The Brethren Church

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Terry_Herrington, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
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    I'm curious. There is a Brethren church close to my house. I have never even talked to someone of this denomination, and I was wondering what they believe. Do any here know anything about them?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Terry, there are a number of churches that call themselves, Brethren,,,including the Mennonite Brethren and the Plymouth Brethren....Both are sound denominations with a few peculiarities. Find out which "Brethren" church they are and go from there.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Hope of Glory

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    My experience is that they run the gamut just as Baptist churches do. Some that I've seen are almost like conservative Baptist churches, while others are way out there.
     
  4. gtbuzzarp

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    I was in the Church of the Brethren for many years, both parents are ordained Brethren pastors. While there are a variety of "Brethren" I think the Church of the Brethren is the largest one bearing the name. (there are also Brethern (flip the e and r)

    Theologically I would say they are similar to Mennonite, I would call them "liberal" Mennonites. A Brethren beard is the same as Mennonite or Amish beard. Brethren are "pacifists". While individual members may serve, or have served in the military, they are against all war.

    Not that this matters, but they will not post any flag in the sanctuary.

    In reading some literature my mother has, I would say they confuse salvation with sanctification. They consider it arrogant to save you are "saved". (Not every Brethren would say that, but official church papers do). They also take "do not judge lest ye be judge" to the point where "who are we to say that Islam, Hinduism (etc) is wrong...because the Bible says do not judge" (can't tell you how many times I heard that).

    They do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture because it was written by error-prone man.

    Once a pastor leaves or retires from a church, they are not to have any involvement or contact with that church. The intent being so that the congregation will not continue to look to the previous pastor, but the current one.

    For strengths, I would say they are very service oriented. One thing I miss are the Maundy-Thursday services (or "footwashing" services). My wife and I incorporated that into our wedding. They also generally promote from within. Sr pastors are generally replaced by associate pastors.

    They baptize by immersion 3 times forward. (Father -dunk-Son-dunk-Holy Spirit-dunk)


    Their one seminary is in Richmond, IN and is on the campus of a Quaker college. Theologically they are similar to Quaker too. But more "liberal".

    I think they have 8 colleges/universities in the US. The churches are predominantly found in the Midwest I believe.

    I may be wrong about this, but I think they have roots in PA. On a youth trip one time we visited a placed called Eftrata Cloisters (sp?) which was a small German religious community that I thought was sort of a birthplace of the CoB, but I might be wrong about that.

    Hmm...what else....

    Official Church Website:
    http://www.brethren.org/
     
    #4 gtbuzzarp, Jun 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2006
  5. Ciela

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    Hi Terry,

    There are quite a few Brethren churches--some are similiar to eachother--some aren't related in any way either in history or practice. "The Brethren Church" is not related to "The Plymouth Brethren" historically.

    I attend a Gospel Hall in my area, which historically is linked to the Plymouth Brethren (a Christian reformist, nonconformist movement starting in the 1800's in Scotland, Ireland, and England). Much like there are many different types of Baptist, there are many different types of Brethren churches.

    The church I attend is called a Gospel Hall. It is called that because it is a building where the gospel is preached.

    We do not elect or hire one pastor, but have a plurality of several recognized, responsible elders.

    Our beliefs are extremely similiar to the Baptists in general--

    That God is the Creator of all things
    the Trinity,
    infallibility of Scriptures,
    to not neglect assembling together with other believers
    salvation through faith in Christ alone,
    Heaven and Hell, judgement and reward
    To remember the Lord by the wine and bread until He comes

    to name a few.

    In Gospel Halls throughout the world, the women cover their heads when in church, dress modestly (although there are no rules as to what we wear), and do not preach or teach in church, but worship silently. The men do not cover their heads in church. The men also have short hair and the women have long hair.

    Some Gospel Halls have only congregational singing, and some have musical accompaniment.

    Perhaps we are similiar to the Fundamental Baptists, although I don't know for sure. We do pray using thee's and thou's generally and use the King James Version for all services, but I have never heard "King James Only" preached as doctrine--ever.

    Missions are very important and missionaries are sent all over the world. I spent my teenage years in Russia with my family; my father is a retired teacher-turned missionary. He attended a Baptist university (Bob Jones) and only had good things to say about his experience there.

