By Parnell McCarter



Note to Reader: This article will be revised and added to as time permits and more information becomes available.


By 1892 the old Free Church of Scotland represented the merger of three successive waves of secessionists from the Church of Scotland, who professed adherence to the original Westminster Standards as adopted by the Church of Scotland in 1647, but did not believe they could remain in the Church of Scotland of their day while remaining true to their profession.  These included the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland (historically known as Cameronians), the Original Secession Church (which had seceded more than a century previous under the leadership of Ebenezer Erskine), and the secessionists of the Disruption of 1843 (who had seceded under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Chalmers).  These had all come together in the Free Church.  But in 1892 the Free Church, following the example of the United Presbyterian Church and the Church of Scotland, passed a Declaratory Act relaxing the standard of subscription to the confession, with the result that a small number of congregations and even fewer ministers, mostly in the Highlands of Scotland, severed their connection with the Free Church and formed the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS).  As Dr. James Lachlan MacLeod notes in his book The Second Disruption, the circumstances of the formation of the FPCS as a separate denomination helped establish its distinctive identity: “As creeds and confessions have become less popular with many denominations, and as the Westminster Confession of Faith in particular has come to be seen as outdated and obsolete, the Free Presbyterian has clung resolutely to every single aspect of that controversial document…While most Churches that subscribed to the Westminster Confession have changed their terms of subscription or abandoned them altogether in the past hundred years, the Free Presbyterians have not.  On the contrary, they have gripped it with unfaltering strength and held it high as a symbol of their identity.  Continuity on this issue has been one of the Free Presbyterians’ most unshakeable emblems, and that has also contributed to their distinctive identity.”  This stand is necessary, for our glorification of Jesus Christ calls us as a people to serve Him in truth as well as in spirit (John 4:24), and Christ’s church on earth should stand as a pillar of truth (I Timothy 3:15).


Even as the early Christian church spread as Christians scattered from Jerusalem, even so the FPCS spread to other nations as its members emigrated from Scotland.  Especially Canada, Australia, and New Zealand benefited from this migration.  In addition, some Scottish Presbyterians and their descendants in other churches in Canada joined with the FPCS in the decades following its formation in 1893, attracted by the FPCS’s faithfulness to the historic Biblical Presbyterian standards.  Canada had a significant population of Presbyterians of Scottish descent to draw from.  As pointed out at http://www.epctoronto.org/History/History.html , “by the providence of God, the Free Church of Scotland, as the predominant form of Presbyterian Christianity in mid-nineteenth century Canada, had a profound impact on Toronto and what became Ontario. But in 1875 the four branches of Presbyterianism in Canada joined together. Thereafter, although the Free Church heritage continued to manifest itself, the Free Church as a distinct body ceased in Canada.” A number of such like-minded Presbyterians of Scottish descent in Canada were open to joining with the FPCS in Canada in the early twentieth century.

FPCS congregations formed in these ways in such far-flung Canadian locations as Toronto (Ontario), Chesley (Ontario), and Vancouver (British Columbia).  Accordingly, the FPCS presence in Canada owing to Scottish Presbyterian emigrants and their descendants became considerable in the early twentieth century (at least relative to their current numeric presence).  Here is an insight that can be gleaned from http://www.presbyterianreformed.org/ourhistory.php about the situation present in those times:


The congregation in the village of Chesley, Ontario owed much to the efforts of Adam Scott Elliott, who was born at Hawick in the Scottish Lowlands in 1807, and came to Canada with his father at the age of ten. They were among the families brought over by a British government eager to settle loyalists in southern Ontario, as a buffer against American encroachment in the period after the War of 1812. The Elliotts resided at Perth, Ontario, where already in 1827 Elliott's father was protesting the introduction of uninspired hymns alongside the Psalms in the worship of the local Presbyterian church. In 1858 Elliott purchased two hundred acres where Chesley now stands, and established a saw mill and a grist mill on the North Saugeen River. His family and other families of Scottish descent were visited frequently by Reformed Presbyterian ministers. In 1873 Rev. Thomas Hannah organized a congregation of the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at nearby Williamsford, where Elliott was then living. The congregation and its families relocated to Chesley, and Elliott served as an elder. At Chesley in 1880, Elliott reprinted the classic critique of Isaac Watts' hymns: An Essay on Psalmody, by William Romaine, eighteenth-century leader of the Evangelical party in the Church of England. In the years that followed, the Chesley congregation changed its affiliation in order to find pastoral care. The present church building in Chesley was constructed in 1904. In 1912 the congregation was received into the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and called a minister from Scotland to be their pastor. Already in 1901 several groups of Presbyterians in the nearby Ontario communities of Lochalsh, Kincardine, East Williams and Brucefield, petitioned the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to be recognized as a part of the mission field under its care and jurisdiction. By 1918 the congregations at Chesley and the other villages had come to operate under one kirk session, and were known as the Ontario congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.”


