I was approached recently about giving an overview of the church practices of the Brethren Movement since I was affiliated with them in the past. While gathering my notes, I noticed that I had enough content to write a little essay on the subject and with a little editing, here we are.
The Brethren Movement has been a tremendous blessing to me in my Christian walk. I was received in fellowship in a Gospel Hall in my hometown in 2005 and enjoyed the sweetness of their ranks until roughly 2011. I was active in teaching in the assembly on many fronts and met many wonderful followers of Christ during my stint. The Brethren are a theologically sound group of believers who are passionate about their Lord and strongly emphasize the saving power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are an orthodox Christian fellowship, and I would heartily recommend them to someone who questioned if they should join their ranks.
My writing this short essay is not to render a critical review of the Brethren Movement but to identify some of their exclusive points of beliefs with an emphasis upon their Ecclesiology (Church Practice). The following article will be written from my personal experience with the open brethren who are within the circles of the Gospel Halls keeping in mind that not all assemblies are the same. While I have encountered and interacted with many fine brethren from the Exclusive side of the equation, I’m not prepared to offer a solid representation of their practices albeit, I believe they have many similarities.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Depending on your source of historical data, the movement most likely saw its beginning around 1825. While those who were a part of this movement were referred to as the Plymouth Brethren (Brethren from Plymouth, England), it was in Dublin Ireland that the first official meeting was held. It shortly spread like wildfire to Plymouth, Bristol and London and their numbers grew quickly from there. The name came from the eventual centrality of the movement in Plymouth where roughly 800 brethren were in fellowship just a few short years after its inception.
The initial meeting was held in a small house where four men met around a table which consisted of a loaf of bread and a cup of wine. They offered up prayers of thanksgiving, sang hymns and gave a little word in scripture. Those in attendance were A.N. Groves, John Nelson Darby, Edward Cronin and J.G. Bellett. At the time, Cronin was a dental student who had been saved out of Roman Catholicism and was perplexed about the sheer number of denominations in Protestantism. He was the main organizer, and his hope was to create a more simplistic meeting for Christian worship than he was accustomed to. All participants had previously expressed the same desire as Cronin and wanted to get away from their respective denomination in an attempt to mimic what they perceived as a more biblical meeting. These men were well-educated in their respective fields with Darby educated as a lawyer and becoming a curate of the church of Ireland, while Groves was a practicing dentist and Bellett a lawyer. All were affiliated in other protestant denominations during this first gathering.
As alluded to, their reason for meeting was to act upon their convictions that something needed to replace the worship of the state churches, which had become of the crusty persuasion with complex hierarchies and dry ceremonial worship which didn’t exactly light up the spirits. State Churches also had ties to the government and often received kickbacks of sort. To their credit, they wanted to keep the secular throne out of their meeting and emphasize a separation from the world. At best, they just wanted to meet around a table with a loaf of bread and a cup of wine with no authority figure leading the meeting. An equality of privilege was sought to be able to worship as evens and practice the priesthood of all believers. This simplistic gathering grew quickly and within just a few short years, it had spread throughout the United Kingdom and then in North America.
OPEN VS EXCLUSIVE BRETHREN
A scuffle ensued shortly after those early glory days. Darby became a very popular and prominent figure within the movement especially in Ireland. He was a very well learned man with a bold way about him. In England, the most influential leading brethren scholar was B.W. Newton from the Plymouth Assembly. The Plymouth assembly was the largest in the land with the numbers reaching roughly 1200 by 1840. While some take the side of one or the other in this melee, both these men had egos the size of England and exercised little restraint when they disagreed. The two began to clash and sadly their disputes were primarily on eschatological issues, especially Darby’s dispensational distinctives. Newton simply had no time for Darby’s emphasis upon his teaching of the radical separation between the Church & Israel. While both were premillennial in their association of the return of Christ with the millennium of Revelation 20, Newton rejected outright Darby’s pre-tribulation rapture and his gap of Daniel 9. Newton was firm in his understanding that the church would go through the tribulation and the rapture would happen when He appeared, not seven years earlier. Another point of contention was that Newton’s assembly had also moved away from the openness that distinguished them from other churches. He had become the sole teacher within the local gathering, sharing the pulpit with only one other brother. When Darby visited the Plymouth assembly, he didn’t like what he saw. It wasn’t long until the pot of discontent was stirred with the help of a few local congregants. The fall out was so bad that Darby and these disgruntled brethren decided to rebuild the temple by starting another assembly in the same city in 1845, an assembly which excluded Mr. Newton from participating. As A.N. Groves put it, there was a schismatic spirit of “I am of Newton, and “I am of Darby”. Things came to an ugly head when it was discovered that Newton had published an article some years earlier on the humanity of the Lord Jesus arguing that the Lord may have suffered sinful temptations in the same way we do but didn’t succumb to them. Even though he retracted these beliefs in writing, once they came to light, Darby seized the moment to strike the decisive blow to rid himself of Newton. The assembly which Mr. Newton lead still supported him, and these believers were largely excommunicated from having association with other assemblies. If you were in fellowship in the Ebrington Chapel with Newton, you weren’t sitting at any other brethren table within the United Kingdom even if you were simply vacationing.
