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Reply with quote  #31 
Hi Christadelphos,

I hope your recovery is going well.  We have been thinking about you.

I think we have lived through an interesting time as regards the truth.  As people are apt to note, history always repeats itself, one way or another.  The corruption in the truth that we have witness, probably mirrors what occurred in second century.  I have little doubt that we are witnessing the Pergamos through Thyatira events, leading to the blowing up into Trinity in the Laodicean stage.  The sterilizing of the nature of Christ is simply a step towards making Jesus into "very God."

These modern writers, when they quote from Elpis Israel, or other foundation Christadelphian works to pretend their views are what was taught from the foundation of our movement, are simply trying to find excuses to "marry" the world's views back into Christadelphia. 


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Reply with quote  #32 

22–Clean Flesh

Now, Matthew Trowell (MT) summarizes his opinion of Edward Turney’s beliefs. We read Edward Turney considerably differently than he does. As I have already stated, MT misses or ignores the way Edward Turney believed we were guilty of sin. How anyone can discuss any of this without this key, is a bit disconcerting.  And its kind of crazy that what he does get, is not accurate. He says that according to Edward Turney, Christ:

(1) Did not inherit a nature like ours, but, rather, was like Adam before he transgressed…

Edward Turney did not believe that the nature was changed in anyone as a result of the transgression, therefore physically, he believed Christ received the same nature, as we inherit from Adam. He would have thought our natures are the same as regards sin, because he believed that condemnation came by our inheriting the moral guilt or sin of Adam: it was nothing physical. By Adam’s sin, Edward Turney believed the man came under a sentence of death. This was not, to him, a change in the nature, but what he called a forfeited life. This brought the man under the curse, and the curse sentenced the man to eternal death; but the curse did not change his nature.

Bro. Roberts, writing about this distinction in which the nature is separated from life, makes this observation concerning Edward Turney’s teaching:

"If Jesus inherited Adam’s nature (which is admitted), he certainly inherited Adam’s life, which is the principal element of that nature. God built a man from Mary’s nature who should meet all the requirements of the situation, in view of His purpose to save the condemned; of which we shall see more anon." Chdn 1873 pg 404

So to bro. Roberts, he had no question but that Edward Turney believed Jesus inherited Adam’s nature. He said the point was admitted. But the question was not about nature, but about Adam’s life. Edward Turney taught that the curse was on Adam’s life, not his nature, and his life was forfeited, and ours as well, as a result of Adam’s sin. But Jesus’ life was not forfeited, he believed, due to his Divine parentage. To this bro. Roberts remarks:



"The suggestion that Jesus ‘inherited Adam’s nature’ without inheriting Adam’s life, is absurd! What is the nature of Adam? Paul tells us: ‘The first man, Adam, was made a living soul.’ ‘Living soul,’ therefore, defines his 'nature:' the living element is a part of it, without which it ceases to be Adam’s nature, but becomes the inorganic dust from which it was at first fabricated.

"A strained distinction between life and the organism which develops it will logically land in immortal-soulism. Condemnation fell on 'Adam’s flesh' as evidenced in the words of the sentence, 'Dust thou art.' Adam’s flesh was Adam, containing blood which was the life of the flesh, oxygenised from without, and supplied with food from the elements of vital combustion. It was not Adam’s life in the abstract that was condemned; it was his flesh; his nature: by affecting which, its tenure of life was shortened...." Chdn 1873 pg 403

Edward Turney, to me, and apparently to bro. Roberts, was teaching that Jesus was a descendant from Adam, but the nature, everyone’s nature, was clean. And so it is not simply that Edward Turney believed Jesus did not have sinful flesh. He didn’t believe anyone had it. Edward Turney believed that sin could only be moral (as MT does) so he therefore could see nothing sinful in the flesh of anyone. Isn’t this the doctrine of MT? 

In describing the nature of man, note how both MT and Edward Turney refer us back to the 1869 article by bro. Roberts, for an understanding about sin nature.

On page 32 of "Understanding the Atonement," MT told us in bold letters that the desires (in Adam and Eve) were not sinful of themselves, and quotes from bro. Roberts in the Ambassador, 1869 March, pg. 85. Here is Edward Turney using the identical quote, making identically the same point and fully agreeing with the quote, but making the point that bro. Roberts had been (in 1869, four years previous) teaching opposite bro. Thomas, and in harmony with what Edward Turney was now teaching on this question:



The Sacrifice of Christ by Edward Turney pg 22-23. "Now what I want you specially to notice is this, that the Dr. [Thomas] affirms positively and clearly the existence of sin in the flesh as a fixed principle, the Bro. from whom for the time being I am unhappily at discord upon this matter [bro Roberts], affirms the direct contrary. Here are his own words, Pg 58 left col. [meant page 85]

"‘The phrase sin in the flesh is metonymical.’ (Pardon me for explaining the term ‘meta’ means to change, ‘nomen’ a name. It is that figure of speech which puts one thing for another and may be exemplified by the very familiar illustration, ‘the kettle boils,’ when we mean the water in the kettle). The Editor proceeds ‘Sin in the flesh is metonymical, it is not the expression of a literal element or principle pervading physical organization. (Is not that plain enough). Literally, sin is disobedience or an act of rebellion. The impulses that lead to this reside in the flesh and therefore came to be called by the name of the act to which they gave birth. In defining first principle we must be accurate in our conceptions.

"I respond to that most heartily. I wish I had been more accurate in my own ten years ago. But the writer proceeds:–‘The impulses which leads to sin existed in Adam before transgression as much as they did afterwards: else disobedience would not have occurred.’ Further down in a complete sentence. ‘There is no such thing as essential evil or sin.’"


The portions of the above paragraph that I have colored red are the portions quoted both by MT and Edward Turney to support their identical position on the nature of man. It is significant that Edward Turney used this quote from bro. Roberts to support the points he was making in renouncing the truth, intending to embarrass bro. Roberts, who was opposing the teachings of Edward Turney. Immediately following his rejection of the Christadelphian teaching on sinful flesh, on page 16 of his book, he justifies his rejection this way:



The Sacrifice of Christ by Edward Turney, pg. 16-17. "Then I asked myself this question. Is the flesh of a righteous nation different from the flesh of a sinful nation?

"Does not sinful apply to ‘character’? And not to ‘flesh.’ And so I concluded: for we shall have a righteous nation in the age to come. I know that it may be objected that the sins of that nation will be blotted out, but if sin be in the flesh you cannot put it out unless you burn or otherwise destroy the flesh. And talk about resisting sin James 4–7, or diabolos, which is equivalent to sin as we are told to do, and he will flee from us; it is simply preposterous if fixed in our flesh, for wherever I went with my sinful flesh, there he would go, it would be an element of myself, in every particle of my flesh. But the scriptures teach that we can put away sin, lay it down, and pass on.

"We retain the propensities to sin, but the propensities are not sin. Please observe the importance of cause and effect.

"Desire leads to sin, but desire is not sin, sin brings death, but death is not sin, death is an evil consequent upon sin. It is quite untrue to say we have sin ‘fixed in our flesh.’ We have plenty of it is our character, but it is a thing we can put away if we will, for we have many exhortations in the Scriptures to this end...."


So Edward Turney and MT agree. Sin is moral. It infects the conscience (MT) or character (ET) but not the flesh. Therefore sin cannot exist in flesh. The propensities in our nature are not sin, either before or after the fall. So it is obvious that both teach that our flesh must be "clean."

The differences between Edward Turney and MT do not lie in the nature of Christ, or the nature of man. They are agreed. Their differences lie in how the moral guilt of Adam is transmitted to its descendants, not the physical nature of either. To Edward Turney, we all sinned in Adam, as he wrote:

"The first point I wish to speak upon in that chapter is that mentioned by Paul in the 6th verse:–viz, ‘For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ Now, brethren we ought to know what the apostle would have us understand by that clause, ‘When we were without strength,’ as to the expression ‘in due time,’ I think we are all probably agreed that it refers to the end or nearly the end of the ‘seventy weeks’ spoken of by the Prophet Daniel; but what can be signified by the phrase ‘without strength?’ That is the question now for decision. My answer is with Paul thus–that we lost all our strength by the Adamic transgression. ‘In whom all sinned.’ By one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men ‘in whom, Adam, all sinned.’ The Greek word E PHi O means ‘in whom."...

And for context, the paragraph in the last post above (a quote from Edward Turney’s lecture, page 8)which talks about the English poet and churchman Milton’s understanding, follows directly on this spot. This is why bro. Roberts is trying to draw a distinction between sin, meaning transgression, and inherited sin. David Handley and Edward Turney both thought that the guilt from transgression could be inherited. That is why bro. Roberts draws the distinction so clearly, saying sin, literally, is disobedience or acts of rebellion. We can’t inherit the guilt of another’s immoral deeds, as these men suggested we did through Adam.

But from MT, why we die in the absence of sin (if sin can only be moral) is simply not explained.

We move on to MT’s second conclusion concerning Edward Turney:

(2) Was not, therefore, under condemnation to death...

It is true that Edward Turney did not regard Jesus to be under condemnation to death. But that is not because he was not a descendant of Adam with our nature, but rather, because with God as his Father, Edward Turney believed that made him born outside the sentence of death.

The Sacrifice of Christ by Edward Turney, pg. 34 "The first woman was indeed in the transgression. But Mary was Jehovah’s redeemed handmaid, therefore her son was free from the sentence passed on Adam. Her other children" by Joseph" were under sentence. The flesh of their brother Jesus was just like theirs, but it was not ‘sins flesh’ but ‘God’s flesh.’"

We come to MT’s the third conclusion where we read:

(3) Did not have a nature with an inherent tendency that leads to sin…

This really wasn’t a part of Edward Turney’s exposition. As we have seen, Edward Turney believed that the tendency to sin was in the Adamic nature prior to transgression, as much as it was afterwards. He saw nothing effected in the nature, due to sin. So he thought Jesus had the same inherent tendency that leads to sin that Adam had, or that we have. He believed he was tempted in all points, yet without sin. So to the question of did he have a nature with an inherent tendency that leads to sin, I would understand him to answer, yes. Edward Turney believed that Jesus was born with our nature, but outside of the curse of death which is on our lives, by reason of our birth from two Adamic parents. That is the point of emphasis.

The fourth point MY makes is:

(4) Was always entitled to eternal life…

This is true. Disbelieving there is anything styled sin in the flesh of man, and believing Christ was born outside the curse of moral guilt due to Adam’s sin, Edward Turney believed that Christ was not related to death at all.

Point number 5 is also true.

(5) Did not, therefore, benefit from his own sacrifice…

To emphasize how completely this is true, I will quote from his lecture, near the end of it, where Edward Turney chooses to directly attack bro. Roberts. And remember, bro. Roberts is in the audience where this speech is being delivered. So bro. Roberts and the audience can verify the accuracy of Edward Turney’s charges, that he used Heb. 7:27 to show that Christ offered first for his own sins. Edward Turney says:



"Let me now draw your attention for a moment to Heb. 7–27.

"Mr. Roberts has addressed this text to provide that Jesus offered for ‘His own sins and the peoples on the cross.’

"I shall show you that our friend does not know what he is writing about. The verse reads:– ‘Who needeth not daily as the High Priests to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the peoples, for this He did once when he offered up Himself.’

"Now the question is this, when, and where did Jesus offer up Himself? What I said a few minutes ago shows clearly that Jesus offered Himself, not on the cross, but in Heaven.

"He did not, like the High Priest offer Himself often, but once He appeared to put away sin ‘offering’ by the sacrifice of Himself. Do not forget that there had been no sacrifice until He had been offered, or presented to God.

"The next question is this. Does this verse show that Jesus offered for Himself? I say, certainly not.

"You will remember the amount of plain testimony and argument in the former part of my lecture in proof of this, which cannot of course be recapitulated.

"On another occasion I pointed out that the two offerings not slaying by the High Priest were necessarily distinct from each other, and could not possibly be blended into one.

"And I remarked that if Paul wished us to believe that Jesus like Aaron, offered for His own sins and the peoples also, He would not I think have said ‘this’ He did ‘once’ but ‘these He did once’ these being totally separate offerings. Besides this, I asked, What could He offer? if, as Mr. Roberts contends, the offering was the shedding of His life blood for the people, after He had offered it for Himself? This has not yet been answered.

"The truth is, brethren, that Jesus offered Himself for the sins of the people, not for His own sins."


It will be interesting to see if, anywhere in MT’s book (and we are about a third of the way through without seeing it,) Heb. 7:27 is brought forth by MT to show how Jesus "benefitted" by his own sacrifice.

And the last point advanced by MT against Edward Turney:

(6) But died as a substitute paying the penalty due to Adam and his descendants ‘as a ransom’ while forfeiting his free-life in a self-less act for others.

It is true that Edward Turney believed all this. But what is a substitute? Webster defines substitute as "a person or thing acting or serving in place of another." Among the roles that Jesus played in the sacrifice of Christ, Jesus performed the role of the sin offering. The requirement for the sin offering, was to pour out its blood unto death, demonstrating that sin is justly worthy of death. Now, there are only two options in viewing this. Jesus accepted the role of the sin offering, pouring out his blood first for himself that he might be reconciled from the uncleanness or sin he bore in his nature, and also for our sins; or his pouring out of his blood as the sin offering was unnecessary for himself, but only for us, as taught by Edward Turney and all "clean flesh" folks, (for this they all have in common.) These are our only two options. He was individually involved in his own sacrifice, or he wasn’t.

The latter is clearly acting or serving in the place of another. It is clearly substitution, no matter how modern "clean flesh" folks may wish to qualify it. If Jesus did not require (in the plan and purpose of God) the sin offering he offered, for his own redemption from the law of sin and death, then he acted as a substitute.


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Reply with quote  #33 

In this post, I want to address the idea advanced by Matthew Trowell (MT) in the conclusion of his treatise on Edward Turney and "clean flesh" in Central, that Central had no more problem with "clean flesh" after 1873. This simply was not true. MT wrote:

"While there were those who followed Bro. Turney’s teachings and, subsequently, separated themselves from the main body of Christadelphians, the controversy over this teaching soon faded away." Understanding th Atonement by Matthew Trowell pg 87. 

Now he does have a footnote to a section in his appendix where he acknowledges problems which continued. I glanced at it, but I don’t want to get ahead of the context, so I’ll ignore it till I get there, and just deal with the statement as made in the text of his book.

MT observes at the start of the next chapter that extremes lead to other extremes. That is true. Arguing against a position often drives a combatant to an extreme and opposite position. By the end of the 1890s, those opposing the teachings of bro. Andrew were entering an extreme in fighting him, taking them back towards the "clean flesh" teachings of Edward Turney, slightly modified. This was no doubt on the mind of bro. Roberts, and is very apparent in his last major work, "The Law of Moses." It is a wonderful treatise against "clean flesh."

Before bro. Roberts had died, a division had already taken place over the newer, slightly modified version of "clean flesh," which was in Bournemouth. The information in the Christadelphian was recorded as follows:



Brother H. Fry publicly proclaimed the doctrine that Jesus was not in a position requiring to offer himself as a sacrifice to secure his own redemption, that the sacrifice of Christ was required only to effect the salvation of actual transgressors. Jesus being no transgressor, for himself, his sacrifice was not needed. This teaching strikes at the root of the Scripture teaching of the condemnation of sin in the flesh, and also at the doctrinal basis of faith upon which our ecclesia has been founded for 12 years. It was necessary to meet this error in order to maintain the purity of the truth. After private and collective effort, which proved fruitless, it was decided to re-affirm and define our doctrinal basis of faith upon this subject, and as to those who refuse to acknowledge and accept it, we feel duty bound from such to stand aside. The following propositions were submitted to every member of the ecclesia for acceptance.

1st.—That the Scriptures teach: That Adam was created capable of dying, but free from the power of death, and when he disobeyed in Eden he was condemned to death for that disobedience, and that he came under the power of death solely on account of this sin; That in consequence of this offence all his descendants have been condemned to death, but without the moral guilt of his transgression attaching to them, and that those who are not actual transgressors die under the condemnation they inherit from their first parents.

2nd.—That the Scriptures teach: That Adam was created very good, and was then utterly devoid of that which the Scriptures style "sin in the flesh," that from the time of his disobedience, and in consequence thereof, he had sin in his flesh; that sin in the flesh of his descendants, although not involving them in the moral guilt of Adam, has the power of death in them; that Jesus Christ who was sinless as to character by his sacrificial death and resurrection put away his sin nature (which was the only appointed means for the condemnation of sin in the flesh, that is, as a basis upon which it, the flesh, could be redeemed) and by which he destroyed the devil and death in relation to himself; That this destruction of sin and death by Jesus Christ has been made the basis of their future abolition in relation to all the righteous.

3rd.—That inasmuch as the foregoing scriptural truths substantially form part of our doctrinal basis of fellowship and are essential to "the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ" we hereby resolve from this time to discontinue fellowshipping all who believe that the descendants of Adam were not condemned to death on account of Adam’s sin, or that Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death was not necessary to redeem himself as well as others from that condemnation, until such time as they repudiate these antiscriptural doctrines.

Forty-five assented to them, and nine refused to acknowledge them, the result being that we have withdrawn from the following for refusing to endorse the truth as most surely believed among us: Brother Fry and sister Fry, brother H. Fry, sisters N. Fry, E. Fry, and A. Fry, brother J. Gamble, sisters R. Gamble and Fanny Gamble—the last two were only immersed about three weeks before this happened, and they then gave a clear expression of the faith as we believe it. This is a sore trial to us, but God will help us. The truth is first pure, then peaceable.—G. S. Sherry.


