice?”
“83. Paul says of Christ, ‘it is of NECESSITY that this man have somewhat also to offer,’ (Heb. viii. 3). You say of your Christ, that he was under no necessity to offer for himself; but might have refused to die, and entered into eternal life alone. Is it not clear that your Christ is not Paul’s Christ, with whom it was a necessity that he should offer up himself, for the purging of his own nature, first from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption (Heb. ix. 12), he might be able afterwards to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him? (Heb. vii. 25).” (End of questions to Edward Turney).
The Christadelphian, Vol. x (1873) Pages 559-562, J. J. Andrew in an article entitled, “How Say You”, approved and printed by Robert Roberts:
“1. ‘...if he did not abolish death, he has not brought immortality to light (2 Tim. ); and if he has not brought immortality to light, there is no hope of a future life for anyone, for ‘there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’- (Acts iv: 12).”
“3. ‘How say you’ that Jesus was not born ‘in Adam?’ If not in Adam by birth, he was not the ‘seed of David,’ who was ‘a son of Adam’ (Matt. 1:1), if not the ‘seed of David,’ he was not the ‘fruit of David’s loins’ (Acts 2:30); if not ‘the fruit of David’s loins,’ he was not the heir to David’s throne (Luke i.32); if not the heir to the throne of David, not the lawful ‘King of the Jews;’ if not the lawful ‘King of the Jews,’ he was an imposter, and, consequently, the Jews were justified in charging him with treason and securing his execution; if an imposter, his title to be future king of the earth is fictitious, his future kingdom is a myth, and the hope of his disciples being the future kings of the earth a fond delusion.”
“6. ‘How say you’ that the ‘Last Adam’ was, in the days of his flesh, in the same position as the first Adam before he fell. If that be true, then he did not ‘know good and evil’ (Gen. iii. 5-7); if he did not know good and evil, he was not ‘tempted in all points like as we are’ (Heb. iv. 15); if not ‘tempted in all points like we are’ he was not ‘made in all points like unto his brethren’ (Heb. ii. 17); …and is not fit to be our intercessor. How, then, if we deny the very basis of his mediatorial office, can we expect him to intercede for us?”
“7. ‘How say you’ that the flesh and blood of Adam was not condemned, but that his life was condemned? If this be true, there must be some part of Adam which was not condemned; if a part only of Adam was condemned, there must be some part of each of his descendants which has not been condemned; and if some part of Adam and his descendants has not been condemned to death, they cannot be entirely mortal, and hence there must be some part of them which does not die.”
“9. ‘How say you’ that the babe born in
“11. ‘How say you’ that Jesus was not made of sin’s flesh? If not made of sin’s flesh, it was impossible for God, by him, to ‘condemn sin in the flesh’ (Rom. viii. 3); if sin could not be ‘condemned in his flesh’, there was nothing in him that could be called ‘sin;’ if nothing in him that could be called sin, he did not ‘bear our sins in his own body on the tree’ II Pet. ii. 24); if sin was not borne ‘in his body on the tree,’ ‘the old man of the flesh’ was not crucified, ‘the body of sin,’ was not destroyed by his death (Rom. vi. 6), sin was not ‘put away by the sacrifice of himself’ (Heb. ix. 26), and consequently there is no hope of a resurrection through ceasing to ‘serve sin’.”
“16. ‘How say you’ that those who are in Christ Jesus ‘sleep’ but do not die? If to fall asleep in Christ is not to die, then the awakening from that sleep (Dan. 12. 2) cannot be described as the ‘resurrection of the dead’ (I Cor. 15. 21), and if their terminable ‘sleep’ be not death, then the ‘perpetual sleep’ of the heathen (Jer. 51. 57) is not death. Moreover, if sleeping in the grave for hundreds and thousands of years be not death, then lying in the grave for three days could not be death; in which case Jesus did not really die: and if he did not really die, he has not yet taken away sin by ‘obedience unto death.’”
“17. ‘How say you’ that ‘sin’ is used in the Scriptures only to describe
actual transgression? If ‘sin’ be applied only to actual transgression, it was
impossible for the Apostle Paul to say that ‘sin wrought in him all manner of
concupiscence,’ that ‘sin’ dwelt in him, and did that which he would not (Rom.
vii. 8, 16, 17), and that by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God ‘condemned sin
in the flesh.’ (
Closing remarks by J. J. Andrew:
“Such are the conclusions which
logically flow from statements made by believers of one of the most subtle,
plausible, and pernicious heresies which have arisen since the ascension of
Jesus Christ to heaven. To embrace it is to take a step from
Concluding Comment: Notice how perfectly Brethren Andrew and Roberts worked together until the change in doctrine took place. Until that occurred, they spoke in unison and without controversy. When the change of teaching took place and Brother Andrew was so badly maligned, we have to keep in mind that the early teachings of Brother Roberts, up until about 1890, were in effect also being maligned. Therefore, we ask, which of the two brethren remained steadfast and unmovable? (I Cor. 15: 68) Likewise, which of the two communities are maligned for remaining steadfast and unmovable along with him?
We encourage brothers and sisters
to peruse the treatment of the subject of the Flesh of Man by Brother Thomas in
Elpis Israel, Pages 127-138, as well as through the three volumes of
16, 18 “Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin,
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the
judgment was by one to condemnation (Greek katakrima), but the free gift
is of many offenses unto justification.”
(Verse 18) “Therefore, as by the
offense of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation (Greek katakrima), even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
(Emphasis is mine).
are in Christ Jesus…” (The rest of this verse is added by the translators.)
(Verse 2) “For the law of the Spirit of life in
Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.”
wicked (Those under the constitution of sin) are estranged from
the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies”.
(We know that infants cannot think or speak. The point is, that is their nature.)
Eccl. 9:3-6 (Regarding the death of the sons of Adam,
verse 3), for the term “men” is from
the Hebrew term “Adam“. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy are now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.”
Comment: The three verses quoted above from Romans chapters 5 and 8 are the only three passages in Scripture where the Greek term “katakrima” occurs. It is very important to consider that in the two verses from Romans 5, Paul clearly states that “katakrima” came to us through the action of “one man”, that is, Adam. The term is nowhere applied to the aspect of personal sins; “katakrima” comes solely from Adam. In Romans 8:1-2 Paul tells us that the condemnation from Adam is no longer against those who are in Christ. The clear message is that “kataktrima” or condemnation from Adam was and is against all who have not been baptized into Christ, for the Scriptures speak only of baptism as the way to get into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). It should be obvious that Paul ascribed the term “condemnation” to the non-physical (legal) aspects of the Adamic sentence, for as we all know, the physical effects of Adam’s sin are still present with us until immortality.
It is also very important to remember that in Rom. 5: 13-14, Paul declares through inspiration that no law existed from Adam to Moses; but that Death reigned as a monarch during that time, even over those that did not themselves sin as did Adam. By this Paul means that in the absence of a divine law (for men cannot transgress a law that is not there), death still reigned, for men died. That was because the “katakrima”; or condemnation from the “one” (Adam) passed upon all men.
The eighth chapter of Romans continues the thoughts and theme of chapter 7. Notice that from Romans 7:15-25, Paul is dealing entirely with the principle of sin in his body that caused him to do the things he did not want to do. He terms it, “sin which is in my members (verse 23). Paul continues this line of reasoning right up to the beginning of chapter eight. The term “therefore” of Rom. 8:1, beyond doubt relates to the statement he had just written in chapter 7 concerning “sinful flesh” and the internal cause of sin that we inherit from Adam that also brings “katakrima” or condemnation upon us. There was no separation of chapters and verses in the original manuscripts. Therefore, after Paul wrote Rom. , he says, “There is, therefore, (that is, because of what I have just pointed out) no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Let us point out that through most of Chapter 5 of the epistle to the Romans, Paul deals almost entirely with the aspect of our inheritance from Adam and then returns to the theme of the cause of personal sin (Rom.7: 25). Chapter 8 is a recapitulation of Chapters 5 through 7.
Everyone will surely agree that the above remarks represent the position of Unamended brethren. Regarding our entrance into Christ Jesus at the time of baptism, there is atonement for:
2. The personal sins that we commit.
Let us now consider whether or not the above reasoning is indeed the historic, unamended beliefs and teachings of Christadelphia. To do that, we must do as we did in the first chapter and examine the teachings of Christadelphia in the days of the pioneers. Readers are invited to see for themselves who has remained steadfast and who has changed.
In Christendom Astray P. 110-111 Brother Roberts wrote:
“Abram, the idolater, was his own – his own to live, like the insect of the moment – his own to die and disappear like the vapor. Abraham, the called of God, was no longer his own, but bought with the price of God’s promise. He entered upon a higher relation of being. He was exalted to a higher destiny, and had imposed upon him Godward obligations, unknown to his former condition. Success or failure in the ordering of his life, was of much greater moment than before. Faith and obedience would constitute him the heir of the world, and the subject of resurrection to immortality; unbelief would make him obnoxious to a severer and farther-reaching displeasure than fell upon Adam.
“In this respect, the children of Abraham by faith, that is, those who walk in the steps of the faith which Abraham had being yet uncircumcised (Rom. iv.12), who, being Christ’s, are Abraham’s seed (Gal. iii. 29), through believing the gospel, and being baptized into Christ, are like their father. By nature children of wrath, even as others, they were in the days of their ignorance ‘without God and without hope in the world’ (Eph. ii. 12), ‘strangers from the covenants of promise’ (ibid), ‘alienated from the life of God though the ignorance that is in them’ (Eph. iv. 18), living without law, and destined, as a result of that condition, to perish without law in Adam; inheriting death without resurrection – death without remedy; having neither the privileges nor the responsibilities of a divine relationship.”
Note: It is apparent that the pioneer position was that “condemnation to perish” meant “inheriting death without resurrection”.
In Elpis Israel P. 130-131: “By Adam’s disobedience the many were made sinners”; that is, they were endowed with a nature like his, which had become unclean, as the result of disobedience; and by the constitution of the economy into which they were introduced by the will of the flesh, they were constituted transgressors before they were able to discern between right and wrong.
“Upon this principle, he that is born of sinful flesh is a sinner; as he that is born of English parents is an English child. Such a sinner is an heir of all that is derivable from sin.
“But men are not only made, or constituted sinners by the disobedience of Adam, but they become sinners even as he, by actual transgression. Having attained the maturity of their nature, they become accountable and responsible creatures….They are thus doubly condemned.
“Thus men are sinners in a twofold sense; first, by natural birth; and next, by transgression. In the former sense, it is manifest that they could not help themselves. They will not be condemned to the Second Death because they were born sinners; nor to any other pains and penalties than those which are the common lot of humanity in the present life. They are simply under that provision of the constitution of sin which says, ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return’. Now, if the Lord God had made no other arrangement than that expressed in the sentence upon the woman and the man, they and all their posterity in all their generations would have incessantly gone to dust and there have remained forever.”
Note: When God did make “another arrangement”, upon whom did the “other arrangement” have effect? The informed know that it had to do with those who, by the blood of Christ, took advantage of that arrangement (John ; Heb. ). The rest remained in the circumstances into which they were born.
Here we quote as we did in the last article, the words of Robert Roberts from The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) P. 225:
“(G.A.B.) Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually its physical effects remain till “this mortal” (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming…”
From The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) Page 97 Brother Roberts in “Answer to Correspondents writes:
“…There is a sense in which a man, to enter the divine relation, ‘must be born again.’ In the order of nature, a man is born into the position of Adam, when condemned to return to the ground. In this position he is an outcast in every sense; both as regards present relation to the Almighty and future destiny. He is an exile and an alien; a mere groundling, existing under a law (of sin and death) which sends him to his original nothingness. This is the natural condition of the race as a whole.”
For nearly a year in The Christadelphian Vol. iii Brother Roberts wrote and published a series entitled “The Judgment Seat of Christ.” The series ran for most of 1866. Then in Vol. iv (1867) P. 230 a series by Brother J. J. Andrew by the same name began. Before quoting from Brother Andrew we wish to take notice of Brother Roberts’ estimation of the articles as stated in the front of the first installment. Notice:
“Though the series has been largely treated in recent numbers of the Ambassador, it has not been exhausted; and its great importance, from both a theoretical and practical point of view, will justify its further and continued exhibition to the mind of the reader, in the following and succeeding articles from the pen of Brother Andrew, of London, who writes in a plain, intelligible, logical, and pleasing style. – Editor.”
Notice as we peruse some of the statements that are made in Brother Andrew’s article. It is certain that as editor, Brother Roberts read the contents of the articles and approved them else they would not have appeared in the magazine. Brother Roberts would later disapprove and denounce most, if not all these points of doctrine that he surely once approved.
On page 233, Brother Andrew makes several observations with which Brother Roberts had found no problem. Notice:
“1 That judgment is to take place at the second advent.
3 That they are to give an account to the judge of their probationary career.
4 That after the decision of the judge has been pronounced, the unworthy servants
are to suffer punishment, and then be destroyed.”
On page 260 Brother Andrew makes the following observation:
“All who are to appear before the judgment seat of Christ will also have lived under a probationary state, in which they were required to fulfill certain obligations, imposed by the Almighty as a condition necessary to obtain eternal life… thus the parallel between the two cases is complete, or, as much so as is necessary to explain how it is that although Christ be acquainted with the destiny deserved by each of his servants, they are nevertheless required to render an account of their stewardship previous to receiving either reward or punishment. ”
Page 261 – “Another object, and a most important one, for which an account is required to be given at the judgment-seat, is for the purpose of impressing on the minds of those amenable to it, the responsible position they occupy as stewards of their Lord and Saviour.”
Page 262 – “On what grounds Paul’s statements about the judgment-seat of Christ are interpreted figuratively, we are quite at a loss to imagine; for not only are they written in as plain and direct a manner as is possible for words to make them, but they are comprised in epistles treating little, if any, on Scripture symbols. “We shall all stand“ (all who have been baptized unto Christ), he says, before the judgment-seat of Christ;” and to prove that he is right, he quotes from the prophet Isaiah, saying, ‘ For as it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess unto God,’ and from this he draws the following conclusion” So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Page 290, “Resurrection of two classes. It is contended by many that the resurrection at the second advent comprises only one class. – the righteous; But we think the Scripture testimony already produced is quite sufficient to disprove the theory. Not only have we ascertained that all “the quick and the dead” (who have been amenable to God’s law) – both just and unjust –will be judged by Jesus Christ at his appearing and his kingdom, but we have also seen that they are all to stand before his judgment seat to give an account of their probationary career, before approval or condemnation. To do this they must be raised from the dead; so that these two facts are alone sufficient to prove that the resurrection at the second advent comprises two classes - the righteous and the wicked.”
Let us demonstrate how perfectly in harmony Brethren Andrew and Roberts were on the point of “Two classes at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
Brother Roberts in The Christadelphian Vol. ii (1865) P. 303:
“There are only two
classes among those who are raised at the revelation of
The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 30, 31:
“…This is the function of Jesus in relation to his servants at his coming…The constituted servants of Christ (by belief of the gospel and baptism) are candidates for the kingdom to be manifested at the appearing of Christ which is to last thereafter a thousand years; and it is meet that they should be arranged in his presence to have it decided, as between them and him when the time comes to enter the kingdom…”
“This is reasonable and befitting of the Deity, who is ‘a God of order’ of the utmost exactitude in all things. If this be so, does it not follow that prior to the judgment-seat, both classes of those subject to judgment occupy the neutral position they hold in the present life, commingling indiscriminately, awaiting the tribunal, none knowing who is who? Is it not evident that the judgment-seat forms the great natural boundary line between probation and exaltation?”
In the quotations of Brethren Andrew and Roberts above regarding the matter of probation being the basis of resurrection, notice that both of their early views can be shown to be in harmony with the teachings of one of the last works of Brother John Thomas. We refer to Anastasis, Page 10 where Brother Thomas remarks: “Having emerged from SHEOL, from the womb of the dawn, the second stage of the process finds them, after the type of the first Adam, ‘standing before the judgment-seat of Christ’ (Rom. xiv. 10), as the result of their having been angelically ‘gathered together unto him’ (Matt. xxiv. 31; 2 Thess. ii. 1). Adam, at the bar of Deity in Paradise, had arrived there through probation, and emergence from a hiding place, whence he had been brought forth by the voice of Yahweh Elohim (Gen. iii. 1-9); so with his descendants; they arrive at the judgment-seat of Christ through probation and emergence from Sheol, in which they have been long hid; and from which the voice of Yahweh Elohim brings them forth that ‘every one of them may give account of himself to Deity’ (Rom. xiv. 12).”
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages 499-503, carried an article by Brother Thomas entitled “Aaron and Christ”. Below, we quote at random from that article:
“When Jesus came to John, he demanded to be buried in water, that he might come out of it an immersed man. With a view to this, he said “Thus it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness;” and the apostle adds, ‘When he was baptized, he went up straightway from the water,’ clearly envincing (sic) that he must first have gone down into it. And now mark this well: After he had done this, God acknowledged him as His Son, and declared Himself well pleased with him. – (Matt. iii. 13 to 17). Jesus had been God’s most excellent Son for thirty years, but He withheld His acknowledgment of Him till he signalized his filial obedience in being baptized.”
