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“Unlike many modern preachers, Paul refused to edit out the difficult parts of the message. He insisted on preaching the whole gospel.”

It is increasingly common today to hear parts of the gospel proclaimed. The same was happening in the early church. In Acts 20, Paul says to the Ephesian church elders, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the WHOLE WILL OF GOD (Acts 20:26, 27).

Unlike many modern preachers, Paul refused to edit out the difficult parts of the message. He insisted on preaching the whole gospel.

In 604, Pope Gregory wrote about the “Seven Deadly Sins” which included pride, gluttony, envy, lust, anger, greed, and laziness. In the spirit of the Pope’s top seven, here’s my list of “Seven Deadly Sins of the Pulpit.” 

1. Preaching Christ Without the Cross.

No-cost Christianity. Paul was determined to know and preach nothing except Christ and Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Today it seems we preach everything but Christ and the cross, causing many to live as enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18).

2. Preaching Salvation Without Sanctification.

No-change Christianity. So many claim Christ today with no evidence or change in their lives, and the pulpit is at least partially to blame.

3. Preaching Decisions Without Discipleship.

No-commitment Christianity. I know we are getting crowds and decisions, but are we making disciples?

4. Preaching Love Without Lordship.

No-compliance Christianity. Jesus is Lord, and because He is Lord, He heals, delivers, provides, and saves.  

5. Preaching Prosperity Without Purpose.

No-cause Christianity. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing.

6. Preaching Blessing Without Birthright.

No-covenant Christianity. Esau threw away his birthright and still expected a blessing. It does not work that way. If we want the blessing, we must accept the covenantal responsibilities that go with the birthright. 

7. Preaching Revival Without Reformation.

No-transformation Christianity. We are called to be salt and light, to impact individuals and cultures, families and nations. The gospel is supposed to be transformational.

I have certainly been guilty of all of above at different times in my life as a preacher. As I have matured, hopefully, I’m being more and more faithful to preaching the WHOLE WILL OF GOD. How about you? 

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God ‘s Reactions to Man’s Defections – Part 1

by T. Austin-Sparks

Part One

THE NEW THING WHICH IS OLD

Foreword

Chapter 1 – The New Thing Which is Old
General Survey

Chapter 2 – The New Cruse
The Lord Jesus Himself – The Lord’s Present Need

Chapter 3 – The New Cruse (continued)
Relative and Representative Ministry – A Satanic Master-stroke – Causes and Precautions

Chapter 4 – The Overcomer
Harbingers in Every Sphere – The House of God and the City of God – Two Worships – The Depth of Calvary – The Supreme Effort of Satan

Chapter 5 – The Altar, The House, The Name
The Altar and the Blood – The Meaning of the Blood – The Holiness of the Blood – The Shedding and Sprinkling of the Blood – The Incorruptibility of the Blood

Chapter 6 – The Testimony of the Blood (continued)
The Divine Seed in Prosperity and Sovereignty – An Elect in Bondage

Chapter 7 – “A Candlestick all of Gold”
An Angel Talking – What is God Saying Today? – “Behold, A Candlestick all of Gold” – The Instrument of the Testimony in the House of God – Absolutely According to God – The Two Olive Trees and the Two Anointed Ones – The Great Mountain – The Day of Small Things

Chapter 8 – Gather My Saints Together
The Participants in the Gathering – The Nature of the Gathering