Now, I quote this to show how far Central has moved today, compared to where it was at the end of bro. Roberts’ lifetime. The Bournemouth ecclesia rejected the idea that Jesus did not need to offer himself as a sacrifice to redeem his own nature. Note how different Central is today. Today, the sacrifice is simply another act of obedience, not an essential part of Jesus’ own redemption.

The Bournemouth ecclesia required Harry Fry to agree that in consequent of Adam’s sin, Adam had "sin in his flesh." What can that possibly mean to those who believe sin can only be moral? Notice that the ecclesia doesn’t require Harry Fry to say that the propensities were the same in Adam before and after the transgression. That would be true, but it is not the point. The propensities after the fall were governed by sentiment ruled by intellect after the fall. This is what became "sin in the flesh."

The Bournemouth ecclesia also required Harry Fry to affirm that Christ had "sin in the flesh," that his sacrifice was to put away "sin nature," and that his sacrifice was for the redemption of the nature. They required him to say that his sacrifice was the destruction of the devil in himself, and that by this sacrifice Christ destroyed "sin and death."

The Bournemouth ecclesia also required Harry Fry to admit that Christ was redeemed from his nature by his sacrificial death. A sacrifice is to put away sin.

Now note that. The destruction of the devil in himself was by his sacrifice. And by this sacrifice he destroyed sin and death. Note how the ecclesia does not separate sin from death in the law of sin and death, as MT has consistently done.

Now, also notice that to this point, through the first 80 + pages, of his book, MT has not used the term "sin nature." Neither has the expression "sin in the flesh" been used. Why, if Central has not changed its position from its founding?

It was not only in Britain that "clean flesh" was making a comeback. It was in Australia as well. There we find one of the clearest and most precise statements made by bro. Roberts, in his final voyage to Australia in a document called "The Melbourne Synopsis." It is marvelous for the Scripture quoted. Simply look at the verses, the way they are applied, and ask yourself if the usage of these verses in this manner would be acceptable in Central today.



10. —That Christ was himself saved in the Redemption he wrought out for us. "In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. Though he were a son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became that author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:7–9). "Joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). "By his own blood he entered once unto the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:12). "Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect, &c." (Heb. 13:20).

11. —That as the anti-typical High Priest, it was necessary that he should offer for himself as well as for those whom he represented—"And by reason hereof, he ought as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but he that said unto him, &c." (Heb. 5:3). "Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer." (Heb. 8:3). "Through the Eternal Spirit, he offered himself without spot unto God" (Heb. 9:14). "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people’s: for this he did once when he offered up himself" (Heb. 7:27). "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens (that is, the symbols employed under the law), should be purified with these (Mosaic sacrifices), but the heavenly things themselves (that is, Christ who is the substance prefigured in the law), with better sacrifices than these" (that is, the sacrifice of Christ—Heb. 9:23).  Chdn 1896, pg 341


In America as well, "clean flesh" was making inroads, through the teachings of A. D. Strickler. Most of America had separated from the teaching of A. D Strickler, and the Central group at that time. From 1921 onward, Temperance Hall, Birmingham (which later became Central, Birmingham) chose to fellowship what John Carter eventually acknowledged (1939) was false doctrine. And of course while John Carter acknowledged the error, no action was ever taken against that error, including and through today.

So to say that Central has remained in the same position as regards the nature and sacrifice of Christ since the foundation of the Christadelphian movement, is simply absurd. This is not an opinion which would be held by any in Christadelphia, except for that portion of Central who has embraced "clean flesh" and therefore feels some need to defend it as the true foundation position. And that by no means includes all who have embraced "clean flesh." As I have mentioned before, I had an uncle who embraced "clean flesh" but he was always very clear that this was a change from the belief he had been taught.


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Reply with quote  #34 

24 – Andrewism

We now come to the reason Matthew Trowell (MT) wrote this book. He wanted an excuse, or format, by which he could challenge the foundation Christadelphian thought, set out by bro. Thomas concerning the two acceptations of "sin." We were only 8 pages in giving lip service to a discussion of "clean flesh." Now, we are 41 pages in discussing "Andrewism." This simple fact would, by itself, would show why the book was written. And if you, like me, thought it was odd that we could go eight pages on "clean flesh" without a reasonable explanation of Edward Turney’s view of the "transmission of actual sin": be prepared! We will now go 41 pages on Andrewism without an explanation of the moral and legal relationship to "Adamic Condemnation."

MT points out that bro. J. J. Andrew worked with bro. Roberts in the early days of the truth in fighting the doctrines of Edward Turney. But this was not all. Bro. Andrew was a tireless combatant with bro. Roberts in laying out the truth to the world. His booklet "Jesus Christ and Him Crucified" was considered such a valued work, that even after bro. Andrew had altered his position and moved on from the fellowship of Birmingham, Temperance Hall; it was still considered necessary to publish the book for interested aliens, which was done under the name "The Real Christ." Then, again in 1885, he fought along side bro. Roberts in the "Partial Inspiration" division. And following that division, when the doctrine of fellowship was being attacked by those forming what ultimately became the "Suffolk Street" fellowship, bro. Andrew again wrote clear and concise arguments in favor of the true doctrine of fellowship as insisted upon by bro. Roberts. One can only imagine what a heart break and tragedy it was to bro. Roberts, to find himself in opposition to such a long time co-worker.

MT points out that extremes beget extremes. And while that may be true, it doesn’t appear to me that that is what happened in this case. Bro. Andrew did not go to an extreme of Edward Turney, but actually ended up embracing his foundation point, which was the transmission or imputation of actual sin or guilt. The difference between the two was that to Edward Turney, since the moral guilt of Adam was imputed to all of Adam’s descendants, Christ had to have "free life" so as not to be involved in Adam’s guilt. To bro. Andrew, the imputation of the morality of Adam’s sin was imputed to all of Adam’s descendants, Christ included, so that he too needed to be "forgiven" Adam’s sin.

MT tries to make the case that "physical sin" is what bro. Andrew was talking about in saying we needed to be "forgiven" our inherent condition. And if you are not aware of bro. Andrew’s true teaching, it can be made to appear that way. But you really do have to ignore a lot of obvious conflicts, and be a most person with virtually no curiosity, (or a person with a motive) to make the conclusions reached here by MT, and, similarly reached in an earlier "clean flesh" work, "Saved by his Life" by John Martin.

I say lacking in curiosity, because it was through reading things from bro. Andrew that simply made no sense, that as a very young man, made me began to search to try and understand what bro. Andrew was saying. So I can't understand how an adult man can read these things, and not be similarly stimulated to search them out.   I wasn’t raised among Advocates and Unamended folks. So I had no background in what they believed. But simply a casual reading of his material, made it obvious that what he believed didn’t fit with what I had been taught.

Having been raised in Central in the 1960s in California, I was taught that sin was used in the Bible two ways, one moral, one physical. The physical was a misfortune. It was not a crime. No one was guilty of it, nor was it necessary to obtain forgiveness from it. Atonement? Yes. Cleansing? Yes. Purifying? Yes. Reconciliation? Yes. Redemption? Yes. Forgiveness? No! Forgiveness is for moral impurity.

The first work on the subject I read was bro. Roberts’ "Resurrection to Condemnation." In it, in the introduction, I found this paragraph, (and how MT has just written 41 pages on the subject, and never touched upon this paragraph, I’ll never be able to understand.) But in "Resurrection to Condemnation," bro. Roberts wrote:

"The pamphlet [The Blood of the Covenant] is not correctly named. It implies that those against whom it is directed dispute the efficacy of the blood of Christ: it ought to be called Unbaptised Rebels not Resurrectionable to Punishment. This would define the pith of the contention spread over sixty pages of closely- printed matter."

So here was bro. Roberts saying that he has little problem with the presentation of the atonement and accompanying issues made by bro. Andrew in The Blood of the Covenant. Well, I hadn’t read anything by bro. Andrew at that time, (except the Real Christ, and a few old articles as published in modern magazines) so it was easy to accept that. But next I moved on to the Debate.

I came upon these questions, bro. Andrew asking bro. Roberts:



(J. J. Andrew) "Is "sin in the flesh" the subject of justification through the blood of Christ?

(R. Roberts) "It will be ultimately."

(J. J. Andrew) "Is it now?

(R. Roberts) "No; we have it with us now."

(J. J. Andrew) "Is that proof that it is not the subject of justification?

(R. Roberts) "It depends upon what you mean by justification; there are different kinds of justification, moral and physical."

(J. J. Andrew) "I defined the term. I said acquittal from actual or imputed guilt." "Res.Resp. Debate". Q. 111-114.


Now that made no sense. How could bro. Andrew regard "sin in the flesh" as anything other than a physical relationship? How could he be defining the term as "actual or imputed guilt." It was opposed to the teaching of bro. Thomas who wrote:



The word sin is used in two principal acceptations in the scripture. It signifies in the first place, "the transgression of the law"; and in the next, it represents that physical principle of the animal nature, which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust. It is that in the flesh "which has the power of death"; and it is called sin, because the development, or fixation, of this evil in the flesh, was the result of transgression.(Elpis Israel 126)

These impulses are styled "the motions of sins". Before he was enlightened, they "worked in his members", until they were manifested in evil action, or sin; which is termed, "bringing forth fruit unto death". The remote cause of these "motions" is that physical principle, or quality, of the flesh, styled indwelling sin, which returns the mortal body to the dust; and that which excites the latent disposition is the law of God forbidding to do thus and so; for, "I had not known sin, but by the law." (Elpis Israel pg 137)


And bro. Andrew was not through. He wanted to pick up this same theme again:



(J. J. Andrew) I am speaking about the moral. Is not "sin in the flesh" the subject of justification in a moral or legal sense (I think legal is better)?

(R. Roberts) You are mixing up two terms. "Sin in the flesh" is a physical attribute, forgiveness is a moral relation. Do not confound the two. "Resurrectional Responsibility Debate". Q. 270.


Something was different in the way bro. Andrew was approaching the subject, when compared to the way the pioneer brethren had approached the subject. They would not for a minute have suggested that "sin in the flesh" was a moral or legal relationship, or that it was imputed sin or guilt. But bro. Andrew was definitely confounding the two, as bro. Roberts noted.

So that caused me to look at "The Blood of the Covenant" to see what the difference was between the foundation Christadelphian perspective which I had been taught, and the teaching of bro. Andrew, because something was different.

It is not really that hard to find. Bro. Andrew wrote:

"But is not Adamic "condemnation" solely physical, inherent in sinful flesh? No; it has physical results, but in the first instance it has reference to the Divine attitude towards the breach of the Edenic law; it is another term for Divine disfavour. Physical decay is the result of Divine "condemnation," but not identical with it. Blood of the Covenant pg. 19

So here we are told that "sinful flesh" is not solely physical. This is a change from the foundation Christadelphian position. If "sinful flesh" is not solely physical, what are the other components, or the "first instance" bro. Andrew is referencing? He says that physical decay is the result of Divine condemnation, but not identical with it. So "sinful flesh" is divided into two separate and distinct items. First, moral, the offence of Adam. Second, as a result of the first, "sin in the flesh."

He tells us a few pages later:

Every Jewish child, by its birth, defiled its mother. It could not have produced this result if it had not itself been unclean (Lev. xii.). From this defilement, the mother could not be cleansed without "blood" (verse 4-5); and as blood is the antidote to sin, the uncleanness must have been caused by sin. Whose sin? First, the "offence" of Adam; and second, its consequence: viz., "sin in the flesh" of the child. Pg 21

So the newborn child under the law, according to bro. Andrew, was defiled for two reasons. First the offense of Adam, and second the consequences of that offense, or sin in the flesh. (Now note, and remember as we move forward in this discussion, that he is separating "the offense of Adam" from the consequence viz., "sin in the flesh.") So what was this? This is nothing more than Edward Turney’s argument, revisited. Both Edward Turney and bro. Andrew believed that the sin of Adam, or the guilt of Adam was imputed to his descendants. Except where Edward Turney had excepted Jesus, bro. Andrew included him. And of course, Edward Turney had the consequence of imputed sin to be death, where bro. Andrew has the consequent of imputed sin to be "sin in the flesh" which includes death.

MT claims:

"...Bro. Andrew argued from the other extreme saying that there were two ‘forms’ or categories of ‘sin’: (1) sin which is moral – ie. disobedience or transgression, and (2) sin which is physical – ie. our physical flesh and blood natures. He reasoned that Mankind has inherited Adam’s sin in a physical ‘form’ (our flesh and blood natures) which he called ‘Adamic Sin’, ‘the offense of Adam’, ‘inherited sin’ or ‘sin-in-the-flesh’.

This is not strictly accurate, and what is accurate is not the full story. Bro. Andrew did believe that there were two aspects of sin, but then he spoke of them in three ways. Moral sin is disobedience. But as we have seen, the physical sin was considered in its legal (moral) and physical aspect. In effect, the teaching of bro. Andrew took physical defilement, and gave it a moral aspect, so that the practical outworkings is that of Edward Turney, making all sin moral.

Secondly to this paragraph, Adamic sin, and the offense of Adam, are not, by bro. Andrew’s theory, the same thing as inherited sin, or "sin-in-the-flesh." Adamic sin, and the offense of Adam are legal condemnation from sin imputed to us. Inherited sin and "sin in the flesh" are physical sins, the consequent of imputed sin.

MT continues:

"He [bro. J. J. Andrew] went on to reason, that while a man is not personally responsible or guilty for this ‘form’ of sin inherited from Adam, federally or racially Man is guilty on account of the nature that he bears, since Adam was the ‘federal head’ of our race and all men were in Adam’s loins when he sinned. Consequently, he reasoned, we are ‘alienated’ from God and "sinners", not just by our actions, but by the mere fact that we are born. In other words, Bro. Andrew taught that it is as much of a sin for us to have been born as it is to transgress God’s law!

This paragraph is awkward, but correct. Bro. Andrew taught that the nature which he bore (sin nature) made man "guilty" of the "offence of Adam." This imputed sin he considered a part of the physical, or sin nature.

So the point is that where MT wants to suggest that "physical sin" in general, is a false concept, and use the teachings of bro. Andrew to make this point; the facts are that bro. Andrew’s concept of physical sin is not the foundation Christadelphian position. Bro. Andrew included concepts of moral sin, imputed to Adam’s descendants in what he called "physical sin." This is not, and never has been any part of the foundation Christadelphian position. As bro. Roberts says in the debate quoted above, "sin in the flesh" is physical. Forgiveness is a moral relationship. Do not confuse the two. That is a very good rule to live by.

So how could bro. Roberts say he had no objection to the efficacy of the blood of Christ, as outlined in "The Blood of the Covenant?" And it is not just in the beginning of "Resurrection to Condemnation" that he says it. He said it right in the middle of the debate. Bro. Andrew is questioning bro. Roberts, asking him about the justification of the faithful:



429. And now I will ask Bro. Roberts whether he believes that David and other faithful men who lived under the law of Moses are included in this expression in Rev. 7:14, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"?

Answer: Yes.

430. Were not David and those faithful ones justified, or will they not at that time have been justified from their sins by the blood of Christ?

Answer: I have never raised any objection to the faithful; my objection was to wicked men.

431. Does not that justification include justification from the Adamic condemnation which they inherited?

Answer: Are you speaking of the righteous or the wicked?

432. I am speaking of the righteous.

Answer: I have no issue with you as to the righteous.

433. Still, I would like a more specific answer.

Answer: That is the fact. It is on the wicked we differ.


Bro. Roberts says he has no issue with bro. Andrew’s conclusions when applied to the righteous. Why not, if MT is correct? The righteous, in bro. Andrew's work, are justified from "physical sin" by the blood of Christ. I would think that this would be as objectionable to MT as any other statement talking about atonement on account of human nature. We see that it is not how the term "the blood of the covenant" is applied that was the issue. The issue with bro. Andrew, was the very meaning of "Adamic Condemnation."

The efficacy of Christ’s blood, as outlined in "The Blood of the Covenant" is the complete justification from sins, moral and physical. Bro. Roberts says he agrees with this as applied to the righteous. Yes, it is true that bro. Roberts talks about many of the details that he found "too mechanical." Particularly would that be true of his concepts of justification by circumcision and baptism, and the attribution of the guilt from Adam’s offence, as included in the general term "Adamic Condemnation". But as a very general plan, his own testimony is that he agreed with what bro. Andrew had set forth on the atonement. Bro. Roberts’ issue was "Resurrection to Condemnation" and, who comes forth to it.


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We saw in the last post, that the intent of Matthew Trowell (MT) is to tie the foundation Christadelphian teaching of physical sin, to an alteration of that teaching by bro. J. J. Andrew. Bro. J. J. Andrew aplied a moral, or legal relationship, to the physical quality of man. But perhaps, before going on with MT’s book, it would be best at this point, to show what the teaching of the foundation brethren was, as regards "physical sin."

Immediately after bro. Roberts wrote the March 1869, "The Relationship fo Jesus to the Law of Sin and Death," brethren began writing him concerning his view of human nature, or "sin in the flesh." The context in which he was writing, made this subject seem contradictory to the brethren. But bro. Roberts’ article was written to address a specific error which Hadley was writing to him about. That error was the Christian doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s actual sin, or guilt to his descendants. Included in this discussion was what would have been required of Jesus, had he been the only one to enter into eternal life.

Bro. Roberts eventually acknowledges that the argument caused the article to be written in such a way as to confuse some, and even to create a source of embarrassment to himself, when taken in context of "clean flesh" at a later date.

I bring this up again, in my point concerning the foundation brethren’s belief concerning "physical sin" because the first criticism of the article he published, alludes to this belief. A brother writes in to bro. Roberts:

"I do not believe that we really disagree on the point; but I think you were rather unguarded in your language in the Ambassador, in March last. Of course we all believe that Christ had no mental or moral sin; and if there is no physical principle, called sin, how was he subject to death?"

