Bereans a small sect of dissenters from the Church of Scotland, who profess to follow the example of the ancient Beroeans (Ac 17:11) in building their system upon the Scriptures alone, without regard to any human authority. The sect was founded in 1773 by a clergyman named Barclay, who was excluded from the parish of Fettercairn. They hold the Calvinistic creed, with the following peculiarities:
1. They reject natural religion as undermining the evidences of Christianity.
2. They consider faith in Christ and assurances of salvation as inseparable, or rather as the same thing, because (say they) "God hath expressly declared, he that believeth shall be saved; and therefore it is not only absurd, but impious, and in a manner calling God a liar, for a man to say I believe the Gospel, but have doubts, nevertheless, of my own salvation."
3. They say that the sin against the Holy Ghost is nothing else but unbelief; and that the expression, "It shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor that which is to come," means only that a person dying in unbelief would not be forgiven, neither under the former dispensation by Moses, nor under the Gospel dispensation, which, in respect of the Mosaic, was a kind of future world, or world to come.
4. They interpret the Old Testament prophecies, and especially the Psalms, as typical or prophetic of Christ, and never apply them to the experience of private Christians. There are still some congregations of Bereans in Scotland, and a few, it is believed, in America. SEE HUTCHINSONIANS.