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The Cumberland v. Disciples split (1810-1812)

Discussion in 'Confessional, Covenantal, Creedal - Presbyterian' started by 98cwitr, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. 98cwitr

    98cwitr Lord forgive me Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
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  2. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

  3. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

    I'm not an expert on Cumberland, but the reputation is that they tend to be Arminian. This page on their web site Cumberland Presbyterian Church FAQ says that revisions to the Westminster Confession in what is now the PCUSA made in 1902 effectively eliminated the difference. Those changes, among other things, softened the stand on predestination, allowing a view of it that at least approaches Arminianism.

    The Wikipedia summary of their history says they split from the main Presbyterian church over their tolerance of Arminianism or near-Arminianism, and over not requiring rigorous education for pastors. The latter was because they were active in the frontier, and couldn't find enough educated clergy. Splits over this combination of toleration of Arminianism and weakened education requirements have occurred several times in Presbyterian history, usually motivated by interest in evangelism.

    The Disciples situation is more complex. Indeed I don't normally think of them as being specifically a spinoff from Presbyterianism -- though the founders had been Presbyterian. Their web site says they split because of dissatisfaction with the disunity in the Church, particularly the unwillingness of churches to share communion because of doctrinal disagreement.

    They were part of a movement referred to as the Restoration Movement. These people wanted to start over, using just the Bible, and believing only things clearly taught there. They thought that this would be a way to get unity. History shows that this doesn't actually work, since everyone thinks their own tradition is Biblical, and the people starting over have unacknowledged traditions in their mind when they're deciding what the simple Biblical message is.

    The Disciples are considered the liberal wing of the Restoration movement. Consistent with the original vision of unity, they are ecumenical, and tend to avoid things like strict Calvinism. They are currently in full communion with the PCUSA, though not (obviously) the more conservative Presbyterian churches.

    There is a more conservative wing of the Restoration movement, with the largest representative being the Churches of Christ. They share many characteristics with other conservative Christian movements, but have tended to take positions that others consider legalistic, e.g. prohibiting the use of instruments in worship and prohibiting missionary organizations. (Note that some mainstream Reformed also agree with non-instrumental worship.)
  4. Daniel Marsh

    Daniel Marsh Well-Known Member

    United States
  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

    The whole Restoration movement was quite a collection. The current Disciples church started in 1968, so some of this may not apply very directly to them. However they are a non-credal denomination. Thus they do not require belief in the Trinity. I have no way of knowing how common non-Trinitarian belief actually is.

    There doesn't seem to be any forum where the Disciples would fit, or I'd refer this discussion there.