Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2008)|
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Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International (CGBCI) is a conservative group that separated from the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
In 1939 the National Fellowship of Brethren Churches developed from struggles that occurred within the progressive Brethren Church during the 1920s and 1930s. Later the National Fellowship became known as the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC). In 1992, due to doctrinal disagreements in the FGBC, the Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International was formed. The Conservative Grace Brethren maintain a 12-article statement of faith similar to the FGBC statement of faith. Comments added in 1994 were designed to "conserve" what the CGBCI asserts are the original Grace Brethren tenants, including such things a young earth creation, the cessation of sign gifts, the seven-year eschatological tribulation, and eternal punishment as a conscious state.
In 2003 CGBCI had 46 churches in 15 states of the United States, with the main concentration being in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 2007, a ministerial dispute over the discipline of a Mansfield, Ohio, pastor resulted in the withdrawal of several congregations from the CGBCI, and the participating congregations dropped to 39 churches. In February 2010, the CGBCI official website listed 37 churches in the CGBCI fellowship. In November, 2011 the CGBCI official website listed 40 member churches.
The Conservative Grace Brethren is one of six Schwarzenau Brethren groups that cooperate ecumenically in the Brethren World Assembly (founded 1992), and with the Brethren Encyclopedia having one representative on the Board of Directors with the following groups: Church of the Brethren, Dunkard Brethren, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Old German Baptist Brethren, and The Brethren Church.