Plymouth Brethren Christian Church
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (henceforth PBCC), also known as the Exclusive Brethren, is a branch of the wider Brethren movement, a group of evangelical Protestants whose origins can be traced to a series of interrelated groups of Christians who seceded from various mainline Christian denominations in the first half of the nineteenth century.
The Brethren believe in the imminent return of Christ, a form of progressive revelation mediated through the ministry of a succession of spiritual leaders beginning with John Nelson Darby (1800‐1882), and a strict adherence to the principle of ‘separation from evil’.They trace their roots to the work of John Nelson Darby, an itinerant evangelist and Biblical interpreter whose understanding of eschatology and ecclesiology form the basis of much modern dispensationalism and Christian fundamentalism. While the exclusive wing of the wider Brethren movement has been prone to frequent schism, the PBCC holds that Darby has been followed by an unbroken succession of recognised spiritual leaders including Frederick Edward Raven (1837‐1903); James Taylor Senior (1870‐1953); James Taylor Junior (1899‐ 1970); James Harvey Symington (1913‐1987); and John Stephen Hales (1922‐2002). The current recognised leader is Australian accountant and businessman Bruce David Hales (1953‐).While firmly situated within an evangelical Protestant milieu, the PBCC has attracted some negative attention since the late 1950s, when the American‐based leader James Taylor Junior sought to tighten communal boundaries in the wake of what Brethren viewed as an increasingly permissive society. Since that time the Brethren have been subject to frequent bouts of media attention.