Friends of the Brethren exists to help individuals and other organizations fulfill the missions given to the Church: to personally grow in grace and knowledge, to preach a warning to the world, to preach the Gospel to those who will hear it, and to feed the brethren. We believe that the Basis for His work must be first spiritual, not organizational or financial.
The only authority we have is from the Bible and the Holy Spirit (which is never in conflict with the Scriptures). We do not believe that the Eternal works exclusively or even primarily through us. We do not claim to have “more truth” than anyone else. The Eternal works through whoever will yield to Him and obey His commands (Isa 66:2, 1Cor 1:26-31) In addition to our own Bible study, we learn from a variety of teachers.
We publish literature with which we can find no direct scriptural or logical conflicts. When there seems to be more than one reasonable way of understanding a certain doctrine or group of scriptures, we may publish more than one view. We will probably publish some things that are in error—we are fallible humans still in the process of learning. We realize that the Messiah taught “with authority,” not as the scribes in his day (Mark 1:22.) If we had the authority of the Messiah, we would teach in the same manner. Unfortunately, we have seen many teachers teach with “great authority” then later change their teaching or be unable to answer scriptural challenges to it. The Messiah never had these problems—He never had to issue corrections. We believe it is better to admit that we are still learning, than to teach with great authority and be wrong.
We want to learn from others. We read and reply to letters we receive that seriously try to show us our mistakes from the scriptures. There are questions we are not able to answer now. We believe that the Spirit of God reveals truth as we are “able to bear it” to anyone who seeks with all their heart (Deut 4:29, John 16:12, 1Cor 3:2). We hope to accomplish our goals by these specific objectives:
1. Publish Servants’ News. This free monthly newsletter is the primary vehicle used for accomplishing the other objectives. It is also intended to help provide a sense of community among scattered members—publishing births, marriages, deaths and news of local congregations.
2. Provide access to Bible-based literature on a variety of subjects for the converted person. Emphasis is placed on each individual’s need to bear fruit, not on following a particular man or group. We write some literature ourselves, and recommend literature from a variety of other groups. Anyone is free to contribute to this body of literature—contributions will be assessed on their Biblical accuracy and usefulness to others—not on the notoriety of the author(s). Literature will be mailed free of charge. We also plan to make it available on the internet and/or a computerized bulletin board.
3. Help brethren find Sabbath-keeping congregations where they may fellowship. These may include various organizations or meetings in homes. We plan to maintain a list of cities with congregations and telephone contact numbers.
4. Assist local congregations. This includes publishing sample plans for services, hymn books, methods of inexpensive non-profit incorporation, etc.
5. Plan Festivals. We provide access to festivals held by groups that will accept any of the Eternal’s people. We will list feasts based on multiple calendar systems since many serious Bible students differ on this issue. We may organize our own site if there is enough interest.
6. Help small groups preach the Gospel. We provide literature and contacts to help small groups or even individuals reach out by radio and television. Existing methods include live talk radio, airing pre-recorded radio programs with a “trailer” giving a local address and phone number, and public access cable TV—costing as little as $10 per show.
7. Help feed those that hear the Gospel preaching. We provide access to basic literature that can be used to teach unbaptised and newly-converted people. This literature will come from a variety of sources. It will contain the name of the author, but will also provide a place for a local group to stamp an address and telephone number.
While all of these programs are in their beginning stages, each one has been successful in at least one location. It may be months before all of these programs can be implemented in the way we would like to see them, but if the Eternal is willing, we will keep working at it until it is accomplished.
We will not call ourselves a “church” or an “assembly” because it is the Eternal that has His assembly of “called out” ones. While the scriptures certainly refer to “churches” or “assemblies” in individual cities, too many people have become confused when a national or worldwide organization calls itself a church; they begin to think that a certain organization is the one true Church.
We will teach what we understand to be the truth in plain language that can be easily understood. Our literature is truly free—it can be copied and redistributed by anyone. We will not attempt to control local congregations or gospel-preaching operations. Even the apostle Paul did not try to stop others from preaching from a wrong motivation (Phil 1:14-18).
We believe that each person is responsible for what they do with their spiritual gifts. “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matt 16:27).