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July 21, 2005

Exclusive Brethren

II Timothy 2: 19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

It turns out that as much as a third of the anonymous anti-gay mail barrage Canadian MPs were subject to in the run up to recognizing same-sex marriage is thanks to a single, secretive Christian sect, the Exclusive Brethren.

The Exclusive Brethren are an Evangelical Protestant Christian church related to the Christian or Open Brethren. Members follow a rigid code of conduct based very strictly on Bible teaching, which provides a firm moral framework and is focussed on a strong family unit.

They keep themselves separate from other people (including other Christians) as far as possible, because they believe the world is a place of wickedness. They regard 'exclusiveness' as the only way to keep away from evil.

Writing as a fringe member of a not terribly secretive, but small and fervent, Christian sect I have to say I find all the secrecy and exclusivity most appealing. That said, their ideas about gay marriage are wrong on two counts: first, they are wrong about gay marriage, and; second, there is no point is being an exclusive brethren if, after only two hundred years, you go soft and decide to start sending out leaflets. My suggestion is simple. If you want to be a Christian and take an active hand in politics you are much better off joining the Roman communion. Catholics have been at this stuff since almost the beginning, are much better organized and certainly do not need to resort to an expired 7/11 post-box as a cover. When I was lending a hand with the Quaker food runs around Westminster we knew we might as well give up when the Catholics turned up. We had sandwiches and blankets. They had a mobile soup kitchen. It was no contest really.

Interesting fact: Aleister Crowley was raised as a member of the Plymouth Brethren (or Open Brethren) who, in a peculiar reading of I Corinthians 3:4, split with the Exclusive Brethren in the late 1840s. Crowley's family were Quakers but his father turned to the Brethren presumably in the feeling the Friends were insufficiently hard-core. And just look what that got him.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 21, 2005 11:14 AM

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According to Crowley's autohagiography his family's lunatic religious belief were the main cause of his rebellion against Chritianity and social norms.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 22, 2005 06:15 AM