Metrical Psalmody in the Free Church of Scotland

Metrical Psalmody in the Free Church of Scotland

Maurice Grant & John W Keddie

A paper prepared for the Legal Advice & Property Committee in November 2013. Its purpose is explained thus:

"The burden of this paper in particular is to demonstrate the historical position of the Disruption Church. Much of the focus will be on the developments in the area of sung praise in worship after the Reformation, before 19th Century changes in the Churches in Scotland ‘broadened’ the materials of praise beyond inspired Scripture and beyond the use of the human voice alone in sung praise in public worship services. It is also a burden of this paper to seek to establish the constitutional position in the post-1900 Free Church in relation to these issues."

Among the conclusions of the paper are the following:

"(5) The decisions of the Free Church Plenary Assembly in November 2010 to allow uninspired hymns and instrumental music in the worship of the Church are a breach of the constitution and a departure from the historic testimony of the pre-Disruption Church of Scotland and also of the post-1900 Free Church, as confirmed in the Free Church which continued after 1900."

"(6) It is clear, therefore, that the part of the division in the Free Church of Scotland in 2000 known as the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) does in fact more faithfully represent the principles and traditions in public worship of the pre-Disruption Church of Scotland, the Disruption Church, and the post-1900 Free Church of Scotland, than that major part of the Free Church after 2000 which instituted changes in worship in November 2010. In effect it sided with the position of the Free Church which had instituted changes in worship in 1872 and 1883, against which protests were raised at the time. The Free Church which continued after 1900 reverted to the earlier commitments exclusively to inspired materials of praise without instrumental accompaniment."

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