Monday, June 09, 2008

What the Church Stands For - Her Doctrines

June 9, 1908 found the Brethren focus for the Bicentennial Celebration on Church Doctrine. This session was held in the evening. Earlier in the day on June 9 - 100 years ago today - the church that had gathered as the German Baptist Brethren took official action to change its name to the Church of the Brethren.

After such a monumental day in the bicentennial year, H.C. Early addresses the Brethren on "What the Church Stands For: Her Doctrines." Early begins by stating: It cannot be expected of any one to discuss all the doctrines of the Church within the period of one address ... Therefore the doctrines peculiar to the Church of the Brethren shall be brought forward and emphasized.

Early begins by affirming that the Protestant churches, for the most part, agree on the large and fundamental doctrines of the new Testament ... and the Church of the Brethren [note the name change became official earlier in the day] would be understood as believing and teaching them with all her heart.

Among the distinctive doctrines of the Church of the Brethren, Early names are these:
  • The law of membership. Faith, repentance, and baptism by trine immesion are held as conditions of membership....
  • Trine Immersion. It is held that the New Testament teaches Trine Immersion with face-forward action as baptism, that it teaches only this mode.
  • The communion service. Feet-washing, the Lord's Supper, and the bread and cup, as instituted by Jesus with the disciples ... is sacredly held.
  • The anointing of the sick.
  • The Simple Life. Simplicity of life and honesty of purpose are jealously maintained. ... In keeping with this general principle, the members of the church dress plainly, after a manner that easily distinguishes them from the world. ... As a means to the end of maintaining the principle of plainness in the church body, a form of dress, known as "The Order" is taught.
Sources: Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, chapter 5