Far to the west in Vancouver, circumstances were encouraging as well for the FPCS, as recorded at http://www.apcvan.com/cong.htm :


“In 1916 Rev. Donald Beaton was invited by a small group of families to come to the West Coast and conduct services. In answer to this request Vancouver was visited and the following year a petition was sent to the Synod [of the FPCS – PM] requesting that Scotland would oversee the spiritual needs of of the adherents here. In 1922  a church building was raised and the Vancouver congregation was sustained by lay missionary, Mr. Donald Matheson (1922-1928), and Ruling Elder, Hugh MacKay, until the congregation received their first settled minister, Rev. Dr. MacDonald.”



Down in the USA, circumstances were not as propitious for the FPCS.  Some Scots who grew up in the FPCS emigrated from Scotland to the USA, but these tended not to remain in the FPCS in their adulthood.  Two examples are Dr. John Murray and Dr. James Lachlan MacLeod.  Again turning to the website http://www.presbyterianreformed.org/ourhistory.php , we learn this about Dr. John Murray:


“During his years in Scotland one of those who responded warmly to his preaching in the Highlands was a young Free Presbyterian named John Murray. Murray went to Princeton Seminary in 1924 to study theology. In preaching visits to Canada during his student days the friendship with Matheson continued to grow. Both men were eventually caught up in a controversy within the Free Presbyterian Church, when its Synod determined that use of public transport on the Lord's Day for the purpose of attending worship services was grounds for debarring church members from the sacraments. The result was that by 1931 the Synod had broken its ties with Matheson and the Free Presbyterian Church of Ontario. And when Murray completed his studies at Princeton and returned to Scotland, he found that the door to ordination in the Free Presbyterian Church was closed to him, because his views coincided with Matheson's. In these circumstances Murray accepted a call to teach at Princeton, soon became an instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary, and in 1937 was ordained to the gospel ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.”


Dr. James Lachlan MacLeod grew up the son of a minister in the FPCS, did his Ph.D. thesis on `The origins of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland' (Edinburgh Ph.D. thesis, 1993) containing much the material for his book The Second Disruption: The Origins of the Free Presbyterian Church of 1893, and currently teaches in the Department of History at the University of Evansville in the USA (see the website http://faculty.evansville.edu/jm224/ ).   But he never joined the FPCS as a communicant member, and now has no affiliation with the FPCS.  So as a result of the smaller numeric migration to the USA, as well as the fact that those that did move to the USA did not remain in the FPCS, combined with factors to be discussed later in this article of why Americans even of more reformed conviction have been reluctant to join with the FPCS, the USA for many years lacked any FPCS presence. 


Nevertheless, the FPCS had an indirect effect for good in the USA, even through those that did not remain in the FPCS.  For instance, though departing in some important respects to a full adherence in the original Westminster Standards (see article at http://www.puritans.net/news/johnmurray101607.htm ), Dr. John Murray for the most part remained a strong advocate for these standards in an American context where even most Presbyterians were largely ignorant of many of the old standards.  This was true with respect to exclusive psalmody in public worship, sabbatarianism, and opposition to holy day (e.g., Christmas) observance.   And Dr. James Lachlan MacLeod has provided us with some helpful histories of the FPCS, as explained at http://www.puritans.net/bookreviewseconddisruption.htm and http://www.puritans.net/news/fpcs050707.htm .  In addition, publications of the FPCS, especially its re-printing of the Westminster Confession of Faith, have had considerable influence in the USA.


