Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren


Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren

The Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren are an austere protestant sect, and a branch of the Exclusive Brethren. These Brethren hold an uncompromising 'separatist' doctrine and their practice has steadily evolved differently from other Brethren groups and also from mainstream Christianity.cite web
url=http://www.reachouttrust.org/articles/othergrp/exbreth.htm
title=Exclusive Brethren
publisher=Reachout Trust
date=2008-01-09
accessdate=2008-02-19
] There are approximately 40,000 Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren meeting in 300 assemblies in 19 countries with strongest representation in Australia, New Zealand, UK, and North America and smaller groups in continental Europe and Latin America.cite web
work = The Exclusive Brethren official website
title = Who are the Exclusive Brethren Christian Fellowship?
publisher = The Exclusive Brethren
url=http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/index-1.asp
accessdate = 2007-03-01
] cite news|last=Halpin|first=Tony|date=2005-03-21
title=Top marks for sect schools that shun the modern world
work=The Times|publisher=Times Newspapers Ltd
url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1534692,00.html/
accessdate=2007-01-20
] Most Australian and New Zealand media reporting of "Exclusive Brethren" relates only to the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren.

Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren lifestyle today

The Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren believe that God's principle of unity is achieved by separating from and excluding that which they consider evil. As a result, open conduits of communication such as television, radio, and the internet are banned. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reportedcite news
last=Carlisle
first=Wendy
title=Elusive Exclusive Brethren
work=ABC Radio National
date=2006-04-30
url=http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s1624361.htm
accessdate=2007-01-15
] that a letter from the Brethren leadership in July 2005 states that "no authority is given for individual businesses to purchase their own computer equipment." However, most Brethren businesses have access to computers and email.

The Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren reserve all social activities for those with whom they celebrate the Lord's Supper. Such activities include eating, drinking and entertainment, as well as club and professional memberships, directorships, shares and health insurance. Eating in restaurants and staying at hotels are also avoided. [cite web
work = The Exclusive Brethren official website
title = Basic teaching in the Exclusive Brethren
publisher = The Exclusive Brethren
url=http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/index-2.asp
accessdate = 2007-03-01
]

Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren encourage a traditional marriage (usually around the age of 20) and family life. Children live at the family home until they marry and are required to marry within the fellowship. Physical contact between young men and women before marriage is not tolerated, and courting between couples is chaperoned. Once married contraception is not considered acceptable. Men are expected to provide for their families while the women manage the household.cite web
work = The Exclusive Brethren official website
title = Family life in the Exclusive Brethren
publisher = The Exclusive Brethren
url=http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/familylife.asp
accessdate = 2007-03-01
] A study of the Australian Brethren in May 2006 suggested that the number of divorced, single people in the Brethren is approximately 0.8% compared to 10.8% for the general population.

The aged and sick are usually cared for by (possibly unrelated) other member families, although private (non-Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren) nursing homes are sometimes utilised for the elderly.

Few people not born into the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren become members, and relatively few of those born into the group leave.cite web
url=http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/documents/MarriageandFamily.pdf
title=An Investigation into Marriage and Family Relations Among the Exclusive Brethren in Australia
first=Gary D
last=Bouma
publisher=Monash University
date=2006-05-18
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

Discipline

The Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren disciplinary methods have been the subject of much media attention. If a member commits a serious sin, they are first "disciplined" or "shut up"Fact|date=February 2008. Common offenses that lead to discipline are sex outside of marriage, and railing (speaking out against other members)Fact|date=February 2008. Members under discipline are allowed to attend meetings during this period but may not participate in CommunionFact|date=February 2008. If they do not repent, they are then "withdrawn" - excommunicatedFact|date=February 2008. This may include breaking off of all communication with members of the person's former congregation including family members. If a member under discipline repents, they are fully restored into fellowship and treated the same as if they had never been disciplined.

For members who speak frequently and inappropriately, as deemed by the assembly, there is also the option of having that member "silenced"Fact|date=February 2008. A "silenced" member is allowed to participate in Communion and other church activities as long as they do not speak during a service. A "silenced" member can be "disciplined" if they continue to speak at services or restored to full fellowship with speaking privileges if they comply with being "silenced" for a period of timeFact|date=February 2008.

