The Gospel Halls (often referred to as ‘the assemblies’) are a collection of independent evangelical churches. They are ‘independent’ in the sense that their beliefs and practices are determined, not by an overarching organisation or body, but by the believers in each locality. Yet they are a ‘collection’ in the sense that they tend to hold certain distinctive beliefs in common.
All believers, I take it, want to know and live out God’s will in their lives. The guiding principle behind what I will call, for want of a better term, ‘assembly-thinking’ is that the easiest and most reliable way to do this is to stick to the pattern given by the New Testament. Hardly, one would hope, a controversial principle. However, in practice, this is easier said than done. After all, it is not necessarily God’s will that all believers move to Eastern Europe in order to more closely follow Paul’s example, or greet each other with ‘holy kisses’ (whatever such things may be), or wash each others’ feet. So, we need to apply some common sense when working out when writers intended their instructions to be implemented only by a specific group of believers and when they intended their instructions to become normative for all Christians.
By and large, people who go to gospel halls tend to see less of the Bible as ‘cultural’ than do other churches. This is not due to any great desire to be different or awkward but simply because there is good reason to think that, in many cases, when the apostles tell a certain church to do something, they expect all the other churches to follow suit (see, for instance, 1 Timothy 3.14-15, 6.3-4; 1 Corinthians 11.16; 14.33, 36; 16.1; 1 Thessalonians 2:14). Moreover, when the apostles give reasons for their instructions, these reasons don’t seem to have much to do with the culture of the day (unlike, say, the instruction not to eat food sacrificed to idols—compare 1 Cor 8 & 10 and Acts 15).
In essence, then, Collier Row Gospel Hall is, like many others, a free-standing indepedent evangelical church. But then you can only explain so much on a website, so why not come and visit in person?