The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

 

According to its website, The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is “The constitutional heir of the historic Church of Scotland” and “traces its Scriptural roots through the Scottish Reformation to the New Testament.”

The original Church of Scotland arose as a consequence of the “Scottish Reformation” of 1560 when, through the efforts of John Knox and other followers of John Calvin, the church broke from Rome.  The Church faced schisms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries leading to the formation of new Scottish churches, including The Free Church of Scotland.  The “Free Church” broke away in 1843 over the issue of patronage – concerned that as an “established” or official church, the Church of Scotland was vulnerable to political and legislative interference in the appointment of ministers.

“The Free Presbyterian church of Scotland,” in turn, split from the Free Church of Scotland in 1893 in response to, in its view, the Free Church weakening its commitment to the “Westminster Confession of Faith” of 1646 in its passage of the “Declaratory Act.”  The new church, based primary in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, believe they have retained the “strict creed subscription that the Free Church had abandoned.”

The church missionary efforts in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) arose from the somewhat unusual circumstances of a young African, J.  B. Radasi, being introduced to the Free Presbyterian Church while visiting Edinburgh in the late 1890s.  He subsequently became a divinity student and, upon ordination, traveled to Zimbabwe in 1904 as a missionary to his own people – the Fingoes – who had relocated to Rhodesia from South Africa following the Matabele Rebellion. Evangelism later spread to the Nbebele as well.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Zimbabwe today consists of six main congregations located in Bulawayo, Ingwenya, Mbuma, New Caanan, Nkayi and Zenka.  As of 1995, there were 4000 affiliate members.

Images used with permission of The Free Scottish Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

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References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis