By Parnell McCarter



A number of conservatives formerly in the Free Church of Scotland (FCS) in the past decade formed the Free Church (of Scotland) Continuing (FCC), while some left the FCS and joined with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS).  The FCC professes to be the true continuation of the FCS.  The FCC has much in common with the FPCS, and it is understandable why people would seriously weigh joining with the FCC.  Here are some questions I would recommend people investigate and inquire about in weighing the FCC:


1. What do they think of the matter discussed at http://www.puritans.net/bookreviewseconddisruption.htm  , noting the original point of separation of the FPCS and the FCS?  Do they think they were right to stay in the old Free Church after it passed the Declaratory Act?


2. I have seen a prominent FCC minister sing uninspired hymnody in a Dutch Reformed church service where he was speaking as a visiting minister.  Does the FCC officially tolerate its elders and communicant members to sing uninspired hymnody when visiting non-FCC churches, or is what I have seen an aberration?


3.  I have reason to fear that the FCC tolerates watching of movies and stage-plays by its communicant members, despite the impropriety of such as discussed at http://www.puritans.net/movie%20reviews/moviereviews.html .  Does the FCC tolerate watching of movies and stage-plays by its communicant members?


4.  Some individual cannot necessarily re-locate to an area where there is a FCC congregation.  I have reason to fear that the FCC does not accommodate such an individual by allowing the person a route to membership, but instead essentially leaves such to "the best congregation where they reside", if there are not enough people to form a FCC congregation in their place of residence, contrary to http://www.puritans.net/news/thoughtexperiment121306.htm  .  What is the FCC policy in such cases?


5. One poster to the Covenanted Reformation Club yahoo list wrote this:




[Covenanted Reformation] Free Church of Scotland - Continuing


"Whit R" <covie_pres.1646@verizon.net>


Thu, Apr 19, 2007 5:49 pm





 Their Terms of Communion is Session-controlled Communion. I was asked 2 questions in my Communion examination: (1) Do you love Jesus Christ? and (2) What is the Gospel? From that examination and further dialogue with the minister, they admit any Christian that believes the true Gospel nevermind the Standards and Covenants."


What officially are the terms of communion in the FCC?  (The terms of communion of the FPCS and my analysis of them is found at http://www.puritans.net/news/fpcs062804.htm .)



6.  Whenever I posed the question to a FCC seminarian here in Grand Rapids going to Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary why he did not join with the FPCS, he told me that he disagreed with the FPCS position regarding Sabbath public transport.  This relates to the case described at http://www.puritans.net/news/sabbathpublictransport042605.htm  .  Do their elders likewise disagree with the FPCS on this?


7.  Would they have remained in the FCS save for the Rev Donald Macleod case?  For example, the FCS apparently allowed freemasons as communicant members- what about the FCC?


8.  The historic Church of Scotland took a position prohibiting jewelry in general, including earrings, for the reasons described at http://www.puritans.net/news/attire040604.htm .  Would the FCC have separated from the historic Church of Scotland due to this issue?  How do they address the arguments from scripture posed by the Reformers on this matter, and how do they address other related issues of attire like make-up, tattoos, and distinctions between male and female dress?


9.  What other reasons did they choose not to join with the FPCS?  Or did they try individually?  What were the specific reasons in each case they were not let in?


10.  I have concerns about the way the FCC has taken certain disputes with the FCS to the government law courts.   It seems to contrast with the way the FPCS handled such situations in its disputes with the old Free Church and more recently with the break away APC congregations.  What is the FCC view regarding I Corinthians 6?


11.  I have concerns with their view of continued right to protest in a synod.  What is their view regarding the right of continued protest in a synod?


12.   I agree with the decision to leave the FCS, but I have concerns about the stated rationale of the FCC to depart over the Rev Donald Macleod case and form the FCC.  Was the FCC reason for separating from the FCS a valid reason for separation from a denomination, and what are its implications?



Based on the light I have to this point, here is my current take on denominational affiliation, explained at http://www.puritans.net/news/biblicalrealism021207.htm :


"So long as there is full subscription to the Biblical standards outlined in the original Westminster Standards and a reasonably good faith effort on the part of the church assembly to implement those standards, we should seek to be united to such a denominational church.  On the other hand, we ought not to join ourselves with churches that do not fully subscribe to the Biblical doctrines outlined in the original Westminster Standards.   And we ought not to join with denominations schismatically formed, when there was already a denomination which fully subscribed to the Biblical standards outlined in the original Westminster Standards and there was a reasonably good faith effort on the part of the church assembly to implement those standards.  We ought not to aid and abet schism in the visible church of Christ in our church membership.  If a church meets the scripturally bottom line conditions, then we ought not to leave it on the fanciful prospect of some “better” church that could possibly be created."


I think this principle weighs against joining with the FCC, and weighs in favor of the FPCS.