“Jesus was a Jew under the law of Moses. When, therefore, he spake of the ‘all righteousness’ to be ‘fulfilled’, he spake of the necessity of doing what was signified by the propheto-symbolic institutions of the Mosaic law.“
“Aaron was forbidden to enter the most holy place of the tabernacle without being adorned and glorified with garments of splendour and holiness, and therefore styled ‘holy garments.’ Nor was he permitted to enter even when habited with these, unless he had been previously baptized, upon pain of death. The law said, ‘he shall wash his flesh in water and so put them on.’ He was not permitted to officiate as high priest in his ordinary attire. He must ‘put off’ and ‘put on’ the holy linen robe; and had he put this on without bathing his flesh in water and proceeded to officiate, this unbaptized high priest of Israel would have been struck with death. When legally invested and arrayed, the Aaronic high priests were ‘holiness to Jehovah,’ and the representatives of the Holy and Just One in his character and priestly office; though oftentimes, as in the case of Caiaphas, by practice of unjust and wicked men. The symbolism relative to the high priest was the ‘righteousness’ to be fulfilled by Jesus before he could enter upon his functions by ‘the power of an endless life’ as high priest, first over the household of God, and afterwards over the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Pages 500-501- “John the baptizer, a greater prophet than Moses (Luke vii. 28), but not so great as Jesus, preached and administered ‘the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.’ Jesus came to him to be baptized of this baptism; for as Moses baptized Aaron and his sons, so the greatest of all the prophets was appointed to baptize Jesus and his brethren. But some may object that Jesus had no sins to be remitted, and had no need of repentance, and was, therefore, not a fit subject for such a baptism. It is admitted without reserve that he had no sins of his own, having never transgressed the law: nevertheless, as the sin bearer of the Abrahamic covenant through whom it was confirmed –(Rom. xv. 8). Jehovah made the iniquity of all ‘the children of the covenant’ to meet upon him, that by his bruise they might be healed. – (Isaiah liii. 5, 6). He was not the sin bearer of every son of Adam that ever lived; but of the true believers from Abel to the day of Pentecost…
“But to return. Jesus, with the sin of the world thus defined, rankling in his flesh, where it was to be condemned to death when suspended on the cross (Rom. viii. 3), came to John as the ‘Ram of Consecration,’ that his inwards and his body might be washed according to the law. – (Exod. xxix. 17, 22). But these representations of the law and the prophets could not have found their antitype in Jesus, if in the days of his flesh he had possessed a holier or purer nature than those for whom he was bruised in the heel. His character was spotless; but as being the seed of the woman, of whom no clean flesh can be born (Job xiv.4), and the seed of Abraham, which is not immaculate, be it virgin or Nazarite, his nature was flesh and blood (Heb. ii. 14), which Paul styles ‘sinful flesh,’ or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle which makes the flesh mortal; and called ‘sin’ because this property of flesh became its law, as the consequence of transgression. ‘God made Jesus sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Cor. v. 21).”
“In this view of the matter, the sin-bearer of the world
indicated was a fit and proper subject of John’s baptism of repentance for
remission of sins. The holy and undefiled disposition of Mary’s son was granted
to him for repentance, in fulfilling the symbolical righteousness of the
law when he descended into the
Pages 502-503- “Shall it be said that it was necessary for the Melchisedec High Priest, who was innocent of transgression, and who, for thirty years, had enjoyed the favor of God and man, to be immersed in a baptism of repentance for remission of sins; but that it was not necessary for the pious, who would compose his household, who are sinners by nature and practice? … An immersed High Priest requires an immersed household. There is one law for both, as there was one baptism for Jesus and his apostles; on whom, as upon all others of the household, the necessity is imperative to fulfill all the righteousness foreshadowed in Aaron and his sons. There is no discharge from this necessity for Jew or Gentile; ‘for thus it behooveth us to fulfill all righteousness.”
We could go on and on with quotations on this subject from the old Christadelphian magazines and other Christadelphian publications. However, we believe that the truth of the matter is verified.
Brothers and sisters, is it not easy to see that from the time of the revival of the truth in these last days, the truths that are held today by the Unamended community have been taught and held from the time of Brother Thomas? Over the years some have departed into other doctrines. Jesus is even at the door; let us be steadfast and unmovable (I Cor. ).
LEGAL CONDEMNATION FROM ADAM
Rom. , 18 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” “Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
I Cor.15: 21-22 “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Comment: It is necessary that we recognize that the sentence against Adam included the certainty of dying, being prone to sin, accident, sickness, and disease. To ascertain if either of those principles is that to which Paul refers by the use of the term “condemnation” (katakrima), one needs only to ask the following questions:
Answer: Most certainly!
Answer: Yes they are.
Answer: Most certainly they are.
Answer: Most certainly they are.
Since we know that Paul is not teaching the error that baptism into Christ immortalizes us and abolishes the physical sentence that we inherit from Adam, it is clear that Paul’s reference is not to the physical aspect of Adam’s sentence, but to a non physical (legal) aspect.
However, occasionally someone will express the opinion that Paul is speaking only prospectively, not about the results that exist after the time of baptism.
It seems that the Deity through his servant Paul anticipated that error, and, to prevent such a hypothesis the term “now” is written for our learning. Beyond doubt Paul teaches by inspiration that those in Christ Jesus no longer have “condemnation” against them. However, such persons still have the physical effects of the sentence, that is, they are still prone to sin, death, accident, sickness and disease. Therefore, Paul’s reference to “condemnation” does not refer to those physical principles.
There is beyond doubt, something connected with the sentence, which is correctly termed “legal”, (or “legally”) that is beyond the physical sentence upon Adam and his posterity. Therefore, we must be watchful for something connected to the sentence other than the physical characteristics.
Surely we have found that principle when we acknowledge the truth taught by Solomon in Eccl. 9:3-6, where he declared that the death of the sons of Adam is eternal. In verse 3, the term “men” is translated from the Hebrew term “Adam”. It is declared in verse 6 that those who die in that condition, “have no more portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Paul agreed with this when he penned the truth that apart from the effect of the work of Christ, even those “fallen asleep in Christ are perished”, that is, “if Christ be not raised”, they would not be resurrected (I Cor. 15: 16-18); and also, “For in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor.15: 22).
We often hear the mistaken hypothesis that Paul in verse 22 means that in Christ shall all be made immortal. However, such a theory proves too much, for it would then teach that everyone who is in Christ by baptism will be made immortal. If the idea of the resurrection of enlightened rejecters is correct, Paul would, therefore, be teaching that only the enlightened rejecter could be rejected at the judgment seat, for all “in Christ” would be promised that they will be accepted and immortalized. We do not believe that even those who amended their beliefs would accept that position. Certainly, the Unamended would not accept it.
In I Cor. and II Tim. 1: 9, Paul tells us that we “have been saved”. Notice the past tense of the statement. There is, therefore, a present application of salvation to those “in Christ”. Brethren, do we not realize that Paul is speaking of the same principle of which he speaks in Rom. 8:1? He is saying that for those “in Christ”, the eternity of the death sentence has been removed, therefore, the condemnation of the eternal death sleep is gone and we are “saved”, or released from that perpetual sleep that holds all the sons of Adam in the grave, that is, all of whom died “in Adam” (Isa. 26:13-14; Jer, 51:39, 57). We are however, still subject to the physical effects of the sentence from Adam.
Leviticus reveals that two things caused the need for atonement, even for God’s holy things, i.e., the sanctuary, the altar and everything with which the unclean Israelites came into contact. (See also Lev. 16: 17-19, 33)
Unclean? Not one.)
Question: If the Adamic inheritance had that defiling effect upon everything with which it came into contact, causing the need for atonement, how could the condition of the same unclean body not need atonement also? We see in the above passages that the uncleanness did cause a need for atonement.
Notice that throughout the New Testament, there is proven to be the same two-fold need for atonement. There is, therefore, a need for atonement for the body of sin as well as for personal sins committed by the body of sin.
Romans. 6:3-6 -Notice that only the destruction of the body of sin styled “the old man” is mentioned in this passage. Therefore, how can we ignore the old man and the destruction of the body of sin as mentioned in this passage?
Colossians. -13 -Notice here the treatment of the “body of sin” by means of circumcision made without hands is prominent in verse 11, while forgiveness of trespasses is prominent in verse 13.
Colossians 3: 9, 10 “…seeing that ye have put off (1) the old man (2) with his deeds.”
Hebrews “…hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies (of sin) washed with pure water.”
Titus 3: 5 “…the washing of regeneration…” (born again, first out of water, and then of the Spirit; see John 3:3-8).
Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray, P. 115:
“The endeavor is to realize, in the light of reason and
Scripture testimony, the varying shades of responsibility created by the
dealings of the Almighty with a race already exiled from life and favor under
the law in
Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray, P. 111:
“In this respect, the children of Abraham by faith, that is, those who walk in the steps of the faith which Abraham had being yet uncircumcised (Rom.iv. 12), who, being Christ’s, are Abraham’s seed (Gal. ), through believing the gospel, and being baptized into Christ, are like their father. By nature children of wrath, even as others, they were in the days of their ignorance ‘without God and without hope in the world’ (Eph. ii. 12), ‘strangers from the covenants of promise’ (ibid), ‘alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them’ (Eph. iv. 18), living without law, and destined, as a result of that condition, to perish without law in Adam; inheriting death without resurrection – death without remedy; having neither the privileges nor the responsibilities of a divine relationship.”
From The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) P. 225:
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually its physical effects remain till ‘this mortal’ (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming.”
Robert Roberts, Law of Moses P. 237, Speaking here of
the burnt offering by which the flesh of sin is typically destroyed (as in
“It was an act of worship on the part of a mortal being,
apart from guilt of specific offense. Thus Noah, saved from destruction by the
flood, ‘took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt
offerings on the altar’ (Gen. 8:20). Thus also the test of Abraham’s faith was
to offer Isaac ‘for a burnt offering’ (Gen. 22:2). That burnt offering should be required in the absence of particular
offense shows that our unclean state as the death-doomed children of Adam
itself unfits us for approach to the Deity apart from the recognition and
acknowledgement of which the burnt offering
was the form required and supplied. It was ‘because of the uncleanness of the
We ask this very searching question, “Why would an atonement be needed for an unclean Israelite in order for approach to the Deity, and not for a Gentile who was born just as unclean?” Both the Mosaic law and the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus reveal a ritual that signifies the destruction of the body (flesh) of sin, that is, the burnt offering under Moses and baptism (Rom. 6:6) under Christ. We should not fail to follow through with the appointments of God. We are not at liberty to apply his appointments only where it is convenient for us to do so.
Law of Moses P. 238:
“The type involved in complete burning is self- manifest: it
is consumption of sin-nature. This is the great promise and prophecy and requirement of every form of the truth: the
destruction of the body of sin (
The Ambassador, (later named The Christadelphian) Vol. iii (1866) P. 190- Brother Robert Roberts writes:
“…If this be so, he is ignorant of Paul’s gospel, and destitute of an important constituent of the ‘word of God’s truth,’ by which by the washing of water in baptism, a man is cleansed and begotten, as a kind of first fruits of His creatures - (James i.18; Eph. v. 26)”.
The Ambassador Vol. vi (1869) P. 216 Brother John Thomas wrote:
“His flesh undefiled by sin is constitutionally the same as the flesh of his posterity defiled legally thereby. The Christ-Deity veiled himself in the Adamic nature defiled by sin, in order that he might condemn sin to death in the nature which, though created ‘very good’, had legally defiled itself by transgression of the Edenic law. This purpose would have been defeated if he had veiled himself in a clean nature. To say that the Man, Jesus, was corporeally clean, or pure, holy, spotless, and undefiled, is in effect to say that he was not ‘made of a woman’; for Scripture teaches that nothing born of a woman can possibly be clean: but it is credibly testified that he was ‘born of a woman’; he must therefore necessarily have been born corporeally unclean. Hence it is written of him in Psa, li. 5, ‘I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ He therefore prays, ‘Purge me with Hyssop and I shall be clean, Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Washed thoroughly from his (corporeal) iniquity, and ‘cleansed from his sin;’ so that now he has a clean nature.”
Herald Of The Kingdom And Age To Come, 1854 P. 126 - Brother John Thomas wrote:
“In attentively considering Jesus,
however, we know him only as Son of God and Mary. For thirty years he lived
among men as a mechanic, working at his father-in-law’s trade, being in favor
with all his acquaintances, and without reproach. During all this time there
was no manifestation of God through him. He cast out no demons, performed no
miracles, and delivered no message to the people before his immersion in the
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873)- Pages 500-503 there appeared an article, Aaron and Christ by Brother John Thomas in which he wrote the following:
Page 500- “When Jesus came to John, he demanded to be buried in water, that he might come out of it an immersed man. With a view to this, he said, ‘Thus it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness;’ and the apostle adds, ‘When he was baptized, he went up straightway from the water; clearly evincing (sic) that he must first have gone down into it. And now mark this well: After he had done this, God acknowledged him as His Son and declared Himself well pleased with him –(Matt. iii. 13-17.) Jesus had been God’s most excellent Son for thirty years, but He withheld His acknowledgement of Him till he signalized his filial obedience in being baptized.”
Page 501 - “…Jesus, with the sin of the world thus defined, rankling in his flesh, where it was to be condemned to death, when suspended on the cross (Rom. viii. 3), came to John as the ‘Ram of Consecration,’ that his inwards and his body might be washed according to the law, (Exod. xxix. 17, 22.) But these representations of the law and the prophets could not have found their antitype in Jesus, if in the days of his flesh he had possessed a holier or purer nature than those for whom he was bruised in the heel. His character was spotless; but as being the seed of the woman, of whom no clean flesh can be born (Job 26:4) and the seed of Abraham, which is not immaculate, be it virgin or Nazarite, his nature was flesh and blood (Heb. ii. 14), which Paul styles ‘sinful flesh,’ or ‘flesh full of sin’, a physical quality or principle which makes the flesh mortal; and called ‘sin’ because this property of flesh became its law, as the consequence of transgression. ‘God made Jesus sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Cor. v. 21.)”
“In this view of the matter, the sin bearer of the world indicated was
a fit and proper subject of John’s baptism of repentance for remission of sins.
The holy and undefiled disposition of Mary’s son was granted to him for repentance, in fulfilling the symbolical
righteousness of the law when he descended into the
“But the symbolic righteousness of the Mosaic law not only required the High Priest to put on the holy vestments by having his body baptized, but it also commanded his household to be baptized into theirs also. The law reads thus: ‘This is the thing Jehovah commanded to be done; and Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.”
Pages 501-502 -“Aaron and his family were their nation’s priestly household; and it was the office of the high or chief priest to make atonement or reconciliation, first for himself, then for his household, and lastly for all the congregation of Israel; but admission in the holy and most holy places was only permitted to the baptized; they must bathe their flesh in water, and so put on their holy garments. Hence, all Israel’s priests were immersed persons; and so also all that shall be their priests and kings in the age to come, and have power over the Gentiles, must be immersed likewise.” (End of quotations from Brother Thomas’ “Aaron And Christ”).
Around the year 1867 the
Page 46 of the work before it was amended (changed):
“To such, it is the means of that present (legal) union with Christ, which is preparatory to perfect assimilation at the resurrection.”
NOTE: The term “legal” no longer appears in Proposition xxxii of A Declaration. The reader today has no reason to suspect that those who amended the work made the change without reference to that fact. This causes their members to believe them when they tell them that “legal” deliverance at baptism from Adamic condemnation was a new doctrine, when actually, it was the first position of the brotherhood at the time of the revival of the truth. We will, in a later chapter, quote from this work showing that the amendment regarding resurrection teaches a different doctrine than the proposition first taught.
We must resist the urge to continue copious quotations from Volume x through Vol. xiii of The Christadelphian. Those are from the years 1873 through 1877. It would take at least 10 more pages to quote all that would be pertinent to this issue. It would be redundant to make such an extensive addition to what we have already quoted, for the magazine continued during that era to teach the same doctrines that are held by the Unamended fellowship today. However, due in part to changes in these old works, many Amended Christadelphians do not even suspect that the beliefs of the original Christadelphians were the same doctrines that are condemned as Unamended beliefs today.
We now quote once again, the words of Brother Robert Roberts from Vol. xv (1878) of The Christadelphian P. 225:
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually, its physical effects remain till ‘this mortal’ (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at this coming…”
The reader will not find these truths in very many Amended works or teachings today.
Eph. 2:12-13 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Psalms 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”
Comment: After the “amendment” to the Statement of Faith, those opposed to
Unamended beliefs have often quoted Eph. 4:18 and Col. 1: 21 regarding the
subject of “alienation”. This is an
endeavor to substantiate the position that alienation from God does not come upon men as a result of
inheritance from our first parents who sinned in
It is important to notice that neither Eph. nor Col. 1: 21 says that men are alienated from God as a result of ignorance or wicked works. Notice that Colossians says that because of “wicked works” the brethren had been alienated in their minds. Therefore, Paul speaks of their attitude, not the fact of alienation from God. Notice also that Eph. 4:18 specifically says that because of the ignorance that was in them, the Ephesians had been alienated from the life of God…” In other words, Paul tells them that they had no connection with the holy, Godly life that those in Christ are supposed to live. Neither passage says anything about alienation from God as a result of ignorance or wicked works. Psalms 58:3 clearly declares that men who are born into the constitution of sin are estranged (aliens) from the womb.
regarding the alienation to which Paul refers in Eph. 2:11-12, he reminds the
Ephesian brethren that alienation had been the misfortune of every one of them
until such time as they had become related to the Israelitish hope by means of
the sacrifice of Jesus, whose blood was the “blood of the everlasting
covenant”, and the means whereby the promises of God had been confirmed to
Israel (Rom. 15:8). He does not once refer to ignorance or wicked works as the
cause of the alienated non-Israelitish condition of those former Gentiles. His
point is that it was their natural condition resulting from the fact that they
had not been a part of the
We set about now to substantiate that this understanding of alienation was the position of the pioneers as well as the position of the Christadelphian body until the 1890’s and the time of the amendment to the Statement of Faith. We invite readers to assess if the following pioneer quotations reflect the Amended position; or if they clearly agree with the Unamended position and beliefs today.
Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray - P. 111: “…By nature children of wrath, even as others, they were in the days of their ignorance ‘without God and without hope in the world’ (Eph. ii, 12), ‘strangers from the covenants of promise’ (ibid), ‘alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them’ (Eph. iv. 18), living without law, and destined, as a result of that condition, to perish without law in Adam; inheriting death without resurrection –death without remedy; having neither the privileges nor the responsibilities of a divine relationship.”
