« Aubigné, Théodore Agrippa D’ Auburn Declaration Audians »

Auburn Declaration

AUBURN DECLARATION: An incident of the Old and New School controversy in the Presbyterian Church in 1837. The General Assembly of that year, controlled by the Old School party, ” exscinded” the synods of Utica, Geneva, and Genesee, in New York, and Western Reserve, in Ohio, declaring them to be ” neither in form nor in fact a part of the Presbyterian Church.” On the 17th of the following August a convention of about two hundred clergymen and a number of prominent laymen, representing all the presbyteries in these synods, met in Auburn, N. Y., to repel the charge 360of unsoundness in the faith and set forth the views they actually held. A declaration was adopted, consisting of sixteen articles, corresponding to a similar list of sixteen heresies alleged to be held by the New School churches, which had been presented to the Assembly and had been the basis of its action. Replying to the first of the charges, that it was taught ” that God would have been glad to prevent the existence of sin in our world, but was not able without destroying the moral agency of man; or that, for aught that appeals in the Bible, sin is incidental to any wise, moral system,” the members of the convention declared that they believed that ” God permitted the introduction of sin, not because he was unable to prevent it consistently with the moral freedom of his creatures, but for wise and benevolent reasons which he has not revealed” (art. i). In replying to the other charges, the convention pronounced fully in the sense of the Westminster Symbols. With a perhaps unconscious supralapsarianism, they put the doctrine of election first in order, and all the other facts in the process of redemption after it; so the arrangement suggests that it was the primary purpose of God to save a definite number of men out of a race to be thereafter created; that in pursuance of this purpose man was formed, the fall decreed, and an atonement provided sufficient to meet the case of that predestined number, and no others. No affirmation of the universality of the atonement is found among these sixteen propositions. Original sin, total depravity, vicarious atonement, Christ’s intercession for the elect previous to their conversion, absolute dependence upon irresistible divine grace for the renewal of the heart, instantaneous regeneration, etc., all these dogmas are emphatically affirmed. ” All who are saved are indebted from first to last to the grace and spirit of God and the reason why God does not save all is not that he wants the power to do it, but that in his wisdom he does not see fit to exert that power further than he actually does” (art. xiii). In short, the Auburn Declaration rises well up to the high-water mark of the Calvinistic theology and was indorsed by the General Assembly (Old School) in 1868 as containing ” all the fundamentals of the Calvinistic Creed.”

Bibliography: For full text of the declaration consult Schaff, Creeds, iii, 777-780; consult also E. D. Morris, The Presbyterian Church, New .School, 1837-1869, pp. 77 sqq., Columbus, O., 1905.

« Aubigné, Théodore Agrippa D’ Auburn Declaration Audians »
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