Wednesday, 1 January 2014

This recently received comment is worthy of its own post

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Letter sent to Tim Hibbert (PBCC leader, CEO of Fo...": 

Ian - If you can't accept my witness, there it ends for you. 
Clearly the Taliban are not a people of faith, rather the complete opposite.
'People of faith' in the real sense or in the context intended, are those who have faith in the living God. It doesn't matter what Islamic extremists claim. Murderers who claim to have faith or haters of Christianity do not have a place in heaven and God will deal with these people in his own time. They have no link to faith. Nothing 'puzzling' or 'bizarre' about it at all. Persons who attack the brethren or any other people of real faith are showing the same murderous spirit that was demonstrated by the hijackers on 9/11. So I'd urge the likes of Laurie to be careful before making a charge against Christianity. An attack on the brethren is an attack on all Christians, that's clear. 

You speak of 'Mountains of evidence' , but have you or Laurie ever considered the mountains of evidence stacked against yourselves or me? We have all sinned and so God could have rightly dismissed us from his presence for ever. Instead he sent his only son to set us free from sin and the power of sin. None of us are in a position to accuse those who have been redeemed. What gives you the right to accuse when you yourself has been forgiven? Persons who are happy and at peace with God do not have time to write books or accuse. Jesus said - 'To whom who has no sin cast the first stone' or words to that effect. Ever heard about forgiving you enemy? Well, I can assure you the brethren do not hold anything against you or Laurie. Take a look at the mountain of sins in your own life before even thinking of trying to look for fault in others. The brethren may be different from us, but that should not make them a target for people who can't face up to the past. There are many other Christian groups who are also living separate lives and suffering persecution. 

Posted by Anonymous to Detriment & Harm caused by the Hales exclusive brethrenat 1 January 2014 17:34


  1. I could be wrong and forgive me if so, but am wondering if this is "Mark P strikes again"?

    1. Which Mark P are you referring to?


    2. Pallister.

  2. It would be helpful if the 'Anonymous' who is responding to Ian could identify herself/himself.

  3. Thank you, Anonymous, for explaining your views. It is useful and healthy to discuss our differences, because that lets us look at everything from other people’s points of view.

    The Taliban are a religious sect of Sunni Islam, who have vowed obedience to the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and have aspirations to bring political systems under theocratic control. Many of them use violence to achieve that end. They would be astounded to hear from you that they are not people of faith, just as much as the Brethren would be if someone said the same about them.

    I am not suggesting that the Brethren are as bad as the Taliban, but I am saying it is a dangerous mistake to exempt religious teachings and practices from criticism just because they claim to be based on faith. Indeed, by far the strongest words of criticism that Jesus ever used in the Gospels were aimed at people who claimed to be upholding their faith (Matthew 23:13-33).

    You appear to have repeated your views on exemption from criticism when you say, “None of us are in a position to accuse those who have been redeemed.” If you take this to its logical conclusion it would imply that Brethren can safely commit whatever crimes they want to, and no-one should complain about it, they should just leave it to God to sort out. That obviously would not be acceptable.

    You say, “An attack on the brethren is an attack on all Christians, that's clear.” I would say this is pretty nearly the opposite of the truth. In order to protect Christianity from being misrepresented and brought into disrepute, it is sometimes necessary to distinguish clearly between the Christianity of the Gospels and the form of religion that the Exclusive Brethren teach and practise.

    I have personally communicated with many ex-EB who have been brought up to believe that Exclusive Brethrenism it is a form of Christianity. Many of them have taken the view (which I can well understand) that if this is Christianity, then it stinks. Indeed, some churches have found it necessary publicly to advertise the fact that they have no connection with Exclusive Brethrenism. And neither they have: most churches are as far removed from Exclusive Brethrenism as day is from night. If we don’t demonstrate that Exclusive Brethrenism is gravely at odds with Christianity, we can only expect that the Christian testimony will be further damaged in people’s perception by being falsely associated with teachings and practices that are immoral and unchristian.

    On a global scale, there are on average about 70,000 people converted to Christianity every day, and I think the Exclusive Brethren’s influence on that number is probably negative. Without them, I think that number would probably be greater. Since about 1960 their net effect in my experience is to turn people away from Christ.

    You are right to emphasise that we have all failed in many ways, and that an attitude of forgiveness is an extremely important core Christian value. However, that does not mean we should do nothing when we see grave wrongs being committed, defended and promoted. Whether we are Christians or not, we have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable, the gullible and the oppressed. And one way of doing this is to remonstrate with the oppressors and when that is ignored we need to expose their wrongdoing to public scrutiny (Luke 12:2-3).

