Monday, March 12, 2007

My history with "open brethren"

I have spent time on both sides of the Great Divide of the so-called "plymouth brethren". While I currently fellowship with so-called "exclusive brethren" (Kelly/Grant brethren, to be exact), I spent many years among "open brethren" first.

"Open brethren" are basically divided into four groups: "Needed Truth", who are practically much like many "exclusive brethren," essentially claiming exclusive possession of the Lord's Table ; "tight-open brethren", who are very like most "exclusive brethren" (not just in good ways), except for their [wrong] teaching on inter-assembly relationship and the ruin of the Church; and then the "wide-open brethren", who are slowly developing into two groups: one more liberal than the other.

My father had grown up in "open brethren", my mother had grown up in a non-Christian home, but had been saved in a Baptist Church as a teenager. When we were growing up, we lived a strange dichotomy for years where we attended the Baptist Church on Sundays (there was no "brethren assembly" in my home town), but learned all week how the Baptists were wrong. So I was the only one in my Sunday School classes who didn't think drinking and smoking were sins, or who thought the clergy system was silly. We spent a couple years in a house meeting, and eventually (when I was 16 or so), we started the weekly commute to the neighboring town, where there was an "assembly".

When I went off to University, I tried a couple different churches, but finally found what I was looking for: an "open assembly". I was at UVic for four years, and spent almost all that time at Victoria Gospel Chapel. I have no idea whether there's anyone there now: last I heard, they sold the building and left; I'm not sure they ever found another place to meet, or whether they just folded. There were several "open assemblies" in Victoria: there was Lambrick Park (extremely liberal), Oaklands Chapel (very liberal), Victoria Gospel Chapel (conservative), Westview Gospel Chapel (conservative), and Oak Bay Gospel Assembly (very conservative). There were also umpteen house meetings, and there was a "Needed Truth" assembly: "Cooke Street Gospel Hall"; I visited Cooke St. once.

After University, I moved to St. Louis, where I taught at Victory Christian School. VCS was run by the "open assembly" in St. Louis---or one of them: Southside Bible Chapel---which was my first long-term encounter with the more liberal "open brethren". The "open brethren" here in the USA seem to be more liberal than those in Canada, for the most part.

In St. Louis I got married, and we came to North Carolina after two years in St. Louis. After a few weeks in my wife's home town, meeting at the excellent Preston Gospel Chapel, we moved to Charlotte, and encountered more of the rampant churchiness that characterized the "open assemblies" in St. Louis.

We lasted four weeks at the "open assembly" in Charlotte, and we left.

Looking back, we left wrongly. Not that it was necessarily wrong to leave, but we left abruptly and silently, just sort of slinking out. Perhaps one person noticed we were gone.


The beginning of the end of my time in "open brethren" was in St. Louis. An older brother there, who was a bit of a persona non grata, asked me this question: "Is it more biblical to have five 'pastors' than one?" At first I argued with him, thought he was a nut; but over time, as I discussed the issue of church order with him, and as I studied my Bible; I became convinced that "eldership", as taught among "open brethren" was essentially the very clergy system we condemned in "the churches".

Around the same time, I was reading 1 Corinthians 14:26 "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying." (KJV). I remember clearly when I first saw that verse: I was sitting in the meeting hall, before the meeting began, and I was reading my Bible. I stumbled across that verse, and as I looked at it, I realized "We don't do that!". 1 Corinthians clearly describes the meetings of the early church as rather informal, impromptu, very free affairs. The "open brethren" schedule things fanatically.

What finally drove me out of the "open assembly", though; was a remembrance meeting where someone stood up and talked about how "people would think we were crazy if we worshipped an electric chair, but we worship the Cross..." I can't remember anything else the guy said; but when that was said publicly, and no one stood up and corrected him, I turned to my wife and said "we're not coming back here again."

That night, we stumbled into the "exclusive" meeting hall.


