The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is a reformed, presbyterian and evangelical church. The questions and answers below will provide you with some basic information about our doctrine, worship and government and the message we preach.
What is your church's doctrine?
Our church adheres to the reformed faith, which is nothing other than the teachings of Holy Scripture understood and expressed in a consistent manner. The reformed faith may be summarised in various ways. The ‘five solas’ indicate the fundamental emphases of the reformed faith: Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria–Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Glory to God Alone. The ‘five points of Calvinism’ indicate the teaching of the reformed faith on the vital matter of salvation: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints.
Where can I learn more about your church's doctrine?
Our church's doctrine is detailed in the Westminster Confession of Faith which was drawn up by the Westminster Assembly which met from 1643-48. You can read it here.
How does your church worship?
Our church worships according to the regulative principle which means that only what God prescribes in His Word is allowed in public worship. As a result we praise God from the Psalms of David only, using a metrical version and without the accompaniment of muscial instruments. We do not observe festival days, believing that the only day which God requires us to keep holy is the first day of the week, the Sabbath or Lord's day. Public prayer is led by men and the preaching of God's Word is generally by ordained ministers, as is the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper.
Where can I learn more about how your church worships?
Our church's worship is detailed in the Directory for the Publick Worship of God which was also drawn up by the Westminster Assembly. You can read it here.
How is your church governed?
Our church is governed by ministers and ruling elders meeting in courts, with the local courts subordinate to the more extensive courts as in Acts Chapter 15. All office-bearers are male and the courts are structured as follows:
Kirk Session – overseeing the local congregation and consisting of the minister and elders of the congregation.
Presbytery – overseeing the congregations in a district and consisting of all the ministers of the congregations within its bounds (including retired ministers) and a representative elder from each of the congregations.
Synod – overseeing the presbyteries in a particular area and consisting of all the ministers and elders of the presbyteries within its bounds.
General Assembly – overseeing the whole church and consisting of all the ministers and elders of all the presbyteries.
The presbytery is the fundamental or ‘radical’ court in the system. Its functions include the examination and licensing of candidates for the ministry and the ordination and discipline of ministers.
Following a reorganisation in 2008 our church has five Presbyteries arranged into two Synods in Scotland and one active Presbytery in North America. Each Presbytery and Synod has a Clerk who is responsible for the maintenance of records and correspondence. The General Assembly has a Principal Clerk and an Assistant Clerk.
By an Act of the 2015 General Assembly Synods are no longer required to meet on the stated dates of their Ordinary Meetings, although they continue to maintain their functions as courts to hear and dispose of Complaints, Appeals, References, Petitions and Overtures from the inferior courts.
Where can I learn more about how your church is governed?
Our church's government is detailed in the Form of Presbyterial Church-Government which was again drawn up by the Westminster Assembly. You can read it here.
What is your church's message?
The most important thing about any church is where it stands on the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the gospel or 'good news' we proclaim?
The Bible teaches us that there is a God with whom we all have to do. God is a spirit, pure and holy, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being. He created all things by His mighty power, making this world and everything in it. He made man in His own image and likeness to glorify and enjoy Him. We are dependent upon our Creator for all things and we can only be truly content in knowing Him.
The Bible reveals how the devil tempted our first parents to sin against God, resulting in the fall and our separation from God. Adam was the head of the whole human race and so we all sinned in him and fell with him. We deserve to be punished in hell for our sins and we cannot deliver ourselves.
The Bible declares that God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into the world to become man and save sinners. The gospel is the wonderful account of what Christ has done to restore us to fellowship with God. He lovingly took the place of the guilty, keeping God's law perfectly and dying on a cross at Calvary. Having been punished for the sins of His people He rose again for their justification.
In the gospel Christ's salvation is offered freely to sinners. In order to be saved we must repent of our sins and believe in Christ for righteousness. Then we shall have eternal life and enjoy a place in heaven when we die.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – John 3:16.
Where can I learn more about your church's message?
You are very welcome to attend public worship in any of our congregations. Sample sermons from our ministers may be listened to here.