Christian Unity
John 17: 21a May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. (HCSB)


The current, official version of this blog is located at For now, I am keeping this copy of the site online also, since so many google searches land here.

Monday, November 27, 2006
  Who Is My Brother: Universal Fellowship
I am continuing to read Who Is My Brother by F. Lagard Smith. In my previous post I talked about Part 1, The Quiet Revolution. Part 2 of the book is titled Fivefold Fellowship. This section is loaded with deep thinking on questions that relate directly to Christian Unity. These issues are too important to be addressed superficially in a single post. So I will be posting an article on each of the five levels of fellowship, beginning now with Universal Fellowship--The Family of Man.
Deu 23:7 Do not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. Do not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as an alien in his country.
Mat 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
There is a sense in which we are brothers with every person created in the image of God. As Smith says,
We rake leaves together, work in polling stations together, participate in condominium associations together, and join forces in the local Neighborhood Watch. By and large it doesn't seem to matter if they are divorced and remarried unbiblically, or knock back a six-pack while watching the Super Bowl, or subscribe to Playboy. When it comes time for the 4th of July community barbecue, we plop ourselves right down next to them and have a hearty laugh together about the latest neighborhood happenings. [p. 89]
When people are struck by a tsunami, a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, or any other tragedy, our hearts go out to them. We do not first consider whether the survivors share our understanding of scripture, or have even heard it. We show compassion because we are all in this together. It could just as easily have been us instead of them.

A Christian is to love his neighbor as himself (even if that neighbor is a total stranger).

Of course Universal Fellowship does not imply that we accept everyone as a Christian. Perhaps when we meet with Christians on Sunday, we talk about how our neighbor is headed straight for eternal punishment. Do we then return home to watch a football game with that neighbor, without ever mentioning the matter about eternity? If so, maybe we have forgotten that we are in this thing together. We have forgotten our universal brotherhood.


While Universal Fellowship may not imply that everyone is acceptable as a child of God, it certainly doesn't imply that unless you believe exactly as I do your lost, as some groups have judged.

Too often I have seen those who profess to be Christians turn their backs to those who don't share the same wording on the "church sign," or fail in some other way to meet standards that are often only traditional, with no scriptural support other than their own private interpretations.

Who is my brother? Those who believe in Jesus, and strive to follow Him. We may differ in many ways, but only God knows a persons heart, so I had rather err on the side of acceptance than refusing to fellowship someone God deems His child.
I have the same issues that you mention concerning baptized Christians whose conduct and godliness are eclipsed by people who believe in Jesus, but haven't been baptized "correctly".

I completely agree with Anon's statement that who I consider my brother are "those who believe in Jesus, and strive to follow Him. We may differ in many ways, but only God knows a persons heart, so I had rather err on the side of acceptance than refusing to fellowship someone God deems His child."

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Name: Alan Rouse
Home: Georgia, United States
About Me: I've been a Christian since being baptized in 1976 at the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ in Raleigh, NC. I currently serve as an elder in the Atlanta Church of Christ in Gwinnett. You can email me at blogger[at]rouses[dot]net About my beliefs
See my complete profile

Locations of visitors to this page