    1. I like your points. Well thought out and presented. Do you have evidence to back up their negative impact on conversions to Christ, or is it only from your own experience that you draw that conclusion?
      I totally agree that all churches should be open and subject to scrutiny. Truth stands up to the brightest light

    2. Helen, I have three reasons to think that the EB testimony since about 1960 has probably had a negative effect on the spread and acceptance of Christianity.

      There are the members that I know who have left it, saying things like “If that is Christianity, it stinks, and I want nothing to do with it ever again.” Their experience of EBism seems to have turned them against Christianity, perhaps because they think EBism IS Christianity.

      Then there is also the effect on the wider public, who are often disgusted when they discover what is done in Christ’s name. I see their reactions in person and in many different media. That can only make them wary of having anything to do with churches or religion. Militant atheists sometimes cite features of EBism as an example to show that Christianity is false, immoral and harmful, and their arguments in books sell very well and are probably influential. Often the only valid way to refute their arguments is to agree that the features of EBism that they are denouncing are entirely deserving of their censure, but they have nothing to do with Christianity. Indeed, some HEB practices, such as those that Laurie recently listed, are diametrically opposed to the Christianity of the New Testament.

      Then there is the fact that EB public preaching since about 1950 has been a dismal failure if it was ever intended to convert non-Christians. Outsiders recruited to the EB in the 19th and early 20th Centuries were nearly all Christians already, attracted from other denominations. Very few were new converts. And even that sort of recruitment dried up almost completely by about 1950. I don’t know of a single example in the last 50 years of someone from outside the EB camp becoming a Christian as a result of EB preaching. By contrast, there are tens of thousands of people becoming Christians every single day as a result of the work of other churches. How complete a contrast can you get between HEB and other churches?

      There are, of course, EB members who have genuinely become Christians and these make a positive contribution to the statistics, but the positive contribution will be proportionately tiny, given that the number of people who become Christians every single day is much greater than the entire world population of Exclusive Brethren. So on a global scale, HEBism is tiny. Even relative to the rest of the Plymouth Brethren movement, HEBism is tiny. I suppose that is one of its mitigating factors.

  4. Sorry, that third comment above was by me, Ian. I did not intend to post anonymously.

  5. I wonder if the Brethren sycophant realises that JND spent a lot of time accusing the churches of his day. By your standards "None of us are in a position to accuse those who have been redeemed. What gives you the right to accuse when you yourself has been forgiven?", so that effectively knocks a lot of JND's words on the head doesn't it? And of course the 'men of God' with their disparaging views of the Christian Church outside of the narrow experience of exclusive brethrenism. Sir, your argument lacks logic.

  6. "Ever heard about forgiving your enemy"
    Is that why the Exclusive Brethren send threatening letters through solicitors to those who dare to express views contrary to theirs and attempt to silence those who speak out against their false doctrines and practices?

  7. Oh dear! It looks like that little combo "John Handel and the Ex Members" are back again, playing the same old dirge on a blog near you. Same old ploy - Hales Group fully paid up members spinning well earned criticism of a damaging, unchristian group into an attack on genuine Christians. It won't wash, I'm afraid; there are too many well known and practising Christian individuals, and groups, who oppose the business orientated, damaging Hales Exclusive Brethren (PBCC Ltd). I cannot think of any other genuine Christian denomination attracting such criticism.


  8. If the EB are about, maybe someone can tell me why they removed the square brackets from 2 Timothy 2:21 "If therefore one shall have purified himself from these, [in separating himself from them], he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work." as these erroneous words completely change the meaning of this verse.

    Just for interest I used Biblegateway with Google translate and looked at this version in various national translations. None of them included the portion in brackets. It leaves JND and the Exclusive Brethren out on a non-biblical limb by themselves.

  9. Indeed. I asked a Hales EB this question, and I got an answer something like... "See, the Devil got in and we hadn't got the true meaning, but the Lord came in for us and we then had the true meaning. But then the Devil is strong and we had a translation for a time with brackets again, but now (thankfully) The Lord has shown us that we have understanding through His servant."

    I think that means they prefer that the brackets were not there, so the Devil brings them and the Lord takes them. Truth is, the bracketed (or otherwise) section is made up. So the question is not really whether the brackets should be in or out, but why is the text even there?

    1. He sounds very confused. Clearly adding words into the Bible that are not there in the original is a dangerous practice. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that " Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" and 1 Samuel 15:9 says "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” so I cannot imagine Him changing His mind now and adding in extra words.

    2. It is not unusual for a translator to add extra words to clarify the meaning, but he will usually put them in square brackets to show that he is only guessing at the intended meaning. A reader then has the chance to make up his own mind about whether he had guessed right.

      Darby does this in nearly every chapter. In Genesis 1 we have, “And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together to one place, and let the dry [land] appear” and in Revelation 22 we have “And he says to me, See [thou do it] not.”

