Saturday, May 27, 2006

J.N. Darby: Does the Word of God Authorise the Naming Pastors and Presidents?

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"Those who cling so fondly to the practise of making and settling churches, quote the Epistles of Timothy and Titus, with most undoubting confidence, as serving for the guidance to the churches in all ages; whilst they were really never addressed to any church whatever. It may be observed that the quotations from God's word on matters most bearing on those who are engaged in settling churches, such as the choosing of elders, deacons, etc., must be derived from these epistles alone- and most remarkable it is, that those companions of the apostle who posessed his confidence, were left in the churches, or else sent to them when already existing, in order to select such elders, when the apostle had not done it- a clear proof that the apostle could not confer upon the churches the power of choosing their elders, even when churches he had formed were still in existence; and notwithstanding, we hear all this adduced as instructions for the churches in after times. Official nomination is an assumption of apostolic authority, and contrary to the order and principles on which it took place then. Nor has this left the saints without resource when God graciously works. Pastors, and doctors (teachers- D.F.), and evangelists are gifts which have their places in the unity of the body, and have their just exercise wherever God has graciously given them; and in 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16, I find the Holy Ghost directing submission to all who in devotedness of heart have given themselves to true labour in the Lord. So in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and Hebrews 13:17, teach the same godly substance to those who labour, and thus take the lead in the work of the Lord."

Taken from On the Formation of Churches in Collected Writings, vol.1, p.148-149

Monday, May 22, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Lord's Purpose in Gathering the Saints on Earth

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"It is the desire of our hearts, and as we believe God's will under this dispensation, that all the children of God should be gathered together as such, and, consequently, as not of the world. The Lord hath given Himself 'not for that (the Jewish) nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad.' This gathering together in one was then the immediate object of Christ's death. The salvation of the elect was as certain before the His advent, though accomplished by it, as afterwards. The Jewish dispensation which preceded His coming into the world had for its object, not to gather the church upon earth, but to exhibit the government of God by means of an elect nation. At this time the Lord's purpose is to gather as well as to save, to realise unity, not merely in the heavens, where the purposes of God shall surely be accomplished, but here upon earth, by one Spirit sent down from heaven. By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body. This is undeniably the truth concerning the church as it is set before us in the word. Men may go about proving that hypocrites and evil men had crept into the church, but there is no resisting the inference that there was a church into which they had crept. The gathering of all the children of God in one body is plainly according to the mind of God in the word."

Taken from On the Formation of Churches in Collected Writings vol.1

Thursday, May 18, 2006

J.N. Darby on Popery in Prophecy

This passage is taken from Darby's review of 'Thoughts on the Apocalypse', by B.W. Newton. Darby rejected Newton's position that Babylon was a commercial system based in the middle east, in favour of the more traditional view that Babylon represented Roman Catholicism.

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"Nor do I the least see the control of the religious by the civil power, in the Roman earth: out of it I do most decidedly, but just the contrary within it. Popery is re-assuming its control of the civil power, though in a gentler, more subtlr way as yet; while Protestantism is more completely subject to it than ever, viewed as national churches. What is the fact? In England, Protestantism completely subjected, and Popery rising into influence and power; in Sardinia, a monastery having received the daughter of a foreign ambassador, the king avowed his inability to deliver her, because of the independence of the church, and Holland accepted the excuse; in Prussia the Protestants modelled by the king as his army; in Scotland the same thing as to national Protestants; Protestant bishopricks struck off in Ireland; the Pope's nuncio having precedence of all ambassadors of the courts of Europe; Spain, which had thrown off the control of the Pope, subjected to it again, and no other religion allowed in the country; in a word, the entire prostration of Protestantism under the civil authority, and the entire independence and growing influence of Popery- these are the evident facts of the day. Where the Greek Church exists in Russia, the same subjection exists, but the emperor will have nothing else.

