I'm a bit of a reader, and I've occasionally had people ask me about some book or another. Well, no one's asked me in a while, but they really did, once upon a time! So I started thinking "What books would I recommend to someone who wanted to read some classic 'brethren' stuff?" And here's a short list I compiled. A friend and I digitized most of these books at one time, and it's possible I have digital copies lying around on some hard drive or another. If I can find them, I'll make sure they're available online somewhere.
OK, before the list, let me point out that this is probably of no interest to anyone except me. But this is my blog, and even though there are [apparently] a couple people who actually read it, I'm going to selfishly use my blog for my own personal interests.
- Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Vol. 12 Occasionally you hear someone say "I tried to read Darby, but I couldn't get into it" or something like that. As someone who's read a lot of Darby, let me give you this hint: start with Volume 12. Darby's not a great writer (a great thinker, yes, but a terrible writer); but Volume 12 is almost entirely transcripts of his gospel sermons: they're written in something close to plain English. Further, Darby's whole perspective stems from his understanding of God's grace: God's grace is the topic of Volume 12. In fact, it might be the best book written on the subject, period.
- The Believer Established, by C. A. Coates. This is CAC's primer on the Christian life, intended for a young person. This book is not perfect, but it is very good. The last chapter gets a little on the "legalistic" side. But all in all, it's an excellent primer on the Christian life.
- Lectures on the Church of God, by William Kelly. This is the best summary of "brethren" ecclesiology I have read. An alternate would be S. Ridout's The Church and Its Order, According to Scripture. Both of these books are unashamedly "exclusive"; "open" brethren might find them a little "extreme". But I strongly recommend you read at least one of them, if you want to read "brethren".
- Discipline in the School of God, by J. B. Stoney. This is one of the "brethren" classics: if you have access to Bible Treasury, you actually have access to this book: it was originally published as a series of articles in Bible Treasury. Discipline is a survey of Bible characters, with an emphasis on God's work in their lives. This book is a subjective classic, and is probably the second-best christian book I have ever read.
- The Coming Prince, by Sir Robert Anderson. Excellent treatment of Daniel 9: might be the best Dispensationalist treatment of the passage. This is a Dispensationalist classic, written by an "open brethren" teacher.
- The Hopes of the Church of God, by J. N. Darby. This is actually in Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Vol. 2. These lectures might be considered the start of Dispensationalism. Not really; but they are a series of lectures Darby gave in Geneva in 1840. These lectures are really excellent, and I would suggest you really need to read them, if you want to read "brethren" stuff. One lecture in the set: "The Progress of Evil on the Earth" is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Darby's teaching on Ruin in the Church. These lectures have been published as a stand-alone volume a couple times.
- The Closing Ministry of J. Pellatt, Vols. 1 & 2: confusingly published in a single volume. The only real problem I have with this book is, the second half contains a lot of "Readings". I like sitting in Bible Readings, but really hate reading transcripts from them. The transcripts can be interesting, but they're a terrible read. J. Pellatt's ministry is excellent "heart ministry": it really touches your heart and lifts it to God. It's available online at My Brethren, but I find their tendency to convert prose into bullet points makes it hard to read anything in its entirety.
Now, you might have trouble actually finding all those books. In fact, you will certainly not be able to find them all in one place. But they're worth the trouble to dig up, if you're so inclined.
So if anyone actually does read this blog, I would be interested in hearing a recommended reading list from someone else...