Leaving the fellowship

In the case where someone chooses to leave the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren or is excommunicated by the fellowship, their parents, siblings, spouse and even children 'withdraw' or disassociate themselves from them. This process allows for no social, domestic or church contact from church members, something which may not always be voluntary, especially in the case of children. [cite news|last=Gower|first=Patrick|title=Son caught in Exclusive Brethren tug-of-love|work=The New Zealand Herald|date=2006-10-14|accessdate=2007-01-20
url=http://subs.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10405886
]

In December 2006, the Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald described how Raven-Taylor-Hales leader Bruce Hales instructed a 12-year-old girl to separate from her father. Hales reportedly told her, "Your mother will not be able to accept you if you continue contact with him" and "you cannot be a Christian if you leave the Brethren". The girl and her mother were moved 700 km away from her father with the assistance of the Brethren. The father lost all contact with the girl, despite having been awarded joint guardianship and weekly access by the Australian Family Court. [cite news|last=Bachelard|first=Michael|title=Sect told girl: banish your dad|work=Sydney Morning Herald|publisher=Fairfax|url=http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/12/25/1166895241013.html|accessdate=2007-01-15]

Business

Typically Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren either own their own business or work for a business run by another Brethren member. Their businesses include manufacturing, distribution and sales, including in the fields of clothing, architecture, rehabilitation aids and food and the import and resale of industrial hardware including welding equipment and consumables. Businesses owned by Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren throughout the world gain advice and book-keeping support from an organisation called National Office Assist. [cite news
last=Gower
first=Patrick
title=Behind the Brotherhood: The Elect Vessel, Bruce Hales
work=The New Zealand Herald
publisher=APN Holdings NZ Limited
date=2006-10-14
url=http://subs.nzherald.co.nz/author/story.cfm?a_id=320&ObjectID=10405885
accessdate=2006-12-29
]

Education

Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren run private schools for their children between the ages of 11 and 17. Members are discouraged from attending university on campus. In 2005 David Bell, the Chief Inspector of Schools in England, praised the Brethren schools for their standard of teaching and said in his report that "the quality of teaching, most of which is done by experienced practitioners, is generally good." However, their schools have also been criticised for not including the use of computers or other modern technology. Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the British National Secular Society, stated, “Denying children access to knowledge that would help them to cope in the modern world is tantamount to abuse."

There are 38 Brethren private schools throughout Australia [cite news
title=Greens call for Brethren investigation
work=News.com.au
publisher=News Limited
date=2006-12-29
url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20986565-1702,00.html
accessdate=2006-12-29
] and 43 in the United Kingdom,cite news
last=Halpin
first=Tony
date=2005-03-21
title=Top marks for sect schools that shun the modern world
work=The Times|publisher=Times Newspapers Ltd
url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1534692,00.html/
accessdate=2007-01-20
] as well as others throughout the world.

Brethren schools now have computer banks and students have restricted access to internet.

As with many private schools in Australia, the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren schools receive Australian Federal government funding. This included $313,000 of capital grants to Brethren schools during 2005-2006. The campus in the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard's electorate of Bennelong was granted $70,000. [cite news
last=Bachelard
first=Michael
title=Sect's schools flush from parents - and federal funds
work=Sydney Morning Herald
publisher=Fairfax
url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sects-schools-flush-from-parents--and-federal-funds/2006/12/27/1166895361394.html
accessdate=2007-01-15
] In 2007, the Victorian State Government provided $1.08 million dollars in funding to the Glenvale Exclusive Brethren School, which has a dozen campuses in Victoria. This was a significant increase from $370,419 in 2002-03. [cite news
last=Rood
first=David
title=Exclusive Brethren school given $1m state grants
work=The Age
publisher=Fairfax
url= http://www.theage.com.au/national/exclusive-brethren-school-given-1m-state-grants-20081005-4uca.html?page=fullpage
accessdate=2008-10-06
]

Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren and the media

Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren have been the subject of quite widespread controversy and adverse publicity, at various times since the mid-1960s. Other Exclusive Brethren are normally ignored by the media, but loathe the confusion caused by mistaken association with this group, and careless use of the broader term Exclusive Brethren.

