The Christian Brotherhood and Heresy

     The Bible has much to say about its defenders and deniers.  The Christian Brotherhood has and will continue to be confronted by heretics, infidels, and unbelievers.
     The Brotherhood’s initial step in its strategy in dealing with heretics and infidels is to take a stand on their belief system.
     “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:13
     “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren…so stand fast in the Lord…”  Philippians 4:1
     “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”  Galatians 5:1
     The Brotherhood is encouraged to be bold in their stand as was Joshua when leading the Israelites into Canaan.
     “…Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9
      Such boldness was illustrated by Peter and John relative to speaking about Christ.
     “Now when they (Jewish leaders) saw the boldness of Peter and John…they marveled… ‘Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word…’”  Acts 4:13, 29
     “…And the high priest asked them, saying, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?  And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!’ But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”  Acts 5:28-29
     After taking the Biblical stand with boldness, the Brotherhood is to rebuke heresies. 
     The Apostle Paul addressed the issue boldly.
     “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! ….Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…and they will turn their ears away from the truth…”  2 Timothy 4:1-4
     One might think that the Brotherhood’s bold stand on Biblical teachings and rebuking those entwined in Biblical heresy would provoke enmity.  That is absolutely true, but the Bible is also very clear on how the Christian Brotherhood is to handle deniers i.e. Biblical enemies.
     “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad…for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12
     “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…”  Matthew 5:43-45
      Note again the confirmation of sonship for those adhering to Biblical teachings.  The Greek base for ‘love’ for one’s enemies in this passage is from agapao meaning to be concerned for one’s total wellbeing by accepting Biblical truths.  It definitely does not translate from the Greek phileo which is associated with sharing belief systems or having common interests.
     Therefore, while the Christian Brotherhood will be hated and derided for their stand, they are to love those who persecute them by living exemplary lives in the midst of their enemies, thereby, reflecting their faith.  The persecutors will experience justice in due time.
     “…since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord …”  2 Thessalonians 1:6-10a
     There will be times when the Christian Brotherhood will be tempted to exact justice in the current age; however, Christians are never to be incited to violence against those who hate them.

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