Christendom Astray - P.113 “Jewish responsibility was greater than that of the cast-off descendants of the
rejected groundling of
The Christadelphian -Vol. xv (1878) P. 225, Bro. Roberts – “As soon as the treaty is signed, they are legally at peace.”
Worship In Relation To The Alien - by A. T. Janaway published in 1887: “Apart from divine guidance, the mind of man invariably works in a way baneful to himself and displeasing to God.”. ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’. Of this we have much Bible proof. Adam discovered it at the expense of his life; and the law of sin and death instituted at the time of the transgression has brought the lesson down to us. Man was originally made upright, but he has since ‘sought out many inventions.’ Through rebellion at the outset of his career, he separated himself from divine favor and intercourse, and became physically and mentally impure…” The Scriptures are exceedingly emphatic with regard to the present natural condition of man. They define it as one of alienation from God (Col. 1: 21), of wrath and death.”
The Christadelphian - Vol. iv (1867) P. 23, Bro. Roberts: “Born
under condemnation in Adam and left to the poor resources of the natural mind
which in all its history has never originated anything noble apart from the
ideas set in motion by ‘revelation,’ they were unable to elevate themselves above
the level on which they stood as any tribe of animals. How just and merciful,
then, of the Deity to ‘wink at’ the times of this ignorance (Acts xvii. 30)
which alienated from the life of God (Eph. v. 18) (sic) and allowing flesh
under such circumstances to pass away like the flower of the field, that the
place thereof might know it no more (Psa. ciii. 15,16)…’mankind is perishing
under the law of sin and death, and in Adam has no more to do with a future
state than the decaying vegetation, which year by year, chokes the forests and
passes away like the winter. The endeavor is to realize in the light of reason
and scripture testimony, the varying shades of responsibility created by the dealing of the
Almighty with a race already exiled from life and favor under the law of
The Christadelphian, Bro. Roberts - Vol. iii (1866) P. 97 – “In the order of nature, a man is born into the condition of Adam, when condemned to return to the ground. In this position, he is an outcast in every sense, both as regards relation to the Almighty and future destiny. He is an exile and an alien; a mere groundling, existing under a law (of sin and death) which sends him to his original nothingness. This is the natural condition of the race as a whole.”
Let us be aware of the fact that God cannot look upon uncleanness or defilement in any form. Even David who was the legitimate son of Jesse declared in Psa. 51: 5: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”.
The Christadelphian - Vol. v Pages 155-161 reflects a “Catechism” written by Brother John Thomas. We quote Question number 45 along with the answer that Brother Thomas supplies:
“45. - But if a man believes the gospel of the kingdom of the Deity and Name of Jesus Christ, and upon this belief has been duly immersed, is he not IN CHRIST JESUS, and free from all liability to condemnation?
“Such a person is, without question, ‘in Christ Jesus’; and, on being introduced into him, the sinner who out of Christ is “condemned already’ (John 3:18), passes from that condemnation, and comes under the sentence of “justification of life” –(Rom. v: 18; viii: 1.) Being purged from his old sins” (II Pet.: i.9), he is no longer liable to punishment on their account; he has ‘passed from death unto life,’ in the sense of having obtained a ‘right to eat of the tree of life.’
The Christadelphian - Vol. v (1868) P. 163 is an article entitled The Good Confession along with supplied answers that a candidate for baptism would be expected to give. We quote questions numbers 4, 5, 123 and 125:
“4. – But what do you think immersion will do for you? It will unite me to Christ. I believe it was the way appointed for men to put on the name of Christ, and obtain the remission of their sins.”
“5. – Then you do not suppose you have any connection with Christ at present? No; I consider I am in Adam in my present position, and therefore under condemnation to return to the dust forever.”
“123. – How do we suffer the consequences of Adam’s transgression? Because that punishment was a physical one, inheriting in his flesh, and we, as his descendants, necessarily inherit the qualities of that nature.
“125 – You perceive that we are all transgressors from the womb? Yes, I believe all have sinned, and are, therefore, as Paul gives us to understand under the curse of death for our own sins, as well as through connection with Adam.”
The Christadelphian - Vol. v (1868) P. 199: “It is strange on the ‘orthodox’ hypothesis, that the sentence pronounced should have reference to the body only, and that no illusion whatever should be made to the punishment of the real offender, the immortal soul. From the words quoted, it will be seen that our first parents, after the transgression, became essentially mortal, and as a consequence, all who descended from them are likewise mortal, for every tree and every animal bears fruit after its kind. In this mortal state, arrived at by sin, men are sinners and alienated from God. All claim to a future life has been forfeited, both through their first parents and through individual transgression, all having sinned.”
Here we must closely consider Psa.51: 5, “Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” When the lawfully married father and mother of any individual conceives a child, by what criteria could anyone assert that the act by which that conception and subsequent birth is effected, can be correctly referred to as either sin or iniquity? The answer is, of course, it cannot, for personal “sin is the transgressions of law” (I John 3:4). Therefore, the legal conception of a child by a father and mother who are husband and wife is in accordance with God’s provision and does not transgress God’s law. Beyond even a shadow of a doubt, David’s statement in the passage speaks of the fact that every individual who has descended from Adam and Eve were conceived and born into a sinful, unclean condition, for “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one!” (Job 14:4; 25:4) We repeat, everyone is born into:
1. The constitution of sin.
The nature of Adam after the fall along with the
condemnation that Adam brought
upon all his descendants which is correctly referred to as “sin that dwelleth in me.”
(Rom. , 23).
Either of the above concepts can be correctly referred to either by the term “sin” or “iniquity”. Now let us add one more passage to the equation, the passage in Hab. 1:13. Speaking of God the passage says:
“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity; wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
Surely we see in the above the Scriptural reason why either physical or moral defilement alienates anyone or anything from God. Everyone who has ever been born into the constitution of Adam possesses the physical uncleanness to which Adam fell (Job 14:4; Proposition 5 of both the BASF and the BUSF). God cannot look upon or allow into his presence anything unclean without some form of covering that is available through atonement.
see this truth in God’s dealings with
These passages prove that more than the healing of the disease was necessary before the person was considered to have been cleansed. Careful notice should first be taken of the fact that the person with the defilement was (alienated) outside the camp (14:3). The individual was, therefore, banished with no contact with the things of God. After the disease existed no longer, the balance of the chapter shows the further need for atonement.
notice that the point at which the individual was declared to be free of the
disease, was not the point at which he was allowed back into the camp of
However, the balance of the chapter shows that the individual must still offer appropriate sacrifice in order for him to be thoroughly “cleansed.” Can there be any doubt that this refers to the fact that even though we who are in Christ by the initial cleansing at baptism, we are still waiting for our final cleansing of immortality to be received at the return of Jesus? That is when the physical effects of Adam’s transgression are removed.
it never be voiced among us that God’s provision for our redemption does not
include the initial washing of our body in water (Heb. ; Titus. 3:5) as we receive a cleansing atonement from the effect of the
death and defilement of Adam’s sin. We learn from Lev. 16:16-19, 33 that the
naturally defiled condition of the children of
But what of the claim that sin and iniquity are not really sin themselves, but are terms of metonymy? Do not all these passages in Habakkuk and Leviticus treat the matter of defilement and uncleanness as being just as offensive to God as actual transgression? In fact, we ask again, How can it be that Psalms 51:5 refers to personal transgression by either the term iniquity, or the term sin, since David was the offspring of two legally married parents? In the event we are given the answer that the passage is actually applicable only to the birth of Jesus, then we need only to ask, “Was it a matter of personal transgression on Mary’s part to be with child by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit”?
The same principles were true of any other kind of defilement, as the 15th chapter of Leviticus demonstrates.
Col. 3:9-11- “Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man (Adam) with his deeds; And have put on the new man (Christ), which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian or Scythian, bond or free:” (Compare with Gal. 3:27-29)
I Cor. 15:22- “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Rom. - “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Comment: The Scriptures clearly divide mankind into two classes since a person is considered by God to either be “In Adam” or “In Christ”. As we shall presently demonstrate, it was at first believed, by most if not all brethren, that a person can be only in one state at a time; i.e., that a person must pass “out of Adam” in order to get “into Christ”. However, that is no longer the case, for in order to counter Unamended (unchanged) doctrine on the subject, Amended thought began to embrace the doctrine that when a person enters into Christ, he still remains in Adam because he is still mortal. By this thinking, one never gets out of Adam until immortalization.
A question comes to mind at this point. If being “in Adam” means being mortal, then does being “in Christ” mean being immortal? It should be obvious when we ponder that matter that being either in Adam or in Christ speaks of being in one of two constitutions, either in the constitution of Adam, or in the constitution of Christ. The Scriptures speak of the matter in those terms as demonstrated above in Col. 3:9-11, i.e., “put off the old”, “put on the new”.
Christendom Astray Page 409 - Brother Robert Roberts writes: “There are other similar references to baptism throughout the epistles; but these are sufficient to show that whatever may be the difficulty of modern professing Christians in discovering any significance or efficacy in the ordinance of baptism, the apostles saw much of both. They recognized in it a constitutional transition from one relationship to another, - a representative putting off of the old man, or Adam nature, and a putting on of the new man, or Christ, who is the ONE COVERING NAME...”
Christendom Astray Pages 170, 171 - “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. ). Entering into Christ, we are made one with him, and become heirs to the privileges of the position which he has established in himself, after the analogy of the woman who, at her betrothal, obtains a prospective title to that which belongs to the man to whom she is betrothed. In the first Adam, we inherit death without the possibility of retrieving our misfortune, so long as we remain connected with him. In the last Adam (who, however, it must always be borne in mind, ascended to the last Adam position from the first Adam state), we obtain a title to eternal life. Hence the words of the apostle Paul: ‘As in Adam all die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive,’ that is, the ‘all’ of whom he is speaking, viz., believers of the truth, as may be seen by the context (I Cor. xv. 22, 23), and only those who are found worthy at the judgment-seat. He is speaking here of being made alive immortally, not of mere resuscitation of mortal life to judgment, of which many will be the subjects who have never been Christians, but who are among the responsible unjust by reason of their privileges. By nature we are in Adam. By the gospel and baptism we pass ‘into Christ.’ This is God’s appointment; and we cannot be saved except by compliance with His appointments.”
Comment: In the above quotation, one can detect that Brother Roberts endeavored to show why his explanation was a little different than the statement of the Apostle Paul. Paul said, “In Christ shall ALL be made alive”. Whatever Paul means, ALL in Christ will experience it according to the passage. Since neither Brother Roberts nor any other Christadelphian believed that everyone who passes into Christ will be immortalized, it was needful to seek to justify interpreting Paul as saying something other than he said. We find it needful to point out that if Paul spoke of immortal life, then all who are baptized into Christ will obtain it. Even Brother Roberts pointed out that NOT ALL in Christ would obtain immortal life.” So, the pioneers and the Unamended today are agreed on that point. Brother Roberts clearly displayed a little uncertainty as he discoursed on the meaning of these passages. Also, regarding Bro. Roberts statement regarding some who were not Christians, we must keep in mind that no servant of God prior to the time indicated in Acts 11:26 was identified as a Christian.
In the Andrew/Roberts debate in 1894, Page 32 question 686, Brother Roberts began to back off from some of his earlier writings. However, even then he agreed with the principle of passing out of Adam into Christ. When Brother Andrew read him his words from page 225 of The Christadelphian (1878) regarding freedom from Adamic condemnation at baptism, he replied, “I fully endorse that.” Yet, he appears to be distancing himself from his own earlier writings and the first doctrines of the brotherhood. Notice:
Questions 687. “Then a man at baptism is legally freed from Adamic condemnation, and receives, as an additional thing, the remission of his own individual sins. Is that so or not?
–You see how nicely you can put a question when you see the point. I mean to say I fully endorse that statement. The word ‘legally’ is a little hazy. I am not quite sure whether I did not borrow that from you, Brother Andrew.”
We wish to interrupt the flow of the questions at this point to ask the reader to carefully consider Brother Roberts’ statement above. Does the reader realize what we have if we remove the term “legally” from the equation? What we have without the term “legally” is the worst error that has ever come into Christadelphia, or even into the whole of Christendom. We print Brother Roberts’ statement below without the term “legally”. Here it is:
“A man is freed from Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins…”
Now, without the aspect of “legal” deliverance from Adamic condemnation, (which Brother Roberts was not presenting at the time he wrote the statement), what else is left that by removal could “free” an individual from Adamic condemnation at baptism? All of us who are baptized are still prone to sin. We are still mortal, deathful creatures. We are still prone to sickness and death, etc. If Brother Roberts had not really meant that we are “legally” freed from that condemnation at baptism (as Paul declared that we are in Rom. 8:1-2), he could only have meant that we are completely freed from Adamic condemnation at baptism. No religious denomination on earth endorses or declares such an error. It is regrettable that Brother Andrew did not catch that, and present to that assembly the ramifications of the suggestion. However, in the heat of debate and under the stress of the moment, it is understandable that he did not.
Question 690. “Do you adhere to this statement that he is legally freed from Adamic condemnation?
– I understand God gives the obedient believer a clean slate, as you might say.
Question 691. “What is wiped out?
– Everything that stands against us in any way, whether from Adam or ourselves.”
Question 692. “Then there is a passing out of Adam in Christ at baptism?
There are many more quotations on both these subjects that could be included. However, we feel that our point has been made and all readers should easily be able to discern that the pioneer Christadelphians believed and taught the same doctrines that are taught by Unamended Christadelphia today.
We wish to again make it abundantly clear that we are not quoting the pioneer brethren as proof of the issues. Rather, we quote them to demonstrate that early Christadelphia and the Unamended community today are in harmony.
Why Do Men Die?
“Rom. reminds us that ‘the wages of sin is death’. This follows directly from God’s judgment on Adam, after his disobedience, as recorded in Gen. 3:19 – ‘till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; and unto dust shalt thou return.’ We do not die because of Adam’s sin. His sin simply brought mortality into man’s experience. Rom. confirms that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. We are all responsible for our own failings and as such accept God’s justice.”
The implication of the above statement is that only if a person commits sin, then and then only will he die. Does it therefore follow, that if Jesus had remained sinless and not been crucified, no matter how old he got to be, he would have lived forever? Would the same thing be possible for any other individual if only they could remain apart from committing sin? That is just too fantastic to accept or imagine. How then do we explain the death of newborn infants or other children who have not yet sinned?
Members of the Central Amended community explain the phrase “for that all have sinned” as though the phrase read, “because all have sinned”, that is, death passed upon all men “because all men sin”. The passage does not read in such a manner, but is rather, stating why it is that men are subject to die. In verses 13-14 of Romans chapter 5, Paul explains that in the absence of law between Adam and Moses, sin was not imputed as far as death is concerned, but that men died anyway, even those who did not sin “after the similitude of Adam’s transgression”, or in transgression of a divine law as Adam had done. Would anyone dare disagree with the inspired Apostle Paul when he said that death reigned like a monarch over those who had not done as Adam had done in sinning under law? Would we dare say that those men between Adam and Moses died because they themselves sinned, that they would not have died except for the fact that they themselves sinned? That would be to disagree with the very point that Paul was making, thus rendering null and void Paul’s inspired message. Articles are in hand by Amended writers that labor hard to apply Rom. 5:14 to all men of every dispensation, applying the words to men who sin differently than Adam, thus saying in effect that they died because they themselves sinned (as though they would not have died except that they had sinned). We must not do such violence to God’s holy word.
Articles also in hand often refer to an editorial footnote placed at the bottom of Page 129 of Elpis Israel regarding Brother John Thomas’ rendering of “eph ho”, which he says should be rendered “in whom all have sinned”. Because the AV version has a marginal rendering that agrees with Brother Thomas, the Elpis Israel footnote reads, “The marginal reading of the AV cannot be sustained. The Revised Version has struck it out.”
It is strange that this denial is placed at the bottom of page 129 without some form of proof that it cannot be sustained. The revised Version does not say one word about the possibility of the translation of the AV. It simply gives another reading. Therefore, the Revised Version did not “strike it out”.
Brother Ted Farrar shortly before his death corresponded
with two Professors of Greek. They were, Professor James Diggle, Litt. F.B.A.
Even more important than that is the fact that the phrase “have sinned” from the Greek term “pantes hmaton” (pantes ematon) is in the Greek aorist tense. The Greek aorist tense is strictly a past occurrence, a one-time event. We quote from Brother Ted Farrar in his booklet entitled The Imputation of Adam’s Sin (P. 4) as he remarks concerning a work in Essentials of New Testament Greek by Ray Summers P. 66-67:
“A similar observation is made in Essentials of New Testament Greek (Ray Summers; p.66-7), ‘The imperfect is a moving picture; the aorist is a snapshot’. This one-time historical punctiliar event - this snapshot - is the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. The idea of a ‘moving picture’, of all men sinning over time, is excluded by the usage of the aorist tense in this controversial passage of Scripture.”
It appears that Robert Young’s literal translation was careful to correctly treat the aorist tense in Rom. for he renders the passage as follows:
“Because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin.” (Underlining Added).
Thus we see that Dr. Young gives the correct translation, giving the aorist tense its true meaning and making it impossible to force one’s private interpretation into the matter. The correct meaning of the passage therefore is that when Adam sinned the entire race sinned, that is, all men of all time suffered the effects because in him the whole race sinned. Paul did not at all mean that all men do sin continually as time passes by, (as a moving picture). He clearly says that all men did sin when Adam sinned, the “snapshot” principle.
