Bro. Ken Cobb
A. Discuss the teaching of the resurrection of the enlightened rejecter.
Amended: A first principle belief that enlightened rejecters will be resurrected
to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Believe that what makes a person responsible
to the judgment seat of Christ is light, or a knowledge and understanding of
Unamended: Believe that not only is a knowledge of the truth necessary, but you
must also enter into the Abrahamic covenant to insure a resurrection from the dead. Some
believe that others outside of covenant relationship may be brought before Christ for
judgment, but this is not plain teaching in scripture and not a first principle
By making this a first principle, the Amended make this teaching something you must
believe in order to be saved, and those who dont believe it must be excluded
1. Origin of the teaching
2. Brief history of the conflict that brought about the division
3. What the Bible teaches about who will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
4. What is our assurance of a resurrection.
5. Examine verses often quoted by the Amended in support of the idea of the enlightened
rejecter. Do they clearly teach what the Amended insist is a first principle?
- Origin of the Enlightened Rejecter
A. Start with a definition of the enlightened rejecter:
An enlightened rejecter is one who has learned and understands the truth, but who
rejects the teachings of Christ and decides not to be baptized and walk after the truth.
This teaching is based on the idea that light, or knowledge and
understanding of the truth, is what makes one responsible to the judgment seat of Christ.
B. The idea began with Dr. Thomas.
. . . Having attained the
maturity of their nature, men become accountable and responsible creatures.
At this crisis, they may be placed by divine arranging in a relation to His word.
It becomes to them a Tree of Life (Prov. 3:18), inviting them to Take, and eat, and
If, however, they prefer to eat of the worlds forbidden fruit, they come
under the sentence of death in their own behalf. They are thus doubly condemned. They are
condemned already to the dust as natural born sinners; and secondarily,
condemned to a resurrection to judgment for rejecting the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, by
which they become obnoxious to the the Second Death (Apoc. 20:14).
-- Elpis Israel (1848)
Those who are neither to live
in the Aion of the Spirit, nor to rise into the resurrection state, are those who die
under helpless ignorance. God does not treat such as he does those who know the
truth but will not obey it; or, who have obeyed it, but subsequently turned back to the
corruption that is in the world through lust.
True; no wicked man can claim to be made alive in Christ that he may
live forever; but he will certainly be made alive that he may be judged and consigned to
the dire severities of the Second Death, which is the wages of sin, the first
death being the common lot of all, both saints and sinners.
-- The Herald (1861)
The clearest explanation of Dr. Thomas ideas on this subject are found in
Anastasis. Here he very plainly states his belief in the enlightened rejecter. This is a
long quotation, but instructive for showing his understanding of the subject.
The purpose of Deity is to
evolve a righteous and immortal world out of the world of mortal sinners, and to lay
the foundation of this great work in their scriptural intelligence and the obedience of
faith. This being His purpose, knowledge, belief, and obedience are made the basis of accountability
and responsibility. By the former is meant liability to give an account, and to
receive reward or punishment for the same, and, by the latter, the state of being
answerable for something entrusted to ones care. Now, Christ Jesus says in John
3:19, this is the ground of judgment, that the light has come into the world, and
men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. The light
shining into the darkness and divinely attested, makes sinners accountable and saints
responsible; but into that region of the shadow of death where the light has not shown
with divine attestation, the inhabitants of that region, who do not attain to the
comprehension of the light, are not accountable to the resurrection and judgment it
reveals. . .
. . . He that understands the truth, but declines the obedience it commands,
will be held accountable for its rejection; for he that believeth not shall be
condemned in a day of judgment, when the Deity shall judge the
secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel Paul preached (Rom 2:16,
But sinners understanding and believing the truth, and rendering the obedience it
commands, in that enlightened and faithful obedience, become saints. As such, they have
received the truth as a sacred deposit, for the use or abuse of which they are held
responsible in the great day of account (Jude 6). Saints, who use the truth aright, styled
by James doers of the word and not hearers only, are the just or
righteous; but saints who abuse it, being hears only of the word and not
doers, lovers of the world and the things that are in it, striving at once to serve God
and Mammon, are the ungodly and the unjust, who like Esau sell
their birthright for a morsel of the worlds meat; to whom, in the judgment, will be
found no place for repentance, sought ever so carefully with tears (Heb 12:16-17).