So here the brother, who will take bro. Roberts to task for the lack of clarity in his statements about sinful flesh, states that all agree that there was no moral sin in Christ, and that there had to be a physical principle called sin, or Christ could not have been subject to death. He certainly could not make that statement today, could he? Not all in Central believe that the physical principle is called "sin." Nor do all in Central believe that sin is required to make one subject to death.

Bro. Roberts answers:

"To this the Editor returned the following answer: "There is no substantial difference between us..."

As the Recunciationist discussion is dying down, in 1876, bro. Roberts puts a long and detailed argument into the Christadelphian magazine that clearly lays down this point, written by a man named A. Andrew, who wrote many articles for the Christadelphian Magazine, and was a prominent lecturer in his day. The article is called Sin, Its Origin, Effects, and Destruction. The article begins explaining its purpose.

Christadelphian Magazine, 1876, pg 353 "It is not, however, with his mission in this extended view that we purpose to deal in our present remarks, but rather with that part of his work which relates to the destruction of sin in its moral and physical aspects in regard to himself and believers in past and present dispensations."

So the purpose of this article is to demonstrate the destruction of sin in its moral and physical aspect. Now, anyone who has dealt with "clean flesh" folks know that they go ballistic when we use the term "aspect." "Bro. Thomas said "acceptation" they quickly interject. True, but we can see here that the term "aspect" as regards the two definitions of sin existed from the foundation of our movement.

So here we see sin, the moral and physical aspects (or acceptations if your must) will be explained; and how Christ’s work relates to its destruction. Now it should be obvious to all that to destroy the physical aspect of sin, it had to first have an existence.

Next we read:

Christadelphian Magazine, 1876, pg 353 There are two kinds of sin—moral and physical. There is no dispute about the former; all believers of the Bible are agreed that it is the transgression of the law. But it is asserted by some that there is no such thing as physical sin. The fallacy of this assertion will, perhaps, be best evident from the following passages:—Rom. 7:16, 17: "If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me; " verse 20: "Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." How can transgression of a law be said to dwell in a man? Rom. 6:12: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." To "reign" and to be "obeyed" are the same thing: for sin to reign in the body, and the lusts to be obeyed, are the same thing; therefore "sin" is here used as synonymous with "lusts." No doubt James (1:15) says, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin," but he is there speaking of transgression; and the fact that lust is there spoken of as the cause of sin is no proof that lust itself is not elsewhere, and from another point of view, termed "sin." Would it be correct to say, "Let not transgression reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it (i.e, obey transgression) in the lusts thereof?" Evidently not; and if so, "sin" must, in this passage, signify something other than transgression; and what can that be but what we have termed "physical sin?" The lusts of the flesh can appropriately be termed "sin" because they are the result of sin, and also the cause of sin, and "sin in the flesh" has, not inappropriately, been termed "constitutional sin," because it is what the Scriptures term "sin," in the organization or constitution of man.– A. Andrew

Anyone suggesting that the foundation brethren did not consider sin in a moral and physical acceptation, is clearly in denial. To fail to recognize sin in its physical aspect, the author says, is "fallacy." The article continues:

Christadelphian Magazine, 1876, pg 413-414 Hebrews 2:14, 15: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage." We have already seen that the devil destroyed by Christ was sin in the flesh. He destroyed it by his death; therefore the sin he put away by his death was physical. He did this as the basis for the deliverance of others: see the connection between verses 14 and 15: "that he might destroy . . . the devil, and deliver them" &c. He delivered others, not by suffering a condemnation due to others, and which had no hold on himself, but he was a partaker of flesh and blood—the nature of those he was to redeem—because the devil or sin in the flesh has the power of death over flesh and blood, so that he might come under the power of the devil and death; and, having died and been raised from the dead, its power in him has been destroyed, and he is able to deliver those who become associated with him in the appointed way. Here again, then, the destruction of physical sin in Christ is represented as the basis for the deliverance of others from its power. Hence we see the necessity for his being in precisely the same physical condition as others. That necessity, however, is inexplicable apart from the doctrine for which we are contending. Hence it has been said more than once by those who have opposed that doctrine, and who have denied the existence of sin in the flesh, or that Jesus was under condemnation—whether by attributing to him a "free life," or by denying the condemnation of the race of which he was a member—it has, we say, been admitted by some of such, that so far as the taking away of sin was concerned, (i.e., apart from the prophecies which required that the Saviour should be one of the race, such as that he should be the seed of Abraham and David), there was no necessity for him to be born of a woman, and to be a member of the Adamic race—that a being created direct from the ground, such as Adam, would have answered the purpose equally well. And, indeed, this admission is perfectly consistent with a denial of the foregoing doctrine, being a logical result of the theory that there is no such thing as sin in the flesh, and that the sin that Christ took away was not "the body of sin," but only the actual sins of others. That this is the logical result of that doctrine, however, must be almost its greatest condemnation in the eyes of those who have so far apprehended the teaching of the divine oracles as to see that even simply in regard to the taking away of sin it was an essential feature of the divine plan of redemption that the Saviour should be "made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4), and that he should "be made like unto his brethren" "in all things."—(Heb. 2:17). A. Andrew

Christadelphian Magazine, 1876, pg 415 It is evident, then, from the several foregoing passages, [Heb. 2:14-15, Rom. 6:6] that the sin which Christ put away was physical sin, and with this agrees the statement in Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." It is also in harmony with the Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Tim. 1:10:—"Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality (aphtharsia, incorruptibility) to light through the gospel." Here it is asserted that Christ hath abolished death. Now unless death actually had a claim on him individually, how could he have abolished it? A. Andrew

The curious thing about this article, is that it ran over three months in the Christadelphian Magazine, but appears to have generated no complaints from the brotherhood. Meanwhile, Bro. Roberts was still answering criticisms, and clarifying his 1869 article "The Relationship of Jesus to the Law of Sin and Death" 20 years later. There was, of course, criticisms which came from the "clean flesh" adherents concerning bro. A. Andrew’s article. Bro. Roberts gathered these up, submitted them to bro. A. Andrew, and he answered them at the end of his article. Then, nothing more is said.

But there is one other curious effect of this article. If you look at the ecclesial correspondence which follows, many ecclesias report to having public lectures entitled, ‘Sin, Its Origin and Destruction."

But there were other references to this principle as well.



Christadelphian Magazine, 1875 pg 170 "It is about eleven months since doctrines contradictory of our previous faith concerning the nature and sacrifice of Christ were introduced into the ecclesia, which have led to the present diversity of opinion. These views were mainly in sympathy with certain new doctrines promulgated by Edward Turney, of Nottingham, England, and known as ‘Renunciationism,’ which doctrine by affirming that Jesus Christ came in flesh free from the law of sin and death, physical evils inherited by the whole human race through the transgression in Adam; and that he possessed a free and uncondemned life from the Father, and by further teaching that our fleshly organization is free from the principle of physical sin, have promulgated doctrines which are subversive of Deity’s plan of redemption by remission of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, and, is in effect a reintroduction of one of the first heresies of the early churches."

(Here brother Sintzenich describes the personal treatment he has received during the controversy, and proceeds): "These unchristian manifestations by the votaries of false doctrines in our ecclesia, admonish me that forbearance, patience and long suffering are exhausted, and that further association with those who openly repudiate the one faith in relation to the Christ—is to compromise the truth of Deity. Nothing is more clear than that the theory of an ‘uncondemned Christ’ nullifies His plan for the putting away of sin, which is not effected by a moral or mental obedience alone, as is asserted, but by an obedience unto DEATH, by condemning sin in the flesh. If this, as a physical principle, does not inhere in the flesh of Jesus, then it is impossible to ‘condemn sin in the flesh,’ ‘to bear our sins in his body to the tree’—or for ‘our old man to be crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.’ ‘By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.’—(Rom. 5:9). ‘Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (of which death was the chief); and being made perfect, &c.’—(Hebrews 5:8–9). He ‘became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.—(Phil. 2:8–9). ‘He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.’ (Heb. 9:26). ‘God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin, and on account of sin condemned sin in the flesh.’ –A. Sintzenich


We see other key references to this principle. First, it is not an abstraction to speak of the body as sin. Second, there is a physical principle in the body, called the law of sin and death. And finally, where death reigns, sin exists.

All these principles are continually found in the foundation writings of the Christadelphian movement, both in the basic writings of bro. Thomas, and in the work of the first editor of the Christadelphian, Robert Roberts, and the things he put in the magazine.



The Devil Destroyed by Christ in His Death

1.—Who or what is "that having the power of death, that is the devil," which Jesus came to destroy?

Answer.—Sin is the cause of death, and, therefore, "that having the power of death," and, therefore, the devil. And sin is disobedience. But it is not an abstraction that sin has the power of death. That is, it has no power to hurt with death until it obtain admission in some way. So long as it is outside of us it cannot hurt. There are two ways in which its deadly work can be done: "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant (or slave) of sin." This is one way—the personal commission of sin, which brings us under personal condemnation, as Paul in all his epistles teaches, e.g., Rom. 1:32; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6. The other way is exemplified in our relation to Adam. He sinned, and death coming on him, was transmitted to all who afterwards inherited his death-stricken nature.—(Rom. 5:14; 7:24; 1 Cor. 15:54.) In this way, sin or the devil obtains access to the innocent, or, as Paul defines them in the chapter, "them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgressions." A child just born, for instance, though innocent of actual sin, has death in itself through Adam. Christ’s sacrificial mission was to destroy the hold the devil had obtained in both these ways. He did not destroy the hold it had obtained on sinners in general; for the vast mass of them continue under its bondage from generation to generation, and will be held by it in eternal bonds, and the (comparative) few whom Christ will save are yet unreleased. He was sent to be a beginning or release for all who should incorporate themselves with him. The release began with himself. He destroyed that hold which the devil had obtained in himself through extraction from Adam, and through submission to the curse of the law in the mode of his death. He was of the same nature as ourselves as regards flesh and blood, and, therefore, death-stricken, for that is the quality of flesh and blood; and in obeying the command which required him to submit to crucifixion, he came under the dominion of death as administered by the law. The testimony is that he destroyed the devil through death. Sin can do no more when a man is dead. Therefore, in dying on the cross, Christ yielded to the devil all he could take; and God then raised him for his righteousness sake, so that in Christ, the devil was destroyed in the only way possible in harmony with God’s appointments. He was not destroyed out of Christ. He was destroyed in him. We have to get into Christ to get the benefit. In him we obtain the deliverance accomplished in him.–RR


Christadelphian Magazine 1874, pg 158 There was in Adam, after he sinned, as there is in all his descendants hereditarily from him, a physical principle, which reigns in the whole man, causes pain and sorrow, and finally brings him to the dust of death. It is, therefore, a principle of corruption, which superinduces a desire to gratify all the propensities of our nature without restraint. It is selfish stimulating to seek only our own gratification. It is styled "the law of sin, " or the elemental principle of evil, the excessive depravity of which can only be known by an attempt to subject it to a holy, just, and good commandment. This develops all the latent virulence which belongs to it; and proves it to be "Enmity" to everything that is "holy, just and good, " and everything which is excellent is "Enmity" to it. It is "enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God; neither, indeed, can it be."—(Rom. 8:7.)–RR

Christadelphian Magazine 1883 pg 51 Remarks.—"Religious belief" per se being commonly supposed to involve the immortality of the soul, it is natural that the holders of the common religious belief should be uneasy at the idea of nature yielding evidence against the immortality of the soul. That which makes the holders of the common religious belief uneasy has, however, precisely the contrary effect on those who have come to see, not only that the immortality of the soul is no part of the religion of the Bible, but that it is inconsistent with the Bible, which lays down as its fundamental axiom that death reigns where sin exists, and that immortality in relation to man is a future and contingent affair altogether, depending on the working out of God’s own plan to take away sin and abolish death at the last from the face of the earth—not by the importation of a metaphysical anima, but by the re-constitution of the physical body upon the basis of incorruptibility at the resurrection. Mr. Darwin’s denial of the immortality of the soul, whatever force it may have, has no bearing against the Bible but contrariwise. It is a confirmation of the teaching of the Bible that man is mortal, and on a level, as to order of nature, with the beasts that perish (Ecc. 3:19).–RR

Death reigns where sin exists. Nothing could be clearer, and nothing could better explain bro, Thomas arguing that sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, had it not existed there.


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Every once in a while, we have come across people who make statements which are just out of left field, and its hard to know just how to deal with them. Is the statement just poorly worded, and should be ignored? Is the author, at the time of his writing, for some reason, simply incapable of reaching good conclusions, and so the book should be put down? Or does the author know he is coming out of left field, but thinks his readers are so ill informed, that the statement, though completely lacking truth or substance, will be accepted?

I remember a night in Florida, when I was introduced to a Central fellow, who I already knew was a "clean flesh" believer; but with whom I was there to discuss the doctrine of fellowship, for the benefit of a third party. The fellow immediately gave me the impression that he was trying, from the outset, to be provocative, and he stated at the start of our discussion, quite bluntly, that he thought bro. H. P. Mansfield taught "clean flesh." I asked myself those same three questions. Did he intend to say, what he just said, or did he not express himself correctly? Is he an idiot? Or does he think I’m an idiot? I avoided the question that evening, and since I was there to discuss fellowship, I simply asked him to explain why, if he thought bro. Mansfield taught "clean flesh" he continued in fellowship with him in Central? But afterwards, and after him having left abruptly without saying goodbye and shaking hands, I was left wondering what his ill informed statement about bro. H. P. Mansfield was all about.

We come across a similar situation here with Matthew Trowell (MT). He wrote:

"Ironically, the doctrine that Bro. Andrew was trying to defend the Truth against, the doctrine of Substitution, was the very same doctrine that he ended up teaching but in a different form!..."

Simply stated, and without regard to the three questions this statement generates, no, he didn’t. Bro. Andrew’s teaching has nothing to do with substitution. His view had Christ born guilty of Adam’s sin, and he was redeemed from it by his baptism, and death. His view is not that Christ did something instead of us. His doctrine was Christ doing exactly what we had to do, but which we failed to do because of our own sins.

Edward Turney had us born guilty of Adam’s sin, similar to bro. Andrew. But he had Christ born outside the condemnation, voluntarily coming under it "for us only," having no relation to it of himself. This is Jesus doing something for himself, for which he had no relationship.

This is also why the teaching of MT is substitution. He denies that our inherited nature is sin. He therefore has Christ sinless, dying the sacrificial death for sin. This is Christ doing something for us, of which he had no personal need or requirement. This is substitution.

I looked for some explanation from MT, as to how he concluded that the writings of bro. J. J. Andrew was substitution. He sent me to Appendix A, which was an explanation of the church doctrine of "Original Sin," but has no discussion of substitution. At the end of Appendix A there is a reference to an 1993 article by Michael Ashton (who represents the Dowieite’s victory over bro. Roberts–for now) making the argument against both bro. Roberts’ concepts and bro. Andrew’s concepts of baptism. But again, no discussion of substitution. So his conclusion remains a mystery.

But there was further proof that MT is advancing the idea of substitution. In the article he encourages us to read, we see the following from the former Christadelphian Magazine editor:

"But as he bore no moral accountability for his mortality, he did not have to make an offering for the nature he received at birth. He had to condemn sin and prove that he was master over his nature as no-one before or since has been. He did this by being obedient to his Father throughout his life, and declared that sin could not control him by remaining obedient even unto death."–Michael Ashton

This is substitution. One can only reach this conclusion by first determining that the nature is not sin. So this is Jesus, required by God to offer a sacrifice for sin, being himself not requiring or "needing" the sacrifice he offered. By this reasoning, he was offered for us, excluding himself; and therefore as a substitute.

Such a contrast from the sound teaching of the foundation Christadelphians! Is there no sacrifice on account of our nature? How then can bro. Roberts answers to this direct question in the debate between bre. Roberts and Andrew be explained?



711. Is it not clear that Christ, as a necessity, must offer up for himself for the purging of his own sin nature? Answer: As a son of Adam, a son of Abraham, and a son of David, yes.

712. First from the uncleanness of death that having by his own blood obtained eternal life himself, he might be able to save others? Answer: Certainly.


That seems simple and to the point. A few questions earlier, bro. Roberts had been asked this question, as regards the law’s prophesy of Jesus:



704. What is the antitype of making an atonement for the holy place in regard to Christ?

Answer: Cleansing and redeeming him from Adamic nature utterly.

705. Shedding of his blood and raising him from the dead? Answer: The whole process.


Atonement for redemption from Adamic nature. This is the concistent teaching of bro. Roberts. After the Resurrectional Responsibility controversy, bro. Roberts wrote the Law of Moses. He deals with this subject in such a way that makes it clear, that he could see what was coming upon the brotherhood over the horizon. In it, he sets out the offerings, and the cleansings of inanimate objects in such a way that cannot be denied. It is notable, that in 1952, in preparation for the bringing of the "clean flesh" folks from Australia into fellowship, Central published a new work on the law of Moses called "Law and Grace." If you contrast bro. Roberts exposition of the Burnt Offering, with that in "Law and Grace" you will understand the reason why. But if there is no atonement on account of nature, what then did bro. Roberts mean in explaining the Burnt Offering under the law this way:



"The diversity of offerings is a little perplexing at first; and it is some time before we discover the difference between them. They all seem indiscriminately sacrifices—animals to be slain and consumed in the fire of the altar. By and by, we naturally ask, what are burnt offerings as distinguished from sin offerings and trespass offerings? and why should there be a trespass offering in addition to a sin offering, seeing that trespass is sin? The light gradually dawns. We find they represent gradations of the same subject. All were for atonement, but atonement for different degrees of sin, as we might express it.

