Declaratory Acts

Ecclesiastical legislation passed in order to allow two Scottish Presbyterian bodies to modify their attitudes toward the Westminster Confession of Faith.* The United Presbyterian Church* took this course in 1879; the Free Church of Scotland* followed in 1892. In the latter it caused a secession leading to the formation of the Free Presbyterian Church.* In the Church of Scotland,* this form of legislation was considered to be beyond the powers of the general assembly, but in 1910 the same end was achieved with authorization of a new formula by which ministers and office-bearers subscribed the Westminster Confession. While the modifications differed in all three cases, a common motive was the softening of that rigorous Calvinism acceptable to an earlier age.