      The complaint about 2 Timothy 2 is not merely that words were added, but that someone has attempted to conceal the fact that these words were only JND’s guess at the intended meaning, and probably a wrong guess at that. Most translators and interpreters do not think the verse is anything to do with separating from people, and there is the obvious suspicion that Darby’s notoriously separatist agenda might have biased him to give the verse that meaning.

      I don’t believe Darby was being deliberately dishonest, but in removing the square brackets in the most recent edition, it looks as if someone at the Bible and Gospel Trust was knowingly trying to deceive the readers, perhaps acting on instructions from above.

      The EB have always professed to take an extremely fundamentalist view of scripture, treating it as sacred, inerrant and dictated word for word by the Holy Spirit. But when they take liberties with the text, it suggests they don’t really believe what they say.

    3. Yes Ian, I understand and agree with you analysis here. That is why I also looked at a range of different translations and not only those in English to give a wide an understanding as possible.
      It does look like a wilful change by the B&GT/HEB/PBCC to obfuscate the real meaning of the verse and bring it into line with with their own erroneous doctrine.

    4. J N Darby, like all translators and commentators, was entitled to amplify the text of 2 Timothy 2:21 if he wanted to, but it should never have been included in the published text as anything other than a note or gloss.

      I have in front of me a photograph taken in the British Library of the 1884 edition (two years after John Darby died) and there the words 'in separating himself from them' are not in brackets, they're included in the text as if they were part of the Greek. We know that in his final years he was busy with revision of his New Testament. His death, though, would have meant that he wasn't involved in the final proofreading.

      Interestingly, this gloss is not an integral part of the French translation which John Darby completed with colleagues. Perhaps his translator-friends in France would not have tolerated such an insertion.

    5. Joan - Why not let them be? Does it make a scrap of difference?
      Picking over what Darby did or did not do, will not make any difference to the PBCC line, that's 100% sure. If we are not being forced to buy, listen to or hold the JND translation, then pray what is all the fuss about?

      Also what about the PBCC way of life?
      Again are we forced to attend their gospel halls and stand on street corners? Wouldn't be far more sensible to be happy and productive with our own lives, instead of being over occupied with the lives of these people who refuse to be diverted?

      Live and let live I say!

    6. I'm not Joan, but I'll reply. This sort of analysis is important because it is one of the excuses for the HEB to ostracise family members. By showing it to be in error might cause some to think again and realise it's all built on sinking sand, with no realm of firm foundation. Those who have left want their families back.

    7. I am (rather sadly) not Joan either. But I would like to have a go at answering the very important question raised by Anon 03.01.14 14:25.

      "Does it make a scrap of difference?"

      Yes, it does make a significantly large scrap of a difference. The Hales faction of the Exclusive Brethren subsection of the wider Plymouth Brethren community practice a form of 'separation from evil'. In their world this means physical disassociation from all that is regarded as evil, (to the Exclusive Brethren, evil is everything that does not match their teaching). So, if you disagree with them, you have to disassociate from them. This includes husband from wife, brother from sister, etc.

      So in answer to the question... "Does it make a scrap of difference?" Yes it does. If you are born into the Exclusive Brethren group and at some point decide that you would like a red car, chose to vote, listen to pre-recorded music, join the RAC, become a graduate, join a trade association, get life insurance, give to charity, want a semi-detached house (or a TV, a radio, a garage door opener, a pet, a Mercedes vehicle, a credit card, a pc, etc.,) be prepared to sacrifice your family, job, home, mortgage, etc.

      The original post above is probably written by an EB, or by an EB enthusiast that has failed to come to terms with being disciplined by them. My best guess in this case is that it is actually probably the latter. The first response post above made a named suggestion which could be true. I would like to wait and see if this is accepted or denied. If not accepted, then it would add to my suspicion that this is a person who has failed to come to terms with his/her expulsion from the cult.

      I would not suggest that they try to return, but they may be well advised to check the customer feedback pages first?

      The reply above is loving exchange between Christians, but a rant between some who consider themselves as Chritians.

    8. Joan is correct. The gloss is not in my copy of his French version but I have seen an early German version where it was added as a footnote.

      It is acceptable for a translator to add a word or two to clarify a meaning, as no two languages can be completely translated word for word. But the large previously bracketed gloss was excessive, on which the EB have built up their code of belief and practice.

      The wording does not in my understanding appear in any Greek text and Ian (Jan 3) has explained it well. Darby's original plan was for an accurate a translation as possible for private use only. It was not his intention for the version to be used as a basis of doctrine in any church gathering. He says words to this effect in his preface, which the EB now ignore. If he or a later editor added it, it has caused untold damage. The German footnote was present while Darby was still alive, so he almost certainly knew about it.

      All this was discussed at length on the old Peebs.net website.

