Introduction: Linda Giesebrecht


(Linda Giesebrecht) #1

Hi everyone, I am a new believer and my best friend is a christadelphian. Do you know about their beliefs… I am learning so much and love to listen to Ravi on Mars Hill Network. My friend has read the Bible 50+ times and studies scriptures daily. She does not agree with main stream Christianity. I would love to know Ravi’s thoughts on Christiadelphian belief…
Thanks so much

(Jimmy Sellers) #2

Let me welcome you to connect and to your new found faith. This will be a wonderful place for you to learn and grow in both your faith and in knowledge of the true Gospel.
I am not familiar with christadelphian belief but from what I found it is a cult. I have attached a link

Perhaps you can share this with your friend, I think you will see that the differences are more that slight they are the difference between the truth and a lie.

(SeanO) #3

@Linda_Giesebrecht Welcome to Connect! We are so glad you could join our community. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through your time here and may God grant you wisdom as you study His Word. While I cannot speak for Ravi, I can say with confidence that the christiadelphian movement falls into the category of a cult because it denies the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit and the reality of the Trinity. In addition, it was founded by one man - Dr. John Thomas - who felt that the true teachings of the early Church had been lost - often cults start this way - with one person claiming to have exclusive access to lost knowledge or special revelation that contradicts the historic teaching of the Church.

It is important to understand that people in cults are often very friendly and know the Bible well, but the problem is that they misinterpret the Bible in ways that fundamentally alter the Gospel. At first it may seem strange that they would be so kind and study so much, but Paul makes it clear that even the adversary (satan) himself masquerades as an angel of light.

I have provided some more resources for you to read / listen to below. Feel free to ask additional questions.

Galatians 1:8 - But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

2 Corinthians 11:3-4,13-15 - But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough… For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.

CARM Articles on Christiadelphianism

(Linda Giesebrecht) #4

That disappoints me. I can find that same information with a quick google search. It is also the exact statement she said you would say… what I am really interested in is someone from the Christian faith willing to actually do some research to help me understand the differences. What I have found so far is Christians and Catholics don’t read the Bible anywhere close to what a christadephian does. My friend has read the Bible cover to cover more than 50 times… and studies scriptures daily…I haven’t found any Christians that do the same. I try to read the Bible but find it difficult to understand. I am a born again Christian of just under 2 years… I have found it difficult to find a church that actually teaches from the Bible and the one I did end up learning from has a pastor that is very full of himself, I won’t get into that…and they can and do rhyme off verses as we speak, but are not able to even think about the possibility of anything other than what had been passed down from pastor to pastor or in the Catholic Church what ever the Catholic priest has told them… But very few (if any) are willing to accept the thought of anything different from what they think is fact… Ravi however mentions in his sermons that he thinks we should all know about other religions. I have attached a link to some pamphlets.

Thank you for your time…


(Linda Giesebrecht) #5

Or one question. Did anything change at the time of constantine? Does the Bible not say to search out a matter proverbs 25 vs 2



(Warner Joseph Miller) #6

Hey there, Linda!! First off, I’d like to extend a hardy welcome and hello! My name is Warner and I’m one of the many moderators here on Connect. Again, WELCOME! Also, an even HARDIER WELCOME (if “HARDIER” is even a thing) to the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Believers and followers of Christ! It never gets old and is always is as exciting as it is truly awe-inspiring that someone chooses a faith and trust in Christ for redemption and salvation as well as the profound change of heart that begins to take place as a result. Again…welcome, my sister!

Now…to your question: I first appreciate it AND your diligence toward knowing and understanding truth. In your response to the resources that were shared with you, you said:

That resonated with me because I too, felt similarly before I was saved. One of my initial rejections of Christianity had to do with my perception that many/most Christians barely knew or understood what they believed – at least, not well enough to go beyond the stock rationale or the cliched, “Christianese”, bumper sticker language that I’d heard from many Christians in or around where I lived. Now, to be fair…I WAS moderately biased against Christianity (more specifically, Christians) AND my awareness of Christians outside of my immediate surroundings weren’t overwhelmingly vast. So with that, my diagnosis of Christians and Christianity wasn’t completely fair. I didn’t know of Ravi Zacharias or RZIM. I’d never heard of the thoughtful insight of CS Lewis or George McDonald, the scholarship William Lane Craig, Nabeel Quereshi, Christian apologetics or the many brilliant, thoughtful theologians, pastors and speakers who’d not only thought of and thought through many of the things I had but had/have also wrestled and continue wrestling with many of the questions I still have. It was in stumbling upon Ravi Zacharias’ book, “Jesus Among Other Gods” that my concept of Christians and by extension Christianity would literally change. It was the last sentence at the bottom of page 60 in ‘Jesus Among Other Gods’:

“Faith is not bereft of reason.”

That sentence and the sentiment behind it really reshaped what I’d even considered to be possible regarding Christianity. Faith is not the opposite of reason nor is faith somehow in opposition to it. Reason or even critical thinking doesn’t threaten your faith. Rather it can and often does substantiate, affirm or even strengthen your faith! What I mean by that is if something is true, then no matter how much you poke it, prod it, push it or check it… it’ll STILL be TRUE. That goes for all truth.