I wrote that protracted, somewhat detailed precis of my time in "open brethren' for a few reasons---it's not just gratuitous story-telling! First, my time in "open brethren" has come up in a few conversations recently. Second, the question "why don't you go and join 'open brethren'?" has come up too.

In the end, there were godly women and men in the "open brethren" that I knew and enjoyed fellowship with. There are many people there I wouldn't hesitate to fellowship with again. There was teaching and ministry of higher quality than pretty much anything I have heard in "exclusive brethren".

But as inviting as the other side of the fence always looks (you know the grass is always greener and all that), there are problems there too. There are reasons I left the "open brethren". Real reasons, good reasons. On the other hand, there may well be some good reasons to return. The most difficult thing is always to allow God to be God, and not dictate what we will or won't do.

Church order is the biggest reason I left the "open" meeting. We in "exclusive" circles do a terrible job of church order. We make a real mess of almost everything. But I firmly believe that what we hold and teach about it is correct---we just never actually practice what we preach. "Open brethren" teach some important truths about the Church, but their take on church order is fundamentally wrong. They teach a modified clergy/laity system, where the church is kept orderly by "strong leadership".

This has some trickle-down effects: one example is the tendency for the Lord's Supper to degrade into a free-for-all, where brethren frequently give sermonettes, or even motiviational talks. The Lord's Supper is to be a remembrance: ministry and teaching really don't fit that description. However, when brethren are taught on one hand that they are all priests, and then denied the opportunity to minister on the other (i.e. only "gifted brothers" are invited to speak in the meetings); they inevitably attempt to minister in the one meeting where they are free to stand up and speak without being on an agenda. Of course, some "open assemblies" deal with this by scheduling the Lord's Supper in advance too, but this is only exacerbating the problem.

Ecclesiology is another one: "open brethren" fundamentally fail to see the truth of the One Body. Yes, they understand that the Church transcends denominational boundaries, but they fail to see that there is only one body. They use terms like "local body" to indicate that they actually believe in a single Universal Body, and a multitude of smaller "local bodies". This fundamentally denies the truth of the Unity of the Body as taught in John 17, 1 Cor. 5, 12, etc.

Now, there are areas where the "open brethren" put us to shame. Evangelism is frequently more complete and faithful in "open" circles. And, the "open brethren" frequently have a better handle on the Unity of the Body when it comes to receiving other believers, regardless of whether they are "with us". There is much we would do well to imitate from "open brethren".

One interesting quirk of "open brethren" is their tendency to use building names to indicate what sort of assembly they are: "Gospel Hall" refers to a meeting hall belonging in either "tight open" or "Needed Truth" circles; "Gospel Chapel" typically refers to a conservative "wide-open" assembly, where "Bible Chapel" typically refers to a liberal "wide-open" meeting hall. I found it confusing when I started breaking bread with "exclusives" and they just sort of named their buildings randomly: "Gospel Hall", "Christian Assembly Hall", "Bible Truth Hall", and "Grace and Truth Chapel" are all names of various "exclusive" meeting halls. I've had more than one conversation with someone from "open brethren" who was upset that we don't categorize our meeting halls more carefully.

I'm not interested in condemning the "open brethren". While I believe them to be wrong in some areas, I also believe them to be right in many more.

At the end of the day, I've become convinced that "open brethren" are facing the same problems we are facing in "exclusive" circles. I'm basing this on messages, articles, comments, and sermons from "open brethren" I'm seeing online, etc. I'm not sure which of us is dealing with these problems better: they seem to think the solution to every problem is strong leadership; we seem to think problems will just go away if we convince one another we're correct in our doctrine. So while "open brethren" spend a lot of time saying things like "you need to submit to your elders", "exclusives" spend a lot of time saying "remember, we're gathering to the Lord's Name alone!"

I don't see either solution as very successful, nor very Biblical.

