I'd appreciate your help with this rather personal question: My parents-in-law are Exclusive Brethren - not the Taylorite/' Jimmy' faction, although they grew up in that and split from them in 1970, but whilst they are not quite cult-like as the Jimmies are, they are still very 'tight' eg: they won't have fellowship with any Christians who are not from their own connexion of Meetings. Their own connexion, however, at least in its local manifestation, has dwindled due to splits (a perennial problem of the Exclusives), deaths and people leaving to such a point that their Meeting is becoming non-viable, and they are beginning to seek the Lord about what to do and where to go next. F-i-L recently has begun to speak with approval about Baptists, but this is more based on personal anecdotal evidence eg: a Godly Baptist teacher at college whom he once knew, rather than any real knowledge of what Baptists stand for. I can anticipate a number of stumbling blocks for them with regard to the Baptists, however, and would be grateful for any help you can give, with Scriptural citations wherever possible, to address these: 1. Autonomy/ independence of the local church. Both of them say this is without Scriptural warrant, Exclusives being connexional in their ecclesiology. They believe in the concept of a 'gathered people of God', as do the Baptists, but they also believe that such gatherings should be connected. 2. Soul liberty: again, they do not believe that believers are free to draw their own conclusions from Scripture. They (unlike the Jimmies) do not have any kind of 'Magisterium' dictating how they should interpret Scripture, but they do believe that all Christians in a particular connexion/ Meeting should be of one mind. They often cite the Scripture, "How can people walk together unless they are agreed." 3. Ordained ministers: Brethren have always been anti-clerical and my in-laws would have great difficulty with the idea of pastors and deacons. They would view NT references to the same as being part of 'that dispensation' ie: before the Bible was completed (much as they do the spiritual gifts), and 'not for today'. 4. Style of worship: I accept that this varies greatly from Baptist church to Baptist church but the Meetings are very informal with unaccompanied singing with each Brother choosing a hymn or Scripture verse and perhaps expounding on the latter, all 'as the Spirit leads'. They have three Meetings on a Sunday: the Breaking of Bread, which is their communion service; the Reading, which is more of an expository preaching by one of the Brothers on a chosen passage of Scripture; and 'the Gospel', which is their evangelistic evening Meeting to which the public are in theory invited although rarely attend and at which the Gospel is preached. At none of their Meetings are women allowed to speak or pray. Any suggestions?