THINGS SET FORTH IN THE FOREGOING LECTURES.
shewn in contrast with
THE THEOLOGICAL TENETS OF THE BULK OF CHRISTENDOM.
|1.-The Scriptures are to be read in their natural sense, except where natural fitness and necessity determine a metaphorical or symbolical construction.||1.-The Bible not to be read literally, but to be "spiritualised" or interpreted in a secondary and non-natural sense, according to the established rules of "divinity."|
|2.-The understanding of the Old Testament necessary to the understanding of New.||2.-The Old Testament done away with by the New, and only useful to supply texts for sermons.|
|3.-Man mortal, and made of the dust of the ground. The life of man not himself, but the power which enables him to exist, in the same way as the life of any animal sustains that animal in being. It is the very same life that is possessed by the beasts of the field.||3.-Man immortal and made of Spirit from heaven. The life of man, his immortal soul, which, inhabiting the body, gives it life, and when it leaves the body, continues to exist in a disembodied state as fully conscious as when the man is alive.|
|4.-Man in death in a state of non-existence for the time being, requiring resurrection and judgment to determine his future destiny||4.-Man in death is not dead, but passes out of "his body," and enters upon happiness or woe, according to his deeds.|
|5.-Immortality a state of incorruptible and deathless bodily existence, developed by resurrection, and attainable only by the righteous, at the second appearing of Jesus Christ on earth.||5.-Immortality, the natural attribute of every human being, and in the highest sense, a state of happiness in heaven, to which the immortal souls of the righteous will ascend after death.|
|6.-The wicked will be put out of existence for ever, by the infliction of the "second death" at the judgment.||6.-The wicked will be tormented by the devil to all eternity in hell, a bottomless abyss of fire and brimstone.|
|7.-Judgment to come will be dispensed only to the responsible classes of mankind, the rest never seeing the light of resurrection, but perishing for ever like beasts.||7.-Every human immortal soul will be re-united its body at the resurrection, and will appear before the judgment seat at the "last day," to be judged.|
|8.-At the resurrection, the dead "come forth" in unquickened natural body, to have it determined whether they are worthy of the gift of immortality, or deserving of consignment, after punishment, to corruption and death.||8.-At the resurrection, disembodied immortal souls enter incorruptible and immortal bodies, before they appear at the judgment seat; and if found righteous, they take their immortal bodies to heaven, and if wicked they drag them to hell.|
|9.-God is ONE POWER, the Increate Father, by whom all things have been created, dwelling in unapproachable light.||9.-God is three co-equal, co-eternal elements or powers, styled "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," in universal diffusion.|
|10.-Jesus Christ, the Son of God through the Holy Spirit's begettal, of the Virgin Mary, raised up as a "last Adam," to remove (by death and resurrection) the death brought by the first Adam.||10.-Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, a part of the eternal God from all eternity, who came into a body to suffer bodily death for the sins of immortal souls, doomed to the eternal pains of hell.|
|11.-The Spirit, the energy, or power of the Father in heaven, effluent from His person and presence, filling universal space. The "Holy Spirit," the same power wielded by direct and specific will on the part of the Father.||11.-The Holy Ghost, one of the Trinity, co-equal, co-eternal, and identical with the Father and Son, though why styled the "Holy Ghost " there is no answer; and why sometimes Holy Spirit, while in other cases simply "Spirit," equal silence.|
|12.-Angels, corporeal beings of incorruptible spirit-substance, employed throughout the universe in the accomplishment of the Father's purposes - exalted to their present position after probation.||12.-Angels, incorporeal spirits, whose nature, origin, and function are equally incomprehensible - supposed to be largely recruited from the supposed immortal spirits of dead children.|
|13.-The devil, a Bible synonym for sin - abstract and concrete - existing as the spirit of disobedience in the children of men and embodied and manifested in the persons and institutions of the present order of things.||13.-The Devil, a fallen archangel, who notwithstanding his opposition to God, is allowed to retain possession of supernatural power and permitted to tempt, harass, and ensnare poor immortal souls to their destruction.|
|14.-The kingdom of God, the visible and personal administration of political affairs by Christ at his second appearing.||14.-The kingdom of God, a state of the human "soul," in which the impulses are subjected to the divine supremacy?|
|15.-The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet to be fulfilled in the setting up of the kingdom of God on earth, when all nations will rejoice in the righteous government of the seed of Abraham, who shall save the children of the needy, and break in pieces the oppressor.||15.-The promises made to the Fathers fulfilled in the preaching of the Gospel in heathen lands by missionaries, and at home by ministers and clergymen, and more particularly in the experience of those who "get religion" at revivals and salvation army meetings.|
|16.-Christ, the coming destroyer of all human governments, and the appointed ruler of mankind: who will break the kingdoms of men in pieces, like a potter's vessel, and raise the standard of universal dominion in Jerusalem, the Holy City.||16.-Christ, the spiritual king of his own people, reigning in their hearts now and for evermore, and having nothing further to do with Jerusalem, the Holy Land, or the earth, but to consign all to the perdition of unquenchable fire at the last day.|
