This study explores the complex and turbulent relationship between B.W. Newton and J.N. Darby, the two principal leaders of the early Brethren movement. Burnham traces Darby's development of his prophetic system and his biblical literalism which led to his distinctive views on pretribulational, premillennial dispensationalism. Darby's eschatological views went on to have far-reaching effects on evangelicalism. While having much in common with Darby, Newton departed from him on key points.
In 1845 the dispute between the two men intensified, leading to Darby founding a rival assembly in Plymouth. By the end of 1847, following debate over the orthodoxy of his christology, Newton seceded from the Brethren and left Plymouth.
In many ways, Newton and Darby were products of their times, and this study of their relationship provides insight not only into the dynamics of early Brethrenism, but also into the progress of nineteenth-century English and Irish evangelicalism.
Endorsements & Reviews-
'Until recently, the remarkable influence of J. N. Darby and B. W. Newton upon the Western church - and upon evangelical theology in particular - has been curiously overlooked. Jonathan Burnham has gone some way in correcting that omission, and his extensive study of the complex relationship between these two towering figures of the nineteenth century will initiate an important revision in our assessment of modern evangelical history and scholarship, and its impact upon contemporary religious life and culture. This is a most welcome study and one that deserves wide recognition by scholars of modern Christian history and theology.' --Grayson Carter, Associate Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary SW, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
'The changing relationship between Darby and Newton had dramatic repercussions for the Brethren movement which are still continuing. I warmly welcome Jonathan Burnham's book for its judicious and detailed presentation of this controversial topic.' --Tim Grass, Associate Tutor, Church History, Spurgeon's College, London, UK
'This well ordered, cogent and sympathetic exposition will undoubtedly stimulate the long felt need for a full critical biography of Darby, as well as a fresh examination of Newton's life and theology.' --Nigel Pibworth is a Christian writer living in Bedfordshire, UK
'Jonathan Burnham is a meticulous scholar who has undertaken important research in the early years of the Brethren movement. This book is an important contribution to some of the early personalities of the movement and shows how conflicts can rise not only from theological issues but also from a clash of personalities.' --Ralph Waller, Harris Manchester College, Oxford, UK
Jonathan Burnham Grayson Carter
Jonathan D. Burnham is the University Professor of Church Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Senior Pastor of Boca Raton Community Church, Florida. He also serves as the President of BMI, an international training organization whose mission is to train and equip Christian leaders in the third world. He received his BA from Wheaton College and his MA and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford, England.