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December 19, 2012


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John Handel

Paul Flynn says:
"In the interests of avoiding damaging the brains of readers, comments that ceaselessly repeat old arguments will be deleted"
So be careful not to upset him.
It is the season of goodwill so better not post the same thing twice on two of his articles!
Only he can do this as you would know!
Have a good break.
Merry Christmas Jonathan and Mr Flynn.
Trust you have a happy new year.
I look forward to further chats next year.
All the best.


For all those posters on here in need of an education, this is the exclusive brethren we are talking about, not the brethren in general (the website theexclusivebrethren.com redirects to their new, deceptive site).

They may hand out sandwiches to firemen, but they wouldn't sit down to lunch with them, or even eat with family members who have left the group.

Many MPs are being hoodwinked and need to do some research before jumping on the anti-Charity Commission bandwagon.

The EB do not deserve charity status. For more info on this group, see peebs.net.

P.S. If you go to theexclusivebrethren.com and view their "gospel hall" locations (itself a deception as only the Open Brethren have used this terminology in the past), then do some searching and viewing on google maps you'll see some of their buildings (e.g. at GU3 1JR). Not very inviting, are they? (a lot you can't even see, being purposely hidden by hedges, and nearly all have steel bar gates at the front. You'll also notice a lack of clear windows - they'll either be bricked over or blanked out).



You quite rightly quote “Next week millions will remember the wonderful occasion when God sent a Saviour into the world.”
But the Exclusive Brethren won’t. No Christmas tree, no visiting relatives outside the church membership, no celebratory family dinner together, no gifts to celebrate the greatest gift of all – Jesus. Just a normal day, because the EB don’t celebrate Christmas!
Despite the Exclusive Brethren’s best efforts, spin doctors and PR merchants the majority of the Christian Church do not feel threatened by the Charity Commissioners. Why? Because public benefit is so interwoven into the fabric of their organisations they do not have to think twice about it.
But let’s be sure: The Evangelical Alliance met with the Charity Commissioners to be 100% sure this did not affect their members and got the following reassurances and clarification:


1.under the current law the provision of services of public worship which are genuinely open to anyone to attend is in itself sufficient to satisfy the public benefit requirement even if, in practice, the numbers attending such services are small;

2.contrary to what has been reported in the press, the Commission confirmed that there is no difficulty in restricting access to the sacrament of Holy Communion in accordance with denominational requirements. Difficulties only arise if restrictions are imposed upon access to the worship services of which the sacrament forms a part;

3.the Commission will not involve itself in matters of doctrine except where the outworking of particular doctrinal beliefs impacts upon the public benefit of the organisation. In practice, we understand this to mean situations where the outworking of particular doctrines may give rise to detriment or harm in which case this must be weighed against the positive public benefit in order to determine whether or not, on balance, charitable status is appropriate.

There you have it - a storm in an EB teacup!

Paul Flynn

I have said already that at 3.20 on Wednesday I was being interviewed live on BBC News from Westminster about the serious subject of withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan. This is a matter of life or deaths. Peter Bone's bill is self-indulgent candy floss posturing. I'm into politics not empty gestures.

In the interests of avoiding damaging the brains of readers, comments that ceaselessly repeat old arguments will be deleted.


Mr Flynn,
Your incapable of looking at both sides as well. You haven't answered my question...every one else demands this happens...........did you vote?

AN Groves

Brian says @ December 22, 2012 at 09:51

“I presume the name of Hales Exclusive Brethren has been made up by persons who have a personal axe to grind. I can’t find this anywhere on their website”

Brian – Please stop trying to play the “victim”, its wearing thin. What is happening here is the “Truth” is being exposed and the Exclusive Brethren don’t like being unmasked !!

Brian – As you well know yourself, the current website only went live on the internet on the 8th of Nov 2012. It is a new website which fails to tell the truth about who the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church really are !

Brian – Why is there no mention at all of the 1848 Bethesda division in the Plymouth Brethren which resulted in two separate groups being formed which were very individual and distinctive and very different in doctrinal practice. These two groups were the “Open Brethren” and the “Exclusive Brethren” - why is this not mentioned ??

