The Bible’s View on Who is Our Brother and Sister

If you read no farther, I want you to read this: A brother or sister of Christ is a brother or sister to me. I hope it is this way for you as well. I do understand that there are specifications for being a brother or sister in Christ, however, my assertion does not negate that. Our foundation is Christ and those he trained to follow after him. It is my desire that their words that were written will take precedence over my culture, denomination or even my own desires.

It seems that many Christians hold to views that aren’t even Christian, the views I am going to talk about seem to be on the opposing ends of the spectrum.

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Exclusivism

One view is exclusivism, those who hold to this view feel their denomination, congregation or group is the only group following the Bible, they are the only Christians – they only call each other brother and sister. In fact, if one leaves their gatherings, they are excommunicated and are no longer called a brother or sister. Unfortunately, the Bible does not teach this, but teaches against it (1, 2). Does this make you feel uncomfortable? Who do you want to follow – Christ or a group?

Inclusivism

Just as detrimental is another type, they tip the scale to the other side – they are inclusivists. Anyone who practices any religion, and are faithful to that faith, will have hope of salvation through Christ, even if they do not follow him. If one is a good Muslim, Jew or you name it, also has salvation. No matter how good ones feels about this view, this is not what Jesus and those he trained taught for salvation (1).

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Pluralism

Others are pluralists, they believe all religions are truth and all lead to God and heaven. Strangely, not all can be true, because each say contrary things. One may say that Jesus is God and another that Jesus is not God. Both can’t be true. This view is illogical and not biblical (1). This is perfect post-modern ideology – it makes people feel good.

Did I Offend You?

I understand that I may be offending many. In fact, denying any of these views leads to questions and concerns. I understand, however, if you are a follower of Christ, you must follow what he and those he trained said on this issue. The particulars can be worked out later. Many of those questions have been answered in previous posts. Specifications for being a follower of Christ have been given.

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Positive Going Forward

Fortunately there are those who do not believe in hard exclusivism, illogical pluralism, nor in un-biblical incluvisivm. But they are following Christ, they feel he is the only way to heaven. In addition they recognize other followers of Christ and treat them as brothers and sisters – even if they are not of the same group.

Sources
(1) John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

(2) Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. Matthew 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Romans 15:7: Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Philippians 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. III John 1:9-11, one named Diotrephes forbid others, and would not himself, receive the brothers. And then in Galatians 2:11-13, Paul withstood Peter to the face because he separated himself from the gentiles, because they were not circumcised.

Image source: Patrick McDonald

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