On June 6 and 7, 1883, the Brethren Church formed in Dayton, Ohio. The Brethren Church grew out of a religious tradition originating in Europe during the eighteenth century. At this time, a group of Radical Pietists challenged traditional religious beliefs by claiming that baptism and communion were not necessary. Facing persecution for their beliefs in Europe, the Brethren migrated to North America, where they established the German Baptist Brethren Church in 1723.
During the 1880s, the German Baptist Brethren Church divided. Some Brethren, who formed the Brethren Church in 1883, sought to seek new members through Sunday Schools, establishing colleges and universities, and holding revivals. Another group of Brethren, known as the Old Order Brethren, rejected the ideas of the other group, believing that it would lead to too much interaction between the Brethren and the secular world. A third group, known as the Conservatives or, beginning in 1908, as the Church of the Brethren, sought a middle ground between these two other entities.
Upon its creation, the Brethren Church assumed control of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. The German Baptist Brethren Church had established this institution in 1879. In 1889, the Brethren Church established Ashland Theological Seminary to train men to be ministers. Ashland, Ohio, remains the national headquarters of the Brethren Church in the United States. The Brethren Church and its followers believe that: "that the Bible, and the Bible alone, is our all-sufficient creed and rule of practice."