Many Christians tell me they’ve never heard of the Christadelphians, but the group has been in existence for almost 175 years. I’ve talked with members of the group, so I know they exist. There are tens of thousands of Christadelphians around the world today.
This is a warning to anyone who is a Christadelphian or is considering becoming one.
Christadelphians believe they are Christians, but they are not. Here’s why:
“Jesus is a Man, not God!”
That’s a direct quote from one of the official Christadelphian websites. Here’s more about their beliefs concerning Jesus Christ:
We believe that the Bible is quite clear in its presentation that Christ is a man. The Son of God, but certainly not God Himself. The bulk of mainstream Christianity has staked its life on the assertion that Jesus is God. However, this is to be rejected for the following inescapable reasons, and many more:
God is one. There can only be one true God. It is undeniable that Jesus referred to himself and the Father as separate. To fly in the face of this the most fundamental of Biblical teachings, in any way, is to venture out onto very thin ice.
Mortality and immortality are mutually exclusive characteristics. God is immortal, and cannot die. Jesus died. If you alter this, all Scripture is inexorably weakened.
Jesus always very clearly pointed out his subservience to God; in power, teaching and life itself. To assert their equality is untenable.
Mortal humans cannot exist in the direct presence of God. As Exodus 33:20 says, no man can see God and live. Therefore, to say Jesus was fully God and fully man violates scripture, since thousands of people saw Jesus.
We believe the trinity ideology is actually an insult to both God and Jesus. To say that God could be reduced to a form that could walk among us is to completely ignore the sheer magnitude of God’s power (see 1 Tim. 6:16). This idea makes God small, capable of being touched by sinful human hands. To say that Jesus had a part of him that was immortal and could not sin is to disparage the magnitude of his accomplishment, overcoming the power of sin. God is bigger and Jesus’ accomplishment was greater than the trinity doctrine allows.
Jesus is currently in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69; Acts 7:55-56) – a separate position than God Himself. He is serving as our mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and high priest (Heb. 5:10) – two roles which make no sense at all if Jesus is God. In the near future, Jesus will return to earth to set up his worldwide kingdom over which he will reign. Christadelpia.org
Anything about the Christadelphian doctrinal statement bother you? It should. What the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ is at the center of the truth of Christianity. Christadelphians are similar to other cults and false religions that bring Jesus down to the level of being a human being who God chose for a special purpose. Christadelphia began in the 19th century when many other similar cults were birthed (e.g. Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses). It was a very active time for false religious groups to begin.
Here’s something else Christadelphians get wrong about Jesus. They don’t believe Jesus existed as a person before people we read about in the Old Testament. They believe His existence began when God conceived Him in Mary’s womb through the power of His Spirit.
The Christadelphians believe that the Christ and his mission can only be understood in the light of a clear comprehension of the covenants he came to fulfill. Christ fulfilled the promise to Eve, that one of her seed would crush the serpent (Genesis 3:15). He fulfills the covenant with Abraham, that in his seed would all the nations of the earth be blessed (Genesis 22:18, Gal. 3:16). And he will fulfill on his return God’s promise to David, that one of his descendants would sit on his throne in Jerusalem for ever (II Sam 7:12-16).
It was always the understanding of these men and women that the Messiah would be their descendant. To present that Jesus was born more than a man, or that he existed as a person before Eve, Abraham and David, is to reject the clear presentation of God’s purpose to these people of faith.
And, here’s yet another major problem with what Christadelphians believe about Jesus:
We reject as unbiblical the idea that Christ could die as a replacement sacrifice for us, thus covering all our sins forever with that one act. Certainly it is through his sacrifice that we may be forgiven, but only if we walk the path of self-denial that he marked out for us.
They believe that Jesus’ death on the cross opened a path for God to forgive them, but they have to walk the “path of self-denial” marked out for them. That’s worked-based salvation.
So, Christadelphians believe Jesus is just a man, didn’t exist before He was born to Mary, not God, His death was not a “replacement sacrifice for us,” and we have to perform works for our salvation. I have some HUGE problems with that.
Christadelphians like to quote Scripture to support their position on these and other beliefs. However, just like so many cults they don’t quote in context, they don’t use Scripture correctly, and they leave out Scripture that doesn’t fit their false teaching.