Another assembly that was flourishing was the Bethesda Chapel lead by Mr. George Mueller and Mr. Henry Craik. Mueller was famous amongst Christians for his life of prayer and his work in creating the Ashley Downs Orphanage. At the time, Darby also was pushing a view of church subordination where a decision from one was binding upon all. Some of the folks in the Plymouth assembly that were shunned per say by the brethren circles for their allegiance to Newton, decided to move to the Chapel in Bethesda. These men and women were examined, and the conclusion was that they weren’t heretics a la Newton’s error and were good to be received. This didn’t sit well with some in that Chapel and a small exodus from the assembly ensued. Of course, they ran to Darby to make their grievances known and to get support. It didn’t take long for a firestorm to break out publicly and in writing. The former attendees were circulating literature as to why they left and eventually the elders in the chapel decided to openly respond by releasing the famous “Letter of the Ten” to reply to their spiritual disdain. Darby sent out a flyer largely excommunicating Bethesda and all assemblies who received anyone who went there since the binding decision of an assembly was binding upon all. This created the Exclusive Assemblies siding with Darby and the Open Assemblies who sided with Muller and Craig and saw each assembly as independent.
Today, these two distinctive assemblies still function in the break-up that occurred. I was a part of a gospel hall which would subscribe to the independence of the assemblies and hence the Open Brethren. The ecclesiological definitions that I ascribe to them is based upon their tradition.
Prior to moving on to examine the gathering distinctives of the Brethren, it’s important to make mention to something that I’ve already alluded to. The vast majority of the Brethren’s theology resembles almost identically that of many Baptist Churches. If you were to sit in a coffee shop and discuss theology outside of their church government and practice, you’d be hard pressed to see any difference at all. When I walked into an Independent Baptist Church for the first time, except for the building and the crackers and grape juice, I would have sworn that I was still in a gospel hall. Even particulars such as an exclusive affiliation to Dispensational Theology and King James-Onlyism, were apparent in both camps. But, alas, the focus is never upon those things that unite the various denominational churches but the principles that set them apart! Of course, why would someone attend a gospel hall if they can go to a Baptist Church? There must be something to draw them out. I’ll get to that in a moment.
INDEPENDENT & ANTI-DENOMINATIONAL
Let’s begin by giving a general view of the Gospel Halls in respects to their independence and how they view denominationalism. One of the key emphases of the brethren, in my experience, was the prominence they placed on being independent. This is not an area that is necessarily distinct especially when considering Baptist practice. They operate with no central governing body or convention that they relate to, and they like to make sure you get that loud and clear! Each assembly is lead by a group of elders who have charge to oversee the local gathering and no outside circle of assemblies of the Exclusive kind have any say. Again, this is obviously not a distinctiveness on their part since many Baptists Churches function as an independent unit, well, at least those not associated with any convention.
Another key item is that they don’t like the label Plymouth Brethren and even the term Brethren makes them uncomfortable. They rightfully recognize that as soon as a name is associated with a movement that it becomes a denomination. Therefore, the blame is placed upon others to have given them the name even though when they apply for a government tax credit, the term is utilized. Of course, what they don’t recognize is that denominationalism isn’t exclusively linked to a name, but also to a difference in doctrine. You see, as soon as you begin to emphasize doctrines that separate you from other Christian gatherings, such as, let’s say, a unique ecclesiology, then you become a denomination of sort. While they base denominationalism upon taking a name, they never realize by laying claim to exclusive truths that nobody else really ascribes to, they become a denomination, or perhaps a non-denominational denomination!
