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Original Secession Church

More properly “The Synod of United Original Seceders,” this was constituted in Scotland in 1842. It was a union of various groups which were heirs of the Secession of 1733 from the Church of Scotland. The term “church” was not officially used, as they considered themselves in secession from the national church and not as a separate church. They rejoined the Church of Scotland in 1956. The original secession had taken place because Ebenezer Erskine* and others had felt inhibited from protesting effectively against abuses in the Church of Scotland, particularly patronage. This meant that ministers were presented to parishes by patrons instead of being elected by the congregations as the seceders demanded. Later the Seceders divided into “Burghers”* and “Antiburghers” over the rightfulness of taking the Burgess Oath professing the “true religion,” and then into “Auld Lichts”* and “New Lichts” over the interpretation of the clauses in the Westminster Confession* regarding the civil magistrate.

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