Let us examine the matter as it is suggested in the quotation from The Christadelphian (2002). If we are mortal because of Adam’s sin, but do not die unless we ourselves sin, should we expect to see anyone that is morally upright dying as a young person? The truth of the matter is that some horrendous sinners live to be very old people while other persons, even believers in the truth, die as very young individuals. How do we explain that? For that matter, why do very young children who do not yet have personal sins imputed to them die? The claims regarding everyone dying because they themselves sin, ignores an important scriptural truth.
For instance, in Luke 13:2-4, Jesus challenges the idea that persons who died were sinners above anyone else, and informs them that repentance was necessary for everyone so that they will not perish when they die. In other words, personal sin was not even reckoned in the matter of dying the death that comes down to us from Adam, but the eternity of that death can be forever unless a person takes advantage of the matter of repentance (change) from the position in which he was born.
The clear message of the Apostle Paul throughout Romans fifth chapter is that because of the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden, death rules over the entire race; and it is only by means of the gift of redemption through the second Adam that we can escape the terrible calamity of eternal death which is the condemnation resulting from the sin of the first Adam.
In The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages 481- 487 is published the first installment of an article by Brother John Thomas, an article that had first been published in the Herald of the Kingdom in 1852. In the article, Brother Thomas expounds the subject of Tempter and Tempted, and on page 483 identifies the phrase “The law of sin and death” (the phrase used by Paul in Rom. 8: 2) as being the principle in the flesh that produces sin. Brother Thomas remarks that the phrase refers to an Edenic principle.
In order that the readers may see for themselves the evidence of departure from the first teachings of the Christadelphians, we wish to quote extensively from this article. First, we quote from Page 482:
“ ‘Sin in the flesh’, then, and the Spirit of God, are the two antagonistic principles to which human nature is amenable in the present and future states. The former hath the power of death, and is termed diabolos; the latter hath the power of life, and is styled ‘the Lord the Spirit,’”- (2 Cor. iii: 18; I Cor. xv: 45).
“Human nature is styled ‘sinful flesh’ (Rom. viii: 3), and Paul, speaking of himself as sharing therein, says, ‘In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing’ – (Rom. vii. 18). Sin in the flesh then, is a very evil thing. It is that principle that works within us what is not good in thought and feeling; and these workings, the apostle styles ‘the motions of sins’ ta patheemata toom hamartioon the physical and mental which when yielded to, work transgression of the law of God…’
Page 483: “Adam’s nature was animal; very good of its kind, as was the nature of all the other creatures. These did not sin, yet they returned to dust whence they came. So probably would Adam, if he had been left to the ordinary course of things as they were. But he doubtless would have been changed in the twinkling of an eye,’ on eating of the Tree of Life. But, being disobedient, his sin determined his fate, and that of the creatures. It doomed them all to death according to law, and ‘nature’ unchanged was permitted to take its course. This sin became the death-power; for had there been no sin, there would have been no death. Though death could have ensued without sin, it would not have been permitted to do so; but desire being conceived for an unlawful object, this unlawful desire enticed to a forbidden action; the enticement was yielded to, and shame and fear, the evidences of guilt, resulted. Thus a new mode of thought, the sophistry of sin, took possession of human nature, and caused it to fall. Sin reigned, and Adam obeyed it in the lusts of his body, yielding his members instruments of unrighteousness to sin. The sophistical thinking of the flesh gained strength, and became in him and his posterity the rule or law of their nature. This is termed in Scripture ‘the law of sin;’ the presence of which, within him, every man may know by the passions or ‘motions of sins’ at work there to bring forth fruit unto death. Because of this, it is also styled ‘the law of sin and death’, to which the flesh or humanity is subject.”
Page 484- “The word sin is used in two senses; first, to represent that combination of principles within us, which in excitation is manifested in passion, evil affections of the mind, diseases, death and corruption. They are called sin because their manifestation was permitted as the consequence of transgression. And this is the second sense of the word; as it is written, ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ Transgression was the effect of the unbridled inworking of humanity; and when the transgression was complete, or ‘finished,’ that inworking and its results were BOTH styled sin.”
Our purpose in quoting this lengthy dissertation by our
pioneer Brother Thomas is to show what the historical understanding of the law of sin and death, from which Paul said he had been made free,
was not the law of Moses as some have later declared it to be. It was rather,
the principle of sin in our members that was in Adam in the beginning and which
has been in all of Adam’s descendants from the time of
Therefore we ask, did Paul declare in Rom. 8:1-3 that the believer “in Christ” no longer had these desires, no longer had the principle of sin in their members? No, this is proof that Paul had in mind a “legal” effect of those principles that Adam had and that which every descendant of his who has ever been born has had. Thus, we observe the principle of Adamic inheritance as well as personally committed sin as the subject of necessary atonement, which results in “no condemnation” for those in Christ Jesus.
It should be obvious that the truth is that all men die a natural death because the sentence to die came upon Adam and Eve and all of their descendants through the law of sin and death. The only condemnation to death that results from one’s own personal sins will only come upon individuals who receive the sentence of the second death at the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10).
We now quote from a letter written to Brother Roberts by a Brother D. Handley of Maldon that was printed in The Christadelphian. The reader can be assured of the fact that the letter would not have appeared in the pages of the magazine without Brother Roberts’ comments if Brother Roberts had disagreed with its contents.
The Christadelphian in Vol. viii (1871) P. 354:
“First, What is the position of every son of Adam? ‘By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation;’ so that every son of Adam being under sentence of death, it was not possible for any to escape from it, unless redeemed. Now is Jesus Christ the redeemer? We say, yes. What qualified him for the great work? We shall see that to do this, he must be both Son of God and Son of Man. First he must pay the debt, in order to release the debtor. It was the mortal race that had fallen under the wrath of God, which ended in death. In order to meet the law, he must be the seed of the woman, for there could be no compromise. The law could not be set aside. It had no power to release the dead until a sacrifice had been offered in the flesh that sinned. Here we see the need of Jesus being in the likeness of sinful flesh. But he must be the Son of God, for in order for there to be virtue in his death to redeem, his life must be independent of the Adamic race. Therefore, though Son of David’s daughter, and ‘made of the woman,’ he was a new creation –‘the Lord from heaven;’ not dependent on Adam for his life, but received it direct from the Father, as John hath it- (v. 26; vi. 57). Here, I think, we see the wisdom of God in redemption. A body in our nature; a life independent of our race; the life of the flesh is given for the life of the world; here is what men of business call twenty shillings in the pound. But, again I say, there could be no virtue in the giving-up of his life, if he were a mere man, or if he had derived his life in any way from the seed of Adam, for all who derived their life from Adam, lost it; for in him all sin. But Christ in our flesh could suffer the penalty, and then redeem his brethren, for he had never forfeited his life by personal transgression; and his life being independent of the race, he could give it for a ransom. To me, this appears clear, that while no man could give to God a ransom for his brother, the Son of God, who was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, could, having the price of redemption in his own power.”
From The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) Pages 301-309, there appears an article penned by Brother J. J. Andrew at a time when he and Brother Roberts agreed and Brother Roberts approvingly and eagerly published his works. We quote the following:
Page 305 – “When a man is immersed, it is quite true that he is transferred out of Adam into Christ; but in what sense? Certainly not in a physical sense; for he still possesses the earthy body derived from the first Adam. Hence the change can only be a mutual one. The difference between believers and unbelievers is just this; the latter are both constitutionally and physically in Adam; whereas the former, though physically in Adam, are mentally in Christ.”
Page 308- “Now if the sentence passed upon Adam and Eve had been eternal death, there would have been no room for the introduction of a law of life. For if God had once decreed that Adam and his descendants should suffer eternal death, he could not, in harmony with His attributes, have altered or repealed that decree. But, it will be said, infants and the heathen suffer eternal death; and as this is through Adam’s sin, the sentence upon him must have been eternal death. This reply exhibits a confusion of ideas. It is true that infants and the heathen suffer eternal death. But why? Because they never come under the law of righteousness and life. They suffer eternal death, not because that was the sentence passed upon the race, but because that is in their case the consequence resulting from the sentence. The sentence was simply death; no period of time is defined for its continuance. Jesus Christ suffered the penalty due to sin, and yet was dead only three days. This fact is in itself sufficient to show that the wages of sin is not necessarily eternal death.”
The foregoing is sufficient not only to show the historical view of why men die, but also to show forth truths pertinent to those facts.
In The Christadelphian Vol. xii (1875) P. 301 is published an article entitled “Brother Hawkins’ Review.” We quote the following:
“Jesus was ‘made under the law,’ says the apostle, and, to guard himself from misapprehension, he prefaces that remark with the other member of the sentence, ‘made of a woman.’ The woman was made of her parents; therefore, Jesus was made of them also.”
“The apostle says he was ‘made under the law.’ There is here no exception. ‘Under law’ embraces penalty and blessing alike. What was the share he had in Adam? Dying thou shalt die. To say that Jesus was not born to die is virtually to deny the necessity for a sacrifice for sins. Death was his share in Adam, through Adam’s daughter Mary. If he had not died he could not have risen from the dead, therefore could not have life.”
“Jew and Gentile alike were born under the law of death. The Hebrew only was born under Mosaic law. This law did not say ‘dying thou shalt die.’ It said what? ‘Keep my laws and judgments which a man doing shall live in them.’ Hence it was a life giving law, the gospel preached to the Jews by Moses; while the Adamic law doomed all men alike to death. What have we then? Just this:
Brother Roberts in The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 279 - “That Christ, in the days of his flesh, was, and His mission required Him to be, equally affected with ourselves by the sentence of death passed upon Adam.”
Also in Vol. xi P. 281 Brother Roberts under the Subtitle “The Meaning of Christ being a Constitutional Sinner”:
“And here I add, for the sake of a few who are wondering what the phrase ‘constitutional sinner’ means, as once or twice employed by Dr. Thomas in reference to Christ; it means that he stood related to a sin-constitution of things – a state of things arising out of sin… Sorrow arises out of sin; and he was a man of sorrow. Pain (among men) arises out of sin, and he suffered pain. Weakness arises from sin, and he was ‘crucified through weakness.’ Mortality (among men) is the result of sin, and he was mortal, requiring to be saved from death (Heb. v. 7). Into this state of things, he was introduced as we are introduced, in being born of a sinful woman. This is the sense of the phrase ‘a constitutional sinner.’ Only perversity would suppress the word ‘constitutional’ and allege that the Christadelphians teach Christ to have been a sinner.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 420 – Brother Roberts writes: “Of the natural man, which (though in subjection) continues till we are glorified, he can say, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ This we inherit: sin personified is the owner of the human race, because through disobedience at the beginning, it obtained possession of the whole, and, therefore, of the saints, such as they are as natural men, and continues in possession till they are redeemed from the power of the grave.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Page 154-156 in an article entitled “Why Do Men Die?” Brother J. J. Hadley wrote:
“But how is it, or why is it that man has been thus
constituted? The answer to this question
we find not in natural science, but in the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul (I Cor.
xv. 21) says that ‘by man came death;’ and in another place (
“The manner in which ‘death hath passed upon all men’ is by the descendants of Adam inheriting the vital conditions which pertained to him; and since in his case, by reason of disobedience, the vital conditions were such that, after a certain time, death must result, so his descendants are all mortal. The ‘judgment ‘or condemnation of his sin hath thus passed upon all men; while, in addition, the ignorance and the follies of the race have further tended to weaken their vitality, and to induce various diseases, by reason of which few men find their death of ‘old age’. Though we were ‘in Adam’ at the time he sinned, the moral responsibility does not descend to us because we had no voice nor will in it, but we were in him at the time he sinned, and so sinned in him; we were in him at the time he was condemned, and so die in him, ourselves inheriting the physical consequences of the penalty passed upon him. (‘In Adam, all die’ (I Cor. xv. 22.)”
“It has been recently contended, by some who should have known better, that death has not come upon the Adamic race as the direct result of Adam’s sin and succeeding sentence, but only because Adam’s transgression bequeathed to his children ‘a warped or bent, or impetus which leads them naturally to commit sin,’ and they, committing sin, each die for their own transgression. But see what this involves. Look at the nations of Adam’s children who have never come within hearing of the divine revelation, and it will be seen that the proposition just stated involves that the God whose ways are holy, just and true, judicially condemns men to death for doing that against which they heard no law, and of which He never forewarned them that death would be the penalty. It involves, (contrary to the express statement of Scripture,) that sin is imputed where there is no law. Look at the circumstance that frequently infants die, and it will be seen that if the proposition in question be true, it involves not only that sin is imputed without law, but that personal guilt is imputed without transgression. Oh that men would ‘Hold fast the form of sound words in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.’ J. J. Hadley.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Pages 451-461 Brother Roberts with editorial approval published an article by A. Andrew entitled “SIN, ITS ORIGIN, EFFECTS AND DESTRUCTION”:
Page 451 – “The uncleanness of the nature, the alienation of man from God thereby, and the consequent necessity for its being put away, in order that man might be reconciled to God, appears to have been continually foreshadowed by the law of Moses. For instance, the enjoining of circumcision as a thing to be done in order to introduce the Jews into covenant with God, that is, into a position of favor with Him as His people, seems to have been designed to teach them that by nature they were alienated from Him. Then, again, the uncleanness associated with birth. In Lev. xii. 2-8, it is stated that when a woman had given birth to a child she was to be unclean for a certain time, and after her days of purification she was to bring a burnt offering and a sin offering. And there was a difference in the time of uncleanness, according to whether it was a male or female child: if the former, she was to be unclean seven days, but if the latter, fourteen days; and there was to be the same difference as to ‘the days of her purifying;’ they were to be thirty-three or sixty-six days respectively. This difference in the length of time shows that the uncleanness had reference, not simply to the mother, but also to the child. If it were connected simply with the mother, the uncleanness and necessity for purification might be ascribed to the fact that she was a sinner, but this could not apply to the infant, and it seems to us that in regard to the latter this ordinance can only point to the defilement of the nature. Again, on the great day of atonement the high priest was required to ‘make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness’ – (Lev. xvi. 16). Here we have not only transgression, but uncleanness.”
“The teaching of Scripture as to the necessity for putting away the body of sin by death involves the conclusion that it was necessary for Christ to die for himself, he being one of the race, and, though not yielding to the impulse of the nature, yet possessing that nature in its defiled condition, as much as the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam. The same conclusion is also pointed to, not only by many Scripture statements concerning him, but also by certain circumstances in his life showing the necessity for his being justified. 1stly, his circumcision; and 2ndly, his immersion. Both these were means of justification –typical, truly, but pointing to a subsequent actual justification; his circumcision typifying his death, which was a cutting-off of the flesh, a destruction of the body of sin; and his immersion in, and rising out of, the waters of the Jordan symbolizing his death and resurrection to immortality, by which he was cleansed from the defilement of sin.”
NOTE: We are aware that in later years Brother Arthur Andrew’s name also became associated with controversy. His articles included here (and on pages 62-64) were written at a time when all these brethren were agreed. Brother Roberts was in agreement with what is here reproduced as demonstrated by the fact that he published it in The Christadelphian, something he would not have done if he disagreed or considered it to be error.
Pages 457-458- “Hence the apostle says he tasted death ‘for every man,’ -uper pantos, on account of all: not every human being, but ‘all’ who are to be redeemed, whether Jews or Gentiles. And by what a beautiful yet simple arrangement he was enabled to redeem both Jews and Gentiles! It was necessary that he should come under both the curses or condemnations under which they respectively rested – the Edenic or racial condemnation for both classes, and the condemnation of the law specially for Jews. And yet, to prevent his being held under the condemnation, he must be brought into this position without any personal transgression; and such we find was the case: he came under the former by birth, which he could not avoid; and he came under the latter by being hung on a tree, by the act of others; and, having been raised from the dead, both theses curses were destroyed in him, and a way opened for the escape of others from under the same curses.”
Pages 459-460 – “Question: If we are condemned to death on account of Adam’s sin, and Christ died for us, and we are freed from condemnation through him, why do we die?
“Answer: Because Christ did not die instead of us- to prevent our dying – but to open up the way to
immortality. If Christ had died instead of us, as a substitute pure and simple,
no doubt we ought not to die, but we have already seen that such was not the
case. Redemption has two principal stages – the moral and the physical. First,
there is moral justification, which is by faith, (
Here, we show the harmony that once existed as we again quote Brother Roberts from The Christadelphian Vol. xv P. 225 where he wrote in agreement with Brother Arthur Andrew’s truthful views:
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually, its physical effects remain till ‘this mortal’ (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming…”
Who truly still believes these truths, and who has departed from them?
Mark 16:15-16 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Titus 3:5- “…but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration…”
Gal. 3:27, 29 “For as many of you as have been baptized into
Christ have put on Christ…
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
I Pet. 3:20-21 “…the ark…wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water… The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…”
How can we “even now” be saved? The term “saved” is applicable in two ways:
1. Baptism transfers us from Adam into Christ and saves us from the condemnation of eternal death in Adam.
Note the following related scriptural testimony regarding salvation at Christ’s return. These promises relate only to those who have been baptized into Christ.
Col. 3:1-4 “If ye then be risen with Christ…When Christ…shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Phil. -21- “…from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body…”
II Pet 1:4 – “ Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…”
The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) Page 225:
“Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins but actually its physical effects remain till “this mortal” (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming.”
Robert Roberts in The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 479 in “Answers to Correspondents”:
Question: “If Jesus was baptized for the remission of sins, why was he also sacrificed? (A.M.G.)”.
Answer: “Baptism, like the sacrifices under the law, derived its efficacy from its relation to the appointed actual putting away of sin by the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. As in the case of ‘the blood of bulls and goats,’ it had no power to take away sin by itself, though in its own place it was serviceable to this end for those who in faith submitted to it. If the sacrifice of Christ had failed, all the previous ordinances depending upon it for final results would have fallen to the ground. Christ’s own baptism would have been in this position. It derived its significance and value from that which was to be accomplished in him at the appointed hour. So far, therefore, from baptism superseding his death, his death was necessary to give meaning and validity to his baptism. His submission to baptism is, however, like his circumcision and his eating the passover lamb, a clear intimation that he himself was included in that operation of death from which his sacrifice opened a way of release.”
