The development of who the Brethren in Christ are today has been strongly influenced by three definite theological roots that are essential to our understanding of God, the Scriptures wand what is to be a believer.
The Anabaptist roots of the BIC extend back to the early 1500's to the time of the Protestant Reformation with a movement that felt Martin Luther did not go far enough in his proposed reformations. This group believed very strongly in the authority of the Scriptures, the need for the believer to conform all of life to the Lord's teachings as revealed in the Bible, the completely separate realms of the Lord's Church and the systems of the world, the importance of the Believers Baptism, and, the strong teaching of the discipleship (being different from the world). These beliefs led to persecution and death at the hands of the established churches of the day.
The historical BIC church was to be significantly influenced by two other subsequent movements within Christendom: Pietism and Weslyanism. Pietism (1675 - early 1700's) placed strong emphasis on a warm, inner, personally experienced conversion and renewed the view that it was the bible, not the dogmas of the church, which was the source of doctrine and spiritual life. Pietism put the 'heart' back into religion. Weslyanism (1735 - late 1700's) emphasized the transformational work of the Holy Spirit (sanctification and holiness) and the need for a heart-felt total surrender in the life of the believer.
All three of these above influences combined to shape the BIC, who officially became a denomination in the year 1788 in the USA and in Canada. The Canadian Brethren IN Christ settled in the peninsula area of Ontario, where most of the Canadian Conference churches still exist today. The Canadian Conference of the BIC church is associated with the United States BIC churches through the General Conference of the BIC Church, although we maintain a separate identity due to the Revenue Canada guidelines.
Today the BIC strongly emphasize - the need for a heart-felt personal salvation and conversion; the active need for the Holy Spirit to transform, guide, empower and teach believers; the authority of God's Word for life and practice; evangelism as necessity for the believers; discipleship of all believers into a mature Christian relationship; the importance of community and brotherhood; the priesthood of all believers (empowered law).
Historically the BIC have been willing and able to absorb new ideas and spiritual truths, providing that they have a biblical basis. This tradition explains why the brotherhood is still able to adapt to meet the needs of today. This also helps to explain why the church has held together amazingly well - our tradition reminds us that the truth is in Jesus, not in our individual sales.