Salvation and Service
The written testimonies of Brethren who are full-time preachers or missionaries overseas reveal a similar emphasis to the obituaries on spiritual experience. The two key events in these narratives are conversion and call. By far the majority of these esteemed brethren were brought up in Brethren families or, in some cases, in families fully practising in other denominations or sects. Nevertheless, a conversion experience was mandatory, and was the dominant aim of Brethren parents for their children. For many children, its achievement was difficult and anxious. The later vocational call to full-time work for the Lord was a similarly emotive and problematic event. It had to be seen to come from God, so its discernment was difficult. Events had to be interpreted as messages from the Almighty, despite the obvious availability of other explanations for their occurrence. The testimonies point up the binary opposites which define the Brethren world view: spiritual versus worldly, God versus Man, faith versus reason, and so on.