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CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN NETWORK

Continuing the work of Jesus : Peacefully ~ Simply ~ Together

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Beliefs & Practices

Beliefs and practices of most Brethren generally reflect the religious and political climate of their birth. Several modern denominations employ the word Brethren in their denominational label which may be confusing, since their are so many different Brethren Groups. The Church of the Brethren originated in the tiny village of Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708. They adhered to a firm allegiance to Jesus Christ, would accept no formal written creed but the plain teachings of the New Testament, stressed believer's baptism instead of infant baptism, and essentially characterized by simple living. These Brethren were heavily persecuted for their Anabaptist practices since adult baptisms were illegal in Sixteenth century Europe. Alexander Mack was the name of their founding father son who was strongly influenced by Pietist teachings. Religious freedom was eventually acquired upon emigrating to America where they established their first settlement in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Learn more about these Brethren from the following resources.

Logo Frequently Asked QuestionS is a very brief response to the volume of questions that have appeared in our email concerning the Church of the Brethren. Since they are often repetitive, we offer this resource with the hope that you may quickly satisfy your own curiosity about our denomination and receive a more clear understanding of our beliefs and traditions. Wayne Sutton of Miami First Church of the Brethren in the Atlantic Southeast District is supplying the answers to these questions. He has thoughtfully captured and explained the essence of the Brethren experience in each of the following responses.
Logo Brethren's 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. Although it was disseminated widely in former years, the Brethren Card rarely appears in official denominational literature.
Logo Church of the Brethren Logo is a composite of three different shapes that symbolize three central messages of the life of Jesus: cross, wave, and circle. Prayerfully our logo will also become familiar enough to generate mental pictures as corporate logos and hopefully vivid enough to evoke a similar calling for enthusiastic dedication to God's kingdom.
Logo Creeds and the Brethren by Frank Ramirez examines the basic reasons why Brethren have traditionally resisted the confinement of a creed by detailing historical moments and theological weaknesses that predictably lay in the pathway to the formation of creeds. Ramirez further gives treatment to the inherent problems of creedalism such as affirmation without investigation or different signposts for different believers on the spiritual journey of faith. Lastly, readers are effectually challenged to define their own approach to developing and defending a system of beliefs.
Logo Love Feast & Communion is a three-part Brethren service of Communion which includes feet washing, the meal, and the sacraments of the bread and cup. Brethren are unique among Protestant denominations, for most do not include feet washing or the meal, but rather the simple administration of the bread and cup. Even many Anabaptist traditions which observe feet washing do not include the meal. The fellowship meal is based on several Eucharist scriptures: “And supper ...,” John 13:2; “... his own supper,” 1 Corinthians 11:21; or “... feasts of charity,” Jude 1:12. This last scriptural reference highlights the reason why the Brethren have traditionally called this service a Love Feast. Charity as used by Jude translates the Greek word Agape, one of four Greek verbs for love.
Logo Historic Peace Church is a class given to the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonites, and the Society of Friends (Quakers) following their meeting in North Newton, Kansas in 1935 for a conference on peace. See also Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites by Donald B. Kraybill, and the 1970 official Brethren Statement on War adopted by the 1948 Annual Conference.
Logo Brethren Groups should hopefully unpuzzle the differences of the many Brethren denominations There are so many Christian groups using the term Brethren, that questions frequently arise concerning their relationship with each other. The purpose of this work is to acquaint you with a basic, non-theological outline of denominations using the word Brethren and hopefully give you a better understanding of how we all fit together. One very common denominator which usually holds true for most Brethren groups is that each progenitive body originated in central Europe during the Fifteenth to Eighteenth centuries under moderate to severe religious persecution.
Logo Pocket Gospel is a label affectionately given to three verses of the New Testament that concisely package the entire gospel message of Jesus Christ. In other words, one might conveniently put the gospel message in their pocket. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 3:23-25 which covers the problem of human sin (23), redemption for sin is available (24), and that redemption was purchased by Jesus Christ (25).
Logo Plan of Redemption cites over a hundred scriptures concerning the plan of reconcilation of God with humankind through the atonement of Jesus. New Testament passages in the very words of Holy Spirit inspired writers explain many of the divine elements of God such as: love, forgiveness, prayer, sovereignty, judgement, sin, grace, baptism, confession, resurrection and the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“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