For Christadelphians who seek to reinforce their apostolic faith by studying the expositions of Brother Thomas and also Brother Roberts.
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THE MIND OF CHRIST
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
It is the will of God that we be in a state of continual memory and love towards Himself. It is contrary to His desires concerning us that He should ever be out of our mind, or that we should ever abandon the attitude of adoration and thanksgiving and dependence.
- Brother Roberts
See (Psalm 63:3-8)
The First Principle: God Is One
1. That Moses, the prophets, and Jesus all teach that the Godhead is one AIL, or Power and that this unity is absolute;
2. That they teach, that the ONE SELF-EXISTENT ETERNAL AlL hath never been seen by any mortal man -- that He is an undivided and invisible unity, pre-existent before the beginning of all things, intelligent and material;
3. That they teach. that He dwells in unapproachable light;
4. That they teach, that SPIRIT emanates from His substance; and the SPACE, which is unbounded, or infinite, is filled with this SPIRIT--Spirit which is seen in the lightning: and heard in the thunder, "the voice of God";
5. That they teach, that all created things are ex ou out of this Spirit, and by it; and therefore out of and by the Eternal Power: who is consequently "the Father" of whatever exists;
6. That they teach, that "there be Gods many and Lords many," which are called Elohim, Shaddai, Adonai, and so forth; and that
these are created intelligences -- corporeal manifestations of the Spirit of the light-inhabiting ETERNAL INCREATE;
7. That they teach expressly or by implication, that these created deities have all been originally subject to evil even as we; and that they have become Immortal Gods after the moral and physical type exhibited in the biography of Jesus of Nazareth;
8. That they teach, that all immortals are "the sons of God" -- of Him who only hath immortality as an essential quality of His self-existing and uncreated substance;
9. That they teach, that in seeing God, men saw embodiments of the Spirit of the Eternal lncreate, not the Eternal Himself, "whom no man can see and live"; and that these embodiments are Sons of Power, i.e., of Deity;
10. That they all teach, that the doctrine concerning God reveals the multitudinous manifestations of the ONE ETERNAL IN-CREATE by His Spirit; which is styled "the Manifestation of the Sons of Deity";
11. We have shown, that these Sons of Power ("sown in weakness, raised in power") in the aggregate constitute THE NAME OF YAHWEH -- a Name of Multitude; a myriad-manifestation of THE SPIRIT OF THE INVISIBLE GOD -- THE ONE I SHALL BE: "God manifested in flesh"; which is a grand mystery, but apostolically revealed;
12. We have shown, that Sonship to the Eternal One is an Old Testament element of this great mystery; and that an individual son was as necessary to the development of the "Many Sons," as an Isaac was to "Israelites indeed"; we through Jesus."
These things having been demonstrated: much rubbish has been cleared away. Trinitarianism and Unitarianism have both received a quietus. There are not three Gods in the Godhead; nor are there but three in manifestation; nevertheless, the Father is God and Jesus is God; and we may add, so are all the brethren of Jesus gods; and "a multitude which no man can number." The Godhead is the homogeneous fountain of the Deity; these other gods are the many streams which form this fountain flow. The springhead of Deity is one, not many; the streams as numerous as the orbs of the universe, in which a manifestation of Deity may have hitherto occurred.
...If, however, "the things of the kingdom of God, and of the name of Jesus," were laid before the people, society might be aroused from one end of the United Kingdom to the other, and the listening ears of a multitude become ravished with the truth.
- Brother Thomas - Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, November 1851
//That God be known-that He be exalted-that His excellence and irresponsible prerogative, and unsearchable power and wisdom be recognised, is reasonable; and to the highest faculties of man, this recognition effectually accorded, is the highest and most ennobling and enduring of the mental delights of which he is capable.//
Brother Roberts - The Visible Hand of God
Acts 17 - Judged in Righteousness
'O Lord God in heaven above, merciful and gracious Father, what can we render to Thee for Thy goodness? Thou hast appointed a day in which Thou wilt judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ! Blessed be Thy holy name. We shall all be judged before his tribunal and not man's. Then the hidden things of men shall be brought to light, and their secret thoughts shall be unveiled, to their justification or reproof! Thou God seest us all, for all hearts are open before Thee! If Thou beholdest any thing in me displeasing in Thy sight, let me fall into Thy hands, and not into the hands of those who thirst for my destruction! Grant me patience to endure their unrighteousness, and by fidelity and perseverance to overcome the iniquity of their doings; and may the word of the truth concerning the hope of the glorious gospel of Jesus be established in these countries; and may those who now oppose it, in ignorance and unbelief, find mercy of Thee, repenting of their waywardness, and purifying their hearts by faith, that they may be accepted when the Lord comes! 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do'; and may we all at length find an abundant entrance into the kingdom of the future age, to the glory of the great Immanuel's name! Amen! Amen!"