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages 499-503 by Brother John Thomas entitled “Aaron And Christ”:
“When Jesus came to John, he demanded to be buried in water, that he might come out of it an immersed man. With a view to this, he said, ‘Thus it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness;’ and the apostle adds, ‘When he was baptized, he went up straightway from the water;’ clearly evincing (sic) that he must first have gone down into it. And now mark this well: After he had done this, God acknowledged him as His Son, and declared Himself well pleased with him. – (Matt. iii. 13-17) Jesus had been God’s most excellent Son for thirty years, but He withheld His acknowledgement of Him till he signalized his filial obedience in being baptized.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Pages 114-116
contained an article by A. Andrew of
“In Romans v. 12-19, the apostle Paul draws the parallel referred to in the above heading, and, as our present remarks will have almost exclusive reference to that passage, we will ask our readers carefully to peruse it before proceeding further.
“In verse 14 the apostle says that Adam was ‘the figure of him that was to come,’ i.e., Christ, and he then proceeds to point out in what respect he was a figure, viz., that just as sin and condemnation came through Adam, so righteousness and justification came through Christ. The passage has therefore usually, and, as we contend, correctly, been understood to mean that on the one hand the condemnation of Adam had reference, not to himself only, but to all his descendants, who, being, so to speak, in him at the time, were, whether actual transgressors or not, condemned federally in him; and that on the other hand all who are immersed into the name of Christ on a belief of the truth are justified federally in Christ, not through any righteousness of their own, but through the righteousness of Christ. It may be well, before proceeding further, to explain that we use the word ‘federally’ in the sense in which it is generally applied to Adam and Christ, and which may be illustrated by the case of the United States of America, called ‘the Federal States.”
“In this sense we use the word ‘federally’ in relation to Adam and Christ, and the old and new ‘creations’ or bodies of which they are the respective heads, that is to say that what is done by the head is in a sense accounted as having been done by the members of the body, and what is done to the head is also done to the members of the body.”
“In opposition to the usual view of this passage, it has been asserted that the condemnation passed upon Adam applied to himself only, and not to any of his descendants, and that such of them as are condemned are condemned only for their own sins – that although the condemnation, or the ‘judgment to condemnation,’ is said (verse 18) to have come upon all men ‘by the offense of one (Adam), the ‘all men’ are not all the descendants of Adam, but simply all who have individually sinned, and come under the condemnation, and that the condemnation does not come upon them directly, in the sense of their being condemned in him, but only indirectly; that is to say, that by the transgression of Adam, sin entered into the world, and, in consequence of his having become a sinner, his descendants inherit from him a sinful nature, and that although such of them as become actual sinners are condemned only for their sins, yet that as their sinning was due in the first place to Adam’s having sinned, and their having inherited his nature, their condemnation is said to have come ‘by his offense’. It is further said that although (verse 17) ‘by one man’s offense death reigned by one,’ this death is not a condemnation, but simply the operation of a simple law which is said to have existed in Adam previously to his transgression, and which, when he transgressed, was allowed to take its natural course, and that natural death, though resulting from Adam’s sin, does not come as a condemnation upon his descendants…”
“In the second place, the theory we are considering completely destroys the apostle’s parallel, for it represents those of the descendants of Adam who are condemned, as being condemned specifically for their own sins, and for those alone. If this be true, how are they condemned in Adam? In no sense whatever: they would, in that case be condemned individually, not in him. Now there are only two ways in which we can apply the figure of the apostle, viz. (1) that all the descendants of Adam were condemned in him on account of his sin, just as those in Christ are accepted in him on account of his righteousness; or (2) that as Adam introduced sin, and thus led others to sin, so Christ introduced righteousness, and led others to work righteousness; but that those who are condemned are condemned for their own sins, and those who are justified are justified for their own righteousness. Now the idea that those in Christ are justified for their own righteousness is utterly inadmissible, being contrary to the express teaching of the New Testament, and therefore parallel No. 2 falls to the ground and we are driven to the conclusion that parallel No. 1 is what the apostle intended to teach.”
“Viewing that as the apostle’s meaning, we are enabled to explain some things in the passage which cannot be explained on the other hypothesis. For instance, in verse 16 we read, ‘And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was BY ONE to condemnation, but the free gift is of MANY offenses unto justification.’ Now if it were true that this condemnation is for individual offenses, the apostle might have said that the judgment was of MANY offenses to condemnation, and he might have pointed out the parallel between that and the fact that the free gift has to do with justification from many offenses. But he expressly draws a contrast- ‘not as it was by one that sinned,’ &c., – showing that he had not in his mind the theory we are combating, but that he intended to teach that the condemnation of which he is speaking came upon the race federally in Adam.”
“The effect of the theory referred to, in its application to the apostle’s figure, is to exalt personal righteousness at the expense of the righteousness of Christ; for as we have seen, the statement that the sins of those who are condemned are the sole ground of their condemnation, involves the conclusion that the righteousness of those who are justified is the sole ground of their justification. Doubtless the propounders of the theory would not urge, or even admit, this conclusion, but nevertheless, it is what logically flows from it, and, as the apostasy has amply proved, the denial or disparagement of a doctrine often springs out of something which is not at the first intended to have such an effect, but which, in the end, leads to it by necessitating the ‘squaring’ of other facts of Scripture so as to fit in with the theory which is desired to be upheld.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Pages 529-537 was an article by Brother John Thomas entitled, “Baptism In Relation to Justification.” We quote at random from that article:
“…in being baptized, which baptism belongs to the law of faith, there is no scope for self-glorification, or boasting; for a man does not baptize himself; but is passive, being baptized of another, which to the subject is no ‘work’ at all- no more than the burial of a corpse is the work of the deceased. ‘We are buried with Christ by baptism into death’ to sin, ‘that we should walk in newness of life.”
Page 534 - “Baptism, then, is essential to justification. This is both Scriptural and rational. This testimony sufficiently establishes the Scripturality of baptism being essential to salvation from all past sins, which being remitted in Jesus’ name, the believer is transferred from under a sentence of death to a sentence of life; ‘for the wages of sin is death,’ but sin being forgiven and obeyed no more, the penalty is abolished, and the sins and iniquities remembered no more.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) P. 460 Arthur Andrew made a statement with the editorial approval of Brother Robert Roberts:
“But condemnation is legally removed when we are morally justified, the consequences of that condemnation, or of our connection with the first Adam, are not removed immediately, for we still continue to suffer the evils brought into the world by the sin of Adam.”
Comment: We ask the reader to notice and marvel at the harmony that existed between the Andrew brothers and Brother Roberts as is evident in the above quotations. That harmony continued until someone changed their doctrine. We are confident that the reader will perceive that the change was not on the part of either of the Andrew brothers, for though they have been condemned repeatedly over the years for having taught until their deaths, the doctrines espoused during those early years which are still current in Unamended Christadelphia.
Christendom Astray Pages 409 -412: We now quote at random from the remarks of Brother Robert Roberts in those pages:
“There are other similar references to baptism throughout the epistles; but these are sufficient to shew that whatever may be the difficulty of modern professing Christians in discovering any significance or efficacy in the ordinance of baptism, the apostles saw much of both. They recognized in it a constitutional transition from one relationship to another, - a representative putting off of the old man, or Adam nature, and a putting on of the new man, or Christ, who is the ONE COVERING NAME, in which, when the naked son of Adam is invested, he stands clothed before Jehovah, and is approved in His sight…”
“But when the word was absent from the mind, the cleansing element was wanting, and the subject of the rite was still unwashed…”
“…‘Repent and be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins’ (Acts ii: 38). When he has yielded this ‘obedience of faith’ he is ‘born of water’ through the inceptive influence of the truth; and having entered ‘The Name’, his sins are ‘covered’; his transgressions ‘hid’; his whole past life is cancelled, and he has commenced a term of probation in which he is a lawful candidate for that ‘birth of the spirit’ from the grave, which will finally constitute him a ‘son of God’, being of the ‘children of the resurrection’ (Luke xx, 36), ‘waiting for the ADOPTION, to wit, the redemption of the body.’ (Rom. xiii:23)”
The Christadelphian Vol. xii (1875) P. 520- Brother Roberts in the EDITORIAL:
“As a matter of words, you might make out a contradiction in any or all of these cases, but as a matter of truth, a wise man is able to see there is none. It is so in the case you ask about: A saint dying dies ‘in Adam’ … He, therefore, dies under the racial condemnation that has passed upon all men. But he is nonetheless a forgiven man, and a man released from condemnation; for this forgiveness and this release have both reference to a future result. This future result becomes, in relation to the man, a matter of purpose in the mind of God, and therefore, in a certain sense, a matter of fact towards him, but in no way inconsistent with his death as the result of physical constitution. True, that death is originally a divine result, but to all God’s work there are stages. It is of God that we are mortal because of sin. It is of Him that we have the hope of release; but there is a process in the redemption which we must not lose sight of: first, the moral, and then the physical. Though redeemed by the first, we are, by the second, under the actual dominion of death until incorruptibility is conferred, and if a man before then died twenty times (supposing him revived each time by medical appliance) he would no more be paying ‘the claims of sin’ twenty times over, than in the case of twenty attacks of toothache. The ‘claims’ of the case exist as long as we are mortal, and we shall continue mortal till the time arrive,… it matters not whether we are living or dead. The ‘claim’ recognized at immersion belongs to the moral, and does not interfere with the claim that has its hand upon us till we are actually immortal.”
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 399 Brother Roberts in “The Sacrifice of Christ states:
“He is the mediator – the one between, and because he is the Father in manifestation, it is God in Christ working; and what does God in Christ require? That we relinquish our connection with the condemned Adam, and put on the name of the new Adam, in whom the condemnation of the old is escaped by resurrection. Baptism is this requirement in its ceremonial compliance. Having killed, we bury the old man in the grave of Christ, and rise to union with the new. If there were no risen new Adam, whose life we might partake by association, we could not be saved.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xx (1883) Pages 306-308. Brother Roberts presents with editorial approval the remarks of Brother Ashcroft as he conducts the funeral of a young sister in the faith. The report of Brother Ashcroft’s words is under the title of “In The House Of Mourning.”
“Both springtime and death are, however, divine institutions. That they should thus synchronize, is due to the state of exile from God in which the human race has been placed because of sin… our sister may be said to have died for a different reason from that which explains the occurrence of death in the case of mankind in general. They die, and return to their dust in harmony with the sentence which was originally pronounced upon their progenitor by whom ‘sin entered into the world and death by sin.’ But she rests not beneath that law. She was under it by natural birth, but she has escaped from it by a divine arrangement provided for that purpose, for all the sons and daughters of men who are willing to avail themselves of it. ‘The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus made her free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2.) There was, therefore, no legal necessity for her death. Had she ‘by reason of strength’, been enabled to live until the return of Christ from heaven, she would not have required to taste of death at all, but would have been changed in a moment from a state of mortality to one of incorruptibility and endless life, at his appearing and his kingdom.”
“In this assurance our sister was enabled to rejoice. She had been planted in the likeness of Christ’s death, and in the grave of baptism had terminated her connection with the first Adam, in whom all die, and had established for herself a relationship with the second Adam, ‘the Lord from Heaven’…”
NOTE: Let it be understood that Brother Ashcroft later returned to some of his original errors from which he had formerly been rescued. He had originally learned the truth from reading Christendom Astray and was baptized by Brother Roberts, thereupon leaving his huge congregation over which he was Pastor. However, when the above funeral was reported, all the brethren were united in doctrine such as was spoken by Brother Ashcroft at the funeral, doctrine which is still held by the Unamended. The fact that he learned the principles of truth from Brother Roberts that he spoke at the funeral clearly indicates what Brother Roberts believed until he changed his doctrine.
To demonstrate just how far many modern members of Amended Christadelphia have wandered from the principles with which the truth was revived and regarding which the pioneers expounded, we make the following quotations from Amended writers in later times.
The Christadelphian Vol. xxxi (1894) P. 70:
“ ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for us.’- such as exists for sinners, for in, or by Christ, we are made free from the law which apart from him will condemn all sinners, and even us, if we walk not after the spirit, but after the flesh.”
“P. 71: It is an affair of the mind Paul’s argument is considering: the question of moral consideration. As he says in verse 6-‘To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace… Paul is not discussing the relation of baptized persons irrespective of their moral condition. There is no condemnation to them if they walk after the spirit, because their sins are forgiven…”
The Christadelphian Vol. xxxi (1894) P. 71:
“There is a present freedom, certainly, but not from the death inherited from Adam; for that will as assuredly send us into the grave, if the Lord delay his coming, as if we had never heard of the gospel. The freedom we have is from our own sins, as obstacles to a future life and from our alienship as an obstacle to a future incorporation in the glorified house of God.”
July 1972 Pages 466-467- “Baptism does not deal directly with our nature… The Lord was not therefore made free from Adamic condemnation when he was baptized. If his baptism had shown that he bore some kind of personal responsibility for his nature then we would expect to find his sacrifice also having a bearing upon the same issue. But as he bore no moral accountability for his mortality he did not have to make an offering for the nature he received at birth.”
We pray that the reader will take careful notice of how drastically the principles of doctrine changed for some at the turn of the century. Further quotations could be cited from other Amended publications that deny the truths freely set forth by pioneer writers. However, we feel that those quoted should suffice for the purpose.
We close out this chapter by asking the reader to consider the question, “Do we still believe these doctrines with which God established the ecclesia in these last days?”
Heb. 5:3 “And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.”
Heb. “ Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
Heb. 9:7, 12 “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: … Neither by the blood of bulls and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Question and Comment:
Question # 1: Did Jesus atone for anything intrinsically within “himself” or were the atonements that resulted from his sacrifice “for the people only”?
Answer: What of the truth that was indicated in Paul’s phrase, “first for himself and then for the people”? (Heb. 7:27) The passage clearly reveals that it was “for himself” just as it was also “for the people”.
Question # 2: What two things are shown by Scriptures to require atonement?
Answer: 1. Uncleanness, 2. Personal transgressions. We learn this from the fact that under the law of Moses, the “uncleanness of the children of Israel” caused the need for atonement for even the holy things of God, just as certainly as did their transgressions in all their “sins” (Lev. 16:16, 18,19; 20-21; 33). That those were two separate principles is demonstrated in that they are separated by the conjunction “and”.
Question # 3: Is it true that the need for atonement indicates that God holds the person or thing personally guilty for whatever is the cause of the need for atonement?
Answer: Not unless we assert the unreasonable hypothesis that the holy things were themselves responsible for their need for atonement; or that the mother of a newborn child was personally guilty for bearing a child (12th chapter of Leviticus); or that the leper was personally accountable for his disease of leprosy (Lev. 13th and 14th chapters); or that the man or woman with an issue out of their flesh were personally responsible for that issue (Lev. 15th chapter). Just the fact of uncleanness was sufficient for God to require atonement for that uncleanness. The need did not indicate personal accountability.
Question # 4: What therefore, was in Christ or any other man beside personal sin that would indicate the need for cleansing or atonement?
Answer: Flesh nature which is the possession of every individual who has ever been born of a woman. No clean descendant of Adam has ever been born (Job 14:4; -15; 25:4). Jesus was born “of a woman” - (Gal. 4:4). Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no “good” thing. It is noteworthy that in spite of his Son-ship with God, Jesus refused to be addressed as “good”. (Matt. 19: 16-17; Luke 18: 18-19).
Question # 5 What was the method by which a person received “atonement” in New Testament times seeing that there were no longer animal sacrifices? (Heb. 10: 2-6).
Answer: Baptism then replaced the principle of animal sacrifice. Baptism was the antitype of the door through which each individual under the law had to pass in order to enter into God’s covenant (Col. 2:11-13; Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 2:11-13; Titus 3:5; Heb. 10:22).
It is noteworthy that Scripture defines those two principles as having to do with both the body (unclean nature) and personal sin as causes of defilement and need for atonement; and that the requirement of those same two principles are effectively dealt with in the waters of baptism (Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:11-13; 3:9; Titus 3:15; Heb. 10: 19-22). It is also noteworthy that Jesus was in possession of one of those principles as the following pioneer writings bear witness.
During the 1870’s, The Christadelphian magazine undertook to defend the truth against the so-called Renunciationist or “free life” theory then injected in amongst the doctrines of Christadelphia. In 1873 Brother Roberts posed a series of eighty-five pertinent questions to Edward Turney regarding his teachings in order to disprove the theory he espoused. We now refer to a number of those questions:
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages 463-466:
“31. - Paul says (Gal. iv. 4), that Jesus in being born of woman, was ‘made under the law,’ which law he tells us in 2 Cor. iii. 7, was a ‘ministration of death.’ Now, why was Jesus made under this death-ministrant law? If you answer according to Paul, you will say, to redeem them that were under it. Does it not follow from this, that in the divine process of redemption, the Redeemer had to be personally subject to the law to be redeemed from?”
“32. - How, on your theory of redemption, as applied to the Edenic law, can you make out this to have been necessary? If the life of a free, uncompromised man, standing outside the Edenic law, could be accepted in substitution for that of offenders under the law, why could not the life of a free, uncompromised man, outside the Mosaic law, have sufficed, in the same manner, to redeem those who were under it?”
“33. - Does not your new-Adam theory, in fact, require that Jesus should have been born not under but outside of the law?”
“34. - Not only so, but consider how redemption from the Mosaic law was effected. You are aware that under this law, ‘he was made a curse,’ though he never broke it. You are further aware that this being made a curse did not simply consist in dying, but that it laid personal hold on him through the mode in which he was killed. ‘He that hangeth on a tree is accursed of God.’ Presuming you will not say that any of God’s ways are unnecessary, are you not bound to admit from these premises, that before Jesus could deliver those who were under the curse of the law of Moses, it was necessary that he himself should come under that curse, though guiltless?”
