The New International Encyclopædia/Gorham Controversy

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GORHAM CONTROVERSY. A theological controversy within the Church of England as to the teaching of this Church with reference to the sacramental grace of baptism. The occasion was a suit by the Rev. George C. Gorham against the Bishop of Exeter for induction into the vicarage of Brampford Speke, in spite of his denial of baptismal regeneration. The Arches Court of Canterbury decided in 1845 against Mr. Gorham, maintaining that baptismal regeneration is the doctrine of the Church of England, while on appeal the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council reversed the judgment of the lower court, without, however, expressing any opinion as to the theological accuracy of Mr. Gorham's opinions. The decision and the attitude of the high dignitaries of the Church of England, amid the fierce controversy which arose in regard to it, were the main determining factors in Manning's decision to submit to the Roman obedience. Consult Purcell, Life of Cardinal Manning (London, 1897).