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Intensely felt, openly demonstrated love between manly men of God - who wouldn't want to be a part of that?  Three ways to create that culture in our churches:

One, "Outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10).  No flippant put-downs.  No undercutting.  Not even waiting for the next guy to make the first move.  But me getting out of my self-concern to lift the next man up with high honor.  Doing this verbally, unashamedly.

Two, "Bear with one another" (Colossians 3:13).  Not trying to change one another.  Who appointed us to that role?  Our privilege is to bear with one another's "weaknesses and oddities, which are such a trial to our patience, . . . to break through to the point where we take joy in [the other man's quirkiness]" (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, page 101).

Three, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up" (Ephesians 4:29).  Nothing could be more unAmerican than denying ourselves our right of free speech.  Men of God filter every word by a higher standard.  Even if the words wanting to come out of my mouth are factually true, the real question is, Are my words positively helping the man listening?

Manly men of God loving one another intensely and openly are a life-enriching social environment.

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17 thoughts on “Brothers together in Christ”

  1. Ephrem Hagos says:

    Commendable as “intensely felt, openly demonstrated love between manly men of God” may be, there is a far greater cry for help among Christian spouses devoid of indivisible unity in Christ as a consequence of general lack of given, firsthand and personal knowledge of Christ synonymous with the church, i.e., “a deep secret truth” (Gen. 2: 7-25; Matt. 16: 13-28; Eph. 5: 21-33).

  2. Jeff Kimble says:

    I was genuinely moved by this post. I know a number of men like this and their Christian love and example continually inspire me.

  3. Andrew DePue says:

    I like your ideas, but I believe you’ve missed the biggest one altogether! Look at that “band of brothers” in the picture you posted. What do you notice? They are wearing their warrior uniforms, ready to fight their common enemy together. For us, that enemy is sin and the principalities of darkness that are arrayed against our soul. Of course, Paul talks about our warrior uniforms in Eph. 6:10-18, and the scriptures are loaded with exhortation to fight alongside each other. We get this so wrong in so many churches these days. We put on our smiles and Sunday best before going to church. “How are you?” our brother asks. “I’m good!” we respond, too afraid to mention the battle against lust we seem to be slowly losing. I think of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. He does the impossible and brings Lazarus back with a word – He could have also simply spoken something along the lines of, “Lazarus, be clean! And free from your bonds!” Yet, Jesus turned to those standing around Him and said, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Those disciples had to get their hands dirty and help Lazarus out of his smelly bonds.
    I love being part of a body that is serious about fighting sin together. A body where we are safe to be open about our sin and struggles, and where we band together to fight. I’ve been especially helped by those warriors with more years of experience, who have fought these same enemies before and can tell me the tactics that worked for them. You want to foster an atmosphere of a deep sense of brotherhood in Christ? Manly love of the warrior sort? Fight sin together, and be sure to do all the things mentioned in this blog post. :)
    I’ll leave you with a link to an article that describes the sort of environment I’m talking about. I don’t know anything about this church or pastor other than what’s in the article, but it is inspiring nonetheless:

    1. Scott Youngman says:


      You might be interested in Fight Clubs (not the movie, but for believers to fight sin together). Here’s a link to get started:

  4. Bob McCoy says:

    That is a great article. Our churches would be transformed if the men could grab hold of just these three principles.

  5. Ken says:

    Thanks for posting this. I was watching Band of Brothers for the umpteenth time again over Thanksgiving and it always moves me how these men sacrificed for each other.

    The camaraderie was so rich amongst them despite being in some of the most depressingly, dark days of their lives.

    I believe that’s one aspect of fellowship that needs to be stressed.

    We are not meant to go through this life alone.

  6. TL says:

    Sounds great. Now if only these attitudes could be spread throughout the whole body of Christ between men, between women and between men and women.

  7. Ryan says:

    This is a great, to-the-point post. Love it.

    And TL – follow what God has said as shown by Ray and pray for and encourage other men to do the same!

  8. abe says:

    Fight sin and the enemy together. After praying together, go out and shoot the enemy together.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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