Directory of Evangelical Churches




Brethren Asemblies known as Darbyites

Assemblées de Frères dites darbystes

The name “Darbyites” is a reference to John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) who greatly influenced the practices and doctrines of these assemblies. It is not used by the assemblies themselves, who prefer the term “brethren”.

Even though it is generally accepted that the first brethren assembly was formed in Dublin in 1827, this was only one example of a wind of revival that was blowing throughout Europe at that time. Small groups of believers started forming, placing the emphasis on three points:

This revival touched Ireland, the south of England, Switzerland, Germany, Italy...

In France, small assemblies were often started in farms: in the Haute-Loire, the Drôme, the Béarn, and the East of France in particular.

These groups received various names in the different regions: brethren in England, “momiers” in Switzerland, Pietists in the area round Montbéliard.

John-Nelson Darby, born in 1800, encountered these assemblies in Ireland and then in England. He became a preacher, travelling a lot, and even translating the Bible into English, French and German.

It was following a disagreement in 1848 that the movement was split in two: open brethren and exclusive brethren (who followed Darby, hence the name “Darbyite”). The exclusive brethren are stricter, especially in relation to those who are able to take part in the communion celebration, and are closer to the original form of brethren assemblies: no preparation for services or for sermons, participation of all brethren.