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THE PROPHET JEREMIAH

By George André


CONTENTS
Foreword…………………………………………………………………………………..3
Chapter 1 – Family and Calling……………………………………………………4
1. Family (Jer.1:1)…………………………………………………………………..4
2. Background (Jer.1:2-3)………………………………………………………..5
3. Calling (Jer.1.9-10)……………………………………………………………..7
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….11
Chapter 2 – Boldness……………………………………………………………….12
1. Public Speaking………………………………………………………………..12
2. Messages to the People…………………………………………………….13
3. Messages to the Chief Men………………………………………………..16
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….19
Chapter 3 – Persecution……………………………………………………………20
1. His Family (Jer. 11:18-19,21; 12:7-11)…………………………………20
2. The People……………………………………………………………………….21
3. Pashur (20:1-3)…………………………………………………………………22
4. Priests and Princes (26:7-16,24)…………………………………………22
5. Captains and Princes (37:11-21)…………………………………………23
6. Responsible Men – Princes (38:1-6)……………………………………24
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….25
Chapter 4 – Discouragement……………………………………………………..26
1. Useless Preaching (8:21; 9:2)…………………………………………….26
2. In Perplexity (12:1-3)…………………………………………………………27
3. Jeremiah, the Object of Painful Opposition (15:10-21)…………..28
4. Put to Torture (20:7-18)……………………………………………………..29
5. The Accumulation of Sufferings (Lam. 3:1-33)………………………30
6. Not Weary………………………………………………………………………..31
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….32
Chapter 5 – Baruch (Jer. 36)……………………………………………………..33
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….36
Chapter 6 – The Choice…………………………………………………………….37
1. Jeremiah’s Choice (39:10-14; 40:1-6)………………………………….37
2. The Choice of the People…………………………………………………..39
Thinking Things Through……………………………………………………….41
Notes…………………………………………………………………………………..42

FOREWORD
This book is not a commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, but an outline of his personality, life, and service. Characterized by faithfulness and obedience in a time of weakness and confusion, Jeremiah spoke the final words of Jehovah in Jerusalem, where He had placed “the remembrance of His name”, before this city was destroyed. Soon afterward began “the times of the Gentiles,” a period which continues to the present and will last until Israel finally acknowledges its Messiah.
Jeremiah was a weak and timid man, but God’s power worked in him. As one has said, “What matters is not knowing the ambassador, but knowing the Power that sends him. Those who despise him despise not the man, but the One who sends him” (W. Kelly). The tragedy of this prophet lay in his constant obligation to forewarn of judgment while his whole inner self recoiled from such a prospect.
How different our part! To us is given the opportunity to present the gospel of grace and salvation through our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.


