Dr. John Thomas in 10 quotations

Enjoy these favourite words of wisdom from the pen of Dr. Thomas…

1. Humanity
“His heart is evil; and, left to its uncontrolled impulses, he becomes licentious, merciless, and more cruel than the fiercest beast of prey. … His propensity is to obey the lust of his nature; and to do its evil works.” Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p1-2

2. God’s plan
“…It is a mere conceit the idea, that God wills the immortalization and glorification of every member of the human family. He has purposed no such thing. His design requires only the separation from the nations of a sufficient number of men and women to occupy the globe when constituted on an eternal basis, without sea, be that many or few. ‘What a paltry, contemptible, few,’ exclaims one, ‘compared with the immense mass of human flesh and blood, which will have existed on the earth for 7000 years!’ Granted; but what is needed more than a sufficient population for the renovated earth? If this immense mass of corruption and sin, living and dead, had listened to the voice of reason; if it would have believed God and obeyed Him; an adequate provision would have been made for them; but they would not, and the consequences inevitably follow.” Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p183

3. War
“Peace is to be deprecated as a calamity by the faithful... War is not displeasing to God any more than a rod is displeasing to him that uses it for correction. … It is a divine institution for the punishment of the transgressors of His law; and a most beneficent one too: for all the little liberty the world enjoys is attributable to the controversy of the tongue, the pen, and the sword.”
Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p113-114

4. Peace activists
“Surely ye are incorrigibly demented.”
Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p117
5. Suffering
“Sin and evil are as cause and effect. God is the author of evil, but not of sin; for the evil is the punishment of sin. … The evil then to which man is subjected is the Lord’s doing. War, famine, pestilence, flood, earthquake, disease, and death, are the terrible evils which God inflicts upon mankind for their transgressions. … Evil is the artillery with which He combats the enemies of His law, and of His saints.” Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p128-129

6. Politics
“The saints who understand the word will keep aloof from politics. None are more interested in them than they; but they will mix themselves up neither with one party nor another; for God regulates them all: therefore to be found in any such strife, would be to contend in some way or other against Him.”
Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p66

7. Praise and prayer by non-Christadelphians
Is it not, then, preposterous to invite the clergy and their followers, or the sinners of the world to sing songs of praise, and to pray – to offer up personally, or by proxy, their “abominations?” … Prayer and praise, and thanksgiving are spiritual worship, when offered “in spirit and in truth;” and can only be so offered by those who are intelligent in the truth. Under any other circumstances, they are the mere mutterings of unreasoning animals…” 
The Christadelphian, Vol. 23 Bd. 23, c1886

8. Women
“We hear much in some parts of the world of the political rights and equality of women with men; and of their preaching and teaching in public assemblies. We need wonder at nothing which emanates from the unenlightened thinking of sinful flesh. … Men do not think according to God’s thinking, and therefore it is they run into the most unscriptural conceits; among which may be enumerated the political and social equality of women. … Preaching, and lecturing, women, are but species of actresses, who exhibit upon the boards for the amusement of sinful and foolish men. They aim at an equality for which they are not physically constituted; they degrade themselves by the exhibition, and in proportion as they rise in assurance, they sink in all that really adorns a woman.”
Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p123-124

9. Killing babies
“The destruction of ‘infants and sucklings’ is especially commanded in divers parts of scripture. Not because they were responsible transgressors; but, on the same principle, that men not only destroy all adult serpents that come in their way, but their thread-like progeny also; for in these is the germ of venomous and malignant reptiles. … It is a law of the flesh that ‘like produces like.’ Wild and truthless men reproduce themselves in their sons and daughters.”
Elpis Israel (4th ed.) p132-133

10. Us and them
“Human governments have all been opposed to God’s truth, and have made war with that class of people in their several countries who are entitled scripturally to the designation of the Saints. You cannot make peace between them. That is the reason why we who advocate the doctrine of God's Saints are in hostility to the world. Those on our side who would make peace with the enemy are not fit to be on our side. It is war to the knife between the powers that be and all Christadelphians. We accept no truce; we will consent to no compromise. Either they must conquer us or we must conquer them – by argument now, but when the time for argument is passed away and the Lord has come with power and great glory, His Saints will take the sword and conquer the world, whether the world likes it or not.” The Book Unsealed (1870), p13

And in a final irony, he said of other denominations:
“The people begin to flag. The masses take no interest in their preaching. Their churches are cold, formal, and deathlike.”

It reminds me of something, I just can’t think what.

Readers are welcome to suggest additions to this list.


  1. I wonder if references could be adding to the quotes, and perhaps a downloadable/printable PDF. I would like to "bill" my local Christadelphians with it, and "invite" them to discuss the matters contained within...

  2. Could we have the one from his letter where he describes slaves of African descent as "The Everlasting (n-word)"?

    1. References added.

      The quotation you're thinking of comes from a letter to Robert Roberts in 1865, which you can read in full here. The relevant passage is:

      "We have a great many speculators in the faith on this side the Atlantic. Mere theorists, who are a sort of amalgam made up of a little Storrism, a little Adventism, a little Campbellism, and a hodge-podge of traditions, of which water, pork, alcohol, tobacco, salt, leaven, raisins, and “the everlasting nigger,” are the prolific “head-centres.” But of believers, intelligent in “the unadulterated milk of the word,” by which they have grown into “young men” and “fathers” in Christ, we have very, very few."

