“Christadelphianism of the Devil”
DEDICATED TO THE CLERGY & MINISTERS OF BRITAIN.
A tract was written by Robert Warner against Christadelphianism, at the time Doctor Thomas visited Mumbles, South Wales
(the Editor’s old home), on his last tour through England, just before his death. Mr. Warner had been a Baptist minister in
Mumbles for some time, but had recently changed to Plymouth Brotherism. The reply which is hereto subjoined, we, by
request, delivered to Mr. Warner, with the Doctor’s complements, and an invitation to come and hear the lecture which
was taken in short-hand by brother Roberts, and is now known as “The Book Unsealed.”
(The foregoing are the words of Thomas Williams writing the introduction to the following in the June 1887 Advocate.)
MY DEAR FRIENDS: You are doubtless aware that we have in our midst a number of persons calling themselves “Christadelphians,” and that they are just now, by means of a Dr. Thomas, of America (the human originator of Christadelphianism), making great efforts to bring their peculiar views under our notice.
I am pretty well acquainted with Christadelphian teaching - having, some time ago, purposely entered into communication with some of its advocates, attended their lectures, and read their books. As much as possible I laid aside all prejudice, I earnestly entreated God to open my mind and heart to the truth (even if it were Chilstadelphianism), and, like the Bereans (Acts 17: 11), “searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so.” But I could come to no other conclusion than that Christadelphianism instead of being the truth, is a lie; and therefore, instead of being of God, is of the devil; for he is the father of every lie (see John 8: 44). I do not say that there is not some little truth mixed with it; but Christadelphianism teaches, among other things - God is material - man can have no existence apart from his body - the punishment of the wicked is not everlasting - the Lord Jesus Christ is but a man - the Holy Spirit is but an influence - Heaven, the future abode of the saints, is but the earth - the devil has no existence whatever, etc. etc.; and we must not forget that it is a very old device of Satan to open the way by means of a little truth, for the introduction of soul destroying error.
Since seeing the announcement that several lectures were to be delivered in the Mumbles, in favour of this pernicious system, I have felt led to hear some kind of testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, and, while seeking direction from God as to the mode of doing so, I providentially met with the accompanying pamphlet, entitled, “Scriptural Evidence of Eternal Punishment,” which I now take the opportunity of circulating. Not only does it meet one of the principal tenets of the Christadelphians with some of its cognate errors, but eternal punishment is just now exciting much inquiry among professing Christians, and its truth or falsity is undoubtedly of vast importance to all men.
While it is the subject matter, of the pamphlet which I would especially commend to you, it may not be altogether useless just to state that, the writer of it is a linguist of no mean standing (speaking six different languages with great readiness and fluency, also being exceedingly proficient in Greek); his long life has been chiefly occupied with the Scriptures in their original language; he has, through much reproach, provided his fidelity to the truth; and God has used his tongue and pen, to the blessing of the souls of thousands in many different parts of the world. “Despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5: 20, 21).
And now, in conclusion, let me sound a note of warning in your ears. - Are you awake to the character of the day in which we are living, and do you know to what end the world is coming? Or are you sleeping under the influence of that delusive tale of the evil one (which, alas! is too often re-echoed by those holding the office of ministers of truth), that the times are improving, and that the world will eventually, by the preaching of the Gospel, be converted to God. I fearlessly challenge anyone to bring a single Scripture from the New Testament which in the least countenances the idea that the world is to get better during the present dispensation; every Scripture at all bearing on the subject, teaches the very reverse, and that the world will soon come under fearful judgment at the hands of the Lord Jesus. Let me refer you to one or two - Luke 17: 26-30; Acts 17: 30-31; 2 Thess 1: 7-9, and 2: 3-12; 2 Tim. 3: 1-13; Jude 14, 15; Rev. 19: 11-22.
These and other Scriptures plainly teach that in the latter days iniquity shall abound in the world; the professing church shall become corrupt; teachers shall depart from the faith; and Satan will introduce cunningly-devised systems of error, by which men who have not received the love of the truth, will be deluded “that they may all be damned” (See especially 2 Thess 2: 9-12).
