Reasons of Dissent
From the Resolution of Synod
Adopting the Form of Covenanting, 1871.
TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.
The following document is taken from the published minutes of the RPCNA Synod for 1871, found printed in The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, volume 9, Nos. 7 & 8.
REASONS OF DISSENT FROM THE RESOLUTION OF SYNOD ADOPTING THE FORM OF COVENANTING.
1. By the resolution Synod adopts a new Covenant, entirely distinct from and a substitute for our present Covenants, the National Covenant of Scotland and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland, which Covenants, National and Solemn League, we acknowledge to be binding on us and on our posterity and on all represented in the taking of them, in all things moral and scriptural, and must bind, until their great and Christ-honoring ends have been attained. Ministers, ruling elders and deacons, at their ordination, have solemnly pledged themselves to these Covenants, by name, as have also all the members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, when they professed her faith, and every time they have come to the Lord’s table, as is most evident from the fourth term of our ecclesiastical communion. To renew these Covenants in a Bond adapted to the times and circumstances of the Covenanters, and not to substitute another in their stead, is proper and dutiful according to the Word of God, according to the practice of the church in all ages, and especially prominent in the practice of our fathers in the Second Reformation, in their renewal of the National Covenant of Scotland and of the Solemn League and Covenant—a practice in which they have been closely followed by their faithful descendants to this day, as in the renovation of these Covenants at Auchinsaugh, Crawford-John, and, a few years ago at Dervock, by our brethren in Ireland. “Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”
2. Because Synod refuses to admit into the new Covenant the names of these God-approved and time-honored Covenants, the National and Solemn League, to which we are so solemnly bound, notwithstanding these Covenants gave the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America her existence, her name, prominence and strength, and ought not to be effaced from her hallowed escutcheon or cease to hold their place on the blood-stained banner of our martyred fathers, on which is inscribed, “For CHRIST’s CROWN and COVENANT.”
3. Because the adoption of the new Covenant, into which the names of the Covenants, National and Solemn League, are not admitted, tends to and eventually will necessitate the obliteration of their names from the vows, which are now imposed on ministers, ruling elders and deacons at their ordination, and from our Terms of Communion, and consequently change our relation to those honored Covenants and to our covenanted brethren in the British Isles.
4. Because Synod in the final adjustment of the preliminaries to covenanting concedes the need of inserting the names of these Covenants in the Form, when it asserts, in explaining the expression “the Covenants of the Second Reformation,” that it includes the National and Solemn League.
JAMES W. SHAW,
See also: Other Resources Relating to the 1871 Covenant sworn at Pittsburgh.