    9. As the peebs.net website is no longer available, I think it's good for newcomers, interested outsiders, public officials to be able to read this information on a current website. It also reminds the HEB/PBCC that their views are not based on the Bible as they claim but rather on the views of fallible and erroneous men.

      I did some research on the foreign translations by JND: The Bible he wrote with early German Brethren is the 'Elberfelder Bibel', which is available online.

      2 Tim 2:21 says “Wenn nun jemand sich von diesen reinigt, wird er ein Gefäß zur Ehre sein, geheiligt, nützlich dem Hausherrn, zu jedem guten Werk bereitet.” Google translate gives us: “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, useful to the master of the house prepared to every good work.”

      So no separation from people (persons in EB-speak) for the Germans, or indeed in subsequent foreign translations which relied on this earlier work. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darby_bible . Also it was interesting to read that JND use the King James Version for public preaching whereas his own was for private reading or study. As the KJV does not contain his square bracketed error it’s unlikely he preached based on it if he truly believed in the power and inerrancy of the Bible.

  10. Anonymous of 3 January 2014 14:25 has asked a very valid question. I could hardly object to the question being asked, because I have often asked it of myself: “Why not let them be? Does it make a scrap of difference?”

    When the teachings and practices of the Hales Brethren are exposed to scrutiny, discussion and criticism, I think it makes two main kinds of difference, both of them valuable.

    First, it shows the leadership that there are limits to what they can get away with. It shows that there is a price to be paid when they indulge in deception as a means of totalitarian control, and there is a price to be paid when they harm their own members and others in pursuit of their own agenda. That price is bad publicity, which they may pretend to laugh off, but it probably serves as a deterrent to them and other cult leaders, preventing them from exercising even worse totalitarian control. In that way it indirectly protects the oppressed members from further oppression, particularly the children, who have no realistic means of escape.

    Secondly, there is value in demonstrating that the foundations of Exclusivism are artificial and riddled with falsehood. This will not make a scrap of difference to the leadership, but to disillusioned members it is very important. We know it is, because it was very important to many of us in the EB when we were trying to decide how much irrationality, inhumanity and immorality we could tolerate. I feel deeply for those Exclusives who are thoroughly miserable with their lifestyles but hang on merely because they have swallowed the propaganda that says, “There is only one right position and we are it.” These are the ones who could benefit greatly from a bit of enlightenment. These are the ones that could gain enormous relief from discovering that they have no moral, rational or scriptural reason to continue in slavish obedience to their would-be overlords.

  11. The sheer arrogance of the Hales Exclusive Brethren writers never fails to amaze me and as usual their arguments are poorly written and so illogical.

    Reminds me of - ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.


    1. 4th Jan/14:046 Continue to be amazed -
      This is a family matter. We have to accept that families make choices about where they want to be.
      Separation is the principle of unity where true and lasting unity is found.
      Separation is not unique to the brethren, but you have conveniently forgotten to mention this fact. This applies to different faiths, races and tribes to name a few.

      So the brethren have no inclination to pretend about who they are and they do pay their fair share of taxes. If anything, they pay more than they should.
      I think these special people make a real difference in this troubled world and keep evil in check. As the police said in one town - 'Crime goes down when the brethren are here' Let's give these people our love and support.

      Don't like them, that's your loss chum, but do quit being a complainer and making comments that have no foundation.

    2. Anonymous 6 January 2014 11:14 -

      Thankfully I don't have to accept anything put forth by your group and I will never accept that my family is so scared by the tactics of the Hales Exclusive Brethren - rebranded as Plymouth Brethren Christian Church,that they are willing to forego a relationship with their children, sisters, brothers, cousins, etc. who have dared to make the choice to leave the harmful group.

      I did not forget to mention that separation is a part of some other cults but . . . at this point we are not discussing other cults, we are discussing a group of people who say they are a mainstream religion but demonstrate in every action that they are the farthest thing from mainstream. As for your statement that they have no inclination to pretend to be something they are not - that is nothing more than laughable. Those of us who left this group are well aware of what this group represents - and charitable is not one of those things, real Christianity is not one of those things.

      Anyone can make up statements about how their group "keeps evil in check and crime goes down when brethren are here" - please support this with quantifiable facts. If you can't then it's nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

      I love my family and friends that are trapped in the Exclusive Brethren but I hate what the group represents - CHUM(P)

    3. I do wonder if the Anon Exclusive Brethren supporter who posts in 6 January 2014 11:14 is actually a troll or spoof poster ! The comments are completely disconnected from reality, established documented truth and Biblical foundation !

      The language and content is straight out of the sycophantic comic book espoused by the likes of “Granny”, “John Handle”, “Jhandel84”, “Josephf” et al, who all write in support of the EB, but in ignorance of reality, truth, or biblical Christianity.

