Brethren Movement

An effort to practice Christianity in the simplicity of the New Testament.


The Brethren movement arose in Ireland and England in the late 1820s led by Christians who were appalled at the worldliness, deadness, and lack of reverence for the Bible that they saw in Christendom. From a small handful of meetings, the work grew rapidly and spread broadly, attracting serious Christians who were drawn to their simplicity, spirituality, and love for the word of God.


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The Brethren are nearest in vital doctrine and practice to such mainstream evangelical churches as the Baptists and the Bible churches. The three main areas where they differ fall under church structure and polity: observing the Lord’s table every week, plurality in the leadership and ministry, and the head covering as taught in 1 Corinthians 11.

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Though rather small numerically, the Brethren have have had a profound influence on the beliefs and practices of evangelicalism. Some of the areas where they have impacted the church include: taking prophecy literally, plurality in local church leadership, and open communion.

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Well-Known Brethren

Many notable names in recent church history fellowshipped in Brethren circles. Some of the most recognizable names include  Jim Elliot, George Muller, Harry Ironside, Sir Robert Anderson, F.F. Bruce, Zane Hodges, Samuel P. Tregelles, W.E. Vine, and G.V. Wigram.

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