Back in Canada, where the FPCS had congregations, the FPCS faced its own set of challenges, especially in the Sabbath public transport controversy and the Lord Mackay controversy.   The Sabbath public transport controversy involved Rev. William Matheson, a mentor and friend of Dr. John Murray.  Here is how http://www.presbyterianreformed.org/ourhistory.php recounts the history:


The pastorate of William Matheson in this far-flung congregation commenced in 1919. Matheson was a native of Lochalsh, Ontario, but went to Scotland to train for the ministry, under the auspices of the Free Presbyterian Church. During his years in Scotland one of those who responded warmly to his preaching in the Highlands was a young Free Presbyterian named John Murray. Murray went to Princeton Seminary in 1924 to study theology. In preaching visits to Canada during his student days the friendship with Matheson continued to grow. Both men were eventually caught up in a controversy within the Free Presbyterian Church, when its Synod determined that use of public transport on the Lord's Day for the purpose of attending worship services was grounds for debarring church members from the sacraments. The result was that by 1931 the Synod had broken its ties with Matheson and the Free Presbyterian Church of Ontario... William Matheson ministered to the Chesley and Lochalsh congregations, and to extensions elsewhere in Bruce, Huron and Elgin counties, Ontario, until his death in 1957. Murray traveled to Chesley to conduct Matheson's funeral, and to pay tribute to him as his dearest friend. Murray continued to preach at Chesley and Lochalsh from time to time until his retirement from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1968. Writing after a communion season at Lochalsh, Murray said, “I think I feel most at home here and at Chesley of all the places I visit.” There had been some consideration that upon leaving the seminary, Murray might take a pastorate in the newly-formed Presbyterian Reformed Church, but the infirmity of his aged sisters at the home place necessitated his return to Ross-shire, Scotland.”


This Sabbath public transport controversy involving Rev. William Matheson is described in more detail at http://www.puritans.net/news/sabbathpublictransport042605.htm .  As stated there, “it was the Biblical duty of Matheson and Murray to agree with the FPCS synod in this case.  However, they refused on both allegedly Biblical and constitutional grounds.  Unless the FPCS synod would have been willing to reverse its decision that patronization on the Sabbath of public transportation which is being employed in systematic disregard of the Sabbath is wrong, the FPCS synod had no alternative but to enforce the ecclesiastical separation with Matheson and Murray.  Not to have acted, or to act in such a way as to imply this was a new term of communion, would have been tantamount to agreeing with Matheson and Murray.  We should be clear that the inception of the ecclesiastical separation occurred when Matheson and Murray publicly pronounced a position contrary to the doctrine of scripture and the WCF [Westminster Confession of Faith], thus tying the hands of the FPCS synod to either compromise religiously or act as the FPCS synod did.”


But this setback was not the end of the story for the FPCS in Chesley, Ontario.  As pointed out at http://www.puritans.net/news/thoughtexperiment121306.htm , “decades later this same congregation in Chesley became part of the Presbyterian Reformed denomination.  It so happened that a gentleman that was part of that Presbyterian Reformed congregation (named Mr. Gerrit Schuit), came to a realization of the congregation’s past history, and he came to agree with the position of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and not of his own Presbyterian Reformed denomination.  When he approached the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, it did not simply turn him away and tell him to stay joined with the best local congregation in his area.  Rather, it allowed him to pursue the course of his conscience and join with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.”  Mr. Schuit was of Dutch reformed heritage.  Having grown up in the Netherlands, following World War II he came to the USA, but later moved to Canada and joined with the Presbyterian Reformed congregation in Chesley, Ontario.  However, after realizing the schismatic error of the Presbyterian Reformed denomination, he would in time join with the FPCS.  And a number of his Dutch relations would join him.  Thus was born in the Lord’s providence a new manifestation of the FPCS in Chesley.


Over in Toronto, at about this same time, another congregation was added to the FPCS.  Here is how its history is recounted at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Park_Presbyterian_Church :


“…The church was constituted in 1881 when a group left Cookes Presbyterian Church (1851-1983) on Queen Street and created the Presbyterian Church Defense Association.  Among the reasons given for their action was the introduction into the church's worship of instrumental music and hymns of human composition. Later that year, they organized the Carlton Street Presbyterian Church. In 1886 the church left the Presbyterian Church in Canada and allied itself with a Reformed Presbyterian presbytery based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Henceforth, it called itself the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, Carlton Street, the name engraved on the silver communion pitcher and chalices that the congregation still uses.  The most significant of the early pastors was Samuel Dempster, who was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1869. Dempster was ordained in 1897, never married, and served the church until his death in 1922. Before Dempster died at the close of a twenty-five year ministry, the Reformed Presbytery of Pittsburgh and Ontario had ceased to exist, and the Toronto church was on its own.  Beginning in 1910 the church was known as the Bloor East Presbyterian Church, because of its location on Toronto's vital thoroughfare, Bloor Street.  In 1965 it joined another traditional Presbyterian congregation in Chesley, Ontario in forming the Presbyterian Reformed Church, which would later expand to include churches in the United States and England as well. Much of the credit for this union fell to John Murray, the well-known professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He composed the proposals leading to the union, and also the constitution which served as the basis of union. In 1969 the congregation left their premises in the business district, and relocated to the current location on Victoria Park Avenue, north of Sheppard Avenue.   In 1974, however, the church was again without a pastor, and decided to join the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in part so it could be connected to a larger body with a more ample supply of seminary-trained ministerial candidates…”


