The Triple Tradition - Chapter 2 -- By: Ross Howlett McLaren

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 05:1 (Summer 1996)
Article: The Triple Tradition - Chapter 2
Author: Ross Howlett McLaren

The Triple Tradition - Chapter 2

Ross Howlett McLaren1

The Origin and Development of the Open Brethren in North America

The Interfacing Process Begins

The Grant Party

Division among the Exclusive Brethren

In 1881 the Exclusive Brethren suffered their first division. It separated William Kelly and his followers and placed them outside “the circle of fellowship” of their brethren in England. When Exclusive Brethren in Toronto met to consider which side they would follow [1882], they responded by writing to London:

Our acceptance of the judgment of the Park Street decision is not based on a knowledge of the facts and circumstances connected with it, but upon the ground that ‘there is one body and one spirit.’ This decision we fully receive as having the sanction of the Lord, and must therefore be binding upon us.…

Here was Darby’s connectional system at its worst. And one of those who

signed this letter was Frederick W. Grant.2

The Open evangelists had encountered this Darbyite view of the church as “the One Body” as early as 1876,3 and it began to overflow into the assemblies they founded.4 Talks were held with the Exclusive Assemblies and with Lord Adalbert P. Cecil, a leading British Exclusive brother who was visiting in Canada that year, but the evangelists could not be persuaded to accept the teaching.5

The Formation of the Grant Party

By 1880 F. W. Grant had become the leading figure among the Exclusive Brethren in North America. He centered his ministry in Montreal, Canada and Plainfield, New Jersey. Originally from London, Grant had moved to Canada about 1855 when new parishes were opened there by the Church of England. He became acquainted with Exclusive Brethren literature, adopted their positions, and was soon a friend and disciple of Darby. Prior to Darby’s death in 1882 a minor difference of opinion developed between the two over the interpretation of a few Scriptures.6 More disturbing than the doctrinal differences to some was the manner in which Grant handled himself in the matter in publishing his views. But it was not until 1884 that a split actually came.

Lord Cecil and Alfred Mace forced the division. While on a preaching tour to North America in 1884, they made attempts at both Plainfield and Montreal to force Gr...

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