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Arminian Bible Christians

The BC founder, William *O\'Bryan, was a charismatic but flawed leader. After membership had dropped for two years in succession, he seceded at the Conference of 1829 with a small group of supporters whom he called 'Arminian Bible Christians' (reviving a term originally used by O'Bryan himself, but discarded by 1819). At least three ministers seceded with him, as well as possibly some individual societies and one or two Cornish circuits, but the actual loss was greater - as many as 1,100 members in Cornwall. Documentary evidence for the denomination comprises six preaching plans for 'Tiverton and Kingsbrompton Circuit and 'Tiverton and Chard Missions' and nine class tickets, 1830-1834. Some Meeting House licences for the period have been identified in Devon. In 1835 a deputation to the BC Conference sought a reconciliation and the Minutes refer to their societies, 700 members and heavy debts. The Conference agreed to accept these members and seven unmarried preachers, including one woman. At the following Conference it was reported that 534 members had returned.

Sources

  • F.W. Bourne, The Bible Christians (1905) pp.190-94
  • Roger F.S. Thorne in WHS Proceedings, 54 pp.125-134
  • David Shorney, 'Some Further Thoughts on the Secessionist Bible Christians', in WHS Proceedings, 54 pp.252-54
  • Colin C. Short, 'The 1829 Minutes of the Arminian Bible Christians' in WHS Proceedings, 57 pp.32-40

Entry written by: RFST
Category: Denomination

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