So by the 1980s there was a North American Presbytery of the FPCS with three congregations: one in Chesley, one in Toronto, and one in Vancouver.  At that time there were two FPCS ministers: one in Toronto and one in Vancouver.  In Vancouver specifically,  Rev. Douglas B. Beattie was called to be minister in 1975.  These North American congregations enjoyed regular visits by deputations from the FPCS back in the United Kingdom.  Representative of such deputations is this one described at http://www.fpchurch.org.uk/magazines/fpm/2000/May/article3.php : “On two occasions he [Rev. Lachlan MacLeod – PM] was sent, as a Church deputy, to the Chesley and Toronto congregations in Canada, and also accompanied Rev. A. McPherson on a visitation to the Vancouver congregation.”


But the Lord continued to pare according to His own sovereign designs.  One such paring occurred with the observation by a relative of Mr. Gerrit Schuit that a ruling elder in the Toronto congregation was privately observing Christmas.  This elder left the FPCS, after the situation was addressed by the church.  And an even greater paring came in 1989 with the Lord Mackay controversy.  This controversy is documented at http://www.puritans.net/news/lordmackaycase081505.htm .  As noted there, “the Lord Mackay case in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) precipitated the departure from the FPCS of a large segment of the church, and the formation of the Associated Presbyterian Church (APC).  As we read at http://www.apchurches.org.uk/reviews/change_in_reaction_to_continuity.htm  : "It was the first of those "distinctives" which received the most attention in 1989 particularly because the disciplining of Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the then Lord Chancellor, attracted so much media interest. He was suspended from the eldership of the Free Presbyterian Church for attending, but not participating in, the funeral service of a Roman Catholic colleague. The censure of Lord Mackay was, however, only one of many issues…"  Lord Mackay chose to follow a path of not fleeing the idolatrous Mass, and the spiritual dullness of a considerable number in the church blinded them to the danger of this error, resulting in schism.  This split took with it the Toronto congregation and its minister, and most of the Vancouver congregation, along with its minister Rev. Douglas Beattie, which joined with the Associated Presbyterian Churches (APC).   These APC congregations struggled, such that by 2007 the Toronto APC congregation disbanded and quit holding services altogether, and the Vancouver APC congregation was without a minister.  And yet another paring from the FPCS occurred when certain inappropriate behavior of a FPCS minister called to Chesley led to his deposal and departure from the FPCS.  While another departed the church to follow his adulterous lusts.


By the 1990s this left in the North American FPCS only the Chesley congregation and the remnant Vancouver congregation, and no minister for either.  Mr. John MacLeod, an emigrant from Scotland, persevered to preserve the remnant Vancouver congregation. Since the Chesley congregation primarily consisted of people of Dutch reformed heritage, Mr. John MacLeod represented the last of the Scottish heritage still in the FPCS in North America.  With such a limited contingent, North America could no longer support its own presbytery in the FPCS, so North America came within the Southern Presbytery of the FPCS.  The Southern Presbytery also included England and the lowlands of Scotland, with congregations in such places as London (England), Glasgow, and Edinburgh  


The next chapter in our history of the FPCS in North America brings us back to the USA, where things were to take a surprising turn, starting in the 1990s. Various and sundry obstacles seem to have discouraged outreach of the FPCS in the USA in previous times, and still present challenges to this current day, even among those of more reformed Christian conviction.  For one, independency is strongly rooted in the American psyche and in American ecclesiology.  New England Puritanism was characterized from its early years in the 17th century by a quasi-congregationalist form of church government.  And the dissolution of the Old Side Presbyterian denomination in the 18th century seemed to bury historic Scottish Presbyterianism in America in favor of a distinctively American version of Presbyterianism which is quasi-independent in character.  Full subscriptionism to a confession and strong synodical rule run counter to the American ecclesiastical fabric.  In addition, since the USA was arguably the first nation in human history to reject church establishment in its very constitution, the Establishment Principle espoused in the original Westminster Standards runs counter to the American political fabric.  And various ethical strictures of the FPCS- including strict sabbatarianism (see article at http://www.puritans.net/news/sabbath032207.htm ), prohibition on worldly entertainments such as found in movies and stage-plays (see article at http://www.puritans.net/news/moviesfpcs051607.htm ), and attire regulations (see article at http://www.puritans.net/news/attireregulations101607.htm )- run counter to the modern American cultural fabric.  But such obstacles seemingly became less formidable as the twentieth century was drawing to a close.  By the end of the twentieth century God had allowed Americans to take their shibboleths to more of their logical conclusion, so as to make their true ill conceived nature more evident.