What is our resource then in such times as these? Evidently it is not churches, nor ministers, nor forms godliness but we have it pointed out (in immediate connection with a portraiture of the last days) in 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17, in these words: “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the mm of God may he perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” “And now I commend YOU to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified’ praying that you may study carefully, receive it simply, believe it firmly, and hold it steadfastly even unto the end.
I am, my dear friends, Yours, to serve in any way, in Christ Jesus,
8, Alexadra Terrace, August 11th, 1869
To the Inhabitants of the Mumbles and its Neighborhood.
THE STRAIT GATE AND NARROW WAY
LEADING UNTO LIFE
“TO THE INHABITANS OF THE MUMBLES AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD.”
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: - As such I address you; for though a denizen of the United States some thirty-seven years, Britain, preeminently the “Beautiful Isles of the Sea,” is the country of my nativity. During my brief sojourn in your romantic marine village, in which I was engaged without the clerical and ministerial inducement of “filthy lucre” (1 Pet. 5: 2 ) in recalling your attention to the “straight gate and narrow way” that alone leadeth to ‘‘glory, honor, incorruptibility, and life,” (Rom. 2: 7,) in contradistinction to the “wide gate and broad way,” in which the hirelings of the State superstition and Nonconformist names and denominations, Apocalyptically libeled “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ALL THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH,” are leading you to “destruction.” While, I say, I was engaged in this benevolent and truly charitable, but very unpopular endeavor, I received copies of a circular and tract which had been extensively distributed among you, addressed to “the inhabitants of the Mumbles and the neighborhood.” To this piece of pious supererogation, I purpose now to recall your candid attention.
It purports to proceed from a Robert Warner, of 8, Alexandra Terrace, who hath spontaneously presented himself to your notice as the champion-Warner of the Mumbles, to warn his fellow-villagers against the Christadelphians and their teaching. With this respectable and pious subject of the hereditary “Defender of the Faith” of the United Kingdom, I have not the honour of personal acquaintance; but I am informed he was formerly “a gentleman of the cloth and bands,” rejoicing as
“a divine” of one of the “holy orders” of the Nonconformist branch of THE APOSTASY; but becoming, from some cause or other, disgusted with that system of professional hypocrisy, renounced “the cloth and bands,” with all their perquisites. For this, if true, he is entitled to the admiration and commendation of all the friends of apostolic truth and righteousness. But, unfortunately he is said to have stopped short of the strait gate, and to have continued in the broad way leading to destruction, by simply changing his denomination of error, in being numbered with that “straightest sect” of modern Pharisees, yclept Plymouth Brethren.
Plymouth-brotherism, then, in the person of this gentleman, has assumed the guardianship of your opinions, and the championship of the crude speculations of the Apostasy in your midst. Ought not the “dumb-dogs” among you, who cannot, or dare not, bark, and of whom Paul warns us to “beware” (Phil. 3: 2; Isaiah 56: 10-12), to growl him a vote of thanks? Here is a renegade from their own order so far repentant in championizing the old craft, by voluntarily attacking the common enemy of their Satanism, the Christadelphians, whom they dare not openly withstand!
But though we cannot but admire the courage of our ex-divine, I am sorry that 1 cannot compliment him for his truthfulness. He is manifestly one of that class of troublers, who, in the days of the apostles, “spoke evil of the things that they understood not” (2 Pet. 2: 12), and who “with good words and fair speeches deceived the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16: 17, 18). He says that I am “the human originator of Christadelphianism.” This is not true. Christadelphianism signifies the aggregate of the things taught by the apostles, whom Jesus Christ proclaimed to be his brethren, with all others who do the will of the Father in heaven - Matt. 12: 50. The name Christadelphian signifies Christ’s Brother. The Eternal Father was the divine, and His well-beloved Son was the human originator of Christadelphian teaching. “The Man Christ Jesus is the human originator,” not the apostles, or any who believe and practice what they taught.