    That is my woefully inadequate attempt to explain the Plymouth Brethren part of evangelical Christianity. :)

    Ciela
     
    #5 Ciela, Jun 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2006
  6. Eliyahu

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    Brethren

    Ciela,
    I am glad to meet you here. I attend a Gospel Chapel near Toronto.

    GTBuzzarp,
    You may be talking about Church of Brethren which is different from Plymouth Brethren. Plymouth Brethren has No Pastors.

    There are several groups whose title includes Brethren. Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Moravian Brethren, Church of Brethren, and so on.

    As far as I know, Mennonites and Plymouth Brethren have been among these groups. Historically there have been Brethren all the time which called themselves Brethren, i.e., Bohemian Brethren, West Deutsche Bruder Gemeinde, Bogomil, etc.

    Actually we have a saying that if anyone says she or he is a Plymouth Brethren, she or he is no longer Plymouth Brethren because PB denies any denomination according to 1 Cor 1:12-17, but outsiders call this group as Plymouth Brethren for convenience.

    Plymouth Brethren movement started around 1827, initiated by John Nelson Darby, and Anthony Groves, Robert Anderson, George Muller participated there. The famous commentator for the Moses Pentateuch, CH McIntosh, Hymn Writer for "What a friend we have in Jesus!" Joe Scrivener, Hudson Taylor of China Inland Missionary, David Livingstone the African Explorer, Hymn Writer Robert Chapman, Hymn Writer James Deck, were among the famous Plymouth Brethren. I am sure CI Scofield was greatly influenced by PB even though he may not have participated there entirely. Harry Ironside spent the most of his life either with PB or close to PB even while he worked for Moody's Memorial church. George Muller was famous for his prayers answered by God.
    Arthur Farstad was the chair of the translation committee for New King James Version while he served in Dallas Th Seminary and was PB.
    JN Darby translated Bible from original languages into English, German, French and New Testament into Italian.

    PB has spread throughout the world, covering almost all the countries in the world during the short period of 180 years. From our single church 5 families are on mission to Africa, South America, Ireland, etc. now.

    PB may be very similar to Fundamental Baptists or even stricter than FB in doctrines, such Trinity or Baptism, Salvation, etc. But in practices, PB is quite outstanding among the protestant churches.

    -PB identify the Born-Again believers only after individual testimony and hearing and questionings.

    - perform the Baptism only after the confirmation of Salvation, Being Born Again.

    - Baptism is only by immersion, not by sprinkling water.

    - Weekly Lord's Supper, where there is no priest but the Born-Again believers participate as equally invited by the Lord, where each member give thanks and praise, and pray to the Lord.

    - There is no pastor, Multiple Elders administer the church but they are also called as " Brothers"

    - Pulpit is not monopolized by any group or by any clergy.
    So, young people have the chances to preach from time to time according to the guidance of Holy Spirit.

    - Women believers wear Head Coverings according to 1 Cor 11:1-16

    - Members carry the letter of commendation when they travel and visit other churches, and submit it to the church visited, as we read Romans 16:1, 2 Cor 3:1

    - Discipline is performed on any misconduct.


    The Best way to know about them is to visit there once or twice.
     
    #6 Eliyahu, Jun 20, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2006
  7. Joseph M. Smith

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    At one time the Church of the Brethren, if that is the group you are asking about, had a close tie with American Baptist Churches, USA, sharing some publications and other efforts. I think there may also have been talk about a merger, but it did not happen. The Church of the Brethren is one of the historic "peace" churches, which would not be acceptable to many Baptists.

    There was also at one time a denomination called "Evangelical United Brethren", which merged with the Methodist Church in the 1960's to form the United Methodist Church. (A Methodist pastor friend of mine complained that they selected the weakest word of the name for the merged name .. he would have preferred Evangelical Methodist or Methodist Brethren).

    One respondent commented about the roots of this church in Pennsylvania, and that is correct. Interesting that a number of German pietist groups took hold there ... including yet another we have not mentioned, the Moravians.
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Eliyahu,
    Along with your list of great PB scholars, do not forget the late, Dr. F.F. Bruce. He grew up in a PB Gospel Hall in England.

