The chapter lists the different uses of the word ‘Brethren’ in modern Protestantism and defines the book’s focus on the group commonly called Exclusive Brethren (particularly, on the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church). The question is not merely linguistic and involves a discussion of two contested categories, ‘evangelicalism’ and ‘fundamentalism’. The two labels are used both for denominations and for groups or trends within denominations. The chapter examines the influential definition of ‘evangelicalism’ proposed by British historian David Bebbington, and concludes that the Exclusive Brethren represent a distinctive and idiosyncratic expression of evangelicalism. They can also be defined as part of ‘fundamentalism’, in a theological sense, although the polemical use of the label ‘fundamentalist’ in recent times has somewhat confused the issue.
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