      He is basically having a go at other nonconformist believers who didn't share his religious views. If you're wondering what the pork and tobacco are all about, in a comment elsewhere on this blog, former editor Corky explained that "He was talking about the hodge podge of health doctrines held by the COGGC and the COG-7th day churches. The COGs were against slavery - therefore, the good doctor must have been for slavery - else, why mention black people in such a derogatory way?"

      Rather than a targeted racist gibe as such, I think Thomas was saying "This everlasting fuss about slavery, why do people keep banging on about it - as if it even mattered!" The impression I get is of a man so lacking in compassion that he didn't regard any form of human suffering - whether it was due to war, poverty, enslavement or anything else - as important. After all, it was the will of God and we worthless humans deserve no better. I suspect he simply regarded slavery as a non-issue - and great minds like his had loftier things to think about.

      I wouldn't be at all surprised if he did harbour racist views (in keeping with his general ignorant backwardness), but to me this quotation says more about his callousness than anything else.

    2. So (quotation 5), "the evil to which man is subjected is the Lord`s doing. War, famine, pestilence, flood, earthquake, DISEASE (my capitals), and death, are the terrible evils which God inflicts upon mankind for their trangressions".
      I wonder what those CD`s (and their loved ones and relatives), who are subject to various diseases, think of the God, whom Dr JT has said, "inflicts" these diseases upon them?

    3. I like Homo Deus's take on it:
      "For generation after generation humans have prayed to every god, angel and saint, and have invented countless tools, institutions and social systems but they continued to die in their millions from starvation, epidemics and violence.
      Many thinkers and prophets concluded that famine, plague and war must be an integral part of God’s cosmic plan or of our imperfect nature, and nothing short of the end of time would free us from them.

      Of course, these problems have not been completely solved, but they have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. We don’t need to pray to any god or saint to rescue us from them. We know quite well what needs to be done in order to prevent famine, plague and war – and we usually succeed in doing it. True, there are still notable failures; but when faced with such failures we no longer shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Well, that’s the way things work in our imperfect world’ or ‘God’s will be done’. Rather, when famine, plague or war break out of our control, we feel that somebody must have screwed up, we set up a commission of inquiry, and promise ourselves that next time we’ll do better. And it actually works. Such calamities indeed happen less and less often.

      For the first time in history, more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined. In the early twenty-first century, the average human is far more likely to die from bingeing at McDonald’s than from drought, Ebola or an al-Qaeda attack."

  3. The Value of Elpis Israel:

    "Firstly, let every candidate for immersion be requested prior to immersion
    (preferably), but definitely after, to read in conjunction with his daily
    portion of Scripture, Elpis Israel. All whom God has privileged to bring
    out of Gentilism into Christ, and who desire their work to withstand the
    fire of Christ's scrutiny, have a a definite duty to perform. Babes in Christ
    should receive parental control until they can walk safely alone. Thus,
    the reading and study of Elpis Israel will build them up and establish
    them in the general ethics of God's Word, placing them on a more solid
    foundation, guarding them against false doctrine, stimulating them to
    withstand the darts of the evil one." — R. Roberts.

    The establishment of a cult....to be continued.

  4. What is the full guote on those ignoant of the biographies of Abraham Issac and Jacob are ignorant of the gospel?

    1. Sorry, Unknown, I'm unclear what you're asking. But if you're trying to find a specific quote that doesn't sound like one I know.

    2. Jon, off topic, but been watching a lot of Sky News Australia lately, and it seems like you people down under, or your leaders, have completely lost the plot. Hope it picks up for you soon, not good here, but sort of normal.

    3. Thanks Joseph! Without wanting a lengthy off-topic discussion of media sources, I don't know what Sky News has been saying, but get the impression quite a few people here have been upset with the way it has covered the news.

      My take is that the leaders here haven't completely lost the plot, though there is certainly disunity between federal and state governments as well as between some states and others. But clearly also we're not where we want to be with everything and haven't been for a few months, and certainly the hope is that that can turn round in the remainder of the year. Being able to work from home it probably affects me less than many, but thanks for the thoughts. And I hope things continue to improve there.

    4. very briefly, Jon, Covid is spiking here, particularly in the west country, rather than getting better (neither is Brexit).

    5. Sorry to hear that, Mancott. And sorry I missed approving your comment - no idea how I failed to see it for more than a week.

      It seems true in so many places that vaccination has (I think?) improved the situation, but not by as much as perhaps we hoped 6 or 12 months ago. And that definitely has many here nervous - yes, we're aiming for higher vaccination numbers before re-opening significantly, and we can't stay cut off from the rest of the world forever, but what will be the cost and is our healthcare system prepared enough?


These comments require moderator approval. At present, it may take a long time for comments to be approved.