The Plan of Union of 1758
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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.
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Tennent, Gilbert
The First Great Awakening

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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