Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – (Hebrews 13:3)

The Angamali Town Brethren Assembly – Bar Case has been discussed a lot on various grounds. The dispute started when the Govt. of Kerala gave license for a Bar near to the Angamaly Town Brethren Assembly on the basis that the assembly is not a Christian Church. The issue had led to various responses among the Brethren Believers, and under the leadership of some of them, protests are being made as meetings, media reports, journals, online forums and so on. Some of these brethren with a burning heart on this issue, planned to have a representation of the assemblies, called for a meeting with state-wide representation. This was arranged on October 8th, at the Convention ground of Brethren Assembly, Kumbanad. An initial meeting was called on the 25th of September and the Chairman of Steward Association of India, Kerala auxiliary was decided to chair the event. The motivations of these meetings were to decide on the legal representation of the Brethren Assemblies to the Govt of Kerala. We are trying to find the scriptural base of the meetings for representation of Christians known as ‘brethren’ on the basis of this dispute in the northern part of Kerala.

It is a well known fact from the history of the brethren movement that the brethren movement was non denominational and gained the name ‘Brethren’ from those who gazed at them. The Plymouth Brethren are unusual in refusing a denominational name; they do not generally refer to themselves as “Plymouth Brethren,” nor do they regard themselves as a denomination, citing I Corinthians 3:4, where Paul scolds believers for dividing themselves into groups. Thus there is no denominational headquarters, no single standard of affiliation or formal membership. Each local assembly is independent and autonomous, informally linked with other assemblies only by a common heritage and common emphasis on the primacy of the weekly Breaking of Bread service.  They prefer to understand themselves as “gathered unto the name of Jesus Christ alone.” Their preferred term for themselves is “the assemblies,” and members are “saints,” “the brethren,” “believers,” and (perhaps confusingly) just “Christians. The place where they gather is called a Meeting Room. Organizationally, the emphasis is on the fact that “the church” is the called-out assembly of individuals, called out by God to be His people, and not a building.

 [-brethrenpedia]

 The local assembly is a body of believers in a particular locality gathering unto the name of Christ for worship and witness and not for any legal representation; infact nothing against the autonomy of the assembly. God ordained oversight in the assembly should prayerfully ask for the strategy from God. Any Bureaucracy in form of hierarchies, committee, council, association or strategic bodies is against the wholesome design of the God and are nothing but human alternatives. The burning desire of the brethren is to prayer and not for form a legal representation of all Brethren Assemblies.

Need of the Hour – The Biblical Model: The Jewish history points out to a critical point when the Israelites had been defeated by the Babylonian regime Nebuchadnezzar, because of their sinful and extended rebellion to God Almighty, the Lord allowed them to be exiled to Babylonian bondage. Yet, now their appointed time of judgment had passed; it was time for the Lord’s promise to be fulfilled. Indeed, God had assured them as the prophet puts it, “After seventy years…I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10). Daniel the prophet initiated fasting and prayer and Israel had entered a season of divine visitation: men with both integrity and vision were raised up and ailing provisions from above. The display of divine grace had created an atmosphere of awe and excitement among the people of God – He was “causing [them] to return” to Israel! Yet, how He brought them back was just as miraculous: Israel’s God revealed Himself to King Cyrus of Persia, a gentile king, and actually “Appointed [him] to build [the Lord] a house in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:23). In fact, Cyrus encouraged a national offering for Israel’s journey; he restored the treasures taken by Nebuchadnezzar from Israel, and he issued a royal edict, legally authorizing the return of the Jews to Israel.

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; “II Corinthians 4:8, 9

  “And let us not he weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

Psalm 46:1-2a
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me).

Hebrews 13:6
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Do we need a BCCC(I)? Are we following the trends of this world? Are we fighting for a placeholder representation in the ‘Legal Representation’? Are we standing against the rulers that God in HIS sovereign plan has placed?