“35. – If so, was it not equally necessary that he should come personally under the operation of the Adamic curse, in order to redeem those who were under it?”
“36. – As a matter of fact, did he not come under that curse in precisely the way we do, in being born of woman condemned?”
“37. – For what is the curse? Is it a sentence passed on us personally, or is it an inherited condition of our physical nature? The former you will not maintain, and the latter you are obliged to accept.”
“38. – Upon which comes the question, Was not Christ’s physical nature the same as ours? In saying ‘Yes’ which you are obliged to do if you speak according to the Word, you concede the whole question, and must renounce the Renuciationist theory.”
“39. - If you take refuge in the new-born quibble about life, I must ask you, What is life in relation to us? Is it not organism in a vital state?”
“40. – Can you have human life without human organism? And is not the character of the life determined by the character of the organism? Thus, out of the same materials, does not dog organism generate dog life, horse organism horse life, and human organism human life? (assuming the distinction between life and organism merely out of accommodation to the theory).”
“41. -These things being undisputed, does it not follow that if the body of Jesus, was the Adamic organism, generated in the womb of Mary, in the ordinary gestatory period, possessed and manifested Adamic life? (employing that phrase merely out of accommodation to the new theory).”
“42. – How can a man’s flesh be condemned without the life generated in it being condemned also?”
“43. - And if the flesh of Christ was not condemned, how could the flesh of Christ be the flesh of David, Moses and Abraham, seeing that the flesh of these fathers was in that state of death-constitution through extraction from Adam?”
“44. - You seem to consider hereditary mortality in Adam more fatal than death incurred by individual delinquency. In other words, you call it ‘eternal death’ apart from a Redeemer. If in this you are right, how comes it that the law of Moses would have given eternal life if the flesh had been equal to the keeping of it? Paul said it was ‘ordained to life’- (Rom. vii. 10). Showing that this meant eternal life, Jesus, in answer to the question how eternal life was to be attained, said, ‘What is written in the law? How readest thou? Keep the commandments. This do, and thou shalt live.’ But Christ was the only man that ever kept the law without fault, and he was God-manifest in the flesh by the Spirit, for the purpose. All others were unable to keep it. Hence the law was ‘weak though the flesh’. If men had been able to keep it, obedience would have led to resurrection after Adamic death, as in the case of Christ. God does not hold us individually responsible for Adam’s offense. We inherit the effects, but could have been redeemed from them by obedience, if that had been possible. But how, according to your construction of Adamic death, could obedience have led to ‘eternal life’?”
“45. – Besides, if the Adamic penalty was eternal death, and if the death of Christ was the suffering of that penalty in our stead, would not his resurrection, in that case, have been impossible?”
“47. - It is truly testified that Christ died ‘for us;’ but it is evident that the phrase ‘for us,’ means on account of us, and not instead of us. It is not only testified that he died for us, but that he died for our sins. -(I Cor. xv. 3). Does this mean instead of our sins? So while it is said that he was sacrificed for us (I Cor. v. 7), it is also said he was sacrificed for sin. - (Heb. x. 12). Should you understand he was sacrificed instead of our sins?”
“48. – It is testified (Luke i. 69), that God ‘hath raised up for us a horn of salvation’. Does this mean raised up instead of us?
“49. – It is testified (Rom. iv. 21), that Christ was raised again for our justification. Does this mean instead of our justification?”
“50. – It is testified (Rom. viii. 34), ‘that Christ also maketh intercession for us.’ Does this mean instead of us? (See also Heb. ix. 24; x. 20).”
“51. – So also with the statement, ‘Christ died for them.’ –(2 Cor. v. 15.) If this means instead of them, how are we to understand the following statements: ‘I pray for them’ (John xvii. 9); ‘He ever liveth, to make intercession for them.’ (Heb. vii. 25); ‘Spirit sent forth to minister for them’- (Heb. i. 14, &c.).”
“52. – But though the appearance of Christ in the flesh, and all that he went through, was ‘for us’, surely you will not deny that in all he did for us, he was individually comprehended as the elder brother of the family. For instance, his birth was for us; ‘hath raised up for us an horn of salvation in the house of his servant, David;’ but was his birth not for himself also? If he had not been born, where would have been the Messiah and the glory to be revealed? I could understand a Trinitarian saying that it was unnecessary for him to be born for himself; but one believing that Christ was the Son of God from his mother’s womb, and that the Deity in him was the Father, is bound to recognize the fact that Christ was not only born for us, but born for himself as well.”
“53. – Again, Christ was obedient for us, as is manifest from the testimony, ‘by one man’s OBEDIENCE many shall be made righteous;’ but was he not obedient for himself as well? If he had been disobedient, would He have been saved, ‘in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death.’- (Heb. v. 7).”
“54. –So he died for us; but did he not die for himself also? How otherwise could he have been made free from that sin which God laid upon him in sending him forth in the likeness of sinful flesh? Paul says that ‘he that is dead is freed from sin,’ and that ‘in that Christ died, he died unto sin once,’ being raised from the dead, death hath no more DOMINION over him. - (Rom. vi. 7,9, 10.) Is it not clear from this that the death of Christ was necessary to purify his own nature from the sin-power of death that was hereditarily in him in the days of his flesh?”
“55. – If to this you object, let me call your attention to Paul’s definition of the priesthood which Christ took not to himself, but received from the Father: ‘Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmities, and by reason hereof, he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. - (Heb. v. 2, 3)”
“56. – Again, if Christ’s offering did not comprehend himself in the scope of it, how are we to understand the statement of Paul that he ‘needeth not DAILY, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for THIS he did once when he offered up himself’- (Heb. vii. 2, 3)?”
“57. – As Christ was the antitype of the high priest who ‘went alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people’ (Heb. ix. 7), is it not required that his sacrifice should comprehend himself as well as his people in the effect of its operation?”
“82. – Paul says that as it was necessary that these pattern things in the Mosaic system should be purged with blood, so it was necessary that the things signified should be purged; but with a better sacrifice, that is the sacrifice of Christ –(Heb. ix. 23). The Christ of your theory needed no ‘purging’: therefore does it not follow that he is not the Christ of Paul, who required purging from the law of sin and death, by his own sacrifice?”
“83, – “Paul says of Christ, ‘it is of NECESSITY that this man have somewhat also to offer.’ (Heb. viii. 3) You say of your Christ, that he was under no necessity to offer for himself; but might have refused to die, and entered into eternal life alone. Is it not clear that your Christ is not Paul’s Christ, with whom it was a necessity that he should offer up himself, for the purging of his own nature, first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption (Heb. ix. 12), he might be able afterwards to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him?”
Here we quote again Brother Roberts’ remarks concerning baptism and the removal of condemnation thereby. We quote from The Christadelphian Vol. xv (1878) P. 225:
“Legally a man is freed from Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives remission of sins; but actually its physical effects remain till ‘this mortal’ (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming…”
In Volume x of The Christadelphian, Pages 414- 430
there appears a series of articles with the editorial approval of Brother
Roberts entitled “The Mosaic Curse In Relation to Jesus Christ” by
J. J. Andrew. We quote a few remarks from the first installment:
“Page 417. – His being hung on a tree was on a par with offenses brought about by accident; for it was the result of circumstances into which he was brought by his Father; he could not help himself. Nevertheless he could not escape the curse of the law, because no provision was made for its suspension in any case. He must suffer the curse. This he did, and, at the same time, his blood being that of a perfectly righteous being, cleansed him from the legal defilement, just as it cleansed all Jews who manifested that faith which would be counted to them for righteousness.”
“Page 429 –Since the death of Christ the shedding of blood, either animal or human, has not been necessary in order to effect typical justification. The blood of Christ having been shed, all that is now required on the part of those desirous of entering a justified state, is submission to a ceremony symbolic of his death and resurrection, by which they practically acknowledge that they are under sentence of death, and that they can only be relieved from it by the death of Christ. We have seen that Jesus was subjected to one mode of justification, which entitled him to be placed under probation. When, however, his private life had terminated, and he was about to enter upon his official duties, God required him to submit to another mode of justification – one which, unlike circumcision, involved the exercise of his own will. This consisted of immersion in water by John the Baptist. To give this act any validity as an example, it must have some reality or significance in it; that is to say, there must be some doctrinal reason for it, some fact which rendered it necessary. To affirm that there was nothing in him which required it, is to treat his immersion in the same way as his temptation is treated by those who say that he was not really tempted as we are, but only in appearance for the purpose of showing that he was proof against it. To consider either his immersion or temptation in such a light is to deprive his act in either case of its force as an example for us. The baptism of John was a cleansing ceremony, or means of justification, instituted on account of sin; those who submitted to it were baptized, ‘confessing their sins.’- (Matt. iii. 6.) But Jesus had no sin of his own to wash away; therefore his immersion must have been on account of Adam’s sin. His submission to it was a practical confession not only that he was under the Adamic condemnation, but that he could not be released from it until he had died. It was thus to him a type of his future justification. He was morally pure, but physically impure; and his immersion was a representation of the mode by which on account of his moral purity, he was to be physically purified.
“Thus Jesus was justified in that way which has been in force since his death, as well as by one of the modes prescribed previously. By the one it can be shown that he was under the Jewish law, and by the other that he was under the law common to both Jews and Gentiles.”
“P. 430 – Jesus was born under the Adamic curse. Proof. - To redeem Jews from the Mosaic curse it was necessary for Jesus to come under that curse. Therefore, to redeem Jews and Gentiles from the Adamic curse, Jesus must be brought under it. The only way in which this could be accomplished was by inheritance, because he was personally sinless. Therefore, he was born under that curse.”
The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) P. 460 Arthur Andrew made a statement with the editorial approval of Brother Robert Roberts:
“But although our racial condemnation is legally removed when we are morally justified, the consequences of that condemnation, or of our connection with the first Adam, are not removed immediately, for we still continue to suffer the evils brought into the world by the sin of Adam.”
Comment: We ask the reader to notice and marvel at the harmony that existed between the Andrew brothers and Brother Roberts as is evident in the above quotations. That harmony continued until someone changed their doctrine. We are confident that the reader will perceive that the change was not on the part of either of the Andrew brothers, for they have been condemned repeatedly over the years for having taught until their deaths, the doctrines espoused during those early years which are still current in Unamended Christadelphia.
Brother John Thomas in The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P.321:
“Question 24. – In offering himself, did Christ offer for his own sins?”
“Answer. – It depends upon what is meant. Jesus had no
personal offenses to offer for. Nevertheless, as antitype of the high priest,
who ‘offered first for his own sins, and then for the people’s’ (1), there must
have been a sense in which he did so, even as Paul says, ‘THIS he did once, when he offered up himself’
(2). The sense in which he did so is obvious in the light of the foregoing
answers, that the body offered on
We could quote volumes regarding Christ’s participation in his own sacrifice out of the old publications from the pioneer era, which agree completely with what we have quoted here. Notice the complete harmony between Brother Roberts and the Andrew brothers during that era. John J. Andrew and Arthur Andrew did not change. Brother Roberts did and then, accused the Brothers Andrew of changing. Today, the Unamended too are assailed for our agreement with those “first teachings”.
When Brother Roberts changed, he did not admit to his first teachings. Notice especially, the book “Resurrection To Condemnation”, and it will be startling to discover that every condemnation Brother Roberts makes against Brother Andrew’s teaching amounts to an assailing of his own early teachings, but without a reference to that fact.
We are frequently reminded that the amended proposition 24 of the BASF is the only difference between the two Christadelphian Statements of Faith. We acknowledge that the amendment is the only significant difference between the two statements of faith, the BUSF and the BASF. However, the amendment is not the only difference between the doctrines that are believed and taught by the two respective communities, the Amended and the Unamended.
We emphasize that truth by calling attention to the fact that this is chapter number 10 in a series of doctrinal subjects on which the two bodies differ. We have thus far written regarding differences in belief pertaining to 9 different subject areas in our review of pioneer writings. Therefore, as we examine the published doctrinal positions of the Christadelphians for the first thirty-five years, we have found that instead of the one doctrinal difference related to proposition 24 BASF, there are multiple differences impacting varied fundamental beliefs.
I Thess. – “…the dead in Christ shall rise first:” (before the living are called).
Matt. 24:31 – “And he shall send his angels, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds…” (The elect are the believers, the servants of Christ, - Rom. 11: 7)
Phil. 3: 7-13 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead…I count not myself to have apprehended.”
Some have sought to make a case for the term “exanastasis”, referring to a resurrection to immortality. When Jesus cried aloud to his Father to save him “from death” (Heb. 5:7), not a word is mentioned regarding immortality, only his desire to be saved “from death.” The term Paul used is “anastasis”, (to stand again, “ek” -out of the dead one). We must not invent our own meanings. Not one authority gives the meaning which some wish to ascribe to the term “exanastasis”. If Paul had meant to say what some seem to wish to attribute to him, the Greek phrase should have been “katanthso eis thn exanastasis afqarsian, (katantego eis ten exanastasis aphthartian) which being interpreted means, “ that I might arrive at the resurrection out of the dead to immortality”; or, he might have written, katanthso eis thn exanastatsis zoiwn aiwnion”, (katantae eis ten exanastasis zoion aionion) that is, “that I might arrive at the resurrection to life eternal”. However, Paul mentioned nothing in the passage other than being saved from, or out of death. Paul did show in other passages that he hoped to attain to resurrection to life. However, that is not what the words he used in the passage express.
From The Herald of The Kingdom and Age to Come Vol. iv (1854) P. 91:
“A second class includes those to whom God sends the light, but who shut their eyes against it, loving darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. These are not only sinners by constitution, but wicked sinners, who refuse to come under a constitution of righteousness to God. These are ‘the rest of the dead who live not again till the thousand years are finished.’ At the end of that period they rise, and, commingled with Gog and Magog rebels, are with them tormented day and night to the age of the ages… in the postmillennial ‘lake of fire’ which devours these adversaries.”
In The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come Vol. iv (1854) P. 234 Brother Thomas printed a newspaper article about the Christadelphians entitled “A Curious Sect”. In the article the reporter observes, and Brother Thomas does not deny:
They believe- “Jewish rejecters of the claims of Messiahship…will awake from the dust to judgment at his appearing; while Gentiles under times of knowledge, who refuse faith and obedience to the ‘gospel of the kingdom,’ will arise to punishment 1000 years after Jesus of Nazareth ascends the throne of Jehovah’s kingdom and empire…”
“But in the judgment of the king’s household some will have to pass to the left…”
Eureka Vol. iii of the three Volume edition P. 585; iiiB of the Logos edition P. 234; Vol. iiiB of the CMPA edition P. 189:
“…the king of the Jews will first manifest his presence not to the world at large… but to those whom the blood of the covenant brings before his tribunal.”
“The reader will remember that before the judgment seat of Christ in the wilderness of Teman there were two classes of saints in Christ constitutionally; the one class consisting of ‘the called, the chosen, and faithful… and the other class consisting of the ‘called,’ but not chosen…”
In Brother John Thomas’ (next to his last) work in 1866 entitled Anastatsis P. 10:
“Adam, at the bar of Deity in
Thus we see that Brother Thomas was consistent through his slightly more than twenty years of authorship. He began his writing with the view that only the covenanted servants of Christ would appear before Christ’s judgment seat at his return; and he ended his life with the same published view. Those who try to tell us different based upon page 35 of Anastasis, and Revealed Mystery, do violence to him and his work. If we will but notice that in the middle of the last paragraph on page 35, Brother Thomas writes: “When Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom to this class in Israel…”, it should be obvious that he is speaking of enlightened, covenanted Jews who rejected their Messiah and who were resurrectionally responsible. We certainly believe that such will stand before the judgment seat of Christ at his return; but not unbelieving, uncovenanted Gentiles.
The remark in Revealed Mystery regarding appearing before him who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom serves to identify the individual before whom they shall appear. However, it is a far stretch to try to make the remark reveal the time in which they shall appear before him. He clearly did show in all his writings that he did not believe or teach their appearance before Christ’s bema at the time of the appearing of Jesus in his kingdom. His very last two works beyond doubt show that until his death he still had not changed his view.
Brother Thomas in The Christadelphian Vol. v. (1868) P. 161 Proposition 47:
“What is understood by Rom. xiv.10, in connection with 2 Cor. v. 10, in reference to the judgment-seat of Christ?
“In Rom. xiv. 10, the apostle says to the saints, including himself, “…for we shall all stand before the (bhma, bema, not qronos thronos) of Christ.” If it be asked, what are they to stand there for?, he answers in 1 Cor. , saying, “Everyman’s work shall be made manifest.” They stand there to be made known whether in their former life they ‘walked after the flesh’ or ‘walked after the Spirit’.”
Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray, of the early editions before it was changed, P. 79:
“Rejecters of the Word; who do not come under the law to Christ by belief and obedience may be reserved till the close of the thousand years. It does not seem reasonable that those who put away the counsel of God from themselves should be passed over without judgment, and yet, since they do not become constituents of the household of faith, their resurrection, at the time when account is taken of that household, would seem inappropriate. May they not be dealt with at the end?”
Comment: It will do no good to seek to find the above statement in current copies of Christendom Astray. A person can, however, find the same statement in:
The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 70 Brother Roberts writes:
“Rejecters of the word who do not come under law to Christ by belief and obedience, may be reserved till the end of the thousand years. It does not seem reasonable that those who put away the counsel of God from themselves should be passed over without judgment, and yet, since they do not become constituents of the household of faith, their resurrection at the time when account is taken of that household would be inappropriate. May they not be dealt with at the end?”