And I repeat, in answer to page 242, that, as the facts are historically mis-stated, so Scripture does not note these things as characterising Babylon in the time of the end. To faith, the mystery of Babylon (great and blinding as the evil influence of commerce may be, which I fully believe)- to faith, I say, the character of Babylon is, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth; and no student of Scripture is ignorant what abominations mean. The statement of the writer is wholly contrary to the positive express statement of Scripture. No one denies the commercial system exists, nor its widespread influence; but it is not that by which God characterises Babylon, though it may be that by which the devil blinds man to her character; a blindness which I believe the author's statements help on in this respect."

"Protestantism, save so far as it approaches Popery, is incompetent to act on and lead the masses, and therefore is comparatively useless to goverments. It values truth too much, and that is of no use to govern any with, save those who love it. Popery, therefore, is what governments cultivate. And by encouraging commerce and filling people with commercial prosperity, priciple becomes immaterial, and latitudinarianism leaves the field to Popish influences and Popish activity. Christians must be a separate people. The principle of dissent, which chimes in with the democratic principle, does not with the government, and will only have public power from a mixture of religious truth with human will, which can never go very far in the long run.

Hence Popery is in every way in the ascendant while the government can hold the ascendant. But its sucess will ruin it, and I doubt no that popular unity which commercial entrprise will produce, and by which national feeling is necessarilly destroyed, will help on what democracy will ultimately demand, and is indeed demanding where ripended, and which political circumstances will render necessary- the establishment of a centre of union, and this will be found in the little horn. The consequence of this will be a subversion of all the peaceable system, and military energies and conflicts, which God will terminate by judgment. All this future every one will judge of according to the light given to him. As to the present facts to which I have referred, nothing is wanting but acqaintance with what is going on to recognise the truth of what I have said. That commerce plays a great role in this, I fully believe: men's hearts being occupied with it, that the actors on Satan's part may have leisure to do their work behind it, even more than by it. But whatever appears to man's eye and fills its horizon, to faith the name on Babylon's forehead is 'Mother of abominations'; on the beast's, 'blasphemy'. Look at Ireland, and you will see plainly what is doing."

"When the author says (page 259), 'fornication, deliciousness, etc, as much attach to it under the lordship of Antichrist,' he only exposes the absurdity of the whole system. It is with her the kigns of the earth have committed fornication. Do they continue to do so with herself after they have made her desolate, and burnt her with fire? The kings of the earth have done this. It is not the wickedness which was committed in the city, but with it. It is vain to slip out of this by saying 'attach to it.' But the ten horns have burnt with fire her with whom the kings of the earth did so. In page 260 the author seeks to divert the attention from Popery (although it be to be resisted) to this commercial system as the grand thing. This is the grand evil of all his theory. It directly diverts the attention from that by which Satan is morally working. I recognise the progress of commerce, its influence, is latitudinarianism, the leading part it is taking in the world's history. But in Satan's history it is otherwise, save as an instrument. His weapons are more deadly, more his own (htough he may use men's lusts to make them careless about them); but this statement is just ministering to his end. Indeed, from what I have said on chapter 13 as to Antichrist, it is plain all this prosperity and gladness do not exist in his time. It is a mere drama of the author, while the true Satanic character of evil is again overlooked in the second two-horned beast."

Taken from Examination of the Statements made in the 'Thoughts on the Apocalypse' in Collected Writings vol.8, p.137-248

Monday, May 15, 2006

J.N. Darby on a Sad Story

John Nelson Darby wrote a paper entitled Reflections on Mixed Marriages. It was prompted by the story of a Christian girl who had accepted an offer of marriage from a worldly man. She owned that the engagement was wrong but persisted in it. She became ill with a violent fever and died before the wedding. Darby took this to be the chastening of the Lord on a wayward child.

J.N. Darby wrote:

"There is another remark which the history of this young person leads me to make. The first start of a converted soul, however sincere it may be, produces anything but the judgment of self and the flesh, which, by unveiling to us our weakness, causes us to lay our burden at the feet of Jesus. We then seek for strength only in Him and we confide in Him alone. The confidence which a soul that knows and distrusts itself has in Jesus what gives it a lasting and solid peace, when it has understood, not only as a doctrine, but by the acceptance of the heart, that He alone is our righteousness. But we only arrive at this when we have been in the presence of God and have there made the discovery that we are only sin, that Christ is perfect righteousness, and God perfect love. From that time we distrust ourselves, we fight against ourselves, and the flesh and the enemy have no longer the same power to deceive us.

