There Is Only ONE Bible Hope
Since the time man discovered that the earth was round and not flat like many experts had believed it was, men have been reluctant to just accept traditional beliefs that are not supported by some sort of proof.
As a result many would be quick to suggest that man as a result has come a long way in his knowledge and understanding of this world in which we live.
But this is far from being true of mans knowledge of the One Hope as revealed in the Bible.
If we were to take an overview of the many religious groups in the world today and their claims to know and teach the One Bible Hope, one would have to say that there is more confusion about true Bible teaching today than there ever has been.
In fact so much is this the case that the majority of religions today don’t even make a big fuss about what you believe in terms of whether its right or wrong. Membership is no longer based on common beliefs, despite the Bible clearly stating that all true believers are to be of “one mind”.
“There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all…”
Over the centuries man has woven into religion many non-Biblical teachings.
For this reason many people today find Bible teaching as presented by the various religious groups as too incredible to believe, preferring to think of them as ancient beliefs and superstitions that offered a world with little scientific proof an explanation to life that has now outlived its usefulness or credibility.
By comparison, in ancient times believers in the Bible were clear and convinced of the things they believed to be the One Hope of the Bible to the point that they were prepared to die for it.
The twelve men Christ chose as his closest followers, when he was alive on this earth, all went to their deaths being convicted of the things they witnessed and were taught by him.
What’s more, these men were put to death in gruel ways like stoning, crucifixion, being cast into boiling hot cauldrons of oil and being thrown to the lions before spectators, many were tortured before this, which all goes to make their conviction all the more remarkable.
Later during the reformation in the 16th century many thousands of believers across Europe were burnt at the stake for their conviction in the One Hope of the Bible.
The world we live in today is a vastly different place in both beliefs and conviction.
Whilst we fully support the idea that we should challenge the validity of any teaching claiming to bring future benefit to those who accept it, neither should we disregard or mock anything we haven’t checked out for ourselves.
And it would seem reasonable to suggest that the teaching claiming the greatest benefit for its adherents are the ones most worthy of our time to check out.
The current confusion of bible teaching was something that the apostles of Christ prophesied as coming on the religious world even in their own day, but that it would increase there from unto the later days ie. the days before Christ’s Return to the Earth.
Current confusion– One bible many religions, does it really matter what we believe?
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
“Now all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”
“…ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
So the Bible is very clear that not all people who claim to believe in the Bible would believe in the Truth or the true message of the Bible. As sad as this is, sincerity ie. To be sincere with what you believe, is not enough to save you. Only the Truth can save you.
And there are many false beliefs in the world so it is up to each one of us to find the Truth, this is a test by God of our Faith and Works to truly seek his Truth out.
This is what Paul said about this:
“Who (God) will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life…” Romans 2:6-7
So if we truly seek after the Truth of God’s Word He will help us. This is what Paul is telling us here.
How did this present situation come about?
Well most false religious teaching today can be traced back in time to the rise of Christianity under Constantine who became the first pagan Roman Politician to see the spread in Christian follows as something to champion in order to win their support for his own political ends.
Hendrik Van Loon, in summarising the life of Constantine wrote:
(Constantine was revered as a saint by the Catholic Church)
“This wild Serbian who had wielded a spear on every battlefield of Europe, from York in England to Byzantium on the shores of the Bosphorus, was among other things the murderer of his wife, the murderer of his brother-in-law, the murderer of his nephew (a boy of 7), and the executioner of several other relatives of minor degree and importance.”
“That he lived and died a barbarian who had outwardly accepted Christianity, yet until the end of his days tried to read the riddle of the future from the steaming entrails of sacrificial sheep…”
“For the leaders of the Church in the first half of the fourth century were practical politicians…who elevated Christianity from the rank of a minor sect to the dignity of the official Church of the State.”
This is a very clear explanation of how we got into this current situation of false religion. In essence religion was taken over by politicians who saw the opportunity to ride on this popular movement and win the support of the people to rule.
However when they got into power, like all good politicians they saw the need to centralise there power base or risk the threat that the ousted power support would rise again and through them out.
So they merged Christianity in with pagan religion, firstly by the key calendar events or celebrations like December 25th on which day Nimrod’s rebirth was celebrated. This day they turned into Christ’s Birth even though he was born around July.
From here they slowly allowed more and more of the pagan traditions and beliefs to infiltrate Christianity and Bible Truth. You can trace all this in the history of religion and see when false beliefs were adoption eg. Infant sprinkling, the Trinity, Immortal soul and so on.
Here is a very quick summary of some of the conflicting Church vs Bible beliefs:
|The Churches Teach||The Bible Teaches|
|· There is a mysterious Trinity, “One God yet Three”|
|· “To us there is but one God the Father…and one Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor 8:6)|
|· Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for departed souls|
|· “For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything…their love, hatred, envy is perished” (Ecc. 9;5-6)|
|· The soul is immortal and cannot be destroyed||· “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ez 18:4) “All have sinned” (Rom 6:4)|
|· Sprinkling of infants constitutes baptism|
· Heaven is a place of reward and hell is a place of torment
|· “If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest be baptised” (Acts 8:37)|
· “No man hath ascended into heaven: (Jn 3:13) “In death there is no remembrance of Thee” and “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Psa 6:5, Matt 5:5)
|· Satan is a supernatural evil being causing men to sin|
|· “Whatsoever thing from without entereth into a man cannot defile him…from within out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts etc…” (Mk 7:18-22)|
Here is a quick summary of when some of these beliefs crept into Christianity:
|GROWTH OF FALSE TEACHING and the year in which it came to prominence…||Year of Teaching|
|Immortality of the soul||124 AD|
|Pre-human existence of Christ||124 AD|
|Sprinkling instead of immersion||150 AD|
|Infant baptism||180 AD|
|Constantine triumphs the Christian cause and makes apostate Christianity the state religion and forms what has become known as The Roman Catholic Church||312 AD|
|Jesus a person within the Godhead||325 AD|
|“Holy Ghost” a person within the Godhead||381 AD|
|Doctrine of purgatory||431 AD|
|Exaltation of Mary “the Mother of God”||431 AD|
From this we can clearly see how false teaching has infiltrated religion and today without people searching this out, they would not even have any idea about this.