What is unfortunate in many cases, especially with the more conservative brethren, is that their anti-denominationalism is so engrained in their thinking that it becomes imbalanced. A gentleman who lived far away from the local assembly that I attended struggled with travelling in winter months and came up with the idea of attending a local Baptist Church during those cold winter days. When he approached the eldership for their permission to accommodate his wish, they resoundingly declined his request and he and his family were forced to choose between the two. Some discourage students who are travelling afar from visiting a denominational church even when no assembly is available in their location. H.A. Ironside, a prominent Plymouth Brethren of the Exclusive camp was cut off from communion within the assemblies because he decided to pastor an independent church in Chicago.
GATHERING UNTO HIS NAME
It is commendable that the Brethren place a rightful focus upon Christians gathering unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as the center of a Christian’s worship. Much like in the OT, when the Israelites would come to worship in the presence of Yahweh, we as Christians must come to Christ as our center of worship. We should recognize that the Spirit of Christ is among us when we gather to adore Him, and I’m persuaded that many churches would become a little more reverent if they were truly persuaded of this! Of course, the Brethren like to add a little word at the end of this slogan, mainly the term “alone”. You see, they argue that they are the only ones who gather unto the Name of Jesus alone and that denominations who gather for worship do so in other names. Those names include Baptist, Presbyterian et al. This is one of their unique markers and what sets them apart from the rest. It also keeps many from leaving the assembly for fear not to be worshipping in the right place. It’s so engrained in their thinking that they sincerely believe that the presence of Christ is not there when these denominations worship. Many would never dare to enter a denominational church since they wouldn’t be worshipping Christ. I remember a brother proudly giving a word after a worship meeting to express how his family lived down the road from a local Baptist Church, but they would drive 45 minutes away to worship the Lord properly. I’ve been asked many times to pray for those who left the assembly because they were worshipping without the presence of Christ in their midst. When I asked my Baptist and Presbyterian Brothers & Sisters if they gather in the name of Jesus Christ and believe that His presence is there with them, they are heartily willing to give me an amen. The same seemed puzzled when they were told that they gather and worship unto the name of Baptist, Presbyterians, or even Anglican. Go figure!
DON’T CALL IT THAT!
An extension to their anti-denominationalism is that they are careful to refrain from using certain traditional terms. One of the most popular is the term “church”. They associate the term church with denominations and a building and hence that is a big faux pas. They prefer to use the term “assembly” and generally utilize the name of the city or the road the assembly is located as the prefix. Of course, it’s certainly true that the term ekklessia in the Greek is preferably translated as assembly or congregation. The problem is that most folks in a Baptist or Presbyterian congregation would have no problem with defining it as the group of Christians gathered in that locality in a primary sense, not a denomination or a building. I’m certainly not arguing that the term “church” isn’t identified with a building or even, in some instances, a denomination, but this isn’t their primary definition. The church is the people of God gathered. To create such a negative distinction and accuse others as being “unbiblical” is emphasizing on the wrong things.
Another point of contention with the vocabulary used among assemblymen is the distinction between using the term Fellowship and not Membership, for those who are a part of the Ekklessia. Harold Mackay writes:
What, then, is distinctive about assembly fellowship? That which is distinctive about the teaching regarding fellowship and members in the assemblies is that the erroneous practice of membership through joining a church is eliminated, and the truth of church fellowship because of membership in the Body of Christ is emphasized.
It is not to say that there isn’t some truth to this argument. We become members of the body of Christ when we are saved, and that of the Universal Church. We are not being received as members into the local church because we are already members, but we come into a fellowship together. But the question becomes, are these denominational churches practicing the fruit of fellowship even though they may confuse the concept? Are they engaging and interacting with each other as a community of brethren? Are they not “receiving” those into the local church much like the Brethren? I would certainly hope so and simply the mistake in terminology doesn’t warrant the label of unbiblical as some of my fair Brethren have concluded.
PASTORS & DEACONS
The practice of priesthood of all believers is significant to the Brethren and rightfully so. This should be exercises in all churches as a means of providing the body with the gifts that God has been gracious to grant to each one. The Brethren’s definition of the believer’s priesthood, however, allows them to refrain from the office of a Pastor especially one for whom the congregation is willing to fork out a pay cheque. The reason for this anti-pastor approach is that they fear the “one-man ministry”. To reserve the pulpit to an individual rather than all who might possess the gift of teaching is surely restraining the Holy Spirit. Of course, while most churches do have a paid pastor, this assumes that all hold back men from teaching. Men in these denominational contexts are allowed to teach in various settings including home bible studies and Sunday School Lessons. The Brethren’s anti-pastorate approach has given rise to something just as grave, the unbalanced practice of the “any-man ministry”. This is essentially just as problematic since we are told that the gift of teaching is reserved for a few (James 3:1) while it seemed quite apparent during my stint with the assemblies that many who were teaching weren’t qualified and spent little time preparing.
