This question may well be on our lips.  The implication, of course, is that there is a scarcity or an absence of brotherly love somewhere and involving someone.  This seems rather general, but the appalling lack of Christian brotherly love is just as general.  This is no surprise in the world of today, but in the Church the situation is more than bad.

We all know what brotherly love is, or should be.  It should not be necessary for us to get out our dictionary or to consult the Scriptures for a definition, as this is not a new concept, nor is it a remote, seldom needed Christian philosophy.  Apart from the positive, we also must be able to recognize the negative side; or the lack of brotherly love.  This lack of brotherly love can simply be defined as ungodly hate.

“Well, I don’t think this applies to me or my church,” some of us may sniff, quickly donning our holier-than-thou cloak.  Don’t be so sure.  Don’t think for a minute that we as individuals, or we as Protestant Reformed Churches are so perfectly observant of Christian brotherly love.  Sadly enough, it seems too often the opposite is true.

Granted, there will always be disagreements between individuals.  This is not unusual nor is it necessarily unhealthy.  Disagreement, ecclesiastical or otherwise, can often lead to fuller understanding, and quite often will serve to break us out of our lethargy.  But, when we do have differences of opinion, must we resort to bare knuckles, mud-slinging and innuendos?

Certainly—when we are convinced of a certain truth; have faith that it is God’s will and way we must stand firm, but this is no excuse to show hatred for the disagreeing brother, but rather Christian brotherly love.  Let’s not be so quick to throw stones or pull the trigger.  We sometimes seem so ready to snarl offensively; to impulsively draw our sword and cut off the opponent’s ear.

This situation is not found exclusively among the rank and file church members, either.  Sometimes our leaders and members of our governing bodies seem to forget the concept of brotherly love entirely and exchange hasty words and bitter charges in the midst of heated debate.  This is very noticeable in most cases because it is usually done publicly and even in writing.

But we ourselves, as ordinary church members, are just as guilty, probably much more so.  Our actions are not generally so public and are more likely to pass unnoticed.  It seems so easy to say something derogatory about another person, or to imply or use innuendo.  We sometimes seem so eager to pass along information or send a little “harmless” story on its way.  We think nothing of sitting at the telephone for hours, discussing others and their personal affairs.  This is nothing but clear gossip and slander!  Could this be our favorite pastime?  Don’t you think that it’s about time we started tending to our own business, or better still, to the Lord’s work?

Our churches are passing through trying and troubled times, as we all can experience.  This is a time for brotherly unity when we should reveal our oneness in Christ, and not a time for division among the ranks because of personalities, petty differences and touchy tempers.

Whose side are we on?  After all, we are helping no one but the Devil in his evil work when we fight among ourselves unnecessarily, resorting to slander and gossip.  We must not forget that the main objective of the Devil is to weaken and destroy the Church of Christ and its members.  What better way could he use than to enlist the aid of the church members themselves, to spread hatred, distrust, envy and strife among their brethren.  Let’s stop this onslaught of the Devil with an effective weapon:  Christian brotherly love.

Let each of us examine his own life.  Are we quick to take offence, call each other names, make rash statements or accusations?  Are we easily provoked to anger, do we gossip about the brother or sister, do we easily judge the other person or group?  We all are guilty to one degree or another.  Let us constantly bear in mind our own sins, and remember that we, as individuals and as a church, are no better than anyone else, and but for the grace of God, can expect eternal death.

What happened to brotherly love?  Is it passé, old fashioned, unimportant; for others to exercise and not for us?  On the contrary.  Is it lacking in us?  Evidences point to the affirmative.

Let us fervently pray God that He will grant us the grace to exercise Christian brotherly love and understanding in all our dealings with one another, and to reflect the love of Christ, our Savior, in all our walks of life.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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