I have a lot of problems with what Christadelphians teach, but I’ll focus on four in this current study. I’ll mention some of the other problematic beliefs in a later part of the series.
- Jesus is not God
- Jesus didn’t exist before being conceived in Mary’s womb
- Jesus’ death was not a replacement sacrifice for us
- People have to work for their salvation
How can Christians respond? Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Interestingly, that verse is in the context of not being affected by false teaching.
… that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
A Christian’s best defense against false teaching is truth in love, so our response will be the following:
- Jesus is God
- Jesus is Eternal
- Jesus’ Sacrifice was For Us
- Salvation is Not by Works
Jesus is God
Jesus said things publicly that the Jews who heard Him understood as His claiming to be equal to God:
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18
Jesus claimed the title “I AM” while in the Temple, which led Jews to attempt to stone Him to death for blasphemy.
Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. John 8:58-59
Jews tried to stone Jesus again for blasphemy because of His claims to give eternal life to His disciples, and that He and God the Father “are one”:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. ‘I and My Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God. John 10:27-33
Jesus sealed His death during this conversation with Israel’s rulers. He quoted from Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 7, which Jews understood to mean Jesus was making Himself to be equal to God.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. Mark 14:61-64
Jesus also claimed to do things that only God could do (e.g. forgive sins, grant eternal life, raise the dead, know what would happen in the future, receive worship from people).
Jesus also claimed that the Old Testament Scriptures were about Him:
Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45
The Christadelphians either missed those Scriptures during their studies, purposely suppressed them to protect their false teaching, or believed that Jesus is a liar since He made clear His Deity.
Christadelphians also don’t believe the Holy Spirit is God. In fact, they don’t believe the Spirit is a Person. They view Him as God’s “force.” That’s interesting in light of what Jesus told His disciples about what the Holy Spirit would do for them when Jesus sent Him from the Father:
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. John 15:26
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-15
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples “into all truth.” So, what did the disciples (apostles) say and write about the Deity of Jesus as the Spirit of God guided them into all truth?
Here’s how the Apostle John started his Gospel account:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
As we continue reading John’s Gospel we learn that the “Word” is Jesus Christ. John wrote this about the Word several sentences later:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
It’s clear that John, who was one of the inner circle of apostles, believed that Jesus Christ was God and had become flesh.
John Mark was not an apostle, but he spent many years with the apostles and wrote what he heard them say. Mark’s Gospel starts out by quoting from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3:
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ Mark 1:1-3
Mark changed the wording of Malachi 3:1 slightly to make an important point. God told Malachi to prophesy that He would send “My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me.” That meant the “messenger” would prepare the way for God. Mark changed it slightly to point out that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God who the messenger would precede and prepare the way before Him.
Mark did something similar with the Isaiah 40:3 quote. Isaiah quoted God as saying the voice of one crying in the wilderness would cry out, “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.” Mark changed it slightly from “make straight .. A highway for our God” to “Make His paths straight.” Who is the context of Mark’s quote? “Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Clearly, a reference to the Deity of Jesus of Nazareth.
Thomas, one of the apostles, called Jesus “God” when he saw Him after the Lord’s resurrection:
And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God! John 20:28
The Apostle Paul called Jesus “our great God and Savior” in Titus 2:13. The Apostle Peter used a similar phrase in 2 Peter 1:1 – “our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Paul wrote this about Jesus in his letters to the Colossians and the Philippians:
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:15-16
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:5-6
The writer of Hebrews, in the context of what God speaks, wrote this:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4
But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. Hebrews 1:8
That’s God calling the Son of God, God. Pretty clear about the Deity of Jesus there.
The Apostle John quoted Jesus Christ in Revelation as claiming to be – “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End … who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Those are terms that identify God.
The Scriptures are quite clear in answering the false teaching of Christadelphians concerning whether Jesus is God. He is.
We will continue to sound the warning siren about the Christadelphian cult in the next part of our new series. Specifically, did Jesus exist before He was conceived in Mary’s womb? If you have family or friends who are being influenced by Christadelphians, please invite them to read this series.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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