the weblog of Alan Knox

Brother or "Brother"

Posted by on Mar 20, 2008 in blog links, community, fellowship | 3 comments

Chris at “Filtering Life Through the Cross” has written a very thought-provoking post called “Church as ‘Extended Family’“. Chris says:

As I was reading these words I was struck by two things. First was the truth that I see in them. The NT has numerous references to fellow believers as “brothers.” This is not just a title for another believer, it demonstrates how we are to look upon fellow followers of Christ. We are to see them as family (Matt. 12:46-50). The second thing that came to my mind involved thoughts about our culture. In this world of broken families I think it would be hard for many to view other followers of Christ as family. To some it may even be viewed as another opportunity for them to get hurt or burned by another human being.

With that said, the believer, with the help of the indwelling Spirit, can and will grow in the ability to view the church as the family of God. This goes against our individualistic culture and tradition in which we find ourselves today. Let us once again see one another as our “brother” and “sister” under our heavenly Father’s guidance.

As I was thinking about this post, I started thinking about the terms “brother” and “sister”. When I call people “brother” or “sister”, do I call them that because I truly consider them my family? Or has “brother” and “sister” merely become Christian titles?

What is the difference between calling someone “brother” or “sister” because you actually think of them as family, and calling someone “brother” or “sister” because that’s what you’re supposed to call other Christians?


3 Comments

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  1. 3-20-2008

    Alan,

    Thanks for the reference to my blog. Also, I think our larger gatherings make this idea difficult to comprehend for many people. Small groups can possibly help, however, many small groups meet only for a short period of time to do a certain “study” then disband. This does not allow for the group to connect on a deeper level, as a family would.

    Blessings,
    Chris

  2. 3-20-2008

    Alan,

    Interestingly, I do not call my biological siblings, “brother” or “sister.” It is more in the working out of the relationship than in the name that is used. I have often found the use of the term “brother” in churches to ring hollow. Don’t simply call a brother, brother, treat then like a brother! This may mean having some good fights too (as brothers do on occasion).

  3. 3-21-2008

    Chris,

    Thanks for the original post. I think this is an important issue that followers of Jesus Christ need to think about. Are we brothers and sisters, or not?

    Bert,

    You said: “It is more in the working out of the relationship than in the name that is used.” Exactly! We often use the terms without the relationship. We need the relationship.

    -Alan