"It was called the burnt offering "because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning" (6:9). It was an act of worship on the part of a mortal being, apart from guilt of specific offence...

"...That burnt offering should be required in the absence of particular offence shows that our unclean state as the death-doomed children of Adam itself unfits us for approach to the Deity apart from the recognition and acknowledgment of which the burnt offering was the form required and supplied.


Its hard to see how he could have been clearer. And from the battle with the first group of "clean flesh" folks

83. —Paul says of Christ, "it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer."—(Heb. 8:3.) You say of your Christ, that he was under no necessity to offer himself; but might have refused to die, and entered into eternal life alone. Is it not clear that your Christ is not Paul’s Christ, with whom it was a necessity that he should offer up himself, for the purging of his own nature, first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12), he might be able afterwards to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him?—(Heb. 7:25.)

And bro. Thomas taught identically the same thing:

Christadelphian 1868, pg 161 "The flesh in or through which the Deity was manifested was, for the brief space of thirty-three years, inferior to the angelic nature, which is Spirit. It had been "purified" by the sprinkling of its own blood on the cross; it came forth from the tomb an earthy body, which, in order to become Spirit, and so "equal to the angels, " had to be "justified, " rectified, "made perfect, " or quickened, "by Spirit."–John Thomas

And bro. Thomas used the Law of Moses to show identically the same things as did bro. Roberts:



Christadelphian 1686 pg 117 "8.—When was the Jesus Altar purified; the Jesus Mercy Seat sprinkled with sacrificial blood, and the Jesus Holies of Holies lustrated? After the Veil of his flesh was rent, and before he awoke at the early dawn of the third day.—(Mark 15:37, 38; John 19:34.)"--John Thomas

Christadelphian 1873 pg 407-408 "Now in view of this, the fact has to be noted that the whole had to be atoned for once a year.—(Lev. 16.) Aaron was first to offer a bullock for himself and his household.—(verse 6.) He was then to offer a goat for the people.—(verse 15.) He was then to make an atonement for the holy place.—(verse 16.) He was then to go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it, touching it with blood.—(verse 18.) In short, he was to "make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and for the priests and for all the people of the congregation."—(verse 33.) As Paul expresses it (Heb. 9:22), "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the pattern of things in the heavens (that is the things pertaining to the law) should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." Now Jesus was the substance of all these. He was "the heavenly things" in compendium; and the testimony of the law argued out by Paul, is that before his sacrifice, they were unclean, and had to be purified by his sacrifice. The exact meaning of this is not obscure when it is recognised that Jesus was the sin-nature or sinful flesh of Adam, inheriting with it the condemnation clinging to it; that sin being thus laid on him he might die for it. He bore in himself the uncleanness of the sanctuary, the altar, the high priest, his own house, and of the whole congregation; for he was born under their curse, being born in their nature, and could therefore bear it. A theory takes all this away, which says that he was not under the curse at all.-John Thomas

So to argue against the need of atonement for redemption from Adamic Nature, is to argue against the foundation Christadelphian position.

Now, all who hold the foundation Christadelphian position will completely disagree with bro. Andrew as to the imputation of sin to the physical body. MT goes on to say:

"...It was akin to the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin (See Appendix A) which itself had led to other false doctrines of the Apostacy such as Infant Baptism, Mariolatry and the Immaculate Conception."

This is correct. Both the teaching of Edward Turney and bro. Andrew takes major steps towards the church’s doctrine of "original sin." They both apply the guilt from the sin of Adam to their descendants, one strictly morally, the other by adding a moral or legal characteristic to the physical body. But both end up in the same place as regards inherited or imputed sin.

Bro. Roberts noted this. Bro. Roberts pointed out that the change in bro. Andrew’s doctrine, to suggest the imputation of sin to the body of Adam’s descendants was celebrated by the "clean flesh" folks of the day. Bro. Andrew came to teach that the sin of Adam is imputed to us, then removed by circumcision or baptism. It was the removal of this condemnation that allowed Godto raise us from the dead. Therefore, after baptism, we still have Adamic nature, but not Adamic condemnation. Bro. Roberts notes:

When it was objected that Jesus died to condemn sin in the flesh, and that therefore he must have possessed a nature identical with that which had transgressed, the reply was that he did possess Adamic nature, but Adamic nature free from Adamic condemnation. This was a distinct step back towards Rome. It was a tacit contention that the Adamic condemnation, instead of being the outcome of Adamic nature, is a condemnation individually dealt out to persons who had no share in the sin for which they are condemned—God holding men guilty of Adam’s sin. The only difference between the doctrine of Rome and this doctrine is that the one applies it to the spirit of man, while the other applies it to the body of man. Strange to say, the advocates of the free-life theory were not at all dismayed at this conclusion, but, on the contrary, took it as the basis of their reasoning. The ablest exponent of the idea, in a pamphlet he wrote, set forth the argument very plainly. He laid down the premise that God holds all men guilty of Adam’s sin, and condemns them by an inexorable law to eternal death. Ergo—If Jesus had been born under the Adamic condemnation, in spite of all his personal righteousness, he would have been condemned to die and remain in the grave; and, to use the author’s words, God "might pity, but he could not save."

While the import of the above quote is to show how the "free life" folks of the 1870s celebrated this change in bro. Andrew, it also reminds me of the amazing fact that MT fails completely to make this point from bro. Andrew’s teaching. MT appears so anxious to tie the concept of "physical sin" to error, that he can’t allow himself to correctly state the difference between the teachings of bre. Thomas, Roberts and all the foundation Christadelphian brethren; and the corruption of their teaching by bro. Andrew.


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The next portion of Matthew Trowell’s (MT) exposition suggests that bro. Andrew’s exposition challenges the righteousness of God.

"This theory of Bro. Andrew has many doctrinal consequences, not least of which, it calls into question the righteousness of God, (as did the ‘free-life’ theory of the Renunciationists at the opposite extreme.) For why would God hold us responsible for something which we have received by inheritance and was our misfortune and not our fault?"

The expression "righteousness of God" obviously refers to Rom. 3:25-26. This is the declaration of God’s righteousness as exhibited in the death of Christ. How is this great statement effected by bro. Andrew’s distortion? As bro. Roberts pointed out, and as I quoted earlier, the death of every son of Adam is a declaration of God’s righteousness. The moral perfection of Christ emphasized the point that it was the nature that was under condemnation in Christ’s sacrifice, not the man as a specific sinner. The death of every other man blurs that point. And Jesus’ sinlessness was essential that resurrection should follow.

As I quoted from bro. Roberts’ definition of this before:

"The crucifixion of Christ as a ‘declaration of the righteousness of God’ and a ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh,’ must exhibit to us the righteous treatment of sin. It was as though it was proclaimed to all the world, when the body was nailed to the cross. ‘This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction.’ The shedding of the blood was the ritual symbol of the truth; for the shedding of the blood was the taking away of the life. Such a declaration of the righteousness of God could only be made in the very nature concerned; a body under the dominion of death because of sin." (Chdn 1894:378)

This is the declaration of God’s righteousness. So the question becomes, how does bro. Andrew’s exposition interfere with this declaration? I would conclude it doesn’t. It exhibits the righteous treatment of sin in the destruction of the body of Christ on the cross.

MT’s exposition does destroy the righteous exhibition of God, and the righteous treatment of sin, because his exposition has the sin-body of Christ destroyed, while denying there is any sin in it that would require its destruction. How could God be shown to be right and just, in requiring the destruction of the sin body, if there was no sin in it?

Now, having clarified all that as regards the context of Rom. 3:25-26 and the phrase "righteousness of God," let us consider it in a more general sense. Does bro. Andrew’s imputation of the sin of Adam to his descendants question the righteousness of God, generally speaking, and not in reference to Rom. 3:25-26? Yes, absolutely, keeping in mind what God has told us about Himself.

Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

God has been clear that he does not hold the children guilty for the sins of the parents. How then can Adam’s offense be imputed to his descendants? As bro. Roberts points out, we inherit the consequences of Adam’s sin, which is our misfortune, not our crime. There is no guilt, legal or moral or otherwise transmitted somehow to Adam’s descendants. The sin we inherit from Adam is a physical condition, not a moral crime.

In the latter half of the quote above, MT asks: "For why would God hold us responsible for something which we have received by inheritance and was our misfortune and not our fault?" This is how he blends the teaching of bro. Andrew with the foundation Christadelphian teaching, without explaining what he is doing. In bro. Andrew’s exposition, moral or legal sin is imputed to his descendants. According to bro. Andrew, Adam’s descendants are not merely physically born sin, but they are born morally or legally guilty of sin. But the foundation Christadelphian position is that we are not guilty of Adam’s at all, though we are born into a sin-constitution of things, and bear the full consequences of it. So the question to the foundation Christadelphian beliefs, is, is it wrong for God to cause us to bear sin in the flesh?

The obvious answer is no. We are simply suffering the consequences of our ancestors. It is no more wrong for us to be born with sin in the flesh, than it is for us to be born to destitute parents. Our hereditary condition is a misfortune, not a crime. But, it is a reality none the less. And being born sin, there is no approach to God possible apart from the atonement which the Burnt Offering signified.

Another question related to this, is what does it mean to be responsible for our nature? If you believe, as MT believes, that sin can only be moral, then it would have to mean you are guilty of sin nature. That is the obvious and inevitable conclusion to such a thought process, and, in fact, this is the reason why bro. Andrew ended up where he did. Since foundation Christadelphians reject MT’s limits on sin, bro. Andrew’s conclusions have no part in the foundation Christadelphian belief. Remember in the last post, how we looked at bro. Roberts’ exposition of the burnt offering, and how it symbolized an atonement concerning our nature. The Burnt Offering was an offering for sin, in the absence of guilt or specific offence. So there is no guilt or offense attached to being born with sin nature. Yet, as bro. Roberts said, this atonement in the absence of specific offence demonstrated that our nature by itself unfits us for approach to Deity.

And this is by no means an exception under the law. Many things which were inanimate objects, and therefore incapable of sin by MT’s definition, required atonement through blood shedding. There was the Mercy Seat, the Altar, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Holy Place. And all these things represented Christ. This by itself, should be considered unquestioned proof that MT’s definition of sin is simply wrong.

And there were things beyond these. There were offerings required for anything contacted by death. This included the condition itself, along with leprosy, which was the consumption of the flesh, or death. This included blood shedding, which testified to the pouring out of life, or death and was defiling. And this included the birth of a dying creature, which made one unclean. This also included other inanimate objects, like the house of the leper, or contamination in cloth.

These inanimate things were regarded as defiled by sin, and in need of atonement, generally through a sin offering. Why, if sin is only moral? How would inanimate objects acquire sin? Of course there can be no answer. These things all testify to a physical condition called sin, requiring purification through blood shedding.

We are told by the "clean flesh" folks that these things required atonement "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, in all their sins." This is, of course, the correct answer. But were the moral sins of the children of Israel somehow imputed to these inanimate objects, making inanimate objects morally guilty of sin? Who would suggest such a thing? Obviously, it was the physical contact in dwelling in the midst of a sin-defiled race that made physical, yet inanimate objects in need of atonement through sin offering.

This is all explained perfectly in "The Law of Moses" by bro. Roberts.



The Sacrificial Blood.—But the sacrificial blood was applied to everything as well—Aaron and his sons included (see Lev. 8:14–15; 23–24). An atonement had to be made by the shedding and the sprinkling of blood for and upon them all (Lev. 16:33). As Paul remarks, "almost all things by the law are purged with blood" (Heb. 9:22). Now all these things were declared to be "patterns of things in the heavens", which it is admitted on all hands converge upon and have their substance in Christ. There must, therefore, be a sense in which Christ (the antitypical Aaron, the antitypical altar, the antitypical mercy-seat, the antitypical everything), must not only have been sanctified by the action of the antitypical oil of the Holy Spirit, but purged by the antitypical blood of his own sacrifice.

This conclusion is supposed to be weakened by the statement of Lev. 16:16, that the atonement for the holy place, altar, etc., was to be made "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions in all their sins", That is, it is argued from this, that the holy things would have had no uncleanness in themselves apart from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. This must be granted, but it must also be recognized that because the children of Israel were sinful and polluted, the holy things were reckoned as having contracted defilement in having been fabricated by them and through remaining in their midst. This cannot be denied on a full survey of the testimony. They were ceremonially unclean, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and had to be cleansed by the holy oil and the sacrificial blood before they were acceptable in the Mosaic service.

Now, this is part of the Mosaic figure. There must be an antitype to it. What was it? The holy things, we know, in brief, are Christ. He must, therefore, have been the subject of a personal cleansing in the process by which he opened the way of sanctification for his people. If the typical holy things contracted defilement from connection with a sinful congregation, were not the antitypical (Christ) holy things in a similar state, through derivation on his mother’s side from a sinful race? If not, how came they to need purging with his own "better sacrifice"? (Heb. 9:23).


So as bro. Roberts points out, just as the inanimate articles of the tabernacle had no sins of their own, but were regarded as having contracted defilement from the children of Israel, requiring a sin offering for purification from sin; so Christ had no sins of his own, but having been born of our nature, he himself required purging through the blood of his own better sacrifice/sin offering from the sin in his flesh, the physical consequence of Adam’s sin in the garden.


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JJA and "substitution."

Thank you bro Jim for your kind thoughts. Recovery is slow, but we are thankful to the Lord for His all-sufficient grace.

I have been following your defense of the truth and thought that it might be beneficial to mention one point on JJA and a very subtle error of substitution. Though JJA did not teach the doctrine of substitution as is commonly believed and promulgated by the Church, there is a sense where, in effect, he does; that is, his conclusion inevitably takes his students to a rather subtle error, regardless of where he thinks it's taking them  -  though both he and his disciples would (and do) deny it. Unless I have missed it, MT doesn't see this at all. 

JJA's problem starts with a misunderstanding of the following verse:

"In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

In The Blood of the Covenant, JJA asserts that the punishment threatened for disobedience in the Garden of Eden was a sudden violent cutting off of both Adam and Eve. However, if this is true then it was not carried out, and the Elohim did not tell the truth. Adam and Eve were neither violently cut off in that day, nor were they so cut off before the expiry of a so-called "first millennial day," referred to by JJA as the Edenic Allegory. It is here where he introduces an error of substitution. Under his assertion, the "sudden and violent cutting off" which he supposes for Adam and Eve, was instead carried out on the animal, that is, the animal was suddenly and violently slain in the day of transgression - that is, as a substitute. 1

What, then, is the truth?

There is nothing in Gen. 2:16-17 to suggest violence in the execution of the sentence upon disobedience. To make such an assertion is interpolation based upon the mode of death inflicted upon the animal. That the animal had to be slain and its blood shed in order to obtain the coats of skins is reasonable deduction. However, this verse is not referring to the animal. Death is being threatened specifically to the man and woman.

"Dying thou shalt die." Does it really mean what JJA claims? The Hebrew is muth te muth.  It indicates that the process of dying commenced in the day of the transgression.  The penalty threatened  - dying thou shalt die - was carried out in the day that they ate thereof, that is, they both became dying creatures, just as the Elohim had declared.

Though day can be a rather elastic word - such as day of the Lord - there is no reason to believe that the execution of the sentence did not occur in that literal day. Muth te muth: Dying, thou shalt die, indicates a process that has a beginning and an end. Upon disobedience, did the first couple become dying creatures in that literal day? Yes. Does this satisfy the terms of the sentence? Yes. Is there a reason to look at alternate explanations? No. The punishment threatened is the same as that which is received.

Now to the animal. Was it slain? Yes. Blood shed? Yes. Violently? No doubt. Why? It was slain by the Elohim in order to provide atonement - that is, a covering for sin. The animal was not slain instead of, or as a substitute for, the man and woman. Again, there is nothing in the Genesis account that would even suggest this. The sentence upon Adam and Eve had already been satisfied. However, a covering for their sin had not. The covering is provided by the Elohim -  a representative thing, pointing forward to the Lamb of God and thereby demonstrating the Lord's merciful preordained plan of redemption. 

Now to the antitype. Was violence employed in the cutting off of Messiah? Yes. Why? The prophecies of Isaiah, chapter 53, Psalm 22, and Daniel, chapter 9, all call for it. Why is this so? Principally because it was by this means - violence - that the blood of Yahshua was shed in order to bring into force the Everlasting Covenant. This was foreshadowed in Eden through the shedding of the first lamb's blood, as a covering for sin - not as a substitute -  but as a representative thing that pointed forward to Yahshua, the Lamb of Deity, who would forfeit his life by the shedding of his own blood (the life is in the blood -- forfeiture thereof is the penalty of sin) and thereby destroy both manifestations of sin: first, in his life through defeating sin in its own flesh by never yielding to it, and secondly, through putting to death, on the tree, the body of sin itself (Heb. 2:14).

Representative things teach through type and shadow, that whichYahshua, as the antitype, fulfilled in becoming the perfect covering for sin both for himself and for all who would come unto the Deity by him.

Some final thoughts.

We would suggest that spiritual consequences could follow from a belief in this substitutional theory. Does it not, in effect, falsely accuse the Lord? According to the notion the punishment threatened for disobedience is not that which was received. Who among us wishes to be found endorsing a theory that makes the Lord appear untruthful? It is written: "Let God be true and every man a liar."

The theory in question first misrepresents the Elohim by asserting that a sudden violent cutting off of Adam and Eve was the punishment threatened for disobedience. It was not. This is not the truth. It then claims that this was the punishment received. It was not. This is not the truth. The theory then has the penalty passed to the animal, substitutionally.  It was not. This is not the truth.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - Jesus.

1. Blood of the Covenant, section 9, Edenic Sacrifice. "Adam was threatened with death on the day that he sinned, but God, by an exercise in mercy, provided an animal on which was inflicted the literal death incurred by Adam."