These three classes are indicated by Peter in the words, if the righteous
scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1
Pet 4:18): the enlightened sinner, who rejects the truth; the ungodly, who disgraces it;
and the righteous, who do it. . . .
But illuminated sinners and Sardian saints are obnoxious to a perdition arrived
at in different ways. These are they who obey not the gospel of the Deity (1
Pet 4:17), or disgrace it; and who come for to anastatsis of judicial condemnation.
These two classes are punished on the principle that it is better not to have known
the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy
commandment delivered unto them (2 Pet. 2:21). In the apostolic age, this holy
commandment was delivered with power descending from heaven; but now, there is no such
sanction confirming a faithful teachers exposition of the word. Nevertheless, if a
sinner come to the understanding of the truth, the result being the same, he is held
accountable. An enlightened sinner cannot evade the consequences of his illumination. I
have known some of this class flatter themselves that they would not be called forth to
judgment; but would perish as the beasts, if they did not come under law to Christ. Such
reasoning, however, is simply the deceitfulness of sin. When Jesus preached
the Gospel of the Kingdom to this class in Israel, among them were the self-righteous
Scribes, Pharisees, lawyers, and priests, he told them that, in the judgment, He will say
to all workers of iniquity, depart from me! And then he added, There
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,
and all the prophets in the kingdom of the Deity, and you yourselves thrust out. And they
shall come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall sit
down in the Kingdom of the Deity. And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there
are first who shall be last (Luke 13:28). This evidently teaches their anastasis
kriseos, or coming forth from sheol, for judicial condemnation and punishment,
contemporary with the establishment of the kingdom in the Holy Land.
-- Anastasis (1866)
In this passage Dr. Thomas very clearly taught that enlightened rejecters would appear
before the judgment seat of Christ. There are other passages also that we could quote that
reinforce that Dr. Thomas believed and taught this idea.
Yet Dr. Thomas is not entirely consistent on this matter. While in the above passages
he clearly states that "light" or understanding is what brings one before
judgment, yet in other passages he recognizes that covenant relationship is the
means to a resurrection.
. . . the King of the Jews
will first manifest his presence, not to the world at large; which will not know of his
being there, or, if told the fact, would not believe it; but to those whom the blood
of the covenant brings before his tribunal. . . , or judgment seat (bema, not
thronos), before which we must all stand that we may be made manifest. The locality
of the Throne (thronos) is Jerusalem, about 280 miles in a straight line from
Sinai. Mount Zion is the place of the Great White Throne. . . We have not now
to do with this; but with the bema, or Supreme Court, the judicial bench, styled in
Rom 14:10 and 2 Cor 5:10, the Judgment Seat of Christ. All who have made a
covenant with Yahweh by sacrifice, and in any way related to the Covenants of
Promise, will be gathered (Psa 50:5) and stand before this; but it will only be the
chosen few, the called, and chosen, and faithful, who will be admitted to
share in the honor, dignities, and glory, of the name of Yahweh in Jerusalem enthroned
-- Eureka (Vol. IIIB, p. 189)
The reader will remember that
before the Judgment Seat of Christ in the wilderness of Teman, there were two classes of
saints in Christ Jesus constitutionally; the one class consisting of the called, the
chosen, and faithful or as Paul styles them in 1 Cor 3:12, gold, silver, and
precious stones, which are made manifest as such in the day when things are revealed
by fire; and the other class consisting of the called but not
chosen, because not faithful or, as Paul styles them in the same
place, wood, hay, and stubble.
-- Eureka (Vol. IIIB, p. 256)
We see that although Dr. Thomas clearly taught that the enlightened rejecter would
appear before the judgment seat of Christ, he also realized that it is the blood of
the covenant that brings the saints in Christ before his tribunal. These two
opposing ideas were believed and discussed by Christadelphians for 20 years without cause
for division, because the differences were not considered to be of first principle
It is profitable to note what Dr. Thomas had to say about this subject in the
introduction to Anastasis:
But some may be prompted to
enquire, Is it necessary to understand all the details of the Resurrection and Judgment
in order to possess the faith which justifies? In reply, I would say, if it were
necessary, there would scarcely be found, in this generation, a corporals guard of
justified believers. I apprehend that if a person heartily believe in the
resurrection of the just and the unjust, and that both these classes will appear in
the presence of the Righteous Judge, to give account of themselves to him,
their understanding so far is sound upon these two first principles. . .