A Prayer of John Thomas,
quoted in The Protesters, pages 175-176
The Light Is Sweet
"Truly the light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun." These words which are to be found in the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes, 7th verse, are very beautiful in a natural sense; but what Christadelphian is there who has not felt how applicable they are to that Word which is truly a light to his feet and a lamp to his path? By the intelligence and honest courage of brethren, to whom we are deeply indebted, the mysteriousness of orthodoxy has been dispelled, the multitude of errors which darkened the horizon of truth has been cast away, and our eyes which were obscured by false doctrines, now see in the oracles of God the way to that inheritance which Peter declared to be incorruptible, undefiled, and which will never fade away. And what makes the light, in which we rejoice as Christadelphians, so sweet to the mental eye? It is because in it there is no contradiction; in it there is nothing contrary to our reason. As to a beautiful object, smoothness and regularity are essential features; so perfect harmony distinguishes Christadelphian principles -- harmony not only with a man's reason, but with his spiritual aspirations.
Robert Roberts, The Ambassador of the Coming Age, 1868, page 345
The Deity delights in stimulating the intellect of His creatures. In revealing Himself, therefore, to them, He manifests Himself mysteriously. "It is the glory of Elohim," says Solomon, "to conceal a word, but it is the glory of kings to search out the word." A word is concealed when it is enigmatically expressed; and it is the glory of those whom God has chosen for His kings in the future government of the world, to search out the wisdom He hath hidden from the wise in their own conceit.
The source or fountain of power in the universe is one. It is a unit. Therefore, everything which exists is ex autou out of Him. Hence the Creator did not "make all things out of nothing."
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The Memorial Name
'extol him that [rideth in the deserts] - (Bro T and Strongs) by his name Yah'
....the Memorial Name exhibited in Moses' writing, is not simply a word of four letters [YHWH]* given to an abstraction for a name, as men give names to their children; but a name memorial of a future manifestation of the Eternal Spirit; which manifestation will not be of One through One Only; but of One in and through ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: that the name covers them all; and that consequently, the thousands of thousands are but "One Yahweh." *Hebrew: yod, hey, wav, hay
"Elohim said to Moses," i.e., they who delivered the words of the spirit, the Eternal Spirit sent them to say for Him, "I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE: tell Israel I WILL BE has sent me, Moses, unto you. I WILL BE, the Mighty Ones of your fathers, the Mighty Ones of Abraham, the Mighty Ones of Isaac, and the Mighty Ones of Jacob: that is MY NAME for an Olahm (Aion or Millennium) and this MY MEMORIAL for a generation of the race" (Exod. 3:14, 15).
The memorial, in its simplest form, is ehyeh asher ehyeh, "l will be who I will be." Asher, "who," the relative pronoun in this memorial, is both singular and plural, masculine and feminine. It will, therefore, stand for "ten thousand times ten thousand," as well as for two or three persons.
Moses and the prophets teach "One" self-existent, supreme fountain of Power, AIL who is Spirit, and self-named I SHALL BE, or Yahweh: that is ONE YAHWEH-SPIRIT POWER is "God" in the highest sense, and constitutes the "Godhead," or FATHER IN HEAVEN; and He is the Springhead of many streams, or rivers of spirit, which assume "organic forms," according to the will of the Yahweh-Spirit Power, and that when formed after the model, archetype, or the pattern, presented in HIS OWN HYPOSTASIS, or Substance, they become SPIRIT-ELOHIM, or sons of God; and are Spirit, because "born of the Spirit" -- Emanations of the formative Spirit being out of him. The Spirit-Elohim was also "God"; nevertheless they are created. They are formed and made out of and by that which is uncreated. They are Spirit-Forms, the substance of which (spirit) is eternal; while the forms are from a beginning. Each one is a God in the sense of partaking of THE DIVINE NATURE, and being therefore a Son of God.