Now…if you’re anything like me; had I asked the question you did - the very legitimate question, btw - and received the response that I just gave you (as well-meaning as it may have been intentioned), my response would have been something to the effect of: _“Warner, thank you. But that’s a whole lotta words and not much answering of my question.”_😉 I haven’t gotten to answering your question, yet, because I first wanted to give you a clear sense of where/who those answer(s) would be coming from. Myself, as well as, Sean and Jimmy and many of us here on CONNECT value and appreciate not only just great questions and inquiries but also the challenge of giving good and thoughtful answers – not just the stock cliches or religious, “Christianese” platitudes. So…with THAT said, in order to better answer your question in the best way I can, I need to know a bit more about what your friend believes. Now, I personally know a little bit about Christadelphianism…but I also know that depending on the Christadelphian, there might be subtle differences in belief. Also, ‘orthodox’ Christianity and Christadelphianism may share several of the same terms and terminology but mean two totally different things. So, again based on what you know of your friend, what exactly do they believe regarding the deity of Christ, salvation and hell? Let’s begin there. It’ll take some work on your part to gather that information but it will absolutely be of great benefit. I’m very much looking forward to your response and truly pray that the information shared would be a true blessing and benefit not just for your friend in the long run, but also to you and I.

Blessings, my sister. Talk soon…

Oh and PS…when asking your friend about the specifics of what they believe, try just to listen without giving any response. You’re there to gather information…correct information so that you can learn, equip and respond…all in Christ’s love. All to His glory. Peace

(Warner Joseph Miller) #7

Forgive me, Linda. I literally just saw this question after I pressed ‘send’ on the previous one I just sent. So, again, my apologies for not seeing this.

So Constantine, huh? Yeah…I’ve had questions about him and his “influence” or the lack thereof on what we know as Christianity. I actually did a research paper on Emperor Constantine and his affect on Christianity while in Oxford. I’d considered forwarding that to you but instead (as I did with my previous response) ask you to be a bit more specific in your question: did WHAT change with Constantine? What exactly are you asking? That would truly help me and anyone else to better answer your question(s).

Thanks, so much, sister. And as always, your thoughts, insights, questions and YOU are welcome here. Love and more love. Peace

(Jimmy Sellers) #8

So that I don’t miss your point. Are you asking, What are the differences between the two? or You know the differences between the two and you would like some help sorting them out?

(Andrew Bulin) #9

I’m so glad you feel the hunger for God’s word! Psalm 119 is a wonderful passage I wished more people could relate to on a personal level. There was a time that this was not so in my life, and that contrast led me to the conviction that fueled my passion to hungrily study God’s Word daily (though I cannot boast an impressive number of times :wink:).

This broken world is filled with broken people, including Christians who struggle to keep God first. The Israelites rejected God immediately after experiencing His presence on Mt. Sinai (Exod. 32), and we often find preferred things to do with our time even though we should know His truth that He wrote on our hearts (Jer 31:33; Rom. 2:14,15). We should know better! But reading it may also not equate to really knowing the heart of God.

I’ve been lightly browsing through the website, specifically the “reject” list, and there are simply too many things to count that I disagree with. It might make for interesting group discussion if we were to wrestle through some as separate posts in a series?

Then looking at the misquoted verses page, it sets out to undermine the Trinity by stating that John has been misquoted. I seriously doubt the statements made and would like to see citations.

For example, John’s purpose of describing the Logos separate from God the Father is actually unique here. The grammar used was not that Jesus (the Word) was just some divine man not at all like God, according to the Christadelphian belief (per this site). Unlike most other references in the rest of the gospel, John omits an important article that indicates that God is differently “Father.” Mere deity does not fit the actual context in the original Greek, and John is going through exhaustive lengths to describe “What God was, the Word was,” and the website is missing it entirely.(1)

The site looks anecdotal and does not appear very academic or reliable above a strong opinion. My personal gut feeling sends up a red flag and makes me wary about the whole thing outside of some interesting doctrinal discussions.

[1] John Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, vol. 1 (Grad Rapids: Baker, 2003) 370-374.

(SeanO) #10

@Linda_Giesebrecht I understand your frustration. I am the type of person who wants to truly search the Scriptures and my views do not neatly fall into a specific denomination. But in this case what the christadelphians are teaching is a denial of who Jesus is - it is a false Gospel. If you will go to the following links from CARM, you will find that Matt Slick is a Christian who has already spent time studying the teachings of christiadelphianism and offering a clear explanation of the differences.

If you are struggling to read the Bible, there are great resources out there to help. How much someone reads the Bible has nothing to do with how well they understand it or whether or not they believe it. I have met liberal scholars who reject the existence of God that have read the Bible just as much as christadelphians. Members of other cults - such as the Mormons and JWs - also generally have read the Bible many times, but they are still wrong.

Here are some resources I recommend for helping you understand the Bible for yourself. Please do consult them and study for yourself - be a Berean. The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom.

