Based upon his claim to have re-discovered the gospel, alleging it to have been lost for nineteen hundred years, John Thomas, a nineteenth century doctor, established his religion of Christadelphianism. It was nothing more than a scenario derived from Old Testament Zionism, combined with Adventistic expectations of the coming of Christ. Trumpeting this as a discovery and the way to salvation, John Thomas bypassed the gospel of grace - the present day New Testament offer of forgiveness, acceptance, and assurance through cleansing of sin by the blood of Jesus.
“The Puritan Hope” written by Iain Murray, is helpful in relation to the understanding and attitude held by Christians towards the Jews, Israel and Zion, in the centuries before Dr Thomas. It is certain that Dr Thomas did not discover anything new, he just gave what was understood an unwarranted twist, and added an unjustified implication, then presented the old as a new package.
Followers of Dr Thomas were each required to express their mental acknowledgement of his gospel and a process of indoctrination was developed for each candidate to be schooled in “the truth” before being allowed into the camp. Switching the teaching of Jesus in a deceiving somersault of words, Dr. Thomas declared that the candidate, by holding a set of defined doctrines “in the head” (allegedly faith) and then “being baptised”, would then receive repentance and remission of sins. In this way Dr Thomas led his followers away from the day and way of salvation.
Today generic groups of people exist through their embracing this “other gospel”, which opposes the gospel of grace. In developing mind sets programmed to Dr. Thomas’ beliefs and practices, adherents become antagonists of the gospel of grace, mentally and emotionally rejecting all who are not of their persuasion, some adopting scornful and belittling attitudes to men used mightily by God, such as John and Charles Wesley, Charles Finney, John Bunyan and others! Dr. Thomas set his followers up for continual controversial debate and development of inwardly unhealthy antithesis towards all others and society. Indeed he set up a toxic religion. History reveals that within communities which derive their origin from Dr. Thomas, factious dispute has led to multiple divisions. In recent times, challenged by the critical picture which such multiple division creates, some of these schisms have been merging. Whether Christadelphianism continues on to become one group or remains many small groups, the inherent legacy of Dr. Thomas will still remain within his exclusive religious creation.
In my personal testimony, “From Christadelphianism to Christ”, I share the night my eyes were opened to Acts Chapter 2 verses 38-39, with a revelation of a promise I had never before recognised. “The Promise of the Father”. I was then like those men on the day of Pentecost who were asking Peter what they were to do?
(Acts 2 : 37-39) “Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Peter was being obedient to the word of his Lord and fulfilling the words of the prophets of Israel. With the New Covenant now sealed with the Blood of Jesus, a new dispensation had begun. The words of Jesus became the words of Life to those who would hear, their prison doors opened, their captivity ceased, their bonds were broken, they were set free. As Charles Wesley expressed it, “My chains fell off”.
(Luke 24:44-49) “And Jesus said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.”
Dr. Thomas, instead of leading into this new life, turned the words of the Lord around and wrote:
“That ye be immersed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that you may become the recipient of repentance and remission of sins, or an imputation of righteousness, through, the Name of Jesus.”
His followers were trapped.
True repentance for sin was thus avoided and Dr. Thomas’ alternative substitutionary concept of repentance, a gift after baptism, was instead, erroneously taught. His confessed craft and guile succeeded and he fished for men, whilst denying the work of grace, capturing the unsuspecting for his kingdom and death.
See Dr Thomas’ teaching on repentance. Elpis Israel, 1925 Edition, Page 117.
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