CHAPTER 1 – FAMILY AND CALLING
1. Family (Jer.1:1)
Although known as a prophet, Jeremiah belonged to the family of “the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.” As far as we know, he never acted as a priest. His village of Anathoth, a little over three miles northeast of Jerusalem, had been given to the priests, descendants of Aaron, of the family of the Kohathites (Josh. 21:18; 1 Chron. 6:60). Abiathar the priest was from Anathoth (1 Kings 2:26). In Zerubbabel’s time the village was repeopled by 128 of its inhabitants who had returned from captivity as a result of the edict of Cyrus, king of Persia. Jeremiah, although a Levite, was regarded as a Benjaminite since his birthplace lay in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
He was the son of Hilkijah. Was his father the high priest frequently mentioned during the reign of Josiah, or was he another Hilkijah? We do not know for sure. Let us remember, however, the following points about Hilkijah the high priest. In 1 Chronicles 6:13 he is named in the list of Aaron’s descendants. Gemariah his son is often mentioned by Jeremiah (for instance, in 29:3). Ezra, the scribe, was one of his descendants.
Hilkijah is especially known for having, along with Shaphan, recovered the book of the Law. In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, five years after Jeremiah began to prophesy, Hilkijah and Shaphan had collected the money gathered by the people and brought into the house of Jehovah to pay for the work performed on the temple. On this occasion the high priest finds the book of the Law in the house of Jehovah (2 Kings 22:3-8). Josiah, very impressed after hearing the words of the book, sends Hilkijah, Shaphan, and some others to Huldah the prophetess to receive from her mouth the word of the Lord in this respect. Huldah can only confirm the chastisements announced in the book toward the people that were abandoning God. However, the king humbled himself and, as a result, the judgment was suspended during the rest of his life.
Josiah took deeply to heart every instruction of the Scriptures, especially those of Deuteronomy. He read to the people “all the words of the The Prophet Jeremiah 5 book of the covenant” (2 Kings 23:1-31). Then he commanded that all the vessels that had been gathered and used for idolatrous purposes be brought out of the temple and burned (v. 4). He abolished the high places in the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem. He ordered that the Asherah be brought out from the house of Jehovah and burned at the torrent Kidron. He abolished institutionalized prostitution in the temple, and tore down the houses used for this purpose. Gradually, he purified the entire country. He even carried out the prophecy of the man of God who was sent to Bethel in the time of King Jeroboam (1 Kings 13) to announce that the bones of the priests of the high places would be burned on an altar.
Once the country had been purified, Josiah commanded that the Passover be held in Jerusalem. The worship of God was restored and everything pertaining to idolatry and the occult was destroyed, in order to “perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkijah the priest had found in the house of Jehovah.”
Let us focus our attention once again on Jeremiah. Whether or not his father actually was the high priest, there is no doubt that he feared the Lord and His Word. On the other hand, Jeremiah’s family did not accept his prophecy, for we read, “Even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee, even they have cried aloud after thee” (Jer. 12:6). Jeremiah never married in accordance with God’s command: “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place” (Jer. 16:2).
Disgraced by his brethren, Jeremiah led a solitary life, having neither wife nor children. This loneliness was a heavy burden for him. However, he occasionally enjoyed the support of friends who stood up for him. In all this he is a type of the One who was to come later – the humble, solitary Man who was rejected by His brethren in spite of all the grace he displayed.
2. Background (Jer.1:2-3)
Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem and Judah during the 41 year period from 629 to 588 BC. The word came to him “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign … also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah . . . until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive.” After the final deportation, he continued his service in relative obscurity among the poor of
the country whom Nebuchadnezzar had left. Subsequently he followed into Egypt the remnant of the people who took refuge in that country. Very probably he died there after having given his last known prophecy (Jer. 44).
Thus Jeremiah witnessed the entire sad history of the last kings of Judah.
After the death of Josiah, three of his sons and one of his grandsons ascended to the throne. First Jehoahaz, his third son, reigned for three months. Afterwards Jehoiakim, Josiah’s eldest son, occupied the throne for eleven years. Jehoiakim’s eighteen year-old son, Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah) reigned for three months and ten days. Zedekiah, the last son of Josiah, at the age of 21 replaced his nephew on the throne and reigned eleven years. Among the descendants of Jehoiachin, the grandson of Josiah, we find a Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2; Hag. 2:2) or Salathiel (Matt. 1:12). This man was the father or grandfather of Zerubbabel, governor of Israel at the time of the return from captivity in accordance with the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1 & 2).
JOSIAH
JEHOAHAZ
third son
(3 months)
JEHOIAKIM
(eldest son)
(11 years)
ZEDEKIAH
youngest son
(11 years)
JEHOIACHIN (JECONIAH)
(3 months, 10 days)
SHEALTIEL
ZERUBBABEL
Josiah reigned thirty-one years. It was during the thirteenth year of his reign that Jeremiah began to prophesy. The following eighteen years were a relatively easy period in the prophet’s life. The degree to which he felt the king’s death is well expressed in 2 Chronicles 35:25, “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah.” These lamentations have not been kept for us.1
After Josiah, Judah sank into religious and political decadence. None of the descendants of this pious king feared the Lord. Invasions from the north increased in number. Three consecutive times the enemy looted the country and returned to Babylon with their captives and their treasures, including the vessels of the house of Jehovah (2 Chron. 36:7). The departure of these vessels marks the beginning of the “time of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). Daniel and his companions were carried away into captivity at that time. (Dan. 1:1, 2, 6).
Habakkuk and Zephaniah prophesied in Judah during Jeremiah’s time. Daniel and Ezekiel, also prophets during this time, ministered in Babylon. In His grace, God was still speaking to His people despite their accumulated sins and hardened hearts. But they did not pay attention.
3. Calling (Jer.1.9-10)
What a memorable day in the life of Jeremiah when God spoke to him, establishing him as a prophet! The calling of Isaiah had been different. Seeing the Lord on His throne in the midst of Seraphim proclaiming His holiness, Isaiah had cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” But the glowing coal taken from the altar where the victim had been burned provided propitiation for his sins. Then he could answer the Lord’s call: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” with the words, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isa. 6:1-8)
Nothing like this happened to Jeremiah. God simply spoke to him in his early youth declaring in a few precise statements why He chose to send him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:4-10). This is God’s foreknowledge. For us it is connected with His election before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4). The motives of this great plan are not revealed to us.
But to Jeremiah the Lord revealed more, “Before you were born I sanctified you.” Like the apostle Paul, Jeremiah was set apart from his mother’s womb (see Gal. 1:4, Acts 9:15; 22:14). Then God spoke further to him, “I ordained you a prophet to the nations,” and finally “I shall send you.”
