By D. M. PANTON, M. A.
It is one of numerous proofs that we are in the days of the Second Advent that Satan is multiplying counterfeits of Advent truth, whereby to entrap the unwary Christian and to deepen the disgust of the cynical worldling; each Satanic sect presenting a counterfeit feature of the Advent, while all, combined, present a complete camouflage. Thus Christadelphianism pushes into the foreground watchfulness for the Coming of the Lord. It says:- "Jesus Christ, Who is the glorified manifestation of God, the fulness of the Godhead bodily incorporated, and Who came bodily forth alive from the grave" (Bible Fingerposts, pp. 7, 105), "a glorious bodily Person of Spirit, flesh and bones" (Is it Blasphemy? P. 17), "will return from Heaven, and visibly appear and take up His residence on earth a second time, for the purpose of bring about the accomplishment of all these things. The second coming of Christ is therefore the true hope of the believer" (Declaration of the Truth, p. 15).* "We believe that at the return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, to establish His Kingdom on earth, He will, first of all, summon before Him for judgment the whole of those who are responsible to His judgment. Those that are dead He will cause to come forth from the dust, and assemble them with the living to His presence" (Ibid, p. 49). "Those who are to be honoured with this remarkable honour of reigning with Christ are first to be qualified for it by transformation of their bodies into the likeness of the Lord’s own glorious body" (R. Roberts’ Sect Everywhere Spoken Against, p. 11). So here we have a perfectly orthodox statement exactly calculated to captivate a young mind steeped in Second Advent truth, and unversed in Satan’s wiles.
[* These references are taken throughout from publications officially issued at Christadelphian Headquarters.].
Now let us pierce past this fair husk and discover the kernel;
remembering that a superb structure is not only vain, but of all structures the
most dangerous because of its beauty, if it rests on a rotten foundation.
We are now startled to learn that the Gospel to which we are accustomed is an
"The idea that Christ has borne our punishment
and paid our debts, and that His righteousness is placed to our credit, and
that all we have to do is to believe it, is demoralising. Blighting results are to be witnessed in all communities where the
doctrine of a substitutionary sacrifice and an imputed righteousness holds sway" (R. Roberts’ Blood of Christ, p. 29).
"Christ has given God no satisfaction, paid no
debt" (R. Roberts’ Slain Lamb, p. 21); "If the blood of Christ could be found,
it would not be of any spiritual value" (Blood of Christ, p
7). In what, then, does salvation consist? Solely
in belief in the coming
But the supreme test, critically and for ever decisive, turns upon the nature and person of the Son of God. "Jesus," we are told, "had no existence prior to his birth by Mary:" "Jesus is the name of the virgin’s Son, and not that of an externally pre-existent God Who came down from Heaven, and in some mysterious way became incarnate in the flesh" (Is it Blasphemy? P. 19). "The Father was manifested in the flesh, not a pre-existent, co-eternal Son, which is impossible" (C. C. Walker’s Truth about the Trinity, p. 13). But it is worse than that: Jesus was a sinful Christ. Among the ‘doctrines to be rejected’ is this:- "that Christ’s nature was immaculate" (Constitution of the Christadelphian Ecclesia, p. 13). "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (has done) sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. It was the same flesh, full of the same propensities, and the same desires, in Christ as in us" (R. Robert’s Slain Lamb, p. 21); for "sinful flesh and the likeness of sinful flesh mean the same thing" (R. Roberts’ Blood of Christ, p. 26). "Deriving from his mother both the propensities that lead to sin and the sentence of death that was passed because of sin, He was absolutely sinless as to disobedience, whilst subject to the impulses and the consequences of sin. For it was necessary that He should appear in the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature." So it is baldly started that our Lord had to die for His own sins as well as ours. "Christ Himself is exhibited to us as coming under the beneficial operation of His own death" (R. Roberts’ Blood of Christ, pp. 10, 25). Therefore, inevitably, "Christadelphians do not worship the Lord Jesus Christ in the same way that they worship the Father" (Is it Blasphemy? p. 19).