(Carson Weitnauer) #11

Hi @Linda_Giesebrecht,

Welcome to Connect!

Please do ask specific questions about Christadelphian beliefs in Connect.

Since your friend has read the Bible 50+ times and studies the Scriptures daily, it should be easy for her to explain to you what a few of the most important beliefs of her religion are and which verses support those beliefs. If you would then share what you learn from her in Connect and ask for respectful feedback, I believe that you would gain a wealth of insight into why their views are not considered to be Biblical nor Christian. For instance, I noted on the website this statement:

It is a tragedy that in popular Christianity this understanding has been perverted by the doctrine of the Trinity, which arose 300 years after the ascension of Jesus as a result of disputes within the Church. The creeds expressing the Trinity were decisions of Catholic Church Councils in the 4th and 5th centuries. Their teaching is not found in the Bible.

We’ve had many discussions about the Trinity in Connect that I think you’ll find helpful. If you want a deeper dive, Greg Ganssle, a professor at Biola University, recommended these books:

First is “Trinity 101: Father, Son and Holy Spirit” by James Papandrea. This book is a short, clear introduction to the Trinity for people who are not students of theology. It does not assume a lot of knowledge and it is very clear. The second is “The Triune God” by Fred Sanders. This requires a lot of thought! Sanders helps people like me think about how the early church came to recognize the Scripture’s revelation that God is triune.

In brief, a denial of the Trinity is a major departure from historic, orthodox Christianity. It may be that the Christadelphians are right, and I commend your friend’s earnest study of the Scripture. But ultimately, we need to compare her authority as a teacher fo the Bible with the authority of other teachers who affirm the Trinity - and of course, do our own homework to see what the Bible says.

To your question about what Ravi would say, here are two videos where Ravi explains the Trinity:

(Linda Giesebrecht) #12

thank you so much I’m a busy girl still working full-time I will do some research and I would love a group discussion one day and my friend Marilyn would be interested as well so I will be in touch as I check things out.

Thanks again Linda

(Joel Vaughn) #13

Hi @Linda_Giesebrecht. I believe that 2 Cor. 3 (esp. verses 6 and 13) let us know that it’s possible for people to be shielded from truth by seeing through a doctrinal lens, where human reason is relied upon instead of the Holy Spirit. (Which lens elevates the human power vs. God’s power) That’s what Paul the Apostle said was happening in the Judaism of the day–scribes and teachers spending day and night studying the scriptures and yet not seeing that Jesus was who they should expect. Not simply a suffering Messiah but the idea that a single human man should share a place at God’s throne was seen as such a blasphemous concept that Jesus gets accused of blasphemy simply by referring to Himself as Daniel’s “Son of Man.” The New Testament seems to use “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Messiah/Christ” interchangeably; and refers to Jesus when it says “the Lord is that Spirit [of God].” The New Testament writers don’t seem to be worried at all about rendering YHWH as “Lord” in Greek in epistles that regularly ascribe “Lord” to Jesus as a unique title. Jesus is presented as receiving worship in Revelation 5 (compare to Matt 6:13) and in the Gospels. Thomas’ outburst “my Lord and my God” seems intended specifically for Jesus. Hebrews 1:8 has the Father telling the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever.” And for the time period covered, it is strange that with all the various controversies in the epistles, one of them doesn’t seem to be correcting anybody who has too lofty an idea of Jesus. But with such Yahweh-esque epithets as “Who was and is and is to come” and “Alpha and Omega”, that should be more of a concern, especially when the immediate heirs to the Pauline and Johannine traditions refer to Jesus as God.

I think maybe what comes across as dismissive of Christadelphian belief (or Jehovah’s Witnesses’, for that matter) is maybe a lack of appreciation for what appears to be a progression in the N.T. to reveal more and more fully the eternal union of the Godhead. The Johannine books tend to be the most assertive concerning the eternal nature of the Word. By comparison, the sermons in Acts seem coy (though not silent), by comparison, concerning Jesus’ heavenly origin. But the other side of this is that it is so much one has to ignore or gloss over in the N.T. in order to consider Jesus merely a human, however sinless.

How God Became Jesus is a good anthology addressing some popular claims that the Divine Christ is a pagan syncretical invention. I also think it’s worthwhile to look in a Judaic perspective on how a God-incarnate Messiah makes sense. Dr. Michael Brown discusses the Judaic roots of the divinity of the Word of God in his The Real Kosher Jesus and what this means for a Judaic understanding of the Logos. There’s some excellent dialogue about this in Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine (much more readable than the title sounds). There are some videos (#1 and #2) by OneForIsrael that have very quick overviews of some scriptural supports for the divine Messiah. The aspect that stands out to me (because it is so pivotal to the N.T. theology of Paul) is that the husbandship of God with His people as bride, appears to be fulfilled by the Messiah appearing as the bridegroom and “the mystery of Messiah and His church.” Some idea of the messianic marital God remained preserved in the Tiferet quality/sefirah of God in the cabbalistic tradition. It is not incidental that the Bible begins and end with a wedding. What is the marriage that God has desired from the beginning, and who is the groom?