|17.-The Saints - Christ's people - the destined kings and priests of the world, destined to reign with Christ over all the earth, administering his authority, and dispensing blessings to all mankind.||17.-The doctrine of a "temporal" kingdom on earth, a carnal, "damnable doctrine." The only reigning with Christ possible consists of the floating of immortal souls in celestial ether.|
|18.-The covenant made with David yet to be realised in the re-establishment of the kingdom of David in the Holy Land, in the personal hands of Christ.||18.-The covenant made with David fulfilled in Christ's ascension to heaven, where he sits on the throne of David, and rules the kingdom of heaven.|
|19.-The second coming of Christ, the time when, and the event by which, Christ's people will receive the promised salvation, even the gift of immortality, by resurrection, and the glory and honour of a throne in the kingdom of Christ, then to be established over all the earth||19.-The death of the Christian the great epoch of his emancipation from this mortal coil, when his redeemed soul mounts to mansions in the skies, and is received at the portals of the celestial city by the angels, and conducted to the throne before which he casts his crown.|
|20.-The restoration of the Jews from their present dispersion to their own land, a part of the divine purpose; and the enunciation of it, an element of the Gospel, as part and parcel of the "Gospel of the Kingdom."||20.-The Jews are greatly deluded in expecting a "temporal Messiah," and as for their restoration (which is an entirely doubtful affair) having anything to do with the Gospel, the whole suggestion is monstrous,|
|21.-Christ's coming will be prefaced by great wars, commotions, and distresses, and attended by terrible judgements which he will directly bring down upon men to teach the world righteousness, and prepare men for the government of the Prince of Peace.||21.-The Millennium will be brought about by the preaching of the gospel, which will subdue human propensities, and gradually bring mankind into a state of peace, harmony, and goodwill. the Church will then be triumphant on earth and in heaven.|
|22.-In the light of Daniel's visions, verified by history, and recommended for enlightenment by Christ, it is evident we are near the close of the human dispensation, and that Christ may be expected within the lifetime of the present generation.||22.-The prophets are a sealed book, and he who attempts to explain them, or to fix a time for the day of Christ, is guilty of presumption amounting almost to blasphemy. At the very least he is cracked and fit for the asylum.|
|23.-In order to be saved, men must believe the glad tidings (or gospel) of the Kingdom of God, set forth in the prophets, and preached by the apostles; and must accept the doctrine of immortality brought to light by Christ in his death, resurrection, and ascension.||23.-It is of no consequence what a man believes, if he be sincere in his course of life before God, and believe that Christ died for sin. Points of creed belong to by-gone days. As for immortality, every man, sane or idiotic, has an immortal soul to save.|
|24.-Upon believing the gospel, a man must be immersed in water for a union with the name of Christ, that his sins may be forgiven, that he may be placed in a position to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, by patient continuance in welldoing.||24.-It is a matter of insignificance whether a man be baptised or not. Christian baptism can be administered by dipping, pouring or sprinkling, and is equally efficacious to babies or grown-up persons - the instructed or the ignorant - with or without faith.|
|25.-There is no salvation apart from a belief and obedience of the Gospel.||25.-Babies, heathens and idiots, and all sincere persons will be saved, irrespective of the Gospel.|
|26.-Ignorance alienates from eternal life, and makes death the certain and irretrievable lot of the subject thereof.||26.-A state of total darkness makes an immortal soul not responsible, and therefore qualified to enter heaven.|
|27.-The obedience of the commandments of Christ is essential to the salvation of those who believe the Gospel. While faith (made effectual in baptism) turns a sinner into a saint, obedience only will secure a saint's acceptance at the judgment seat of the Christ. A disobedient saint will be rejected more decisively than even an unjustified sinner.||27.-The obedience of the commandments of Christ is beyond human power. Salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast. If a man hath faith in the atoning blood of Christ, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and although the love of Christ will constrain him to good works, still his salvation in no way depends upon those.|
|28.-Forgiveness of errors and failures is secured for saints, by the intercession of Christ, when they confess and forsake them. Christ has no priestly function for the world of unjustified sinners. He is a priest for those only who become members of his house, in the belief and obedience of the Gospel.||28.-To the last moment, Christians have to say, "We have done those things that we ought not to have done and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and there is no health in us." The priesthood of Christ avails for all mankind who are sorry for their sins.|
THERE EXISTS a body of people, scattered throughout the English-speaking communities of the world, who hold the views advocated in this book of lectures.