The financial support of a local pastor is certainly frowned upon but note that the Brethren have no issues with supporting a full-time worker who labours in many regions. Of course, I’d be obliged to say that the support of both is biblical and worthy of their labours.
The deacons in most churches are responsible for the care of things such as the grounds, the building and the service of others within the congregation who struggle with provision (Acts 6). These have extended to needs of financial officers and even Sunday School or Music Attendants. Of course, generally churches are willing to acknowledge the office of deacon as distinguished from other congregants because of the qualifications issued in 1 Timothy. The Brethren, on the other hand, because of their efforts for equality in ministry, render the diakainos (deacons) not as an office but as a work that requires no distinction. Many men function as deacons, but nobody really knows who they are.
NO CONFESSION OF FAITH
While some assemblies produced a visible statement of faith to the outside world, many refrain from this practice since they pledge their allegiance to the slogan of “no confession but the bible”. This is actually not uncommon since many churches don’t have one but some Brethren are very particular about this. It should be clearly understood that churches who subscribe to a confession of faith are merely openly confessing the summary of doctrines that they found in the bible. I’ve been hard pressed to acquire an answer to the following question: Is it better to openly present one’s beliefs in written form for everyone to see or is the better approach is to have them in people’s heads where nobody really knows? Either way, a statement of faith or adopting a confession of faith will be tremendously useful if an excommunication is required on doctrinal grounds and produce a challenge if there’s nothing stated anywhere.
THE BRETHREN MEETINGS
The Brethren meetings that I attended can be broken fundamentally into four reoccurring meetings during a week.
1.The Worship Meeting
Sunday morning gatherings of the Brethren consist of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper which lasts roughly 90 minutes. Participating in this meeting was truly a blessing and one of the things I enjoyed the most about meeting with them! While they believe that all meetings are a form of worship, this meeting is the true means of worshipping God above all others.
Those who are received in fellowship participate and are seated around a small table in the middle of the room. The meeting opens with the singing of a hymn, followed by a free for all of Prayers of Thanksgiving, offering up hymns, scripture reading and, a small word from the scriptures, if one is lead by the Spirit. Within the last half hour, the partaking of the bread and wine occurs with a prayer of thanksgiving offered just prior to sharing the emblems. A single loaf and a single cup are used during this meeting so that it is clearly seen that they are partaking of the one cup and the one loaf together. This is followed by a brother offering a word from the scriptures and ends with weekly announcements.
The verbal participation in the meeting is reserved for men and the women stay silent. There are also no musical instruments involved in the worship meeting hence hymns are sung acapella, which, quite frankly, is lovely. There aren’t any prescribed songs prior to the meeting since it would quench the freedom of the Holy Spirit. The prayers are generally praises to God for the gift of eternal life and the death of the beloved Saviour for our sins. This meeting is followed by a time of fellowship prior to moving on to the Ministry Meeting.
2.The Ministry Meeting
The Ministry Meeting is the time when the saints are given a word from the pulpit for roughly 30 minutes. This is when the teaching ministry is practiced and generally consists of a different brother each week. The format is topical, and few have practiced any sort of expositional preaching. One brother did a series on the book of Galatians but by the time it was his turn to teach, it had already been several months since the last sermon, and there was little memory from what had previously been said. Many Brethren argue that the expositional approach is unbiblical and that we need to be lead by the Holy Spirit when these messages are presented.