So as far as I can see, we're in the same boat. Perhaps that ought to spur us to some fellowship with one another. Somehow I doubt that will happen: neither side of the family wants to acknowledge the existence of the other.

But it does put me in an interesting dilemna: on some subjects, I find myself in closer agreement with "open brethren" than with "exclusives". On others, I find myself closer to "exclusives" than "opens". This is all part of the uphill battle we call the Christian life.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother, My PC is not working
and I am not sure if this message
will get to you.

I grew up as a child in what is now
the Holiday Gospel Assembly, Holiday, Fl. It was a mixture of
various groups of brethren meetings.

I enjoyed when living in Roswell, Ga. the Marietta Bible Chapel which
was a well balanced group or assembly. This was a very loving
group of believers from around the
word (Indians, Spanish, Koreans,
Americans, etc.)

Living in Orlando, I have had experience with the Hiawassa Bible
Chapel, Bear Lake Bible Chapel and
visited at times the Grace and Truth meeting which is a far distance away timewise. I never did
get to the Atlanta Grace and Truth meeting. I am assuming you are part of the Charlotte Gospel Hall and know my friend Jonathan Klimovich. Working on SUNDAYS and
with an old unreliable vehicle in
N. Atlanta. I didnot get to meet the believers at that the Grace and
Truth meeting in Atlanta.

I guess that leaves me as one mixed up brother. Since I have
been back in the Orlando area I
have had to work on SUNDAYS. I am
praying for health and strength to
get to the Lake Howell Bible Chapel
which is closest to my apartment.

My father taught me by examples, "We are one Christ" and
we should be loyal when possible
to a New Testament Bible meeting.

Open/closed/tight/mixed we have
to be planted at some New Testament
meeting.

Blessings, Gerald (Jerry) Landis,
681 Sabal Palm Circle, Altamonte
Springs, Fl. 32701-2659

If you have a chance look at the
ASSEMBLY CARE website with Brother
Gentile. New Testament Bible Meetings are nice with the weekly
breaking of bread and preaching of
the Word. Say hello to Jonathan and Janice for me. I missed them
when they visited Fl. last summer.

Anonymous said...

Brother,

It is good to know that somebody else has faced the same dilemnas that I have and has come to the same conclusions. I have gone back and forth between varying strains of both Exclusives and Opens myself. It is a very daunting quest for a believer who is serious about where he/she is in fellowship. Confessedly my outlook on the Church has been biased by the writings of the early brethren (most notably CA Coates), but I have to say that the Open meetings invariably fall into a type of dictatorship usually headed up by those who were used to start the meeting in the first place. These are days when it may come down to "two or three".

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Greetings,
I currently attend an Open Bible Chapel Assembly that has worn down over the years. I would like to find an Exclusive meeting because of the seemingly (from the outside) extended and close knit fellowship practices that I believe they hold to. I do feel (biblically) that we should separate from the world, at least for a time of rest but also feel evangelism is my call.

The problem for me is the fragmentation of what should be a family. I feel very alone and our meeting only plays fellowship. You know a big Sunday smile. I have some dear friends who are faithful servants and warriors for God but the meeting really does not act as the early church did in giving all and taking car of all within. We are directionless in that one area and little discipline is given for some outright sinful open behavior. I and many others left for a time because of this and am back only because a mega church I attended seemed even hollower. That place had more fancy cars in the parking lot and a even bigger fake smiles on Sunday but a wasteland in real life. How many people asked me to help them paint, move ect and I gladly do but when I needed help they could not be found. No real interest in my life. I long for a real warm time away from the world so we as a team are charged and filled with the Spirit to go out a battle in the world. I am battle worn and weary and yearn for a real community unto Christ.

Do you know of any north jersey exclusive meetings. the exclusive web sit did not list any?

clumsy ox said...

Robert, email me (my address is at the bottom of the page), and we can talk. I'm not going to put any specific information on a public page.

Andrew Eden said...

