Brethren Archive
The Year 1930

Why I Abandoned Exclusivism

by H.P. Barker

With notes by Harold St. John
16 Pages
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James said ...
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 : 11:18
Samuel said ...

Important comment by Harold St John.

<< Note 2. The late Dr Bergin showed me the diary of a godly old elder at Bethesda. It had lain in a desk of for fifty years, but was given by the widow to Dr Bergin. The notes of the brethren’s meetings were carefully kept, and his statements, written a few hours after the meetings, flatly contradict Mr Darby’s account in simple matters of fact. The grossest charges are shown to be absolutely false. Which is the more likely to be trustworthy: this account by one who was present, or Mr. Darby’s, derived from others ? >>

I think it would be highly desirable to track down this Diary, if it can be unearthed. It did not surface in the archives of the Muller Homes. I don’t know who would have inherited Dr Bergin’s papers. The Diary itself would throw invaluable light upon the inner counsels of the Bethesda “oversight” at a critical time. It is a pity that Harold St John did not favour us with at least a few specific matters of fact upon which Darby was wrong in his charges against Bethesda.

Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 : 23:30
Rodger said ...
Note the words: "derived from others"! Is there an actual account in Darby's own hand?

Apart from the absent diary, what is the earliest record of the apparent events of this meeting, from either point of view?
Friday, Oct 18, 2019 : 01:36
Syd said ...
Barker’s statement that “the truth that ‘there is one Body’ is hardly relevant. For the setting of this great truth in Scripture shows that it is intended to be a powerful spiritual force rather that an ecclesiastical one. Indeed we hardly gather from the New Testament that the fact of there being ‘One Body’ (in the sense of Eph 4:4) is a reason for Christians meeting together in assembly. The truth of the one Body is a reason why we should:
(1) Not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but soberly....” is a bit of an eye-opener.

He goes on to list some behavioural characteristics, but nothing ecclesiastical, like the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ... the unity of the faith...the knowledge of the Son of God... etc, all dealt with in Eph 4 concerning the one Body.

The rediscovered truth of the one Body as a divine creation (heavenly of course, but also on earth), represented by local assemblies (1 Cor 12, et al), was a tenet of the early “Brethren” movement’s teaching and practice—putting aside any notion of federal or central control or associations.

When, how and by whom was there a divergence in belief and practice; some giving pre-eminence to the local assembly, something that Barker seems to suggest, almost relegating the one Body to a mystical force only? Have any of the brethren out there looked more closely at this historically and scripturally? Thanks.
Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023 : 18:59

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