Fundamental Doctrines

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Historically Catholic

Like many movements that have their roots in the tradition of Christianity, the Brethren hold to the beliefs expressed in the historical Christian[1] creeds even if many within the movement might not know it.

  • Everything is contingent on God
  • Monotheist
  • Trinitarian
  • Eternal Sonship of Christ
  • The Deity and Humanity of Jesus Christ
  • The Virgin Birth
  • The Second Coming of Christ

Historically Evangelical

Like many movements that have their roots in the Protestant Reformation, the brethren movement holds to the historical tenets of evangelicalism.

  • Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is the highest authority.
  • Sola Fide (“faith alone”): Saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  • Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): Saved by the grace of God alone.
  • Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is  Lord, Savior, and King.
  • Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): Living for the glory of God alone.
  • Priesthood of all believers

Assembly Distinctives

Though the term has taken on some theological nuance over time, the term  used by Harold Mackay in his booklet and personal testimony Assembly Distinctives[2], simply refers to what set of beliefs are in-general held by some Brethren circles that differentiate them from other Christian assemblies and denominations. Note that these beliefs in and of themselves are not uniquely held by the  Brethren, nor are they part of any belief statement, but they are commonly held.

  • Plurality of Elders
  • Headcovering of Women
  • Weekly Lord's Supper
  • Expressed lack of a clergy/laity division
  • Simplicity
  • Supporting missions, some elders, and itinerant speakers with gifts instead of salaries

Popular and General Beliefs

These are beliefs commonly held by many in the assemblies though there are individual differences. These general beliefs are not central to the Brethren movement but they are often held in light of many of these beliefs also being common to North-American Christian fundamentalism.

  • Independent congregational assemblies which are Elder led
  • Creedobaptist (Believers undergo baptism as a profession of faith and an act of knowing obedience over against paedobaptism)
  • Dispensationalist (God has dealt with humanity with spheres of responsibility)
  • Pretribulational Rapture (Christ's return is before the time of tribulation)
  • Premillennial (Millennium will begin with the Second Coming of Christ)
  • Eternal Security
  • Non-Calvinist
  • Young Earth Creationist


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