The Bible Christian founder, William O'Bryan, was a charismatic but flawed leader. After membership had dropped for two years in succession, he seceded at the Conference of 1829 with a small group of supporters whom he called 'Arminian Bible Christians' (reviving a term originally used by O'Bryan himself, but discarded by 1819). At least three ministers seceded with him, as well as possibly some individual societies and one or two Cornish circuits, but the actual loss was greater - as many as 1,100 members in Cornwall. Documentary evidence for the denomination comprises six preaching plans for 'Tiverton and Kingsbrompton Circuit and 'Tiverton and Chard Missions' and nine class tickets, 1830-1834. Some Meeting House licences for the period have been identified in Devon. In 1835 a deputation to the BC Conference sought a reconciliation and the Minutes refer to their societies, 700 members and heavy debts. The Conference agreed to accept these members and seven unmarried preachers, including one woman. At the following Conference it was reported that 534 members had returned.
Entry written by: RFST
Comment on this entry