Now, if we understand this, we shall be able to discern the force and beauty of the expression Yahweh-Elohim, which occurs so frequently in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yahweh is the name of Uncreated Power, Elohim, the organizations of that Power after its image and likeness, whether they belong to the sun, moon, and stars of the universe, or to Israel. Hence also the beauty and the fulness of the phrase, "I am He the Mighty Ones, that formed the earth and made it -- I Yahweh and none without" -- ani-hu ha-elohim; ani Yahweh.
If we comprehend this multiplication and manifestation of Divine Unity, many obscure passages in the English version of Moses and the prophets are easy to be understood; and the mind is prepared to understand the otherwise abstruse teaching of Jesus and the apostles concerning "God." And I would here remark that in making a new translation of the Scriptures into English, the original words, misrepresented in the common version by the Anglo-Saxon words Lord and God, or in combination Lord God, should be left untranslated, but printed in small capitals and italics; and at the beginning of the book a literal definition of the words be given, without regard to "theology," or "plurals of majesty or excellence." The English reader might then be able to perceive how no man has seen God at any time; and yet that Jacob had a personal encounter and wrestle with God; and that Moses talked with Him face to face.
Gilbert V. Growcott died in 1981, in his early 70s. He lived and died in Detroit, where he was Recording Brother of the old Berean Christadelphian ecclesia for many years. This was a large ecclesia until the reunion of 1953-54 took most of the members into the Central fellowship. GVG and a literal handful remained as the Berean ecclesia in the area, and traveled to Texas every year thereafter to attend the week-long Berean gathering --- where he was one of the featured speakers, and where I made his acquaintance many years ago.
GVG was always known as "Rene" (pronounced Reen -- long e). I was told that this was because as a small child he often avowed his desire to grow up and become a "Marine", except that it came out as 'rine -- hence the nickname.
If this story is true, it is an extraordinary mismatch in one way -- because Rene was the kindest and most non-militant of men. He was a lifelong bachelor who -- so far as could be made out -- never saved anything, but always gave away all he had (or nearly so) to those who had need. He was the de facto editor of the Berean magazine for years, but never assumed the title -- although he did most of the editing, layout, typing, and printing and mailing each month.
He was a voluminous reader, and was characterized by the large satchel he carried to all the meetings, stuffed with concordances, Bibles, commentaries, and other Bible works, and files of his meticulous notes -- everything precisely in its place. All the books were cut on a professional binder to eliminate all extraneous margins to the pages, and then labeled in black indelible ink on the edges of the pages -- this was done so as to fit another 2 or 3 sizeable books into his carrying case.
His exhortations were, in my opinion, classics -- although I would not classify him as a dynamic speaker. He wrote out his talks, and when he stood up to deliver them he invariably fixed his gaze just above the last row of listeners, and talked into the air. He gave the sense of the text in the simplest, and yet most profound, expositions. As a child, I thought he always talked too long, but as I grew up and began really listening, I sometimes wished he wouldn't stop.
I never knew Rene to get angry or raise his voice or attack anyone with words spoken or written -- although in every discussion he plainly knew more about almost every subject than did anyone else. He was always calm and dignified -- what some might take for pomposity, but what I really believe was a serious attempt to maintain the fruits of the Spirit at all times. I don't remember Rene ever saying anything that was particularly funny or even amusing. But I do remember him saying and writing many things that were most profound. He was always obsessed with the Bible aspects of practical holiness.
I don't know that Rene had any hobbies or "outside interests". His time was spent on his daily work (until he retired) and Bible study and work for the Truth. But I never knew him to criticize others because of their hobbies or pursuits. And though he had no children of his own, he was always attentive and kind to other children, including myself.
He lived in the basement of a Christadelphian couple's house, with -- literally -- nothing more than a bed and a desk and a chair and a lamp, and shelves and shelves of books. All the books were cut down as described above, and laid flat and stored on edge (with titles written in black ink on the edges of the pages), so as to fit a couple more shelves on each wall.