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Question for thought...

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by eric m williams, May 18, 2015.

  1. If we do not call our physical flesh and blood siblings "Brother so & so" or "Sister so & so" then why do we call our siblings in the faith "Brother so & so", "Sister so & so", “Pastor so & so” etc…?

    Does doing so serve any beneficial purpose or does it lead to a segregation based on title rather than on Jesus based lives?

    Is it just another way of applying a title to ourselves to separate/elevate ourselves?

    Does doing so serve any beneficial purpose or does it lead to a segregation based on title rather than a separation based on Jesus centered lives?

    Have you ever given any thought to it in the past?
  2. Actually, it is not how I usually speak, even to those with which I commonly fellowship, but that is more a function of my personal experiences than anything else. I think I may be poorer for the lack.

    With our natural family, unless things have severely gone wrong, we know that each supports the other and wishes them well, even if we do not enjoy being in their presence.

    Using family terms when dealing with other Christians reminds us of the fundamental tie between us.

    A church family is not just a collection of individuals, or even a social club.

    A family member is someone that, if they come to you with a problem, you will care and try to give them aid according to the leading of the Spirit. A family member is someone you can go to when you have a problem and be confident that they will have your welfare at heart.

    I know that we often fall short of the ideal, but we should not give up.
    Juk likes this.
  3. This is quite an interesting question. Nice one! I would love to hear more from western culture perspective.. I come from India.. Though I live in US now, it has been only few years.. Culturally, I am still very much an Indian.. Things are quite different back there.. I have 2 elders brothers.. You know what I call them?
    Anna - Which means elder brother.. Raja Anna - Which means Raja elder brother. I just add name from my other brother to distinguish :) My native language is Tamil.. One common way we address elders back in India is Annachi. Which is nothing but brothers.. This is nothing to do with faith.. So it is a common cultural thing back in India to call flesh as brothers.. and also others as brothers.. So it is a natural thing to call fellow believers also as brothers and sisters..
    Cturtle likes this.
  4. Thanks to my time in the military, I've had some exposure to a fairly wide assortment of cultures from foreign nations and different areas of America (its a big place). I don't think what you describe is fairly common in a number of cultures.
    Even here I often call my sister Little Sister, and she often calls be Big Brother. That said, I never call her Little Sister Angela and she never calls me Big Brither Eric.

    I grew up in the southern baptist church and always heard members referred to with a title in addtion to thier name. Like many things we grow up with it never even occurred to me that it was something to be questioned even though I always heard it used in a pretty formal fashion and only for those within the same denomination.

    Here lately it just seems that most of the time (not always) these titles are used as sheer reflex to differentiate a person rather than with any love.
  5. We are RELATED by FAITH to the Lord Jesus Christ. You are related to your literal brother or siblings by BIRTH.

    When a man or a woman accepts Jesus as his or her Savior, they become children of God.
    Gal. 3:26............
    "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. "

    John 1:12......
    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. "

    Since all Christians are children of God by FAITH, that makes us brothers and sisters. We all have the same Father and are spiritually related to one another.

    We are encouraged in the Bible to continue to be close with our blood relatives as well as with our new spiritual family. The Bible specifically encourages us to love each other.
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.
  6. I do see your point.. That calling people with this title could bring a feeling of segregation.. I think all believers should be reminded that Lord did not command "Love your brothers and sisters as you love yourself". The commandment is "Love you neighbor as you love yourself". The title is a mere reminder that we all have same Father. And we all should have unity among ourselves :) Which we know is clearly lacking!!
    eric m williams likes this.
  7. I think it's a combination of all reasons already stated. Some use it as a means to segregate and some use it as a means to unite. Some even use it without thinking, out of tradition. Personally, I sometimes use it to remind myself that he/she is family or to acknowledge another person as such . I don't normally use these titles.
    Siloam likes this.
  8. ? I call my brothers by their names but in the third person I refer to them as brothers.
    Same with my sister and its the same with my church family.
    I dont call them brother....or sister...... I use their first names.

    I think of them as brothers and sisters though. Jesus did this..he just called Peter by his name, he didnt call him brother Peter.
    I dont know what your issue is. It might be a catholic thing. Nuns tend to be referred to as sisters. Monks as brothers. In nz culture, we fo refer to each other as bro or sis, without using first names. But thats kinda casual slang.
  9. Its not meant to be used to segregate others...its just a friendly, familiar term.
    Paul did write in his letters refering to fellow saints as brethren.
    Siloam likes this.
  10. Been thinking about this some more. This sure depends on what your meaning is.

    One possible meaning (that of addressing a believer one way and non believers another):

    As far as beneficial purpose, I do change many things if I am aware about the spiritual state of someone I am addressing. Regarding each other as brother or sister can help reinforce to myself how I relate to them. If they are a fellow believer, I have something in common that provides the nucleolus of our fellowship. If I am unaware of their spiritual state, I try to be a positive example and let them see Him thru my comportment. That way I may be a blessing, whatever their position in Christ.

    As far as segregation, I do think that it is not a bad thing to reinforce the relationship with other Christians, and although friendship with the unsaved is still a good thing that should be encouraged, the relationship and our responsibilities under the Lord are different.

    Acknowledging this distinction (which is a word I would rather use than segregation) is not meant to be a judgmental or negative thing.

    Another possible meaning (whether its use these terms among believers is beneficial)

    If your post is whether to use the honorific term (brother, sister, pastor, reverend, etc) whenever we address one another, I would fall back on simple courtesy, the formality of the occasion, and the common practice of the group. There are some congregations that use them whenever they speak of or to one another, there are some that do so in group announcements but revert to first name (or Mr -- if they do not feel on first name basis) when they speak individually.

    As for the use of terms related to church office (pastor, deacon, etc.), I do feel that in groups, the honorific of that office is common courtesy when others are present. When I was working and addressing my supervisor, I would use sir or Mr/Mrs Jones, while in private most preferred that I use their given name. This is not subservience in the sense of being of less value, but an acknowledgement of their leadership position.
  11. Hmm I seem to remember something about love thy brethren even as I have loved the brethren
  12. Respect and attempt of acknowledging them as a fellow Christian.
  13. Is it 1 John 4:20?
  14. Hi Ravindran,
    Here is two of the ones I was thinking about.
    1 John 3:23
    ... And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His son Jesus Christ. AND Love one another, AS He gave Us Commandment

    John 15:12
    ... This is my Commandment, That Ye Love one another as ( even as ) I have Loved You.

  15. I think we call each other brother to help us remember that we are a family.
    Mykuhl likes this.
  16. I call my blood sister, sister, and she me brother. But also my fellow Christians brother or sister, but sometimes also friend.
    Not sure about segregation based on title - if someone do not feel comfortable doing so, they should not.
    Nope, never given it a thought.
  17. Different churches have different customs.
    I think some say pastor so and so cos maybe theres lots of people in their church and some may have the same name.
  18. Though we are many we are one because we share in one loaf - that also speaks to unite us, and therefore, brothers and sisters.
    1 Cor 10:17
    Juk likes this.

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