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28 – Andrewism

Matthew Trowell (MT) now lists some quotes from bro. Andrew’s "Blood of the Covenant" which I guess he feels are objectionable. Exactly why he lists these specific things, is pretty hard for me to guess. The same is true of his conclusions. They are statements which are sort of true concerning the teachings of bro. J. J. Andrew, but not the whole story. And when applied to the foundation Christadelphian position, as MT does, they are not true at all. But it appears that most of this is covered in MT’s text, so I will just continue with that, referring back to these lists when opportunity presents itself. MT writes:

"The subtlety of this teaching was that it taught that man is not merely separated or "alienated" from God on account of "ignorance" and "wicked works" as the Scriptures teach, but we are also separated or "alienated" from God on account of our physical nature which we have inherited from Adam..."

MT’s charge of "subtlety" confuses me. I see nothing subtle at all in bro. Andrew’s teaching concerning the imputation of sin, and the alienation of man from God due to it. It is bold, and entirely clear. If it appears subtle to him, it must be due to his desire to confound the foundation Christadelphian position (which he wants to attack) with the alteration to that position advanced by bro. Andrew.

There is a subtlety, and elasticity in some of his usage of terms which are difficult to pick up on a first reading. That is true of any teaching on the sacrifice of Christ. Certainly, it has been true of MT’s work. Terms tend to mean different things to different people, which is not always apparent on the first reading. But the general teaching of bro. Andrew as regards Adamic Condemnation due to the imputation of Adam’s sin, which must be removed by baptism is not subtle at all.

I’m guessing MT wants to present the change in bro. Andrew’s teaching as subtle, to try and explain his "tip of the iceberg" theory. This "tip of the iceberg" theory is a teaching so subtle, that even bro. Roberts never picked it up, in over eight years of discussions on the subject.

MT will tell us that "sometime" between 1873 and 1894 bro. Andrew changed his teaching. Well, the "sometime" is not really hard to figure out. Bro. Lake, who was in the same ecclesia as bro. Andrew, wrote to bro. Roberts in 1894 and said bro. Andrew began advancing these ideas "four years" earlier. So we can safely place his change in 1890. So the obvious question to MT, is that if the question of resurrectional responsibility was only the tip of the iceberg, how can we explain the fact that, over the course of eight years, two of which were quite intense, bro. Roberts never registers any complaint about resurrectional responsibility being merely the "tip of the iceberg?"

In fact, it is quite the opposite, as I have already pointed out. Now MT quotes from John Carter and bro. Islyp Collyer who do reach a similar conclusion as MT. But he can quote nothing from bro. Roberts in that direction. We can in fact, contrast the observations of bro. Roberts with those of John Carter. John Carter wrote:

"The denial of resurrectional responsibility was based upon a theory of Adamic Condemnation and of the sacrifice of Christ in relation to it. This is seen by the very title, The Blood of the Covenant, which J. J. Andrew gave to his pamphlet setting forth similar views. This theory of Adamic condemnation leads logically to the conclusion on resurrectional responsibility."

So to John Carter, bro. Andrew’s book is correctly named. It identifies the root of the problem. But we have already see from bro. Roberts, a completely different attitude towards the name.

Resurrection to Condemnation by bro. Roberts  The pamphlet is not correctly named. It implies that those against whom it is directed dispute the efficacy of the blood of Christ: it ought to be called Unbaptised Rebels not Resurrectionable to Punishment. This would define the pith of the contention spread over sixty pages of closely- printed matter

There really could be no greater divergence in opinion, between bro. Roberts and John Carter, could there be?

MT quotes from bro. Islip Collyer, and from John Carter to support his point of view. Now these two men are well respected in Central, but neither has any credibility in the protestant fellowships. One of the interesting characteristics of Central writers these days, is that they pretend to write defenses of their positions against the protestant Christadelphian groups, but their defenses are really only appeals to their own body, masked in the pretext of debating with others. Quoting bro. Islip Collyer and John Carter to me, would probably be the equivalent of me quoting bro. Frank Walker (who wrote "Cloud and Sunshine" predominantly against the work of Islip Collyer in 1923) and bro. Rene Growcott to him.

Bro. Collyer was instrumental in stopping Temperance Hall, Birmingham from taking action against A. D. Strickler and his supporters in 1923. Yet, 17 years later (conveniently, the year after A. D. Strickler died) even John Carter acknowledged that A. D. Strickler did not accept the teachings of the BASF. So much for bro. Collyer’s credibility.

In his book, Principles and Proverbs, which was assembled from a series of editorials for the Christadelphian Magazine supporting Temperance Hall during the Berean/Temperance Hall division bro. Collyer wrote:



Dr. Thomas once remarked that the elementary truths regarding redemption were few and simple and no reason could be given for them beyond "the fact that God wills them". If a candidate for baptism revealed a sound knowledge of these simple truths and of this simple explanation of them, we should not dare to "forbid water".

Suppose that having rendered a satisfactory confession of faith on all other first principles the candidate said: "I believe that God required a perfect sacrifice before He could forgive sin, and that He provided the One capable of rendering that sacrifice. He sent forth His Son, the Lord Jesus, made of a woman, made in all points like his brethren, tempted in all points as we are, but by virtue of his divine parentage so superior to us morally that he was able to render the perfect sacrifice required and thus to secure redemption for himself from sin-stricken human nature and both forgiveness and redemption for those who come to God through him in the way appointed." Should we dare to forbid baptism because the candidate was unable to explain why God required a perfect sacrifice, or why He demanded the shedding of blood before sins could be remitted ? If we are quite agreed that an understanding of these simple elements is sufficient for one to enter the Covenant, surely it is a tragedy if brethren become divided simply through the effort to see further. It may be even worse than a tragedy, for it sometimes leads to destructive strife in which extremes act and re-act upon each other, the disputants getting further and further out of their depth, while the vital duties of life are neglected.


So here are bro. Collyer’s "elementary principles of redemption"



a. God required a perfect sacrifice before He could forgive sin

b. He provided the One capable of rendering that sacrifice

c. He sent forth His Son, the Lord Jesus, made of a woman, made in all points like his brethren, tempted in all points as we are,

d. by virtue of his divine parentage [he was] so superior to us morally that he was able to render the perfect sacrifice required and thus to secure redemption for himself from sin-stricken human nature

e. and [he secured] both forgiveness and redemption for those who come to God through him in the way appointed


Note how deceptive this is. First he quotes bro. Thomas, that the elementary truths regarding redemption were few and simple and no reason could be given for them beyond "the fact that God wills them." Then he gives us his own list, not bro. Thomas’ list, and his list is intended to be acceptable to those who embraced the writings of A. D. Strickler in his book, "Out of Darkness, into Light." His list was intended to include those men who John Carter later declared errorists. And in fact, the list did include them. What bro. Thomas had actually said was markedly different, and did in fact, exclude those who embraced the particular form of "clean flesh" taught by A. D. Strickler.



13. The elementary doctrinal principles of religion are few and simple; and no other reason can be given for them than that God wills them. They may be thus stated:—

a. No sinner can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

b. Sin cannot be covered, or remitted, without the shedding of blood.

c. The blood of animals cannot take away sin.

d. Sin must be condemned in sinful flesh innocent of transgression.

e. Sins must be covered by a garment derived from the purification-sacrifice made living by a resurrection.


So not a single "elementary doctrinal principle" listed by bro. Thomas, was referenced by bro. Collyer as he appealed to bro. Thomas for authority. So understanding how deceptive and instrumental bro. Collyer was in the matter of corrupting the truth, why would anyone quote him as an authority? That is, unless the appeal was only to those corrupted, and not really to those who reject the work of bro. Collyer in this matter.

Now, it is easy to see why MT likes bro. Collyer’s list. His views easily fall within bro. Collyer’s list, but bro. Thomas’ list requires that sin must be condemned in sinful flesh. As bro. Thomas had said earlier in Elpis Israel, sin could not have been condemned in the flesh of Jesus, had it not existed there. MT rejects this, as he views sin as only moral acts.

MT does advance one quote from bro. Roberts which is intended to support his "iceberg" theory.

The fact is, brother Andrew has involved himself in contradictions by inventing a new theory of the matter to sustain the nonresurrection of rejectors… He has decreed the non-resurrection of those who "believe not" the credibly-presented gospel, as they are not "justified from all sin" … The tendency of the new contention [is] to twist justification into the unscriptural thing confessed: "the imputation to us of the righteous actions of Christ", as also, "the imputation to us of a sin we never sinned." Such ideas belong to the theological fogs from which the truth cleared us nearly fifty years ago. (Bro. Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian : Volume 33. c1896.)

Note that this is not a complaint about what is done through the blood of Jesus. This is a complaint about a definition of "sin," and also the definition of righteousness. There never was a question in the mind of bro. Roberts that our nature was purged through the blood of the covenant, or that it was necessary, in the plan and purpose of God, for it to be so. But the questions lay in what was purged. Our nature, a physical thing inherited from Adam which was our misfortune but not our crime; or sins imputed to us from Adam, a moral or legal thing. And there was a question as to the timing of the justification. At baptism, according to bro. Andrew, or prospectively at baptism, and actually when raised to glory, according to bro. Roberts.


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Continuing on with that same paragraph we began posting on, in our last post, we repeat this from Matthew Trowell (MT):

"The subtlety of this teaching was that it taught that man is not merely separated or "alienated" from God on account of "ignorance" and "wicked works" as the Scriptures teach, but we are also separated or "alienated" from God on account of our physical nature which we have inherited from Adam. He reasoned that Adam’s original transgression or "offense" was transmitted to his posterity as a ‘form’ of ‘sin’ (ie. ‘physical sin’ or ‘sin-in-the flesh’). If we have, therefore, inherited "physical sin" from Adam, and sin separates us or alienates us from God, he reasoned, quite logically, that we require reconciliation on account of our inherited natures. Thus, until we have been baptized we remain in a state of legal alienation from God!

The argument MT is advancing concerning bro. Andrew, that our physical nature is the source of alienation, is not strictly true. It is not the physical nature by itself which alienated man from God, according to bro. Andrew, but rather, the moral or legal condemnation he believed was resting upon that physical nature due to the imputation of legal or moral sin from Adam. When we are baptized, according to bro. Andrew, that moral or legal condemnation was removed. The physical nature, or sin in the flesh, which bro. Andrew taught was the consequence of Adam’s sin, continued with us after baptism, but was no longer a source of alienation. The following is from "Blood of the Covenant"

To all in Christ it is said, "ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified" (II Cor. vi. 11). From what are they washed? Like Saul from their previous misdeeds: "Arise and be baptised, and wash away thy sins" (Acts xxii. 16). From whom are they sanctified or separated? From all who are still "sinners" in Adam (Rom. v. 19). And from what are they justified? From the "offence" of Adam (Rom. V. 18[smile]. The "offence" of Adam is no longer, as it once was, imputed to them; the possession of "sinful flesh" is not any more a cause of Divine disfavour; and if they "walk after the spirit" (Rom. viii. 4) they cannot be condemned by Christ (ver. 24). "Blood of the Covenant" by J. J. Andrew, pg 27.

This is the portion of the new theory, which bro. Roberts complained about appearing very mechanical. Bro. Andrew had the physical nature with Adam’s sin imputed to it, which was a cause of alienation. Then we get baptized and Adam’s imputed sin is removed, leaving only the physical nature, and then there is no more alienation.

The addition of this moral or legal quality to the physical nature was the change that bro. Andrew introduced to the brotherhood. Up till this time, the Adamic nature had been considered by the brotherhood to be strictly physical. Bro. Andrew sought to change that. To repeat his teaching again, bro. Andrew wrote:

But is not Adamic "condemnation" solely physical, inherent in sinful flesh? No; it has physical results, but in the first instance it has reference to the Divine attitude towards the breach of the Edenic law; it is another term for Divine disfavour. "Blood of the Covenant" by J. J. Andrew, pg. 19.

As we have seen, bro. Andrew did not introduce the ecclesia to the concept of physical sin. Bro. Thomas had done that at the foundation of the Christadelphian movement, when he explained the two scriptural acceptations, or usages of the term sin. Bro. Thomas had done that when he explained that in the "sacred style," "sin is a synonym for human nature." And when he explained that sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, had it not existed there.

And as I have already shown, brethren had long used the term, "physical sin." They had written extensive articles in the Christadelphian Magazine about physical sin. And more importantly, they had in great detail, written about the concept of the physical quality in man called sin; from our foundation through and including the 1894 division.

So it is easy to see that MT is not correctly representing the conflict introduced by bro. Andrew. Bro. Andrew is clear, that after the removal of the condemnation through baptism, our physical nature or sinful flesh continues, but is no longer a cause of alienation. This is why, according to bro. Andrew, no one can come out of the grave who has not been baptized. It was not the physical nature that kept a man in his grave, because he recognized that the physical nature continued after baptism. Rather, it was the moral or legal "offense of Adam" he imagined to be imputed to it which caused the alienation. To his mind, if the imputed sin of Adam was still in the nature, and if it had not been forgiven through baptism, then the man had to remain in the grave.

MT completely ignores this great change to the doctrine of the physical nature introduced by bro. Andrew. Rather he tries to blend the foundation Christadelphian position that our physical nature is sin, without meaning that there was any moral or legal sin or guilt attaching to it; with bro Andrew’s addition of this moral or legal defilement to the physical. And in so doing, he tries to condemn both as a change in foundation Christadelphian thought.

I might here, just make an observation about the quality of the leadership in the Central assemblies. How can a mistake like this happen? John Martin, in his book "Saved by his Life" made the same mistake years ago, now. OK. Mistakes happen. So how is it that his mistake, a mistake of tremendous magnitude and importance was not corrected, but rather allowed to be repeated and expanded upon in this manner?

How is it that this error was allowed to be compounded? Was no one in Central able to take aside John Martin and force him to see that the use of the term "physical sin" was from the very foundation of the Christadelphian movement, and reprimand him if he didn’t? Was no one able or willing to correct him, just for historical accuracy’s sake, if nothing else?

Anyway, moving on. MT confuses the moral and the physical. This is seen in the above paragraph I quoted from, in the blending of the words "separated" and "alienated." "Alienated" is a term scripturally used, in reference to moral sin.

Col 1:21-22 "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"

Scripturally, we are alienated by wicked works. Those who believe the foundation Christadelphian position know that Christ was never "alienated" from God. But "separated" is a different term, and not a Scriptural term. One can be separated, without being alienated. Trinitarians would be similarly repulsed by the use of the term "separated" as they believe that Christ was "consubstantial" or "of the same nature" with God, and so there was no separation possible. But to those of us who understand that Christ was created "a little lower than the angels," we understand that a separation was a necessary requirement in the plan and purpose of God, for Christ to bear sin in his own body to the tree.

"Separation" is what Paul was in reference, when he said that Jesus was "made sin" for us, who knew no sin. That separation is what Jesus was in reference when he said, "why callest thou me good. There is none good but one, that is God."

So we see that the conclusions MT reaches through his failure to correctly explain bro. Andrew’s teaching becomes the foundation for his entire complaint against the foundation Christadelphian teaching. In his next section, called "The Tip of the Iceberg,"his complaints are expanded, but are still entirely based upon his failure to grasp the difference between the teachings of bro. Andrew, and those of the foundation Christadelphians. Through ignoring the differences, he seeks to combine the two as if they were the same thing. But his whole pretense is false.

MT lists the doctrines which he presumes to be effected. These are the nature of man, the nature of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ, the meaning of baptism, and resurrectional responsibility. But his complaint in all cases is the same. His complaints focus on the physical aspect of sin, a teaching which has been a part of Christadelphian thought from before we were called Christadelphians, as I have already shown.

The following are the relevant portions of his complaints:



Nature of Man

First of all, Bro. Andrew described Adam and Eve’s condemned nature as a ‘form’ of sin, and since we inherit that same sin-nature by birth, we have inherited Adam’s sin or ‘offense’ in a physical form. –MT


Of course the nature we inherit from Adam was a form of sin. This is the basis of the Christadelphian movement. From Elpis Israel: "The word sin is used in two principal acceptations in the scripture. It signifies in the first place, "the transgression of the law"; and in the next, it represents that physical principle of the animal nature..." "Sin...is a synonym for human nature." "Sin had to exist in the body of Jesus in order for it to be condemned there."

And of course we inherit sin-nature by birth. But that wasn’t the extent of bro. Andrew’s teaching. To this he added the imputed "offense" of Adam, a moral or legal relationship. This is what the foundation Christadelphians rejected in his teaching.



Nature of Christ

Because Christ shared our nature, Bro. Andrew said that he, too, inherited ‘physical sin’ and, therefore, required a covering, reconciliation, atonement, purging, cleansing, remission, redemption, purification, forgiveness or justification for the offense of Adam, and that he, too, was separated or alienated from God by birth...


Of course Christ shared our nature, which is also testified from the foundation of our movement. And in that nature, he bore all the physical consequences of sin which fell upon Adam in the garden, which God styled "sin in the flesh." But until bro. Andrew, there was never any suggestion that Jesus needed "forgiveness" for our nature. This was an entirely new theory he introduced. Never before had those in the foundation Christadelphian movement considered that there was any moral quality to our physical nature which would require forgiveness. But the other terms (cleansing, purging, etc.) were all used from our foundation regarding what Christ did for himself in his sacrifice.



Sacrifice of Christ

But because he inherited ‘physical sin’ from Adam, he required an atonement, a covering, reconciliation and justification for his nature.