    When I first left Anglican public school (private boy's school) I attended a PB assembly in London and switched to the British Baptist Union because I desired to enter the ministry.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Ciela

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    Eliyahu,

    Thank you for the much more thorough explanation.

    We had a preacher once who went over in detail Christian history from the various Reformation movements--great reformations and revivals all over in Europe and U.S. history, even India (where there is a huge number of Gospel Halls today. It was tremendously fascinating and gave me a great appreciation for what Christians from various gospel-preaching denominations went through in standing up for the Word of God.

    Ciela
     
  10. Matt Black

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    Depends which type of Brethren you mean...

    If you mean the (Plymouth) Brethren which started with J N Darby in the 1820s, they split about 20 years later into Open Brethren (OBs, who opened the communion table to all Christians, ass. with Muller) and Exclusive Brethren or EBs, ass. with Darby initially but then with J B Stoney, & F E Raven. Pre-millenial dispensationalist in eschatology, fundamentalist with tinges of gnosticism in theology, anti-clerical in ecclesiology.

    OBs I don't know much aboutalthough Mrs B's uncles are in them. They are the closest to Baptists as they hace congregational autonomy (which, as with Baptists, means that practices and theology varies from congregation to congregation; some eg: practise infant baptism,others believers' only).

    The EBs I know more about - Mrs B's parents are in them. The EBs carried on splitting much the same as other fundamentalist groups did and do: in F E Raven's day IIRC, there was the Glanton split amongst others. The non-Glanton EBs were then led by C A Coates and James Taylor Snr up to the 1950s. When J T Snr died, after a power struggle, his son, J T Jnr took over and his leadership was authoritarian; in the 1960s consequently his branch of the EBs became increasingly cultish, with eg: TV and pets being banned, members could only live in detached houses and work for other Taylorite EBs.

    Matters came to a head for the Taylorite EBs as they were by then in 1970 in the notorious 'Aberdeen Incident'. where it was alleged that J T Jnr was caught in bed with another brother's wife. The Taylorites split over this, the majority sticking with Taylor (they are now known somewhat pejoratively as 'Jimmies' after Taylor's first name) but a significant minority left and formed their own group called Renton (after the guy who led it) in the UK which was basically 'Taylorite-lite' in theology ie: what things were like before the 1950s and 1960s. Renton in turn suffered loss in c1973 when some of them left to form a slightly more liberal group called the Frosts. The Frosts split in the late 80s into Soft Frosts and Hard Frosts (over issues such as whether BBQs were worldly(!)), and the Hard Frosts have recently split into 2 groups. Mrs Bs parents are in one of the Hard Frost groups, and they practise household (ie: infant) Baptism

    Sorry for the rather disorganised post; is there anything in particular people would like to know?
     
  11. Ciela

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    Brethren here,
    And brethren there,
    There are brethren everywhere!

    No kidding. :laugh:

    I was looking in the paper the other day in the church advertisement section and marveled at the sheer number of churches--all with different names. It made me wonder if I let my church define/confine who I am, if I let my church be an inpenetrable wall, or if I let Christ be a bridge between myself and other believers. I keep thinking ahead--we'll be in Heaven together--an even plane.

    I went to a baby shower held in the basement of a Baptist church, and immediately felt at home with the other women there. As one of the women prayed before the snack, I was so happy to be there with them I almost cried because I hadn't realize how many Christians lived in my town. There is a common ground that born-again Christians have that is palpable and wonderful.

    A Baptist couple recently attended one of our gospel meetings, and commented that it was "straight old time preaching", and I am guessing then that Gospel Halls in belief are probably quite similiar to the Baptists. Which Baptists? I don't know for sure--there are so many. :)

    Ciela
     
  12. rsr

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    The merger hasn't happened, and I don't consider it likely given the current turmoil within the ABC-USA. However, the Church of the Brethren are still "associated" with the ABC-USA, and some churches have dual affiliation (and some have affiliation with the United Churches of Christ.)

    It's really difficult, Terry, to say too much about the Brethren church you're referencing without knowing which branch it belongs to.

    The Church of the Brethren originated in Germany in 1708; it is the largest modern American representative of the movement, which grew out of the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions. (Its Nigerian membership now exceeds its American membership, BTW.)