This seems to the reigning sentiment
among Christadelphians until about 20 years after Dr. Thomas died.
III. Brief History of the Conflict
A. Times of Tolerance
1. As mentioned, two opposing ideas existed for a long time.
2. Not thought to be a first principle.
3. See this in the various statements of faith that were developed.
In 1877, the Birmingham ecclesia adopted the following as part of its declaration of
principles (a precursor to the Statement of Faith):
That at the appearing of Christ, his servants, faithful and unfaithful, dead and
living of both classes, will be summoned before his judgment seat to be judged
according to their works; and receive in the body according to what they have
done, whether it be good or bad. . . (II Cor 5:10; II Tim 4:1; Rom 2:5,6,16;
14:10-12; I Cor 4:5; Rev 11:18)
In this statement it is his servantsthose baptized into
Christthat are to appear before his judgment seat. This shows quite clearly what the
prevailing opinion was in Robert Roberts ecclesia just 6 years after Dr.
The enlightened rejecter was not mentioned in this declaration of principles. While it
was generally believed that such would be resurrected, they were uncertain as to how and
when the rejecter would be dealt with. In the original Christendom Astray (1884 and
1890 editions), Robert Roberts wrote:
Rejecters of the word, who do
not come under the law of Christ by belief and obedience may be reserved till the close of
the thousand years. It does not seem reasonable that those who put away the counsel of God
from themselves should be passed over without judgment, and yet, since they do not become
constituents of the household of faith, their resurrection at the time when account is
taken of that household would seem inappropriate. May they not be dealt with at the
It is interesting to note that there
are no certainties in this statement, but is sprinkled with may be, does
not seem reasonable, would seem inappropriate, etc. These are not the
phrases of the absolute conviction that are in accord with a first principle belief, but
suggestions of the what some scriptures seem to indicate. And this was the general opinion
of Christadelphians of the time. (Also note that this paragraph was deleted in printings
after 1890, with no reference in the preface that they had done so.)
Sometime before 1890, the Birmingham ecclesia formulated their official Statement of
Faith. At that time the article dealing with judgment stated:
XXV. That at the appearing of
Christ prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, the responsible (faithful and
unfaithful) dead and living of both classes, will be summoned before his judgment seat
to be judged according to their works; and receive in the body according
to what they have done, whether it be good or bad. Romans 2:5,6,16; 14:10-12; 1
Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 11:18.
Here it is changed to the
responsible without defining who they are. This allowed those who believed it was
just the saints, and those who thought it would include the enlightened rejecters, to all
be in fellowship, because the difference was not thought to be of first principle
importance. This is essentially the form that the Unamended use today.
B. J. J. Andrew and The Blood of the Covenant
1. J. J. Andrew forced the issue to the forefront with publication of his booklet,
The Blood of the Covenant, 1894.
2. In the book he claimed:
a. Covenant relationship, not light, makes one responsible to the judgment
b. Only those believers baptized into Christ would be raised from the dead
- We are condemned because of sinful nature inherited from Adam, not from
personal sins alone
- Baptism is not just for forgiveness of sins, but also to remove condemnation
inherited from Adam
- God cannot raise any others from the dead, because it would go against a
law he established, and God cannot go beyond his own laws
The Unamended today would generally agree with all these points except for the last
one, which most view as incorrect and extreme. Most Unamended follow the lead of Thomas
Williams, who agreed with J. J. Andrew on the basics, but also recognized that God has in
the past dealt with people or nations in exceptional ways, and may do so in the future.
C. The Conflict
1. Roberts and Andrew immediately came into conflict over this issue.
2. During the conflict, both brethren retreated into extreme positions.
3. Roberts, we believe, went much too far in changing his positions in order to support
the enlightened rejecter idea, and went into error on such subjects as the nature of man,
the nature and sacrifice of Christ, atonement, the purpose of baptism, etc.
4. The Amended in general have held to most of Roberts changed positions he
adopted during the years of controversy. These positions will be dealt with in other
classes in detail.
For example of how other changes were needed to support the enlightened rejecter,
consider the following:
It is a knowledge of the truth that brings one out of the grave, therefore
baptism is not for that purpose.
