Brotherly love 'is something far higher and deeper than church rambles and other organised friendship activities, useful as these may be,' writes the author. The great goal is philadelphia love, a New Testament term indicating 'a depth and tenacity of love equal to the love of a blood tie.'
Why is such a strong term used? What is the scope of mutual affection and loyalty, required in Scripture? When does love become inappropriate - even a vice? What obstructs and hinders brotherly love? And what are the steps we must take in order to promote and preserve it?
Here is an illuminating and searching treatment of a topic vital to the holiness and happiness of all Christians and churches.
Extract of booklet
The Lord’s objectives EVERY BELIEVER KNOWS that the Lord has particularly commanded and emphasised that His people love one another. Love for the brethren is said to be a basic sign or proof of Christian conversion. It is certainly essential if we are to please the Lord and walk in fellowship with Him.* Probably the most significant of the New Testament terms used for the mutual affection of believers is the Greek word philadelphia, meaning brotherly love or fraternal fondness. (This is used six times in the New Testament.) It is a profound and searching term which calls Christian people to strive for a level of friendship and supportiveness which will bring pleasure to the Lord, and great blessing upon themselves.
This is something far higher and deeper than church rambles and other organised ‘friendship’ activities, important and useful as these may be. Some churches focus considerable energy on such activities, but still experience much unhappiness and rancour, with many internal clashes and divisions. The secret of peace lies not so much in the promotion of social togetherness, as in having a right attitude of heart towards one another. This must be conscientiously cultivated by believers.
Philadelphia – brotherly love – appears in the command of Romans 12.10