Who We Are
From time to time, we meet with those who ask about the position, doctrine and
practice of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The following is an answer
for such enquirers, and also to commend the Church to those who may be interested
in joining her fellowship.
It has become common nowadays to hear people say, "What does it matter which
Church one belongs to? They all worship the same God anyway. They just do it
in different ways." The assertion falls easily from the lips, but what has
the Bible to say on the question?
Let it be said, at the outset, that the most important thing is that one be a
member of that Church which is made up of true believers - those who are born
again, and whose sins have been forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ as the
Son of God (Matthew 16:16-18).
No particular Church on earth dare arrogate to itself the claim that it
alone comprises the true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. To say, however,
that it does not matter which particular Church one belongs to is not true. Scripture
requires us to "prove all things", to "hold fast that which is
good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The choice of one's Church does matter. Plainly,
a Church that does not, for instance, proclaim a pure Gospel, or that practises
what is inconsistent with the Word of God, does not deserve our support, for
Christ requires the Church to teach "all things whatsoever I have commanded
Our concern, therefore, should be to support a Church that comes nearest to the
New Testament pattern, which is the divine blue-print for the Church of Christ
in this world. If we turn to the Bible we shall find that certain fundamental
principles are laid down for the conduct and government of the Church on earth.
These principles are not optional - for us to take or leave as we please. They
are stamped with the divine imperative. We are, therefore, bound to adopt them.
The Church that does so most faithfully comes nearest to the New Testament model,
and is the Church most worthy of our allegiance and most likely to promote our
spiritual welfare. If we do not take the Holy Scriptures as our standard, in
this as in other religious questions, we will go very far astray in our choice.
God, let it be remembered, is not the author of confusion; He is the God of order,
and His Word cannot sanction contradictory doctrines and systems.
The Word of God tells us that no flesh is to glory in God's presence; if any
glory, he is to glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:29, 31). What is enjoined
here with respect to the individual Christian may with equal propriety be expected
of a body of Christians. There is no room for boasting. No Church on earth is
so sound as to be free from imperfection.
With the above preface in mind, we would submit that the Free Presbyterian Church
of Scotland shows by her doctrine and practice that she is a rightful and respectable
member of the universal Church of Christ. But such a generalisation may be made
of other Churches. We must, therefore, be more definitive; we must enquire more
particularly into the characteristics which constitute a faithful Christian Church.
What are her attributes? First, she acknowledges none but the Lord Jesus Christ
as her Head and King. Then, she takes the Word of God as her doctrinal foundation,
and shows a determination never to permit any human writings or traditions of
men to encroach upon the unique place of Scripture, as the standard of her faith
and practice. She preaches the Word and administers the sacraments, her government
and discipline according to the mind of Christ. What is of the world, or of man's
invention, is not permitted to adulterate her worship. Of course, the more faithful
she is to the voice of Christ, the purer she will be.
These are the basic principles for which our great Protestant Reformers, Calvin
and Knox, contended, and it is in line with these principles that the Free Presbyterian
Church of Scotland stands