Since baptism is not related to resurrection, baptism is solely for the
forgiveness of personal sins.
Since light is the only thing needed to bring one from the dead,
there is no other barrier to resurrection, such as condemnation from Adam.
Since Adamic condemnation is not a sentence of death (ie, not a legal sentence),
then Adamic condemnation only relates to the physical defilement we inherit from Adam
mortality and proneness to sin.
Since Adamic condemnation is only physical, there is no condemnation removed at
baptism from Adam, only the condemnation that comes from personal sins. This physical
condemnation can only be removed at the bestowal of immortality at the judgment.
Since baptism is for personal sins only, that is all atonement relates to.
Since Christ had no personal sins to atone for, he had nothing to atone for in
his own sacrifice (this is basically clean flesh teaching, although the
Amended would vigorously deny it).
Many other changes in understanding, both major and minor.
D. The Amendment
1. In 1898, while Robert Roberts was travelling in Australia, the Birmingham ecclesia
officially amended their statement of faith to the following:
That at the appearing of
Christ prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, the responsible (namely, those who know
the revealed will of God and have been called upon to submit to it), dead and living --
obedient and disobedient -- will be summoned before his judgment seat to be judged
according to their works; and receive in the body according to what they have
done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1; Rom 2:5,6,16;
14:10-12; 1 Cor 4:5; Rev 11:18)
Now the amended require the belief
in that enlightened rejecters (those who know the revealed will of God, but
are disobedient to it) will be gathered to the judgment seat of Christ. Note
that none of the supporting verses were changed for the amendment.
IV. Bible Teaching on the Judgment Seat of Christ - who will appear?
A. Verses from the statement of faith.
Rom 14:10-12 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do
you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of
God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and
every tongue shall give praise to God. So then each one of us shall give account of
himself to God.
This verse is clearly speaking to the brothers at the ecclesia at Rome, who were
judging each over things concerning the Law of Moses. There is no reference here to
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad.
The we in this verse is the ecclesia of God which is at Corinth with
all the saints who are throughout Achaia, this is who the letter was addressed to.
Again, no mention of any unbaptized here.
NOTE: The above two verses are the only ones that specifically mention the
bema (judgment seat) of Christ, and in both cases the only people to
appear before it are baptized believers.
2 Tim 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ
Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead
This epistle is written to Timothy and deals with his care for and protection of the
ecclesias. No enlightened rejecter is mentioned.
Rom 2:5, 6, 16 . . . in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous
judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds . . .
on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ
Paul in this letter is addressing the beloved of God in Rome, called as
saints, and not any outside the ecclesia. However, the Amended actually quote Rom 2
in support of the enlightened rejecter, so this passage will be dealt with in detail in
1 Cor 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but
wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness
and disclose the motives of mens hearts; and then each mans praise will come
to him from God.
Again, Paul is speaking to the brethren (v. 6) in Corinth, and there is no
mention of any enlightened rejecter.
Rev. 11:18 . . . and the time came for the dead to be judged, and to give
their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy
name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.
The ones being judged here are the bond-servants, the saints,
those who fear Thy name. Again, there is no specific mention of unbaptized
We see from the verses that are included in the Statement of Faith, that all the verses
are addressing or referring to the saints, brethren,
ecclesia, servants, etc. Also note, importantly so, that there is
not one verse in this group that specifically mentions any unbaptized but enlightened
rejecter of the gospel, which the Amended state is a first principle belief.
B. Other scriptures about resurrection and judgment.
1. Those who sleep in Christ.
Well-known in scripture that those who die in Christ are said to be
asleep, because they will awaken again at Christs return. All others
outside of Christ are said to perish.
1 Thess 4:13-14 We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those
who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have
fallen asleep in Jesus.
1 Cor 15:16-20 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;
you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have
perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be
pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are
2. Parables concerning judgment.
There are several parables of Christ that refer to the future judgment when
Christ returns. Note who is being judged in these parables:
Luke 19:15, the parable of the nobleman, . . . when he returned, after
receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the
money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done.
Matt 25:19, the parable of the talents, Now after a long time the master
of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
Matt 25:45-46, the parable of the wise servant, Who then is the faithful
and wise servant whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their
food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master finds so doing
when he comes.
