The Depressing Political 'Gospel' of the Christadelphians

Making Jesus a 'Political-Supremo' Mainly Concerned with National Israel and World Peace...




W e have recently highlighted how the prosperity preachers completely misrepresent "the blessings of Abraham," turning these blessings into something almost wholly concerned with success and financial prosperity. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that many of the cults and sects have long misrepresented this 'Abrahamic blessing,' or 'blessings,' turning it, or them, into something concerning the future of Israel and world peace and security.

Five Words Which NEVER Occur Anywhere in 'Light on Israel'

1. Sin.

2. Saviour.

3. Grace.

4. Justification.

5. Redemption.

An Expression Which NEVER Occurs Anywhere in 'Light On Israel'

'Eternal Life.'

A Word Which Occurs Just ONCE:

'Salvation.'

Doesn't This Tell Us a Whole Lot?

The Christadelphian booklet, 'Light on Israel,' (strangely completely undated although certainly of recent - or present - publishing), is typical of the usual highly national Israel-oriented approach.

The booklet commences its message with the calling of Abraham and proceeds in the usual fashion going through the stories of the patriarchs, the exodus, the history of Judah and Israel, and on to the 70 years captivity of the Jews. Jesus is certainly acknowledged as 'The promised seed,' (page 20), but the 60-page booklet does not linger on that point such is its somewhat breathless eagerness to continue on with the topic of political and national Israel.

There is mention of the Diaspora, of course, and of regathering, and of the current 'Palestinian problem.' Typically, of these Adventist/dispensationalist groups, there is then a dark warning of a coming attack on Israel based on Ezekiel 38. Quite soon, again very typical of these groups, we read about the great apocalyptic upheaval of the Day of the Lord. But in all of this, although 'Jesus' sometimes gets a mention, it is quite rare when His Name is actually brought into the picture. No - the impression is that it is world events which matter most, especially those involving the physical nation of Israel.

Finally (page 57), the booklet comes to a section called, "The Blessing of Abraham To Come On All Nations," but this is not until the last three pages! Now - at last - will this booklet's writers acknowledge the glories of Christ and bring us the glorious real message of the New Covenant with its revelation of atonement, grace and pardon? This is a message which, after all, was obviously so central-focus to Paul the Apostle and to the entire New Testament. Well?............. Nope! It never happens!

Although the booklet had earlier acknowledged that Christ is "the promised seed," this is now apparently completely forgotten and the booklet's penultimate point is that "the blessing of Abraham" is all about Israel becoming the major world nation (I mean, as a physical, national people), and about world peace finally breaking out everywhere, although the impression is given that only peace between Jew and Arab really matters.

New Christadelphian booklet
'Light on Israel,' a Christadelphian publication. Enlightening?

This statement is offered,

"The whole world will benefit from the blessings that God will bring about following the return of Jesus Christ to this earth and the establishment of His kingdom. It will only be then that the conflicts between Jew and Arab will be resolved. As we consider the state of the world today we find that the ongoing problems of the Middle East and in particular the Palestinian conflict are at the very centre of the political arena." (page 59, Light on Israel.)

WHAT? Is this REALLY ALL that we are going to get out of the "blessings," or "blessing" of Abraham? And - by the way - many people living in other war-torn corners of this world may resent the suggestion that only the Arab-Israeli squabbles really matter.

There is no mention anywhere here of sin, atonement, grace or redemption! According to this depressing view of the purpose and mission of Christ, the world will finally be at peace, and that is, apparently, that.

But is it seriously suggested that the message of the Gospel is all about international politics? Finally, on the very last page, Galatians is at last acknowledged but not (as one might hope) in order to finally bring us Paul the Apostle's explanation of how the blessing of Abraham is about sin, faith, grace and redemption, leading to Eternal Life in God's Kingdom (Galatians 3:entire chapter), rather, Galations 3:26-28 is simply quoted in order to point out that true believers "become related to the promises of Abraham." No further explanation or clarification is offered.

WHAT? THATS IT?? NO EXPLANATION?? NOTHING ABOUT GRACE OR SALVATION? NOTHING ABOUT ETERNAL LIFE? Nope. Thats it. This is the depressing Christadelphian 'gospel' and their explanation of 'the blessing of Abraham.' Its a political message about Israel, world politics and world peace. Sure, Jesus Christ will be in Jerusalem administering the world, but while He may be referred to as 'King of kings,' the concept we are really given here is that of a Christ who is a political-supremo. The booklet offers its readers no serious consideration of the Lord Jesus who went to the cross in an act of supreme sacrifice so that God and His human creation may be finally reconciled; this was not a political act - this is not about 'the modern state of Israel' (a topic which is so important to this booklet's somewhat confused argument) - this is not about 'world peace,' not, that is, in the purely political sense which the Christadelphians are obviously so interested in. So the "Jesus" of the Christadelphians is apparently not the Christ Jesus of established Christianity, nor - I may say - of the Holy Bible.

So the Christadelphians (and - to be frank - countless similar groups) only seem interested in a physical salvation of worldwide peace. This deeply depressing message which reduces Jesus Christ to simply being a politician (albeit with much more clout than all the rest), is offered as the Christadelphian hope. The very last statement in this very poor booklet is:

'The ultimate future of Israel is assured - and you can have that assurance too!'

Yet nothing within this publication ever really explains how the reader can share the "assurance" of Israel. Depressing!
So how do cults and sects like the Christadelphians come up with such a confused perversion of the message of Christ and the Church? By spending too much time in the Old Testament at the great expense of New Testament understanding. While remaining vitally important and essential for the Christian's instruction, we have to understand that the Old Testament can be summarized as being the 'Book of the Old Covenant' whilst the New Testament is certainly the 'Book of the New Covenant.' Groups like the 'Christadelphians' have never fully grasped that revelation is progressive through the pages of Holy Scripture. Such groups spend little time in the New Testament (except for the Book of Revelation!) so it is hardly surprising that they have such little understanding of those areas which are so vital to Paul the Apostle and to the other New Testament writers; areas such as sin, grace, justification, redemption in Christ and Eternal Life.
Robin A. Brace, September, 2008.

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