Calgary Presbyterian Church


We are a congregation pursuing oversight with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

History and Witness

National Covenant signed at Greyfriars February 28 1638

The importance of History and Witness are integral to the growth of the Church according to true biblical principle and the public testimony concerning the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ to His promise to nurture her. This page endeavours to demonstrate that there has been a faithful public witness to these truths in the reformed Scottish Church since the start of the Reformation, not just in Scotland but in many other parts of the world. What follows is a summary chronology of events with related literature and appropriate reference links to the main Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) website and the subsidiary FPCS website for her Canada congregations. The first set of events highlights the start of the Reformation to the events leading up to the signing of the National Covenant of 1638. The second set of events highlights the signing of the National Covenant to the events leading up to the Disruption and forming of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. The third set of events highlights the forming of the Free Church of Scotland, her deformation, the forming of the FPCS and subsequent development to the present day.

Reformation in Scotland to 1638

  • George Wishart
  • John Knox Returns to Scotland
  • Scots Confession and First Book of Discipline
  • The Tulcan Bishops
  • Andrew Melville Returns to Scotland
  • Second Book of Discipline establishes Presbyterianism
  • 1617 King James VI and Articles of Perth
  • 1620s Revivals and Resistance to introducing prelacy 

National Covenant of 1638 to 1843

  • 1638 Signing of National Covenant
  • 1641 English Cvil War breaks out
  • 1643 Signing of Solemn League and Covenant
  •  1543 to 1647 Westminster Confession and other standards developed by Westminster Divines 
  • 1647 Westminster Standards adopted by Scottish General Assembly
  • Solemn League and Covenant overturned and persecution follows in all three kingdoms, particularly harsh in Scotland due to faithfulness of the people
  • 1689 Revolution Settlement establishes Protestants on the throne and the Westminster Confession is given legal status in the Constitution
  • Debate ensues to present day whether the church should have accepted the new dispensation without the adoption of the Solemn League and Covenant. There is a small split from the main body by those who believe the Solemn League and Covenant has to be “owned” by the confessing church (see Timeline Below)
  • 1697 Barrier Act. This measure adopted to  compel the General Assembly to consult the wider Church before innovating in the areas of worship, doctrine, discipline or church government.
  • 1617 Marrow Controversy breaks out following republishing of Edward Fishers Marrow of Modern Divinity with notes by Thomas Boston. Controversy had two effects on the Church:   
    1. Positively the free offer of the gospel is established in the context of the doctrine of Limited Atonement.
    2. Negatively it is the start of a number of splits from the National Establshed Church (See Diagram – Link Below).
  • During the first half of 1800s much spiritual revival of the true religion
  • 1834-1843 Ten years of Conflict  

Disruption of 1843 through 1893 to Present day FPCS

  • 1843 Disruption and the Free Church of Scotland established
  • Very early on Textual Criticism, Integrity of Biblical Worship and Establishment Principle undermined
  • 1892 Declaratory Act passed. Barrier Act ignored. This act allows conscientious objection to full Confessional Subscription
  • 1893 Protest against Declaratory Act submitted by Rev. Donald MacFarlane fails
  • Deed of Separation follows. Key signatories are Mr MacFarlane and a fellow minister Mr Donal MacDonald and a student at the time, Mr Neil Cameron.
  • Ongoing witness is maintained and recorded.


Scottish Church Timeline

Exhortation to faithfulness

Christians are under obligation to walk in the truth. When there is delay and procrastination too often there follows backsliding away from the faith. One is reminded of the occassion the apostle reasoned with Felix, “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. (Ac. 24:24-27).