These passages seem to show that from past eternity there has been an election on God’s part. Furthermore, each servant of the Lord receives a definite call. This is followed by training in “the school of God” through various means before the servant is actually engaged in service (see Gal. 2:1).
Jeremiah, still quite young, is frightened at the prospect of this divinely appointed mission. He meekly protests, “Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” You will recall that Moses, when much older, made the same objection when the Lord chose to send him into Egypt (Ex. 4:10). Amos reminds us that he was not the son of a prophet nor a prophet himself, but a simple and poor shepherd. God, however, had taken him while he was tending the flock, and had said to him, “Go, prophesy unto my people Israel” (Amos 7:14-15). Timothy also was young and timid; nevertheless the apostle wanted Timothy to accompany him (Acts 16:3).
Isn’t it true that we make similar objections? Sometimes we feel too young or too ignorant to pray in the presence of others. Often, in fellowship at the Lord’s Table, we feel too timid to pray in the assembly! The years go by and we still feel too young or perhaps too inadequate, and we remain silent until middle age and finally old age arrives!
And what about the outward testimony? How often we feel our own inadequacy to speak of the Lord and to let the testimony of His grace shine! We forget that when the Lord invites us to serve in this way, there are resources in Himself sufficient to enable us to respond to His invitation. When the Lord miraculously fed the crowd in the desert, He commanded His disciples, “Give ye them to eat.” Hearing this order of the Lord’s, the disciples could not understand how five loaves and two fishes could possibly feed so many people. But what did Jesus say? “Bring them here to me.” Then He multiplied the meager resources of the disciples and not only satisfied the entire crowd, but had a number of baskets still left over.
As for Jeremiah, the Lord deals with him in the time of his weakness by giving him words of encouragement as well as words of promise. First he gives him the definite order, “You shall go” (Jer. 1:7). He had spoken similarly to Gideon (who thought he was the least in his father’s house) with the words, “Go in this might of yours” (Judg. 6:14). God says further to Jeremiah, “Whatever I command you, you shall speak,” Then, calming his mind still further He states, “I am with you to deliver you.”
This same voice which encouraged Jeremiah and Gideon was heard by the great apostle Paul at Corinth, having arrived there “In weakness, in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3). It spoke to him in a night vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you” (Acts 18:9,10).
Jeremiah was not to speak on the basis of what he had in himself, God put forth His hand and touched the young man’s mouth saying, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” God would reveal things to him which he must faithfully transmit to others.
As for us, we should neither expect nor desire revelations, since we posses the entire Scripture which is “profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction.” In his last words to Timothy, the apostle said, “Proclaim the word; be urgent in season and out of season, convict, rebuke, encourage.”
What a contrasting message was to be preached by Jeremiah: “See, I have this day set you … to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down.” It was the tragic element of his life to constantly prophesy judgment, destruction and captivity.
In some pages of his book, it is true, Jeremiah forecasts a blessing, but this is far off in the future (31:28). The essential part of his message consists of warning the people about the unavoidable judgments which they will endure because of their proud and obstinate hearts.
But our situation as well as our message is much different. “How beautiful are the feet of them that announce glad tidings of peace, of them that announce glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15). Isaiah had a vision of it, that is, of the feet of Him who announces glad tidings of peace (Isa. 52:7). From that time on, in the steps of the Lord Jesus, how many messengers have been sent to proclaim the same gospel; and, to warn sinners of the dangers threatening them (Heb. 2:3). Jesus entrusted to His disciples and to us after them, the mission to preach in His name “repentance and remission of sins” (Luke 24:47).
When for the first time Peter preached to the nations, he presented Jesus as Judge of living and dead; and concluded by saying, “Whoever believes in Him receives remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Back in Jerusalem Peter became the object of criticism on the part of the brethren “of the circumcision” who contended with him saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” The apostle explained how he was led by the Lord. After hearing Peter out, they could only keep silent and conclude that “Then indeed God has to the nations also granted repentance to life.” In his ministry Paul proclaimed the same message, “testifying to both Jews and Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
A Christian preaching the gospel is expected to warn his hearers of the judgment coming to those who refuse the good tidings. His main purpose, however, is to present these tidings of grace, whereas Jeremiah’s task was primarily to announce judgment and destruction.
In order to encourage His servant, the Lord shows him the rod of an almond tree, a tree which blossoms just about in the middle of winter. In the Hebrew language this tree is called the “watchful” or “vigilant” tree. It reminds us of God who watches over His Word and causes it to be proclaimed “early,” as is suggested by the word “arise” so frequently used in the book of Jeremiah. The almond tree reminds us also of Aaron’s staff, a dead stick which in one night “had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms” (Num. 17). This is a type of the living power which was in Christ and which raised him from the dead. It is the same power which operates in every believer and causes him to pass from death to life (Eph. 1:19-20)
The vision of the almond tree was encouraging, whereas that of the seething pot filled the prophet with dismay. This “seething pot” (“the face of which is from the north”) was about to tip over and spill its contents on the ground. It typified calamity coming from the kingdoms of the north (i.e., Syria and Babylon) and about to break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. So eminent was the judgment that the prophet was compelled to deliver his message faithfully, however painful it was to him.
The moment comes for the young man to begin his mission. “Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them” (v. 17). So that he might not be frightened, God presents to him three objects designed to give him confidence: a strong city, an iron pillar, and brazen walls. But He makes it clear to Jeremiah that He is imparting boldness to him, not in favor of the land and of its princes, but “against” the kings of Judah, the priests, and the people of the land (v. 18). Once more, how different with us! To us is imparted the joy of presenting the gospel not “against” those around us, but in their favor.
The Lord renews his promise, “I am with you … to deliver you.” The people and their rulers will undoubtedly fight against the prophet; persecution and suffering will occur, but “They shall not prevail against you.”
This assurance of God’s presence with him encourages the young prophet and gives him boldness to deliver his message. The same promise accompanied Moses the lawgiver (Ex. 3:13); Gideon the judge (Judg. 6:2); Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the chiefs of the people returned from exile (Hag. 2:4). Likewise, so many others after them, such as Timothy with whom the apostle left this last wish, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22).
CONTINUE HERE:The prophet Jeremiah

