Love the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17). #1. “Which Brotherhood?”

Love the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17). #1. “Which Brotherhood?”

It came as no surprise to me when I met members of the Church of Christ that they spoke of themselves as “The Lord’s Church.” I didn’t miss the fact that they considered their collection of congregations as “The Restoration Movement”—for they often spoke of it. This was a Brotherhood of Believers trying to restore the church to its New Testament roots. I bought into it then, and I am still totally invested in it now.

I may have been young, but I wasn’t naïve. Within twelve months I knew enough to know that some individuals, and even whole congregations, accused their brethren of believing that “the churches of Christ are the only ones going to heaven.” Of course, this was a mischaracterisation of the beliefs of the churches of Christ. They believed then, as they do now, that The Church of Christ is made up of people who obey the Gospel call:

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

So naturally, like-minded believers would seek the fellowship of each other, and those of differing views would not.

Since then, of course, many buildings with the name, ‘Church of Christ,’ over their doors consider themselves as part of ‘The Wider Christian Family of Believers’; A Universal Brotherhood. This, as they say, is a ‘nonsense.’ Everyone has their lists of those who are ‘in’ and those who are ‘out’ of their sphere of fellowship.

Thus, the only true Universal Brotherhood can be the church of Christ as presented in the New Testament.

Those who still strive for the unity that God desires look for hope and inspiration in these words from Jesus’ prayer:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21).

John Staiger


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