The Bible is the only supreme document for Church’s belief and practice. However, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland maintains full and strict subscription to the original Westminster Confession of Faith as its subordinate standard. This confession is the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church. The Westminster Assembly of Divines began meeting in London in 1643 and spent five years producing the confession. Most of its members were Puritans from England, but there were some notable commissioners from Scotland. These were Alexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, Robert Baillie, and George Gillespie.
“It was the period of the Puritan ascendancy. Perhaps no other period in the Church’s history can boast of such a distinguished band of experimental theologians. The Puritan divines are facile princeps the theologians of Practical Theology. An age that could boast of an Owen – the spell of whose genius and learning was second only to Calvin’s – of the great expository powers of Goodwin, of Charnock, Adams, Brooks, Baxter and others, may safely enough be described as an age of great spiritual fervour and deep piety. Anyone who has read the writings of the Puritans cannot but be impressed with the great learning and deep spiritual insight which they display.” – Rev. D. Beaton in The Assembly and the Confession of Faith. Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Magazine 1899.
Presbyterian Churches in Scotland
The Church of Scotland adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith in 1648. The Free Church of Scotland later retained full subscription to the original Confession at the Disruption of 1843. However, in 1892 the Free Church passed a Declaratory Act to relax the strictness of their subscription to the Confession. Subsequently in 1893, after attempts to repeal the Act failed, a lone Free Church minister, Rev. Donald Macfarlane protested. Having protested he seperated to form the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which preseved intact the original Free Church constitution.
Strict Subscription to Westminster Standards
The 20th Century saw a marked decline in the strictness of subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith in almost all churches who profess alliegance to it. Conversly the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland maintains the strict subscription and practice of the Scottish Reformers and the Puritans, in relation to the Confession.
Therefore the Westminster Confession of Faith is the official subordinate standard of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. However we also subscribe to the associated documents known as the Westminster Standards, such as the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism.
The Westminster Confession of FaithThe Confession of Faith Agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, with the assistance of Commissioners from the Church of Scotland, as a part of the Covenanted Uniformity in Religion betwixt the Churches of Christ in the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland. Approved by the General Assembly 1647, and ratified and established by Acts of Parliament 1649 and 1690, as the public and avowed…
Below are expositions on various questions in the Shorter Catechism by Thomas Vincent, James Fisher, and Thomas Watson. QUESTION 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell? QUESTION 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery? QUESTION 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ QUESTION 31.…