[This resolution was approved by the Synod in November 1904, and remains the decided position of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It is as much needed now as ever it was.]
“The Synod also, considering the dishonest and degrading manner in which the most solemn promises and engagements relative to subordinate standards are violated by many that hold office in Presbyterian Churches, the great reproach brought thereby on the name of Christ, and the reflection cast upon all office-bearers, feels bound to restate what is the real nature and implication of these engagements, and what is expected of all office-bearers of this Church in this connection. The solemn promises and declarations made at ordination – commonly called ordination vows – are made not so much unto men as unto God, and are therefore of the like binding obligation with an oath, and ought to be made with the like seriousness and religious care.
“The Synod, therefore believing that the Westminster Confession of Faith, as received by the Church of Scotland in 1647, is founded upon the Word of God, and agreeable thereto, cannot accept the view that this Church will at any time be at liberty to depart from the doctrine, government, mode of worship, and discipline which the said Confession sets forth, and which all office-bearers have solemnly engaged to assert, maintain and defend. The Synod expects of its officebearers, as honourable men, that whensoever they are conscious of having ceased to believe in any of these doctrines and principles, or to approve of the mode of worship, which they have vowed to maintain, they should lay down their office and not help to deprive the Church of its peace and purity; and finally it expects of the Church itself, through its courts, to see that in this connection its discipline is observed wheresoever in any case such honourable dealing does not appear to characterise any office-bearer whatsoever.”
(1923 Church Documents, No. III)