We are a part of the Free Church of Scotland, an evangelical denomination dedicated to Presbyterian leadership and Reformed doctrine.
For us, being evangelical simply means that we live by four basic beliefs that are consistent with historic, orthodox Christianity:
- The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. As God’s Word, it is sufficient as our final authority in all of life’s matters. The Bible tells us the story of God’s plan to redeem and reconcile mankind back to himself through the death of his only Son, Jesus Christ.
- Jesus is the Son of God, who was born by the power of the Holy Spirit, lived a perfect life to fulfill the Law that mankind was unable to live by, was nailed to a cross and paid the penalty of death on our behalf, and was raised from death, conquering the grave and securing eternal life for all who believe in him.
- Missionaries are people called to be on a mission. We believe all Christians are called and commanded to take part in the mission of redeeming the world. Jesus commanded us to take the message of the cross, which we call the “gospel” or “good news”, to the ends of the earth. This means we are missionaries locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Only by believing the gospel of Jesus Christ can one be born again. This is not a physical rebirth or reincarnation into this world but a spiritual rebirth into the Kingdom of God.
Reformed churches stand in the tradition of the Reformation, a movement of spiritual revitalisation which took place in western Christendom from about 1500 to the mid seventeenth century. Perhaps the most well-known of the Reformers was a Germank monk named Martin Luther, who strongly believed that we are made right with God only by faith in his Son, Jesus, and not by any merits we may gain in this life.
From the Reformation emerged five “solas”:
- Sola Scriptura (”by Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our final authority and sufficient for all of life’s matters.
- Sola Fide (”by faith alone”): We are declared right by God and saved by faith alone. While we are called to live holy lives as Christians, good deeds are not required for salvation.
- Sola Gratia (”by grace alone”): Grace means that God has saved us according to his own favour alone, not based on any achievements or good deeds we have performed.
- Solus Christus (”Christ alone”): Christ alone is the mediator between us and God. We are able to be reconciled into a right relationship with God only by the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
- Soli Deo Gloria (”glory to God alone”): Since God is the one who has saved us, by giving us the gift of his Son, Jesus, and the faith needed to believe in him by power of the Holy Spirit, we owe all glory to God alone.
During the Reformation, the church moved from the monastery to the market place. Christian understanding and practice were taken from the professional priesthood and given to individual believers. The placing of the Scriptures into the hands of ordinary men and women has had profound implications for western culture.
Three distinctive features mark a Presbyterian church:
- Connectional: Each individual congregation is governed by elders who meet in a body known as the Kirk Session. The local elders meet with other groups of elders from different congregations in a body called the Presbytery in order to motivate and encourage local congregations. Delegates from the Presbyteries meet together annually in a large national gathering known as the General Assembly, which supervises the interests of the whole church and is the final court of authority.
- Covenantal: We strongly believe that God has always worked through covenants. An example of this is the view that God has promised to bless the family unit, and that the children of Christian parents are special and privileged. That privilege is marked by the baptism of infants.
- Confessional: A full statement of our beliefs as a church can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. This is a credal standard which was drawn up at Westminster between 1643 and 1645. Each office bearer in the Free Church of Scotland commits himself to knowing and abiding by the tenets of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which are based on the Bible.