Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A surge of interest in Bible study and private devotion - Craig Blaising

"The Brethren Movement ... rejected the special role of an ordained clergy, which perpetuated such ecclesiastical divisions, and stressed instead the spiritual giftedness of ordinary believers and their freedom, under the Spirit's guidance, to teach and admonish each other from the Scripture.
By enhancing the integrity and responsibility of the laity, Brethrenism witnessed a surge of interest in Bible study and private devotion."

found in Craig A. Blaising, and Darrell L. Bock. Progressive Dispensationalism: An up-to-Date Handbook of Contemporary Dispensational Thought (Wheaton: BridgePoint, 1993), 10.

Obviously, this is not the topic of the book. Blaising mentions the Brethren movement because he sees that "dispensationalism first took shape in the Brethren Movement in early nineteenth century Britain." Yet, it is an interesting thought ... could the concept of clergy be hindering Bible study and private devotion?


Bill said...


Thanks for that fascinating snippet, Mael. I'd love to hear more about how that passage concluded. Did they affirm the point, counter-balance the point, water it down, or just change the subject abruptly?

Bill said...

forgot the check box

John S Wilson III said...

in the beginning they were a true early organic form of church, shame that they became elitist in the end.

Maël said...

They transition, historically, to the impact of the Brethren movement on evangelical protestantism, then to the creation of the "Bible Conference" movement, and finally to Scofield and his reference Bible that popularized classical dispensationalism.

Maël said...


I appreciate your passion for the organic movement ... I personally find balance in the NT between organic and institution, but never room for elitism.

Alan Knox said...


I like the positive side of your question from this quote: could the rejection of an ordained clergy lead to a surge of interest in Bible study and private devotion?

I think the answer is, "Yes." And, I think it would lead to many other positive things as well.


Bill said...

They transition, historically... to Scofield

Oh, well of course. Duh on me.

On closer inspection, I suppose Bock & Blaising absorb the point by spinning "giftedness and freedom" into an emphasis on personal bible study.

Well isn't that special? ;-)

Adam said...

The irony is that that 'surge of interest in Bible study and private devotion' led to the invention of classic dispensationalism, which failed to read Scripture as closely as more ancient models and which has had to be revised into Progressive Dispensationalism on the weight of deeper study of Scripture by... trained professionals.

Adam said...

And now I know what checkbox Bill forgot to hit. ;)

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