There was no question by foundation Christadelphians that Christ required atonement, cleansing, covering etc. on account of sharing our condemned nature. What changed in bro. Andrew’s teaching, is what it meant when he said "Adamic nature." To the foundation Christadelphians it meant a physical condition called sin. To bro. Andrew, it was the imputation of the moral or legal guilt or sin, from Adam.

Again from the lengthy 1878 article "Sin, its Origin, Effects, and Destruction, look how both the teachings of "clean flesh" and the future writings of bro. Andrew are strictly opposed. This is primarily an attack against how "clean flesh" folks understand 1 Pet 2:24, and how Jesus bore our sins in his own body, but it also explains the difference between "physical sin" as understood by the foundation Christadelphians, and the change to include the imputation of moral sin added by bro. J. J. Andrew some 12 years later:

"The first" [the Mosaic sacrifices] were imperfect in their operation; therefore "the second" [the sacrifice of Christ] was provided. But if the second took away sin in only the same way as the first, viz., figuratively, by bearing the transgressions in an imputed sense, how could "the second" take away sin better than "the first," and what need for alteration in the sacrifice? It must be evident, then, that Christ put away sin in some other way, and the clue to that way is to be found in what was stated in the first part of the present article, viz., in the fact that sin in the flesh had become an element of human nature—a physical thing—and that Jesus was made in precisely the same nature (Heb. 2:14, 17), and therefore possessed sin as a physical thing, though entirely free from it morally. Being in this nature, he could put away the sin-nature by means of the "body prepared." The animals put away sin figuratively or imputatively; Christ put it away physically. They were the shadow; he was the substance. They only sufficed to put away sin typically; in Christ God went to the root of the matter, and destroyed that which is the cause of transgression and death, viz., sin in the flesh. Sin in the flesh produces transgression and death; and this, to our mind, is the reason why the sin-nature needed to be put away as the basis for forgiveness and redemption.  A. Andrew

Now, MT appears to complain about the usage of certain terms, as applied to Christ in his sacrifice. The following are some example of those terms being used by the foundation Christadelphians.



CLEANSING Q.—Was Christ’s sacrifice necessary for the cleansing of his own nature, as well as for others? A.—Yes, the holiest place of all could not be entered without a perfect sacrifice, and so Christ was raised to immortality "by the blood of the everlasting covenant." I. Collier Christadelphian Magazine, 1898, pg. 517

PURGING, PURIFYING, REDEMPTION "Almost all things," says he, "are by the law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood is no remission. It was, therefore, necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." What are we to understand by "the better sacrifices?" You say "the doing of the will of God." If by this you mean not the sacrifice of Christ as involving the appointed shedding of his blood, you are wrong; for Paul had already defined, earlier in the chapter, the "better sacrifices," to which he here alludes in argument. His words are: "Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle (than the first tabernacle) . . neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, he entered in once unto the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.–Robert Roberts Christadelphian Magazine 1878, pg 137

ATONEMENT "Now in view of this, the fact has to be noted that the whole had to be atoned for once a year.—(Lev. 16.) Aaron was first to offer a bullock for himself and his household.—(verse 6.) He was then to offer a goat for the people.—(verse 15.) He was then to make an atonement for the holy place.—(verse 16.) He was then to go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it, touching it with blood.—(verse 18.) In short, he was to "make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and for the priests and for all the people of the congregation."—(verse 33.) As Paul expresses it (Heb. 9:22), "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the pattern of things in the heavens (that is the things pertaining to the law) should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." Now Jesus was the substance of all these. He was "the heavenly things" in compendium; and the testimony of the law argued out by Paul, is that before his sacrifice, they were unclean, and had to be purified by his sacrifice. The exact meaning of this is not obscure when it is recognised that Jesus was the sin-nature or sinful flesh of Adam, inheriting with it the condemnation clinging to it; that sin being thus laid on him he might die for it. Robert Roberts Christadelphian Magazine 1873, pg 407



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Continuing on with Matthew Trowell’s (MT) objections we now come to the principles involved with baptism.



Meaning of Baptism

He saw baptism as being an act that takes us from being "in Adam" to being "in Christ" with the three-fold effect that: (i) it, primarily, serves as a covering, atonement, justification or reconciliation for inherited or Adamic sin (ie. ‘sin-in-the-flesh’) and (ii) it removes our moral sins or transgressions and (iii) because inherited or Adamic sin and our moral sins have been covered, atoned for and received justification, legal condemnation that came upon Mankind as a result of Adam’s transgression is removed... Understanding the Atonement, pg. 96


The points as MT has listed them are neither wrong, nor are they the true teaching of bro. Andrew. First off, it should be noted that bro. Andrew would have objected, as he always did, to people saying that he saw baptism as "primarily" to do with human nature. His point was that it equally dealt with sins we commit, and our nature. As we have pointed out many times now, bro. Andrew believed that the legal condemnation was the moral or legal imputation of the sin of Adam. He believed this was "forgiven" at baptism. This set up some of the discrepancy between the two views. The other difference between the foundation Christadelphians and bro. Andrew was not an objection to the statement that our sins, moral and physical are justified by baptism, but the difference was WHEN the justification took place. The foundation Christadelphian teaching was that morally, our sins are justified at baptism. Physically, the justification was only "prospective," "preliminary," or "potential" at baptism, with the actual justification occurring at resurrection.

To be clear, the foundation Christadelphians believed that justification from sin in the flesh at baptism was only "prospective" and not actual. The actual justification from sin in the flesh would occur at resurrection. Bro. Andrew believed it was actual, at baptism. And apart from the actual justification from sin in the flesh, no resurrection could occur. The following quotes show the foundation Christadelphian teaching:



"What is cancelled at baptism (and it is only cancelled potentially—for there is an "if" all the way through) is the condemnation resting upon us as individual sinners, and the racial condemnation which we physically inherit.

"I have never diverged from this view,..."–The Debate, Robert Roberts


Note here, that according to bro. Roberts, what is cancelled at baptism is our individual sins, AND potentially the racial condemnation we inherit.



3. The change which takes place at baptism is purely one of relationship, and the freedom from the law of sin and death is prospective so far as actual results are concerned. Christadelphian Magazine, 1895 pg. 259

On the Babe Question.—"Adam’s offence entailed upon us subjection to vanity (Rom. 8:20), or to the ills that the flesh inherits in the present state which are terminated in death and corruption. . . . Infants die because they are born of mortal flesh, and not because they have committed sin, or are responsible for Adam’s sin. If this were remitted in baptism, they ought not to die; for when God remits sin, He also remits the punishment or consequences it entails."—Clerical Theology Unscriptural, p. 10. John Thomas Christadelphian Magazine 1894 pg 441


These quotes all show the foundation Christadelphian understanding of baptism. The sin we inherit from Adam does not involve us in Adam’s actual sin or guilt, whether considered morally or legally. It is a physical condition we inherit from Adam. It is a physical condition, and is the root of sin in its primary sense, and therefore called sin in a derived sense. And God has provided, through Christ, our way to escape from it. The first step is associating with Christ in putting the sin body to death, through the symbol of baptism. In this act we are forgiven our moral trespasses, and prospectively, we set the stage for the removal of our inherited condition and immortalization.

This quote from the time of the first "clean flesh" battle is of particular significance, given its author:

"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death." A little attention to the context, and to the actual facts of the case, will show that this statement is made prospectively. The apostle has just been saying, "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (chapter 7:24); from which it is evident that he possessed a body subject to death. From what source did he derive it? From Adam. By being immersed into Christ his body had undergone no change. It was as much a "body of death" after immersion as before. The only change which he had undergone was one of relationship. He had become an heir of life, and, therefore, entitled, in case of death, to a resurrection. His mind had been redeemed from Jewish traditions, but his body had not been redeemed from the effects of sin. Hence he was in the attitude of "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body."—(Rom. 8:23.) When, therefore, he answers the above question by saying "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord," and afterwards adds that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made him free from the law of sin and death, he has in his mind an event then, and still, future, namely, the resurrection and immortalization of faithful believers. In other words, the deliverance from the body of death and the freedom from the law of sin and death are prospective, not actual. J.J. Andrew Christadelphian Magazine 1874, pg. 304

The last point MT makes is concerning the resurrection of the unbaptized, which of course is the greatest point of difference between the Advocates and the foundation Christadelphians.

"Only those who have been baptised for their moral sins and for their inherited sin nature will be raised from the dead to Judgment. If we have not been baptised or received a ‘covering’ or ‘justification’ for both moral and physical sin, then God, according to His own Law, cannot raise a man from the dead." Understanding the Atonement pg. 96

The point bro. Andrew made regarding saying that God "cannot" raise a man from the dead, such as MT has emphasized here, is that he meant "cannot" in the same sense that God used it when the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul said:



Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Bro. Andrew was using these terms to emphasize what he thought God wouldn’t do, acting as if bound by His own law. Not that believed there was some superior law of the universe that even God couldn’t violate. Bro. Andrew always recognized, as do those among the Unamendeds today that hold the old Advocate teaching, (at least the ones I’ve had contact with) that God could do whatever it was He wanted. One might hope that after 120 years, the emotional and exaggerated aspects of these arguments might have dissipated, but maybe not.

What MT has produced here is generally accurate, as well as his response. What is blurry both in this section, and throughout his commentary on this issue, is his failure to discriminate between the foundation Christadelphian position, and the addition which bro. Andrew made to it. It must be remembered that to bro. Andrew, the physical nature, or physical sin had a moral or legal quality to it. That quality was the sin or guilt of Adam, imputed to his descendants. It is that legal or moral aspect which needed forgiveness through baptism. The foundation Christadelphians, while fully recognizing the physical aspect of sin, denied that there was any moral or legal guilt to it.


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31 – Andrewism (debate)

Matthew Trowell (MT) now introduces us to the debate, and tries to continue to make the case for his "tip of the ice berg" theory. He writes:

"The proposition which Bro. Roberts defended was as follows: "That resurrection to the judgment-seat of Christ will comprise some who have not been justified by the blood of Christ."While the title of the debate gives the impression that the issue debated was about the basis for resurrection to judgment, the following extracts from the debate will make it clear that, in fact, the Resurrectional Responsibility question (as it came to be known), was only a symptom of the underlying problem." Understanding the Atonement pg. 98

But if this is the case, then the questioning by bro. Roberts is quite strange. Notice that every single question MT wants us to consider, is asked by bro. Andrew. All of bro. Roberts questioning goes directly to the question of resurrectional responsibility. How could this possibly be the case, if bro. Roberts believed anything like MT does? How could this be possible, if bro. Roberts for a minute, thought that the real problem lay in the sacrifice of Christ?

This debate occurs after four years of discussion on this subject in London, two years of which closely involved bro. Roberts, including a two week stay in London to try and resolve the issue. Bro. Roberts had given bro. Andrew a full review of his work "Blood of the Covenant," a review so thorough that bro. Andrew withdrew the original booklet, and then republished it. Writing only one month before the debate, bro. Roberts is still contending that the booklet is incorrectly named. How could this be, if the real issue is as MT suggests? 

Also, as I have previously quoted, during the debate, bro. Roberts told bro. Andrew "I have no issue with you as to the righteous." Question 432. Was bro. Andrew teaching that only the wicked had his version of "sin in the flesh," and "two forms of sin" but the righteous did not? Of course not. So certainly bro. Roberts had not at this time, bought into MT’s argument concerning this "ice berg." And of course the rest of his life demonstrates that he never did.

It is hard to get into people’s minds to know what their motivation was. But it does look like bro. Andrew sincerely came to believe that in refusing to seriously consider Christ apart from his mission, and then by denying the moral or legal relationship of sin to human nature, bro. Roberts had made a step towards "clean flesh" and he wanted to expose it. To bro. Andrew, the debate was a chance to publicly expose this teaching.

At some point, it seems to me, bro. Andrew adopted Edward Turney’s (and MT’s) definition that sin can only be moral. Therefore, denying the moral aspect of sin when applied to the physical body as all foundation Christadelphians did, meant they believed "clean flesh."

Bro. Andrew appears to believe that he could best expose this deficiency among the brethren, by getting them to consider a hypothetical Christ who was a descendant of Adam, but who alone would enter into life eternal. Now, bro. Roberts had already created a lot of controversy when, 20 years earlier, he answered Edward Turney’s speculative question about what a Christ, not the son of Adam, might have had to do for salvation. And it appears to me that bro. Roberts saw no reason to go down that road again. The Christ of the Bible, is the Christ who is the son of Adam, the son of Abraham, and the son of David, who was sent to redeem us. Why speculate on any other?

And the brotherhood does seem to come to a really good answer to these questions, shortly following the debate. In a reply to an article bro. Andrews had written called "Sin and Its Removal, a brother wrote:

Dr. Thomas, so far as I am aware, never viewed the case of Christ apart from his mission. It was on the supposition that Christ was the only one to be saved that the difficulty arose; and it would be difficult to say precisely what answer the Doctor would have given to such a question. He would probably have replied: "The question is—If the purpose of God had been entirely different in one particular, would it have been the same in all others? God would have done ‘all His pleasure.’ What He requires is necessary, nothing else." This is, indeed, the conclusion to which we are forced. Why was it necessary for sin to be condemned in sinful flesh innocent of transgression? If brother Andrew takes the same view as Dr. Thomas, as he claims, he will reply, "No other reason can be given than that God willed it" (see Elpis Israel, page 149). If we ask why it was that the Holiest of all could not be entered without a perfect sacrifice, the same answer must be given. If then we ask whether God would have required a declaration of his righteousness if Christ had been the only one to enter life, we ask a presumptuous question. If God’s purpose had been different His will might have been different. As it was, He required Jesus to submit to a sacrificial death, consequently a violent death was necessary for his own redemption. Christadelphian Magazine 1895, pg 260

MT begins his discussion of the debate at question 281, and the question was whether or not "sin in the flesh" require the shedding of blood in order to cleanse us from it, that is, from "sin in the flesh" or human nature.

Had he started it a few questions earlier, the moral aspect of the physical condition that bro. Andrew argued for, would have been apparent. When bro. Andrew begins to question bro. Roberts, he first tries to get bro. Roberts to agree that our sins transgressions are forgiven at baptism, and never brought to bear again.



231. In writing to the Colossians, Paul says, "You being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." We have dealt with the expression "dead in sins" already in Ephesians. You take those of course to be "wicked works" committed previous to baptism? Is that so? Answer: I have answered that question.

232. Then the expression "hath He quickened" applies to all that was previously dead, does it not? Answer: It defines the change that had taken place in the position of the persons referred to. Before, they were under the unquestioned dominion of death, but now they were placed in a position of having been forgiven their trespasses.

233. For the trespasses which had been the subject of forgiveness, could death hold them in the grave forever? Answer: Have I caught the question right?


Bro. Andrew is trying to make the point that we will not be kept in our graves for sins we committed prior to baptism. Could sins committed prior to baptism keep us in the grave forever? It takes a few questions, then bro. Roberts answers, No.

238. But forgiveness from the condemnation, or Divine wrath, is that withdrawn for sins committed subsequently to forgiveness? Answer: I do not think that the offences of a previous time will be brought against men brought into judgment, except in the case of entire departure from the truth. God says that when a righteous man departs from righteousness, all his righteousness is forgotten. Forgiveness is part of his righteousness.

Having gotten bro. Roberts to agree to this point, he proceeds to compare transgressions to our defiled condition. He wants to argue that since our transgressions are the subject of justification at baptism, so must our nature be.



240. Well then, that would apply to whatever is the subject of justification, would it not? Answer: No doubt.

241. Is not "sin in the flesh" the subject of justification at baptism? Answer: No, it will be at the resurrection.

Here is the point of the debate, from bro. Andrew’s perspective. Are we justified from "sin in the flesh" at baptism? His entire case rests on this point. As I have already shown, the brethren believed that justification from human nature at baptism is prospective, potential, or priliminary. It was never considered actual by the brotherhood, till bro. Andrew began to make this case. That we have still have "sinful flesh" after baptism was always taken as proof that it was not justified at baptism.


To try and overcome bro. Roberts objections, bro. Andrew deals at length with Col 2:11-13:

Col 2:11-13 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

He eventually gets bro. Roberts to agree that the chapter is describing the two kinds of sin which can keep us in the grave. First, our own transgressions, and second, the "sins of the flesh."



250. They were dead on account of sin. Is not sin spoken of here in the sense of wicked deeds, and the sin nature? Answer: Yes.

251. Then they were dead on account of both these things? Answer: No doubt, no doubt.


Note that bro. Andrew has just brought bro. Roberts to agree that sin has a a two fold hold on us. We are dead because of sin. That sin spoken of, says bro. Andrew, is our transgressions and our sin nature. Bro. Roberts answers "No doubt." One wonder then, how, having read this debate, MT could possibly reach the conclusion that sin nature is not sin. How can he possible conclude that sins can only be moral, since it is so clear here, (and will become even clearer) that bro. Roberts is including the physical nature in the Apostle’s term "sin."

And just to interject a side point here, note that bro. Roberts agrees that in Col. 2:11-13, the term "sins of the flesh" refers to human nature. While MT is not real big on explaining Scripture to us, anyone who has argued this verse with "clean flesh" folks knows that they tell us that "sins" (plural) never means human nature. They will agree (reluctantly) that "sin" (singular) can sometimes mean human nature, in a metaphorical way, but not "sins" (plural). The foundation Christadelphians observed no such rule as modern "clean flesh" folks seek to enforce on us.

But, back to the debate. Having got bro. Roberts to agree that both acceptations of sin are included in Col. 2: 11-13, he again goes in for the close, to get bro. Roberts to agree that both forms of sin are justified at baptism, and again, bro. Roberts again resists:

252. Then the quickening must have had reference to sin in both its forms? Answer: Certainly not, the "body is dead because of sin." Paul said so to believers, and it is evident to anyone’s common sense. There is not the least change physically until the resurrection.