      However ridiculous the claims may be, it is only right to refute with truth. I have split the response into 2 parts

      Your comments re - “Family Matter”
      Separation in the form the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC practice it, is not a family matter, it is a corporate Exclusive Brethren Church matter, to describe it otherwise is to be wilfully deceitful. The website of the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC even has a section entitled “The Doctrine of Separation” !.

      The simple test & question is this – ‘if Exclusive Brethren/PBCC family members did not shun & separate from members who left the group, what would happen to the family who remained in the Exclusive Brethren ?, Answer, they would in turn come under threat of being excommunicated, withdrawn from, shunned, for not following the “Doctrine of Separation” as practiced by the Hales Exclusive Brethren./PBCC. It is a ‘Church’ rule/doctrine, therefore the Harm & Detriment that the church rule/doctrine creates is a corporate Exclusive Brethren/PBCC responsibility!. Families do not have a choice, that is another wilful deceit !. Families either obey the doctrines of the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC no matter how damaging they are, or they are excommunicated, shunned, withdrawn from, that’s certainly not free choice

      Your comments re - “Separation”
      To a Christian who follows Gods Word in the Bible the principle of true and lasting unity is found only “In Christ”. The Bible says nothing about “separating” from other Christians, in fact the Bible teaches the opposite. Christians are supposed to have fellowship with one another as part of the One Body as described in Ephesians 7 elsewhere. However, the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC separate from ALL non members including ALL other Christians, which is not Biblical

      The Exclusive Brethren /PBCC have declared to the UK Parliament they are a “Christian” group, therefore comparisons to other religions, tribes & races, is irrelevant. The Exclusive Brethren/PBCC should be benchmarked and scrutinised against the rest of the Christian Church and the benchmark for that is the Bible !, To try to divert, confuse and obfuscate this issue, as you have done, is to be deliberately deceitful !

      When compared to the rest of the Christian Church, the way the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC practice “Separation” is unique !, it is unique to cults such as the EB/PBCC and Jehovah’s Witness who practice total separation from Non Members.

    4. Part 2

      (P.s The reference to Ephesians 7 in my post above should of course be Ephesians 4)

      Your comments re – “pretend about who they are”
      That’s a rather a hypocritical statement. The Exclusive Brethren have ‘Every’ inclination to pretend about who they are !. The newly invented name of PBCC in 2012, which was never the historical name – Using the terms Gospel Halls and Plymouth Brethren to confuse the public & MP’s about the real identity of the group - No details of the 1848 split creating the Open and Exclusive Brethren movements – Not admitting to the true harmful effects of separation – Not correcting any confusion between the real Plymouth Brethren (1Million strong) & the Exclusive Brethren (just 45k members) – Actually deliberately creating that confusion in your PR Spin. - Being deliberately deceitful to UK Parliament that you are “open to scrutiny” and are a “mainstream church” and “you only follow the bible” and “have the same doctrines as the CofE” (all of these claims made to the UK Parliament are falsehoods), - There are many many other examples

      No, of course “the brethren have no inclination to pretend about who they are” !! Sorry to be blunt but are you being deliberately obtuse ?. Even the UK government PASC hearings were confused about the real identity of the group giving evidence before them, concluding in their report that the PBCC & the Exclusive Brethren were one and the same !

      Your comments re – “special people & real difference”
      Your talking about a different group. The Exclusive Brethren/PBCC separate from all non members including all other Christians. They don’t eat or drink with outsiders, they divide families if a members leaves, they follow the teachings of an alcoholic womaniser JT Junior, etc. They do make a difference and it’s a Harmful one and its an Unchristian one.

      Your comments re – “quit being a complainer”
      I know your comment was not addressed to me directly, however, are you not aware that the Bible instructions Christians to refute false teaching, to expose false teaching, to protect others from false teaching. The Exclusive Brethren/PBCC practice doctrines which are Harmful, Detrimental & Unchristian, in many different ways, such as, to individuals, to families, to society and to the rest of the Christian Faith which through their actions and practices they bring into disrepute, twisting Gods Word

      In doing this the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC break laws such as the United Nations Convention of Universal Declaration of Human Rights !

      All my comments are founded in fact & truth

    5. Anonymous6 on January 2014 11:14 has made a few controversial statements, one of which I agree with.

      “This is a family matter. We have to accept that families make choices about where they want to be.”
      I just wish they had a free choice and were not subject to coercion and draconian penalties when they make a choice that the leaders disapprove of. A bank robber might equally absolve himself of blame by saying it was the teller’s choice to hand over a bag of banknotes, and we have to accept the teller's decision.