Comment: Something that is published and sent all over the world in a periodical cannot be changed and/or deleted. Thus, we are still able to see that Brother Roberts, early in his writings, saw only the resurrection of the Household at the time of Christ’s return, and the possible resurrection of the rejecter at the end of the kingdom age.
The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 23:
“We leave the immortality of the soul out of the account and
deal with the question of judgment in
the light of the fact that mankind is perishing under the law of sin and death,
and in Adam has no more to do with a future state than the decaying vegetation,
which year by year, chokes the forests and passes away with the winter. The endeavour is to realize in the light of
reason and Scripture testimony, the varying shades of responsibility created by
the dealings of the Almighty with a race already exiled from life and favour
under the law of
Regarding light bringing resurrectional responsibility, or just hearing the truth bringing the possibility of the same, that was not the case in Old Testament times as was admitted by the pioneers. Notice:
The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 219, Brother Roberts writes:
“Out of the law, as a national code, it does not appear any resurrectional responsibility arose.”
The proposition that was amended did not in the beginning address anyone not in covenant relation with God. Let us examine:
The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 189 entitled “The judgment seat of Christ” by Robert Roberts:
“That at the appearing of Christ, His servants, faithful and unfaithful dead and living, of both classes, will be ‘judged according to their works,’ and receive in body according to what they have done, whether it be good or bad.”
In The Christadelphian Vol. vii (1870), Brother Roberts responds to a correspondent regarding the resurrection of rejecters. The response began in April (pp. 120-121) and concluded in June on pages 185-186. We shall omit the question, but we shall quote most of the lengthy answer in bold print:
“The words quoted from John xii, on which the foregoing questions hinge, prove the resurrection of a class who are neither the faithful nor unfaithful servants of Christ, but the simple rejecters of his word; and who are therefore appropriately styled by our correspondent a ‘third’ class. The question is, was this class restricted to the people who were contemporary with the personal ministry of Christ, or does it exist wherever in all subsequent time, the word of Christ is put aside? There are several things to be considered in obtaining an answer to this question. In the first place, it cannot be denied that a pre-eminent degree of responsibility attached to the generation contemporary with Christ. They heard His words and saw the ‘works’ by which He evidenced his divine commission. Jesus recognizes a special responsibility in these. He says ‘If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.’ Again, ‘If I had not come and done among them WORKS WHICH NONE OTHER MAN DID, they had not had sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.’ – (John xv. 22-24.) The sin of that generation consisted in the repudiation of Christ in the face of signs and wonders, which left no room for unbelief. This sin was necessarily confined to that generation. It is impossible to recognize its existence in our time, when for eighteen centuries there has been an absolute suspension of all divine manifestations. A believer preaching the word of Christ in a lecture, only reasons upon documents which to an untrained intellect, present no evidence of their title to be regarded with deference. He cannot bring any authority to bear. He has no evidence that appeals to the senses. He can only reason. It is true that ipso facto, the unbeliever rejects the word as truly as if it were the spoken and attested words of Christ that he refused to receive; but the circumstances of its presentation have not the same elements of responsibility in them. The unbeliever is blind and brutish, and acts according to his nature in rejecting a something that requires higher faculty for its apprehension than he is possessed of. The evidence of miraculous works would be something he could see and comprehend, and something that would make him responsible. The reading of the written oracles is powerless to penetrate his blinded faculties, and therefore leaves him as it found him. When the apostles preached ‘God worked with them, CONFIRMING THEIR WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING.’ – (Mark xvi. 20.) This invested their proceedings with an importance equal to that of their master, and made a rejection of their words as heinous as a rejection of his. Whomsoever received them, received him, and vice versa. - (Matt. x. 40.)
“But there is no dispensation of the divine mind to the world now: all is quiet. We are in the time predicted in Amos viii. 11-12; and Micah iii. 6. The only agency God has at work is the feeble one of His written word. This is doing the work that He intended, a feeble work, a small work, but still equal to the object in view, - the creation of a people of sufficient number to co-operate with Christ in the effective execution of Jehovah’s laws, by means of his kingdom shortly to be established. But that it lays a basis for resurrectional responsibility on the part of those who are unenlightened by it, seems highly improbable.”
“Page 186 If the words of Christ apply only to those who rejected the evidences of his word, the further questions of our correspondent have no basis. The orthodox world is given over to delusion and the god of this world, the ends whereof is death. Its responsibilities are mitigated and extinguished by its misfortunes. The graves will engulf and blot out all, as did the flood the antediluvians. Unconvinced listeners to the truth have already been dealt with. As to those believing the truth but refusing to acknowledge and submit to it from sinister motives, it is not impossible these may be held responsible. The ground of condemnation against those who rejected Jesus, was that they ought to have been convinced by the works displayed. If disobedience was punished because they ought to have seen their duty, how can we suppose that disobedience will be winked at where duty is actually seen, but evaded from corrupt motives. Persecutors of the apostolic era would come into the ‘third-class’ class, by their rejection of the truth in the presence of miracles. Their cases will probably be dealt with at the close of the thousand years, as they form no part of the household of faith, who are to be the subjects of the judgment instituted at the coming of Christ.”
“Brother Andrew reminds the Editor that writing on the same subject in the Herald, Dr. Thomas says: ‘We believe that the Scriptures teach the resurrection of the just and of the unjust, who have died under times of knowledge, whose knowledge they have accepted; and the resurrection a thousand years afterwards of ‘the rest of the dead’ who have intelligently rejected it.”
Comment: The above lengthy quotation from Brother Roberts’ early position should be astonishing to all who read it. Most truly Unamended members would have no great problem with Brother Roberts’ position and would probably agree to fellowship that view. That was the position on which Brother Thomas Williams throughout his years of wrestling with the problems of the division, sought to urge agreement and unity. This urging was especially presented to Brother Andrew. Brother Williams saw no difficulty with some one believing the rejecter might rise at the end of the 1000 years, separate from the covenanted saints.
That is the position to which Brother Williams referred in his letter to C. C. Walker when he wrote in Adamic Condemnation P. 34:
“…I conclude that it
useless for me to trouble you any further in an effort to effect a reunion of
the divided ecclesias, since you consider that reunion can take place only upon
an acceptance of the
Life and Works of Thomas Williams P. 179:
“The Birmingham brethren have departed from the truth on Adamic condemnation, and tampering with the old Statement of Faith, and weaving into it resurrection for Gentiles for ‘good or for bad’ out of Christ, on the same basis as those in Covenant relationship, makes fellowship impossible…” (Underlines are mine- See also pages 17 and 21).
The Christadelphian Vol. ii (1865) P.303:
“There are only two
classes among them who are raised at the revelation of
The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 290:
“Resurrection of two classes. It is contended by many that the resurrection at the second advent comprises only one class - the righteous; but we think the Scripture testimony already produced is quite sufficient to disprove this theory. Not only have we ascertained that all ‘the quick and the dead’ (who have been amenable to God’s law) – both just and unjust – will be judged by Jesus at his appearing and his kingdom, but we have also seen that they are all to stand before his judgment-seat to render an account of their probationary career, before approval or condemnation. To do this, they must be raised from the dead; so that these two facts are alone sufficient to prove that the resurrection at the second advent comprises two classes - the righteous and the wicked.”
“Page 291 …Here then are two classes distinctly spoken of as being raised from the dead at the second advent. Daniel first says that ‘many shall awake’ from their deathly sleep, and then he divides them into two classes, and shows that one are the righteous and the other the wicked. If therefore the wicked do not rise from the dead at the second advent, neither will the righteous be raised…”
Brothers and sisters, the quotations throughout this tenth Chapter prove beyond doubt that the body of Christadelphia began with the very doctrine regarding who will appear before Christ’s judgment seat at the second advent, as is held by the Unamended (unchanged) community today. It is difficult to understand why so many have departed from these foundation stones of the body of Christ. Paul entreats us, “…be ye steadfast, unmovable…” (I Cor. 15:58)
CHANGES IN PIONEER CHRISTADELPHIAN WORKS
Obscuring The First Teachings
As mentioned at the beginning of this work, Amended writers over the century have referred to Unamended beliefs as departures from the first teaching of Christadelphia, labeling Unamended beliefs as error introduced by Brother J. J. Andrew around 1894. By contrast, these writers infer that the Amended community has held steadfast to those first teachings. This writer is hopeful that the information presented in this work will allow the truth of the matter to be determined by
those who seek it.
It is an astonishing fact that several early pioneer works have undergone changes that obscure portions of what the authors originally taught. Honest and sincere readers of these historical works today have no idea as they read them that they are reading a text that is now somewhat different from what was originally presented. One might normally expect that when changes are made, there would be a footnote or mention in a Preface indicating those changes. Is it not reasonable to ask, “Why was it necessary to go back and change the wording of some of the early works?” Was it done without notice to obscure original beliefs and conform to a changed doctrine? It is a fact that statements that have been changed or deleted from those early works are contrary to “amended” beliefs, but are supportive of beliefs held by the pioneer community and the Unamended community today.
Brother Roberts’ Christendom Astray was treated in this manner. Brother Roberts admitted in the last night of the Andrew/Roberts debate that he had changed his doctrine, and he called that change his “mature position”. However, the book itself quietly underwent a revision that removed that portion to which Brother Andrew had referred. This writer has a copy of the original wording of the work, and Page 79 revised, originally read as follows:
“The ‘rest of the dead’ cannot apply to the unfaithful persons amenable to the judgment seat of Christ, inasmuch as if raised at that time, their resurrection and condemnation are accomplished facts at the time when these words are used. If they apply to a specific class, it is a class not amenable to the judgment which Christ brings to bear on his household, and a class undealt with till the close of the thousand years. Possibly, it may refer to men like Nero, and others great in wickedness, who are unpunished in the present life, and who, though outside of specific law to God, have acquired a degree of moral responsibility by external contact with divine things.
“Rejecters of the Word, who do not come under the law to Christ by belief and obedience may be reserved till the close of the thousand years. It does not seem reasonable that those who put away the counsel of God from themselves should be passed over without judgment, and yet, since they do not become constituents of the household of faith, their resurrection, at the time when account is taken of that household, would seem inappropriate. May they not be dealt with at the end?”
Comment: The above wording clearly delivered the original message that the author did not believe or teach that the rejecter would be resurrected at the return of Jesus nor judged with the saints. However, after the debate, when the author had changed his position, the work was quietly changed. The page affected is Page 130 of the modern issues of Christendom Astray. The reader will find that none of what we have quoted is still in the book. Yet many unsuspecting readers, when reading that portion of the book are completely unaware that the work once clearly rejected the idea that the rejecter would rise to be judged on the same basis and at the same time as the saints. That was a position which was considered “inappropriate” by pioneers, but later a position to be endorsed by the Amended community
There are two propositions in this work that were quietly changed, a fact of which many brothers and sisters are probably unaware. Propositions 31 and 32 on pages 47 and 49 no longer read as they originally did.
Proposition xxxi originally read as follows:
“xxxi –That at the return of Jesus Christ from heaven, TO ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM ON EARTH, he will, first of all, summon before him for judgment, the whole of his professing household. Those that are dead he will cause to come forth from the dust, and assemble them with the living to his presence. Faithful and unfaithful will be mustered together before his judgment seat, for the purpose of having it declared, after account rendered, who is worthy of being invested with immortality and promoted to the kingdom, and who is deserving of rejection, and re-consignment to corruption after punishment.”
In subsequent versions of A Declaration, that proposition reads as follows:
“xxxi: That at the return of Jesus Christ from heaven, to establish his kingdom on earth, he will, first of all, summon before him for judgment, the whole of those who are responsible to his judgment. Those that are dead he will cause to come forth from the dust, and assemble them with the living to his presence. Faithful and unfaithful will be mustered together before his judgment-seat, for the purpose of having it declared, after account rendered, who is worthy of being invested with immortality and promoted to his kingdom, and who is deserving of rejection and re-consignment to corruption after punishment.”
So we see the change made from the belief in the resurrection and judgment of “the whole of his professing household”, to the less defined concept of “the whole of those who are responsible to his judgment”. As we know, for over a hundred years now it has been Amended doctrine that the rejecter is subject to resurrection and judgment right along with the household. It is easy to see and understand that the original doctrine of Christadelphia precluded any such idea. Changes to A Declaration and other pioneer works were determined expedient to promote the “new” understanding.
Proposition xxxii originally read as follows:
“xxxii – BAPTISM is an act of obedience required of all who
believe the Gospel. It is a bodily immersion in, and not a face-sprinkling or
head-pouring with, water. Its administration to infants, in any form, is
unauthorized and useless; it is only enjoined on those who have intelligence
enough to believe the glad tidings of the
However, the term “legal” has been removed from the proposition and current readers are completely unaware that the proposition in its original form taught the same doctrine that is to this day held by the truly Unamended.
The changed version reads:
“xxxii – BAPTISM is
an act of obedience required of all who believe the gospel. It is a bodily
immersion in, and not a face-sprinkling or head-pouring with water. Its
administration to infants, in any form, is unauthorized and useless; it is only
enjoined on those who have intelligence enough to believe the glad tidings of
We all know how the entire brotherhood at one time believed and taught baptism for both personal sins and Adamic sin.
Page 76 of that work at one time read: (I assure readers that I do have a photostat of that page from the original edition before me as I write.)
“The provision for baptism, in addition to the provision for
sacrifice in the
We now quote the paragraph as it reads in later versions of the book. Notice the obvious difference that changes the meaning of the original teaching completely, thereby obscuring the fact that the brotherhood at first plainly taught baptism for racial alienation as well as for personal sin. This revised section is currently on page 92 (6th Edition) of The Temple of Ezekiel’s Prophecy.
“But this national cleansing will not bestow eternal life. This must come through individual confession of sin and baptism.
“The provision for baptism and the provision for sacrifice
If the reader will carefully look into the subject, it will be seen that the doctrine of a symbolic cleansing at baptism is no longer believed in most Amended circles. In fact, Brother Roberts strongly denied it on pages 248-249 of The Law of Moses, when in previous years he had taught a symbolic, legal cleansing at baptism and then an actual change of nature after judgment. As The Law of Moses was written, Brother Roberts could only see a literal physical change as he addressed that matter. All through the book Brother Roberts had dealt extensively with the subject of symbolic cleansing, but grew unable to see anything other than a change from a physical condemnation to a literal, physical release as he approached the subject regarding New Testament times. Both symbolic cleansings/atonement at baptism and a later, literal physical cleansing at the return of Jesus is taught in God’s holy word, now rejected by many of the Amended.
Again we remind all brethren that the Unamended today are criticized and condemned by many in the Amended community for holding to the same doctrines believed and taught by Christadelphians at the time of the truth’s revival and for nearly forty years thereafter. Sadly, many have departed from those truths and those who choose to remain are assailed worldwide for doing so. Many of us do not mind this assailing, but rather consider it (as Paul did) an honor to be counted worthy to suffer with Christ. (Col. 1:24) We invite all readers to consider, HOW MANY OF US STILL BELIEVE THE DOCTRINES WITH WHICH GOD REVIVED THE ECCLESIA IN THESE LAST DAYS?
Let us be mindful of the fact that writers of all
communities bearing the name Christadelphian, periodically write concerning the
shipwreck that occurred as the ship carrying Brother John Thomas from
And so we invite all readers to consider our closing question. How many of us continue to believe the doctrines with which God revived the ecclesia in the last days?
We have gleaned from Scripture and from the writings of early Christadelphia that Jesus was a representative of the race of man in every sense. Pioneer writers believed and taught the truths emphasized by the inspired Apostle Paul, i.e., that Jesus had to himself partake of everything from which he was to make men free through his sacrificial death.
Paul emphasized that by Jesus having come under the curse of the Mosaic law (Gal. : Deut. ), he was able to free Israelites from the curse of the law. There is more to be understood from the statement of Isaiah 53:12 that, “he (Jesus) was numbered with the transgressors”, than just the fact of his being placed on the cross with two transgressors. Jesus came under the penalty of the Mosaic law just as did other Israelites, although he himself was morally innocent of transgression. This was so because he did not go to the cross under his own power and will, but was forced on it by the hands of evil men. Although he was physically in transgression of Deut. , morally he had no part in it, permitting the declaration that he “knew no sin”. (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15).
Let us remember how often Paul emphasized the “likeness” of
the nature of Jesus with that of all his brethren (
Throughout this work readers have noticed repeated reference to, and warning regarding “departure” from the Truth (I Tim. 4:1-2), and conversely, remaining “steadfast and unmovable” (I Cor. ). It is reasonable that such admonition should attend a work of this nature, particularly considering the seriousness of the prospect of being found in possession of “another gospel” at the judgment seat of our Lord. It is the contention of both the Unamended and Amended communities that Dr. Thomas rediscovered the Truth in the middle of the 19th Century. Yet these two communities hold significantly different beliefs on fundamental doctrines affecting fellowship, resulting in on-going contentions and controversy. It is surely apparent to all that competing beliefs cannot both be correct, nor can they both reflect the pioneer beliefs to which both communities lay claim. Indeed, would not an admitted change from the teachings of Christadelphia at the time of the Truth’s revival constitute an accusation of error on the part of that early community?
Readers should not be quick to dismiss the position that some divisions within the Christadelphian body constitute departure from the Truth. Though there have always been and currently are those voices trivializing the differences in belief between the Unamended and Amended communities, they serve only to blur the differences and compromise those “separated unto the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). Also, though many do recognize the existence of error within the Christadelphian community, brethren often have difficulty attempting to balance their responsibility to brethren in error with apostolic admonitions to “avoid” those who bring in “heresies among you.” (Rom. ; I Cor. 11:19; II John 10-11)
There are obvious parallels in the experience of the first century ecclesia and the revived latter day ecclesia. Consider:
The first century ecclesial era began with one, united body of believers.
