Evangelicals are often criticized for the multiplication among them of both separate denominational groups and parachurch bodies. The Open Brethren were, in the words of one description, ‘evangelicals of the evangelicals’. But they largely avoided splitting into denominational groups by developing a strong doctrine of the autonomy of the local church and denying that the movement was a denomination. As this book shows, they did not, however, avoid the multiplication of parachurch bodies, while in some quarters outlawing the very idea of ‘parachurch’ Evangelical individualism flourished among them, too, often leading to the creation of new organizations.

In this book, Neil Summerton explores these themes, in the context of detailed knowledge of the history of the Brethren movement in the British Isles. It should help local church leaders, and trustees and executives of Brethren-background bodies, not only in the British Isles but across the world, to understand debates which often continue, even among those who now deny the appellation, ‘Brethren’.

By Neil Sumerton

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