I may, however, as the undeserved honour of its origination is attributed to me, he supposed to know reliably what its teaching is. I know, then, that Mr. Warner is not correctly acquainted with it, and that his statement respecting it, is not according to truth. He says, I am pretty well acquainted with Christadelphian teaching, having some time ago purposely entered into communication with some of its advocates, attended their lectures, and read their hooks. As much as possible, I laid aside all prejudice: I earnestly entreated God to open my mind and heart to the truth - even if it were Christadelphianism - and like the Bereans - Acts 17: 11, “searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so.” But, I could come to no other conclusion than that Christadelphianism, instead of being the truth, is a lie and, therefore, instead of being of God, is of the devil for he is the father of every lie.- See John 8: 44. I do not say that there is not some little truth mixed with it; but Christadelphianism teaches, among other things, God is material; man can have no existence apart from his body; the punishment of the wicked is not everlasting; the Lord Jesus Christ is but a man; the Holy Spirit is but an influence; heaven, the future abode of the saints, is but the earth; the devil has no existence whatever, etc.; and we must not forget that it is a very old devise of Satan to open the way by means of a little truth for the introduction of the soul-destroying error.” Such are his words. He earnestly entreated God to open his mind and heart to the truth, but results show that God had no respect to his earnest entreaty; “for God heareth not sinners”- John 9: 31, Whose way, sacrifices, and thoughts are an abomination to Him, “but the prayer of the upright is His delight, and the prayer of the righteous He hears.”- Prov. 15: 8, 9, 26, 29; 1 Pet. 3: 12.” Mr. Warner must first be the subject of the righteousness of Gad in Christ Jesus before his prayers can become audible in heaven, or be of any avail. Being a Plymouth Brother, and not a Brother of Christ, he has no intercessor there, no one to urge his petition, like the unhappy “miserable sinners” of the State superstition, who are ever confessing, but never forsaking, their sins. If he would pray less and study the word of God more, he would become better able to discern the truth.
Yes, verily, Paul says that God is substance, and I presume that even the hirelings of the apostasy will admit, that substance is “material.” The Son, says the Apostle, is the exact representation, or “express image of His hypostasis,” which word in Heb. 11: 1, is rendered substance. The god of the Mother of Harlots, and of all the branches of her intoxicated family, is an immaterial fiction of their vain and fleshly imaginations, - a fiction which they describe as “without body and without parts.” That which is immaterial is nothing. Hence the God of European and American adoration is a nonentity; and his worshippers consequently Atheists.
Christadelphians believe the testimony of the Spirit that “man has no pre-eminence over a beast;” that “they all have one spirit” (ruach), and that “at death they all go to one place”- Eccl. 3: 18, 19, 20; 9: 5. Those who reject this testimony, however pious they may be, are infidel or unbelievers. They do not believe the Word. IMMORTALITY is life manifested through incorruptible substance. The material God of the Bible only hath it inherently and underived from any other source - I Tim. 6: 16. He is the fountain of living water, and offers life and incorruptibility to all, on condition of their believing the gospel promised in the prophets - Rom. 1: 2, and preached by Christ and the apostles - obeying it, and henceforth walking in the truth. Sinners have no more immortality in them than the beast that perish, for “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord”- Rom. 6: 23. Hence, “man that is in honour,” be the pope, archbishop, or any other kind of dignitary, spiritual or temporal, “and understandeth not” the word of the kingdom, “is as the beast that perish”—Psalm 49: 12,20; Matt. 8: 19. Christadelphians do not teach that “the punishment of the wicked is not everlasting.” In this count of Mr. Warner’s testimony against them he is therefore a false witness, and comes under the curse of the divine law. They teach as their Lord and brother taught, that the cursed should “go away into the aion-fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” which is their everlasting destruction from his presence and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired by all them that believe in that day”- Matt. 25: 41, 46; 1 Thess. 1: 7-10. Not believing that the wicked are immortal, they do not teach the demoniac dogma of eternal torture by the old devil of pagan theology in a subterranean hell, where Mr. Warner’s ridiculous tract says, Satan and his angels are. The Scriptures teach neither the immortality of the wicked in any sense, nor the tormenting of them with material, or any other kind of fire, eternally. Such a diabolical tradition may be very useful for the soul-and-body merchants of the apostasy—Rev. 18: 11-13, who rule the ignorant by their fears; it is, however, mere heathenism, and no part of the truth of God.
