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First Presbytery Formed in Philadelphia (1706)

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

William Tennent's "Log College" (1727)

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

Adopting Act of Westminster Confession (1729)

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

The First Great Awakening (1733-1770)

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

Synod of 1737 and the Old Side-New Side Controversy (1737)

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.

Gilbert Tennent Preaches "The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry" (3/8/1740)

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

Princeton University Founded (1746)

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

Life of David Brainerd Published (1749)

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

Hanover Presbytery Organized in Virginia (10/3/1755)

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

The Plan of Union of 1758 (5/29/1758)

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

Scottish Covenanters Form First Presbytery in Pennsylvania (1774)

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

Formation of the Associate Reformed Presbytery, or "Seceders" (1782)

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

First General Assembly of the PCUSA (5/21/1789)

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).

The Second Great Awakening (1790-1840)

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.

Cane Ridge Camp Meeting (1801)

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

The Plan of Union of 1801 (1801)

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

First African Presbyterian Church Organized (1807)

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

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1810)

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

Cumberland Presbyterian Church (2/4/1810)

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

George Bourne Dismissed for His Opposition to Slavery (1815)

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

American Bible Society Founded (1816)

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

The American Sunday School Union (1817)

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.

Charles Finney's Rochester Revival (9/1/1830-3/1/1831)

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

Trial of Albert Barnes (1835)

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

New School-Old School Controversy Splits the General Assembly (1837)

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

Murders of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (11/29/1847)

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

Freedmen's Aid Society (1861)

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

Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (1861)

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.

Reunification of New School and Old School Presbyterians (1869)

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

Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America Founded (1874)

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

Trial of Charles Augustus Briggs (1892-1893)

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

Harry Emerson Fosdick Preaches "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" (5/21/1922)

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.

Christianity and Liberalism Published (1923)

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.)

Auburn Affirmation (1924)

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.

Sarah Dickson Becomes First Female Presbyterian Elder (6/2/1930)

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

Orthodox Presbyterian Church Founded (1936)

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

Bible Presbyterian Church (5/1/1937)

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.

Margaret Towner Ordained in PCUSA (10/24/1956)

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 (1958)

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

UPCUSA Confession of 1967 (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.

Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church (1/27/1969)

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

Presbyterian Church in America (1973)

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.

Evangelical Presbyterian Church (1981)

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

Merger of UPCUSA and PCUS (1983)

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.)

Eugene Peterson's The Message Published (1993)

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

PCUSA Approves Gay/Lesbian Ordination (7/8/2010)

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.

PCUSA Allows Same-Sex Marriage (6/19/2014)

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.


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