We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Do You Love the Brethren?

What does it mean to “love the brethren”?  I sometimes think the best way of defining it is this:  you love the brethren when you treat people whom you actually do not like as if you did like them.  That is loving them.  If you, as a Christian, allow your likes and dislikes to govern your conduct, especially negatively, then you are not behaving as a true Christian.  Christians, though they do not like a person, do not allow that to make any difference.  They go out of their way to treat that person as if they did like him, because he is a brother and because he is bound by the ties that I shall put before you.

There, then, is the difference between loving and liking.  You can be commanded to love but not to like.  We are not meant to like everyone in the same way—I mean Christian people—because Christians are not all exactly alike.  Our temperaments are not changed when we are born again.  There are certain things that are basic and fundamental to our personalities that are not only not changed but are not even meant to be changed.  It is a dangerous thing when you find a number of Christian people all alike in every way, in their manner of speech and everything else.  That is wrong; that is psychological.  Christianity does not do that.  You can see the variation in the disciples and the apostles.  It is wonderful, and this has continued ever since in the history of the church.  As God varies everything in nature, and it all ministers to his glory, so it is with Christian people.  We have our different natural gifts and capacities and personalities, and all these remain in the new birth and add a variety and glory to it all.  And for that reason it still follows that we do not like everyone equally.  But we are told that we are to love everyone equally.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3,” pg.124


Alec said...

Excellent reminder. I found this particularly astute:

It is a dangerous thing when you find a number of Christian people all alike in every way, in their manner of speech and everything else.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Yes, that line reminds me of a group of very cultic people.

Alec said...

That's my old WELS church :(

Anonymous said...

Glenn, I so appreciate this article. While Christians all should love one another, we are truly different people. Nothing about being born again changes the uniqueness of each individual. Yet churches often frown on you if you don't "fit the mold".... whatever mold they think you should be. And often there isn't room for the different natural gifts, capacities, and personalities as Lloyd-Jones mentioned. The church doesn't want variety (especially not in music where contemporary pop reigns, and sacred and hymnody are thrust by the wayside). They want conformity and uniformity. Makes for a miserable life in church. Oh yes, if you insist that you do matter as an individual, they just tell you that you are full of pride. After all, we're just "worms" deserving of nothing.


Bro. Nick Nicholas said...

Brother Glenn, Thank you for the article. One other thing that must be remembered is that most that call themselves 'Christians' ARE NOT truly "born again" believers and followers of "the Lord Jesus Christ" - thus - in my Biblical understanding - prayer for Godly discernment, and wisdom, and guidance is very necessary.

Truly we are living in very 'spiritually wicked and dark' days - Bro. Nick

Anonymous said...

I just got to read that. Then i found this vid of some from a different church and culture. It is not always easy to accept them but they are believers too, arent they.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Interesting video! And in answer to your question, yes.