I don’t know what Oprah said, and I don’t especially care. But I do appreciate Scot McKnight’s defense of the propriety (theologically, biblically, and pastorally) of conceiving of Jesus as “Brother.”
But I would like to defend the importance of seeing Jesus as Brother, even if “Brother” is not a sufficient or adequate christology.
First, she was a young child when she said this and was coming to terms with relations and faith. Children think things like this. I found her sentiments entirely appropriate for a child and the way we would want our children to think.
Second, she thought like this because she didn’t have a father in her life and that’s where pastoral theology enters. We should see in her statements something about how God steps in our lives, in part, to fill up what is lacking.
Third, in the Bible and in the history of the church many have found a theological anchor in Brother-hood with Jesus as a place from which we can pursue some themes. To call Jesus brother is to acknowledge his humanity not to deny his deity; if one think he’s only a brother, then brother is inadequate. But his fellowship with us, his “friendship” with us (Luke 12:4), can be legitimately called brotherhood at some level.