I do not think that the young person of whom these pages speak had been stripped of self. There are many Christians in this condition, and although we may all be exposed to the same dangers, yet such have more particularly to dread the wiles of the enemy, because they have not learnt how far the flesh deceives us, and do not know with how terrible a traitor we have to do. When we have come to a knowledge of this, although there may be a lack of watchfulness, yet Christ has a larger place in the heart, and there is more calm, and less of self.

Observe how deceitful the heart is, and how it looses all self-command when it departs from God. That poor young girl(when she was getting farther and farther into the slough, on the borders of which she had been trifling, to use her own expressions) asked her mother's friend to do all she could to remove every obstacle; and she, who was a woman of some piety, was surprised that A. should be disposed to unite herself with a worldly man.

How wily and deceitful is our heart! What slaves does an idol make of us. For although we may endeavour to escape the danger, yet we take means to secure the accomplishment of the thing that we desire, even while we flee from it. What a terrible thing it is to get away from God! This young person before she was entangled through this affection, would have shrunk with horror from the idea of such an action. When the heart has abandoned God, it dreads man even more than God. The God who loved A., and who was really beloved by her, must needs take her away from this world where she had not the courage to return to the right path. God took her to Himself. She died in peace, and through pure grace she triumphed. The Christian, whilst enjoying peace in his last moments, should always feel that it is God whose hand is there. What a solemn lesson for those who wish to depart from God and from His holy word, in order to satisfy an inclination which it would have been easy to overcome at first, but which, when cherished in the heart becomes tyrannical and fatal! May God grant to the reader of these lines, and to all His children, to seek His presence day by day."

Taken from Reflections on Mixed Marriages in Collected Writings, vol.16

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary. The IBEX Scribe presents the award for the first time.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Apostleship of Paul

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"The dispensation was born out of due time; it must prove itself by its energy from on high; so it had proved both in preaching Christ and teaching the church. But now Barnabas and Paul were to be sent out on a definite mission, and of course, they had derived authority now. Whence? Everything was still made to depend on the energy and calling of God. 'As certain prophets and teachers were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.' Did the apostle derive his authority, his apostolic authority, from his ordination? That would be a strange assertion; and he says he had it neither of nor by man. If this had been his first going forth to preach, it would have been almost impossible to have hindered the conclusion that it had its source in this, and the apostolate would merely have been from the church at Antioch.

Thereefore the Lord, to maintain the character of the dispensation, makes the apostle not confer with flesh and blood, but immediately preach on his calling, and afterwards separates him merely to the particular work to which he was called, thus securing its underivative character, and that by the direct action of the Spirit. Its value was the energy of the Spirit of God, because of the glory to be revealed, and the heavenly character of the dispensation which had its place in the glory, not here at all, and so ordered of God; otherwise apostolic authority is derived from laymen (in modern theory, self-ordained men), and the apostle's assertion of his apostolate falsified. But it was not; it was the Holy Ghost's separation of him to Himself for the work to which the Lord had called him, not the conferring a gift, as if his apostolate depended on that mission; for this the apostle denies at large in the Epistle to the Galatians, and passes by this going forth from Antioch entirely in the account of his mission which he gives to them, and it was not the derivation of authority; for this he is equally earnest to deny.