Claims aired on the ABC "Four Corners" program accused the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren of being a cult, [cite interview
last = Thomas
first = Ngaire
interviewer = Quentin McDermott
subject = Ngaire Thomas
title = Ngaire Thomas Interview
program = Four Corners
date=2006-09-25
url = http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1748031.htm
] breaking up families, and avoiding the issue of suicide among their members. [cite interview
last = Fawkes
first = Ron
interviewer = Quentin McDermott
subject = Ron Fawkes
title = Ron Fawkes Interview
program = Four Corners
date=2006-09-25
url= http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1745886.htm
] Additionally, the Brethren have been accused of covering up the child abuse activities of a high ranking Australian member from 2003 to 2006 (and ignoring written warnings from as early as 1991).cite news
last=Bachelard
first=Michael
title=Brethren bid to cover up sex assaults on girls
work=The Age
publisher=Fairfax
date=2006-12-30
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/brethren-bid-to-hide-sex-assaults/2006/12/29/1166895479254.html
accessdate=2006-12-30
]

In early 2007 the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren began interacting with the media and appointed an official media representative.

Political involvement

In general, the exclusive brethren are apolitical since at their core they are a separitist movement. They will obey the laws of their country as long as they do not perceive them to contradict the Christian Bible. They will meet secretly in countries that require religious groups to register with the government as this would be perceived as putting their church under worldly authority. In accordance with the dispensational teachings of John Nelson Darby, they view an apocalyptic future for humanity after the rapture of all Christians (Brethren and non-Brethren). Thus, they see no reason to be involved in politics because of the prophesied apocalyptic future that cannot be changed. There is a story among the exclusive brethren of a woman member who decided to vote every year and informed her husband of her candidate choices. In response, her husband voted for the exact opposite candidates to ensure the two votes cancelled each other out.

Unlike most exclusive brethren sects, the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren have been more involved in politics. The Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren made media headlines in 2005-6 with their political activities in both Australia and New Zealand, despite the fact that members are barred from voting in elections, even in countries which have compulsory voting. But lately Brethren members have been encouraged to work with elected officials "to express a moral viewpoint of legislation in relation to the rights of God". In recent times this has included political campaigning as detailed below.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Daniel Hales, brother of Bruce Hales (the current worldwide Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren leader), explained how they could support political parties and not vote: "I see it as a sin and you don't. So I'm very happy for you to vote because to you it's your obligation to the community. But to me, it's my conscience that doesn't allow me to vote." [cite web
url = http://www.rad.net.nz/877.0.html
title = Media Coverage of the Exclusive Brethren in Australia and New Zealand
author = R
last = Davis
first = Richard
year = 2006
]

Australia

In the 2004 Australian federal election the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren were linked to political advertisements campaigning for the re-election of the Australian Prime Minister John Howard.cite news
last=Marr
first=David
title=Hidden prophets
work=Sydney Morning Herald
publisher=Fairfax
date=2006-07-01
url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-influence-of-hidden-prophets/2006/07/01/1151174401719.html
accessdate=2006-12-29
] [cite news
last=Doherty
first=Linda
title=Brethren linked to Howard campaign
work=Sydney Morning Herald
publisher=Fairfax
date=2005-09-16
url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/brethren-linked-to-howard-campaign/2005/09/15/1126750082584.html
accessdate=2007-01-15
] The advertisements were funded by Willmac Enterprises Pty Ltd, a company wholly owned by Mark William Mackenzie who is a member of the Brethren. [cite news
last=Marr
first=David
title=Sect member funded anti-Greens campaign
work=Sydney Morning Herald
publisher=Fairfax
date=2007-01-20
url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sect-member-funded-antigreens-campaign/2007/01/19/1169095977218.html
accessdate=2007-01-20
] Willmac's contribution to John Howard's election campaign, of $370,000, was later investigated by the Australian Electoral Commission and is currently the source of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Australian Federal Police. [cite news
last=Bachelard
first=Michael
title=Brethren meet PM in his office
work=The Age
publisher=Fairfax
date=2007-08-22
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/brethren-meet-pm-in-his-office/2007/08/21/1187462266517.html
accessdate=2007-08-22
] cite news
last=Coorey
first=Phillip
title=Brethren still a cult in Rudd's book
work=Sydney Morning Herald
publisher=Fairfax Digital
date=2007-08-23
url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/brethren-still-a-cult-in-rudds-book/2007/08/22/1187462354397.html
accessdate=2007-08-27
]