    The Brethren Church (Ashland) is more conservative and smaller, as is The Grace Brethren, both of which are results of splits in the Brethren movement that originated in Germany.

    The United Brethren in Christ arose from a bit different circumstance, having been formed under the influence of a German Reformed and a Mennonite pastor during the Great Awakening. The larger portion of the movement became the [FONT=ARIAL, HELVETICA]Church of the United Brethren in Christ, which merged with the Evangelical Church in 1946 to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and the EUBC merged with the Methodists in 1968.

    The Moravian Brethren trace their lineage to followers of John Hus in the 15th century. The American Moravians are in full fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and discussions have also been broached with the Anglicans (at least as late as 2004) for a similar relationship.
    [/FONT]
     
    #12 rsr, Jun 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2006
  13. Eliyahu

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    eb & ob

    I don't know any of the people that you mentioned except JN Darby and Muller. You may be talking about another group.
    EB and OB are not so bad each other as you described.
    You may be blinded with false accusations. Check them in person by visiting and participating. Always there are much false accusations against the true believers, as it happened even against our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Moreover, we don't look at the people, but at God, following NT teachings exactly. If any group of the people or church deviated from teachings of Bible, they are no longer faithful with God, no longer the assembly faithful with Lord Jesus. In such case the whole congregation may be excommunicated. Such happened even in our city, Mississauga, Ontario as one church is running on apostasy with mono- Pastor system, singing on stage, accepting people without testimony etc. Apostasy is not new, even Paul warned the elders of Ephesus,Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
    " even among you, there will arise some who will lead people to follow themselves" ( Acts 20:30)

    As I mentioned there have been so many great believers among PB during the short period of 180 years. Currently, we have some great brethren like William McDonald who wrote so many books, German writer Erich Sauer, RE Harlow in Canada, though both of them were called by the Lord.
     
  14. Eliyahu

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    fellowship

    That's why we have to distinguish our local church life and the Heavenly Universal Church. Roman Catholic call it as "Catholic" Church, but such concept is rather secular and common religion concept which can attract many pagan religion and in fact is well accepted by many pagan people.
    We must be strict for ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ. But we may notice many true believers who are not strictly faithful with the Bible teachings as we are, even though they were born again and will participate in the Kingdom of God. I would say they are still in the Heavenly Universal Church which have been spiritually formed by the broken body of Christ, though they are not in fellowship with the Beloved Assembly of Christ faithful with New Testament teachings.
    I would be quite generous with Bible Baptists, Calvary Baptists, some fundamental Baptists, Some Wesleyan church, and so on.

    The minimum and essential requirements for the fellowship is "Being Born Again in Jesus Christ"
     
    #14 Eliyahu, Jun 21, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  15. Matt Black

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    I would guess then Eliyahu that you're OB; all the other names and groups I've cited have been EB
     
  16. Jim1999

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    What about ANglicans who faithfully put forth the the faith once delivered to the saints? Have you even considered how many doctrinally sound books were written by Anglicans down through the ages? It was Anglicans defending the faith when British Baptists were nowhere in sight.

    Sorry, Eliyahu, I think you have a great shock coming your way one day.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Eliyahu

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    Eb & Ob

    I attend Gospel Chapel which is Open fellowship, but still have good fellowship with Gospel Halls which is so called Exclusive Brethren.

    I even doubt that those people you mentioned were among EB's because I have not heard about them and there are many other "Brethren" other than Plymouth Brethren. Sometimes some people who were excommunicated from PB deface PB's

    Watchman Nee was a PB, but departed from PB. He remained in good doctrine in general afterwards. But there are many people who departed from PB and then form a strange group forming denominations with clergy system.

    Many people among OB have relatives in EB and they are not so far each other.
     
  18. Matt Black

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    Except, Jim, that the Anglican Church only came into being in 1534, only 75 years or thereabouts before the Baptists came on the scene - so the same point applies to them - who was 'defending the faith' before 1534?
     
  19. mcdirector

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    I have a friend who grew up Brethren. She thinks I'm a flaming liberal. As far as Baptists go, I am pretty conservative.
     
  20. Matt Black

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    Oh, I don't know - your headcovering looks pretty good from a Brethren POV in your photo!
     

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