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History...

We adhere to the position adopted by the Church of Scotland at the reformation. Our divergence from the Church of Scotland dates from 1843.

 

The immediate cause of the Disruption of 1843 was the insistence by the civil courts that the Church had to ordain men to the ministry irrespective of their acceptability to the parishioners. This was an intolerable interference in the spiritual liberties of the church.  Thus, a severing of the link that bound the Church to the State occurred.  Since the Chuch was not of one mind regarding the proposed action, the Church was itself split.  The Free Church, subservient to no other authority than the will of God as set out in the Scriptures as understood by the collective mind of the Church, came into being.

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Statue of Thomas Chalmers, leader of the Free Church in 1843

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In the late nineteenth century a movement to unite the various splintered Presbyterian Churches in Scotland was begun.  However, union was found to be possible only on the basis of compromise.  A minority within the Free Church recognised that the doctrines being treated as open questions were in fact vital to the faith and that the duty of Christian unity had to yield to the higher duty of fidelity to the truth. While the majority entered the Union of 1900 to form the United Free Church of Scotland the minority elected to continue the Free Church of Scotland.

Home in Edinburgh of Thomas Chalmers

In January 2000 a division occurred because a majority was determined to act in a way that was against the Constitution or 'rule book' of the church, which all office-bearers must uphold.  A number of ministers and elders pledged themselves to continue the Free Church in a constitutional manner. Today, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) remains in continuity with the Free Church of 1843. The singing of the Scottish Metrical Psalms unaccompanied by instrumental music is, perhaps, the most distinctive feature of its liturgy, but the chief emphasis of its worship is still to be found in the centrality of the pulpit and the proclamation of a free and sovereign salvation.  It also believes in the inalianable right and duty of every office-bearer to defend the Constitution of the Church, even if this means protesting against the General Assembly, the highest court of the Church.

A Declaration of Reconstitution was signed by ministers and elders on the 20th January 2000 vindicating our stand and our claim to be the true Free Church of Scotland.  A copy of the Declaration can be downloaded by pressing the following link.

Declaration of Reconstitution