Who are The Christadelphians?
You may have seen a Christadelphian Hall in your community. They are usually quite plain looking with a noticeboard on the wall inviting you to a Bible talk. Having the word ‘Christ’ in their name and seeing the word ‘Bible’ on their building, you would think it safe to assume that they are just another Christian denomination, but they are not.
Of course, like all the so called ‘Christian’ cults, The Christadelphians would claim to be Christian and believe themselves to be the only ones preaching the ‘whole truth’.
The Christadelphians were founded by John Thomas in the USA in 1838. Thomas was a British doctor who desired to bring people back to the Bible. Allegedly frustrated by the sectarianism he found within Christianity, he sought to build Christian belief on teachings and practice found only in the Bible.
At the outset, Thomas may have had good intentions but what he founded, and what we are left with today, is a non-Christian cult far removed from historic, Biblical Christianity. If you want to know more about The Christadelphians, consider getting hold of Michael Thomas’s excellent Biblical Investigation Booklet.
This post is concerned with one question: Who is the ‘Jesus’ of the Christadelphians?
Like most cults who claim to be Christian, the Christadelphian’s deny the Doctrine of the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus. That alone is enough to put them outside of historic Christianity but let us consider more closely what they do teach. Here are three things they say about Jesus:
2) Jesus a created being.
Jesus pre-existed only in the mind of God.
Did Jesus exist before God placed him in Mary’s womb? Yes, say The Christadelphians, but he existed only in the mind of God.
According to them, Jesus existed as part of God’s plan for mankind, but he only came into existence when the time came for the plan to be executed. In this sense Jesus was just like Jeremiah who said:
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Just as Jeremiah did not literally exist before his arrival into his mother’s womb, so Jesus did not literally exist prior to the Holy Spirit placing him into Mary’s womb. Both existed in God’s mind and were part of God’s plan of salvation, but neither had a prior existence.
Now we can agree with this regarding Jeremiah, but not the Lord Jesus. Why? Because of the overwhelming evidence of Scripture.
But you, O
Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too
little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2 bold mine)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:5)
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)
He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. (Hebrews 7:3)
Jesus a created being.
Jesus was a "manifestation of the Father in human form."
Denying that Jesus had a literal pre-existence, The Christadelphians claim that Jesus was a creation of the Father. Jesus was a ‘type’ of the Father; he was more than a man but less than God. In teaching this they create an exclusive category of existence for Jesus, one which is foreign to Scripture.
To support their errant doctrine, they use all the same ‘out of context’ bible verses employed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islam etc. to deny the deity of Jesus. These verses usually speak of the humanity of Jesus. But cults either wilfully or ignorantly misapply them.
Church history is littered with those who, denying the plain teaching of the Bible, seek to fit Jesus into a system that makes more sense to them. There is no doubt that it is a struggle to get our finite minds to fully understand the infinite God, but this should not lead us to create a lesser God, one that we can comprehend. We believe by faith all that Scripture reveals regarding the person of Jesus.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 bold mine)
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 bold mine)
Jesus is the Son of God not God the Son
The Christadelphians use the term ‘Son of God’ but, as we have seen, it does not mean they have the ‘right’ Jesus. To them Jesus is purely the created human son of God. He has the character and mind of his Father and the humanity of his mother. In that sense, they say Jesus is the son of God and the son of man, but as we see they misunderstand both titles.
Like many cults claiming to be the true Christians, The Christadelphians argue that it wasn’t until the fourth century that Jesus was called God the Son. Therefore, they claim this title is not Scriptural, but rather manufactured and so should not be used. They would claim the same for the term ‘trinity’. But like the word ‘trinity’, the designation ‘God’s Son’ is used not because it is a scriptural term, but rather in defence of biblical truth. Have they never read John 3:16?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
There is something important to note here. In calling himself the Son of God, Jesus was not, at least in the minds of the Jews, necessarily pointing to his deity. Others, like Adam, Solomon even angels were sometimes designated sons of God; rather it was the title ‘Son of Man’ that pointed to his deity.
And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. (John 3:13)
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (Luke 5:24)
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-32)
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. (Revelation 14:14)
All these verses point to a ‘Son of Man’ who has power and authority, one who will receive glory and honour. This is no created being as The Christadelphians teach. As J. Oswald Sanders said:
“If Jesus is not God, then there is no Christianity, and we who worship Him are nothing more than idolaters. Conversely, if He is God, those who say He was merely a good man, or even the best of men, are blasphemers. More serious still, if He is not God, then He is a blasphemer in the fullest sense of the word. If He is not God, He is not even good.”
Jesus is good and He is God!
 Christadelphians - Biblical Investigation Series - Reachout Trust
 John Thomas – Christendom Astray p.107
 J. Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ: The Person and Work of Jesus Christ