Hymn Story: They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love
They’ll Know We Are Christians is a short chorus which reminds us to show God’s love. Father Peter Scholtes was inspired in the 1960s by John 13:35. He wrote the song for an ecumenical event.
Hymnary.org says: “At the time, he was leading a youth choir out of the church basement and was looking for an appropriate song for a series of ecumenical, interracial events. When he couldn’t find such a song, he wrote the now-famous hymn in a single day.”
The title paraphrases how Christians in the early church were described: “Behold, how they love one another.”
By the 1980s, Father Scholtes had left the priesthood and gone into business management and became an author of The Team Handbook and The Leader Handbook.
The song has been recorded by various recording artists including Jars of Clay, Rebecca St. James, Lydia Walker, and For King & Country.
The song was also featured in the opening of the Christian movie “A Distant Thunder.”