Old Brethren

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The Old Brethren are a group of Schwarzenau Brethren that split from the Old German Baptist Brethren in Carroll County, Indiana (Deer Creek), in 1913, and in Stanislaus County, California, in 1915.

History[edit]

The issue which is often given as the cause for the division was the acceptance of telephones and automobiles by the Old German Baptist Brethren, but generally, the Old Brethren also wanted a more uniform adherence to annual meeting decisions and wanted to uphold the old order form of annual meeting which was simpler than had developed among the Old German Baptists. Attempts in 1929-30 to reunite the Old Brethren and Old German Baptist Brethren were not successful. After 1930, the Old Brethren placed less stress on annual meeting authority than did the parent body, believing it to be more for edification and teaching. Moral persuasion rather than legislative decisions of annual meeting is the basis for adherence to the church's order. In 1939, Old Brethren who wished to maintain the stress on annual meeting decisions and the rejection of automobiles, telephones, electricity, and tractors formed a more conservative group called the Old Brethren German Baptists.[1]

Religious practice[edit]

The Old Brethren do not use the German language anymore, neither a German dialect in everyday life, nor Standard German for Bible and church, because they had already given up the use of the German language when the first split of conservatives from the main body occurred. They have given up horse and buggy transportation and accepted the use of automobiles, while they have retained plain dress. They are more plain and conservative than their parent group, the Old German Baptist Brethren, but are similar to them in many other aspects.[2]

Members and congregations[edit]

In 1980 the Old Brethren numbered about 130 members. Old Brethren membership in 2000 was 250 in five congregations with a total population of 551.[3] They are mainly located at Salida, CA, Tuolumne, CA, Wakarusa, IN (Deer Creek), between Bradford, OH and Gettysburg, OH, and at Marble Falls, AR.[4] There are Old Brethren private schools in Nappanee IN and Tuolumne.

Publishing[edit]

The Old Brethren publish a monthly paper called "The Pilgrim" since 1954.[5]

Literature[edit]

  • James H Lehman: The Old Brethren, first edition 1976, second edition 2008.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Donald F. Durnbaugh, editor (1983) The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. pages 964/5.
  2. ^ Donald B. Kraybill, C. Nelson Hostetter: "Anabaptist World USA", Scottdale PA, 2001, page 155.
  3. ^ Donald B. Kraybill, C. Nelson Hostetter: "Anabaptist World USA", Scottdale PA, 2001, page 155.
  4. ^ The Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Donald F. Durnbaugh, editor (1983) The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. page 965.
  5. ^ Internet Archive: The Pilgrim