In March 2006, members of the Brethren placed press advertisements and distributed leaflets [PDFlink
[http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/docs/bbgreens.pdf Copy of the Brethren Anti-Green political leaflet issued in March 2006]
739 KiB
See [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s1624361.htm Elusive Exclusive Brethren] for article transcript.
] attacking the Australian Tasmanian Greens in the Tasmanian state election. [cite news
title=Christian sect members attack Tas Greens
publisher=ABC Radio National
date=2006-03-15
url=http://www.abc.net.au/elections/tas/2006/news/stories/1592168.htm?elections/tas/2006/
accessdate=2007-01-15
] In September 2006, Prime Minister John Howard confirmed that he met with the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren, stating he has no problem with the group and that they are "entitled to put their views to the Government". [cite news
title=Howard admits meeting Exclusive Brethren
work=News.com.au
publisher=News Limited
date=2006-09-27
url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,20483542-2,00.html
accessdate=2007-01-15
] In December 2006, "The Age" reported that Brethren representatives met with the Australian Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock lobbying for family law changes to "ensure that a child is not subject to a radical lifestyle change without compelling reason". [cite news
last=Bachelard
first=Michael
title=Brown demands sect inquiry
work=The Age
publisher=Fairfax
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/brown-demands-sect-inquiry/2006/12/26/1166895296983.html
date=2006-12-27
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

Then Prime Minster John Howard met with Brethren representatives in his parliamentary office on short notice early August 2007. [cite news
title=Costello backs Howard on Exclusive Brethren meeting
work=ABC News
publisher=ABC
url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/22/2011667.htm
date=2007-08-22
accessdate=2007-08-22
] The Brethren also approached the then Federal Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd who refused to meet with them saying that he believes they are "an extremist cult and sect" that "breaks up families". [cite news
last=Marris
first=Sid
work=The Australian
publisher=News Limited
title=Exclusive Brethren attacks Rudd
url=http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22295325-11949,00.html
date=2007-08-23
accessdate=2007-08-27
] [cite news
work=ABC News
publisher=ABC
url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/22/2012097.htm
title=Rudd won't meet 'extremist' Brethren
date=2007-08-22
accessdate=2007-08-27
]

In December 2007, the Brethren were accused of infiltrating local councils and bankrolling legal challenges to halt the spread of adult stores. [cite news
work=Sunday Telegraph
publisher=News Limited
url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22928838-2,00.html
title=Adult shops fight Exclusive Brethren sect
date=2007-12-16
accessdate=2008-02-11
]

Canada

In 2005 the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren attempted to influence a gay-marriage parliamentary vote by waging an aggressive but anonymous campaign (identifying themselves only as CCP or Concerned Canadian Parents) using direct-mail and advertising with a full page ad in the Hill Times newspaper, a Parliament Hill weekly directed at Senators studying Bill C-38.cite news
last=O'Neil
first=Peter
title=Secretive religious sect behind anti-gay ads
work=Vancouver Sun
date=2005-07-25
url=http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general755.html
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

New Zealand

In 2000, as a result of their avowed lack of interest and lack of involvement in the political process, Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren-owned businesses were granted an exemption from legal requirements under the Employment Relations Act 2000 to allow union representatives onto the premises to talk with employees. As a result of the lobbying and other campaigning, there have been threats from MP's to change the relationship between Brethren-owned businesses and labour unions. [cite press release
title=Call for removal of union exemption from Brethren
publisher=Green Party
date=2006-09-26
url=http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0609/S00554.htm
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

In the 18 months leading up to the 2005 New Zealand General Election, a group of Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren met with and lobbied many members of Parliament, particularly MPs of the centre-right National Party but also including the parliamentary leaders of the centre-right New Zealand First and United Future parties and the neo-liberal ACT party with no success. [cite news
last=Oliver
first=Paula
title=Brethren plot to rule the roost
date=2006-09-30
work=New Zealand Herald
url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10403711
accessdate=2007-01-15
] Late in the election campaign they spent approximately NZ$1.2 million [cite news
last=Hammer
first=Chris
work=Dateline
publisher=SBS
url=http://news.sbs.com.au/sales/proginfo.php?type=Dateline&dte=2006-11-15&title=Politics,%20Pamphlets%20and%20Prayers&id=1215
date=2006-11-15
accessdate=2007-09-24
] producing and distributing to letter boxes at least eight pamphlets attacking the policies of both the socially liberal and centre-left Labour party and the Green party. Though not mentioning the National Party, the wording and colour of the pamphlets hinted at support for National. The leaflets appealed for the election of a "government that would prosper the country economically and govern in a morally upright way". The pamphlets caused some controversy and seven Brethren held a press conference in front of television cameras to explain themselves. [cite news
last=Kiong
first=Errol
title=Sect members behind political pamphlets
date=2005-09-17
work=New Zealand Herald
url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10344402
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Gerry Brownlee and Economic Development spokeswoman Katherine Rich expressed concerns about the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren's lack of political sophistication and loss of female voters for the New Zealand National Party at the 2005 general election. [cite news
last=Stent
first=Kevin
date=2006-09-25
title=What are the Exclusive Brethren up to?
accessdate=2007-01-15
work=Sunday Star Times
url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3807591a6160,00.html
] Some National MPs have declared that they will not accept help from the Brethren in the future. [cite news
title=Brethren helped us, say National MPs
date=2006-10-04
work=New Zealand Herald
url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story.cfm?storyid=0007A220-2AF7-1522-BD5283027AF1FE9F
accessdate=2007-01-15
]