Here is where the addition to the doctrine of the atonement, encouraged by bro. Andrew becomes apparent. Bro. Roberts had just pointed out something he said must be evident to anyone with common sense. "There is not the least change physically until resurrection." Note how the term "physically" agitates bro. Andrew.



253. We are not dealing with physical change. Answer: I am, if you are not, in this matter.

254. That is the mistake you make. Answer: No, it is your mistake.


Now bro. Andrew has been trying to get bro. Roberts to agree to his new teaching, that justification of "sin in the flesh" occurs at baptism, but in doing so, he makes what should seem an incredible statement, to all foundation Christadelphians, that the "sin in the flesh" he is describing is not "physical." It is only used as a physical term by bro. Roberts obviously. But not by bro. Andrew.

How can MT ignore this, and think he is explaining the teaching of bro. Andrew? The why is obvious. MT wants to ignore this, to try and suggest that it is "physical sin" or the derived acceptation of the word sin, is that which bro. Roberts is opposing in the writings of bro. Andrew. It is no such thing. It is the legal or moral aspect that bro. Andrew applies to the physical nature which is the subject of bro. Roberts disagreement. Bro. Andrew tries to make his point, but realizes he can’t, as he has not made the case for "legal defilement" yet. He now tries to do so:



260. I am not speaking of the physical. Does not "sin in the flesh" defile the body? Answer: Since you cannot conceive of the body apart from "sin in the flesh", it seems an absurd question.

261. If it is absurd, never mind, answer it. Answer: I cannot answer an absurd question.


Is this not the most strange question, ever? He is talking about "sin in the flesh" but not talking about the physical. As bro. Roberts points out, the notion is absurd. Almost as absurd as MT trying to explain the teaching of bro. Andrew to us, without mentioning this aspect of his teaching. But bro. Andrew continues to hammer the fact that "sin in the flesh" is not a physical condition.



265. Does not the body of believers become holy at baptism? Answer: In a moral sense only, not a physical.

266. I do not mean physical. Answer: Very well.

267. Can it become holy morally, without the sin that defiles it being the subject of justification? Answer: In view of the two senses of sin which you have introduced, I must ask which you refer to.

268. I said "sin in the flesh" Answer: You did not.

269. I beg your pardon. When it becomes holy, is not "sin in the flesh" which defiled it the subject of justification? Answer: No. "Sin in the flesh" is physical; justification from that is by the change that is to come at another stage, viz., at the resurrection. Justification is moral first, physical afterwards.

270. I am speaking about the moral. Is not "sin in the flesh" the subject of justification in a moral or legal sense (I think legal is better)?  Answer: You are mixing up two terms. "Sin in the flesh" is a physical attribute, forgiveness is a moral relation. Do not confound the two things.


And I would add,  that,  to bro. Andrew "sin in the flesh" was moral. To bro. Roberts, it was physical. "MT, Do not confound the two things!"

But there is another thing to observe in the above quote. MT objected to bro. Andrew referring to "two forms of sin." But note bro. Roberts referring to "two senses of sin," and requesting bro. Andrew to distinguish that which he is addressing. If this teaching was wrong to bro. Roberts, why is he treating it as reasonable? Why not say, as he said when asked to considering "sin in the flesh" as moral, "I cannot answer an absurd question?"

But the questioning by bro. Andrew becomes even more strange at this point. He wants to make his case that "sin in the flesh" is moral. To do so, he draws a comparison to a drunk. Bro. Andrew argues, and bro. Roberts agrees, that if a man is a drunk, but repents and is baptized, his past sin of drunkenness is forgiven, but the effects of drunkenness, the damage done to the physical body remain. But then bro. Andrew takes this example, and makes a comparison to "Adam’s offense" and the "physical consequences" of that offense, which of course, is sin nature. This shows the moral aspect of "sin in the flesh" bro. Andrew is arguing for. He is comparing the acts of getting drunk to "the offense of Adam" we inherit. Then he compares the effects of the drunkenness to the "physical consequences" or sinful flesh.

But obviously, the act of getting drunk is a moral transgression, for which we are individually guilty. So to compare Adam’s offense to this, is to say that we are morally guilty of Adam’s offense. Bro. Roberts goes right to the heart of the matter, to fight this conclusion. "We are not held guilty of Adam’s offense."



275. A person gets drunk. Answer: That is a physical condition.

276. A course of drunkenness ruins the constitution. If one who has been an habitual drunkard during his life becomes Christ’s by immersion into his name is not all his drunken course of life blotted out and forgiven? Answer: He is forgiven the sin of drunkenness.

277. But the physical effects are not removed? Answer: No.

278. But they are not counted against him? Answer: No, not his previous drunkenness.

279. In the same way by parity of reasoning is not the offence of Adam in regard to each individual the subject of justification at baptism, although its physical consequences are not affected? Answer: We are not held guilty of Adam’s offence.


Bro. Andrew believed we are held guilty of Adam’s offense, till baptism. Bro. Roberts did not believe we are in any way "guilty" of Adam’s sin. This was their disagreement on the atonement.

Now we come to where MT wants to start discussing the debate. And it is a good place to start, had he first bothered to explain the true contrast between the teachings of bro. Roberts and the foundation Christadelphians, and the teachings of bro. Andrew. But of course that would get in the way of the purpose of the book, which is to confound and blend, not contrast the teachings of foundation Christadelphian’s beliefs on the second aspect of sin with the teaching of bro. Andrew.



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32 – Andrewism

Now Matthew Trowell (MT) gives us a lengthy read in the debate, from which he concludes:

Notice how Bro. Andrew tried to lead Bro. Roberts to acknowledge a secondary ‘form’ of sin, ‘sin-nature’, that requires ‘cleansing’ or an offering made for it.

If this was the intent of bro. Andrew, he was wildly successful. Remember this question from the previous post?



250. They were dead on account of sin. Is not sin spoken of here in the sense of wicked deeds, and the sin nature? Answer: Yes.

251. Then they were dead on account of both these things? Answer: No doubt, no doubt.


So here are the two forms of sin which so bothers MT, easily and comfortably discussed by both brethren with no hint that the two forms of sin is the problem bro. Andrew is striving to get bro. Roberts to acknowledge, or that it is something bro. Roberts is guarded against admitting. And in the area from the debate which MT has quoted, the same point comes out, over and over again. Observe the following:



267. Can it [the body at baptism] become holy morally, without the sin that defiles it being the subject of justification? Answer: In view of the two senses of sin which you have introduced, I must ask which you refer to.

268. I said "sin in the flesh" Answer: You did not.

269. I beg your pardon. When it becomes holy, is not "sin in the flesh" which defiled it the subject of justification? Answer: No. "Sin in the flesh" is physical; justification from that is by the change that is to come at another stage, viz., at the resurrection. Justification is moral first, physical afterwards.


We can see from this that bro. Roberts understood sin in the same two senses observed by bro. Andrew. He was unclear as to which one bro. Andrew was in reference and asked for clarification. Why, if sin can only mean transgression? But it is easy to see that they are not arguing about the need for justification from "sin in the flesh," or the derived sense of sin, such as MT suggests. They are simply arguing about when that justification occurs. Bro. Andrew is arguing that it occurs at baptism. Bro. Roberts is arguing that it occurs at resurrection. But the point of quoting this here, is to ask why bro. Roberts would be considering "sin in the flesh" as requiring justification at all, if there were not two senses of sin?

Again to the same point, bro. Andrew brings bro. Roberts to the conclusion about Christ offering for this second sense of sin:

392. That is fully recognized. The question relates to the basis. Did not Christ enter into the most holy place or immortality on the basis of the shedding of his blood? Does not that mean that he could not enter in without? Does it not also mean that the blood cleansed him individually from corruption which was an impediment to his obtaining eternal life? Answer: I do not deny that.

So here we have bro. Roberts, after making sure that bro. Andrew is explaining the actions of God, and not referring to blood as a chemical or mechanical cleansing agent, agreeing that Christ needed to be "cleansed" by "his own blood" from the corruption that was in him, or "sin in the flesh." Then again, just a few questions later we see a discussion concerning the second sense of sin, physical sin.



401. Did he not require to shed his blood to cleanse himself from his own sin nature, and has not God made that the basis by which those in him may be justified from the sin of that nature, and have forgiveness of sins? Answer: I prefer the Scripture description of what was done by the death of Christ. The Scriptures never use the word cleanse in that sense.

402. Never use the word cleanse in regard to physical sin? Answer: Not in that connection.


If MT had caught the meanings of bro. Roberts correctly, surely here is where bro. Roberts could have made that point clear. MT’s position is that bro. Roberts did not teach that Christ’s nature, the second sense of sin, was cleansed by his own blood. Here was the perfect place for bro. Roberts to say that, but he doesn’t.

It is legitimate for the "clean flesh" folks to ask us: So what was bro. Roberts objecting to? The true point of bro. Roberts’ objection was to the impression he had, that bro. Andrew was arguing that the blood was a chemical or mechanical agent, cleaning the body. When bro. Roberts says that the scriptures never use "cleanse" in that sense, he does not mean that the body is never said to be cleansed by the blood of Christ, properly defined, as we saw in Q. 392 above. What he meant was that blood is never used as a chemical or mechanical cleaning agent, such as he perceived bro. Andrew to be suggesting.

Among bro. Roberts’ objection to bro. Andrew’s teaching, was the literal application he placed on symbolical things. The literal blood of Christ, cleansed nothing. It was the actions God took, based on the principles exhibited in the ceremonial shedding of blood that was all important. The actions were ceremonial. Christ’s blood poured out on the cross was both a symbolical statement of death (the pouring out of life) and at the same time, a very real death. The symbolical had no real power. The blood itself cleansed nothing. But the principles behind them were real, as Christ’s death was real. And by, through, or because of his sacrificial death, Christ was redeemed from the sin God made him to be. This redemption was accomplished by the power and will of God, not by some chemical reaction of his own blood sprinkled upon him. Bro. Roberts believed that bro. Andrew missed this, though bro. Andrew denied it. Bro. Andrew questions bro. Roberts:



386. When it says he entered into the most holy by his blood, does it not mean that he entered there on the basis of having shed his blood? Answer: No doubt, understanding that in relation to the will of God.

387. That is the only sense in which I have used the expression. Answer: No, you detached the blood-shedding from its surroundings.

388. I do not. Answer: You seem to do.

389. You have misrepresented me by saying so. Answer: We are liable to mistakes, you know.

390. I used the expression "by his blood" to mean on the basis, or principle of. Answer: To me blood is a passive thing. It does nothing, and therefore to represent it as doing something stultifies my understanding. You must give me literal facts.


But going back to Q 401 & 402: Bro. Andrew took bro. Roberts answer the same way as MT, and so immediately tried to put bro. Roberts on the spot. He asked him: "Never use the word cleanse for physical sin?" If bro. Roberts believed as MT, here was a perfect chance to show it. He could have denied that there was such a thing as physical sin, which needed to be cleansed. Or he could simply have answered, "the Scriptures never use the word cleanse for physical sin." But he doesn’t do either. He answers again, "Not in that sense." That is, not in the chemical sense he thought bro. Andrew was arguing for.

But a question now. Does bro. Roberts qualification not make the inverse true? If bro. Roberts clarifies the matter, saying that the Scriptures never use the term "cleanse" in the sense that bro. Andrew is arguing for, does not his clarification prove that there must be a sense in which the word "cleanse" is used pertaining to the physical nature? That would be the sense he agreed to in Q. 392 above. And doesn’t that disprove MT’s entire contention? Bro. Andrew continues to question bro. Roberts:



403. Did not the inanimate things of the Mosaic tabernacle require to be cleansed, justified, or atoned for by bloodshedding? Answer: Yes, as a shadow, doubtless.

404. Was there any moral guilt attaching to them? Answer: You do not require me to answer that, of course?

405. Then it was for imputed guilt? Answer: It was a ritual prophecy.


The last three questions quoted above showed another problem bro. Roberts was having with bro. Andrew’s questioning. To bro. Roberts, the questions he was being asked moved from blood chemically cleaning sin nature, to how all that impacted on bro. Andrew’s teaching concerning inherited guilt. Remember that bro. Andrew didn’t teach that the blood cleansed the nature, but rather, that the blood purged the moral or legal sin from the nature. The idea was absurd.

But as I said, if the intent of bro. Andrew’s questioning was to get bro. Roberts to admit that the second form of sin, sin nature, was cleansed through the blood of his own sacrifice, he couldn’t have been more successful.

392. That is fully recognized. The question relates to the basis. Did not Christ enter into the most holy place or immortality on the basis of the shedding of his blood? Does not that mean that he could not enter in without? Does it not also mean that the blood cleansed him individually from corruption which was an impediment to his obtaining eternal life? Answer: I do not deny that.


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33 – Andrewism

Having now shown that the cleansing from the two forms of sin was not the point of disagreement between them, lets go back in the debate to the question that has confused MT. This is the question clung to by all the "clean flesh" folks. Bro. Andrew questioning:



284. I perfectly recognize all you quote; the question is as to its meaning. Did Christ require to die for himself? Answer: In view of the work he came to do, Yes; but if there had been himself only, No.

285. He would not have had to die for himself? Answer: I have answered the question. He came as the representative of our condemned race to lay a foundation for our salvation, and for that reason it was needful he should take our nature and stand as our representative, and die as one of us, and we die with him in being baptized.


Here is a clear answer to MT’s question. Did Christ require to die for himself? Pertaining to the real Christ, not a hypothetical one, Bro. Roberts always answers "yes." As a son of Adam, as a son of Abraham, as a son of David, the answer is always, yes! There really is no room for confusion on this point.

But bro. Roberts interjects a different Christ, and says if it had been himself only, no. Bro. Andrew asks for a clarification. "He would not have required to die for himself?" Bro. Roberts says, "I already answered it." Well, if he had already answered it, what was the answer? Simply, as a son of Adam, as a son of Abraham, as a son of David, yes. But if he had been a new Christ, one not related to Adam, then no.

This is the point in the debate where the hypothetical Christ is introduced into the questioning. Bro. Roberts, quite out of the blue, interjects "but if there had been himself only, no." What does bro. Roberts mean "if there had been himself, only, no." He means had Christ not been related to Adam at all, then he would have have inherited sin in the derived sense from Adam, and he would not have had to die at all.

"Clean flesh" folks tell us that bro. Roberts meant that had Christ, the son of Adam been the only one to enter into life, he would not have required purification or atonement through his death on account of sin. This, they say, proves that human nature is not sinful, because if it was, then even if he was the only one to enter into eternal life, he would still need to be purged from sin nature by the blood of his own sacrifice. Is not this the same chemical or mechanical usage of terms, as bro. Andrew was doing? Is this not using blood as a chemical agent that had to purge sin?

Foundation Christadelphians, of course, do not speculate on what God may or may not have required, had Christ been the only one to enter into life. Who could know? The plan of God exists for only one reason. It is because God wills it. If the result was to be different, would the plan be the same? Maybe. Maybe not. Who can know? The plan God has set before us, is for Christ to redeem the race, not to be the only one saved. In the plan before us, it was necessary that Christ should offer himself for the cleansing of his nature.

The blood was not a magical chemical cleaning agent for sin. The blood exhibited certain principles, upon which God cleansed sin. Who is to say what God would have done differently to exhibit His divine principles, had his entire plan have been different? But one thing is clear. Whenever bro. Roberts was asked about a Christ, the son of Adam, who would enter into life alone, bro. Roberts always refused this question.

But as pertaining to Jesus, the son of Adam and captain of our salvation, as I have already shown through the "Burnt Offering" in "The Law of Moses", by bro. Roberts, he always viewed Christ’s work to include atonement for freedom from our nature. We will also see this later again in this debate.

But we don’t need to speculate as to the meaning of " if there had been himself only." Bro. Roberts tells us exactly what he meant. He tells us during the debate, on the second night of the debate. He is in reference to a hypothetical, non existent Christ, one not the descendant of Adam. If Christ had not been a descendant of Adam, he would not have inherited Adam’s nature, and in that case, he would not have needed to die for himself, or for that matter, die at all. This is the hypothetical Christ that had been discussed during the first "clean flesh" infestation of the brotherhood in 1872, upon which bro. Andrew and bro. Roberts had differed. Bro. Roberts agreed with Edward Turney in theory, that if, (and it is an impossible if) but if Christ had not been the descendant of Adam, then he wouldn’t have had to die at all. Bro. Andrew had objected to this.

But without doubt, bro. Roberts is correct. Our sin nature is inherited from Adam. If God had created Christ, not the descendant of Adam, he would not have inherited sin nature. So what would be the possible justification for Christ dying, seeing he lived a perfect life, morally? This is actually the same question we ask MT and modern "clean flesh" folks. If physical sin nature is not in any way sin, what is the justification for Christ dying at all? And how is God demonstrated as right and just in requiring the death of the absolutely sinless?

But as to which hypothetical Christ bro. Roberts was considering, we have no need to speculate. Bro. Roberts tells us exactly what he meant. On the second might we have this series of questions, which essentially ruins the debate for bro. Andrew. Bro. Andrew has spent his whole time trying to show that bro. Roberts denied that Christ himself required purification through his sacrifice, on account of his nature. Now, since the discussion has turned to the real Christ, as opposed to the hypothetical Christs which gave rise to bro. Andrew’s questioning, bro. Roberts is clearly stating that Christ himself did require his own sacrifice for purification from sin.



715. How could Jesus have been made free from that sin which God laid upon him in his own nature, "made in the likeness of sinful flesh," if he had not died for himself as well as for us? Answer: He could not.

716. Then he offered for himself as well as for us? Answer: Oh, certainly.

717. Is it not clear then from this that the death of Christ was necessary to purify his own nature from the sin power? Answer: Certainly.

