Brethren Archive
circa 1970

"The Strictest Sect"

by Theodore William Carron

Tom said ...

I'm only assuming T.W.C. here is the "T.W. Carron" most well known for his book "The Christian Testimony Through the Ages", but the reference to Church history, "that no revival in the Church's history has retained its original power and purity", would support this too.

The paragraph for me that most needs reflection on is this one,

"But the root lies deeper still, and the saints who have been taken in this snare will not be delivered tlill they have judged exclusivism in its entirety. I have no doubt that what we call the Brethren movement was, in its beginning, a movement of the Holy Spirit, but let us remember .. "

In my opinion, the 'fruits', ie. the errors both practical and doctrinal of Taylor and his successors are not simply due to him, or even his predecessors, FER and JBS, but in Darbyism itself. 


Monday, Oct 19, 2020 : 20:09
Jonathan said ...

I would respectfully disagree with that, Tom. As we look into history our minds naturally try to build narratives to show that one state of affairs must lead to another, as it if were inevitable. But we may overlook a more fundamental point - especially in light of what we know of the Holy Spirit's presence - namely, that each generation bears its own responsibility for how it handles the truth of what it has been given. And I appreciate you have visitors to this site who may disagree with what I am about to say, but nevertheless I feel it is quite clear that FER introduced doctrinal novelties that JND would have rejected (see for example JND's letter to the Glastonbury assembly who seemed to be denying eternal life as a present possession. We do not need to speculate what Darby would have thought of that teaching!). And as FER's novelties created a harder core of devotees, Taylor was able to use it and springboard into further error - error which we know that Darby rejected. But can we blame Darby for that nevertheless, on the basis of a system of governance that he left behind? I think not. Any system can be used and manipulated in the hands of unscrupulous people. I may see a weakness in Darby's system, if we are to use those words, in that in seeking to equalise all assemblies as part of the 'one body', and claiming the ruin of the church, it did not allow for stronger local spiritual leadership and thus gave the opportunity for individuals to exercise a potentially greater position across assemblies. But who has created a perfect system? All human systems fail. Independent systems fail by fracturing and diverging more quickly over time, and division may still occur though be less evident. I think Darby's work and service stands - even though I may think some aspects of his local church ecclesiology were difficult to implement and maintain in balance. But to root Taylor's errors in Darby's teaching is not defensible.

Monday, Oct 19, 2020 : 22:01

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