Luke 12:36-37, And be like men who are waiting for their master when he
returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he
comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master shall find on the
alert when he comes. . .
In every case it is the servants who are called before their master to give an account.
There is no mention of others outside the household.
V. What is the Assurance of our Resurrection?
A. What is the basis of our resurrection? Knowledge alone or the resurrection of
The scriptures are plain that the resurrection of Christ is our assurance that we will
be resurrected. And to be joined with Christ in the resurrection, we must be joined with
him in death through baptism:
Rom 6:4-5 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into
death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the
likeness of his death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His
John 14:6 I am the truth, the way, and the life; no one comes to the
Father but through me.
1 Cor 15:17-18, 21-22 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is
worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ
have perished. . . For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of
the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
2 Cor 4:14 He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also by (Greek dia)
Jesus and will present us with you.
B. The purpose of the resurrection is to inherit the promises to which we become heirs
at baptism; the promise of resurrection to eternal life in the land with Abraham and his
seed. The promise God made to Abraham, and our being heirs of that promise, is our
assurance of a resurrection from the dead. The judgment is to determine if we walked
worthy of our inheritance.
Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he would be heir
of the world. . .
Heb 11:19 He (Abraham) considered that God is able to raise men even from
the dead. . .
Heb 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did
not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that
apart from us they should not be made perfect (immortality in the resurrection).
Gal 3:26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For
all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is
neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor
female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you
are Abrahams seed, heirs according to promise.
Heb 6:17-18 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs
of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order
that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have
strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before
Heb 12:15-17 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God . . .
that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a
single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing,
he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with
VI. Verses Used by the Amended in Support of the Enlightened Rejecter
When reading these verses, we must answer the questions: Does the resurrection
of the enlightened rejecter seem to be indicated? If so, is it clear and unequivocal
enough to warrant being a first principle belief?
A. John 12:48 He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one
that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last
This is the verse most prominently used in support of the enlightened rejecter
Does it teach what the Amended insist it does?
1. Previous verse, 47, And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I
judge him not; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
If verse 48 is supposed to teach the resurrection of the enlightened rejecter,
this verse just even more clearly teaches he will not. This is the very definition of the
enlightened rejecterone who hears Christs words but does not believebut
in this verse Christ very clearly says, I judge him not.
Verse 48, even, does not say Christ will raise this rejecter from the dead to
appear before the judgment seat. It says, my words that I have spoken
will judge him in the last day. These are not words Christ will speak in a
future judgment, but words he had already spoken.
What were these words Christ had already spoken? We cant know for sure,
but I think the following speaks very clearly about the words Christ had spoken regarding
the judgment of non-believers:
John 3:17-19 For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the
world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not
condemned; he who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed
in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light
is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds
Christ does not judge the one who does not believe his words, for he is
condemned already by his lack of faith.
Note that the separating line Christ mentions over and over again between those
in the light and those in darkness is not knowledge, but belief,
which is not the same thing. Paul says faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the
word of God. You must first hear and understand the word of God before you can
believe itunderstanding comes before faith.
What is the last day Christ speaks of here? Dr. Thomas, in The
Last Days of Judahs Commonwealth, says the last day was AD 70, when
Gods judgment was poured out on the Jews, in accordance with the words Christ had
spoken. But it is hard to say conclusively whether the last day here is AD 70,
the day of Christs return, or some other time.
2. This passage, far from providing clear support for the resurrection of the
enlightened rejecter, instead suggests the opposite. It clearly states Christ does not
judge the one who hears his words but does not believe them. He says my words
that he had already spoken, would judge him. And its impossible to be certain
what the last day is the Christ speaks of. So this verse does not provide
clear and unequivocal support of the enlightened rejecter theory.
B. Romans 2:1-16 The Amended also quote this passage prominently as an
explanation of the enlightened rejecter (I have even read an entire pamphlet on the
subject by H. D. Bartholomew). The Amended contend that:
1. Paul is speaking in this passage to mankind in general. When he says in verse 1
you are without excuse, every man who judges he is not speaking to the saints
at Rome, but to man in general.
2. In verse 6, who will render to every man according to his deeds is
speaking of Gods dealing with all mankind, and cannot be restricted to just the
3. The phrase do not obey the truth in verse 8 is speaking specifically of
the enlightened rejecter, one outside of covenant relationship who knows the truth but
will not obey it.
