Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

History of the Plymouth Brethren

The "Plymouth Brethren" were named after the English seaside town of Plymouth, where a sizable number of Christians gathered during the early years of the movement.  Interestingly, Plymouth is the town from which the Pilgrims, about 200 years earlier, had embarked for America and for which they named their first settlement in Massachusetts.
The following letters by J. G. Bellett and J. N. Darby review the early history of the movement.  At the bottom of this page, I have included several additional papers which shed some light on moral exercises that have arisen over the years.

powerscourt house, county wicklow, ireland The following books and articles review the history of the movement from its early roots in Ireland and Great Britain during the 1820s:  the few Christians who gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus at Francis Hutchinson's home in Dublin; the Bible studies and prophecy conferences in Lady Powerscourt's home; the evangelists, leaders, and authors; the evangelical work in many lands; and the conflicts as to Biblical truths and church government which, in some cases, have led to humbling division and scattering.

    "The Brethren" (commonly so-called), by Andrew Miller.
    Bible Light Publishers, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

    A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement, by H. A. Ironside.
    Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ, USA.

    John Nelson Darby, A Biography, by Max S. Weremchuk.
    Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ, USA.

    The History of the Brethren, by Napoleon Noel.
    Chapter Two, London, England.

    The Origin of so-called Open Brethrenism, by W. Trotter.
    Kingston Bible Trust, London, England.

    Open Brethren Origin, Principles, and Practices, by Hamilton Smith.
    Stem Publishing, Ramsgate, England.

The following books, the first on church history from apostolic times through the 19th century and the second on church history in America, trace the development and influence of the Plymouth Brethren movement.
    Miller's Church History, by Andrew Miller.
    Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, Illinois.

    Christianity in America, by Mark A. Noll et al.
    Lion Publishing, Herts, England.
powerscourt house, county wicklow, ireland Powerscourt House, County Wickow, Ireland
As to the division and scattering which have taken place among "Plymouth Brethren", my reflections have turned to John 10:1-12 and Acts 20:28-30, which show that such things will take place among the Lord's people.  It is very blessed to go into the presence of God, to spread these sorrows before Him, like Hezekiah, Daniel, and Nehemiah of old, and to experience the deep well springs of God's grace.  Read Isaiah 36:1-37:20, Daniel 9:1-23, and Nehemiah 9.  Consider, also, the effects of flawed teachings and practices related to baptism over the course of many years, as outlined on the "Baptism Timeline" page.

Having received several queries as to our links in Christian fellowship, I have included a 1970 letter concerning the Aberdeen and New York division among so-called "JTJr brethren" and my personal testimony as to moral crises among the brethren with whom I have fellowshipped.  These papers provide insight as to how the leaven of unrighteousness can be introduced and grow in a Christian gathering, as it did in Corinth during the apostle Paul's lifetime; may God give our readers understanding and help them to discern between right and wrong.  Especially if you are directly affected by what you read in "My Story", I encourage you to also read "God's Way and How to Find It", by C. H. Mackintosh.

Each title listed above, written from the viewpoint of its respective author(s), contributes to an understanding of the movement.

Plymouth Brethren History