In Paul, then, we have the founding of the service of this dispensation, resting on the fully recognised apostleship, but caused, in the way it is founded, to be entirely of a heavenly character, springing from the Lord known then in the glory, having its working and energy in the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and breaking in upon the derivative character of the apostolate in the Jews by every careful arrangement of God; and the laying on of hands made little of as regards the apostolate, and coming not from supeirior dervative authority, but entirely collaterally, that every link of this sort should be broken; and, we may add, failing as to its earthly position, the moment the energy of the Spirit failed, the moment the unstained godliness which kept out evil, and left the operations of the guven Spirit free, failed.Because the witness of the glory among the Gentiles was not to take the place of the glory, any more than the witness of the resurrection among the Jews was to take the place of resurrection-glory. And it was only a witness, and therefore shewn only to the apostles and teachers among the Jews, and Paul for the Gentiles, and having been witnessed to, fails as regards holding any place here, though effectual by the Spirit to them that believe, that abounding in hope through it, they might have an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, when He shall be manifested as the risen and glorified One, and sorrow and trial pass away. And through the filling up, as it were, was in the ascended glory, of which Paul was the special witness (and therefore he laboured more abundantly than they all, as the full testimony was to be given to the world in him, the continuous Gentile dispensation), yet though he sustained it by the energy of the Spirit during his life, he knew well that it would end then, that is, as thus corporately held together: 'I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.'"

Taken from The Character of Office in the Present Dispensation in Collected Writings vol.1, p.103-105

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

My award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is the norm.

J.N. Darby on Revelation 18:4

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"Verse 4 is a cry to the people of the Lord to come out, etc. The mixture of Judaism and Christianity will be such as never was known before: Judaism, which is really heathenism, as in Galatians 4, where Paul calls observing days and years a turning back to the beggarly elements- being circumcised to keep the law, etc. It is the religion of the flesh. Up to the cross of Christ God was dealing with all this; but when Judaism is grafted on Christianity, it is hateful to Him. What are prayed to as Saint Peter and Saint Paul are demons: as they used to introduce false gods, so now they introduce false mediators. Puseyism is heathenism. The shapes of evil, counterfeiting God, are Judaism, demonism, and heathenism. Infidel latitudinarianism is the character of evil in England, different from what it is in India. Popery slurs over sin; no matter how they sin, an indulgence will atone for it. It is a shame for His people to be there, but He still remembers them (verse 4). People who are in the ark cannot be touched, but an apostate protection He will judge thoroughly."

Taken from Fragmentary Thoughts on Revelation in Collected Writings vol.34, p.223-224

Monday, May 01, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Heavenly Character of the Church

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"But there is another state of things far worse than this, when Babylon has carried the body of the people away, that is, the reluctance of the residue to stay in dependence of faith, and their determination to go down into Egypt for help, where judgment would surely overtake them. Such is the continual testimony of the human heart; such help is the church therefore continually seeking. But the church is not of this world, even as Christ is not of this world. And how is Christ not of this world? Surely in spirit and in character He is not of it, as it is an evil world, unholy, opposite to God. When His spotless excellency passed through, it was unscathed, though passing trough every scene that wearies and bows down our frail and feeble hearts. But it was with other thoughts also that Jesus was not of this world, and so said He of His disciples. He was not of it, but of heaven- the Lord from heaven; and we are not of it, but from thence, associated with Him who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and who is now separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens, now in manifested association (that is, to faith, as the object of it there), in the accomplishment of what forms the dispensation in the heavens. The founding of the dispensation upon the accomplishment of the exaltation of its Head is of the greatest importance, because it is the ground of ascertained rigteousness and its extent,and the seal and character of the whole dispensation. It belongs as being rejected in its Head from the world, to the heavenlies. But it is not merely as the result of the treatment of the Lord and His being glorified, that the dispensation had such a character, and held such a place. It was the secret of God hidden from ages and generations, and formed an extraordinary break in the dispensations, to the rejection, for their unbelief , of the proper earthly people of God; a forming out of the earth, but not for it, a body of Christ- a heavenly people associated with Him in glory in which He should be and should reign, when the full time was come, over the earth, in those times of restitution which should come from the presence of the Lord; a system forming no part of the earthly system, though carried on through the death of Christ in the forming of its members in it, but that, when all things are gathered together in one in Christ, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, these should be associates of His glory, in whom it and the riches of His grace should be shewn, given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, according to the gift of the Father; a purpose formed for Christ's especial and personal glory before the worlds, and kept secret till the time of His sending down the Spirit after the actual glory was accomplished, after He had entered, in risen manhood, into the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.

