1835 Pittsburgh Convention Protesting New School Presbyterian Policies
1835 Pittsburgh Convention Protesting New School Presbyterian Policies

1835 Pittsburgh Convention Protesting New School Presbyterian Policies

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Witherspoon, John [Convention Chairman]. The Minutes of the Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Convention, called by the Signers of the "Act and Testimony." May 14, 1835. Pittsburgh: White & Grant, Printers, 1835. First Edition. [1526]

Plain light blue wrapper, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 22 clean pp. Very good. Pamphlet.

Ashbel Green was elected President of this convention, which is something of a prelude to the Old School/New School schism that erupted two years later. This convention lists grievances that they believe must be addressed, stemming from complications that arising from the 1801 missionary Plan of Union with the Congregationalists. This Convention rejects any Missionary or Educational Society operating within the Presbyterian church that are not subject to her judicatories.

Other complaints include that of the General Assembly removing from Presbyteries the right to accept or reject ministerial appointments, "and by that denial has opened the flood-gates of error..."

Similarly, they point out that the General Assembly has prevented Presbyteries from "taking up and censuring a printed publication, irrespective of its author."

Thirdly, the makeup of church courts which do not regard geographical limits or the convenience of attendance and ability to conduct business, but are instead put together with specific regard to seeing certain doctrines or practices promoted, or judgments rendered.

Fourthly, the existence of a Missionary Society within the bounds of the Presbyterian church that is "in no sense amenable to her ecclesiastical jurisdiction."

Fifthly, the education of ministers is being conducted outside the bounds of the Presbyterian Church. "Shall she do it herself, with her own hands? or shall she throw it into the hands of a body, self-created, and in no sense amenable to her ecclesiastical tribunals? a body which may change in half a generation, and train her sons to her own destruction?"

Sixthly, these great evils grow mainly out of the 1801 plan of union with the Congregationalists.

Seventh, continues on the evils of the plan of union and it's results.

Eighth, "great and fearful inroads are made on the doctrinal standards of our church: and that too not in reference to matters of minor consequence, but in the very fundamental principles of the gospel."  Six doctrines so endangered are spelled out, including Adam's federal headship, original sin, the imputation of Adam's sin, the doctrine of Christ's federal headship, the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and the vicarious nature of the Atonement of Christ. Along with these truths being neglected, an error was being preached, that of the perfectiblity and ability of man as an agent in his own salvation.

The list of signers to this memorial includes Isaac V. Brown, George Junkin, Ashbel Green, William Latta, James Magraw, Alexander Symington, A. G. Fairchild, Alexander M'Candless, C. C. Beattie, N. L. Rice, Colin M'Iver, C. C. Cuyler, Samuel Steele, Thomas Houston, and David George.

A significant statement of the brewing animosities that finally split the Presbyterian Church in two.