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The Two Constitutions
Sin versus Righteousness

(A study of the evidence)

James Farrar

January, 1995

During the days of the apostles there were many occasions when the Bible students to whom they preached held to a different way of understanding the gospel than the way they taught. Their method was simple and effective. They reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. While Paul dwelt in his hired house in Rome, it is recorded that he testified and expounded and persuaded, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets. [Acts 28:23]  Not every one who heard was moved by the force of his argument: And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. It is our duty to follow the apostolic model and seek to persuade through the force of reasoned argument out of the Scriptures.

In 1994 a booklet entitled Advocatism Exposed was written and widely mailed to members of our ecclesias. This booklet did no follow the apostolic model. Its co-authors, Brothers Stephen Genusa and Daniel Carroll, chose instead to undertake a comparison between the writings of Brother John Thomas, on the one hand, and a collection of writing they termed "Advocatism." Their objective, in making such a comparison, was to show that there were "irreconcilable differences" between the two. Further, by representing themselves as fully consistent with the exposition of Brother Thomas, they sought to establish that "Advocatism" represented a later deviation from the original truths which he expounded. In seeking to prepare a response to their thesis, one is at once faced with this problem: they do not rest their case directly on the Scriptures and rely on its testimony as their authority. They are one step removed from this apostolic approach in that they take the writings of Brother Thomas as the authority by which the truth of the gospel is to be established. While our preference is to reason together on the ground of Scripture, we are able also to meet them on their own ground, namely, the exposition of Brother Thomas. In doing so, we have no interest in detracting from the primacy which the Scriptures alone occupy in our defense of the apostolic gospel.

In this paper we shall seek to show conclusively that they do not concur with the teaching of Brother Thomas. On the contrary, in the important example which we shall provide, they take the opposite position from that in which he believed. With regret we note that they are not able to see this for themselves, much less acknowledge that they differ from his conviction. We ask the readers to judge for themselves from the evidence we shall provide.

Our example is taken from that section of their work in which they comment on the exposition of Brother Thomas on the two constitutions. The first constitution which he expounds is the Constitution of Sin and the second is the Constitution of Righteousness. [In the 1970 edition of Elpis Israel, published by the Christadelphian Office in Birmingham, this exposition occupies pages 126 to 137.] More specifically, in this exposition Brother Thomas makes a comparison between citizenship in England and citizenship in America, on the one hand, and citizenship under the first constitution in Satan’s kingdom and citizenship under the second constitution in the Kingdom of God. While the way in which Brother Thomas elaborates this analogy is not specifically taken from the Scriptures, the analogy itself is rooted and grounded in the teaching of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:12. To refresh the memory of the readers with this exposition, we reproduce the points in this section of his work that concern this analogy.

 

  
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Updated last on 2013-04-15.