Church history

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is a mainline descendent of the historic Church of Scotland of the Reformation. Tracing its Presbyterian heritage from the New Testament church practice down to John Knox in the 1600s, and on to the 1843 Free Church of Scotland which separated from the established church over the issue of patronage (the State appointing ministers to parishes regardless of the Scriptural method that provided for parishioners to ‘call’ their own minister.) The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland separated from the Free Church of Scotland in 1893, following the protest made by Rev Donald Macfarlane at the General Assembly in that year. His protest was against the Passing of a Declaratory Act which allowed a more liberal interpretation of the Subordinate Standard – The Westminster Confession of Faith, and the failure of all efforts to revoke this Act. He maintained that the Declaratory Act had fatally changed the constitution of the Free Church so that the Declaratory Act Free Church ceased to be, as he protested, 'the true representative of the Free Church of Scotland'. The Declaratory Act was seen by many as a regression from the wholehearted attachment to the Westminster Confession of Faith as the Church's subordinate standard, itself a fundamental article of the constitution of the Church. On 14th August 1893 a Deed of Separation was adopted by Rev Donald Macfarlane, Rev Donald Macdonald and others, who made up the first Presbytery of what would become the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Gradually the denomination grew as many, opposed to the passing of the Declaratory Act, joined the stand taken by Mr Macfarlane. Since its earliest days the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has continued the evangelical tradition of the Free Church and has a deep and prayerful interest in the spreading of the gospel beyond the shores of Scotland. In 1904 a mission work was started in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) when Rev J Radasi was ordained, and travelled there to begin what would prove a longstanding attachment between the Church and that part of Africa. In the present day, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has congregations in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Canada, USA, Ukraine, Israel, Singapore, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand. The Church publishes a monthly magazine and a magazine for young people.'