They are formed into communities styled "ecclesias," which is the Greek word translated " churches." They use that word in preference to "churches," because the word "church" does not express the idea of "ecclesia," either philologically or conventionally. "Church," in the abstract, means the portion of a lord, and in current use, denotes a building set apart for religious purposes, or any congregation professing the name of Christ, all of which meanings are totally foreign to the idea expressed by "ecclesia."
"Ecclesia" means the assembly of the called out, and is appropriately employed to designate those who by the truth have been called out both from the world and from the multitude of professing Christian bodies, who hold the traditions of a corrupt ecclesiasticism instead of the doctrines promulgated by Jesus and the apostles. It was the name bestowed by the Spirit upon the communities holding the truth of Christ in the early centuries; and as it has no proper English equivalent, there is no alternative but to use it in its original form.
But there is another name by which those holding the faith herein set forth, are individually distinguished from the profession of orthodoxy. "Ecclesia" applies only to a number, and approximately answers to "church" of popular usage. But there is need for a name of individual application (having a generic significance) answering to the "Christian" of common parlance. The believers in Christ were called "Christians," at Antioch, in the first century, and afterwards, everywhere else. This was the name by which they were known - the nickname which their enemies originated, and which, at that time, was an epithet of disgrace, though from the disciples' point of view, a name of honour. But the purpose which the name served in ancient times is no longer answered by it; it no longer distinguishes the brethren of Christ from those who reject the faith of Christ. Everybody European is called "Christian." The word defines nothing beyond an adhesion to the historical tradition of Jesus Christ. It imports nothing doctrinal. A man can believe anything and be a Christian. For this reason, it has ceased to serve its original use.
But it may be argued, that the abuse of a right word - a New Testament word - does not justify its repudiation on the part of those apprehending it truly. The answer to this is: the word is not necessarily a right word, because it was invented by the enemies of the truth. The word is not a New Testament word except that the New Testament records that it was used first in Antioch, in reference to Christ's brethren, and afterwards employs it only once as a current designation (1 Peter iv, 16), and then only in accommodation to popular usage, in the same way as Agrippa is recorded to have used it in reference to himself in Acts xxvi, 28. No claim can be made for the name on the ground of its divine authority. We must deal with it on the other grounds. It was a name employed for purposes of social distinction. It could be employed with no other object. To call a man a "Christian," did not make him a saint; it only identified him in the popular eye with a sect which, at that time, was everywhere spoken against. This use of it is sanctioned by Peter, from which it follows that it is Scriptural to acknowledge a distinctive designation if it accord with the truth. "Christian" accorded with the truth in the days of Peter; it does not do so now.
What is to be substituted? Something expressive of the truth something Scriptural - nothing of human derivation - nothing expressive of human affinities. Everything savouring of the Corinthian schisms must be reprobated. Let no man say, "I am of Paul," as against another, saying, "I am of Cephas," let us all say " I am of Christ," But how shall we do this in a name which shall be scriptural, and yet distinguish from the masses of " Christendom," who call themselves " Christians"? The answer is before the reader in the word
This answers all the requirements of the case. It is the Anglicised form of the Greek phrase, Christou adelphoi, "brethren of Christ," and is unmistakably distinctive, never having been employed in the English tongue to designate those who are Christ's. It has an advantage over "Christian" in being more Scriptural and definite in its significance. "Christian" merely expresses the world's dim and unintelligent apprehension of the position of Christ's brethren. The world understood not the nature of the relation subsisting between them and Christ. It merely saw the former had something to do with the latter, and called them Christ-ones, but "Christadelphians" goes closer, and reveals the fact that the disciples of Christ are not merely his servants, but his friends (John xv, 1415) - his " brethren" (Heb. ii, 11, 17, Matt. xxviii, 10; Rom. viii, 29; John xx, 17) - "joint heirs with him of the promises made to Abraham" (Gal. iii, 29, Rom. viii, 17).
But it may be asked, why not express that fact in plain English, and call them " brethren of Christ?" For the simple reason that in plain English these words would be as indistinctive as Christian, since all classes of professors would own to " brethren of Christ." No one will acknowledge "Christadelphian" but those who, from a knowledge of the truth, realise the necessity of being distinguished from the great apostasy in all its sects and denominations.
If these considerations are not satisfactory to those who object to the Greek form of the phrase, and stickle for "Christian," let them remember that "Christian" is as much a Greek word as "Christadelphian," and that the choice really lies between a Greek appellative devised by the enemies of the truth in the first century, and one expressive of the truth affirmed by the Spirit in the same age of the world.
The Christadelphians scattered throughout the world have no ecclesiastical organisation beyond the simple arrangements necessary to conduct their assemblies as effectively as possible for the objects in view, which objects are,
Any desiring acquaintance with a view to fraternity on the basis of the truth, can have their wishes gratified, by reference to the address from which this book is issued, where the applicant can procure the address of persons nearest his or her neighbourhood.
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