Now it all sharpens down into a point that pierces us all. Even apart from the bankruptcy of a sinful Christ, John the Baptist bore the clearest possible testimony to our Lord’s pre-existence. Of Jesus he says:- "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh: He that cometh from Heaven is above all" (John 3: 31). Our Lord Himself bore the same explicit testimony. He says:- "No man hath ascended up into heaven, but He that descended out of heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven" (John 3: 13). The Jews stumbled nineteen hundred years ago exactly where the Christadelphians stumble to-day. "And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How doth he say, I am come down out of heaven?" (John 6: 42). Awful and eternal is the answer of the Lord. "And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world: I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you" - in consequence of this denial of His pre-existence - "that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am He, YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS" (John 8: 24). The pre-existence of the Eternal Son of God is a matter of life and death: no one who denies our Lord’s Deity can be forgiven ¹ ; for it is the father’s decree that "all should honour the Son EVEN AS THEY HONOUR THE FATHER" (John 5: 23).
2. MILLENNIAL DAWNISM
Satan, in order to make his arrows fly, fethers them with Scripture truths; but the arrowheads are poisoned, and they kill. Founded by Pastor Russell and later superintended by Judge Rutherford in an enormous world-wide propaganda, what used to be familiarly known as Millennial Dawnism, and now advertises itself as the International Bible Student’s Association, draws its power, and founds its appeal, on the personal and imminent return of our Lord to the earth.
Now the particular truth here camouflaged is the Parousia, or second stage in the Advent. Christadelphianism, as we have seen, is a counterfeit of the first stage, or watchfulness. "We regard ourselves," they say, "as a people prepared for the Lord, for Whose early and thief-like manifestation we are waiting with all patience we can command" (Who are the Christadelphians? p. 2). Millennial Dawnism fastens on the Presence, or secret and stationary sojourn of our Lord in the heavens, and asserts that it has already begun.
"We have no hesitation in announcing the heart-cheering intelligence that the Master is again present, though His glorious Person is graciously veiled from human sight" (Millennial Dawn, Vol. 2., p. 166). "The harvest of this age began with the presence of our Lord at the beginning of earth’s great jubilee in 1874, and ends with the overthrow of Gentile power in A.D. 1914" (Ibid., Vol. 2., p. 234). "The heavens do not now retain Jesus Christ; He came to earth in 1874 and the saints were raised in 1878" (Ibid., Vol. 2., pp. 188, 189, 196). In 1878 "all the holy Apostles and other overcomers of the Gospel age, who had slept in Jesus, were raised spirit beings," and "they, as well as the Lord, are present in the earth." The select resurrection is thus over, and the Millennium has begun. "Not only is the Millennium coming, but it is here" (Bible Students’ Monthly, Vol. 5., No. 1); and therefore the Millennial Dawnists originally called themselves "the Overcomers," and their magazine is even now, we believe, called "the Herald of Christ’s Presence." So, apart from the statement that it has already begun, the Parousia - secret, stationary, occupied by our Lord and His risen overcomers, in what is truly millennial dawn - is presented to us correctly and Scripturally.
But at once we are faced with one of those awkward flaws which so often ruin the schemes of unbelief. Millennial Dawnism pledged itself to a self-originated prophecy, and the moment it is thus brought within test of the actual it buckles and crashes. Here is the prophecy: "In 1914 ALL THE DEAD WILL BE RAISED AGAIN" (Do You Know?). God will always confound the man who affixes a date to the Advent; and 1914, so far from starting the Millennium, is exactly the year which more nearly inaugurated pandemonium. This alone is fatal. All its doctrines:- that Christ died only for Adam, that it was impossible for our Lord, dying, to redeem more than one person; that Adam alone was guilty, and all of us since are only victims of heredity; that therefore all men will have a second chance after death; and that all men can then become gods, as Divine as Christ is now :- all collapse with the collapse of the prophecy. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18: 22).