      “Separation is the principle of unity where true and lasting unity is found.”
      That is a bit like saying enmity is the principle of friendship, where true and lasting friendship is found, or hatred is the principle of love, where true and lasting love is found. While there may be a sense in which there is a tiny grain of truth in these sayings, it is not a healthy or a respectable grain of truth. The kinds of unity, friendship or love that is based on separation, enmity or hatred of others are nothing better than primitive tribalism, based on atavistic, base, animal instincts.

      “Separation is not unique to the brethren.”
      You are absolutely right. Most of the notoriously oppressive cults practise separation from non-members. It is one of the hallmarks of abusive cults. It protects the leaders and their teachings from criticism or contradiction by cutting off communication with sources of criticism and contradiction, and it also makes it very difficult and traumatic for members to leave. The worst cults absolutely depend on separation for their survival.

    6. Ian and Brother Rev - thank you for responding to the HEB supporter with such detail and so logically.

      Unfortunately we know it's impossible for the HEB to understand or put forth logical arguments to support their position. It's all about subterfuge, smoke and mirrors in an effort to deceive their loyal followers, MP's, the Charities Commission and any of the other groups that they have latched onto in an effort to demonstrate that they are a charity.

      One thing I do have to disagree with is that our families in the HEB have free choice. I think when you are indoctrinated and have the threat of losing your house, your family, your business, your friends, your inheritance, etc. it amounts to the same thing as having no choice whatsoever. It takes someone with a lot of gumption to go against those threats.

    7. To Ian.
      I believe you have misunderstood the meaning of what was posted in “Separation is the principle of unity where true and lasting unity is found.”
      It is only when those who have separated themselves from evil, will they find a unity built on goodness free from evil, a true and lasting unity.

      Regarding your statement "The worst cults absolutely depend on separation for their survival."
      I would question if separation is not a human condition? Does not every organization, be it sporting, military, business, government, etc. have rules separating their members, their dealings and parts of their establishments from non-members/employees/players/officials?
      For what other reason are their members forced to wear uniforms if not for separation from non-members in identity and deed?

      What identifies cults is their ease of entry and their refusal to allow members to leave. Just like the military and the exact opposite of the PBCC. If any thing, all the complaints against the PBCC point to how easy it is to lose membership in this church and not how difficult it is to leave.
      Having and enforcing strict rules and standards does not make an organization a cult. Teaching such standards and rules to one's kids does not make an organization a cult.

      Every PBCC member has the freedom to exit, along with their PBCC families, PBCC business associates and their PBCC neighbors. So that no loss of family, friendships or employment will occur.
      The fact that it seems as if only individuals flake off leaving the PBCC and not whole segments of PBCC society, resulting in major splits, points to a very healthy society where the vast majority of members appear satisfied with the status quo.

  12. Anonymous3 January 2014 14:25 - you asked about the PBCC way of life.

    Since the 1960s, when James Taylor Jnr issued his directives, this group of Exclusive Brethren has deemed everyone who isn't part of their fellowship to be an unworthy table companion. I've been told that there is nothing personal in this, it's a matter of principle. I've been informed that it's because after his resurrection Jesus only ate with a few followers.

    Sixty years ago, when I was a teenager, I knew teachers who were members of the Taylor Senior Exclusive Brethren. They had good manners and ate and drank with their colleagues and pupils in the normal way. Then, at the beginning of the 1960s, these Brethren had to decide whether to follow the Taylor Jnr way and refuse to eat and drink with non-members. One of my teachers left the Taylor Jnr Exclusive Brethren (though became part of another EB group), the other chose the James Taylor Jnr way.

    So, in my lifetime and personal experience, the group of Exclusive Brethren now known as the PBCC has chosen to practise separation over a cup of tea or a meal. That is their way of life and they don't discriminate in the way the apostle Paul directed in 1 Corinthians 5:11.

    I know that this is an embarrassment to some members of the PBCC who understand that it's extremely ill-mannered to treat people like this, but it is one of the core planks of their way of life.

  13. With reference to Anon Jan 3 14.25 "Live and let live". Firstly, I think Joan's contributions to the debate are excellent and enlightening; also, she is able to comment from a scholarly and neutral viewpoint. "Live and let live" is a reasonable sentiment, but not where there is abuse and damage to others' lives. it's rather like saying that political extremism should not be opposed. This is a most peculiar viewpoint.

    Such comments are a reminder of previous Exclusive Brethren skirmishes, on similar blogs, attempting to make any debate, or opposition, seem to be churlish or unreasonable. I suspect (as mentioned previously) such commentators to be one or two fully paid up PBCC members or, less likely, someone who has left, but is still disorientated.

    By all means, let the Exclusive brethren (PBCC) get on with their quirky lives, but not at public expense, nor where people are damaged or suffer financial loss. Having said that, however, society still has a duty to debate child protection, freedom and the realisation of potential. Organised extremism should never be unmonitored.


