BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2004-11 > 1100894685
From: James Shuman <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] COB and OGBB
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 12:04:45 -0800
Just a bit more clarification, if I may:
Beginning about 1840, the German Baptist Church began to be more
influenced by the larger community around them. Gradually, minor
requests for change and innovation were approved by Annual Meeting,
and greater deviations from "the old ways" were tolerated in the
The requests for such "improvements" came from those who gradually
became called the "Progressives." Opposing them were those who were
labeled "Conservatives," which, during most of the period until after
1860, included all those who preferred to retain the old established
Thus, both the "old order" and "conservative" groups of 1881 had
originally been "in the same camp" of desiring to maintain the status
quo. It was only during the 1860s and 1870s that the two groups
became increasingly divergent, and thus the term "old order" was
applied to the MOST conservative group.
Writings preserved by the Old German Baptist Brethren indicate the
growing disappointment they felt with leaders in the conservative
group, who were unwilling to repudiate the progressive group. It is
also clear that in the early years, there was no intention of
separation on the part of any of the groups.
The "Brethren's Reasons" [an OGBB treatise attempting to explain why
they chose to withdraw from the main body], is full of specific
instances in which the conservative leaders were conciliatory to the
progressives, when the old order group felt the main body should have
instead been conciliatory to the old order.
Of course, we can look at it now as an attempt to preserve the
entirety of the denomination. Certainly, that approach would be
called and attempt at "conservation" -- thus, "the conservatives."
>Thanks, James, for the names of the three points of view.
>Unfortunately, I still don't understand why the word "conservative"
>would be used to describe the point of view of the church which
>became the Church of the Brethren. Politically, the OGBB would seem
>to be conservative relative to the COB. When and where did the name
>"conservative" originate to describe the branch that became COB.
>What was not conservative about the OGBB compared to the
>"conservatives"? Am I making too much out of the semantics that
>were used at the time?
>----- Original Message ----- From: "James Shuman" <>
>Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2004 8:33 PM
>Subject: Re: [BRE] COB and OGBB
>>During the period from approximately 1860 to 1880, there were three
>>points of view regarding lifestyle and mode of practice among the
>>German Baptist: Progressive, Conservative, and Old Order. Thus, the
>>"conservatives" became today's Church of the Brethren. Each point
>>of view had its defenders among well-known and well-respected
>>elders in the church.