141 Question. Is the Free Presbyterian Church opposed to union with other Churches?
Answer. No, the Free Presbyterian Church encourages biblical union with any Church in Scotland or overseas provided that there is a unity in doctrine, worship, government, discipline, and practice.
142 Q. But should we not for the sake of brotherliness overlook differences and join with other Churches?
A. No, it is not brotherly to overlook important principles in doctrine, worship, government, discipline, and practice and so unless there is common ground on all these, any union would be at the expense of truth (Rom. 16:17, 18; 2 Thess. 3:6).
143 Q. Can Christ’s prayer “that they all may be one” (John 17:21, 23) justify creating a single Church from every Church that professes to be Christian, irrespective
of its doctrine?
A. No, because this would make it contradict the clear testimony of Scripture that Church unity can only be in the truth (Eph. 5:11; 1 Cor. 1:10;
Eph. 4:13-16; 1 Tim. 3:15).
144 Q. Are there any in the visible Church who are not true believers?
A. In every Church that professes Christ there will be a mixed company of true believers and others who are not true believers.
145 Q. May there be such declension in a professing Christian Church that it becomes no longer Christian?
A. The Scriptures speak of a “synagogue of Satan” in spite of its profession (Rev. 2:9 and 3:9). Christ calls his people to come out of Babylon, which is the
name given to the apostate Church of Rome in Scripture (Rev. 18:4).
146 Q. When should individual believers separate from the fellowship of others?
A. The Scriptures enjoin believers to withdraw themselves from those who are professed brethren and who walk disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6), so when men have so rejected sound doctrine, right government, and discipline, or have introduced superstitious worship, or are maintaining a schismatic position, and when an orderly correction of these evils fails, then believers are to separate from such.
147 Q. When is it lawful to break ecclesiastical union through separation?
A. Unity is an absolute duty and therefore the only lawful reason for separation is when one is compelled unavoidably to sin in order to maintain the bond of union. In this case the sin of schism is made by those compelling to sin. Up until this point any separation would be unjust schism since one may still testify against corruptions in the Church and use all lawful means to have them removed.
148 Q. What is schism?
A. Schism is a breach of the union and communion that ought to exist within the visible Church in doctrine, government and worship (1 Cor. 12:25; Rom. 16:17).
149 Q. What is the duty of Churches in Scotland who profess to represent the Reformed Church?
A. All Presbyterian Churches in Scotland claiming to represent the Reformed Church and who have caused or who maintain schisms contrary to the avowed Westminster Standards are bound to repent and to return to purity in doctrine, worship, government and discipline. The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is not guilty of schism and claims to be the true heir of the Reformed Church of Scotland in doctrine, worship, government and discipline. While she certainly does not claim perfection, she maintains that all Churches in Scotland should unite around her constitution and testimony.
. See Free Presbyterian Synod Resolution on Union with other Churches, Appendix III.5 on page 47.