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THE BRETHREN-WHAT IS SO UNIQUE ABOUT THEM!!!

The Brethren
What Is So Unique About Them!
Johnson C. Philip, PhD (Physics), ThD, DSc, DNYS
Saneesh Cherian, MA (Sociology), PhD, MDiv, DMin (Apologetics)
Copyright 2011, Creative Commons
1. The Copyright of this book has been placed by the authors in
Creative Commons. This means that you are welcome to distribute this
book any format whatsoever, provided NO information in this manuscript
is changed, and that NO editing/modification whatsoever is done in the
manuscript. You are also welcome to print this book as a serial in a
periodical or on a website.
2. You are welcome to translate and distribute this book in any language and in any format
whatsoever, provided you strictly adhere to the condition mentioned in point one above.
3. You are welcome to use this book in any way that you deem fit for your ministry, provided
you strictly adhere to the condition mentioned in point one above.
Brethren Research Group
· This ebook is offered free of cost to you by the Brethren Research Group. BRG is dedicated
to the propagation of the New Testament Pattern of faith and commitment that is reflected
in the following doctrinal stand:
1. Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
2. Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
3. Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
· All BRG books and magazines can be download free of cost from
· http://FreeEbooks.Itz4u.com
· All BRG material downloaded from the above website can be distributed freely, without
further permission, under Creative Commons copyright.
Join The Reformation
· We invite you to join the Reformation activities by recommending the above website or by
freely distributing material downloaded from the above website.
· Remember, it takes only five minutes a day to send an ebook to a friend, but the results
would last

