Doctrines Of The New School Presbyterian Church -- By: George Duffield

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 020:79 (Jul 1863)
Article: Doctrines Of The New School Presbyterian Church
Author: George Duffield


Doctrines Of The New School Presbyterian Church

Rev. George Duffield

The design of this Article is to answer a question often asked: “What is the difference between Old and New school Presbyterians? “Ecclesiastically, they form two distinct and independent bodies. Denominationally, they are known to be prosecuting different and separate interests. Yet they hold the same Confession of Faith; adopt and profess attachment to the same system and form of ecclesiastical government; have the same modes and forms of discipline; and designate themselves by the same popular and corporate name, “the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America,” and seem to be, and to be known in law, as the true and

rightful successor of the body so called, which originated in accordance with the previous action of the synod of New York and Philadelphia, and was duly organized in 1789. Their ministers extensively exchange with and preach for each other; and the mass of their hearers say, we see no difference in their preaching, either as it regards the doctrines they teach, the morality they inculcate, or the spiritual experience they seek to develop in the religion of their congregations.

It is not therefore surprising that many curiously inquire: “In what do they differ?” The Old school1 have for years had their publications circulating, some of which did much to forestall public sentiment, and to prepare the way for the rupture which took place in 1837. “A series of numbers,” originally published, about the time of that rupture, in the Protestant and Herald, of which paper the Rev. N. L. Rice, D. D., was then an editor, were republished by the Old school Board of Publication, in 1853, as his “exhibit of the most important differences in their doctrine and church polity,” between “the Old and New schools,” thus reviving and perpetuating the allegations they contain. Other publications of ephemeral character have appeared, which have found favor and been circulated among Old school Presbyterians. Little effort has been made by New school Presbyterians to correct or counteract the fallacies they contain. Nothing has been published on the subject with the formal sanction of their General Assembly.

In the weekly religious gazettes, which have contained discussions, and refutations of charges of error made in the days of heated controversy; in the published accounts of the trials of the few arraigned before their presbyteries on such charges — two only of which processes found their way to the supreme judicature by appeal, and in disputations contained in Quarterly Reviews, must the curious reader ...

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