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.