I have often looked back at the Brethren influences in my spiritual life and felt sad that I have been led to a spiritual place that is doctrinally different from Brethren churches in some key aspects. Browsing the net today, I found churches, movements, and blogs that bring the ideas of ‘Reformed’ and ‘Brethren’ together.
- A church in Davis, California, called Grace Valley Christian Centre: Their home page says “We believe in the “solas” of the Reformed tradition (sola gratia, sola fide, solo Christo, and sola Scriptura) and are in fellowship with Christian Brethren assemblies throughout the world.” This church has a statement of faith written by Rev P.G. Matthew using, as his sources, Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647, Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689, Dr. John Owen, 1654, 16 Articles as listed in The Puritans by D. M. Lloyd-Jones (P. 235), and a document prepared by the churches own elders in 1993.
- The Brethren Reformed Church, formed near Dayton, Ohio, in 2007. Their website provides details about their worship timings and so on, but some vital pages are still under construction. However, Wikipedia describes their doctrine thus: “It bases its doctrine of salvation on the Biblical expression that God has sovereignly called people to Himself and, had He not done so, no man would ever be disposed to seek God. Accordingly, the church teaches that the Father alone graciously elected to provide salvation; that salvation is made available through Jesus Christ alone; and that salvation is appropriated through faith alone bestowed by the Holy Spirit alone. According to the theology taught by the Brethren Reformed Church, no man can be reconciled to God by his own works, merit, or effort.”
- Shawn McGrath’s blog: You can also read his earlier posts at The Brethren Calvinist. About himself he writes: “The term “Brethren Calvinist” comes from my association with the so-called “Plymouth Brethren” and the open assemblies. The difference between myself and the general consensus among the assemblies is that I would hold to the doctrines of Grace . . . much like the original Brethren in Plymouth and elsewhere, while they would hold to a watered down version of this belief.”
Maybe I am sticking my head out again to be chopped off, but I do not feel inclined to worry about what groups of God’s people call themselves. It is God who is working among us, and though we strive to help people come to a ‘more accurate’ understanding of the scriptures, obviously, we can overstep the boundaries and bind on others what are but the traditions of man. Thank God, His purposes are bigger than what we can comprehend. Let each of us carry out our little roles now. We will see the big picture soon.