In September 2006, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and Prime Minister, Helen Clark alleged that the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren had been involved in spreading "baseless rumour, slander and lies" after accusations that her husband, Peter Davis, might be homosexual appeared in the Sunday Star Times newspaper. [cite news
last=Lewis
first=Peter
title=Dirty politics in New Zealand
work=PM -- ABC Radio National
date=2006-09-18
accessdate=2007-01-15
url=http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1743760.htm
] She also alleged that the Brethren had hired a private investigator to follow Peter Davis to dig up dirt. It was later confirmed that private investigators had been hired by members of the group to investigate Labour MPs. [cite news
last=Watkins
first=Tracy
date=2006-09-18
title=Furious Clark defends husband
work=Stuff
accessdate=2007-01-15
url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3805983a10,00.html
]

In October 2006, Prime Minister Clark mentioned the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren in "mirth" during her opening speech at the Labour Party's annual conference. She also said that it was time to move on. Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen further attacked the group in his closing comments to the conference.

In November 2006 Nicky Hager published the book "The Hollow Men" alleging, amongst other issues, the involvement of the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren with the National Party. This was seen as one of the reasons for the resignation of party leader Don Brash, though that was denied strongly by Brash.

In April 2007 senior members of the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren considered setting up a group that would be politically active. [cite news
last=Cleave
first=Louisa
date=2007-04-19
title=Brethren ponder new strategy for elections
work=NZ Herald
accessdate=2007-04-19
url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10434930
]

The outing of the Brethren's activities were a major catalyst for the drafting of the Electoral Finance Bill.

Sweden

The Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet alleged that the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren funded an advertising campaign supporting the centre-right Alliance for Sweden in the Swedish 2006 elections. The advertisements and fliers were distributed by 'Nordas Sverige', an agency set up by Swedish business-owners who, whilst members of the Brethren, acted on their own initiative. Aftonbladet traced it to a company named 'Nordas Ltd' operating from Liverpool, UK, run by business-owners, also members of the Brethren. [cite news|url=http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/val2006/story/0,2789,886773,00.html|title=Extrem sekt stöder alliansen|publisher=Aftonbladet|date=2006-09-13|accessdate=2006-09-13|language=Swedish]

United States

In 2004 the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren held prayer meetings and took out newspaper ads supporting the re-election of George W. Bush as President of the United States. A committee, called the Thanksgiving 2004 Committee, formed by Brethren in Florida raised $530,000 for the ads supporting the re-election of Bush and of United States Senator Mel Martinez of Florida. $377,262 of this amount came from a single donor, Bruce K Hazell of London, England. [cite news
last=Morgan
first=Lucy
date=2005-01-18
title=Veiled sect hails Bush, Martinez
work=St Petersburg Times
publisher=St Petersburg Times
url=http://www.sptimes.com/2005/01/18/State/Veiled_sect_hails_Bus.shtml
accessdate=2007-08-23
] The committee raised none of the money in Florida, according to a report filed with the Federal Elections Commission. A White House spokesman later described the group as "shadowy".