Brethren Assemblies are a unique Christian group, and both insiders as well as outsiders to this group
should know why it is so. While the church has seen many reformations, the reformation brought in
by the Brethren is unusual and has left an impact upon all church groups.
The Brethren are relatively a small
conservative and Bible-believing Christian
group that has left a remarkable impact upon
Bible exposition and Christian practices
worldwide. Most church historians are of
the opinion that the influence of this group is
unproportionately high when compared to
the small number of churches that the
Brethren have worldwide.
The story begins with Emperor Constantine
who in the fourth century helped to push the
Christian church into total doctrinal darkness.
The rise of the Roman Catholic church, the
suppression of all the core biblical truths, and
biblical illiteracy continued till the time of
Martin Luther. Possessing and reading the
Bible was forbidden for Christians till that
time. Bible and biblical truths were kept
completely away from Christians.
Biblical truth became public once again with
the Protestant Reformation. However, since
Luther, Calvin and many other Reformers
were former Roman Catholics, they continued
to follow many erroneous doctrines and
practices. Reformation started with Luther,
but it did not reach a mature level of Biblical
understanding at his times or till a few
centuries after. Another Reformation was
needed and that came with the arrival of the
Brethren Movement.
The Brethren movement with its origin in the
1800s went one step beyond Reformation.
This movement went back to the Bible to

reclaim the full biblical truth. It embraced right
Biblical doctrines, right Biblical emphasis,
and right Biblical practices. It also rejected
widespread errors in the church. There were a
number of Reformation before the Brethren,
but most of them were partial. Some
emphasized the right doctrine, but embraced
pagan practices. Others emphasized biblical
practices, but soon fell into error because they
did not give emphasis to the Bible, the source
of truth.
A combination of right doctrines, emphasis,
practice, and rejection took for the first time
when the Brethren Movement arose, and that
is why the Brethren Movement is unique in
Church History. We therefore look at this
uniqueness or Brethren Distinctives under the
following headings
· Biblical In Doctrine
· Right In Emphasis
· Right In Practice
· Biblical In Rejection

