the weblog of Alan Knox

Brother killing brother

Posted by on Jun 12, 2009 in discipleship, fellowship | 7 comments

Two years ago, after a family vacation to Pennsylvania which included a trip to Gettysburg, I wrote a post called “Brother killing brother“. While this certainly doesn’t apply to everyone – does anything apply to everyone? – I’ve noticed far too many believers who seem to pride themselves over ripping someone apart with their words. I think we need to understand the damage this type of attack does to both our spiritual state, our brother’s spiritual state, and our witness.


Brother killing brother

Wednesday, my family had the opportunity to tour Gettysburg, PA and many of the sites connected to the Civil War battle that happened there almost 150 year ago. If you have never been to Gettysburg, then you should know that there are thousands of monuments scattered around this city. Each monument – set up by various states – commemorates the soldiers that fought during this three day long battle. During those three days – the bloodiest days in U.S. history (?) – 50,000 Americans lost their life, with friends fighting friends, brothers killing brothers.

I grew up in the southern part of the United States – in fact, I have always lived in the South. But, regardless, I recognize that the Southern States (the Confederate States) were wrong in their reaction against the United States government. That said, I also believe the Federal government was wrong in its reaction against the secession of the Confederate States.

Interestingly, there were godly men on both sides of this conflict. Both Southerners and Northerners prayed to God, asking Him to aid them in this dispute. Both groups stated that God was on their side. In reality, I do not think God was on either side. Why? Because I do not think God called brother to kill brother because of political differences.

Not much has changed… especially when it comes to the church. Oh, certainly, we do not fight with rifles, bayonets, and canons. But, how many brothers attack brothers with words? How many sisters destroy sisters through innuendo and gossip? And why? Because we disagree on certain things – not the most important things – not gospel things – but, we definitely disagree about “church” things.

And, because we sing different songs, or meet on different days, or disagree over leadership, or interpret some parts of Scripture differently we kill each other’s reputations – we destroy each other’s witness – we blast each other’s good deeds – we knife each other in the back. Perhaps, it would be better if we would be armed with rifles and bayonets, instead of arming ourselves with sickles as if we can choose who are wheat and who are weeds. Perhaps, it would be better if we would aim canons at one another, instead of aiming words of hate and distrust. At least, if we used rifles or canons, we would be honest about our hate and distrust of one another. At least, then, we would have to admit that we are not united.

I think the American Civil Was was a travesty. I do not think either side was right in going to war against other states. I do not think either side won.

However, the way that Christians attack each other is an even greater travesty and tragedy. The next time you level an attack on another brother or sister in Christ, remember: God is not on your side, regardless of how right you think you are.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-12-2009

    You are totally right Mr.Knox. It was a very bloody and sad war. Friends fighting friends. I have friends and I would rather die by them then kill them. A christian would Rather die than murder and take peoples lives. God would want that. The Civil war was the most bloodiest war ever. I learned that in my social studies class. I would hate to be in that war. It lasted 4 years! Imagine being right there when it happened. It would be terrible!

  2. 6-12-2009


    Thank you for the comment. I agree that the Civil War was terrible. If you haven’t been before, then you should definitely talk your Dad into taking you. You would really enjoy it!


  3. 6-12-2009

    Alan – very perceptive post. I try to constantly remind myself of the the things that Paul was willing to fight over and those that he said weren’t really a big deal. The funny thing is that they are different than what I ever would have come to from my own common sense.

    By the way, I saw that you’re doing your PhD in Biblical Theology (I had thought it was in New Testament) and I am curious to hear your feelings about the program. Maybe that’s better for email (, but I’d love to get your insight.

  4. 6-12-2009

    I don’t think I would want to go see some place that many soldiers of our kind died just for us. But I would be cool to go and get more info. Sorry for changing the subject I think but No war is ever right. No one should fight anyone. Not in school,Public,and even wars such as WW (World war) 2 or the civil war. Fights are just simply wrong! We are sinners and don’t deserve to go to heaven but God made a promise that he would let all Christians into heaven. I and I believe him! God would never lie! At least that’s what I think. But we still have to repent on our sins in front of the Lord. And after we do we will be eternally happy (at least some of us).

  5. 6-12-2009


    You said, “The next time you level an attack on another brother or sister in Christ, remember: God is not on your side, regardless of how right you think you are.”

    Oh,yes! Even those which are “nicely” carried out!

  6. 6-13-2009

    War is always wrong, you say? There are agressors in the world who would love for Christians or any victims to never fight back. They could steal anything at all (banks, insurors, manufacturers), convert free people into slaves, and no one would resist. Will heaven be like that? Everyone passive and contented regardless of what is happening around them. Is that what Jesus calls us to do? Do nothing to stop agression, torture, theft, and other works of the flesh? Do we all have neighbors? Are we to care for our neighbor? If their house is afire, do we watch passively and do nothing to try to put out the fire? If a flood threatens our own house, do we thank God for sending water, or do we take steps to protect ourselves and our neighbors from the flood? Anyone who says all war is wrong must not have read the Bible. Is the “armor” we’re encouraged to wear and wield NOT for defense? Just for looks? Peculiar thinking, I say.

  7. 6-13-2009


    I’m looking forward to getting together with you next week.


    Thanks again for the comment.

    Aussie John,

    “Nicely carried out attacks”… yes, even those. 🙂


    Thanks for the comment. My post is not about war. Christians come down on different sides of the just war / pacifist debate.