Documentaries

A number of documentaries have been made about the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren. These include "Anno Domini - Doctrine that Divides" - A BBC television programme (no. LRP1383E) first broadcast September 26, 1976 and "Inside New Zealand: Leaving the Exclusive Brethren" aired in New Zealand on TV3 Thursday, August 18th 2005. [PDFlink
[http://peebs.net/Library/PDF/TV3-Overview-08182005.pdf "Inside New Zealand: Leaving the Exclusive Brethren" documentary summary]
20 KiB
]

The "Inside New Zealand: Leaving the Exclusive Brethren" documentary followed the experiences of five people who had left the Brethren. Shortly after its airing, Michael Powell submitted a complaint to the television station (TV3) stating that "the programme had breached the privacy of members of the Brethren, and was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair." Upon review of the issues, the New Zealand 'Broadcasting Standards Authority' rejected the complaint on the 22nd February 2006. [cite web
work = Decision No: 2005-125
title = Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
publisher = Broadcasting Standards Authority, New Zealand
url=http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/2005/2005-125.htm
accessdate = 2008-02-11
]

History

Raven-Taylor-Hales Universal Leadership

The evolution of the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren has been marked by a succession of dominant global leaders known to them as the Elect Vessel, Man of God and recently the minister of the Lord in the Recovery. They consider their leadership to be an "unbroken line of divinely accredited universal leadership"cite web
work = The Exclusive Brethren official website
title = Leadership
publisher = The Exclusive Brethren
url=http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/leadership.asp
accessdate = 2007-08-21
] while their critics note the increasingly separatist and extreme doctrine which has been developed under this system. [cite web
work = The Fellowship Journal
title = WATCHMAN NEE REJECTED THE EXLUSIVE WAY
date= March 2006
url = http://www.concernedbrothers.com/History/WNeeRejectedExclusivism2.pdf
accessdate = 2008-05-29
]

Other Brethren groups acknowledge no earthly leader, remembering Christ's teaching: "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren," in The Gospel of Matthew, .

The first teacher recognised by Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren as 'universal leader' was John Nelson Darby(1800-82), whose teaching is regarded highly by many Christians including other groups of Brethren today. The next recognised leader is J B Stoney(1814-97), however it was under the leadership and mystical teaching of F E Raven(1837-1903) that the movement began to fragment and show signs of moving away from earlier practice and mainstream Christian teaching. C A Coates(1862-1945) was succeeded by James Taylor Sr(1870-1953). Until this period, none of the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren ever presumed to be global leaders, nor would they tolerate anyone assuming any official position. However, James Taylor Sr introduced teaching that 'ministry' from the leadership has equal weight with the Bible. His 'Sonship of Christ' was considered heretical by many outside their fellowship, leading to a further movement away from mainstream Christianity.

At the Central Hall conference in 1959, a decisive confrontation took place between Gerald R Cowell(1898-1963) of Hornchurch and James Taylor Jr (1899-1970) of New York. The latter proposed that more radical, immediate separation from 'the world' was necessary while the former took a more moderate line. Those who later became the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren sided with James Taylor Jr and excommunicated Mr Cowell less than a year after the Conference, judging him 'unfit for Christian fellowship'. James Taylor Jr then went on to introduce a raft of new directives including a ban on any member eating or drinking with anyone outside their immediate circle of assembly fellowship.

A considerable number of individuals and assemblies left the Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren during the ministries of James Taylor Sr and James Taylor Jr, chiefly as a reaction to the increasingly restrictive directives of the latter. Some of these leavers joined with other groups of Brethren (including others who left after 1970) or other local churches.

Aberdeen incident of 1970

In 1970 James Taylor Jr, apparently under the influence of alcohol, exhibited increasingly erratic behaviour which came to a head in meetings at Aberdeen in Scotland, where he used strong language, including calling other members "bums", "bastards", and the like. Following one meeting, James Taylor Jr was witnessed engaging in what appeared to be immoral conduct with a married woman. James Taylor Jr immediately rejected both accusations as lies and the incident definitively divided the Brethren membership worldwide. Very few based near the scene of the events stayed in fellowship with James Taylor Jr (including just two families in Aberdeen) while others, especially those overseas, believed that James Taylor Jr to be a "pure man" and that this incident was used by God to expose his enemies. James Taylor Jr died shortly afterwards the same year, generally considered to be through advanced alcoholism. [cite web |title=The Aberdeen Incident |url=http://peebs.net/Aberdeen_Incident |accessdate=2008-03-01 ]

Following this incident, and the associated division, those who separated from James Taylor Jr continue to hold the doctrine and teaching of Darby-Raven-Taylor(Sr) and gradually "rolled back" the directives that had been introduced during the 1960s and James Taylor Jr's leadership. This fellowship further fragmented in 1972, and the party which broke away has since further sub-divided.

Developments since 1970

A new leader named James H Symington was a pig farmer in Neche, North Dakota. Symington died in 1987 and shortly after, the leadership passed to Australian businessman John S Hales. In 2002, John S Hales died, and his son Bruce David Hales, another Australian businessman, succeeded to the leadership. For the second time in Raven-Taylor-Hales history the position of universal leader was transferred to a son from his father.