So despite the obstacles, the close of the twentieth century saw the formation of the first congregation of the FPCS in the USA in its history, in the Houston, Texas area .   In the 1990s the Hembd family of Indiana joined with the FPCS congregation in Chesley, and also some folks from Texas joined the FPCS.  Two articles in the FP Magazine from 1998 help further explain the circumstances.


At http://www.fpchurch.org.uk/Magazines/fpm/1998/February/article11.php we read:


“Church Deputy's Visit to North America


IT was late in the evening of Wednesday, 29 October 1997 when my wife and I arrived at Toronto Airport, to be met by Mr Gerrit Schuit, with whom we drove the familiar journey to Chesley. Travelling through just a tiny part of the vastness that is the land of Canada, it is remarkable that the Lord should have so favoured the small rural town of Chesley with gospel ordinances in their Scriptural purity, as they are maintained still in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The sovereignty of divine grace lies behind it all.

Early the next afternoon, we set out for the first of five visits to an even smaller place on the Canadian map, called Mount Elgin, two and a half hours' drive south of Chesley. We went there to hold a service of divine worship after the form of our Church with a group of Dutch extraction, numbering more than 30 souls. Our own first contact was four years ago when we met Mr and Mrs Jan de Wit in Gerrit Schuit's home. But last April Rev. Neil Ross was the first of our ministers to visit Mount Elgin and preach to them. For a number of years they have been meeting on Sabbaths and weekdays, holding divine service and reading quality sermons in the Dutch language. Often these are translations of the great Scottish divines like Thomas Boston and Ralph Erskine. For a long time they have been looking for a reformed denomination that believes and preaches the same gospel that they find in those old sermons. Before the preaching service that first Thursday evening, Mr Gerrit Schuit and I had a most encouraging meeting with eight of the men, to discuss the procedure by which a closer relationship between them and our Church might be developed.

The service that first evening was attended by about 25 people. Over the next four weeks, four more services were held, with attendances nearer to 45. We also had the opportunity to meet a number of the families in their own homes. We would like to record our heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality that we enjoyed among our Mount Elgin friends. We were glad that a number from the Chesley congregation, as well as others, made the journey to Mount Elgin to attend the services. It was an encouragement to us to find a people that value the same gospel of free and sovereign grace as ourselves.

The Chesley services began on Friday 31 October, with the prayer meeting. How good it was to be back among these dear friends, young and old and middle-aged, around the ordinances of God's house. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord" (Psalm 122:1). Four more prayer meetings were held in Chesley during November. The services of public worship on three Sabbaths were also conducted. On the second of these Sabbaths the Lord's death was remembered in the way He appointed Himself, and the usual services of the communion season were held. Several Mount Elgin people attended some services. We look to the Lord to bless His Word and sacrament among the Chesley people. He alone can give the increase to our planting and watering. In a day when many throughout Christendom are sliding back from holding all the counsel of God, may the testimony of the Chesley congregation to the whole truth as it is in Jesus Christ be blessed indeed. Again we enjoyed the warmth of Chesley hospitality, arriving to a well-stocked and very comfortable manse, and visiting many a welcoming home. Their evident need is for a pastor. Meanwhile we commend them to the care of the chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Thursday, 13 November we flew south to Houston, Texas, in the United States of America. We were met by Mr and Mrs James Moline, in whose home we were very kindly entertained for the duration of our visit. For over a year, we had been in contact with them, by electronic mail and telephone. They began to meet with a few other interested souls each Lord's Day for worship, using taped sermons of our ministers. More and more they had come to value the distinctives of our witness, and they applied to the Dominions and Overseas Committee to send a deputy to them. Three services of public worship were held, again according to standard Free Presbyterian practice, one on a Friday evening and two on the Sabbath, in a town called Brookshire, west of the city of Houston. We were encouraged that between 35 and 40 attended on each occasion. This included a group of 18 souls who for a number of years had been meeting for worship on their own, reading sermons of John Owen and other worthies, and seeking to follow the old paths and the good way in the midst of a worldly and depraved generation. They had travelled more than 80 miles to attend the worship services. Since our visit, a combined group of between 25 and 30 have been meeting every Lord's Day, again travelling substantial distances, conducting worship in conformity with our own way, and using Free Presbyterian taped sermons. Such is the interest among them in the stand of our Church that during December five of the men came to London for a brief visit. They can hardly believe that at the end of the twentieth century there really is a denomination holding fast to the things that are most surely believed among us.

