The Brethren : Information & Links
Promoted to Glory: Mr. Michael Browne, Bath, UK -
A tribute by Nelson Thomas Mumbai
Well known itinerant preacher and missionary, Lord’s servant Michael Browne was home called on February 26, 2016 at the age of 84. He was undergoing treatment for bladder cancer in his home town Bath, UK. His Daughter was with him in the hospital caring for him. On Thursday 25th February, she was travelling back to her home in London where she lives, when he became serious and the hospital phoned her to come back quickly. Thus on Friday at 2am, at the presence of her daughter he passed away quietly to be with the Lord Jesus whom he loved and preached with all sincerity and zeal for more than 60 years.
The mortal remains of Bro. Michael Brown was buried at Haycombe cemetery on Thursday March 17, after a funeral service at Manvers Hall, Bath. Bro. Phil Dalling, elder of Manvers Hall led the service.
Around a year ago his wife Grace was promoted to glory.
Many brethren in India who know him personally will miss him so much. He was a regular preacher at various assembly based conventions and spiritual gatherings in India from the early eighties. Once he became aware of the need in Andhra Pradesh he frequently visited that state to encourage the brethren there. His sound teaching and commitment to the assembly principles made him dear to many.
He had a special ability to expound the word of God clearly and convincingly. His presentation of the gospel truth was very effective. Exalting the person and work of Christ was the main focus of his preaching. He passionately proclaimed every aspect of the New Testament doctrines.
This writer vividly remembers how his narration of the ascension of Christ and the rapture in near future captured the attention of the listeners. We would feel the same experience as we hear him preach. During one of his conferences at Khandala, Maharashtra, he spoke on the sovereignty of God in such a way that we all felt the awe-inspiring presence of God in our midst. Whether expository or topical sermons, his ministry of the word of God was very much heart-touching.
His early days & Conversion:
According to one of his testimonies available today, he was not privileged to be raised by a mother or father. He lived with a drunkard’s family in a slum. He says the entire area where he lived was full of drunkards. Never went to any worship place or a Sunday school. Due to the war later moved to a farm in south western part of England to stay and work there. War also interrupted his studies.
At the age of around 15 years joined the Royal Marines and worked as commando. Never heard the gospel, had no knowledge of it. By the time posted at Hong Kong, became a worst drunkard and heavy smoker, fighting with others. He says once even he attacked a Christian who used to distribute tracts in the streets of Hong Kong.
During his time in Malaysia fighting in the jungles he got a 10 day a vacation and went to Singapore with a friend. They happened to stay in a facility a Christian woman was running. Riots in Singapore forced them to spend their entire time in that place where full of Bibles and tracts were available, yet these youngsters simply avoided any opportunity to hear the gospel.
On the last day just as they were returning that godly sister handed over a gospel book-let to them. (It seems the title was, ‘The Reason Why’.) In the break-fast packet also she kept tracts in between the sandwiches which they could read in the train. He says it was the first time; he began to be convinced of his sin and the need of salvation. He says he repeatedly read that booklet, even signed the decision form, though did not get saved, God began to work in the heart of young Michael. During the nights when everybody was sleeping, he was reading the books and New Testament with a passion to know more about eternal life, being fully convinced of his terrible spiritual state.
After six months of such intense divine work internally, moving his heart towards the Saviour through various ways, on Monday the 15th October 1951, Michael accepted the Lord Jesus as his saviour and Lord while on his knees.
His ministry & the unique personality
The Lord had a definite purpose for His life. He could communicate with the Chinese in their own language. Hong Kong was a main mission field for him. Also he used to visit Eastern Europe, India and other countries extensively, evangelizing, teaching and encouraging the brethren.
It is true that at least few could not fully appreciate the perfectionist temperament he possessed. Compromise or adjustment in matters of church doctrine and practice was just foreign to him. He was a very sensitive person. He will respond to any disturbance or deviation from the real path. Such strict stand for his conviction might have alienated some, but those who loved the simple New Testament church doctrine, dearly held by the early brethren, respected it.
All over the world we see many taking a liberal stand on certain teachings and practices of the early brethren. Many have already taken a modern, ‘progressive’ path for various reasons. ‘Assembly distinctive’ is something anathema to at least few! Many even do not find any difference between the assemblies and other local churches / denominations! In such a situation, may the Lord raise up more men like Bro. Browne who not only know the truth, but holding it boldly and propagating it Vigorously.
Some of his writings:
The Biblical Doctrine of SUBSTITUTION
Discipline in the House of God.
The Mediatorial Office of Christ.
Fundamentalism and Message of the Gospel.
The Humanity of Christ.
Aspects of Some Exclusive Doctrines.
Autonomy and Authority
Independent Local Churches & Growing Persecution - specialy for Brethren in India.
NB: If you have any more information on Bro. Michael Browne, please feel free to pass on so that we can make necessary changes in this note. Please write to gracepeaceu AT gmail.com
Nelson Thomas, Mumbai
Thank you so much for guiding me to Brother Michel Browne’s YouTube testimony. Michael has stayed with us many times and we always enjoyed his ministry.
Could I please point out that Michael was saved in Malaya as it was - now Malaysia - in his camp in Ipoh, not in Singapore, although Singapore is part of the story.
Howard A. Barnes, UK
I have had the privilege of hearing his powerful and sound doctrinal messages in Kadapa, AP long time back( probably late 90s). He was used mightily by God for the furtherance of the gospel and the doctrines of the Scriptures and the New Testament pattern church principles. In his death we lost a sincere man of God who had the zeal and fervor for the Biblical truth without compromising or adjustment. His perfectionist temperament is very much lacking in most of the preachers in our assemblies.
It is sad to learn that most of the preachers in Brethren assemblies nowadays have thrown the fundamental brethren (NT pattern) practices to the wind in an attempt to promote their unscriptural, unbrethren, ideas and in pursuit of self glory and usurping authority among assemblies. Such should introspect themselves and repent so that the true NT pattern practices may be restored and the name of our Lord be glorified among our assemblies. We all should pray that such preachers, evangelists repent of their folly and live hereafter for the truth and glory of the Lord as Bro. Michael Browne did.
Pray that God may raise men of God like Michael Browne. Our prayers should be for his children and their families
I used to listen to his teachings when I was young.
Could you let me know where I could get the following writings of his?
I knew this man personally, I remember when we first met, I was only a child, he was a great servant of God