4. The phrase all who sinned without the Law is referring to enlightened
rejecters, who never come under the law of Christ, but sin in rejecting the truth.
5. The phrase God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ cannot be
limited to just the saints.
In answering these contentions, we must first start with some background. The main problem
Paul is addressing in the ecclesia at Rome is friction between the Jews and the Gentiles.
The Jews looked down upon the Gentiles for their non-observance of the Law of Moses,
claiming they would be judged unworthy. The Gentiles were contemptuous of the Jews for
their superior attitudes.
Throughout the letter Paul exhorts the Jews not to judge the Gentiles or act superior;
and explained to them in great detail that a man is not saved by the works of the Law of
Moses, but by faith in Christ. To the Gentiles he exhorted them to not be contemptuous of
the Jews, but be accepting of their customs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him who eats (Gentile) regard with contempt him who does
not eat (Jew), and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted
v. 10 But you, why do you (Jew) judge your brother? Or you again, why do
you (Gentile) regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the
judgment seat of God.
15:7-9 Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to
the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf
of the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to
glorify God for His mercy.
Paul many times uses the phrase, To the Jew first and also to the Greek, to
show the believers in Rome that they were all one in Christ, all accepted by Christ, all
heirs of the same promises. That they should work together and be of the same mind in the
things of the Spirit.
Keeping these things in mind, lets examine the contentions of the Amended
1. Romans 2:1 is addressing mankind in general. First of all, Paul is writing to
the beloved of God in Rome, called as saints so when he uses the words
you or thou he must be speaking to the brethren in Rome. Secondly,
since he is speaking to every man who judgesa phrase consistently
applied to the Jewish believers in this epistlethis chapter is primarily addressed
to the Jews. But the exhortation applies equally to both groups.
2. The every man of 2:5 is all mankind. This is hard to believe. Are
they saying that anyone (not restricted to the household of faith) who by
perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality will receive
eternal life? Of course not! But they do say that anyone, regardless of
covenant relationship, who does not obey the truth will receive wrath
and indignation. This, of course, is not consistent.
Paul here is not contrasting the believer with the enlightened rejecter, but the
believer who does good with the believer who does evil, to the Jew first and also to
the Greek. Hes showing that race or nationality or background does not affect
how God judges a man. All believers are judged on the same basis, whether Jew or Greek.
3. Those who do not obey the truth refers specifically to enlightened
rejecters. This is really the cornerstone of their whole explanation of this passage.
They say this verse cannot refer exclusively to those within the household of faith, that
it must be speaking of those outside covenant relationship. The booklet by Bartholomew
spends 8 pages attempting to prove this.
However, he missed a verse in his explanationGal 5:7. In speaking to the ecclesia
there, he says, You were running well; who hindered you that you should not obey
the truth? Clearly, the phrase can apply solely to those in the household. So
there is no basis in the contention that Rom 2:8 must be speaking of enlightened
4. Those who sinned without the law refers to enlightened rejecters.
The idea behind this contention is that that only those who know the law can sin because
by the Law comes the knowledge of sin; therefore this is people who know the
law of God but refuse to submit to it. This, of course, is absurd, because until the
Law sin was in the world (Rom 5:13); that is, God still considers their actions to
be sinful. Paul here again is contrasting the Jews (who sinned under the Law (of
Moses)) with the Gentiles (who sinned without the Law), and showing that
all are condemned because of sin.
5. That God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus cannot be
limited to the household of faith. This contention also cannot be supported. Paul says
Christ will judge them by my gospel, which in 1:16 he says is the power
of salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek. Only those who believe the gospel with be judged by it.
C. 2 Thess. 1:7-8 . . . the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with
His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God
and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Again, the Amended contend the phrase those who do not obey the
gospel is referring specifically to the enlightened rejecter.
In answer, it is obvious that this retribution cannot be the judgment seat
of Christ, because it also comes to those who do not know God. These are not
enlightened and will certainly not be at the judgment seat of Christ.
These verses refer to the time after the faithful saints have been immortalized and are
working with Christ, where they will together be revealed from heaven in flaming
fire against the unknowing and unbelieving nations. When Thy judgments are in
the earth, then the people of the world will learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9).