You owe it to yourself to learn what the real true teaching of the Bible is!
So what is Bible Truth– i.e. What is God’s purpose all about and how are we involved in this?
What must we do now?
- Search the scriptures, for they alone can teach us the Truth
- “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12
- “study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” 2 Timothy 2:15
There must be many people who feel that there is something outstandingly significant about the person and the teaching of Jesus Christ. Yet when they survey “Christianity”, both in its history and its modern forms, they find a wide variety of churches and communities, all with their differing foundations, teachings and practices. Feeling bewildered by the existence of so many groups claiming the name “Christian”, they may well give up the quest for “the truth” as hopeless.
This short article is written to draw the attention of the interested enquirer to the existence of a community of believers in Christ, calling themselves “Christadelphians”, organized in groups found throughout the world. Wherever they exist they have a fellowship founded upon an agreed basis of beliefs. Fundamental to their faith is the principle that what Christ and his apostles taught in the first century was truth, and it is still the truth today. The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are their sole authority.
AN APOSTOLIC FELLOWSHIP:
The community has no paid ministry, no robes or elaborate ceremonies, nor has it any “head of the church” or legislative council. Their ecclesias (the New Testament word for ‘church’) organize their own affairs, though the pattern is similar everywhere. Like the “elders” of New Testament times, members are appointed to manage the affairs of the ecclesia and to preside at its meetings.
At the meeting for the “breaking of bread” on “the first day of the week” there are hymns, prayers, readings from the Scriptures and an exhortation. The bread and the wine circulate among all the “brothers and sisters” present. Voluntary collections are taken to meet all the expenses. If some of the early followers of the apostles in the first century could attend such meetings, it is believed that they would immediately recognise what was going on, for it is patterned on New Testament worship.
Like Jesus’ early disciples, they also proclaim his message of life to all willing to hear; they instruct their children and young people in Sunday Schools and Youth Groups, and promote the life of faith and prayer, and obedience to Christ’s commands, among their members.
THE NAME ‘CHRISTADELPHIAN’:
In the early days, members found that to preserve their identity they had to give themselves a name. “Christadelphians” was chosen because it means “brothers (and of course sisters) in Christ”. It has been used to distinguish our community for more than 120 years.
But why should the Christadelphians deserve any more attention than other groups of “believers”, many claiming to be based on the Bible?
The brief answer is this: their understanding of the teachings of the Bible is quite different from that of other denominations. The difference arose from the conviction of one, John Thomas, that the teachings he was encountering in “Christendom” 150 years ago did not truly represent the faith of Christ and his apostles. Persuaded that the truth must be sought only in the Bible, he embarked upon a conscientious study of the Scriptures. He made no claim to any vision or personal revelation.
He eventually came to an understanding of “the gospel of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12) which was different in a number of important points from that of the churches and other religious sects. His labours attracted the support of others who were convinced of the validity of his conclusions. This understanding of Bible truths has been rigorously tested by free enquiry for 150 years. The distinctive views of the Christadelphians today are the result of this process.
THE WHOLE BIBLE:
What is this message of the Bible, and why is it different from popular “Christian” ideas?
It arises from the important principle that the Bible must be understood as a whole. It is easy to uphold certain teachings by accepting some parts of the Scriptures and neglecting others. For instance, it is popular today to dismiss much of the Old Testament. Yet these documents – the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets – were accepted by Jesus and his apostles as “the word of the Lord”. The Bible is a unity: the revelation of God for mankind begins in the pages of the Old Testament and is continued and expanded in the New. The “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) is to be derived from the whole book.
Christadelphians accept that all of the Bible is the wholly inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). They therefore read it carefully and regularly. A reading plan, called the Bible Companion, enables them to read the Old Testament once in a year, and the New Testament twice.
There is another point of great importance: if man is truly to understand the Bible, he must be prepared for the fact that it is absolutely frank about all issues, and primarily about ourselves. It is the most realistic book in the world, confronting the stark issues of life without wishful thinking. Human problems, both of the race and of individuals, are frankly assessed. The origin of the problems is explained and so is the solution to them. The Bible is the only source in the world to do this in harmony with the facts of history and of human life.
THE GOOD NEWS:
The Bible, as we have seen, exposes all the weaknesses of human nature and its perishing in the grave. But that need not be the end, for the Gospel is a message of hope. It is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), deliverance from sin and its consequence, death. That is why the Biblical Gospel is “good news”.
Its message is an appeal to the individual man and woman for “repentance”, and then a promise of life. God does not desire that any should perish, says the Apostle Peter, “but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). What is meant by repentance is partly explained by the Apostle Paul’s statement: “that they should come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Having realised “the truth” about himself, and God’s redemption in Christ, the believer is called upon by God to “have another mind”. Repentance is not a sudden emotional upsurge, which may pass as quickly as it has arisen, but a sober assessment by the believer of his true position, his acknowledgement of this in confession of sin to God, a prayer for forgiveness and a resolve to re-direct his life in harmony with the commandments of Christ.