Our experience in Brethren Churches has been that following Jesus is frequently tied to
conformity to a particular culture. This is not unique to Brethren Churches of course – many Christians in America assume godliness when fellow believers subscribe to the same general patterns of behavior even if the behavior has no specific connection to Christianity. This might mean assuming that all “good” Christians vote Republican (or Democrat!), wear particular styles of dress or abstain from particular behaviors like listening to “non-Christian” music or drinking alcohol.
Many of these specific behaviors come from Christian values – we are called to be modest and un-extravagant in dress and to refrain from drunkenness and excess. Further we recognize that it is impossible not to have a culture – every church has its assumptions and traditions and this is simply part of being human. We value many aspects of the culture of the Brethren Churches. We intend, however, to be open to people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and to call all members of the Body to examine their lives in the light of Gospel and the Kingship of Jesus.
We won’t use culture to enforce a single choice on all members of the body when it comes to doubtful issues. We do intend to strongly teach the Biblical principles which produce lives that glorify God. This means that though we will preach sobriety we won’t denigrate believers who consume alcohol in moderation. We appreciate modest dress but aren’t going to tell you that the Bible teaches women shouldn’t wear pants. And we realise that consuming the products of “christian culture” are not a substitute for pursuing obedience to Christ.