Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brethren Assemblies in Denmark

So-called Christian Brethren or Plymouth Brethren assemblies are found throughout the world and Denmark is no exception. Though not as well known in Denmark as they ought to be, the Christian Brethren are unquestionably in the mainstream of evangelicalism. Their church organization is simple and they gather in independent assemblies without an overarching denominational structure. They have been an important force in world-wide evangelism since the early part of the 19th century. Many great Bible teachers and missionaries have come from the assemblies, including such men as J. N. Darby, Robert Chapman, H. A. Ironside, H. L. Ellison, F. F. Bruce, my beloved friend Bill Deans of Nyankunde, Congo, and others far too numerous to mention.

The term Christian Brethren is not an official name amongst them as they consider themselves to be simply Christians gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a laymen’s movement based on New Testament church principles. Their local assemblies do not have an ordained ministry as such but function under the leadership of elders who must fulfill elder qualifications as specified in the New Testament epistles. Itinerant missionaries and teachers often travel in ministry from assembly to assembly, but most of the teaching and preaching is done by men from the local assemblies themselves. A feature of Brethren worship is the weekly gathering at the Lord’s Table known as “The Breaking of Bread.” The Brethren are notable for their intense study of the Word of God and they are by and large amongst the most Biblically literate of evangelicals. They practice believers baptism by immersion.

Over the years I have known many believers and leaders from among the Christian Brethren in the United States, in Kenya, in the Congo, and in Denmark. It was my good fortune in 1957 to have been in Copenhagen where I attended a Sunday evening gathering at that city’s Brethren assembly. I have mentioned before in these postings the Faroese physician, Dr. Rodmundur I Liða. That evening in Copenhagen I heard Rodmundur give a memorable, intensely emotional testimony of his faith in Christ that has left an indelible impression on me ever since. He was at the time attending medical school at the University of Copenhagen. I learned that more than ten percent of the Faroe Islands population is associated with the Christian Brethren assemblies. Rodmundur long practiced as a highly respected physician and surgeon in Tørshavn, capitol city of the Faroe Islands. Though now retired, he continues to teach and preach in the assemblies. He has on occasion visited and spoken at Christian Brethren assemblies in Denmark.

The Copenhagen assembly with which I had become acquainted in 1957 later relocated to Bronshoj where the believers gathered for 30 years as Brønshøj Kristne Forsamling and more recently has relocated to new facilities in Skovlunde. In its various locations, this assembly has been in existence for more than 100 years and is now known as Skovlunde Frikirke ( Other Danish-speaking assemblies are located at Glostrup (, Copenhagen ( and Odense (

Ten percent or more of the population of the Faroe Islands is said to be associated with Christian Brethren assemblies. There are assemblies related to the Faroe Island Brethren located in the metropolitan Copenhagen area (known as Kristnastova, and other cities. I was pleased to discover that there is an assembly in Hirtshals known as Malta (

Christian Brethren, wherever located throughout the world, have always been motivated toward world-wide evangelism. For example, Skovlunde Frikirke supports missionaries Ole and Wilsy Ottosen in Papua New Guinea, and René and Heide Bryld in Uummannaq, Greenland. Most of the Danish and Faroe Island assemblies appear to support missionaries of the New Tribes Mission International.

PRAY for the believers who meet in independent Christian Brethren assemblies throughout Denmark, for their spiritual growth, for sound Bible teaching and for their evangelistic outreach in the areas in which they are located.

PRAY for wisdom in the exercise of spiritual leadership given to the elders of Sjæland’s Skovlunde Frikirke, including Charles Dalton, Flemming Windfeld, Preben Madsen, Steen Asmussen, Jørgen Andersen, Bent Ottosen, and Dan Fuglø.

PRAY for Kristnastova and the Faroese Christian Brethren assemblies of Denmark, not only for their ability to reach Faroese people residing in Denmark but also for their fellowship and cooperation with Danish-speaking assemblies.

PRAY for Ole and Wilsy Ottosen working with New Tribes Mission in Papua, New Guinea, and René and Heide Bryld who have worked in Uummannaq, Greenland.

PRAY that the Lord will raise up workers from amongst the Danish assemblies to plant new work in other areas of Denmark.