3.The Gospel Meeting
The Gospel Meeting generally takes place on Sunday evenings. This is a time when the Brethren preach the pure message of the gospel. Two Brethren are assigned to the task, with one brother opening for the other. Generally, the younger shall serve the elder. The Meeting opens with a hymn then for approximately 20 minutes, one brother shares the message of the gospel or their testimony, followed by the other brother with the same style of message. The meeting is then closed with a hymn and men are available to speak with any unbelievers who are interested. This meeting was originally meant as an extension of their external evangelistic efforts yet today, the evangelistic effort is the gospel meeting. It’s not to say that there are not a few who brave the world to bring the gospel to them, but there is still an emphasis to bring people into the assembly to hear the gospel, rather than go out with the gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
4.The Bible Study & Prayer Meeting
This meeting was certainly one of my favourites and conducted like a true bible study. It took place during the week and consisted of 45 minutes of prayer for various items and then a 45-minute bible study. The meeting was opened in prayer and prayer requests were read by an elder. The bible study worked much like an expositional survey of the bible. Someone was appointed to lead the study and they would open with a few remarks then it was open season for any men to offer some input on the appointed text. The books studied in this bible study were only from the New Testament since it’s believed that we are a NT assembly, and I’ve yet to run into a bible study that was conducted on an OT book.
I do commend the Brethren on this approach to bible study for the fact that it is just that, a bible study. Men learn the scriptures, not merely by listening to them from a preacher, nor in a private personal setting, but through having to explain the text. This also encouraged many to study the scriptures to be prepared for these studies.
THE HEAD COVERING
While this is not necessarily a Brethren distinctive, it takes a preeminent place in Brethren worship. While some churches allow the conscience as the decision maker on whether a women will wear a head covering, they make this a requirement. The head covering mandate is derived from the text of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 where Paul is speaking of the chain of authority between God, Christ, man, and woman. The woman is to wear this as a symbol of the authority of man over her during the gathering of the saints. In return, the man is not to wear any head covering during worship.
The head covering to the Brethren is a symbol or a reminder of that authority especially that of the woman to the man. W. Henderson writes:
“What is symbolic truth? Simply stated, it is an act or object that epitomizes a spiritual fact. God knows that we are forgetful creatures, so He surrounds us with constant reminders of Himself, lest we forget His accomplishments. The book of Deuteronomy, which means “second law”, was given by God for the purpose of reminding the Jews not to forget His commandments. God even write His commandments on two stones for a visible reminder of His law. Circumcision was a reminder to every Jew that they were God’s chosen people and under a Divine covenant…
So, when a woman enters into the meeting place, she is asked to cover her head as a sign of her submission to the male authority. Some assemblies are particular on whether the covering needs to be a hat or a full head covering made of material (scarf), but the idea is the same in both contexts.
The Brethren are not ignorant that many take issue with this practice and they largely blame the modern times for modern churches reneging this biblical mandate. They are quite familiar for the cultural argument; The prostitute argument and the long hair suffices for the covering argument that are presented to them to which they’ve offered responses.
My personal understanding of these texts is a little different whereas I have come to the conclusion that the head covering was to be worn during very specific actions and during a very specific time. The actions of Praying and Prophesying are explicitly mentioned as to when the covering was to be worn. The act of praying and prophesying are both actions where the man and the woman participated, and both required auditory expression. If the man praying and prophesying is audible, then the woman’s action must be the same. The Brethren recognize this and argue that Paul couldn’t have this in mind since the women are commanded to be silent (1 Corinthians 14:24; 1 Timothy 2:12). But the question becomes: what did Paul have in mind when considering these actions of praying and prophesying? How does this relate to headship? The praying and prophesying in 1 Corinthians are almost exclusively reserved as sign gifts (1 Corinthians 13:2,8; 14:14-15) that were given to some and not others. The praying is related to the tongues and prophesying as a gift of the Spirit. The Brethren are devoted cessationists and hence believe that the spiritual gift of prophecy and tongues have ceased. When the Spirit of God came to the church in Corinth post-Pentecost, the gift of tongues and prophecies were poured out as a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:
It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days (Joel 2:28-29)
Notice that it wasn’t simply males that would prophecy but that their daughter’s would exhibit this gift since the Spirit would be poured out upon male AND female servants. In a church where Paul had expressed women were to remain silent, this would have been seen as a usurper of authority by the woman over the man. To help understand the submission of the woman while these prophesying and prayers were conducted audibly by the woman, the head covering would have served as a sign of their submission to their head. Since the practice of these gifts has ceased, it would make sense to think that the practice itself is no longer inherently valid. Since the practice is essentially a non sequitur, I believe it is up to the woman’s conscience as to whether a covering should be worn.
