Plymouth Brethren is a traditional, low church, maverick, religious Christian movement.
History of Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren history dates back to early 19th century where dissatisfaction was growing within the church of Anglican that became too involved with secular state abandoning the basic truth of Christianity.
Because of which many independent gatherings started spontaneously where men and women started to follow the teachings based on the New Testament and focused on the celebration of Holy Communion. This fellowship or “Brethren” focused on one’s direct relationship with God instead of arrangements that were followed by a religious church.
Lord’s Supper was done in simple meeting rooms and they also joined in the prayers to address the gospel.
The movement was started in early 1825 in Dublin of Ireland but the first permanent meeting was held in Plymouth of Southern England in 1829 and hence the name was adopted as Plymouth Brethren. John Nelson Darby was one of the prominent and foremost members who formed new congregations in Ireland, England, and Continental Europe.
What are the Rules of Plymouth Brethren?
Brethren followed many strict rules most of which fall under Rules of Exclusivity
The doctrine of separation of sin makes Brethren followers very unique. They believe that
- The members should avoid anything that is sinful
- The members should keep a distance from anyone who does not follow Exclusive Brethren teaching including any other Christian also.
- The families do not have provisions to keep or watch televisions, radios or go to ant theatre or cinemas.
- If any wrong deeds are done by members they should confess it and demonstrate their grief and guilt. If they don’t do this then they are withdrawn from the community.
- Members of the community should have very limited contact with the outsiders. They cannot visit other churches or religious organization. They cannot even marry outside Exclusive Brethren
- They should marry early. Men should have a clean shave, short hairs and they are not allowed to wear ties. While women should wear a scarf and keep their hair uncut.
- The members can reside or do business in a freestanding building means the structure which does not touch any other building occupied by non-Brethren.
- Brethren cannot go on holidays. If their Brethren relatives are in any other country and want to visit them they need to have approval from church to travel. Air tickets must be bought only from Brethren business.
- Brethren members are not allowed to keep pets, neither read novels, newspaper or magazines.
- Alcohol is permitted but smoking is prohibited.
What is Dress Code of Plymouth Brethren?
All members are to follow a dress style which is respectful and honorable for the church divinity. Men usually dress in business casuals which are long dress trousers, business shirts and some jackets as per requirement. They have to be clean shaven and have to keep their hair short. They are not allowed to keep even sideburns.
Women should wear ankle length skirts, should not cut their hairs. They should always cover their heads either with a scarf or handkerchief. Some of them now use a ribbon and also wear some designer clothes reaching to knee level.
Do Plymouth Brethren Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is not allowed in the Exclusive Brethren culture as they say Jesus was God’s son, but do not celebrate his birthday as the whole world celebrates this occasion. They usually ignore this day.
Members are not allowed to hang a Christmas tree or have any decorations. They are not allowed to go to any Christmas party or concerts or sing carols. Not even Christmas gifts or cards are permitted.
For the members, Christmas story is hardly mentioned in the teachings. But they do encourage eating and drinking among themselves. They believe that Brethren are not supposed to celebrate the birthday of Lord instead they are to remember his death on Lord’s Day.
How are the Schools of Plymouth Brethren?
Plymouth Brethren schools are run by the members themselves. The schools are located all over the world. Minimum emphasis is placed on religious aspects in the school. They also hire non-brethren qualified teachers for maintaining high standards of the school. The curriculum and teaching methods are accredited by relevant education authorities. Boys and girls are treated equally.
Because students do not have any access to entertainment resources, they are found to be more alert and are susceptible to fewer distractions. They also have good social skills and are very polite. University education is not permitted for them. Computers are strictly prohibited for them.
Brethren families highly value education and children’s are very happy and enthusiastic related to their curriculum.
What are the Beliefs of Plymouth Brethren?
They strongly believe that the Holy Bible is gods true words and each of them is supposed to live their life in accordance with that. All required pieces of advice for each step of life are provided by the Holy Bible. Those who can follow these are most welcome to join their community.
Brethren’s share a global community of around 460000 members who all are deeply family oriented. The center of their beliefs and the way to lead life is always their families. They believe in caring and respecting each other.
They also have faith in humanity that exists in their society. Brethren’s spends valuable time together with their families and ensures that children’s grow happily and with prosperity, love, and cherishment.