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12/12/2008 Who are the Brethren? Who are the Brethren? exploring their origins and history, beliefs and practices, present condition and future prospects, lessons to learn and conclusions to draw Introduction Perceptions Origins Influences Developments Division Closed and Open Brethren Survey of the Closed Brethren Survey of the Open Brethren Open Brethren worldwide expansion Cohesiveness of the Open Brethren Open Brethren practices Open Brethren doctrines Today’s Open Brethren - the UK Today’s Open Brethren - worldwide What of the future? Concluding remarks More information Bibliography And finally on a personal note Introduction What follows is an account of a group of Christian believers who have often been referred to as the “Plymouth Brethren” (PB), from which two distinct, separate branches have arisen: “Open” (OB or “Christian”) and “Closed” (or “Exclusive” (EB or XB)). Although there have been many groups, down the ages, who have been called “Brethren” or have practised PB principles (some argue, including the early church), these do not fall under the PB banner and will be discussed only in passing. Both PB strands will be considered, although concentrating on the Open, nowadays much the bigger of the two groups (although not when the division occurred). The term “Brethren” will be used as it conveniently identifies our subjects, just as one would need to do so in order to satisfy officialdom (for example, those signing up to serve in His or Her Majesty’s Armed Forces might have had Plymouth Brethren stamped over their papers, under the heading of religion), although many members, maybe most, would prefer not to be so labelled. Many do not want to be seen as a member of a particular denomination, whereas others want to avoid the negative connotations associated with this label. Ask most members and they would likely identify themselves as a believer who belongs to an assembly (or increasingly more often these days, church, fellowship or similar title) in a particular location, typically i d ih h f di i Th d “B h ” i lik l f i 1/37…/brethren.htm

Who are the Brethren by John Barber (2001)

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