What distinguishes BRI from other sabbatarian organisations?
Christian Sabbatarians have failed to carry the torch of the ‘Woman in the Wilderness’! There are literally hundreds of thousands of Sabbatarian Christians in the western world today. They are known variously as Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists, Worldwide Church of God, Seventh Day Churches of God, Church of God Seventh Day, Church of God Adventist, Church of God International, Global Church of God, United Church of God, Living Church of God etc etc etc. All of these churches (without exception) stem from the Church of God Adventist which had its origin in a sabbatarian Church of God established in Newport, Rhode Island by a certain Stephen Mumford in 1672 (Benson Y. Landis, Religion in the United States, 1965).
Mumford was one of a number of Sabbatarian converts settling in Rhode Island and the general New England territory between the years 1664 and 1800. Most of these immigrants had fled persecution in England and constituted “a Church of God that was sabbatarian” (Mead, Religious Denominations). Indeed Mumford actually represented the Mill Yard Church of God (Seventh Day Baptist) in London. Modern SDB’s shy away from the notion that the name “Church of God” was ever adopted by their congregations, but old records of their own publications use the term freely (and not just generically either).
This particular church traced its origin back to the work of Waldensian preacher Walter Lollard (also known as Walter the Lollard) who came to England in 1315, established Sabbatarian churches, and perished in the flames in Cologne, Germany in 1322 (Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates). The Waldensian Church of Europe was a fully organised, dissenting church, with its own ministers and congregations, claiming to represent the pure form of Christianity (Walker, The Growing Storm, 1961). Known variously as Vaudois, Cathars, Henricians, Arnoldists, Petrobrussians, Bohemian Brethren, Poplicani, Albigensians and Lollards (among other appellations), they were in turn the children of the Bogomils and Paulicians of the ninth and tenth centuries.
Due to a relentless policy of Papal persecution, they saw themselves as “the Woman in the Wilderness” of Revelation 12.6 which was to be hounded for 1260 years (according to them). Certainly, these Sabbatarian Christians claimed to have existed as a separate priesthood from that of a decadent Rome, at least since the days of Constantine (Neander, General History of the Christian Religion & Church). Their spiritual descendants today are proud of the legacy of the seventh day Sabbath obtained from such an illustrious past.
However, what they fail to realise is that these sectarian Sabbatarians also carried the torch of reincarnation and the belief in an ultimate universal salvation in Christ. The modern Waldensians stand therefore as theologically inconsistent, compared to their forefathers, because of their flagrant hostility to the doctrine of God’s Salvific Grace!
The IMCF, while Sabbatarian in orientation, is a Work of God centred in the restoration of a lost Jewish thoughtform to the biblical revelation and has its roots in a Jewish background, and a deep appreciation for Jewish mystical traditions, and has very little in common with other Sabbatarian organisations with their Russellite 19th century adaptations.