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May 12, 2011


Fighting Like Brothers (Round 2)

In my last post, I talked about how some Christians fight brothers as if they were enemies. This time, I want to talk about fighting as brothers, rather than with brothers.

Sometimes brothers fight. No sense denying it. And sometimes a fight needs to happen. No sense denying that either. But when so-called brothers launch atomic bombs over preferential issues, like whether to wear a tie when you preach, or whether you project lyrics up on a screen, they are not behaving like brothers.

The only person who deserves that kind of malice in the spiritual realm is Satan. The gates of hell deserve a missile strike from a group of unified brothers. That will never happen, however, if we don’t realize that differences are normal but divisiveness is devilish. If I understand anything from Romans 14, it’s that the welfare of true brothers is more important than peripheral issues.

In Proverbs 17:17, scripture says. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Growing up, I wisely presented this verse as a proof text to my mom for why brothers are always fighting…because we are born for adversity. Yet my mom corrected my exegesis and reminded me that brothers are not born to cause each other adversity, but to support each other in adversity.

In Shakespeare’s Henry V, King Henry speaks of this need for brotherhood as he rallies his army against highly skilled French knights. In his “Saint Crispin’s Day” speech, Henry V speaks of brotherhood- and the need for a band of brothers.

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; 
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me 
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

It’s about time we swear an oath, a solemn promise that even though we may differ from our brothers, we will link arm-in-arm and stand together against the real enemy. 

This kind of camaraderie seems a bit foreign to us because our American culture is so individualistic — we are Baptists after all, amen? We could be well served, however, to capture a little of the camaraderie and unity found among the ancient Athenians.

I want you to read the oath Athenian men recited upon turning 17. Of course, we don’t agree with all the values it endorses, but if we had this kind of attitude toward our brothers in Christ, we would be unstoppable!

I will not disgrace my sacred arms nor desert my comrade, wherever
I am stationed.
I will fight for things sacred
And things profane.
And both alone and with all to help me.

Wow. If only we would all commit to not disgrace our ministry or desert our brothers, to fight for sound doctrine by ourselves or with an army, to leave the church, movement or network better than when we found it, and to honor the heritage of sound doctrine we have been given.

That would keep us very busy until we go home to be with Jesus — and there would be no time for silliness. We need brothers who will fight for their brothers marriages, fight for their brothers ministries, fight for their brothers children.

Will you fight for your brothers? Read Round 3

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  1. Fighting Like Brothers (Round 1) | Clayton Reed

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