By J. Parnell McCarter


When the RPNA asks the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) to own the Solemn League and Covenant (SLC) what they mean by this includes the following:

1. explicitly listing it as a term of communion

2.  explicitly mentioning Scottish martyrs (for the SLC) as a term of communion

3. asserting that a civil magistrate like George W. Bush who is not faithful to the SLC should not be submitted to as a matter of conscience

Now with respect to 3., that position is contrary to the Bible [and the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF)], which teaches that we are submit to civil rulers as a matter of conscience even if they are religiously unfaithful.

With respect to 1. and 2. , that would be inappropriate for the following reasons:

a. The FPCS has churches in many countries of the world, some of which have little or no connection to the United Kingdom (eg, the Ukraine). 

b. There are many social covenants binding the people of the FPCS, including the Nehemiac covenant, and there is no Biblical necessity to cite every past covenant with a descending obligation expressly in the terms of communion. 

c.  The doctrines of the Westminster Standards are fully subscribed to by the FPCS, and this is the substantive equivalent of the SLC.

Cameronian dissent is a poor excuse for ecclesiastical separation.  The reality is that the FPCS looks forward to the day when the nations are covenanted to Christ and adhering to the doctrines of the WCF.  Indeed, as someone recently pointed out to me on the r-f-w list, the FPCS in 1910 adopted a resolution which affirmed the text of the Free Church 1851 Act anent Suborindate Standards as it related to the Revolution Settlement (History, p.116).  This acknowledged that there were many unsatisfactory and defective elements in that settlement but yet recognized its positive aspects too. The resolution went on to state that it was a matter of grave concern that the Recissory Act and other cognate legislation had never been repealed. This poster to the r-f-w list rightly pointed out how the Solemn League and Covenant is essentially a civil document rather than an ecclesiastical one, and therefore the Westminster Standards are the substantive ecclesiastical equivalent of the Solemn League and Covenant.

We do not have to separate from the FPCS simply because we agree with the principles of the Solemn League and Covenant, based upon the evidence presented by the RPNA.