Robert:

You should not seek the Exclusive Brethren. You were with my Old company of brethren Kelly, Grant Booth which were healed in 1973. They are considered as Closed Brethren. The exclusives are those that followed the teachings of FE Raven, James Taylor and his son JT Jr. Today they have declined to a state of authoritarianism. I would edit that opening statement. You could find those Closed Meetings in Wayne, New Jersey, Passaic, NJ Mahwah, New Jersey. You would need to serch out the Website by typing in Believers Bookshelf in Sunbury PA. Thats the center of the teaching they publish. There was a recent split among them in 2000.
Respectfully,
Andrew (andy) Eden
www.songsbyrequest.com
www.songsbyrequest.com

Anonymous said...

I, too, have worshipped on all three sides of the fence before finally "settling in" with believers meeting at a Bible Chapel (only because I don't think man has the right to determine whether or not to accept someone the Lord has already invited to HIS table!). In my late 40s now, living in a far off country as a commended worker, my heart yearns to be able to break bread at a Bible conference one more time with the believers I grew up with (something about standing to sing All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name with 400 other believers. It made an imprint on my psyche that will never go away!) I pray and plead with God that the walls would come down before Jesus comes back and that the body would truly get beyond divisions and function as a Body! Honestly, I don't think it will happen ~ too much stubborness on all sides; too much willingness to sacrifice relationships with saints, with the same believers they will spend all eternity with, over doctrine that is often built on an exaggeration of one verse.
Thanks for this forum.
Praying that the walls will come down and the Bride would be united...(just think of what could be accomplished for the Kingdom if saints would start fighting satan instead of each other!)

Waiting for the shout and fellowship with saints forever,

A Sickened Sojourner

Anonymous said...

I have been learning quite a lot from an Emmaus Bible College online class that I downloaded on iTunes U. I am so grateful to have found it. I am not of the brethren persuasion of any variety. We attend the church we attend, because God led us there. We travel throughout the developing world to reach and help children in abject poverty and we attend many different types and denominations of Christ followers. Each wreaks with the love that is Jesus our only true Savior. Regardless of who we are, He will continue to perform miracles for us, to us and through us, regardless of where, or with whom we worship. We are His beloved. Jesus died for us because we are all too much of a wreck to get it right. None of us measures up and none of us is getting what we deserve. Praise God! If we try to put too fine a point on the small stuff, we can lose our focus. We can all use and share His grace by loving God and each other--in that order. I expect that when we reach Glory, we will all wonder "what were we thinking?" Thanks so much for the blog and sharing information.

AlicesBeloved said...

With much love & a desire for the Lords blessings, my heart goes out because you seem to be imprisoned by religion & unable to grasp your serious lack of liberty from legality, as well as, a rich encounter with Lord Jesus. I know because I too was extremely concerned & committed to doctrine & detailed introspective comparison, etc even holding in high regard my 3 year Bible school education at a well known & respected Bible school here in Maryland, but failed the very first doctrine love. When I encountered & experienced the real love of Jesus more fully (through a non-denominational Evangelical church), I was able to see through a clearer lense. When I finally began encountering (forsaking Brethren only church fellowship & involvement & was ministered to by a genuine non-denominational Evangelical church fellowship that encountered Christ & was able to share that) I finally became free. I was able to see that what I possessed before was all "noise or ringing cymbals". Recall, the Pharisees were so schooled in the law & knowledgeable of Scripture yet failed to recognize what the unlearned man did...Christ & were unwilling to do the heart change to receive Him or His message. Doctrine without the first doctrine that fulfills all the law, love, is only noise (see 1 Cor 13) & our interpretation of doctrine incl essentials, I believe are flawed, if not coming forth from this stream (God is love). To embrace Exclusive Brethren, is a big red flag for me that you have encountered various doctrines but not more fully the real person of Jesus, the real God & His love. I hope I'm wrong. I mean no insult only sharing my experience, which I believe, is pretty accurate. I pray that you & all reading & your families will genuinely encounter the Living God & His transforming love. I believe after doing so, you will no longer be comfortable in any Closed Brethren religion.

