The Brethren Movement is one of the largest free-church movements in Germany (total membership: c. 40,000). However, as it is divided into several subgroups, some of them doing no public relations work at all, it doesn’t play a very conspicuous role in the German church scene.
This website, founded in October 2003, is a private initiative trying to show the specific aims of the Brethren Movement and the roots of its various subgroups. It provides information about the movement’s historical development as well as about its present-day situation, taking into account all relevant groups.
Most of the site is in German, but there are a number of English documents as well. They are listed below. You will also find many English entries on our international links and biography pages.
Please note that this website is a neutral resource of information and not an official site of any German Brethren group. If you want to respond to our site, please write us an e-mail message.
English Documents at bruederbewegung.de (PDF files):
Anthony Norris Groves: Letter to John Nelson Darby (1836). Groves’ famous “prophetic letter” warning about sectarian tendencies within the Brethren Movement [6 pages, 64 KB]. A Portuguese translation is also available: Carta para John Nelson Darby [4 pages, 54 KB].
Henry Craik, Georg Müller et al.: The “Letter of the Ten” (1848). The first statement of the principles of “Open Brethren”, issued by the leaders of Bethesda Chapel, Bristol [6 pages, 48 KB].
Anonymous: A Retrospect of Events that have taken Place amongst the Brethren (with Appendix, 1849). Contemporary report and comment on the splits at Plymouth (1845) and Bristol (1848), written by a well-informed outsider. In an appendix, excerpts from important documents are compiled [42 pages, 302 KB].
Francis William Newman: Strivings after a more Primitive Christianity (from: Phases of Faith, 1850). Newman sympathized with the early Brethren Movement and assisted Anthony Norris Groves with his missionary work in Baghdad, but later turned away from Christianity. In the second chapter of his religious autobiography Phases of Faith he describes the influence John Nelson Darby (“the Irish clergyman”) had on him [13 pages, 122 KB].
John Nelson Darby: Early Beginnings (1853; from: The Christian’s Library, 1901). Notes of a report on the beginnings of the Brethren Movement in France, Switzerland and Germany, given by Darby on 24 November 1853 [8 pages, 182 KB].
Henry Groves: Darbyism: Its Rise, Progress, and Development (third edition, c. 1880). The history of the “Exclusive Brethren” from 1845 to 1867, extensively commented from an “Open” point of view [65 pages, 528 KB].
John Gifford Bellett et al.: Interesting Reminiscences of the Early History of “Brethren” (n.d.). Bellett’s reminiscences of the beginnings of the Brethren Movement with supplements by John Nelson Darby, George Vicesimus Wigram, Edward Cronin and James Butler Stoney as well as Bellett’s last letter to Darby [12 pages, 114 KB].
William Collingwood: The “Brethren”: A Historical Sketch (1899). A brief survey of the history and principles of the Brethren from an “Open” point of view [12 pages, 98 KB].
William Blair Neatby: Mr. William Kelly as a Theologian (from: The Expositor, 1907). A short introduction to the theology of William Kelly (ecclesiology, eschatology, christology, soteriology) and thus to essential doctrines of the “Brethren” in general [11 pages, 108 KB].
Edward Elihu Whitfield: Plymouth Brethren (from: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1911). A fairly objective account of the history and teachings of the Brethren. The author was a member of the Stuart Brethren [8 pages, 82 KB].
Anonymous: The Wanderer at Church. The Foresters’ Hall (from: The Thanet Advertiser, 1915). A journalist’s report of a visit to the Brethren assembly at Foresters’ Hall, Ramsgate, Kent (probably a Kelly meeting since the hymn book mentioned, Good Tidings, was issued by the Kelly publishers Race and Hammond) [6 pages, 79 KB].
George Henry Lang: Observations upon The Union of Freechurch Christians in Germany (1938). Criticism by an English “Open Brother” of the organization formed by the German Brethren in 1937. Typescript, previously unpublished [20 pages, 154 KB].
Peter L. Embley: The Origins and Early Development of the Plymouth Brethren (1966). A thorough Ph.D. thesis dealing with the first 20 years of the movement [149 pages, 1039 KB].
Arthur Carl Piepkorn: Plymouth Brethren (Christian Brethren) (from: Concordia Theological Monthly, 1970). An objective survey of the various Brethren groups in the United States [9 pages, 79 KB].
Peter Brock: The Peace Testimony of the Early Plymouth Brethren (from: Church History, 1984). An examination of the pacifist views of some early Brethren, particularly Anthony Norris Groves, Georg Müller, John Nelson Darby, Benjamin Wills Newton, Percy Francis Hall and Charles Brenton [15 pages, 160 KB].
Peter J. Lineham: The Significance of J.G. Deck 18071884 (from: Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal [New Zealand], 1986). A pioneering article on the life of James George Deck, hymn-writer and father of the Brethren Movement in New Zealand [24 pages, 190 KB].
Max S. Weremchuk: You Ran Well ... Who Has Stopped You? (1989, revised 1996). A critical analysis of the situation among the “Reunited” (Kelly-Lowe-Continental-Glanton) assemblies, written by an insider [28 pages, 204 KB].
Max S. Weremchuk: Can We Recover the Brethren Legacy? (1998). An appeal to the “Reunited” (KLCG) Brethren to develop a positive attitude towards variety and to learn from other Christian groups [16 pages, 109 KB].
Lake Geneva Conference Report (1999). The proceedings of a “Reunited” (KLCG) conference in the United States trying to ascertain the principles of gathering from Scripture itself without referring to Brethren writings [60 pages, 258 KB].
Philip Nunn: Observations and Reflections of a Concerned Missionary (2002). Thoughts about current trends among the “Reunited” (KLCG) Brethren. The author was working as a missionary in Armenia, Colombia [22 pages, 147 KB].
Philip Nunn: The Re-dividing of the Reunited Brethren (2003). An analysis of the causes of the current process of disintegration among the “Reunited” (KLCG) Brethren [52 pages, 332 KB].
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