One practice that has a Brethren particularity is to reserve a place in the meeting for those who are not yet received in the gathering. This is the place where those who have yet to take the steps to enter into fellowship dwell during the meeting. It is the place where those who are unsaved or ignorant of the assembly truths, are seated until they are received. While not every assembly practices the special place for the unbelievers and certain believers (non-received inquirers), the majority that I’ve visited certainly had such a place. This reserved section within the assembly was generally in the back of the building and assured that it communicated that those sitting in this place were not a part of those who partake in the table. The focal text that is used to affirm this practice is in 1 Corinthians 14:16 where we read that: Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? (KJV). The argument is that there is a place reserved outside of the fold within their gathering place for those who are unbelievers and unlearned (v.23). What were they unlearned of? To the Brethren, they were unlearned mainly in assembly truths but perhaps other doctrinal statements from the Brethren. They also include unbelievers and those who are under the discipline of the church. While the assembly I frequented was very good at receiving people who desired to get out of the backseat, some other assemblies used the backseat as a place where saved people who didn’t conform to their standards of appearance would be seated for years. Many of whom walked away disheartened.
They describe these as believers who are saved but unlearned and not yet received in the gathering. The term for Unlearned is “idiotes” which is used as a person who is unskilled or uneducated in something or it can be used for someone who is a common person. This is exactly its application in Acts 4:13 of how they perceived Peter and John. It mentions the unlearned being in a place deemed the place of the unlearned but where the Brethren are inconsistent is that the text says that it is when the church assembles (14:23). So why do the Brethren exclusively seat people in the back during the Lord’s Supper, but never during a ministry meeting or a gospel meeting? The text says nothing about the Lord’s Supper being the background of the meeting, but the context speaks of the reactions of the unbelievers and ungifted during the practice of the charismatic gifts. Another problem is where does the unbeliever sit? Nothing is said of the unbeliever sitting in the same place as the unlearned. The Brethren assume they occupy the same place, but we are not told that they do. In other words, if we are speaking of the place of a saved individual who is “unlearned” in the practices of the assembly and not a part of the fellowship. Many commentators actually believe that the two terms are interchangeable and hence the unlearned are the unbelievers.
As I previously mentioned, there is a lot of emphasis placed upon what they see as distinctives. Why do the Brethren place such high emphasis upon these assembly truths? I agree that for many, it is because they value truth and want to be as biblical as possible in their pattern of worship. For this, I commend them! I’m not persuaded however that this is the only reason. As I’m sure one can decipher from some of the mindsets written about above, there is a certain spiritual pride that comes with these exclusive doctrines. The emphasis on these “assembly truths’ is like the banner by which they feel a superiority over other churches. If these other churches don’t adhere to these principles, then they can’t be truly worshipping God. They can only allow the Brethren Assemblies as the exclusive place where God bares His name and in return where He places His presence and blessing. How else do you keep the congregants inside rather than out the door? How do you attract a seeker if one is contemplating a denominational church? It becomes dangerous in some ways because it can become a means of control over an individual and can create a sense making one feel like they’re betraying the Lord if one worships with other Christians outside the Brethren.
 For a full and concise treatment of the Brethren’s Ecclesiastical Practices, See Norman Crawford’s Gathering Unto His Name published by Gospel Folio Press.
 Some familiar names from the Brethren are: Jim Elliot, H.A. Ironside, Hudson Taylor, C.H. Mackintosh, William Kelly and George Muller.
 A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement, H.A. Ironside, Solid Christian Books, 2016, Page 30-31
A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement, H.A. Ironside, Solid Christian Books, 2016, Page 45
 As Ironside points out “That this hasty action on their part I think any thoughtful person will recognize, while on the other hand, few will condone the action of the overseers in ruthlessly overruling their objection and admitting the friends of Mr. Newton until a thorough inquiry could be made. (Page 64)
 The term simply refers to a called-out company of people.
 Assembly Distinctives, H.G. Mackay, Everyday Publications, 1981, P.38
 This is not necessarily the case in all assemblies since some were particular in who would be worthy to expound the Word of God from the pulpit.
 The Brethren celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis which I heartily agree with.
 A significant point to remember is that only those who are received in a gospel hall are allowed to partake. There is a guarding of the table approach to their meeting and just because your saved, or a part of a different denomination, doesn’t give you the right to break bread with them.
 Glories Seen & Unseen, Warren Henderson, Living Stone Bookshop Ltd., 2003, Page 6
 The parallel in these two actions is undeniable. The exact same wording is used for both the male and female participants to be praying (προσευχόμενος) and prophesying (προφηεύων).
 This betrays the original intent of the founders of the Brethren Movement who invited anyone who was saved to the table. Those who were inclusive became very exclusive with time.