Brian – You well know that information is readily available on the internet about the history of the Plymouth Brethren and the Divisions within it. As just “One” example, look at the following website which discuses JN Darby whom you say you follow.


Brian – go onto this website and learn more about who Darby was and his life and doctrines. Look at the page detailing “Difficulties” and learn about the “Letter Of The Ten” and the “Division” in the Plymouth Brethren and the creation of the Exclusive movement. Why is this not mentioned on the new (Nov 8th 2012) Plymouth Brethren Christian Church website ??

Brian – Why was the old website changed ? What was wrong with it ?, was it too “honest” about who the Exclusive Brethren are ?. The site used to be –


This was much clearer about who you where and what you actually stood for and practiced. It even detailed previous leaders of the Exclusive Brethren, previous universal leaders or “men of God” such as FE Raven, James Taylor Senior, James Taylor Junior, JH Symington, JS Hales and Bruce Hales the current leader.

Fortunately the old website I still available on the following link –


Brian – No one has a “personal axe to grind” is simply about telling the “TRUTH”, which all Christians are supposed to do, are they not ??

Paul Flynn

The Exclusive Brethren are rich lobbyists. Thy gave £300,000 in Australia to buy backing of a political party. Here it's rumoured that they have spent up to £500,000 on their campaign. This is not a small weak group, they are using their wealth to buy influence among those politicians who seem incapable of understanding two sides of an argument.


AN Groves
Having taken an interest in this case and in the people involved I judge your comments to be biased and floored. I presume the name of Hales Exclusive Brethren has been made up by persons who have a personal axe to grind. I can’t find this anywhere on their website. I presume to label these people as less than honest you have done your homework, spoken to and personally followed up this community and proved that all that they say in there book ‘living our beliefs’ is in fact not true. If you state this publically and this is what they say publically please explain with the facts. These people do present very well, well said on your part, and they do as they say. A look at their publication will do anyone with a ‘heart’ a world of good, seeing what is being put in to our society by people who operate for the good of people in the community. I wouldn’t accuse people of ‘hot air’ until I had verified that it was the case. I suggest you get correct information before you blow off publically. Research and open communication with these people soon establishes the truth and the facts. I suggest you make contact and take an interest in what these people represent instead of being so negative about them.


Mr Flynn, I am suggesting you were absent on the vote....if you feel so strongly about this why didn't you show your colours on Wednesday. Did you vote?


Mr. Flynn
By actively attacking the beliefs of devout Christians you expose your anti-Christian prejudice for what it is.
Next week millions will remember the wonderful occasion when God sent a Saviour into the world. Sadly to a growing number this has lost its import but that does change the status of Christianity. That’s why so many are rising up in indignation at the recent denial of charitable status that you refer to as insignificant because it obviously is to you.
There is no point an unbeliever arguing with others about the rights and wrongs of a Christian’s beliefs. You do not understand nor do you want to understand. By criticising every part of the Brethren’s way of life and aligning yourself with atheists you are only highlighting why the vast majority are demanding justice and a change in this law.

AN Groves

Piffle F December 22, 2012 at 12:33 says

“In case you had forgotten when you posted these comments, the CC have insisted the Brethren do not provide enough public benefit to warrant charitable status”

Correct, Absolutely, Got it in one !!

However, it was nothing to do with “the public benefit Christianity represents” which you go onto claim, that’s nonsense, total baloney and fiction !!

The reasons detailed were related to the “Practices” of the Exclusive Brethren and included raising matters such as –

- Making public access awkward and difficult via a complicated procedure of having to phone up to be assessed for suitability first – the question asked “was this really meaningful “public access” ?
- No advertising of services – despite claiming on Tiny Notice Boards that the building was for “Public Worship”
- Lack of integration in local community, outreach etc
- Concerning level of “separation”
- Is the “Church” primarily for its own adherents or has it meaningful benefit for the wider community
- Concern regards the “harm” that the Exclusive Brethren’s practices cause – for example division in families, if a family member exercises freedom of religion and goes to another church, that member is then “cut off” and “withdrawn from” which is a harmful practice. Some havent seen family members for 30 or 40 years because of this doctrine. Or the harmful issue of not Eating or Drinking with those “outside” the group and that includes not Eating with “Other Christians !
- The CC clearly stated that a balance had to be struck between any potential “Benefit” and any potential “detriment”

None of the above points have – Anything - to do with the “Public Benefit Christianity Represents” but - Everything - to do with the specific practices of the Exclusive Brethren.

