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"These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."   1 Timothy 3:14-15  NKJV

   IHS-WA.net       Brethren History

 

         

          Also view 'A History of the

          Christian Brethren in Western Australia' 

         

 

A Brief History of the Brethren - Open (Christian / Plymouth) and Exclusives

 

(Ed. Note: I have often heard the criticism that the "Brethren" have been split by divisions and breakaways over the years, much more so than any other denomination, which has played at the back of my mind in my 40+ years since my conversion and joining the Christian Brethren. How ignorant of the truth I was since coming across this short history article by Ian McDowell.

 

To see that in 185 years (as at 2011) of the Christian Brethren church they have remained firm to the original premise of the gathered church in 1826, and have had only 3 breakaways (in 1848 & 1883) which is astounding, and also had 4 returns to the fold. Almost all the splits and divisions have occurred to the Exclusives - NOT to the Open / Christian Brethren.

 

While the first 22 years is not classed as "Open" simply because there were no "Exclusives" at that time, they were indeed open to any true Christ follower wanting the freedom of open worship and fellowship, then Darby's group split from this stream to begin the "Exclusivists" line. The (Open) Christian Brethren church has maintained a faithful, strong and far reaching influence upon the wider New Testament church system than most people are aware of. The chart below shows the faithfulness and care of our amazing God to a people who love the truth of His precious Word, the Bible, and the fellowship of ALL believers in Christ, regardless of denominational background.)

 


 

A Brief History of the "Brethren" - Chart of Divisions

This simplified chart is based upon the one by Ian McDowell in his booklet, 'A Brief History of the Brethren'.

 


EXCERPT from - A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE (wider) “BRETHREN”


Booklet  F
OREWORD


Perhaps some will wonder whether it is worth while to spend time on what is, in part at least, “a rather depressing by-way of nineteenth-century church history in England”, to use words of Professor F. F. Bruce. One justification would be that it makes clear to the uninitiated that those “Brethren” whose vagaries have received such sad publicity in recent years are the successors of but one section of a great movement, and it is very wrong to identify all “Brethren” with them. Then for the “Brethren” themselves there are important lessons to learn, and the chief, as it seems to the writer, is the folly of putting too much emphasis on minor matters. If only the teaching of Romans 14 had been heeded, the history of assemblies might have been different. But it was not all dark. We believe that the “Brethren Movement” was a genuine work of the Holy Spirit. There was a great recovery of Biblical teaching concerning the unity of the Church, the coming of the Lord, the priesthood of all believers and the simplicity of local church gatherings. In addition there was enthusiasm for the preaching of the doctrines of grace and for missionary enterprise.

 

I need hardly say that the term “Brethren” is one that has always been refused as an official designation by those of whom Mr. McDowell writes. They have never claimed to be more than brethren “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (I Corinthians 1:2). A great Bible teacher among “Brethren” this century was C. F. Hogg, and one of his favourite verses was I Thessalonians 5:21, which he rendered: “Test all teachings; hold fast that which is good”. Those are wholesome words, for even among “Brethren” in these last days there is a tendency to follow the traditions of men rather than the Word of God. I trust that these notes will help the reader to see some of these traditions in their true light. I gladly commend this “Brief History”. It is an accurate study, the fruit of wide reading, careful thinking and much experience in assembly life. If the purpose of history is to shed light on present duty, it may help guide us to a true understanding of the Church and the Churches.


T. Carson, Sydney, Australia, 26th March, 1968.

 

Booklet  INTRODUCTION


The writer collated this brief history from sources in his possession. Most are difficult to obtain and scarcely less difficult to read; hence the value to readers of brief extracts which cover most if not all the essentials. He is ready at all times to receive additional books and pamphlets from interested friends. Notes of lectures given annually to second year students of the Emmaus Bible School in Sydney, Australia, form the history. The information in the notes helps the students to reconcile in their minds the apparent gap which they observe between the Bible basis and actual practice of local church order.

 

Their emotional stability increases and a positive approach to problems results. Members of Christian Brethren Assemblies in Sydney have attended the lectures with interest whenever opportunity has offered. Members of Assemblies generally have sustained a demand for copies of the lecture notes from year to year, and the present printing is in response to recommendations from them. May the events and lessons of this brief history divert our minds from less important issues to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ and to His Church in both universal and local forms as the hour of His return draws near. He is the Head, and all members are Christians. We Christians are members one of another. Let these truths control our corporate behaviour.

 

Ian McDowell.

 


 

 

The Good-O-Meter

Propempo International on Vimeo.

 

 


 

NOW READ THE FULL BOOKLET in a printable PDF file....

 

For those who wish to view the history of the wider Brethren movement (Open & Exclusives) without delving into a myriad of volumes, here is a concise booklet written by the late Australian Christian Brethren author Ian McDowell, that you can read now for free - just click the link below for the .PDF document...

 

A Brief History of the Brethren, (60 page booklet) published in 1968 by Ian McDowell and made available by kind permission of the author to the website www.discourses.org.uk/

 


 

         

          Also view 'A History of the

          Christian Brethren in Western Australia' 

         

 

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