So once again we pierce the studied camouflage of Satan. Truth concerning the Second Advent can be to us the damnation of hell unless we are already founded on God’s truth concerning the First. For what does Millennial Dawnism say of Christ? The so-called "Jesus Christ" presented by Millennial Dawnism is, we believe, as remarkable a caricature of our Lord as was ever produced. Simply stated, it is this: Jesus was first a created archangel; then, a man; lastly, a god; and between each of these stages yawns an annihilating gulf, so that the archangel ceases to be when the man appeared, and both archangel and man disappeared for ever when He became a god. Now we see the statements for themselves. "Our Redeemer existed as a spirit-being before He was made flesh, as the first, the direct creation of God, and was known as the Archangel, whose name was Michael" (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1., p. 84). Next followed the human stage: "When created" - for He had to be created afresh - "Jesus Christ had only one nature - the human" (Millennial Dawn, Vol. 1., p. 179); "it was necessary, not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, but just as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never die again - should remain dead to all eternity" (Ibid., Vol. 5., p. 454). So the second gulf of oblivion occurred. "The soul of our Lord Jesus went to oblivion at death" (Ibid., Vol. 5., p. 362), and "He was brought out of oblivion to the Divine nature" (Ibid., Vol. 5., p. 362). "Our Lord’s being or soul was non-existent during the period of death" (Ibid., Vol., p. 362). "The man Christ Jesus is dead" (Ibid., Vol., p. 454). For not only was the spirit annihilated, but the body disappeared. "Many Christians have the idea that our Lord’s glorious spiritual body is the very same body that was crucified and laid in Joseph’s tomb. This is a great mistake" (Millennial Dawn, Vol. 2., p. 129). "Our Lord’s human body was supernaturally removed from the tomb. We know nothing of what became of it, whether it was dissolved into gasses, or whether it is preserved somewhere. No one knows" (Ibid., Vol. 2., pp. 129, 130). So finally He became a God. "When Jesus Christ was raised it was a spirit-being, and He then received divinity as the result of His obedience." The doctrinal importance of this attitude is simply incalcuable. "Our Lord is no longer a human being. Since He is no longer in any sense or degree a human being, we must not expect Him to come again as a human being" (Ibid., Vol. 2., p. 107). Fearfully does this betray the origin and the nature of the error. "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ COMMETH in the flesh. THIS IS THE DECEIVER AND THE ANTICHRIST" (2 John 7, R.V.).
Millennial Dawnism is a fantastic reproduction of Arianism. "We believe," Arius said, "that Christ was created by the will of God - God’s perfect creature; and that before His generation or creation He was not." The Emperor Theodosius, a convert to Arianism, assembled his nobles to do homage to his son Arcadius, a lad of 16, whom he had raised to the purple to share his throne. Bishop Amphilocus, having addressed the Emperor, was withdrawing, when Theodosius exclaimed, "Do you take no notice of my son? Do you not know that I have made him partner of my throne?" Upon this the good old man approached Arcadius and, laying his hands upon his head, said, "The Lord bless thee, my son." The Emperor was furious, and cried, "Is this all the homage you pay to a prince whom I have made of equal dignity with myself?" The aged Bishop, looking the Emperor full in the face, replied in indignant tones, "Sire, you highly resent my seeming neglect of your son, because I do not give him equal honours with yourself: what, then, must the Eternal God think of you when you degrade His co-equal and eternal Son to the level of one of His creatures?" The Emperor had the good sense to acknowledge the justice of the rebuke. "He hath given all judgment unto the Son; that all may honour the Son, EVEN AS THEY HONOUR THE FATHER" (John 5: 22)
3. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
The camouflage of Christian Science lies in its enormous emphasis on gifts of healing, which, in the apostolic days, presaged the Millennial Kingdom; and in a counterfeit sanctity, unbased on regeneration, as a preparation for the new and marriageless age - [ i.e., for those resurrected, who are to be like the angels] - in which there will be a resurrection from the dead. For this vast body of wealthy and influential people (or at least an important section) are holding forth an imminent first resurrection, primarily of Mrs. Eddy.
Stetson," says a telegram from
But what lies behind the Second Advent assertions? Christian Science denies a personal God; that is, Christian Scientists are atheists. "God is mind; He is Divine principle, NOT PERSON" (Science and Health, p. 317). It denies the existence of sin: "THERE IS NO SIN" (Ibid., p. 173). It denies all forgiveness of sin by God: "Truth bestows no pardon" (Ibid., p. 317); and no wonder, since there is no sin to forgive. It denies all judgment: "No final judgments awaits mortals" (Ibid., p. 187). So its Christ is a fiction and a caricature. Jesus was not God’s Son in any other sense than every man is God’s son (see p. 334). "His blood was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon the accursed tree than when it was flowing in His veins" (Ibid., p. 25). "His disciples believed Jesus dead while He was hidden in the sepulchre" (Ibid., p. 349). As the Deity, the atonement, the resurrection of Christ are all fictions, it is unnecessary to diagnose further this system of pure Atheism.
