Brethren


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Brethren,

German Baptist religious group. They were popularly known as Dunkards, Dunkers, or Tunkers, from the German for "to dip," referring to their method of baptizing. The Brethren evolved from the Pietist movement in Germany. The first congregation was organized there in 1708 by Alexander Mack. Persecution drove them to America where, under Peter Becker, they settled (1719) in Germantown, Pa. From that and other settlements in Pennsylvania they spread westward and into Canada. The Brethren oppose war and advocate temperance, the simple life, plain dress, and "obedience to Christ rather than obedience to creeds and cults." The original group, at present the largest in the United States, is the Church of the Brethren (Conservative Dunkers); the local churches are united by an annual conference that elects a general board to supervise the national church program. From the Church of the Brethren there have been separations into the Seventh-Day Baptists, German Baptists (1728; see Beissel, Johann ConradBeissel, Johann Conrad
, 1690–1768, founder of the Seventh-Day Baptist community at Ephrata, Pa. Emigrating (1720) from Germany, he settled first with the German Baptists, or Dunkards, in Germantown, Pa.
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); Church of God (New Dunkards, 1848); Old German Baptist Brethren (1881); and the Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkers, 1882). The Brethren baptize by trine immersion, the candidate being immersed once for each member of the Trinity. They practice foot washing and the love feast.

See also River BrethrenRiver Brethren,
name used to designate certain Christian bodies originating in 1770, during a revival movement among German settlers in E Pennsylvania. In the 1750s, Mennonite refugees from Switzerland had established their homes near the Susquehanna River.
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 (for Brethren in Christ, River Brethren, and Yorker Brethren); ChristadelphiansChristadelphians
[Gr.,=brothers of Christ], small religious denomination founded in the United States in 1848 by John Thomas. Its members live by the Scriptures and await the second coming of Jesus on earth, who, they believe, will establish a theocracy with its center in
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 (for Brethren of Christ); Hutterian BrethrenHutterian Brethren
, a body of Christians practicing strict communism based on religious principles. The Brethren are descendants of those Moravian Anabaptists who were followers of Jacob Hutter, a minister from the Tyrol who was burned at the stake in 1536. In the 17th cent.
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; Moravian ChurchMoravian Church,
 Renewed Church of the Brethren,
or Unitas Fratrum
, an evangelical Christian communion whose adherents are sometimes called United Brethren or Herrnhuters.
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.

References in classic literature ?
Then, moreover, as regarded his unceremonious ejectment, the late Surveyor was not altogether ill-pleased to be recognised by the Whigs as an enemy; since his inactivity in political affairs -- his tendency to roam, at will, in that broad and quiet field where all mankind may meet, rather than confine himself to those narrow paths where brethren of the same household must diverge from one another -- had sometimes made it questionable with his brother Democrats whether he was a friend.
William said meekly, "I leave our brethren to judge whether this is the voice of Satan or not.
Are there not many brethren and sisters among us, who have lived long together in wedlock, yet, adopting our faith, find their hearts purified from all but spiritual affection?
The lesson of expediency, my brethren, which I would gather from the consideration of this subject, is most strongly inculcated by humility.
For such reasons, strange to say, it is harder to contrive a friendly arrangement of these brethren of love and righteousness, in the procession of life.
We--up stairs--Monks of the Capuchin order--my brethren.
They were happy to say that the reverend gentleman had been moved by the Spirit to accept the call, and on the ensuing Sabbath would break the bread of life for the brethren or break his neck in the attempt.
There was a buzz and murmur among the white-frocked brethren at this grave charge; but the Abbot held up his long quivering hand.
Those," he said, "came nearer to the Scripture meaning, who understood by it candour, or the forming of a benevolent opinion of our brethren, and passing a favourable judgment on their actions; a virtue much higher, and more extensive in its nature, than a pitiful distribution of alms, which, though we would never so much prejudice, or even ruin our families, could never reach many; whereas charity, in the other and truer sense, might be extended to all mankind.
My brethren, wherefore is there need of the lion in the spirit?
The people have heard of the sufferings of their brethren and have spoken.
You will remember that your lodge owes us a return, having had the service of two brethren in the matter of the patrolman last fall.