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The slides from the class in PDF form can be downloaded from https://s3.amazonaws.com/clurt/Class_2_The_Truth_We_Continue_to_Believe.pdf
Note: This summary was written independent of the class presenter and contains additional information.
1. The desire for unity in our region is a good thing (Ps. 133:1; Jn. 11:49-52; Eph. 2:14-15), but we must build using God’s principles or we build in vain (Ps. 127:1). Acts 2 demonstrates the community of believers building in unity and reaping its wonderful benefits, in contrast to the rebellious building of Babel in Gen. 11. Several contextual points link these two incidents for our consideration.
2. Those who believe and obey the gospel will receive the gift of eternal life; those who recognize it to be true but knowingly reject the command (baptized or unbaptized) will be raised to condemnation. This is the clear teaching of Scripture, and has been the clear teaching of the Central Christadelphian Community for over one hundred years as defined in Clause 24 of the BASF.
3. Resurrectional responsibility is a true principle of God’s truth, not an uncertain detail (Acts 10:39-42; 1 Pet. 4:3-5). The prospect of a future judgment was part of the gospel taught by the apostle Paul (Acts 17:31-32; 24:21, 24-25; 2 Tim. 4:1-2), causing Felix to reflect upon his standing before God. It is intended to be a sobering reminder to those whom God has called and educated, that they have a responsibility before Him, to heed his call (2 Cor. 5:10-11).
4. When Bro. Roberts considered the gravity of this situation facing a dividing brotherhood, writing in 1898 he cautioned against either rejecting the true principle or becoming too specific in its uncertain detail application.
He identified the true principle as,
“men are responsible to the resurrection of condemnation who refuse subjection to the will of God when their circumstances are such as to leave them no excuse for such refusal.”
He went on to say,
“a mistake is made in contending for precise views on a matter that cannot be made precise. Where men admit that rebels and unbelievers who deserve punishment will rise at the resurrection to receive that punishment without reference to the question whether they are baptised or not, they admit all that can righteously be exacted from them. It is impossible for any man to say, who are so deserving. We know that God is just, and will do no unrighteousness. When men admit that He will resurrectionally punish the men who are deserving of it, whether baptised or not, it is inadmissible that we should withdraw from them because they are unable to say who are and who are not so deserving.”
This principle, and the very wording penned by Bro. Roberts, was included in the UA08 at the time of its introduction and provided a unified basis of doctrinal understanding. Its subsequent removal contributes to the document’s ambiguity.
5. In Jesus’ day, both the words he spoke (John 12:48, 15:22) and the confirming works he performed (John 12:37; 15:24) were grounds for resurrectional condemnation. The NASU, by contrast, is worded in such a way as to eliminate the certainty of any resurrectional condemnation for those who reject God’s calling and knowledge. On page 7 is stated:
“General Principle: 1. Rejection of God’s knowledge and calling are grounds of condemnation and punishment by God.
Application of General Principle to Resurrectional Judgment: 2. Divine wisdom and justice alone will determine who should be raised from the dead to be condemned and punished on these grounds. It is certain that His will is righteous and shall be done.”
The general principle fails to address resurrectional responsibility. When this is defined in the application of the principle, knowledge and calling are not stated as the basis, rather divine wisdom and justice. The NASU language, borrowed from Thomas Williams, allows for either his views or the Truth to be understood.
Contrast this ambiguous wording with the 1957 Suffolk Street reunion agreement written to address and reconcile the same doctrinal issues in Great Britain. Its wording clearly reflected the divine principle and its application to a resurrectional judgment, removing all ambiguity:
“We acknowledge that all power in heaven and earth has been delegated to Jesus Christ by his Father and that he has been given power over all flesh, including the power and prerogative to raise from the dead for judgment whomsoever he will whether baptized or unbaptized; and that the Scriptures teach that light is the ground of responsibility to this judgment.”
6. The UA08 Unamended ecclesias acknowledge their fellowship practice is different than what is practiced by the Central community and at no time did they ever intend to restrict their fellowship to the Central community. The UA08 Amended ecclesias now support this practice though it is acknowledged this was not the intent of the UA08 when it was implemented. Trying to maintain two different bases of fellowship among our Amended ecclesias will not reunite our Ontario ecclesias.
7. How are we building today, in simplicity or confusion? Following the example of Acts 2, or Gen. 11? Prior to the UA08 introduction, our Amended ecclesias all upheld the same first principle beliefs and used the same fellowship practice, enabling us to build together. The UA08 has brought confusion and ambiguity, both with respect to our doctrine and our fellowship practice. Only if there is a return to right doctrine and fellowship will we be able to build together in the future.
Additional Reference Material
B. Harry Tennant – Resurrection and Judgment
C. John Carter – Knowledge and Responsibility