The point in Christian Science fullest of subtle peril is a counterfeit sanctification, by means of an imparted morality, based on a healing of the body without the saving of the soul. Here is the plea put forward by a member of the United States Senate:- "I scoffed at the idea of Christian Science, but I said, if everything else fails, I’ll try that remedy. I did so, and from the time I first took the treatment I began to improve, and that improvement was steady, day by day, for months, when I could say I was completely healed." So also his wife, who had been an invalid for fifteen years, was cured in three treatments, and for nine years had been a healthy woman. "But," adds Senator Works, "the thing that seems most to appeal to us was the fact that our son was healed of the drink habit after he had arrived at the age of manhood, and after he had become so addicted to that habit that we nursed him like a child. He consented to have Christian Scientists called, and was cured; he has not taken drink for seven years, and his desire for drink has been destroyed, and has not returned. Mr. President," cried the Senator, "I fancy I hear senators saying to themselves that it is all a delusion; but, if it is, I hope the delusion will not be dispelled. It has brought health, hope and contentment into hundreds of families in this country; it is doing that work every day, and saving hundreds from suffering and sin" (Daily Telegraph, July 8, 1911). So Christian Science is a sanctification of the flesh without a regeneration of the heart: its physical healing, combined with a startling mental control over temperament and character, forms an overwhelming seduction to minds that are eager for the fruits of sanctification without the experience of conversion. It is a planned counterfeit of the blessedness requisite for the First Resurrection (Rev. 20: 6), and the holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
How deadly the serpent that lies coiled and hidden at the root of Christian Science they can best reveal who have seen it. "When I was examined for Church membership," says a former Scientist, * [* My Experience of Christian Science, by a Student of the Moody Bible Institute.] "there was not a word about belief in God, but my belief in Mrs Eddy was very thoroughly questioned. They asked me if I thought she was divine, and I readily expressed my belief that she was. As I answered that question satisfactorily and many others of the same order, I was duly accepted into full membership." This author continues: "They look down upon marriage, and when a couple marry they lose caste. They claim that marriage is not necessary for reproduction, and I have heard of at least three children that have been born without fathers." * A most startling proof that the healings, so far as they are supernatural, are Satanic lies in the corresponding disease and death-inflictions of which Christian Scientists boast, an unabashed witchcraft of which Mrs. Eddy herself went in daily terror. Our author says: "You hear on all sides how sweet they are, and how they think no evil - that is, when you are on their side; but turn against them, and they will give you the ‘death treatment.’ As my brother [who afterwards left the sect] was the First Reader in the Church, he had the privilege of sending ‘mental waves’ against me to try and think me out of existence, and acknowledged to me afterwards that they take up all their enemies in that way every morning." Regeneration by the Holy Ghost is the only hope for the Christian Scientist. "Could I trust the Lord," cried one of the sect in deep distress of soul, "and Him only, for spirit, soul and body? Suddenly with great firmness of decision I said, ‘Yes, Lord!’ Instantly a tremendous power shot through me from head to foot like a thunderbolt. And oh, what liberty, peace, and heavenly bliss! The decision was made, the battle fought, and victory won, in the power of the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus, in the love of God."
[* Miss Milmine, in her Life of Mary Baker Eddy (p. 437), confirms the fearful return of the sin of the Nephilim (Gen. 6: 1-4; Matt. 24: 37). A prominent member of the Psychical Research Society, who is in touch with mediums everywhere, informs a friend of the writer (Dec., 1935) that mediums are now constantly complaining of incubi.]
" Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee, TURNING AWAY FROM THE PROFANE BABBLINGS AND OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE WHICH IS FALSELY SO CALLED; which some professing have erred concerning the truth" (1 Tim. 6: 20).
