This community has, then, resolved itself into the following sectional fellowships. (1) Brethren fully recognizing the existing congregation at Bethesda (Bristol) and regarding, with Westcott, the primitive unity of the Church as that of a federation; adhering to Baptist views; open in communion; and existing in Great Britain and the colonies, Europe, North and South America, India, and China. It has the largest following. (2) Those who followed Darby more or less closely, in five branches. (a) Brethren chiefly in France, Switzerland, and Germany, with a remnant in England and the United States, committed to Darby's ecclesiastical position as defined since 1881. (b) Associates of Kelly, adhering to Darby's doctrinal views, with the exception of pedobaptism, and to the system prevalent in 1848-81; mainly in England. (c) Associates of Stuart and Grant, loath to abandon anti-Bethesda discipline, but standing for elasticity in doctrine. (d) Associates of Raven, opposed to Bethesda, favoring expansion of doctrine of their own type, but including some independent of this; in Great Britain, the colonies, and the United States. These have since 1908 composed two sections, separated from one another by disciplinary policy and views of evangelization and redemption. On the other hand, there has been for several years a movement, originating in America, for abatement of the alienation between the various types of bodies. Some adherents of Grant have lowered the barriers between themselves and "open" Brethren, while not giving themselves this name; and since 1906 a corresponding movement has gathered force in Great Britain. These "eclectics" repudiate the distinction between "open" and "close," and seek, by a blending of the Pauline and Johannine aspects of the Church, to revive the unity first realized at Dublin untrammeled by formal federation of either open or close types, which is favored by neither element. A hopeful feature of the situation is the absence of a pronounced leadership.
No denominational statistics exist for Great Britain. In the United States there are over 300 assemblies with about 7,000 communicants. The denomination has drawn its membership from all ranks of society--the nobility, the army and navy, the judiciary, and scholars in various spheres. It has had notable Evangelists like Charles Stanley and Denham Smith; missionaries like Baedeker and Arnot have propagated its teachings in the world field; while C. H. Mackintosh is the writer whose works are most widely used.
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