Brethren Churches

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by UnderHisWings, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. UnderHisWings

    UnderHisWings
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    In my reading and studying, I have come across the group known as The Brethren sometimes. Some of the Brethren are called The Old German Baptist Brethren. My question is would we consider them to be our Baptist cousins (as it were.) Though we obviously would differ theologically, they would be similar to a Mennonite, do they in a loose way come under the catagory Baptist/Anabaptist?

    UHW
     
  2. rsr

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    Not in any loose way at all. The German Brethren were deeply influenced by Anabaptism and Pietism and in fact were known as Neue Täufer (New Baptists, as opposed to the "old" Anabaptists) in Germany. They often were known as Dunkers in the U.S.

    At their annual meeting in 1871, they adopted the name German Baptist Brethren.

    There are eight Brethren groups, ranging from a few hundred adherents to the largest, the Church of the Brethren with 135,000 members in the U.S. (Interestingly, it now has more members in Nigeria than the U.S. because of its missionary work.)

    The Church of the Brethren has an "associated relationship" with the American Baptist Churches USA; seven Brethren churches are full members of both groups.

    They believe in adult baptism by immersion and hold roughly the same view of Communion as American Baptists (though the procedure may be a bit different.) Perhaps the most noticeable difference might be that the Brethren have retained their belief in pacifism from the Mennonites (the English Baptist tradition has, by and large, not been pacifistic) and their emphasis on social work.
     
  3. UnderHisWings

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    Amen, rsr, I appreciate your response. I like to study the background of some of the "plain" groups. We have many friends that are Mennonite, Amish, and Brethren, and I am still finding out interesting things about these groups

    UHW
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    I only have one only quibble ecclesiasticly with these folks. I am given to understand they practice a (for lack of better wording) a three dunk forward into the water baptism. I am sufficently concerned that I would not accept such as a Biblical baptism without further explanation.
     
  5. Matt Black

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    Possibly following Matt 28:18-19, Keith: baptising "in the name of the Father (1) and of the Son (2) and of the Holy Spirit (3)". Certainly I know of Christians in South Africa who baptise tri-partitely in this way by full immersion; there the problem is with Oneness Pentecostalism and these Christians consider it heretical to immerse only once - to them it smacks of Oneness/ 'Jesus only' heresy.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    I know their basis for the practice. But historicaly here in the States, the standard has been a single immersion. We view it as pictureing the tri-unity of the Godhead ("In the name of..." not "In the names of..."). Not to mention, you only bury a corpse once not three times. The Oneness\Jesus Only heresy doesn't even enter the discussion here. I would not have thought of it until you mentioned it here.
     
  7. Circuitrider

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    If we base our belief and practice doctrinally upon passages such as Romans 6, we run into problems with triune baptism. The NT strongly emphasizes the singular death, burial and resurrection of Christ in passages such as Hebrews 10, so that multiple practice hurts the singular picture of the DBR of Christ. Jesus was teaching that baptism was in the name (singular) of the trinity and not the "names" as Squire noted. [​IMG]
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    UHW, I think among the Brethren churches, probably only the Old German BB and the Old Order German BB still qualify as "plain" groups. Here is a link to an article on various Brethren churches, with links that can be followed to details on specific ones:
    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brethren" target="_blank">
    Brethren Groups</a>

    Old German Baptists are part of the Schwarzenau (Germany) Brethren groups.
     
  9. UnderHisWings

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    Thanks, Bro. Vaughn. I appreciate the link.
    Bro. Ben
     
  10. Plain Old Bill

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    I read on the board in one of the forums today that some of the Brethren churches united with the Methodist church and are now called United Methodists. Is that true?
     
  11. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Plain Old Bill,

    It was the United Brethren, which is quite a different group from the Dunkers or German Baptist Brethren, which united with the United Methodist church. The German Baptist Brethren do not baptize infants; the United Brethren do.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  12. Mark Osgatharp

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    The Brethren originated with the scheme of Alexander Mack and his associates to restore New Testament Christianity in Germany in the early 1700s (1708 I think).

    They claimed to have examined all denominations known to them, including the Baptists, and found them all to be wanting. So they appointed one of their number to baptize Mr. Mack who in turn baptized the rest and a new denomination was born. The name of the man who baptized Mack was concealed lest he be charged with founding a new denomination - though that is exactly what he did

    Doctrinally they have a theology very similar to the Campbellites, believing in baptismal salvation and falling from grace. In addition, they are pacifists. Over the years they divided over various issues into The Church of the Brethren, The Brethren Church, and the German Baptists or Dunkards.

    The German Baptists retain the original doctrines of the Brethren. The Church of the Brethren and Brethren churches have been deeply influenced by modernism. In the mid-Atlantic states there are also many independent Brethren churches which have broken away from the older Brethren bodies over the issue of modernism.

    Also, there are some other groups of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage - such as the United Brethren and Brethren in Christ - who have a different origin from the "Brethren" bodies described above.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  13. Liz Ward

    Liz Ward
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    This all depends on which brethren you mean. There are indeed some out there who seem to be in mennonite territory. However here in the UK "brethren" would mean the "Plymouth brethren", which is a different group, characterised mainly by their utter refusal to accept any name at all.

    Liz
     
  14. Matt Black

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    Indeed. My wife is ex-PB, who are in turn split into Open Brethren (IMO virtually indistinguishable from Baptists as they have all the Baptist 'distinctives') and Exclusives, who range from the far-out Taylorites ('Jimmies') to more moderate but still strict Rentons, Frosts and Oxted groups (Oxted being the most moderate and OBs to all intents and purposes)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  15. Liz Ward

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    Speaking from experience of a year in the open brethren, i find them very different from baptists in terms of church practice. Brethren have:

    No pastor
    Unaccompanied singing only except perhaps in the Gospel meeting
    Absolute women's silence even in the midweek prayer meeting
    Women's heads covered in every meeting
    All men allowed to take part including teach and even preach
    And a major aversion to being called brethren!


    Liz
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Which Meeting were you at? The OB Meetings I've had experience of (Burgess Hill, Dorking and other places in the South-East) all have one 'leading Brother'; some Meetings refer to him as a pastor but even with those which do not, he is for all intents and purposes one. And at our Baptist Church, there are opportunities for many people to participate and even preach other than the minister; I've preached twice this year and hold no formal office or position in the church.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  17. Liz Ward

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    Ah Matt, the brethren I was in wouldn't accept the brethren you are talking about as brethren at all, even if they accepted the name brethren. You sound like you're talking about the kind of brethren that actually call themselves Evangelical churches (agh!!)

    I was in Carmarthen to start with, my husband was from Copnor (Portsmouth) and before that at ingliss road, Southsea, and after we married and moved to Yorshire we were at Skelmanthorpe, huddersfield. Carmarthen allowed non-members to take the bread and wine, as long as those non-members were baptised, the other two were entirely closed table. All had multiple eldership which really did seem to be genuine multiple eldership, and all the meetings I ever visited appeared to be the same.

    Liz
     
  18. Matt Black

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    Sounds more closed than Open to me!

    I started off professional life in Southsea and now work in Fareham but live in Titchfield Common; small world!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  19. Liz Ward

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    I think the preferred term is "tight". Closed is just a synonym for exclusive, isn't it?

    I don't know as much about it as my husband, he was in the brethren most of his life. Sadly, he left because i was so very unhappy there, and now he goes nowhere at all.

    Liz
     
  20. Squire Robertsson

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    sister Ward: Here in the States what you described are termed "close" (saved and baptized but not members of a given assembly) and closed (saved, baptized, and members of that given assembly).
     

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