Matthew West has a real cool song called “Hello, My Name Is”; the chorus begins with this: “Hello, my name is child of the one true King”.
It’s a great song, but it exemplifies a poor choice in interpretation. It would be better to say: “Hello, my name is brother of the one true King” and here’s why:
Romans 8:29 (ESV) – “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
If you’re familiar with the R2 site you know that we tend to recommend against elevating Paul’s letters to equivalence with the very words of Jesus, Despite that we also tend to advocate for recognizing that Paul’s teachings are incredibly important and here is a prime example of why. While Jesus consistently said that He was one with God (the Father) He never referred to Himself as father, but kept God’s role as Father distinct. He instead referred to Himself as son (Mark 2:10, Matt 22:42, 24:30… many many more). This is a very fine line, but the Bible is full of fine lines. So whether you prefer the orthodox all-scripture-is-God-breathed-including-the-letters-Paul-wrote-in-which-he-states-such or take a similar approach to myself, you should probably land on the same conclusion. Jesus does not want us to refer to ourselves as His sons, but rather as His brothers.
It is also orthodox that Jesus is the King of Kings. Yet He insists on calling us brothers. This is an important aspect of the existence of R2. We believe that we are taught by Jesus that we are to grow into a confidence similar to what C.S. Lewis communicates in his Narnia series. That we are “kings and queens” not worms! Worm theology has gotten old even in orthodox circles.
1 John 2:27 (NIV) – “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.”
Again, I love this song and the point Matt is making, however we really should move away from the false humility that led orthodox teaching to this point. It is GOOD Pride that leads us to proclaim that Jesus is our Brother and our King!
Jesus is our King and eldest brother but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all His cherished siblings. So next time you hear that song please take it a little further and realize that in this lifetime we lay claim to brotherhood with Christ. If it were arrogant to say such would Paul have really said this?:
2 Corinthians 10:8 – “So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it.”
Well, given that Paul isn’t Jesus then perhaps it could be arrogance, but I think it’s just good pride. Confidence that is given to us by our Brother King Jesus! Please read the Bible and decide for yourself this matter, because there is a lot of evidence that we have been misled by tradition in an attempt to appear humble.