Under Bruce Hales's leadership, meetings take place once a day from Monday to Saturday, and four or five times on Sunday. Sunday meetings include the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion at 6am Sunday), a prayer meeting, scripture readings, and other preachings. The church encourages participation by all adult males, while women ('sisters') may only 'give out' (choose and announce) hymns and apart from singing are otherwise silent in church meetings, as required by 1 Corinthians .Fact|date=October 2007

References

Bibliography

* Nicky Hager: "": Nelson: Craig Potton Publishing: 2006: ISBN 1-877333-62-X
* Roger Shuff: "Searching for the True Church: Brethren and Evangelicals in Mid-Twentieth-Century England": Paternoster Press: 2005: ISBN 1842272543
* Ngaire Thomas: [http://www.behind-closed-doors.org/ "Behind Closed Doors"] : Random House New Zealand Ltd: 2005: ISBN 9781869417307

External links

* [http://www.theexclusivebrethren.com/ The Exclusive Brethren Christian Fellowship] - The official (Raven-Taylor-Hales) Exclusive Brethren home page.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/exclusivebrethren_1.shtml The Exclusive Brethren] - BBC fact sheet from Religion & Ethics - Christianity category.
* [http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1748089.htm Further information] "Four Corners" Background information on Exclusive Brethren.
* [http://www.peebs.net/ Peebs.Net] - a website for current and ex-Exclusive Brethren
* August 15, 2006. See pages 49 to 79 (.pdf file pages 63 to 93)
* [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200609/s1747343.htm Greens senator calls for religious group to come clean] ABC News Online, September 24, 2006
* [http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/believers-a-world-apart/2006/09/22/1158431900745.html Believers a world apart] Michael Bachelard, The Age, September 26, 2006. Emotive article regarding ex-Brethren experiences.
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s1624361.htm Elusive Exclusive Brethren] ABC Radio National - Background Briefing program broadcast 30th April 2006 - includes samples of political leaflets published by Exclusive Brethren in Australia and New Zealand
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2007/1886036.htm ABC "Late Night Live" interview with Nicky Hager]
* [http://blacktowngreens.org/?page_id=6 Information on businesses owned by the Raven-Taylor-Hales branch in Australia]
* [http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2007/s2057172.htm Brethren Express] ABC TV "Four Corners" program on the use of untaxed gifts to fund political advertising in Australia, New Zealand and the United States (broadcast October 2007).

ites critical of the Exclusive Brethren

* [http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=3&id=15&Itemid=8 Cult Help and Information]
* [http://www.reachouttrust.org/articles/othergrp/exbreth.htm About Exclusive Brethren]
* [http://www.unbelief.org/articles/brethren.html About the Exclusive Brethren in Australia]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Raven-Brüder — Die Raven Brüder (auch Raven’sche Brüder, Plymouth Brüder Nr. 4, international meist Exclusive Brethren) sind eine – offiziell namenlose – freikirchliche Gemeinschaft, die 1890 durch eine Trennung innerhalb des „exklusiven“ Teils der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Exclusive Brethren — The Exclusive Brethren are a subset of the Christian evangelical movement generally described as the Plymouth Brethren. They are distinguished from the Open Brethren from whom they separated in 1848.[1] Sometimes broadly referred to as the… …   Wikipedia

  • Plymouth Brethren — The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s.[1][2] Although the group is notable for not taking any official church name to itself, and not having an… …   Wikipedia

  • James Taylor, Jr. (Exclusive Brethren) — James Taylor, Jr. (1899 1970), was the religious leader of the Exclusive Brethren. He has become notorious in Brethren circles because of the Aberdeen Incident. FamilyTaylor was the son of Irish linen merchant James Taylor Sr, (1870 ndash;1953),… …   Wikipedia

  • Frederick Edward Raven — (* 9. September 1837 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England; † 16. August 1903 in Greenwich, London, England) war ein englischer Prediger und Bibelausleger der Brüderbewegung. Leben Raven war der Sohn eines Anwaltsangestellten. Während seiner Kindheit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Christian politics in New Zealand — This article discusses Christian politics in New Zealand, particularly socially conservative and evangelical Christian politics. Although slightly over half of New Zealand s population belong, at least nominally, to Christian denominations,[1]… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.