(imitated by Christadelphianism) leads to the Parousia (counterfeited by Millennial Dawnism),
and this introduces the First Resurrection (simulated by Christian Science),
which in turn empties itself in our Lord’s Kingdom over all the earth, of which
we now find that Mormonism is a studied camouflage. For Mormonism, or
the Church of the Latter-day Saints, asserts that it is the
Now one glance past this camouflage is all that is necessary, though it is actually painful; for in the hinterland, there rises at once the hideous image of blasphemy. For what is the Mormon doctrine of God? It teaches that God is an exalted man, once a man on earth, as we are now, ever changing and advancing, but never absolutely perfect. Joseph Smith, second only to Brigham Young among their "prophets," says: "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens: it is the first principle of the Gospel to know that He was once a man like us; yea, that God, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did," Their Doctrines and Covenants (Sec. CXXX. 22) declares: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as any man’s"; and "this being," says Joseph Smith, "cannot occupy two distinct places at once." But who is this huge man in the heavens? The answer is almost past belief; but it comes from no less than their supreme prophet, Bingham Young, "ADAM IS GOD, THE SUPREME GOD, THE CREATOR OF THIS WORLD, OUR GOD, AND THE ONLY GOD WITH WHOM WE HAVE TO DO. He is our Father and our God. Who is the Father? The first of the human family." "Adam" says the Pearl of Great Price (p. 60) "is the Father of all, the Prince of All, and the Ancient of Days."
Now, among the counterfeits of the Second Advent, Mormonism has one valuable trait - it alone among these obviously jointly-planned sects openly betrays its supernatural and Satanic origin, and so reveals the master-mind in the back-ground of them all. It is exceedingly striking that Spiritualism and Mormonism were born on nearly the same spot, and closely together in time; for the alleged discovery of the golden plates of the Book of Mormon was made within eight miles, and within eighteen years, of the house in Hydesville, New York State, where Spiritualism was born. Joseph Smith was a medium. "I was seized upon," he says, "by some power which entirely overcome me, the power of some actual being from the unseen world, which bound my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me"; and concerning all Christian Churches he was informed by this visitant from the unseen world - "All their creeds are an abomination in my sight, corrupt professors who draw near me with their lips while their hearts are far from me" (The Mormons, p. 24). Contemporary evidence proves that the supernatural was really present among the early Mormons. In the first two years of the sect a public meeting of the citizens of Jackson County was held to refute Mormonism and issued a statement in which they refer to the "contemptible gibberish with which they habitually profane the Sabbath, and which they dignify with the appellation of unknown tongues" (Ibid., p. 69). The counterfeit test, manifestly concocted by the demons themselves, to which the spirits were put which swarmed among them and prompted their immoralities and polygamies, is stated in the words of Brigham Young: "Every spirit that confesses that Joseph is a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of Antichrist."
The truth is that there can be no kingdom without the King, and
no crown without the cross. Our Lord said: "There be some
of them that stand here, which shall in no wise taste of death, till they see
native ruler, on his death-bed, ordered his servants to make a large cross and
place it in his bedchamber. "Now," he said, "lay me on
it;" and as he thus lay dying, looking by faith to the blood of Jesus, he
cried, "It lifts me! It lifts me! Jesus saves me!" Crucifixion
with Christ (by faith) is a vital condition of sharing His coronation.
"EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN
AGAIN HE CANNOT SEE THE
[This is a drastic, we had almost said merciless, analysis of a real peril, an analysis born of close acquaintance with a group and a thorough mastery of its tenets. Error is always gravest in its consequences, never in its first faint origins; and Dr. Ironside’s disclosure of the attack on the Sacred Trinity - in the denial of the personality of the Holy Spirit - is far graver than anything we ourselves have ever associated with Bullingerism. We are sure that many devout souls in their ranks would repudiate the doctrine with horror; but it may well rouse them to ponder what must be radically wrong with the whole system. We append Ironside’s summary. - D. M. PANTON.]
Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth. By H. A. Ironside, Litt. D. Pickering & Inglis.
otherwise excellent men have taken up these new views. I have no quarrel
with them. I do not desire to reflect upon or belittle any of them.
But, having had almost intimate acquaintance with Bullingerism
as taught by many for the last forty years, I have no hesitation in saying that
its fruits are evil. It has produced a tremendous crop of heresies
throughout the length and breadth of this and other lands; it has divided
Christians and wrecked churches and assemblies without number; it has lifted up
its votaries in intellectual and spiritual pride to an appalling extent; and in
most instances where it has been long tolerated, it has absolutely throttled
Gospel effort at home and sown discord on missionary fields abroad. Many Bullingerites boldly advocate the sleep of the soul
between death and resurrection, the annihilation of the wicked, or else
universal salvation of all men and demons, the denial of the Eternal Sonship of
Christ, and, gravest of all, the personality of the Holy Spirit. All
of these evil doctrines find congenial soil in Bullingerism.
Most of Dr. Bullinger’s followers in