Questions and Answers on Resurrectional Responsibility

This document has been prepared utilizing material that was published in The Christadelphian Advocate in 2010. An Amended brother had posed a list of questions to The Advocate committee in late 2009 for the purpose of determining the extent to which certain Scriptures are understood differently by the two Christadelphian communities. Though we believe it is unwise to strive over such questions, at the same time we believe it is important to seek out understanding which is reasonable as well as consistent with foundation principles within the testimony of Scripture. To that end, a selection of the questions were answered and published in The Advocate using the Scriptures as the point of reference. The six questions and answers here presented are made available by request to be used to clarify our positions on these verses to our Amended brethren.

When we come together to discuss questions related to the extent of who will be raised from the dead to appear before the judgment seat of our Lord, we need to take great care that our understanding is scripturally based. While the verses under consideration in this work have historically been cited (sometimes with great force and emphasis) to teach a wider resurrection to judgment extending beyond those in Christ, they do not in and of themselves prove that point. They corroborate that position only if one has already assumed that understanding when reading the verses. Also, some of the verses put forward in the service of the argument have been taken out of the context in which they were written. In the answers provided in this document, the authors have endeavored to show how important it is to give due consideration to the broader context, as well as to avoid reasoning from preconceived premises as the basis for interpretation.

When discussing these matters, it is always necessary to keep two questions in mind. The first question is, What does the Bible teach on this point? The whole counsel of God must be brought to bear, as best we are able, to insure that our conclusions are consistent with the balance of Scripture. The second question is, If a brother or sister understands one of these verses differently than I do, is that understanding so divergent from mine that they should not be received at the breaking of bread? That is, are the points under discussion in these verses foundation principles that rightfully affect fellowship? If they are foundation principles, then it is important to articulate how the answers affect the foundations.

Historically, within the Unamended ecclesias there has been emphasis placed on the pivotal role of the atoning work of Christ in relation to resurrection to judgment while freely allowing for God's prerogative to raise others not redeemed by the blood of Christ on a different basis and for a different purpose. The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee believes that this emphasis is scripturally sound and it is not necessary for us mortals to try to define the will of God beyond what He has revealed to us. There is a great danger that in our seeking to do so we may end up being wise above what is written, and in so doing cause confusion and strife. Let us do our best to adhere rigorously to the Scriptures in our interpreting and expounding upon these matters.

The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee, February, 2012