May the rich blessings & peace of Christ be upon you.
LG

Anonymous said...

Hi,

May I ask why you don’t check out a Strict Baptist chapel?

I live in England and have been to many assemblies, including the following: A liberal Brethren assembly several times, a Gospel-Hall Brethren assembly a few times, a Taylorite Exclusive Brethren assembly twice (as well as a sit down with a couple of their elders in one of their houses to talk doctrine), to an "Outs" Brethren assembly who came "out" of the Taylorites (who I stayed with for a couple of years, seeing as they had lots very right). Never been to a Needed Truth Brethren, though I would like to as I agree with them that there should be only one assembly in any locality - this is clearly the scriptural practice. You put them in "open" though, so does this mean they practise an open table to anybody? Wow - that's wrong. I've also been to an ex-Brethren assembly, now an Evangelical Church, where the elders are still the ones who were there back when they were still Brethren, so they were able to tell me how things have changed.

I've also been to a Semi-Strict Baptist church (for a couple of years), and more recently to a Gospel Standard Strict Baptist church. (strict=closed communion)

In all my experience I have found that there are problems with all of these assemblies. However, I can give the following praise:

By far the most strictly scriptural in terms of practise were the Outs. They don't practise "local church membership" but they don’t let anyone take of the table unless the elders think they're a Christian. They don’t have elders in any official positions, so no clergy. Though they probably would speak about "gifted" people, or more likely those who are "lead", yet it is left to any man who feels he is lead to speak in their meetings to do so. There's not too much teaching in the Lord’s supper services, just a few words or someone who has a verse on their heart. Unfortunately they have the meal at the beginning rather than the end of the service, so they're not following scripture on that (read: “And having sung a hymn, they went out”). But they use the Darby Bible (sometimes), which is much better than the KJV I find. And they have loads of other good doctrines too, like they don't pray to the Holy Spirit, which they are of course right on, since it is utterly unscriptural.

By far the best sermons I've heard have been from the Gospel Standard Strict Baptists. Their preachers don’t use notes, and so try to rely wholly on the Holy Spirit to guide them (and boy O boy, it works!) There are clearly no sermons in the NT where the preacher had notes, so I've come to believe the GS SPs are right about that. Nevertheless, there is lots I dislike about them - back to the bad old days of officeholders/clergy. Also they pray to the Holy Spirit, which I just can't go along with these day. Also a great number of them are Amilenialists, though the one I went to most often was one where the officeholder was a premilenialist (albeit a different kind of one to the Brethren).

So, good and bad in all. Be interested to see what you make of all this. To God alone be the glory. John

Martin Jones said...

Hello there

I stumbled across your post today and was intrigued to read your opinion regarding the "Needed Truth", who you say are part of the Open Brethren movement and "are every bit as cult-like as the worst of "exclusive brethren".

First of all, I was confused as to how you managed to categorize "Needed Truth" or to give them the proper title "The Church and Churches of God" as Open Brethren and then accuse them of being being very "closed". Surely it is either one or the other! Can I suggest that (if you have not done already) you check out the website at www.churchesofgod.info in order to establish what the teaching actually is? Or feel free to ask me specific questions.

Secondly, and much more importantly given that any description as tight, loose, open or closed are not scriptural terms in any event - you refer to them as a cult. My brother in Christ, please be very careful about using such language! As far as I am concerned, to use the word cult implies one of two things (or both):

1) serious doctrinal error bordering on heresy

2) an extremely unhealthy environment where members financial affairs are closely controlled, and people are not able to leave and have no personal freedom

One might or might not agree with every portion of teaching, which is probably 95% common with all other Brethren type groups, but none of it could ever be described as heretical - surely!

Secondly, the Churches of God are quite a close knit community, which does support the theology to some extent - but a cult? To anyone who really knows - it is quite laughable really - they must be the world's most ineffectual example of one.