None of the above mentioned points have relevance to any other Christian Church because they dont have any of those practices !

Piffle F

PF and AN Grovel
In case you had forgotten when you posted these comments, the CC have insisted the Brethren do not provide enough public benefit to warrant charitable status. That is the undermining you ask about, of the public benefit Christianity represents. The benefit it always has, and always will produce for all mankind, believers and non-believers alike. This issue has certainly been manufactured as you say; by those who hate Christians and all acknowledgers of Gods existence in whatever form it is displayed. I cannot think the Brethren manufactured this trouble for themselves; did they want it or something? Think not.

I personally know they do represent charity and will fight this with them shoulder to shoulder, and would whatever the religion. It makes no sense to me when they are Christians without doubt, cannot be argued, and still the decision of the CC was what it is. Absolutely mad.
Even the fact they gather as church goers together with other members, not just for themselves but for other church members as a congregation, how can that be said not for public benefit? Crazy. Are they not part of the public themselves? Surely all their churches have planning approval for community use, so what are they if not for community benefit and hence the public?

Paul Flynn

This is a manufactured grievance fostered by those with a fixation of victimhood. The CC did the job parliament told them to do.

The issue has already used up excessive amounts of PASC time. There is the worst crisis now that the charity world has ever faced. A third are in financial hardship and a fifth of them are likely to disappear within a year. Yet two members of the committee want to talk about one group who are rich enough to spend a fortune on this entirely fair and insignificant decision. The Exclusive Brethren gave huge sums of money to a political party in Australia. Here they have spent a fortune on lobbying. The CC must stand by principle and not surrender to the pressure from the easily led.

AN Groves

JosephF December 21, 2012 at 10:01 PM

How exactly is Christianity being undermined !!

Please explain how ??


I’ve never heard such a load of spineless nonsense! The issue – and let’s stick with the real issue – is the undermining of Christianity, and attacking those who are prepared to defend it.

Without Christianity, the UK would be an undeveloped, poor, third world country, with low education and welfare standards. Well done to those who had the courage to stand up and be counted on this issue – very heartening for Christians everywhere!

To say they were attempting to hi-jack the PASC is piffle itself! They are just giving the CC a much needed reality check. And this is not about one ‘minor extreme religious sect’ it is the much bigger picture of religious groups small and large, well known and less well known.

These groups all form the back bone of our society, people with principles and a passion for their beliefs. None of the so-called ‘Pastafarians’ to quote Mr Flynn who have no tangible benefit to humankind…

Stand your ground, you have the support of every right minded Christian!

AN Groves

I see that my post at December 20, 2012 at 01:23 AM has been ignored by –

Brian December 21, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Law Watch December 21, 2012 at 08:56 PM

Maybe the facts and truth (I have the actual documents that are referred to, which are available publicly with a little careful research), contained in my post of Dec 20th should be read again and responded to, rather than continuing the hyped up PR nonsense.

Paul Flynn

The debate does not concern ALL faiths - only one sect who separate themselves from society.
The lobbyists for the Exclusive Brethren are pushing that DECEPTION. They have even invented a new name for themselves in the Telegraph and called themselves 'Christian Brethren.' How can so many people be so easily conned?

Paul Flynn

You could not be more mistaken on the two MPs Brian.
I know them very well. They have fallen for self-serving lobbying by the Exclusive Brethren. This is not the first time that they have been hopelessly wrong.
If you are suggesting that i was absent on the debate, please note I was speaking live on BBC News about a serious political subject of Afghanistan. If Peter Bone's ridiculous Bill makes any progress, I will oppose it. Like the backbench debate, it is another piece of empty Commons tomfoolery by lobbyists who do not understand parliament.
One day there may be a real debate where the Exclusives's case will be blown out of the water.
Neither of the two MPs involved appear to have understood, or even read, the CC's convincing case for rejecting status to this sect.