718. That was hereditary in him in the days of his flesh? Answer: No doubt of it.

719. And he as the first one had to undergo purification through his shed blood and resurrection? Answer: Certainly, I have never called that in question in the least.


This was a crushing blow to bro. Andrew. Here was bro. Roberts affirming what bro. Andrew (and MT) was convinced he denied. Here was bro. Roberts affirming that Jesus needed to be made free from the sin in his nature. That he offered first for himself. That his death was necessary to purify his nature from the sin power. That the sin in his nature was hereditary. And he was purified from it through his own shed blood.

This meant bro. Andrew had squandered the opportunity that the debate had given him to explain his point of view. He had spent most of his time focused on trying to prove bro. Roberts believed "clean flesh," and he had lost focus on the purpose of the debate. Seeking some explanation, bro. Andrew asked:



720. Did you not say on Tuesday night that he did not need to shed his blood for himself? Answer: That is upon your impossible supposition that he stood apart from us, and was a new Adam altogether.

721. I never introduced that position. Answer: You are unfortunate in not conveying your ideas to me.


There is the proof that MT has not caught the situation correctly. Yes, bro. Roberts did say that if Christ had been alone, he wouldn’t have had to die for himself. But the consideration in bro. Roberts mind was a hypothetical Christ, not the son of Adam. The real Christ had to offer first for himself, and then for the people, and bro. Roberts consistently said so, never calling that into question in the least. The hypothetical Christ interjected into Q 284, introduced into the debate by bro. Roberts, did not need to offer for himself, or even to die.

Bro. Andrew is correct when he says that he never did introduce that position. Bro. Roberts interjected it into an answer, apparently out of the blue, probably due to previous conversations with bro. Andrew. And it led bro. Andrew down a path that turned into a dead end. Now bro. Andrew did want to discuss a hypothetical Christ. He wanted to discuss Christ, the son of Adam, who would be the only one to enter into eternal life. This is the hypothetical Christ he tried to introduce, and which MT thinks he did introduce. To this hypothetical Christ, bro. Roberts steadfastly refused any speculation.

As I said, bro. Andrew did ask bro. Roberts to consider a hypothetical Christ, the son of Adam during the debate. We see this in the following questions:



722. I never introduced that idea to you. Answer: You asked me to consider him apart from us.

723. Apart from us, but still a descendant of Adam? Answer: That is my point, that you cannot separate him from the work he came to do. There never would have been a Christ at all if he had not been for that work.


Up to the point in the debate where bro. Roberts interjected the answer concerning the hypothetical Christ, one not the son of Adam, there had been no discussion of hypothetical Christs of either situation. But based on bro. Roberts interjection, bro. Andrew tried to follow up with a hypothetical Christ of his own. To this hypothetical Christ, bro. Roberts always refused speculation, as in Q 723 above.

So we have three Christs discussed in the debate. The real Christ, which always bro. Roberts affirmed did require his own sacrifice for his redemption. The hypothetical Christ of the Renunciationist debate who was not the son of Adam, of which bro. Roberts consistently affirms would not have had to die at all. And a hypothetical Christ suggested by bro. Andrew who was the son of Adam, but was the only one to enter into eternal life. Bro. Roberts refused all speculation as regards this one.

"Clean flesh" folks hinge their beliefs on bro. Roberts’ answers concerning the hypothetical Christs, and ignore his answers concerning the real Christ. Just looking at the verses and the types employed in the debate should make them see how far astray they are. Consider this question from bro. Andrew:



290. But did he not fulfil the Aaronic type of offering for himself and then for the sins of the people? Answer: No doubt.

291. What was it in relation to himself for which he had to shed his blood? Answer: He stood there as bearing the sins of his whole brethren.


And anytime bro. Roberts explains how he bore the sins of his brethren, his consistent answer was that he did so in being made of sin’s flesh. Observe this most excellent explanation from Christendom Astray by bro. Roberts:



...The devil Christ has come to destroy is sin. If anyone doubts this, let him reconsider Paul’s words quoted above. What did Christ accomplish in his death? Let the following testimonies answer:—

"He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26).

"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3).

"He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities" (Isa. 53:5).

"His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (I Pet. 2:24).

"He was manifested to take away our sins" (I John 3:5).

Christ, through death, destroyed, or took out of the way, "the sin of the world". In this, he destroyed the Bible devil. He certainly did not destroy the popular devil in his death, for that devil is supposed to be still at large, but in his own person, as a representative man, he extinguished the power of sin by surrendering to its full consequences, and then escaping by resurrection, through the power of his own holiness, to live for evermore. This is described as "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Sin in the flesh, then, is the devil destroyed by Jesus in his death. This is the devil having the power of death, for it is sin, and nothing else but sin that causes death to men... Christendom Astray by Robert Roberts, pg. 185


So to bro. Roberts’ answer in the debate, the sins he stood there bearing was "sin in the flesh" as bro. Roberts understood it, not as bro. Andrew did. As we have pointed out before, MT is not real interested in giving us an explanation of verses relevant to the subject of the atonement. But particularly missing to this point, and I’ll go out on a limb and say the subject will continue to go missing; is Christ fulfilling the type of the High Priest who had to offer first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. "Clean flesh" folks that I have come across, all say that Christ did not fulfil this type. Rather, they argue that Aaron had to offer for himself, in order to become sinless, and then he could stand as a type of Christ. Note that this is the same mechanical or chemical thought process that led bro. Andrew astray.

Now, MT quotes the following to reach the conclusion I have quoted from him at the start of this post:



292. Did he have the sin-nature himself as well as the sins of his brethren which required the offering of himself as a sacrifice? Answer: He had no sin except the possession of a nature which leads to sin; but which in him did not lead to sin.

293. Did it not require blood-shedding to cleanse him although it did not lead to sinning? Answer: In order to declare God’s righteousness is Paul’s explanation which to me is the all-sufficient explanation, and to me profoundly philosophical. Any other is so much cloud of dust.

294. We do not want to take a surface view of matters; that is why I ask these questions as to whether Christ’s own sin-nature required the shedding of blood to cleanse it? Answer: I have answered the question.


Bro. Roberts says he has already answered the question, as to whether or not Christ had to shed his blood to cleanse him from sin nature. What then, was his answer? Obviously, bro. Roberts answer was that his shed blood was to declare the righteousness of God. Was this truly an answer to bro. Andrew’s question? The only possible answer is yes, it was.

What was the declaration of God’s righteousness? We have gone over this many times, as it is key to this whole discussion. The declaration of God’s righteousness was: "This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction." This declaration is said to be made by faith in his blood, upon the propitiation, or mercy seat.

So Christ, as a bearer of condemned human nature, was himself freed from that nature in consequence of his agreeing to, and then making the great declaration of God’s righteousness. Christ was then cleansed from human nature, through the blood of his own sacrifice. This is why he told bro. Andrew he had already answered the question. Bro. Andrew recognized what bro. Roberts was saying, but as his theory was quite mechanical, he needed bro. Roberts to agree to the mechanics of the symbology, to better introduce his particular level of confusion. Bro. Roberts didn’t want to allow bro. Andrew to have that jumping off point. This comes out clearer in the following set of questions.



399. I do. We both recognize Christ did not commit transgression, and that his blood was not required in regard to himself for anything of that kind. Yet he did shed his blood for himself. What was it then for which he shed his blood for himself? Answer: I have answered that several times, Bro. Andrew. He was a mortal man, inheriting death from Adam.

400. You have answered it by evading it. Answer: By no means. I have not answered it in your precise terms, which conceal meanings.


So the debate really had three issues which made answering bro. Andrew’s questions difficult. First was his attributing a moral quality to the physical nature, and redefining terms like "sin in the flesh" to be a moral imputed sin. Second was the discussion of the hypothetical Christs, the one not the son of Adam, from the Renunciationists, and the one who was the son of Adam, but would alone enter into life from bro. Andrew. And thirdly was the chemical or mechanical cleansing bro. Andrew seemed to imply to the blood shedding, and sacrifices. Because of all this, it was very difficult to give straight forward answers. This frustrated bro. Andrew who finally says:



295. I insist upon a yes or no. Answer: What is it you ask me to say yes or no to?

296. Did Christ’s own sin nature require blood-shedding in order that he might be cleansed? Answer: As you cannot put him apart from others, it is no use asking the question.


Now, MT’s position is that bro. Andrew answered "No" to the question "Did he have the sin-nature himself as well as the sins of his brethren which required the offering of himself as a sacrifice?" Note that MT’s position, was not bro. Andrew’s position. Bro. Andrew recognized that bro. Roberts was not answering the question, but rather avoiding it; and so he kept trying to get bro. Roberts to answer it, "yes or no" and he continued to press him on the question till he ran out of time. Why? Why did bro. Roberts refuse to answer the question?

We can see from bro. Roberts’ answer in Question 296, that bro. Roberts still thinks he is addressing bro. Andrew’s hypothetical Christ. "As you cannot put him apart from others, it is no use asking the question." And, since bro. Roberts felt there was no use in asking a question about a hypothetical Christ, surely there was no reason to answer a question about a hypothetical Christ. That is why he was avoiding the question.


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34 – Andrewism

Matthew Trowell goes on:

Bro. Roberts makes it clear in his responses to Bro. Andrew that Christ did benefit from his death and was involved in his own sacrifice. But he makes it clear that Christ did not need to make an atonement or make a sacrifice for his physical nature.

The obvious question is, "where did he say that?" Not just in this debate, but anywhere, where does he ever say that he did not need to make and atonement or sacrifice for his sin nature? As I pointed out in the last post, at Q 406-407 bro. Roberts had the perfect chance to make MT’s point. Instead, he goes away from it.

Now, while he never makes MT’s point, he does clearly state the opposite. And, incredibly, MT quotes the very things he said, which are opposite. Lets look closely at Q 704:

704. What is the antitype of making an atonement for the holy place in regard to Christ? Answer: Cleansing and redeeming him from Adamic nature utterly..

Here is a simple question posed by bro. Andrew, and it receives a simple answer. What is the antitype, that is, how did Christ fulfil this particular type from the law. The type, under the law was high priest making an atonement for the holy place. We see this is Lev. 16.

Lev 16:15-16 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

The type is clearly stated to be an atonement to take away the defilement the Holy Place was reckoned as having been defiled by, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel. So in the type, the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled on the Holy Place, as an atonement, to cleanse it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

Bro. Roberts is asked what is the antitype? He points to Christ’s "cleansing" and "redeeming" from Adamic nature. Note bro. Roberts use of a "cleansing" from Adamic nature.

Is it not clear that as the type,was clearly stated to be an atonement, that the antitype must also have been an atonement to take away the defilement he was reckoned as contracting, being made of our nature? The type was the blood of the goat, sprinkled on the Holy Place. So the antitype must also have been an atonement, his own blood, sprinkled on his own body? And through this atonement, Jesus was purified from his nature? What other possible explanation can be made of the question and answer given in Q 704?

MT calls our special attention to Q 706. He wrotes:

It is also important to notice Bro. Robert’s response to Q. 706 where he makes the statement that "you cannot take Christ apart from his work in coming to save sinners." This is important because both of the extreme teachings of ‘Clean-flesh’ and Bro. Andrew separate Christ from his work. ‘Clean-flesh’ says that Christ did not benefit from his sacrifice for us, and Bro. Andrew said that Christ required a separate sacrificial cleansing for himself first before he could be of benefit to us.

The "clean flesh" folks, MT included, really do separate Christ from the work he came to do. They deny that sin in the flesh, was the subject of the atonement Christ made in regards to himself. And both deny that his sacrificial work, as regards himself, was the purification from sin in the flesh, after which he could offer for the people. (And those who will use the term "sin in the flesh" qualify it in such a way that sin in the flesh, is not sinful.)

Bro. Andrew’s motivation for the consideration of a hypothetical Christ was different. He wanted to build a theory pertaining to the moral or legal guilt of Christ. This theory was quite mechanical. To show the mechanics, or logic, this required a detailed look at the high priest offering "first for himself." Bro. Roberts didn’t want to give him the chance to establish the mechanics this way, and so refused questions related to his hypothetical Christ. But when dealing with the real Christ, bro. Roberts never hesitated to agree completely with bro. Andrew as to Christ offering, first for himself.

MT appears intent upon drawing a link between bro. Andrew’s error, and Edward Turney’s error. He tells us:

Notice how Bro. Andrew tries to accuse Bro. Roberts of believing in the doctrine of ‘substitution’ which was the same heresy promoted by the Renunciationist brethren and ‘clean-flesh’ theory? Ironically, it was Bro. Andrew who was teaching aspects of ‘Clean-flesh’ because the whole premise of Bro. Andrew’s teaching was that unless Christ’s nature was cleansed or atoned for, his sacrifice would have had no efficacy or benefit to us!

Bro. Andrew’s teaching is related to "clean flesh" how? "Clean flesh" folks certainly required no sacrificial atonement for Christ, nature or otherwise. So there can be no agreement between them, there. Does MT mean that Christ’s nature had to be "clean" before he could save us? If that is what he is complaining about, then he is complaining about the plan of God, for that is true. We are saved by Jesus’ life. Not his mortal life, but his resurrected life, in which he came "without sin." His resurrected life is "clean" having destroyed sin in himself through his sacrificial death. So I have no idea what MT is trying to say here.

Heb 9:27-28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.


The comparison that should be drawn between the "clean flesh" folks, and bro. Andrew, is that they both misunderstand the term "sin in the flesh." "Clean flesh" folks believe it is a metaphor for sin, and not really sin. (They say the term is a metonym for sin, but they mean a metaphor, as I’m sure we will eventually come to consider.) Bro. Andrew understood the term to mean moral or legal sin or guilt, inherited from Adam. Both are wrong. Sin in the flesh is a physical condition which we would call "human nature". We inherit this condition as a result of our descent from Adam. In the sacred style (that is, the Bible) it is a synonym for sin. It is strictly a physical condition. It is very real, so real it kills every one of us. But there is no guilt inhering in the physical condition. Nor do we inherit Adam’s moral sin, or any guilt or responsibility that goes along with it.

MT ends his discussion of the debate with a chart. The chart correctly shows the teaching of the first "clean flesh" folks. It identifies them as taking the position that Christ did not benefit from his sacrifice. It also correctly identifies the truth, that Christ offered for himself and for us. Then it defines Adrewism as saying that the work Christ did was first for himself, and then for us. I’m not sure why there is an objection to this. Bro. Roberts is quite clear that Jesus offered first for his own sins:

Then we have the declaration of Paul that Christ "needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first, for his own sins, and then for the people, for this he did once"—(Heb. 7:27). Paul’s statement is that Jesus did once what the typical high-priest did daily. What was that? "Offered first for his own sins and then for the people’s." It follows that there must be a sense in which Jesus offered for himself also, a sense which is apparent when it is recognised that he was under Adamic condemnation, inhering in his flesh. Christadelphian Magazine 1873 pg. 405

And again, in an answer during the discussion concerning bro. Andrew’s position:

W.C.—The statement of Paul in Heb. 7:27 is, that Christ did "once" in his death what the high priests under the law did daily, viz., offered "first for his own sins and then for the people’s." But there is all the difference between the two cases that there always is between shadow and substance. Christ’s "own sins" were not like the sins of the priests; they were not sins of his own committing. He was without sin, so far as his own actions were concerned. Yet as the bearer of the sins of his people—whether "in Adam" or otherwise, he stood in the position of having these as "his own," from the effects of which he had himself first to be delivered. Consequently, he offered first for himself; he was the first delivered. He is "Christ the first fruits." He obtained eternal redemption in and for himself, as the middle voice of the Greek verb euramenoz (Heb. 9:12) implies. (The "for us" is not in the original.) He was brought again from the dead "through the blood of the everlasting covenant."—(Heb. 13:20.)

And from Questions and Questions, which was the equivalent of a debate with the "clean flesh" folks, (since Edward Turney would not meet him in public debate) in the 1870s:



54. If to this you object, let me call your attention to Paul’s definition of the priesthood which Christ took not to himself, but received from the Father: "Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity, and by reason hereof, he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins" (Heb. 5:2, 3).

55. Again, if Christ’s offering did not comprehend himself in the scope of it, how are we to understand the statement of Paul that he "needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this he did once when he offered up himself?" (Heb. 7:27).

56. As Christ was the antitype of the high priest who "went alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people" (Heb. 9:7) is it not required that his sacrifice should comprehend himself as well as his people in the effect of its operation?

57. If you deny this most obvious conclusion, how do you explain the fact that the Messiah Prince in the future age, at the restored feast of the Passover, "shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering?" (Ezek. 45:22). Do you deny that the sacrifices in the future age are memorial, like the breaking of bread of what has been, in the same way as the sacrifices under Moses are typical of what was to be? Presuming you are scripturally enough informed to give the right answer to this, let me ask how the Messiah’s offering for himself as well as for the people can be a memorial offering, if Christ in dying for us did not die for himself as well?

58. To put it in a simpler form, in whatever sense our sins were laid on Christ, did they not, for the time being, become his; and if so, did it not require his death that he might be purified from them, and, in this sense, in dying for us, did not he die for himself as well?


This concludes MT’s discussion of the debate. It wasn’t really much of a discussion. He quoted long portions of the debate, and told us what it all meant to him, without breaking it down into its individual answers, and explaining how he reached his conclusions, or dealing with the parts of the debate which clearly are contrary to his final conclusions. And he carried off the entire discussion without addressing the moral quality bro. Andrew attached to the physical nature. Or the hypothetical Christs which were constantly brought up at that time. Or the mechanical workings of the ceremonial sacrifices, and how they applied to what Christ actually did.

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