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THE CONFESSION OF FAITH, Issue 8052, 31 October 1889
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
The consideration of the report of the Synod’s Committee re the Confession of Faith was considered at last night s meeting of The°Eev. Dr Dunlop, speaking to the report, said the Committee had approached tho discharge of their duty somewhat in this way : They first thought of the various ways in which the problem might bo solved, and 15 was resolved to attempt nothing daringly original or revolutionary. They felt it would not become such a young and comparatively small church to do anything of the kind. In the second place the Committee were most anxious to discover and propose a solution which would give cause to as little friction as possible, while at the same time it would meet the doubts and difficulties and scruples referred to, which were entertained or might be entertained by certain ministers and office-bearers. Tney were fully alive to the fact that anything like a bitter doctrinal controversy would act here as it had often done elsewhere in the way of chilling and deadening religious life, and in creating alienation and breeding bad blood, which was not easily got rid of again. He had himself been in the minority, but the Committee had agreed with a unanimity that was not a little surprising and gratifying to him that they should go on the Declaratory Act of the United Presbyterian Church. The Committee never dreamt that the Synod would accept these articles without deep, earnest, and prolonged consideration, and he felt sure that he expressed the wish of the Committee when he said he hoped the whole matter would be conducted in suoh a spirit that all the bitter consequences of virulent doctrinal controversy might be avoided. , , . ~ The Rev. W. Will said that the reason why they did not refer specifically to the Confession was that had they done so the discussion would be endless, as to the particular meaning of this word and that word, of this clause and that clause. What they wanted and what the church wanted waain the interest of truth to remove difficulties that some of them conscientiously felt with regard to certain modes, at all events, of explaining the Confession. They wanted something pacific that would meet difficulties and remove them. There was some notion that Mr Will and a few others wished to tamper and to destroy tho Confession of Faith, and to deal recklessly with the standards. Mr Will had no such intentions. Though ho said so himself there was no sounder or safer or better friend of the church than Mr Will.— (Applause.) He moved—“ That the Synod adopt the report and send it to the several presbyteries and kirk sessions for their consideration, with a view to its recommendations being formed into a Declaratory Act.” Professor Watt seconded. He occupied very much the same standpoint as Dr Dunlop, and was satisfied with the Confession of Faith as it was, believing it contained the great outstanding doctrines of Holy Soiipture, though he was not satisfied with every jot and tittle of it. Another reason why he would not have raised the question was the great regard and deference he felt for the opinion of many brethren whose piety and usefulness ho held a high opinion of, and who, he felt, would be aggrieved at the question being raised. He, however, seconded the motion on the ground that it was felt by many that the Confession of Faith did not, somehow or other, express the mind of the church, and the church had a right to deal with this matter; but if there was a large minority against the proposal he should not favor the passing of a Declaratory Act. The Rev. Dr Macgbegor moved the following amendment: —“That the Synod receive tho report, thank the Committee for its diligence, and take no further action in the matter until it appears how the matter is to be dealt with by the Free Church of Scotland,” Many of the things which were now apparently considered to be alarming had been said years ago, and they ought not to imagine that other men had been dreaming all their days because they were not screaming now. There were many auspicious circumstances now observable, and one of these which greatly delighted him was the profound respect shown in the report of the Committee for the Confession ojf Faith. The report was outside the Confession, and there was no good reason why it should not be, excepting that it ought to have been inside. He much regretted that the report was not more specific, for the Committee were appointed for the relief of people whose lives were not worth living because of the nightmare of doubts and difficulties the Committee were to clear away. It seemed, however, that the thunder of last Synod had so cleared the atmosphere of doubt that the Committee had just nothing to do, and had done it; for they had not touched the business about which the Synod was c mvulsed last year. The question was not whether they slymld have a tyrannical Calvinism excluding the Gospel, or a glorious new Calvinism including the Gospel, but whether they should wait till they had tho help of the body best able to lead a young church, or should act for themselves and accept a Declaratory,l Act adopted under entirely different circumstances, Mr Adam seconded this amendment. The Rev. Mr Finlay,son moved, and Mr Cathbrwood seconded, as a further amendment—“ That the Synod receive the report, and in view of the importance of the matters contained therein and of the necessity of carefully considering the whole subject, order the report to lie on the table till next meeting of Synod; appoint the Committee to continue and complete tho work assigned to them by last Synod, and to take notice of similar movements in other churches and report to next meeting of Synod.” The debate stood adjourned.
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH, Issue 8052, 31 October 1889
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