    1. How well does this fit the Hales Exclusive Brethren/PBCC.

      Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

      13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught."

  14. I am interested that others have picked up on 2 Tim 2. They should read Rev. on how bad it is to add to scripture. Since 1959 this has been their charter and it is not even scripture. Maybe this has something to do with reverting to the pre 1959 name and drawing away from some of the alcoholics teachings. Well the rrt was set up to try regain charity status, but the blogs by members scratching each others backs are quite sickening. How many other churches set up a blog to promote themselves at the expense of others?
    If they were to denounce all the evil committed against children of God and repented, who knows maybe they would be forgiven? Then all would know that God has shown his hand in the PBCC.

  15. Anonymous - in answer to your 'live and let live comment, why do you not read Ephesians 5:11? It says for your benefit: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Fruitless deeds of darkness are what the EB/PBCC do... I say this, as they have shown no Christian fruit in the world in many years now - where is their undertaking of the Great Commission to "go tell - baptizing ALL nations & making disciples?" Where is their great light - we see the same sins affecting the EB/PBCC as other non-Christians & churches - members jailed for child abuse, wife abuse, fraud, murder, employment court charges and more. I call them "deeds of darkness" as the EB/PBCC do their best to keep all their evil under wraps and hidden, they do not admit their wrong-doing and worse, try to pretend that they are somehow a more "holy" form of Christianity.

    According to the self-professed "withdraw from iniquity" of the EB/PBCC, they should be spotless, sinless, holy & pure from all of their keeping separate from the world and yet the STILL fall under the self-same sins!! It is obvious that your keeping yourselves separate from sin is not working, or your members would not sin. Sadly no-one seems to have informed you of the very words of Jesus: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." So unless you all rip out your very hearts, you will still sin, no matter what company you keep!! You would also have to disassociate from all of your own members, as they are still sinners - we see this from the actual facts presented in the many court cases around the world that are made against the Brethren in which brethren themselves are judged to have done wrong and sinned.

    Despite the truth of all the Scriptures, including those referenced above - rather than the footnotes of a man which you hold to as your key doctrine - you continue as a religious group to keep yourselves trapped in keeping away from sinners in the false belief that sin is external, whereas it is in the heart of man - and in this you beholden yourselves to the very slavery that Jesus came to free us from.

    All these things being the case, I can only continue to expose the deeds, as the Bible called us to do as Christian - while continuing to pray that some light will eventually shine into the EB/PBCC from Jesus and change your hearts to turn to Him. God Bless Brother :)

    1. Suzie you are a little off base here.
      1- you ask - "where is their undertaking of the Great Commission to "go tell - baptizing ALL nations & making disciples?""
      From what I have seen, the PBCC is one of the few churches left that still does public evangelism through street preaching and the handing out of tracts. I wonder if your church comes anywhere close to them in this regard?

      2- if "the EB/PBCC do their best to keep all their evil under wraps" is indeed true, then how do you justify your statement that "members jailed for child abuse, wife abuse, fraud, murder, employment court charges and more." Clearly someone has failed to keep these "deeds of darkness" under wraps, or perhaps they don't as you claim.

      3- "It is obvious that your keeping yourselves separate from sin is not working, or your members would not sin." Whether members sin or not, does not nullify the NT commandments to be separated from the world.
      "you will still sin" Yes, so long as men inhabit physical bodies they will be lured by the vices of sin. It is not the action of a sin, but the confession and repentance of a sin that distinguish a believer from a non-believer who delights in the sin.

      4- "the false belief that sin is external, whereas it is in the heart of man". The desire and lust for the sin certainly originates in the heart of man, but the commission of the sin is done physically as an external manifestation of what lay in the heart. That is why the Bible tells us that by their fruit we shall recognize them.

      If you are currently associating with people who engage in external sin, dismissing such actions as merely external and of no consequence because you believe their hearts to be good and right with God, then dear child, you have been fooled by satan.
      Their deeds are wicked because their hearts are wicked, a righteous heart does not produce evil actions, rather, evil sinful actions arise from a heart that is evil, wicked and fill of deceit.

