Presbyterian Family - Events By Name
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Adopting Act of Westminster Confession

By adopting the Westminster Confession of Faith (1729) as its doctrinal standard, American Presbyterianism moved a step closer to becoming a fully regularized denomination.

American Bible Society Founded

The American Bible Society (est. 1816) is a faith-based voluntary society that distributes millions of Bibles throughout the country.

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

In 1810, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions formed in order to send Congregationalist and Presbyterian missionaries all over the world.

Auburn Affirmation

In 1924, the Auburn Affirmation denounced the Five Point Deliverance as a necessary means for ordination in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Bible Presbyterian Church

The Bible Presbyterian Church, led by Carl McIntire in 1937, was the product of division between Presbyterian traditionalists and fundamentalists in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Cane Ridge Camp Meeting

Barton Stone organized the Cane Ridge camp meeting (1801), the largest and most famous religious revival of the Second Great Awakening.

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival (1830-1831) played a foundational role for the more widespread revivalism and conversions of the 1830s and 1840s.

Christianity and Liberalism Published

John Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism (1923) challenged the cultural shift toward modernist interpretations of the Bible within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

In 1810, the Cumberland Presbytery formed as a response to ordination and theological differences with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded

In 1874, former slaves in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded an independent denomination, later named the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America.

Eugene Peterson's The Message Published

In 1993, Eugene Peterson began publishing sections of The Message (Bible), which translated the Christian Bible into modern everyday language.

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

In 1981, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church became the third major conservative denomination to split off from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

First African Presbyterian Church Organized

In May 1807, John Gloucester organized the first African American Presbyterian Church.

First General Assembly of the PCUSA

In 1789, American Presbyterians created the General Assembly and adopted a new name, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (i.e., PCUSA).

First Presbytery Formed in Philadelphia

The formation of a presbytery in Philadelphia in 1706 brought official Presbyterianism to the colonies.

Formation of the Associate Reformed Presbytery, or "Seceders"

The Associate Reformed Presbytery, formed in Philadelphia in 1782, represented Scottish immigrants from the "seceder" tradition in the Church of Scotland.

Freedmen's Aid Society

In the 1860s, the Freedmen's Aid Society formed with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for blacks in the American South.

George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery

Presbyterian minister George Bourne lost his pastor position in 1815 for advocating the immediate emancipation of the slaves.

Gilbert Tennent Preaches "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry"

Gilbert Tennent's 1740 sermon, "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry," helped spark the Old Side-New Side division among American Presbyterians.

Hanover Presbytery Organized in Virginia

The 1755 founding of Hanover Presbytery in Virginia highlighted the rapid expansion of evangelicalism in the South during the First Great Awakening.

Harry Emerson Fosdick Preaches "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?"

In 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick's sermon accused fundamentalists of being "essentially illiberal and intolerant." His subsequent dismissal made Fosdick a martyr for liberal mainline Christianity.

Life of David Brainerd Published

Jonathan Edwards published The Life of David Brainerd (1749) to promote evangelical theology during the First Great Awakening.

Margaret Towner Ordained in PCUSA

Margaret Towner's ordination in 1956 was the culmination of a long struggle for gender equality in the Presbyterian Church USA.

Merger of UPCNA and PCUSA

The merger of the UPCNA and the PCUSA in 1958 created the largest Presbyterian denomination in America, but was followed by controversy and dissension.

Merger of UPCUSA and PCUS

In 1983, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman

In 1847, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, early missionaries to the Oregon territory, were killed by the Cayuse Indians in a widely publicized massacre.

New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly

The New School-Old School controversy, driven by theological differences during the Second Great Awakening, split the mainstream of American Presbyterianism in 1837.

Orthodox Presbyterian Church Founded

In 1936, discontented conservative Presbyterians left the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

PCUSA Allows Same-Sex Marriage

On June 19, 2014, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed an amendment to allow pastor to perform same-sex marriages.

PCUSA Approves Gay/Lesbian Ordination

On July 8, 2010, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the ordination of "openly"/partnered gay and lesbian members. Many conservative members left the denomination thereafter.

Presbyterian Church in America

In 1973, conservative Presbyterians dissatisfied with the liberal tendencies of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. left to form the Presbyterian Church in America.

Presbyterian Church in the U.S.

The Civil War divided northern and southern Presbyterians, leading those in the South to secede and form the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. in 1861.

Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church

In 1969, this Supreme Court case prohibited the government from interfering in doctrinal disputes between churches.

Princeton University Founded

New Light Presbyterians founded Princeton University in 1746 as one of the first national colleges in America.

Reunification of New School and Old School Presbyterians

After 30 years of division between New School and Old School Presbyterians, the factions reunited in 1869.

Sarah Dickson Becomes First Female Presbyterian Elder

On June 2, 1930, Sarah Dickson became the first female elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Scottish Covenanters Form First Presbytery in Pennsylvania

Expatriates from dissident Scottish Presbyterians formed a presbytery in central Pennsylvania in 1774.

Synod of 1737 and the Old Side-New Side Controversy

The Synod of 1737, which restricted itinerancy and tightened ordination standards, launched the Old Side-New Side Controversy, which divided American Presbyterianism for two decades.

The American Sunday School Union

In 1817, the American Sunday School Union formed as a faith-based voluntary society to spread education and knowledge of the Bible throughout the country.

The First Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening (1730s-1770s) was a series of religious revivals that propelled the expansion of evangelical denominations in the colonies.

The Plan of Union of 1758

The Plan of Union in 1758 ended the Old Side-New Side controversy among American Presbyterians.

The Plan of Union of 1801

In 1801, the Plan of Union united the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists in efforts to evangelize the Midwest.

The Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening(s) (1790s-1840s) fueled the rise of an evangelical Protestant majority in antebellum America, giving rise to new denominations and social reform organizations.

Trial of Albert Barnes

The trial of Presbyterian minister Albert Barnes regarding his unorthodox theology in 1835 increased tensions between Old School and New School Presbyterians.

Trial of Charles Augustus Briggs

The 1892 heresy trial of theologian Charles Augustus Briggs anticipated the fundamentalist-modernist controversy in the Presbyterian Church twenty years later.

UPCUSA Confession of 1967

The 1967 Confession added calls for racial and social reconciliation, but conservatives in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) accused it of hedging on essential doctrines.

William Tennent's "Log College"

In 1727, William Tennent's "Log College" became the first seminary in North America.

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