I would be very interested to know of where you have sourced your information or whether you have first-hand or third-hand experience. Frankly I was stunned to find such prominent and damning assessment of what, after all, is a very small organization. I have to assume you have had a very bad personal experience, which would be regrettable if so.

I would urge you to respond to this email and reconsider the language used and its negative impact on the testimony of this organization.

Your brother in Christ...

Martin

clumsy ox said...

Martin,

Thank you for your comment! I've changed the wording in this post, removing the term "cult".

I've written before about those who hold the "One Place" doctrine: The Place. You might find it interesting.

The Scriptural teaching is that Christ is "wherever two or three are gathered in [His] name" (Matt. 18:20). Any group that claims exclusive possession of the Lord's presence is directly contradicting Holy Scripture. Please consider this very carefully with respect to the public teaching of the Needed Truth (http://www.churchesofgod.info). Even referring to themselves as the "Churches of God" is astonishing.

I recognize there is a difference between gathering where Scripture is openly mocked and denied, and gathering where the Lord is honoured; but there is not a shred of Scripture to suggest that there is an exclusive table on earth. Certainly such a view would necessitate the idea that the Lord's presence was not on earth at all before the early 1800s...

It is not my intention to offend anyone. But it is impossible to reconcile the plain teaching of Scripture with anyone's view of an exclusive possession of the Table; whether that's some of the "exclusive" groups, or the Roman Church, or the Needed Truth.

Anonymous said...

The brethren have been described as neo-Anabaptists for having more beliefs in common with the Anabaptists than with the Protestants or Catholics.

With this in mind have any brethren attended a Charity Ministries Christian Fellowship service?

Would like to hear about it.
daryl.hartwell(at)gmail.com

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting yet a bit alarming that folk are not content with simply being in Jesus Christ? Were in the last hours and they are still repeating the same mistakes? It 'seems' like some are/were looking for a place to fellowship vs. seeking God on His terms. God is not defined by Anabaptist, Baptist, Brethren, etc. Beware of any 'place' that exhorts traditions of man over the Gospel; or just read the outcome Jesus had with some. I believe the name were Phairsees...

John said...

Hi, I also have just stumbled across this blog. Interesting that there seems to be an emerging interest in the Churches of God.

I just wrote a critical review of Jim Park's Churches of God: Their Origins and Developments in the 20th century. You might be interested in this: http://jjcaldwell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-open-brethren-churches-of-god.html

Don Andersen said...

It is very difficult for someone experienced with the organizational peculiarities of "Exclusive" Plymouth Brethren, to objectively comment on those of the "Open" Plymouth Brethren. (When I refer to "Exclusive" I'm not speaking of Taylorites, but of those that believe they alone have the Lord in their midst, or practice the "One Place" doctrine.
"Open" Brethren are Autonomous, meaning each Assembly operates differently from another "Open" assembly, so they can't be lumped together to say they ALL operate in such and such a way. Unlike the "Exclusives" who are generally all operating the same way, no matter where they meet.

I know of a Bible Chapel that wouldn't let a visitor Break Bread if they didn't bring a letter from their home assembly, or if they had never been to a PB assembly before. They would be asked to observe for one Sunday first. They would classify their Assembly as a "Guarded" Assembly.

I know of Open Assemblies that have A Pastor. Have a Praise Band and sing only 7-11 songs. Allow women to pray and take part in ministry & give out hymns in the BB Meeting. Have no elders, per se, but hold monthly Men's Meeting to decide Chapel business. Have one or two elders and run it like a business/dictatorship. Have a different brother designated to open the BB Meeting each week. Totally wait on the HS to guide throughout the entire BB Meeting. Have one hymnbook for the BB Meeting. Have multiple hymnbooks, including a Chorus Book, for the BB Meeting. Have3 a piano to assist with the singing in the BB Meeting. Have no instruments in any meeting allowed. Wear jeans & shorts to the BB Meeting. Have a dress code for the BB Meeting.