BRETHREN DISTINCTIVES

The pioneers of the Brethren
movement realized that
unless a structure is built on
the right foundation, it would
collapse. While it is possible to build something that outwardly looks beautiful and attractive even if
it does not have a strong foundation, outward show is not the purpose of spiritual reformation. The
purpose is to build up a healthy and vibrant community of God’s people, who grow and multiply
standing upon the strong and sure foundation.
Rev PE Mammen of Kumbanad, one of the the first
person who gave rise to the Brethren Movement In
Kerala, India
Thus right from the beginning the pioneers of
this movement emphasized the need for a
right understanding of the Scripture. They
made Bible-exposition an essential part of
church meetings, and devoted considerable
time to study and teaching of the Scriptures.
What is more, they kept reminding believers
that like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) everyone
needs to read the Bible and examine
everything in its light. Examine all things and
hold fast to that which is good (I
Thessalonians 5:21) became their slogan.
As a result, weekly and even daily Bible studies
became widespread in the Brethren
Movement. While many churches gathered
people for daily programs, they did so for
rituals — and that also, for man-made rituals
that only enslave people. However, the
Brethren gathered people for studying the
Scripture, the divine communication for
mankind. Thus their understanding of the
Scripture reached a high level and even young
people became good at preaching and
teaching. This has benefited not only the
Brethren, but also all other Protestant church
groups because whenever people try to
spread deviant teachings, the Brethren are
always at the forefront of opposing it. Since
the Scriptures are taught to them right from
their childhood, they are usually better
equipped to spot error, identify the biblical
problems, and oppose it. In this way the
Brethren have played a substantial role in
keeping the Protestant Christianity active,
alive, and opposed to error.
The movement stands upon four key and
cardinal doctrines which are not allowed to be
compromised or diluted in any way. These
doctrines are:
· Sola Scriptural (Bible Alone)
· Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
· Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
· Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
We have given the concise form of the
cardinal doctrines above first in Latin and then
in English. The Latin form was common during
the Reformation and we keep repeating the
Latin phrases as a reminder to the history of
Reformation. While many churches
proclaimed one or more of the above
doctrines, they did compromise with some of
them. For example, some churches that
emphasized Christ alone negated Grace Alone
by adding works to salvation. The Brethren
are one of the few who stood steadfast
without compromising on all the four cardinal
doctrines above. We will thus look briefly at
the four cardinal doctrines here.

THE RIGHT DOCTRINAL STAND

V Nagal, a German missionary who encouraged the
early Brethren in Kerala
We will discuss all the four unique doctrines in
detail:
1. Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone):
Numerous churches, denominations, and false
cults would like to add their pet doctrines and
practices to Christian truth and practice. For
this they take help from man-made sources
such as church-tradition, the teaching of a
prominent leader of the church, or the books
written by the founder of the denomination or
the cult. Thus for them Christian truth is to be
derived from the Bible PLUS other sources,
and this is how they turn into denominations,
movements, or cults that are unbliblical.
The Brethren Movement recognizes that once
anything is placed alongside the Bible as an
equal or reliable source of doctrinal authority
or divine truth, it is divine truth that gets
diluted. Human philosophies, aspirations, and
even perversion becomes prominent. A good
example is the Roman Catholic Church that
uses tradition to impose celibacy upon people
who serve the church. This is a totally
anti-biblical idea that has become the source
of all kinds of moral corruption in the last 1500
years. Bible plus anything (as a source of
authority in church or in doctrinal matters) will
always result in the obscuring of divine truth.
The first people who left denominational
churches in England or in India to form New
Testament Pattern Churches had 1800 years of
Church History to glean from. Looking at it,
they realized that unless the new movement
gave the Scripture the unique position it
deserves in the church, the new movement
would eventually fail. Thus right from the
beginning these New Testament Pattern
reformers emphasized the doctrine of
Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone), and the Brethren
worldwide therefore came to be known as
“People of the Book”.
They based this stand upon numerous
statements in the Bible, including the
following verses:
· He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his
statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation:
and as for his judgments, they have
not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
(Psalms 147:19, 20)
· All scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction
in righteousness. 2Timoty 3:16
They also based this stand upon the
observation that both Lord Jesus Christ as
well as the apostles always relied upon the
Scripture, not upon human opinion. “It is
written” was a common phrase used by Jesus
and the apostles. The believers at Berea were
commended by God (Acts 17:1-, 11) as being
more noble because they decided the veracity
of messages they heard by searching for
those things in the Scriptures.
The also emphasized that any compromise on
“Revelation in Bible Alone” will open up a
floodgate of errors, and time has proved
them right. Thus people who are faithful to
the New Testament model strongly refuse to
compromise on this doctrine.

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