Understand, I have no bone to pick with these 21st-century successors to the original Open Brethren. And note, these churches are no longer identified as "Open Brethren" but typically adopt the name of "Gospel Hall" or "Gospel Chapel" or "Bible Chapel. (Indeed, the original Brethren churches characteristically referred to themselves as brethren, small "b.")
The reason I cite the Open Brethren as an example is simply that these were the last well-known churches in history to espouse the New Testament ideas of liberty of ministry under the sovereign Holy Spirit, along with true elder leadership. (Note, the Open and the Exclusive Brethren never agreed on these things. They were two entirely different groups originally united by a shared inclination to separate from Churchianity.)
So what happened to successors to the original Open Brethren? They subsequently divided the Sunday morning meeting in two. In one of the meetings there is limited liberty of ministry; in the second there is teaching by one man. Limited liberty of ministry is afforded in the meeting called "Breaking of Bread." The other meeting, called variously "Family Bible Hour" or Sunday School" or "Ministry Meeting" features one man teaching.
I pray I am not misrepresenting the Open Brethren here. I admittedly have limited experience with them. I would expect there to be exceptions to the general pattern, and these few exceptional churches may indeed continue in the original NT church truths taught by Müller, Craik, et. al.
In my few conversations with members of these churches I have found almost no awareness of their nineteenth century roots. Is an awareness necessary? I mean, isn't it more important that we follow the teachings of the Bible rather than uphold men's traditions? Of course it is, with the caveat that the original Open Brethren churches reinstated the original church traditions taught and modeled in the New Testament. So I say it behooves the latter-day Brethren to know their roots, else they revert to a hybrid church meeting in which both New Testament and clericalist traditions are mixed together.
I believe the latter day Brethren churches have mixed together New Testament and clericalist traditions.
Against a thesis, i.e., New Testament church truths, was posited an antithesis, i.e., the traditions of clericalism, with a result that a synthesis emerged in the form of two Sunday morning meetings. And so the original convictions of the Open Brethren were abandoned. They are not worse off for this than any other church in Christendom; but they are no better off, either.
On a related note, churches which practice "church" on Sundays and "house churches" on a weeknight, nevertheless function according to the traditions of the clergy system. True, the original churches assembled all together and "from house to house." But when they were all together they never functioned like today's churches, with their orders of service, sermons, professional pastors, and no functioning elders.
It greatly saddens me that the Open Brethren churches have abandoned their original principles. They were the last group of churches in the historical record to advocate these principles. Today these truths are apparently only practiced in some of the house churches spread throughout the world.