In other words, one can't pick one of these and use a wide brush to label ALL "Open" Brethren with how one Assembly is operating. They don't all conform to one another like the "Exclusives" tend to do, more or less.

I was in the "Exclusives" (The one with Bible Truth Publishers) for 34 years. I've been with the "Open" Brethren for 27 years.

Brian Maunsell said...

Brother, I appreciate your comments on the variations of the Assemblies / brethren. In our meeting in Pembroke N.C. we follow many of the P.B. traditions. Yet our body is called Pembroke Family Fellowship and that is the most accurate name we can use. We simply desire to understand the Word of God and live it out. Precious practices in the meeting are the Lord's Supper being remembered every week with every man given the opportunity to act as a priest and bring an offering - only to be sure it is of worship of the Savior, not teaching, regular fellowship in one another's houses and together as a body - we eat lunch together every Sunday, and the whole family sitting under the teaching of the Word of God (Acts 2:42). A chord was struck in your questioning of church leadership being too much like the clergy. We do not appoint leaders and elders, believing instead that it is the Holy Spirit who raises men to do this work (Eph 4:11) and we the church simply them - not with some formal ceremony but because we see them as gifted to do the work and they are actually out doing the work.
Is it not amazing that God can use such weak vessels as us, with all our faults and divisions and still build His kingdom! To God be the Glory.
Brian M.

B Ts said...

Interesting writing!

If we are careful to note, no pattern of the new testament for the church is a commandment. We follow what the apostles were led to practice the simplest form of gathering.

In the book of Acts itself we see a change in practice.
1. The early church believers in Acts 2 met together and broke bread every day. By the time of Acts 20, they decided to gather only the 1st day of the week. Moreover Paul waited till the 1st day to break bread. Somewhere along changes were made by the apostles themselves.

2. By mid Acts, there were gatherings of believers in every setting and Jerusalem church was not considered as some sort of central church.

3. Throughout the book of Acts there has been transitions and changes made.

So no one brethren church can claim that their pattern is more accurate than the other. Things like "The Fellowship", "The Place". "Receiving into the fellowship". "Bible Reading" or "Bible Study". Paul who has taught the church did not make a doctrine of Pattern of New Testament Church.

If Church is a living organism, it has no shape or form. It only resembles the Lord Jesus. Anything that skews the resemblance of Christ is man made.

The All kind of brethren should understand it is the Lord's Church. He will guard it, guide it, lead it, control it, correct it and bless it for accomplishing His purpose on this earth through us.

When we start structuring it to the desire of a few, it now becomes an organization and not an organism.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between:
• Plymouth Brethren
• Independent Fundamental Baptist
• Churches of God

Are they not all the same thing? Or evolved from the same thing?
Forgive my ignorance. I'd appreciate feedback on this.
Thanks.

Cornelis Harm said...

Cornelis Harm Hi! It seems that over the whole western world we find the same problems of understanding how to worship We in Australia are walking away from being called Open/ Closed /Gospel hall brethren. and have become more independent the Independent Baptist. The reality is that we have lost Whom we worshipping. We have brought Christ Jesus to our level and made him a kind of buddy, a mate. Everything gets done in the name of Jesus, ( But which one??) Fore instance if we would be invited to the queen of England would we say we are visiting Lizzy? Christ Jesus is God and our Saviour. The problem is we have become clubs with a hierarchy
that believes in going with the times. Better to make the worship service a Christian disco with revolving doors, than making Christ Jesus a reality in our lives. I have been with the open brethren from 1978-1984 and came back from serving the Lord in 1992, since then I have seen the Brethren movement lost its appetite for searching the Scriptures and preach the Gospel the power unto salvation.
I am glad to give my e-mail address for future communications.
Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ
Casey harm
princes.fridge@hotmail.com