Charles Augustus Briggs, tried for heresy for his inaugural address in 1891 as professor of biblical theology at Union Seminary (in which he attacked the inerrancy of the Bible, held the composite character of the Hexateuch and of the Book of Isaiah and taught that sanctification is not complete at death), was acquitted by the presbytery of New York, but was declared guilty and was suspended from its ministry by the General Assembly of 1893.
Then after a prayer for sanctification, or for worthy reception, followed the Lord's Prayer, and after the Lord's Prayer the communion.
The fraternal and democratic spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with light and the Sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration, the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot, the drawing of water from the rock; the use of bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and of the 25th of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis placed upon abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating from the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, the resurrection of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe - are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity.
There is not the slightest doubt that the censing of things and persons was first practised as an act of purification, and thus became symbolical of consecration, and finally of the sanctification of the soul.
He always made it clear that the ideal philosophy was Christocentric: he said that Reformed theology must "`Christologize ' predestination and decrees, regeneration and sanctification, the doctrine of the Church, and the whole of the Eschatology."
In brief they were as follows: that he had taught that reason and the Church are each a " fountain of divine authority which apart from Holy Scripture may and does savingly enlighten men "; that " errors may have existed in the original text of the Holy Scripture "; that " many of the Old Testament predictions have been reversed by history " and that " the great body of Messianic prediction has not and cannot be fulfilled "; that " Moses is not the author of the Pentateuch," and that " Isaiah is not the author of half of the book which bears his name "; that " the processes of redemption extend to the world to come " - he had considered it a fault of Protestant theology that it limits redemption to this world - and that" sanctification is not complete at death."
"Water," he continues, "was generically hallowed by the Spirit of God brooding over it at creation, and therefore all special waters are holy, and at once obtain the sacrament of sanctification when God is invoked (over them.) For the Spirit from heaven instantly supervenes and is upon the waters, hallowing them out of itself, and being so hallowed they drink up a power of hallowing."