Can those who teach institutionalism or liberalism be called brethren?
Can you please help me? I am a preacher of the gospel who is striving to teach and practice the truth. I respect the God-given work of the church and I do have a problem with churches doing what is not authorized in the Bible as far as using the church funds. Is it proper to call these folks in the "churches of Christ", who are in errors (e.g. institutionalism or liberalism)? Is it proper to call these folks Christians or brothers in error?
"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (II Thessalonians 3:13-15).
For the most part, those who have followed the path of liberalism and institutionalism still follow the elementary teachings of Christ. They still teach about hearing the word of God, having faith, repenting of sins, confessing Christ, and being baptized for the remission of sin. Since these things put a person into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27), they are brethren -- wayward brethren, but brethren nonetheless.
It is because they are brethren that we treat them with kindness and respect, but we do not associate with them while they hang on to their sinful teachings (II John 9-11; I Corinthians 5:9-13).