The Christadelphians, John 1:1, and "The Word Became Flesh"

The Bible bears witness of Jesus (John 5:39). He is our Savior, our King, and Lord. But not all who call themselves Christian agree on who Jesus is. Some say He is God in flesh, others that He is an angel who became a man, and still others teach He only came into existence at His birth. Such is the position of the Christadelphians. To them, Jesus did not exist as God. To them, He was just a man who first existed at His birth.

If you are a Christian who knows His Bible, then you will immediately recognize the error of the Christadelphians. The Bible says that whoever denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is of the spirit of the Antichrist (1 John 4:1-2). Of course, the Christadelphians agree that Jesus came in the flesh. But they will not agree that He is God in flesh.

John wrote 1 John and the gospel of John. In John 1:1,14, he said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . ." Obviously, from the context, John is not simply saying that you must believe that Jesus lived, you must believe that He is the Word made flesh. And since he already said that the Word was God, Jesus, therefore, is God in flesh.

This seems simple enough. But it isn’t for the Christadelphians. In their pamphlet "Who is Jesus Christ?", the "Word" is discussed. On page 12, in reference to John 1:1, the pamphlet says, "The Greek term translated 'word' is logos. It signifies the outward form of inward thought or reason, or the spoken word as illustrative of thought, wisdom and doctrine. The Bible teaching is that in the very beginning, God’s purpose, wisdom or revelation was proclaimed through His Word. This Word was 'with God' in that it emanated from Him; it 'was God' in that it represented Him to mankind. . ."

The problem with their reasoning is not that their definition, in itself, is incorrect. For it can be said that the Word was indeed the wisdom and emanation from God. But that is not all it is saying. It is saying that the Word WAS God. Jesus IS the Word. He isn’t simply a manifestation of some divine attribute or quality. Also, what about the context?

In John 1:2-3 it says, "He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (NIV). First, the word is referred to as masculine. Wisdom in Proverbs 8:1-2 is personified as feminine. There is a difference. Second, the Word is who created all things (See also Colossians 1:16-17). Of course, it is naturally understood that this does not include God Himself. But all that is made, has been made by the Word that became flesh. Third, the Word is referred to as a person, not a quality which the Christadelphians have imposed into the text.

In reference to John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory of the only begotten full of grace and truth," the pamphlet states on page 13, "When did the begettal take place? When the Holy Spirit came upon Mary. By that means, the Declaration of Divine wisdom found its substance and reality in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ." It is interesting to note that they call wisdom ‘divine.’ They are saying that divine wisdom became flesh. Is not Jesus, then, divine since He is the incarnation of divinity? They would disagree. But that is what they are saying, though they don’t realize it.

If Jesus is not God in flesh, then why is He worshiped (Matt. 2:2, 11, 14:33, John 9:35-38, Heb. 1:6)? This is especially important since Jesus said that you are to worship God (the Father) only (Matt. 4:10). Yet, Jesus receives worship and never rebukes anyone for it.

If Jesus is not God, then why is He called God by Thomas who said to Jesus in John 20:28, "My Lord and my God." Jesus didn’t correct him for his error.

Once while in a Christadelphian church (known as a Hall; their body of believers who are Christadelphians are called an ecclesia), a woman challenged me to find any place in the Bible where Jesus is called God. When I showed her the verse, she was silent. No one there has answered it yet. The verse is Hebrews 1:8. Here is the context: Heb. 1:5-8 . . .

"For to which of the angels did He [God] ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? 6But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." 7And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." 8But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom."

Jesus is called God by God. If He is not God, then why does the Father call Him God? Is the Father wrong? Is the writer of Hebrews wrong. Or, are the Christadelphians wrong?

While at another ecclesia, I asked some Christadelphians about Jesus being worshiped. They told me they thought He was worthy of worship. They said they never worshiped Jesus. I asked them why not. They didn’t have an answer.

In the Christadelphian pamphlet, "Who is Jesus Christ?" none of the verses about Jesus being worshiped or called God were addressed. I think this is revealing. It is easy to produce clever arguments against various proof texts of Jesus deity (Col. 1:16-17; John 8:58, etc.), as the pamphlet does. But when it doesn’t address the most basic of verses that deal with Jesus’ being worshiped and called God, I must conclude that they have not done all the research needed and that their conclusions are in error. And they are in error.

Remember, faith is only as good as who it is placed in. The Christadelphian Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Christadelphian Jesus isn't God. The Jesus of the Bible is.

 

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CARM ison