Again he says that Christadelphianism teaches that “the Lord Jesus Christ is but a man;” that is, nothing more divine than Peter, or his pretended vicar in Rome! Now this is another false accusation. I teach that Jesus Christ when upon earth, was Deity manifested in sinful flesh for the condemnation of sin, in the nature that sinned in Eden—Rom. 8: 3; but that after he was “perfected,”- Luke 8: 32, or “justified in spirit”- 1 Tim. 3: 16, he became Deity manifested in glorified humanity, “who is over all God blessed for the aions”- Rom. 9: 5. Is this teaching that “Jesus Christ is but a man?” Is this element of Christadelphianism a lie; or will Mr. Warner dare to affirm that “it is of the devil?”
He bears false witness against Christadelphianism furthermore upon the subjects of holy spirit., heaven, and the devil. The material and incorruptible God of Israel is spirit. His words are spirit and life—John 4: 24; 6: 63; Jesus Christ is “the Lord the Spirit,” and “a quickening spirit. “- 2 Cor. 3: 17; 1 Cor. 15: 45. From the Father’s substance irradiates power, which fills the boundless universe, and because breathed forth according to His will is termed Spirit.- Psalm 139: 7-13. By this power were the heavens made, and all the host of them—Psalm 33: 6, 9; Gen. 1: 2; also man, and all his surroundings.- Job. 33: 4. By the same spirit Jesus was raised from the dead; and the apostles were endued with power to teach the truth without mistake. By the same spirit the Lord confirmed their teaching in the miracles He enabled them to perform. In its intellectual and moral relations this same “spirit is the truth”- I John 5: 6; and begets sinners as Sons and daughters to God.- James 1: 18.
But while Christadelphianism teaches these things, it also teaches, that what the apostasy terms “Holy Ghost” is nothing but “another spirit,” the mere spirit of sin’s flesh, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience”.- Eph. 2: 2; 2 Cor. 11: 4, on the spirituals of the wickedness in the ecclesiastical and secular high places of Europe and America.- Eph. 6: 12. It is this spirit that is the converting power of the apostasy, which however charged its subjects may be with it leaves them in ignorance of God’s truth, and in their sins. It is an unholy spirit, and known to be such by the works of the flesh it generates in both priests and people.-
Gal. 5: 19-21.
Christadelphianism teaches that heaven is something more than mere earth. It teaches that the heaven promised to the saints is the earth yielding its increase under a heavenly constitution. That thus constituted it is to abide for ever; that the saints are to possess it with eternal life; and that the wicked are to be rooted out of it- Eccl. 1: 4; Ps. 105: 5; 37: 11, 20, 22; Prov. 10: 30; 2: 21, 22; Matt. 1: 5. This will be a better heaven than that fictitious and dreary place of happiness “beyond the bounds of space,” which is nowhere, to which the blind leaders of the blind into the last ditch, dispatch the “immortal souls” of their deluded votaries in the article of death.
Lastly, Christadelphianism does not teach that “the devil has no existence whatever.” In saying this, Mr. Warner again “bears false witness against his neighbor,” which he is forbidden to do. Christadelphians do not believe in the Romish and Protestant devil, which is the old devil of pagan fable, incorporated into clerical and ministerial divinity. Such a devil is a mere fiction of an intoxicated imagination; a nonentity as fabulous as the god, soul, gospel, heaven and hell of the apostasy- a god without body and parts; a soul that is nothing; a gospel to cure a nonentity; a heaven beyond the bounds of space, which is nowhere; a fictitious devil to torment the wicked because they are not good; and a hell they know not where, are the constituents of a system, “the strong delusion sent of God upon men that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in the unrighteousness” of the apostasy.—2 Thess. 2: 10-12. This is the system in whole and part against which Christadelphianism is the most active, indefatigable, efficient, and formidable protest extant.
