Vol.XVII No.III Pg.2
May 1980

Who Is My Brother?

Robert F. Turner

The Restoration Review, Nov. '79, carried an article "Who Is My Brother" in which the writer jumped all over some unknown writer for saying, "I do not consider... a brother." The writer says, "brotherhood is determined by Fatherhood!" He continues: "As such it really does not amount to a 'hill of beans' in regard to whether or not I 'consider' someone to be my brother in Christ. What I 'consider' about the person has nothing to do with his relation with God. If God is that person's Father, then that person is my brother, whether I 'consider' him to be such or not... Therefore, since the answer to our question is that my brother in Christ is anyone who has God as his Father, let us begin to acknowledge and treat our brethren as just that — BRETHREN!"

A noble appeal — that fails to tell us how he knows God is the person's Father. He is so right in saying that "what I 'consider' about the person has nothing to do with his relation with God." God knows those who are his (2 Tim. 2:19), but that really isn't the problem is it? How does the writer know who is His? Has he the insight and wisdom of God, or does he "consider" in the light of his grasp of Gods revealed will and his judgment of the life of the person??

If we are sincerely striving to be faithful, trusting in Christ and doing His bidding, it is comforting to know that God knows His own and receives them, regardless of man's fallible judgment. Party acceptance or rejection is not equivalent with the approval or disapproval of God (3 Jn. 9-10; 1 Cor. 5:1-f.). But it takes more than glib clichs to establish divine approval. And man's judgment or "consideration" is always involved in determining fellowship among men.

We should desire and work toward wider brotherhood — anxious to find all who show evidence of loving the Lord, and are studying, praying and striving toward the mark. Recognizing that party approval is not the standard (2 Cor. 10:12) should make us less sectarian — more willing to hear another's "reason for his hope." But we are still obligated to measure his faith and practice by the "rule" that; extends to all.

We have repeatedly said, and with reason, that a willingness to study God's word together, on whatever specific-issues may be dividing us, is the most practical measure of attitudes toward unity and fellowship. We come nearer knowing God's children by seeing their attitude toward His will than by hearing unsubstantiated claim of love, or by subjective feelings.