Separated from the Sects
Dissatisfaction with the mainstream Protestant denominations motivated the beginnings of the Brethren movement. They contrasted the control of the Holy Spirit in the assemblies, whereas the ‘sects’ were regulated by sinful Man’s organization and hierarchies. The only way to properly submit to the Spirit’s guidance was to ensure the independence of each assembly. Historically, relations with the ‘sects’ were strained, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the Brethren were accused of proselytizing among mainstream adherents. In Southern England, however, collaboration often occurred within Evangelical circles. The emphasis on independence was justified in terms of the sanctity of Assembly Truth, as opposed to the unscriptural practices such as infant baptism and paid ministry practised by the ‘sects’. Collaboration was certainly no solution to the decline in Brethren numbers, which was due to continued demonic infiltration of false teaching.