[This appeared first in the September 2014 edition of the Free Presbtyerian Magazine.]
The referendum on Scottish independence due to be held this month will amount to the biggest single constitutional decision in our nation’s history since 1707. In deciding how to vote in such a momentous event, we would respectfully suggest that our people take the following points into serious consideration.
- Firstly, we must ask whether Scottish independence would be for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has been made clear that an independent Scotland would adopt a secular constitution. We hold that this will take away from Christ’s rightful position as King of nations. Certainly we are not under any illusions about the present desperate state of affairs throughout the United Kingdom, where true religion is so low everywhere. Nevertheless we fear that a move away from a specifically-Christian acknowledgement in the foundation of our national life will only strengthen the powers of the kingdom of darkness in their opposition to Christ. Under a secular constitution it will be even more difficult than it is at present to introduce legislation founded on biblical principles.
- Secondly, will Scottish independence strengthen Protestantism? The securities which guaranteed Presbyterian Church Government to the Scottish people in 1707 continue to be an integral part of the Union to this day. However imperfectly the United Kingdom has implemented Christian principles over the years, the fact remains that Britain is still officially committed to protecting the Protestant faith. Breaking the Union will abolish that protection. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the Roman Catholic Church will have far greater political influence in an independent Scotland than it presently does under the Union, since the proportion of Romanists is much higher in Scotland than in Britain as a whole. This ought to be a grave concern to Protestants.
- Thirdly, in an independent Scotland, the constitutional position of the Presbyterian Church under the 1921 Church of Scotland Act would be as precarious as can readily be imagined. One hostile vote in the Scottish Parliament from an alliance of Roman Catholics, secularists and others would easily sweep away the whole established position of Christianity from the national life of Scotland. This would amount to a formal and deliberate repudiation by the Scottish people and its representatives of the work of the Reformation. That, we believe, would incur the wrath of God on our land.
- Fourthly, we ought to be mindful of the many blessings bestowed on Britain since 1707. Since then we have enjoyed almost uninterrupted internal peace and remarkable deliverances in wartime, accompanied by increasing temporal prosperity and much spiritual blessing. It has thus been an unspeakable privilege to have our lot in providence in a free, Christian, Protestant nation. We would be despising that inheritance in choosing to destroy our United Kingdom.
For reasons such as these we would encourage the readers of this Magazine eligible to vote in the Referendum to reject Scottish independence.
See also Synod says: Vote “No”.
Listen to this sermon: A united kingdom divided.