Why does the Church prefer the name “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church”?

Q. It appears from your new website  that you’re now adopting the name of Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, why is this?

A. We believe our historic name, Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, dating back to the early nineteenth century best articulates our relationship with the broader community and provides a consistent designation worldwide. The name Exclusive Brethren was accorded to us by the popular press of the day in the 1950’s. In some countries we have been known as Exclusive Brethren, Plymouth Brethren IV or simply just Brethren. For more information refer the main Plymouth Brethren Christian Church website.


40 thoughts on “Why does the Church prefer the name “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church”?”

  1. Jonathan Chetwood says:

    Who in your Church holds the priesthood? And how was it obtained after the apostasy in the bible?

    1. Peter says:

      Hello Jonathan,

      i am a member of this group and we don’t actually have dedicated or pre-select personnel to have the position of Priesthood.
      Rather we are governed by the word of God according to scripture and we recognise His work in each individual.
      By working through exercises together and relying on the Holy Spirit we learn to distinguish the difference between whats of God and whats of man so that we can make way for his Word in ourselves.
      if we recognise another member as having something distinct from God and separate from himself we seek to take heed and take on His instruction.
      A member who has an understanding of scripture and service in love can act as priest to others who want/need help.

      Not sure i have answered your question but i trust that this is of help.

  2. we are the Brethren Assembly
    please give me some details about your Assembly
    thank you brother
    your Brother in Him

  3. Lucy says:

    Hi there everyone,

    Does anyone have a figure or an estimate for the amount of Exclusive and Open Brethrens living in the UK and Ireland at present?

    Finding it difficult ti find this information on the internet!


  4. oddsox says:

    I notice on the ‘About’ page under ‘Origins’ some printed literature with the words ‘Plymouth Brethren’ is shown – and judging by the typeface used, it is obviously very old. Surely this is evidence enough that, contrary to what some may claim, the name ‘Plymouth Brethren’ is not new, and has not been deceptively concocted in the last few months!

    1. Tommi says:

      Too true!! What’s most amazing is that throughout time, the Plymouth Brethren have grown and prospered, when you just do the right thing, you prove God’s blessing, and that is the greatest reward you can ever want!

      Keep Smiling everyone!! 🙂

  5. Graham says:

    Hello Ashley,
    I can understand that Christmas would be important for many Christians as apparently designating the birth date of Christ. However, I think you will find that the Lord was born toward the end of September and that the custom of celebrating Christmas on December 25 is thought to have been influenced by the celebration of pagan festivals around the same time such as the Roman jubilees in honour of Saturn and Mithras.
    Trust this helps.

  6. Elvin says:

    Paul, having seen your comments, I will seek to go over with you, as to why there is a need to be identified in this way, in spite of not taking denominational ground. It is quite true, that all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are saved, and are of the assembly. As to those Christians not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called (Ephesians Ch 4 v 1), I believe, God will fit them for the assembly before the rapture, and He is able to do this in a very short time. It is also true, as you say, that the early disciples were referred to as brethren or Christians. In those early days of the apostles, there was only one Christian fellowship in any given place, such as, at Jerusalem, Damascus, Antioch, etc. See Acts Ch 2 v 42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, ……..’’ Also, Acts Ch 4 v 32 “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: ……” Also, Acts Ch 9 v 2 “…… that if he found any of this way, ……”. Also, Acts Ch 11 v 26 “And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, …”. Sadly, towards the latter part of the Apostle Paul’s life, in the late AD 60’s, persons were turning away from him, and in effect, the truth. See the 2nd epistle to Timothy, which was the last epistle that he wrote around AD 66/67, while in prison in Rome, Ch 1 v 15, Ch 2 v 17-18, Ch 3 v 8 and Ch 4 v 10, 14-15. Take for example, Phygellus and Hermogenes, referred to in Ch 1 v 15, it would seem that they would have been saved, but they were certainly not with the Apostle, nor were they in line with his heavenly ministry. If you had lived in that day, and had met either of these men, clearly they would have told you that they were Christians, but they were not in fellowship with Paul. At the same time, if you had met Onesiphoros, referred to in Ch. 1 v. 16-18, and had asked him what he professed, he would not only have told you that he was a Christian, but would have sought to clearly identify himself as being with Paul – he “was not ashamed of my chain’’. There was therefore no longer only one fellowship of Christians walking together, due to persons departing from the truth and from the teachings of Scripture. It is distressing, that this departure and the resulting confusion in Christendom, has only got worse over the years. The Apostle Paul foresaw this, when he said in Acts Ch 20 v 29-30 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” All believers today, are not agreed on the truth, and therefore cannot rightly walk together. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” See Amos Ch 3 v 3. In the light of this departure, every one that nameth the name of Christ, is enjoined in 2 Timothy Ch 2 v 19-22, as to how he ought to walk. Besides this, in view of all the different groups that there are today and many amongst them being believers, it has become necessary for Christians who are walking in fellowship together, and are seeking to live their beliefs, to not only call themselves Christians, but when required, identify themselves in some way, and what would be more appropriate than the name that they have been known by for over a hundred years? I trust this is of some help.

    1. Russell says:

      Elvin that is an excellent post – very helpful to have it explained so clearly. Thank you very much!

  7. Paul says:

    I am sad that one of my posts has been removed, probably because I showed that the PBCC is not in the tradition of the early brethren like J.N.Darby and J.G.Bellett. I’ll try again.
    The words Plymouth Brethren Christian Church were quite foreign to those early men of God who sought only to meet on the ground of the One Body and refused anything that suggested a denomination. There were no members because membership in the New Testament relates only to all who are members of the Body of Christ. Membership of anything less is schismatic.
    The early brethren were happy to be known as brethren with a small ‘b’ because it is a scriptural term found in Paul’s letters and also in John’s Gospel where the Lord Jesus says, ‘Go to my brethren….’.
    Denominational names are not found anywhere in the Scriptures and the early brethren refused anything that is not found there.
    The Lord recovered the truth of the One Body through Mr.Darby and others but it seems that the true meaning of it has been lost. It does not refer to the sum total of all those I break bread with, nor does it envisage a sum of all the denominations. Quite simply it means all those who have been baptised by One Spirit into One Body of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head. That is why a denominational name is inappropriate at any time in the Assembly’s history on earth. May the Lord help us all to understand these great and important truths.

    1. Uncle Steve says:

      Well, I have come across this type of statement before; but honestly, how would you suggest a believer maintain his family’s purity without separating from professing christians who do not hold (just as an example) the sanctity of marriage? And having identified such persons, how could we break bread with them? And if we cannot break bread with them,how could we call them our brethren and maintain day-to-day contact with them?

  8. Paul says:

    I apologise for my last post (below): I thought my first post had been rejected.
    But I would like to add that the early brethren never took the ground of being a church. In fact they rarely used the word church, preferring rather to use the more accurate translation of Assembly, that which was purchased with the blood of His own (Acts 20.28), the Assembly which Christ loved and gave Himself for (Ephesians 5:25) The reading of Romans 12 and 1Corinthians 12 can leave one in no doubt that there is only one Body and one Church, or Assembly, and for any group of Christians to call themselves a church is schismatic. I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and by grace am a member of Christ’s Body the assembly. I could not, and would not, be a member of anything less. If any reader wishes to discuss these things with me I will be very happy to answer them from the Word of God.

    1. Jo says:

      Hello Paul,

      That is a good point. As a fact the word ‘church’ is not mentioned at all in the JND translation of the bible that most of us use, and we do not refer to ourselves as ‘a church’, but we use the term so that others can better understand who we are, as many would be confused if we said we were an ‘assembly’.
      You are obviously know the Bible very well, great to meet others who rely on it as the only authoritative Word of God.

  9. Paul says:

    Obviously you cannot face the truth or stand criticism.

    1. John says:

      Actually, what’s obvious is that we have nothing to fear from the truth.

    2. Jeremy says:

      Paul, i’m sorry to say it but if you say as to the PBCC, and i quote “cannot face truth or stand criticism”, then you are displaying a misunderstanding to the highest degree, the fact that we don’t think twice or even consider replying to your obscure accusations of being “schismatic” only proves where we stand because you are aware as much as i am that scripture says “blessed are the peacemakers” therefore we don’t get the same joys of making trouble as you seem to. Concluding this i suggest that you cease posting any more false acustations, and untruths as to the PBCC as there are young children that read these blogs and the level of conversation in which you have been posting could be veiwed as damaging.
      Thank you and i hope you take account of these solom words in which i speak and i trust that you will feal in no way attacked, and pray that through these words you will be enlightened as to the real truths, values and the mission of the PBCC

    3. anony-mouse says:

      Thank you Jeremy, you will be blessed!

  10. anon says:

    Hi John
    like your regular comments – great to see people prepared to
    stand up for whats right and speak out against the lies.

  11. Russell James says:

    Do you celebrate the Lords Supper with other Christians or meet together with other Churches? This woudl be a great way of being part of the wider family.

  12. Ed says:

    Interesting selection of comments here,
    As a member of the Church we cherish the reality and freshness of remembering the Lord Jesus in such a special way every Lord’s day morning. We would not for a minute though, dispise any rememberance of Him in the world as a whole, even if sometimes Christmas is thought of as a time to please one’s self with little thought for the one who never thought for self. Interestingly though, at the begining of a new year we remember that it is 2013 years since the Birth of Christ Jesus, and whether a believer or an atheist, every man and woman writing the date (day in day out) are forced to recognise Him in that way! This must be God’s Grace and Love for His creature man…
    “For the grace of God which carries with it salvation for all men has appeared, teaching us that, having denied impiety and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and justly, and piously in the present course of things, awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2 v11-14.
    May every Christian have thier faith stregthened in Him today.

  13. Holly says:

    That is helpful. Is that why you don’t celebrate Easter also?

    1. Charles says:

      Easter is celebrating the death and ressurection of Christ, we remember and celebrate this every week, so Easter is not celebrated as such. However, Brethren would respect deeply persons who celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ as according to their beliefs.

  14. Gerald says:

    What is the difference between your group which I understand is around 40000 in number and the open brethren? Do you ever hold any joint events?

    1. Mary says:

      hello Gerald
      the open brethren are a breakaway from the PBCC. i think there maybe further information regarding this somewhere else on this site, i’ll have a look and maybe post a link to the correct spot. we are entirely separate groups and do not hold joint events. hope this helps?

  15. Gavin says:

    I think the Plymouth name carries respect for those who started the Church. Why not change – no big deal.

    1. John says:

      I was born and raised in this church and it was always “Plymouth Brethren” in my youth (1960s & 70s). I don’t recall hearing “Exclusive” until later, from others.

    2. SMarie says:

      I’m a member of the Plymouth Brethren, in my 30’s. Growing up in America, we were always known as Plymouth Brethren. It was a name that the US government gave our group. So as far as I’m concerned, this is not a new name at all!!

    3. Mary says:

      I agree with you, Gavin. I like and respect the ‘new’ name, and as you say, it’s no big deal at all. I think the Brethren have done well in this, because as others have said, it does help to clarify them from other groups. And it’s interesting to see from other comments that it’s really not a new name at all! I find this fascinating! I love and admire you, PBCC, keep up your wonderful faith and good works, and may nothing make you ever lose heart.

    4. Anon says:

      One of the first “official” references to the PBCC’s name was the 1906 United States Census, in which it was named “Plymouth Brethren IV”. So the use of the name “Plymouth Brethren” is well over a century old – not “new” at all.

  16. John North says:

    I am not in fellowship and remember Our Lord and Saviour every Sunday which is the Lords Day of Rest

    1. Jo says:

      Isn’t it just amazing John to think of the millions who are saved and who do remember The Lord Jesus? And it doesn’t matter which church you go to or who you are … the fact that you KNOW that Jesus died for you is enough!!!! I am in fellowship and was just reading these blogs when your comment really struck me.

  17. Laura says:

    I totally agree. When we go to the Lords Supper every Week you get a tremendous sense of rememberence and something to go back to throughout the week. Not like once a year when you have so long in between.

    1. Sarah says:

      What you say, Laura, about throughout the week, is so important… remembering the Lord every day all day is what will help us through everything.

  18. Samantha says:

    In Parliment and House of Lords they refer to you by all sorts of names so what is the big deal?

    1. Glen says:

      Hello Samantha
      That’s a good question, I suppose that there’s at least two good reasons for this. There are a number of other groups, some breakaways, that also call themselves ‘Brethren’; however they have nothing at all to do with us. We are a close-knit global community that has been called a few different names; so that as well as for consistency (see header article) which is important legally and helps prevent confusion, I guess it also affords proper differentiation from other groups.

  19. Ashley says:

    If you are Christians, why don’t you celebrate Christmas? Isn’t this quite important to you?

    1. Brad says:

      I am a member of the Plymouth Brethren, and remembering the Lord is a central point in our lives at the Lord’s Supper/Communion weekly. As the Lord Himself said : “this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22 v 19

    2. Arthur says:

      I am also a member of the Plymouth Brethren and fully agree with Brad. We remember the Lord every week of the year, not just at Christmas. The Lord is our Leader.

    3. Glen says:

      Hello Ashley
      We don’t celebrate Christmas as it definitely isn’t mentioned, much less set on, in the Bible – have you ever found Santa in there?!? We celebrate the Lord’s Supper, commonly known as ‘Holy Communion’ by many churches, every week. This was set on by the Lord Jesus himself – see earlier comment mentioning Luke 23. If you do some research, I think you’ll find that ‘Christmas’ is an adapted, ‘Christianised’ pagan festival. That said, I won’t entirely bag it, as anything that helps persons to remember Jesus, in a positive way, can be a beneficial thing. However, I wouldn’t support or celebrate a pagan initiated festival that has no real basis in the Holy Bible. I hope this helps!

    4. Steven Fox says:

      Fair question, Ashley!
      Christmas is a (so-called) celebration of the Lord’s birth.
      He asked us to remember His death; but He never asked us to remember His birth – great fact that it was!

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