Two MP's who stand up for the good of their fellow men. Well done and carry on moving this to a change in the law. let your voices be heard in the House; it is very noticeable that some were conspicuous by their absence on Wednesday. I hope these people secure their desired outcome. After all this personal stuff, even MP's joining in, they deserve it.

Paul Flynn

The Exclusive Brethren have stalked me and other MPs for months. Halfon and Elphike are new inexperienced gullible MPs who have ignored the other side of the argument. The Charity Commission did the job that Parliament gave them to do.

AN Groves

Yes, it was an excellent speech, full of misleading statements, half truths, hyperbole and scaremongering statements.

1. The speech talked about the “Plymouth Brethren” and the Early Day Motion 398 put forward by Robert Halfon talks about “Christian Brethren” so which is it ??

2. The CC wrote to the Preston Down Trust on 7th June 2012. This is a Trust operated by the Hales Exclusive Brethren. There is no mention at all of the “Christian Brethren” or “Plymouth Brethren” in that letter.

3. In the CC 7th June 2012 letter, there is the following statement “the question of whether that test is in fact met in the case of the Preston Down Trust, will turn on the doctrines and practices of this particular religious persuasion” – No mention of anything to do with other Churches or Other Religious organisations !

4. In the CC briefing to Parliament on 13th Nov 2012 they stated “The Commission regards this case as confined to the circumstances of this individual group. The forthcoming appeal also relates to this individual organisation, not other religious groups” – no mention of anything to do with other Churches or Other Religious organisations in this either !

5. In a submission to the UK Parliament in Sept 2012, by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, reference was made to Case Law from 1981 (Holmes v AG). This case law referrers only to the “Exclusive Brethren” it even names two of their worldwide Universal Leaders – James Taylor Junior and Symington !

6. The speech by Peter Bone was simply full of misleading scaremongering nonsense.

7. The reason why so many Members of Parliament have fallen for it, is that the Exclusive Brethren under the disguise of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, which is a name invented in Sept 2012, have been intensely lobbying Members of Parliament with very confusing and misleading information and being less than honest about who they really are.

8. My only concern is, that it shows how gullible British Members of Parliament can be !, it shows how low the UK Parliament has fallen in its integrity. Faced with nicely spoken, well dressed people, presenting glossy brochures and speaking in the name of Christianity, certain Members of Parliament have totally bought into the perception and vision presented in front of them. Its classic Marketing PR. There has clearly been no further research or checks and balances to verify if what is claimed is true. The picture painted has been accepted on the basis of one line of argument and lobbying, that’s not government for the people by the people at all.

9. The Charity Commission refused the Preston Down Trust for a reason and it will all come out at the Tribunal in March, all this lobbying on the basis of false and misleading information is mere hot air and has no public benefit because its not based on truth or fact !

john handel


You are right it was an excellent speech he made.
For ease see:
166 to 7!

Michael Waterson

Mr Flynn,

'PASC's work is being trivialised by Halfon and Charlie Elphick’

Nonsense and as far from the truth as you can get. Over 170 Members of the House heard a 10 minute rule motion today commending the Brethren and their charitable contribution. 166 of them voted in favour of the rule motion.

Halfon and Elphick are 2 of over 150 members of the House who see sense and understand what the word charity means.

You need to re-examine your prejudiced and unsubstantiated position, get your facts right and start making a meaningful contribution towards society yourself.

Arthur Howes

Mr Flynn

"The majority of MPs are still silent. 47 turned up to the debate. 610 did not. If there was a serious debate involving evidence from both sides, the majority would support the CC".

You would no doubt be aware of the voting today from all sides of the House 166 ayes to 7.

This matter concerns all faiths, and their concern over the Loss of the Presumption to provide Charitable Status to religious Institutions, and the creep of secularism in society.

This is not about individuals gripes against the Plymouth Brethren; this is about the very heart of Charity, Christianity.

"But God comendeth his Love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". The greatest act of Charity there ever was.

Don’t you think its time to look at the broader picture and the mistake that was made in 2006?


If Halfon has has the guts to speak up for a minority group under siege, why should he be vilified for it?

It is a relief to Christians everywhere that there is still public support for religion and recognition of the fundamental benefit to society of peaceful, law abiding Christians.

Roll back the tide of secularism and religious intolerance!

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