Christadelphianism teaches that there is a devil, and that it is sin incarnate, styled by Paul kath hyperbolen amartolos, an exceedingly great sinner.- Rom. 7: 13. It is this that hath the power, or sting of death. He says that the Deity manifested Himself in flesh and blood to destroy the devil—Heb. 2: 14 and the works of the devil.”- l Jno. 3: 8. The devil is therefore not immortal, because flesh and blood are not immortal. The government of the world in all their civil and ecclesiastical relations are “the old serpent the devil and Satan” and his angels, made for capture and destruction in the day of evil which is at hand. Every unpardoned sinner is an individual and personal devil; because the natural father of all such is the devil.- John 8: 44. Mr. Warner, belonging to this party, we need not be surprised that the true God paid no respect to his earnest entreaty; and that he should declare that “Christadelphianism is a lie.” Belonging to Satan, of course the spirit of the Satan is in him; and this is enmity to the truth and all its faithful adherents and advocates. As to the tract he has distributed among you, styled “plain words,” though so highly commended by him, I would say that it is a feeble, illogical, and unscriptural production. If the writer had devoted less time to the study of words, and more to the study of the thoughts and ways of God, as revealed in the Scriptures, he would probably not of sent into the world such a demonstration of his own ignorance upon the subject of which he treats.
But we must now bid adieu to Mr. Warner and his tractarian “linguist of no mean standing;” and, in conclusion, permit me to exhort you no longer to spend your time and substance upon that which is altogether unprofitable. Protestantism is a mere negation. It protests against and denies, but affirms nothing that is profitable for the remission of sins and eternal life. It has answered very well as a political protest against Romanism, as Nonconformity hath against the State superstition by Act of Parliament established and endowed three hundred years ago, but there is no power of God for salvation in any of them. If you would be saved, you must return to first principles - to the gospel preached by Paul and the rest of the apostles, of which the State Church clergy and the Nonconformist ministers are as ignorant as though the apostles had never preached at all. Make yourselves acquainted with the promises covenanted to the fathers of the Jewish nation; for Christ says that “salvation is of the Jews.” You will find these in the historical and prophetic Scriptures, known as the Old Testament. Then study the discourses of Jesus in what are termed improperly enough, “the Four Gospels”, seeing that there is but one true gospel. After this go to the Acts of Apostles, and there you will find what they preached for salvation, how they preached, and what the people did when they believed the new doctrine. There were then no State clergies, nor Nonconforming priests and ministers, nor any of “the names and denominations of Christendom,” styled in the Revelations “names of blasphemy,” of which the body of the Gentile beast that carries the old Romish Mother of Harlots is there said to be full—Rev. 17: 3; yet in the absence of all these, the people obtained forgiveness of sins, and a right to eternal life. Read especially Acts 2; 8; 10; 11; where you will see, that to believe scripturally in Christ, is to believe “the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” – Acts 8:12, as the Samaritans did; and to obey the gospel thus believed, is to “repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”—Acts 2: 38, as the three hundred Jews were on the day of Pentecost, and in so doing the truth, you will obtain a right to the tree of life in the Paradise of God—Rev. 2: 7; 22: 14; Jno. 20: 31. If you shall become wise enough to do this, take care that henceforth you so walk in the truth that you do not forfeit the right thus happily acquired.
That the b1essedness of Abraham the father of the faithful and friend of God, may thus come upon you through the obedience of faith- Rom. 1: 5, as upon Gentiles in the days of old; and so be delivered from the strong delusion of the clerical and ministerial apostasy which darkens the world, is the earnest desire of
Your Faithful and Independent Friend,
JOHN THOMAS, M. D.
Swansea, August 22nd, 1869