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Auburn Declaration

1837. Declaration of belief issued by a strategy convention of the New School within the Presbyterian Church in the USA. Earlier that year the General Assembly, which was controlled by an Old School majority, exscinded the predominantly New School synods of Genesee, Geneva, Utica, and Western Reserve. The Old School believed that the New School party had departed from the Calvinistic theology of the Westminster Confession and were overly tolerant of the New Haven Theology* of Nathaniel Taylor* which placed a greater stress on human initiative in the process of salvation than did orthodox Calvinism. The Auburn Declaration rejected these accusations, reaffirmed the main, distinctive points of Calvinism, and asserted that “God permitted the introduction of sin, not because he was unable to prevent it . . . but for wise and benevolent reasons which he has not revealed.” Because of the sin of Adam all mankind became morally corrupt and liable to eternal death. Saving faith is “an effect of the special operations of the Holy Spirit.” The reason why some embrace the Gospel while others reject it is that “God has made them to differ.” The Auburn Declaration established the New School's case for its Calvinist orthodoxy and eventually helped bring about reunion with the Old School in 1869.

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