Edinburgh Reformed Presbytery on racial segregation in the church

On the 30 April 1845, the Edinburgh Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland (Covenanter) passed a number of resolutions against chattel slavery and fellowship with slaveholding churches.  The eighth resolution contains the following condemnation of the practice of racial segregation in the churches of America:

8.  That while this Court express these views in reference to American slavery and the duties of the Churches, they cannot refrain from expressing their sympathy, not only with the oppressed slaves, but with the people of colour generally in that land, who, under the influence of cruel prejudices and unjust laws, are subjected to all manner of hardships and indignities in the whole intercourse of life.  Nor can this Court refrain from condemning the conduct of many of the churches in the United States, in reference to this matter, inasmuch as they sanction and strengthen these cruel prejudices and unjust laws, by preventing persons of colour, recognised as members of the church, from sitting in the same pews, and from taking their seats at the Lord’s table in company with their white brethren; thus in their public assemblies having respect to persons committing sin, and being convinced of the law as transgressors; and it is the conviction of this Court, that churches acting in this cruel and sinful manner, render themselves unworthy of fellowship with Christians and Christian churches, who desire to adhere consistently to the laws of Christ, the alone King and Head of his Church, with whom there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but himself all, and in all.

Joseph Wilson, Moderator.

Wm. Anderson, Clerk.

Deliverance of the Reformed Presbytery of Edinburgh on American slavery and church-fellowship with slave-holders (Edinburgh, 1845), p. 4.

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