Dispensational thought as motivation for global outreach and social activism among early Plymouth Brethren

James Isaac Fazio

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Over the better part of the past two centuries, the community of Christian believers known as the Plymouth Brethren have been known for several distinguishing features, which stem from their strict adherence to a theologically conservative view of the authority and sufficiency of the Christian Scriptures, being principally understood through a literal interpretative framework. This approach to Scripture has resulted in an evangelical orientation that could be described as fundamentalist, with several distinct nuances, including: a primitivist ecclesiology that maintains a low church tradition; a dispensational-premillennial eschatology that anticipates God’s future fulfillment of biblical prophecy concerning Israel and the nations; and a Reformed soteriology that emphasizes sanctification through separatism from the world and other corrupting influences. Besides these, several other features may be added; however, it could also be said that the Plymouth Brethren might be every bit as well defined by what they stand against as what they affirm. In this regard, they may be characterized as anti-denominational, anti-creedal, anti-liturgical, anti-clerical, and anti-ecumenical. Many of these named qualities are commonly recognized by those who possess even a feint familiarity with those who identify with the label Brethren. What is less immediately recognized is that among the most prominent contributions made by this community of dispensational-minded believers is the indelible mark they have left on the developing world through their unrivaled efforts in international and cross-cultural missionary outreach and a distinct zeal for social activism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2022
EventInternational Brethren History Conference - Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, United States
Duration: 29 May 202231 May 2022
Conference number: 11


ConferenceInternational Brethren History Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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