The church has sought to settle itself here; but it has no place on the earth. It may shew forth heavenly glory here according to that given to it; but it has no place here, but in glory with Christ in heavenly places at His appearing. We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

The subject, as to the special distinctness of the dispensation, has been treated of elsewhere, and therefore I do not enter into it at large here. I believe it to ne the most important point for the church to consider now. Looked at as an earthly dispensation, it merely fills up, in detailed exercise of grace, the gap in the regular earthly order of God's counsels, made by the rejection of the Jews on the covenant of legal prescribed righteousness, in the refusal of the Messiah, till their reception again under the New Covenant in the way of grace on their repentance; but through making a most instructive parenthesis, it forms no part of the regular order of God's earthly plans, but is merely an interruption of them to give fuller character and meaning to them. As to the thing introduced, we are called to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the place or the time of His glory; our calling therefore is not here at all; but when Christ who is our life shall appear, we also shall be in glory. Ministration upon earth is merely to this purpose. The moment there is a minding of eartly things, there is enmity to the cross of Christ; for 'our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.' The Jewish system was a system of derived earthly authority; and while the church was simply among them, it never lost its earthly character entirely; it was open at any time for the return of the Lord, and was formed upon the order of derivative authority from Him when He had not yet ascended into glory, though it was accomplished by the Spirit, which enabled them to testify to His ascended glory. But they were Jews; and they maintained the character of the earthly system so far as it was associated with the resurrection of Christ was the 'sure mercies of David.'"

Taken from The Character of Office in the Present Dispensation in Collected Writings vol.1, p.93-95

J.N. Darby on Christian Liberty to Preach

by J.N. Darby

"For the rest, they were all to speak, that all might learn and all be comforted. Not all to speak every day, but all as God led them, according to the order there laid down, and as God was pleased to give them the ability for the edifying of the church. I apply all this simply and exclusively to the question of Christians in general, having God's Spirit, using their respective gifts; and I assert that there was no such principle recognised as that they should not, but the contrary.

It may and will be said by many, that these were times of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. But the Spirit of God does not justify breaking through His own order by systematic rules; it would be most mischevious to say that He did. But the case, let it be observed, was not one of the prerogative of the spiritual gifts, but of order; for women had spiritual gifts, as we read elsewhere, and directions are given for their exercise; but they were not to use them in the church, because it was out of order- not comely. At the same time there was no hint that any or all of the men were not, but the contrary, because it was not out of order. Aptness to teach may be a very important qualification for a bishop, but it cannot be said, from scripture, to be disorderly for any member of the body to speak in the church, if God had given him ability. Besides, though these extraordinary gifts may have ceased, I by no means admit that the ordinary gifts of believers, for the edification of the church, have ceased. On the contrary, I believe they are the instruments, the only real instruments of edification; nor do I see why, on principle, they should not be exercised in the church, or why the church has not a title to the edification derived from them. If the presence of the indwelling Spirit be in the church, it has that which renders it substantially competent to its own edification, and to worship God 'in spirit and in truth.' If it be not there, nothing else can be recognised, and it is a church no longer; fo no makeshift is warranted by Scripture in default of the original constitutive character and endowments of a dispensation.

But in thus upholding the common title of the saints, it may be supposed by some that the arguments will be at once met by referring to the orderly way in which Christ originally gave in His church 'some apostles; and some prophets; and some pastors and teachers,' etc. Now, unless one man centres all these offices in one person, by virtue of ordination, the objection will not apply, but on the contrary, brings its own refutation. For we read, some had one service, some another- the head, Christ, 'from the whole body, fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.' We read also that the members are set in the body, one the eye, the other the foot, the other the ear, that there 'might be no schism in the body.'

And it is a thought which might well commend itself to our minds, that if we have indeed lost many and ornamental members, it is no reason why we should summarily cut off the rest- the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge, and the like, of which there is assuredly some measure yet remaining in the church. But if the attempt should be made to close the enquiry, by silencing all discussion with the startling assertion that it is useless, for the Spirit of God is utterly and altogether gone out of the Church; it at once brings on the question, If so, what are we, and where are we? The church of God without the Spirit? Verily, if He be not there, all union between Christ and His members is cut off, and the promise, 'I am with you always, even unto the end of the world' is made of none effect. But the word of God shall stand. 'The world indeed cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him,' but let the disciples of Jesus know that He is with them; and that 'wheresoever two or three are gathered together in his name,' He is there in their midst, His Spirit is with them for instruction and blessing. Is this correct?"

