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The Brethren Card was first published by the Brethren's Book and Tract Work about 1887, and was printed in Messenger magazine for a brief period of time. A revised edition of the card was reviewed by Annual Conference in 1923, with the provision that it must not be considered a creed (see also Minutes of 1923-1944, pp. 7-8). It is presented here with the hope of answering basic doctrinal questions from visitors who desire a keener understanding of the general beliefs of the Church of the Brethren. Although it was disseminated widely in former years, the Brethren Card rarely appears in official denominational literature. Most Brethren stress the need to be open to revelation from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with a special emphasis on studying the New Testament, particularly the teachings of Christ. Brethren have traditionally sought after the “mind of Christ” as explained by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:16: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. A previous version of the Brethren Card follows afterward.

Scriptures references have been added to each item for convenience




This body of Christians originated early in the eighteenth century, the church being a natural outgrowth of the Anabaptist and Pietistic movements following the Reformation.
Firmly accepts and teaches the fundamental evangelical doctrines of...
  • the inspiration of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16);
  • the personality of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-13);
  • the virgin birth of Christ (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:27, 1:30-34);
  • the deity of Christ (Colossians 2:8-9);
  • the sin-pardoning value of His atonement (Ephesians 1:7);
  • His resurrection, ascension, and personal and visible return (1 Cor. 15:1-25; Acts 1:9-11);
  • and the resurrection both of the just and the unjust (John 5:28-29; Matthew 25:46).
  • Observes the following New Testament rites:
  • baptism of penitent believers by Trine immersion for the remission of sins (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38);
  • feet washing (John 13:1-20; 1 Timothy 5:10);
  • love feast (Luke 22:20; John 13:4; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Jude 12);
  • communion (Matt 26:26-30);
  • the Christian salutation (Romans 16:16; Acts 20:37);
  • the Scriptural headveiling (1 Corinthians 11:2-16);
  • the anointing for healing in the name of the Lord (James 5:14-18; Mark 6:13);
  • laying on of hands (Acts 6:6; 8:17; 13:3; 19:6; 1 Tim. 4:14).

    These rites are representative of spiritual graces which are evident in the lives of true believers, and as such are essential factors in the development of the Christian life.
  • Emphasizes...
  • daily devotion for the individual, and family worship for the home (Ephesians 6:18-20; Philippians 4:8-9);
  • stewardship of time, talents, and money (Matthew 25:14-30);
  • taking care of the fatherless, widows, poor, sick, and aged (Acts 6:1-7).
  • Opposes on Scriptural grounds:
  • war and the taking of human life (Matthew 5:21-26; 43-44; Romans 12:19-21);
  • violence in personal and industrial controversy (Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:8-10);
  • intemperance in all things (Titus 2:2; Gal. 5:19-26; Ephesians 5:18);
  • going to law, especially against our Christian brethren (1 Corinthians 6:1-10);
  • divorce and remarriage, except for the one Scriptural reason (Matthew 19:9;
                ( see also Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:10-15);
  • every form of oath (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12);
  • membership in secret oath-bound societies (1 Thessalonians 5:22);
  • games of chance and sinful amusements (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Peter 2:11; Rom. 12:17);
  • extravagant and immodest dress (1 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
  • Labors earnestly, in harmony with the Great Commission, for the evangelization of the world, for the conversion of men to Jesus Christ, and for the realization of the life of Jesus Christ in every believer (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

    Maintains the New Testament as its only creed, in particular harmony with each of the above brief statements.




    The Brethren Card

    A previous version (circa. 1900)

    Be it known unto all men,

    That there is a people who, as little children (Luke 18: 17), accept the Word of the New Testament as a message from heaven (Heb. 1: 1, 2), and teach it in full (2 Tim. 4: 1, 2, Matthew 28: 20).

    They baptize believers by trine immersion (Matt. 28: 19), with a forward action (Romans 6: 5), and for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 38), and lay hands on those baptized, asking upon them the gift of God's Spirit (Acts 19: 5, 6).

    They follow the command and example of washing one another's feet (John 13: 4, 17).

    They take the Lord's Supper at night (John 13: 30), at one and the same time, tarrying one for another (I Cor, 11:33, 34).

    They greet one another with a holy kiss (Acts 20: 37; Rom. 16: 16).

    They take the communion at night, after supper, as did the Lord (Mark 14: 17, 23).

    They teach all the doctrines of Christ, peace (Heb. 12: 14), love (1 Cor. 13) unity (Ephesians 4), both faith and works (James 2: 17, 20).

    They labor for nonconformity to the world in its vain and wicked customs (Romans 12: 2).

    They advocate nonswearing (Matthew 5:34), anti-secretism (2 Cor. 6: 14,17), opposition to war (John 18: 36), doing good unto all men. (Matt 5: 44, 46).

    They anoint and lay hands on the sick (James 5: 14, 15).

    They give the Bread of life, the message of the common salvation unto all men without money or price (Matt. 10: 8).

    Dear reader, for the above we contend earnestly, and you, with all men, are entreated to hear, to examine and accept it as the word, which began to be spoken by the Lord, and the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).




    “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer
    to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.“

    1 Peter 3:15