1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evangelical Union

7069551911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — Evangelical Union

EVANGELICAL UNION, a religious denomination which originated in the suspension of the Rev. James Morison (1816–1893), minister of a United Secession congregation in Kilmarnock, Scotland, for certain views regarding faith, the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, and the extent of the atonement, which were regarded by the supreme court of his church as anti-Calvinistic and heretical. Morison was suspended by the presbytery in 1841 and thereupon definitely withdrew from the Secession Church. His father, who was minister at Bathgate, and two other ministers, being deposed not long afterwards for similar opinions, the four met at Kilmarnock on the 16th of May 1843 (two days before the “Disruption” of the Free Church), and, on the basis of certain doctrinal principles, formed themselves into an association under the name of the Evangelical Union, “for the purpose of countenancing, counselling and otherwise aiding one another, and also for the purpose of training up spiritual and devoted young men to carry forward the work and ‘pleasure of the Lord.’” The doctrinal views of the new denomination gradually assumed a more decidedly anti-Calvinistic form, and they began also to find many sympathizers among the Congregationalists of Scotland. Nine students were expelled from the Congregational Academy for holding “Morisonian” doctrines, and in 1845 eight churches were disjoined from the Congregational Union of Scotland and formed a connexion with the Evangelical Union. The Union exercised no jurisdiction over the individual churches connected with it, and in this respect adhered to the Independent or Congregational form of church government; but those congregations which originally were Presbyterian vested their government in a body of elders. In 1889 the denomination numbered 93 churches; and in 1896, after prolonged negotiation, the Evangelical Union was incorporated with the Congregational Union of Scotland.

See The Evangelical Union Annual; History of the Evangelical Union, by F. Ferguson (Glasgow, 1876); The Worthies of the E. U. (1883); W. Adamson, Life of Dr James Morison (1898).