“Early in American Presbyterian history, the conception of church and state relations began to change, but the basic contours of the spirituality of the church remained and were reinforced. With the Adopting Act of 1729, the Presbyterian church allowed that chapters 20 and 23 of the Westminster Confession were no longer binding on ministers and that ministers need not receive “those articles in any such sense as to suppose the civil magistrate hath a controlling power over Synods with respect to the exercise of their ministerial authority.” In other words, any notion of an Established Church, let alone an Erastian one, was gone. It was still assumed that the church and state would be allies in Protestant America, but they were distinct bodies with different responsibilities pursued by different means.”
Gospel Coalition Article
Actually, this is not true. An established Church has always existed in every nation that has ever existed. An established church, officially established or not is an inescapable category. DeYoung doesn’t see beneath the surface here. The 1729 adopting act did NOT eliminate the possibility of an established Church. The 1729 adopting act instead disallowed that Christianity would be established church. The 1729 adopting act allowed the non-established Christian Churches to incrementally be displaced by the State Church of humanism which eventually became the defacto established church in America. The 1729 adopting act was and is a disaster and moved Presbyterianism in an Anabaptist direction.
By adopting the 1729 adopting act Presbyterians scorned their Fathers and created a situation where a pluralism was required. This meant that some form of polytheism was the Church that was adopted. The ironic thing here is that by adopting pluralism they at the same time adopted a monotheistic pluralism inasmuch as no other God or religion would be allowed the status that pluralism and polytheism was given. The 1729 adopting act required that the Christian church would not be established and so required that pluralism and polytheism be established. Establishment is inescapable.
As a result the small church I serve stands across the street from the Established state Church; the Government High school. That established church receives public taxes as established churches used to receive. That established church is required to catechize the children in the State religion (state sanctioned curriculum). That established church has its own clergy (teachers) paid by the State. That established church has its own creeds and confessions. I have to compete with the established religion. The 1729 adopting act led to all this being accepted.
What the 1729 adopting act did was to shield from Ministers and Christians the fact that established Churches are an inescapable concept. The Act could work because the colonies remained subjectively speaking, largely Christian, but the adopting Act today has reinforced the religious pluralization of what remains of our country.
Christianity is not a Democracy and the 1729 Adopting Act democratized the Christian faith. This was a mistake.