The Plan of Union of 1758
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Time Period
5/29/1758
Description
The seeds of reunion between Old Side and New Side Presbyterians were sown in 1749 when Gilbert Tennent apologized for his harsh rhetoric toward Old Side ministers in his 1740 sermon. Moreover, Old Side Presbyterianism, lodged in the Philadelphia Presbytery, had grown at a significantly slower pace than the New Side Presbyterianism, giving Old Siders practical considerations for a reunion.

By 1752, the two sides began the negotiations that led to the Plan of Union in 1758. They formed the combined Synod of New York and Philadelphia and adopted several compromises. The New Side relaxed the ordination requirements and affirmed the First Great Awakening as "a blessed work of God's Holy Spirit." New Siders also dominated the new synod, controlling 70 of the 94 total ministers involved. The Old Side won certain concessions as well, like adopting The Westminster Confession and prohibiting false accusations against fellow ministers, an unambiguous reference to Gilbert Tennent's infamous sermon.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Biographies
Tennent, Gilbert
Movements
The First Great Awakening
Photographs

Minutes of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, title page- Internet Archive

Second Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia- Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-543

Gilbert Tennent portrait- Internet Archive- from Sermons and Essays by the Tennents and their Contemporaries
Book/Journal Source(s)
Hart, D.G. and John R. Muether, 2007. Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism. P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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