However, “one body” did not continue. Around 100 A. D. and shortly thereafter, converted Gentiles and Jews entered into the membership, some bringing their false beliefs with them. Doctrines within the body of Christ began to be challenged. Finally those false teachers who had amended their beliefs “went out” (I John -22; 4:1-2; 11 John 7-11). True believers became fewer in number while those in apostasy grew more numerous and developed into a huge, worldwide political/religious body, continuing to divide and eventually forming different denominations.
The latter day ecclesial era began with one, united body of believers.
From the revival of the Truth around 1850 until the mid to late 1880s, Christadelphia was one, united body of believers. However, this unity did not continue. In the late 1880’s and 1890s, new doctrines entered into the ecclesia, and those who amended (changed) “went out” from those who remained. (I John 2:19). After the division those who remained steadfast became fewer in number while those who departed became more numerous.
Unfortunately, the process of separation from the “one faith” continues today. The Unamended ecclesia is accused of error, despised for its size and ridiculed for its beliefs. It is disheartening to observe that there continues to be members either leaving the body or compromising beliefs for the sake of “unity”.
This work has provided a preponderance of written evidence regarding the beliefs held by Christadelphia for the first 35 to 40 years after the Truth’s revival, a legacy which both the Unamended and Amended communities claim. Although we have confessed throughout this work that the pioneers were fallible men and their writings do not constitute final proof of the issues, we do find their doctrine to be in accord with, as well as supported by, the scripture. Such has been the effect of the pioneer writings on believers since 1850.
We pray that this work might be read and considered; approached with a curious and open mind, that those so inclined might hear the clear teachings of the pioneers whose names, but perhaps not their early writings, are familiar.
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (I Timothy 4:16)
Wayne R. Tanner
"A constitutional transition from one relationship to
Christendom Astray Pages 409 -412:, Bro. Robert Roberts Pages 50, 65
"A Curious Sect"...Jewish rejecters:
The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come Vol. iv (1854) P. 234 Bro. Thomas Page 76
"A forgiven man,...released from condemnation":
The Christadelphian Vol. xii (1875) P. 520- Bro. Roberts in the EDITORIAL Page 65
“A man has not learnt
the ways of God who does not recognize that most of His dealings with the
of men in the present state of alienation are performed with gloved hands.”: Ways of Providence -
P. 210 of the original edition: Page 45
A second class...: The Herald of The Kingdom and Age to Come Vol. iv (1854) P. 91 Page 76
"Abram, the idolator...Abraham, the called of God: Christendom Astray P. 110-111 Bro. Roberts Page 32
"After he had done this, God acknowledged him as His
son.": The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873)
Pages 499-503, article by Bro.Thomas,“Aaron and Christ” Pages 36, 42, 62
Although our racial condemnation is legally removed...the consequences... are not removed immediately: The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) P. 460, Arthur Andrew, editorial approval of Bro. R. Roberts Pages 60, 64, 74
An unjustified sinner can never pass from under the sentence
of death by "a life of charity...":
The Christadelphian Vol. ix (1872) P. 89, Robert Roberts in “Answer to Correspondence” Page 22
Antitype of the high priest, who offered first for his own
sins, and then for the people's:
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873), Bro. John Thomas, P.321, P. 463-466 Pages 72, 74
"Apart from divine guidance, the mind of man...works in a way baneful to himself and displeasing to God.": Worship In Relation To The Alien - by A. T. Janaway published in 1887 Page 45
"As many of you as have been baptized into Christ...": Christendom Astray Pages 170, 171 Page 50
“As soon as the
treaty is signed, they are legally at peace.”:
The Christadelphian,Vol. xv (1878) P. 225 Pages 13, 45
At the appearing of Christ, His servants...: The
Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 189 entitled
“The judgment seat of Christ” by Robert Roberts Page 78
Baptism..act of obedience...means of present (legal) union
with Christ: A Declaration, Proposition xxxii
originally read… Page 83
Baptism does not deal directly with our nature… The Lord was
not therefore made free from Adamic
condemnation when he was baptized.: The Christadelphian, July 1972 Pages 466-467 Page 67
“Baptism In Relation to Justification”: The Christadelphian
Vol. xiii (1876) Pages 529-537,
Bro. John Thomas Page 64
Baptism is the requirement in its ceremonial compliance.:
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 399
Bro. Roberts in “The Sacrifice of Christ” Page 66
"Blood shedding is never spoken of except": Andrew/Roberts debate; Bro. Roberts answers question #406 Page 5
"Born under condemnation in Adam...": The Christadelphian - Vol. iv (1867) P. 23, Page 45
Bro. John Thomas’ rendering of “eph
ho”, he says should be 'in whom all have sinned':
Bro.Roberts strongly denied it, when in previous years he
had taught a symbolic, legal cleansing at baptism
… then an actual change of nature after judgment: Bro.Roberts, pages 248-249 of The Law of Moses Page 84
Bro. Ted Farrar in his booklet entitled The Imputation of
Adam’s Sin (P. 4) concerning a work in
Essentials of New Testament Greek by Ray Summers P. 66-67 Page 53
"But for our needs, he would not have been
there.": Unity in
"But if a man believe the gospel...immersed..free from condemnation": The Christadelphian Vol. v P. 160, “Chatechesis” by Bro. Thomas, question 45 Page 17
"But if a man believe the gospel.. and...duly
immersed..IN Christ,...free from condemnation...":
The Christadelphian,Vol. v P. 155-161, a “Catechism” by Bro. John Thomas, Question 45 with answer Page 46
“But sin nature is not the cause of disfavour.": The Tidings magazine March/April 1977 Pages 6-7 Page 10
"By nature the children of wrath...destined to perish: Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray - P. 111 Page 45
By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men...: The Christadelphian in Vol. viii (1871) P. 354 Page 56
"By the washing of water in baptism, a man is cleansed
and begotten...": The Ambassador, (later named
The Christadelphian) Vol iii (1866) P. 190- Bro. Robert Roberts Page 41
"Christ...the One Covering Name": Christendom Astray Page 409 - Bro. Robert Roberts Page 50
Condemnation in Adam and Justification in Christ: The
Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876)
Pages 114-116. A. Andrew Pages 62-63
Condemnation of sin in the flesh: The Christadelphian Vol. x
(1873), R. Roberts, series on
“The Sacrifice of Christ”. Pages 358-365; Pages 360-364 Bro. Roberts writes re Dr. Thomas Page 21
"Defiled conscience" instead of "physical
defilement": Unity in
"Devil...sin in the flesh": The Ambassador (later
named The Christadelphian) Vol. V (1868), P. 169,
Dr. Thomas, in , “A Good Confession” Page 6
Enlightened, covenanted Jews who rejected their Messiah: Page 35 of Anastasis, and Revealed Mystery Page 77
"Every son of Adam being under sentence of death, it
was not possible for any to escape from it,
unless redeemed.": The Christadelphian Vol. viii (1871) P. 354; article by D. Handley Page 22
First, those to which men are related by reason of racial
trespasses. In immersion there is a recognition of the first; and, by the offering of sacrifices, there
is confession of the second:
God...withheld His acknowledgment until...baptized":
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873)- Pages 500-503,
article, Aaron and Christ by Bro. John Thomas Pages 10, 42
"Had he put this on without bathing his flesh in
water...would have been struck with death.":
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Page 500, Bro. John Thomas; “Aaron and Christ" Page 13
"He must suffer the curse…blood..cleansed him from
legal defilement": The Christadelphian
Vol. x (1873), Robert Roberts on Page 417 Page 13
"He shall judge the secrets of men by Christ": The
Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866), P. 190
Robert Roberts, “The Judgment Seat of Christ” Page 17
'How say you' that Jesus was not born 'in Adam'?: The
Christadelphian, Vol. x (1873)
Pgs 559-562, J. J. Andrew, “How Say You”, approved and printed by Robert Roberts Pages 28-30
"How then can flesh and blood be undeflied?": From The Ambassador Vol. v P. 333 (1868), by Bro. Z Page 21
"How They Differed", Pages 28-29: John Hensley; contrasts J. J. Andrew, T. Williams, R. Roberts Page 19
Humanity of Jesus: The Christadelphian Vol. x, (1873) P. 361 Bro. John Thomas Page 6
"If Jesus had disobeyed this command...could he have
been saved?": Vol. x (1873), The Christadelphian,
Pgs 460-468. Bro. Roberts' 85 questions to Edward Turney, the Father of The Renuciationist or
“Free Life” theory. Pages 25-26
If Jesus was baptized for the remission of sins, why was he
also sacrificed?: Robert Roberts in The
Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 479 in “Answers to Correspondence Page 62
"Immersion...Connection with Christ...Consequences of
Adam's sin..: The Christadelphian - Vol. v (1868)
P. 163 The Good Confession, … answers expected of a candidate for baptism. Nu's 4, 5, 123, 125 Page 46
"In Adam, inheriting death without resurrection": Christendom Astray, P. 111, Robert Roberts Page 45
“In The House Of Mourning.”: The Christadelphian Vol. xx
(1883) Pages 306-308. Bro. Ashcroft's
remarks at funeral of a young sister, with editorial approval of Bro. Roberts Page 66
In the judgment of the king's household some: Eureka Vol.
iii (Bro. Thomas’ last work) (1868) PP. 408, 670,
384 in 3 Vol. set; PP; 11,32, 266 (CMPA edition); Vol. 5 PP 20, 43,32 (Logos edition) Page 76
In the order of nature, a man is born into the condition of
Adam, when condemned to return to the ground.:
The Christadelphian - Vol. iii (1866) P. 97 Pages 17, 33, 46
"In this mortal state, arrived at by sin, men are
sinners and alienated from God.": The Christadelphian -
Vol. v (1868) P. 199 Page 47
" It was necessary for Christ to die for himself, he
being one of the race: The Christadelphian Vol. xiii
(1876) P. 451, by Bro. Arthur Andrew Page 58-60
Jesus...born of woman...made under the law: The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages 463-466 Page 69
Jesus was made under the law...woman made of her parents.:
the Christadelphian Vol. xii (1875) P. 301,
an article entitled “Bro. Hawkins’ Review” Page 57
“Jewish responsibility was greater than that of the cast-off descendants of the rejected groundling of Eden.”: Christendom Astray - P.113 , Bro. Robert Roberts Page 45
Legally a man is freed from Adamic condemnation at the time
he obeys the truth and receives
remission of sins: The Christadelphian, Vol. xv (1878) P. 225 Pages 13, 17, 25, 33, 40, 43, 60, 62, 72
May they not be dealt with at the end?: Robert Roberts,
Christendom Astray, of the early editions
before it was changed, P. 79 Pages 77-78, 82
Must be born again: The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 97 Bro. Roberts, “Answer to Correspondents" Page 33
"Must pass into Abraham and into Christ": Elpis Israel P. 241 Pages 49- 50
“Of the natural man, which (though in subjection) continues
till we are glorified, he can say, ‘I am
carnal, sold under sin.”: Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 420 – Bro. Roberts Page 58
"Offering for the sins of others; part of obedience
..the Father demanded: The Tidings Magazine 1977
March/ April, The Amended Brother Richard Stone, Pages 8-9 Page 11
"Our flesh is the same as Adam's before he sinned, only
the worse for wear": The Christadelphian
Vol. vi (1869) P. 216, Bro. John Thomas Page 13
"Our offer...is reunion upon the Birmingham Statement
before it was changed.: Bro. Williams, in his
letter to C. C. Walker, in Adamic Condemnation P. 34 Page 80
Out of the law, as a national code, it does not appear any
resurrectional responsibility arose.:
The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 219, Bro. Roberts Page 78
"Passing out of Adam into Christ": Andrew/Roberts debate in 1894, Page 32 question 686 Page 50
Question: If we are condemned to death on account of Adam’s sin, and Christ died for us, and we are freed from condemnation through him, why do we die?: Christadelphian, Vol. xiii (1876) Pgs 459-460 JJA Page 60
Regarding the nature of Jesus: The Christadelphian Vol. x (July, 1873) P. 322-323 Bro. Roberts Pages 15-16
Rejecters...may be reserved till the end of the 1000 years:
The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 70
Bro. Roberts Page 77
Resurrection for Gentiles..on same basis as those in
Cevenant...makes fellowship impossible.:
Life and Works of Thomas Williams P. 179 Page 80
Rom. xiv, 10...to the saints, we shall all stand before the
bema of Christ: Bro. Thomas in
The Christadelphian Vol. v. (1868) P. 161 Proposition 47, See 2 Cor. v: 21st Page 77
"Sin...is a synonym for human nature.": Elpis
Sin in the flesh: Unity in
“SIN, ITS ORIGIN,
EFFECTS AND DESTRUCTION”: The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Pages
451-461 Bro.Roberts with editorial approval published an article by A. Andrew Pages 58-60
Son of God, son of Mary- when immersed, the Spirit of God
descended upon him in the form of a dove.":
Herald Of The Kingdom And Age To Come, 1854 P. 126 - Bro. John Thomas Page 41
Tempter and Tempted: the Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Pages
481-487, first installment of an article by
Bro. John Thomas, an article first published in the Herald of the Kingdom in 1852, P. 483 Page 54
“That Christ, in the days of his flesh, was, and His mission
required Him to be, equally affected with ourselves
by the sentence of death passed upon Adam": Bro. Roberts, The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) P. 279 Page 57
"The action of lust in the mind is the action of the N.T. Satan": Christendom Astray P. 190, R. Roberts Page 22
The burnt offering--act of worship apart from guilt of
Robert Roberts, Law of Moses P. 237, 264. Page 40
The burnt offering--consumption of sin nature: Law of Moses P. 238, Robert Roberts Page 41
"The constituted servants of Christ (by belief and baptism): The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 30, 31 Page 35
The devil - sin in the flesh.: The Ambassador
(Christadelphian) Vol. v P. 169 an article of nine pages by
Bro. John Thomas entitled “A Good Confession” Page 22
"The disobedience of Adam is NOT IMPUTED to his
descendants”: John Hensley’s booklet, pages 7-8, section:
“Is The Sin Of Adam Imputed To His Descendants?”, The Christadelphian, 1894, R. Roberts Page 12
The Flesh of Man: Elpis
The freedom we have is from our own sins: The Christadelphian Vol. xxxi (1894) P. 71 Page 67
“The Judgment Seat of Christ": The Christadelphian Vol. iii, Bro. Roberts Page 33
“The Meaning of Christ being a Constitutional Sinner”,
The Christadelphian, Vol. xi P. 281, Bro. Roberts Page 57
"The means of that present (legal) means of union with Christ": A Declaration, Proposition xxxii Pages 43, 83
The Mosaic Curse In Relation to Jesus Christ: The Christadelphian, Vo. x, Pages 414- 430 Page 73
The nature of flesh, and in this place, the flesh of
Christ.: The Christadelphian Vol. x (pages 392-409),
Bro. Roberts comments on pages 407-409 Page 23
"The new birth -
misapprehension of N.T. phrase: The Christadelphian Vol. iii (1866) P. 97-98,
Robert Roberts in “Answers to correspondents” Page 17
"The purpose of God being ..condemnation of sin in the
nature that transgressed in
of him who had committed no sin.": The Christadelphian, Vol. vii (1870) P. 75 Bro. Thomas,
“The Rock” and the Christadelphians Page 18
The rest of the dead: Bro. Roberts’ Christendom Astray, Pg. 79, modern version, P. 130 Page 78-80
The same as the flesh of his posterity…", The Ambassador Vol. vi (1869) P. 216 Bro. John Thomas Page 41
The whole of his professing household: A Declaration, Prop. 31, 32 Pgs. 47, 49 Page 83
“There are only two classes among them who are raised at the
The Christadelphian Vol. ii (1865) P.303, Bro. Roberts Pages 35, 80
There is therefore now no condemnation.for us...: The Christadelphian Vol. xxxi (1894) P. 70 Page 67
"These things could not have been accomplished in a
nature destitute of the physical principle, styled
"Sin in the flesh.": The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) P. 361, Bro. John Thomas Page 6, 22
They arrive at the judgment seat of Christ through probation: Anastatsis, P. 10,Bro. John Thomas 1866 Page 35, 76
This sin was necessarily confined to that generation.: The
Christadelphian Vol. vii (1870), Bro. Roberts
responds to correspondent re resurrection of rejecters. April (pp. 120-121)- June, (pp 185-186) Pages 78-80
To those whom the blood of the covenant brings before his
tribunal:Eureka Vol. iii of three Vol. edition
P. 585; iiiB of the Logos edition P. 234\; Vol. iiiB of the CMPA edition P. 189 Page 76
Two classes of saints in Christ: Eureka Vol. iii P. 659,
668, 669 of the 3 vol. set; CMPA set PP. 256, 264,
Logos set P. 315-216; 325; 326 Page 76
Two constitutions: Elpis
Varying shades of responsibility: Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray, P. 115 Page 40, 45
Varying shades of responsibility...: The Christadelphian Vol. iv (1867) P. 23, R. Roberts Page 78
"We do not die because of Adam's sin": The Christadelphian magazine, February 2002 Page 50 Page 9, 52
"We mustn't preach sin that dwells in us...":Unity
subtitle “Metonymy Applied To Sin" Page 10
“What We Inherit From Adam”: John Hensley, P. 9 Page 14
When a man is immersed,...he is transferred out of Adam into
Christ, but in what sense?:
The Christadelphian Vol. xi (1874) Pages 301-309, Bro. J. J. Andrew Page 56
When Jesus came to John, he demanded to be buried in water:
The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873)
Pages 499-503, Bro. John Thomas, “Aaron And Christ" Pages 36, 42, 62
"Why was Jesus 'put to death in the flesh' of
Adam?": The Christadelphian Vol. x (1873) Page 460-468,
Bro. Roberts pens questions for Edward Turney Pages 7, 25
“Why Do Men Die” Rom. ; The Christadelphian Vol. xiii (1876) Pgs. 154-156,Bro. J. J. Hadley Page 58