Someone, either Billy Graham or John MacArthur (can’t remember which) said that “we’ve all milked from the Plymouth Brethren Cow”. Too often people raise the banner of the Plymouth Brethren as a byword to be hissed at because of the damage that has been or is being done (ie: Aleister Crowly, Brian Mclaren, pop-Left-Behindism, etc.). Anyway, I wanted to underline the rich culture found in the Brethren Movement and the way it has benefited the corporate Body of Christ to try to regain some balance. The Brethren Movement was sort of like the Emergents, it wasn’t defined by any denomination and it spread from the ground up. But in stark contrast, the Plymouth Brethren was a Back to the Gospel movement focused on the truth of the Gospel by studying the Bible, adherence to the Lord’s Supper, and preaching the Word to as many as possible. The Movement in English speaking countries has greatly diminished although places like India have seen tremendous growth.
What I’ll do for these features is quote Wikipedia or something similar and link to some good reading, either about them or by them..
Today’s feature: F.F.Bruce. Yeah, He was one of us.
Frederick Fyvie Bruce (12 October 1910 — 11 September 1990) was a Bible scholar, and one of the founders of the modern evangelical understanding of the Bible. His work New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? is considered a classic in the discipline of Christian apologetics.
He was born in Elgin, Moray in Scotland and was educated at the University of Aberdeen, Cambridge University and the University of Vienna. After teaching Greek for several years first at the University of Edinburgh and then at the University of Leeds he became head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield in 1947. In 1959 he moved to the University of Manchester where he became professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis. In his career he wrote some thirty-three books and served as editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. He retired from teaching in 1978.
Bruce was a distinguished scholar on the life and ministry of Paul the Apostle, and wrote several studies the best known of which is Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. He also wrote commentaries on several biblical books including Romans, Acts of the Apostles, 1 & 2 Corinthians, The Gospel and Epistles of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Bruce was a dedicated member of the Open Plymouth Brethren. However he did not affirm the dispensationalism and pretribulationism usually associated with that movement.
Most of his works were scholarly, but he also penned several mainstream works on the Bible that were quite popular. He viewed the New Testament as historically reliable and that the truth claims of Christianity hinged on its being so. To Bruce this did not mean that the Bible was always precise, and this lack of precision could lead to considerable confusion. However, he believed that the passages that were still open to debate were ones that had no substantial bearing on Christian theology and thinking.
He was honoured with two scholarly works by his colleagues and former students, one to mark his sixtieth and the other to mark his seventieth birthday. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and served as President of the Society for Old Testament Study, and also as President of the Society for New Testament Study. He is one of a handful of scholars thus recognised by his peers in both fields.
Recommended Reading. Gospel of John. Men and Movements of the Primitive Church. New Testament History. In Retrospect.