During our denomination's history, Free Presbyterian services have been held at various places in the USA, but a congregation with regular ordinances has never been established. It is still early days in Texas, and "except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it" (Psalm 127:1). Nevertheless, we cannot help but be much encouraged with these recent developments. With very little ecclesiastical help, these people have come to positions in many areas so like our own. But then, the Lord has promised His Church: "all thy children shall be taught of the Lord" (Isaiah 54:13). The Macedonian cry sounds out: "Come over . . . and help us" (Acts 16:9).

We look to the Head of the church to sustain and prosper His cause in Chesley, and also to open the doors of gospel opportunity in Mount Elgin and in Texas in such a way that no man could shut them.

In Toronto we visited a retired minister, Rev. Fesenko. This gentleman, who was born in 1900, had translated the Westminster Confession of Faith into the Ukrainian language, the basis of which our Church is using in Eastern Europe, in particular in Odessa. Rev. Fesenko had studied under Professor J. Gresham Machen at Princeton in the 1920s. It was whilst at Princeton that he translated the Confession, realising as he told us that it was an unsurpassed summary of the Reformed Faith.
(Rev.) Keith M. Watkins”


And at http://www.fpchurch.org.uk/Magazines/fpm/1998/August/article8.php we read:


“THE Rev. J. MacLeod has returned from Canada after spending three Sabbaths supplying the Chesley congregation.  The Rev. K. Watkins will supply the Chesley congregation for the first two Sabbaths in August, God willing. It is intended that the Lord's Supper will be dispensed in the congregation on the second Sabbath of August. Thereafter, for two Sabbaths, Mr Watkins will conduct services for the group of people in Texas who have expressed a keen interest in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and three of whom are communicants connected with the Chesley congregation.”


This group of people in Texas would go on to form a congregation of the FPCS.  And this Texas congregation of the FPCS would experience both additions and subtractions over time.  The Houston work has sent two ministerial candidates for theological training, and one of them (Rev. Lyle Smith) is now a minister in the FPCS.


In the early twenty first century three FPCS congregations in North America – in Chesley, Vancouver, and Houston – remain in the Southern Presbytery of the FPCS.  Since at one time there was only one minister in the Southern Presbytery (before Rev. Roderick MacLeod went to serve in Glasgow, and Rev. John MacLeod to serve in London), the Southern Presbytery drafted the assistance of Rev. Neil Ross and Rev. Hutton to help them out.  Rev. Hutton was at that time appointed moderator of the Chesley session, and Rev. Neil Ross as moderator of the Houston session.  In 2007 Rev. Roderick MacLeod was moderator of the Chesley session.


Of course, North America encompasses not only Canada and the USA, but also Mexico.  On its surface it would appear that the people of Mexico have yet to be touched by the FPCS.  It is undoubtedly the case that Latin America has long been enslaved by the errors of Rome, which probably explains in large measure why South America is the only continent in the world without so much as one congregation of the FPCS (not including Antarctica), along with Latin America in general.  Nevertheless, the FPCS in North America has in point of fact touched even the people of Mexico, for a number of the people in the congregation in Texas are at least in part of Mexican and Native American descent.  We can look forward in hope to a day when they will be joined by many others.


In late 2006 the FPCS in North America suffered the loss of one of its elder statesmen, in the passing away of Mr. Gerrit Schuit.  The great sinfulness of man yet the glorious righteousness of Jesus Christ and available in Jesus Christ had often been on his lips during his days on this earth.  He reminded the rest of us that our focus must always be on the praise and glorification of the Triune God.


The Lord is continuing to add to the FPCS in North America others, even ones with little or no reformed Christian background, while many of reformed and Presbyterian background in North America apostatize from the Protestant Christian faith altogether.  “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.”