  16. I think the HEB are a pretty vile bunch who, like many people, quote the bible to support their narrow and frequently, somewhat loony ideas. I understand the need to challenge them never more so than when they masquerade as sympathetic outsiders. However we have to remember that they are numerically insignificant, to the extent that they are truly a "pimple on the backside of humanity" . Many of you will remember from your youth that the smaller the pimple the more difficult it was to squeeze. (I apologise if anyone finds my simile distasteful). However I take some comfort from the belief that as access to technology increases the minds of the young people will be exposed to some alternatives. If nor reflects tha in the early 1960s very few Open Brethren had televisions, members didn't go to cinemas or dance etc. that has all change. Of course with the Bruce Hales and his team of " Dementors". controlling so many of the financial aspects of the members lives it will be more difficult but it will happen. Finally there is no point in engaging in theological debates with these people, they are too brainwashed to be able to respond in any meaningful way. Venceramos Comrades

    1. Could I recommend that you avoid lumping all the HEB together and making sweeping condemnations that appear to be aimed at them all without exception? To call them collectively “a pretty vile bunch” overlooks the fact that many of them are more victims than oppressors, and some are really lovable people. Some, such as the children, are completely innocent of the evils collectively committed by the sect. Some hate the system, but are hopelessly trapped. I agree that strongly worded censure can be justified, but you could perhaps direct it at the system, or at the leaders, not at the entire population indiscriminately.

      We know that some of them are inherently really decent people who only behave badly because they are made to do so. We know this from experience because when they escape and are allowed to develop their own personalities some of them are absolutely delightful.

  17. No doubt you would have been able to identify inherently decent members of the Nazi party. That does not diminish the role they played in sustaining a vile and murderous regime. If you fly with the crows you get shot with them I'm afraid!

  18. What a pile of complete utter nonsense!!! The Exclusive Brethren and the Taliban, and in fact any extremist fundamentalist religious group have an AWFUL LOT IN COMMON!!!! Bruce Hales (again...who the hell does he think he is..??), has a lot to answer for, and yes possibly, MORE than the taliban!!!! May I remind any EB here.,...that your own beliefs stipulate (or rules rather, of the fabricated kind...) that you are currently playing with the 'tool of the devil'....and therefore your God, (that lovely man from the Old Testament..) is going to deal with you too.....you are just another example of the double standards and secrecy that our real society has to deal with on a daily basis; you might as well get out now......you are using the INTERNET! Congratulations.

  19. Hello to anyone there.....especially to any associated with publishing this helpful blog. Greetings from America.

    Would like to chat with witnesses from AUS and UK regarding Ex Brethren cult practices and domination/harrassment of teachers from their schools as well as the flow of public money from AUS/NZ schools to the coffers of the American school system called "Sterling Education". www.sterlnged.org

    (re: public funds that were given to EB schools down under with prohibition from funds being used offshore, whereas, the "fungibility" issues were never clear and the EBkept the Australian/NZ money i their beanks there, and simply moved a "different" millions to America)

    Many may not yet be aware that this sect is washing Australian tax grant money through 35 campuses in America while abusing American employees and teachers. Child abuse rampant, gender and religious discrimination, severe civil rights violations while claiming "not for profit" status that is for "public good" even as schools operate as closed private entities.

    Tremendous lawsuit imminent. All blogs and sites originating in America have been forced to shut down from Brethren lawsuits or threats thereof........

    a true historian would be greatly appreciated.....

  20. Reading all these posts I am so glad I managed to run away from this cult decades ago when I was 16 and started a new life for myself.

  21. After reading through many posts criticizing the PBCC practice of separation, I find I must disagree. What the PBCC does is totally biblical, to provide a few supporting verses-
    Rom 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world:"
    We may not follow the ways of the world, in lifestyle, dress, customs, etc. Such would constitute conformity with the world which the Bible forbids us.

    1Cor 10:21 "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
    All those outside of the church are under satan's dominion, one cannot eat with non-church members, they are the devil's own and must be avoided.

    2Cor 6:17 "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
    One cannot associate with non-church members, for we are called to come out from among them and to separate from them. So as to remain pure and unspotted by the world.

    James 4:4 "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
    We cannot be friends with the world, being associated with it in the lifestyles, entertainments, pursuits and pleasures deemed acceptable by a fallen world, nor can we associate with those that follow such carnal worldliness. Not without risking becoming the enemies of God. I am convinced that the enemies of God will not enter heaven.

    2Jn 1:10 "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:"
    We cannot invite into our homes those not in fellowship with the church, nor give them God's blessings. In the same manner, if they cannot enter our homes, then we should not enter their homes either.

    While I cannot fault the PBCC on their implementation of scripture regarding separation, I certainly do criticize them on their laxity regarding other matters.
    Such as:
    Head coverings - since when did wearing a hair ribbon constitute a head covering? Unacceptable.
    Immodesty - allowing women to wear short skirts and men short pants. Unacceptable.
    Gaudiness - designer clothing, body hugging clothing, bright colored clothing, no shamefacedness to be seen. Unacceptable.
    No dress code - do they not know that we are to be one in the body of Christ? Symbolized by a common unified dress code? Unacceptable is their chaos of no dress code.

    It is very sad to see how far the PBCC has slipped into worldliness under the Hales administration. I do pray that the next Man of God will return the PBCC to a more biblical footing.