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Brethren (religious group)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brethren is a name adopted by a wide range of mainly Christian religious groups throughout history which do share historical roots. The largest movements by this name are the Schwarzenau Brethren, Anabaptists, Moravian Brethren, and Plymouth Brethren.

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Late Middle Ages

Anabaptist groups

These groups grew out of the Anabaptist movement at the time of the Protestant Reformation (16th century).

  • The Hutterites, also known as Hutterian Brethren, originated from German, Swiss, and Tyrolean Anabaptists led by Jacob Hutter in the 1520s
  • The Swiss Brethren, the name Swiss Anabaptists used from 1525 until their split into Amish and Mennonite groups in 1693
  • The Mennonite Brethren, originated among Russian Mennonites in 1860

Schwarzenau Brethren

The Schwarzenau Brethren originated in 1708 in Schwarzenau, Bad Berleburg, Germany, with Alexander Mack. Their roots are in the Radical Pietism movement but they were strongly influenced by Anabaptist theology. They have also been called "Dunkers" or "German Baptist Brethren". The group split into three wings in 1881–1883:




Plymouth Brethren

The Plymouth Brethren originated in the 1820s work of John Nelson Darby and others in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and India. Plymouth Brethren divided into two branches in 1848:

  • Exclusive Brethren - who aim to maintain a unity between local assemblies
    • The Taylor Brethren who separated from the other Exclusive Brethren in 1960 under James Taylor jr. of New York, and exercise a near total separation from others. They have recently called themselves the 'Plymouth Brethren Christian Church', also known as Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren
    • Other Brethren assemblies, who maintain the spirituality of J.N. Darby and the early Brethren, but do not follow the teachings of J. Taylor jr., variously known as Glanton, Renton, Frost & other Brethren.
  • Open Brethren - who maintain a high degree of independence between assemblies

River Brethren

The River Brethren owe their origins to the combined labors of Reformed pastor Philip William Otterbein and Mennonite Martin Boehm, beginning in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the latter half of the 18th century. They were also influenced by the Schwarzenau Brethren and include (amongst others):

Other religious groups

This page was last edited on 29 December 2018, at 18:52
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