Taken from Chrsitian Liberty to Preach and Teach the Lord Jesus Christ in Collected Writings vol.1, p.70-72

A Simple Explanation of who the Exclusive Brethren are

The Exclusive Brethren are the more rigid wing of the Plymouth Brethren movement, which emphasises the unity of all Christians and the the role of the Holy Spirit in leading worship (that is not to say that the other wing, the Open Brethren are not sometimes just as rigid).

The split between the Open Brethren and the Exclusive Brethren took place in 1849. J.N. Darby, the most prominent man in the early Brethren and the founder of the Dispensational system, was concerned that B.W. Newton was behaving in an authoritarian manner in the Plymouth assembly of Brethren. After a period of tension, he separated from fellowship with that assembly. It was later discovered that Newton was teaching suspect things about the person of Christ. He had taught that Christ took on the guilt of both Adam and Israel as a result of the Incarnation.

Several members of the Plymouth assembly were received into fellowship at the Bristol assembly. This assembly was under the eldership of George Muller, the famous founder of Bristol orphanage. When Darby challenged this, the elders at Bristol issued a statement known as the Letter of the Ten. This explained the principles on which they had judged the reception of those individuals from Plymouth. It denied the need to judge the teaching of the Plymouth assembly. Darby encouraged other assemblies to condemn this position. Muller declared in response that nobody who held Newton's errors would be accepted into fellowship. However, the majority of assemblies agreed with Darby that this was not good enougth, because there was no withdrawal of the principles of the 'Letter of the Ten' or any admission that the original judgment had been wrong.

Those assemblies that sided with Darby became known as Exclusive Brethren, while those who sided with Muller became known as Open Brethren.

The schism is made a little complicated by Muller's claim that he was visited by Darby after he condemned Newton's errors. Darby allegedly offered reconciliation to Muller. However, Muller claimed that he lost his temper and said that Darby had 'behaved very wickedly' and that he had no further time to spend dealing with the issue. Darby allegedly left in anger. While Darby does not appear to have denied that he met Muller on this occasion (as some Exclusive historians claim), he denied that this conversation took place as reported by Muller.

The Exclusive Brethren differ from the Open Brethren in that they reject the notion of assemblies being independent and uphold the necessity of assemblies acting in unity. They also reject the appointment of elders today. They have varying postions on the reception of Christians to the Lord's Supper. In theory, at least they accept that all Christians have the right to participate in the Lord's Supper, but they will not accept Open Brethren, as they consider them to be upholding evil because of the events of 1849.

There have been many splits in the Exclusive Brethren. Most divisions accept the baptism of infants.

The main party of Exclusives, the Raven/ Taylor group has moved in a remarkable direction. It departed from the teaching of Darby in denying the Eternal Sonship of Christ and adopting the Apollinarain heresy, that Christ did not have a human soul.

The Raven/ Taylor division turned into a cult in the sixties. Its leaders began to wield enormous power over members, enforcing silly rules, such as the bans on pets and facial hair. Those who do not comply are excommunicated and are forbidden any contact with family members who remain in the fellowship.

The Raven/ Taylor Exclusives are very secretive. They do not sell their publications to the public and non-members are not allowed to attend their services without prior appointment. Female members are recognisable by their headscarves and members of both sexes are recognisable by their glum faces and grim expressions. When you get to know them, you find that they do have a sense of humour. They enjoy alcohol.

I work in the office of a company owned by Raven/ Taylor Exclusives. I found the job at the same time that I started researching Darby, which is incredible.

The company is officially against computers, because of the sect's rules, however, they make heavy use of computers through the intermediary of self-employed non-members, just like Jews paying Gentiles to light their fires on the Sabbath.