Plymouth Bretheren


This group seems to be a split wing of baptists. Most of their beliefs seem to be one with that of catholics, though most of their actions are protestant like. Well I dont want to make a descision as to what exactly they are. There is not enough information on this group . Can someone help me understand about them. They also believe that their group actually orginated from the time of the pentacost like catholics believe, but do not believe in ordination. Please help me with more information on them and also about things that seem to be similar. Can catholics consider the bretheren group to be the next which can come back to Rome?


The Plymouth Brethren had a number of founders, but the most important was John Nelson Darby, who was an Anglican minister in Ireland (he wouldn’t have said priest) who became convinced that all existing churches were dividing and corrupting the true reality of the Body of Christ. His strictest followers are known as the “Closed Brethren” (Plymouth Brethren in the narrowest sense), and you’re right that in a sense they have a somewhat Catholic ecclesiology, though they are very anti-Catholic. They believe that the true Church is made up of all believers and, in its rightly ordered form, is necessarily undivided and completely pure in doctrine (unlike Catholicism, they also insist on purity from all open and scandalous sin as a condition for an assembly to be part of the true Church). It is made up of believers who gather based on the correct “ground,” which is faith in Christ and acceptance of Scripture alone. They believe that not only Catholics but Protestant denominations as well have added to this “ground,” and so they claim (like other “primitivist” groups) to be restoring the unity as well as purity of the Body of Christ. However, because of their insistence on purity they are now divided into many tiny factions.

The “Open Brethren” are a larger group that does not have as strict an ecclesiology–they are, as you said, quite like Baptists, and their local assemblies are basically independent of each other.

One of the things I most like about the Brethren is their weekly celebration of the Eucharist–or, as they would call it, the “Breaking of Bread.” I know of at least one instance where this constant celebration of the Eucharist led a member of the Brethren to believe in some form of Real Presence.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit