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God Alone is Lord of the Conscience (1988)

For two hundred years, General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church have been concerned with religious liberty and the relationship of church and state. The first General Assembly might well have heard the echo of Hanover Presbytery’s mighty Memorial to the Virginia legislature: “We ask no ecclesiastical establishments for ourselves; neither can we approve of them when granted to others.” Since 1788, our basic Principles of Church Order have placed in the first position the powerful commitment of our Reformed faith to religious liberty: “God alone is Lord of the conscience…. We do not even wish to see any religious constitution aided by the civil power, further than may be necessary for protection and security, and at the same time be equal and common to all others.