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The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) (Scottish Gaelic: An Eaglais Shaor Leantainneach) is a Scottish Presbyterian denomination which was formed in January 2000. It claims to be the true continuation of the Free Church of Scotland, hence its name.

Contents

Formation

Beginning in the 1990s there was some dissatisfaction with the manner in which allegations of sexual impropriety against Professor Donald Macleod of the Free Church College were handled. MacLeod was acquitted of such a charge in the secular courts of Scotland. Some members of the church had felt uneasy with MacLeod's theological statements and points of view since the early 1980s.

In the mid-1990s, the Free Church General Assembly refused to hold a full inquiry into allegations of adultery against MacLeod, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Some members of the General Assembly who did not accept these verdicts, continued to campaign for an inquiry. When they continued their actions after being ordered by the General Assembly to cease, a number of them were removed from their pulpits and suspended on charges of contumacy. On 20 January 2000 the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) was formed when these ministers and others left the Commission of Assembly and claimed to reconstitute the denomination.

Legal issues

Following their departure, FCC sought a declarator from the Court of Session as to ownership of the central funds and properties of the Church. When the appeal was sent to the outer house of the Court of Session, Lady Paton dismissed their action without granting absolvitor. [1] The FCC then marked their intention to appeal Lady Paton's opinion, but ultimately chose not to proceed, following an undertaking given by the Free Church of Scotland to the International Conference of Reformed Churches that if the appeal were dropped, no legal action would be taken by the Free Church of Scotland against the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) or its congregations.

Due to the nature of her decision, the ownership of properties presently in the hands of the FCC remains in dispute, along with significant assets presently frozen. In March 2007 the Free Church of Scotland proceeded to take legal action at Broadford, in the Isle of Skye, seeking to reclaim the church manse.

Recognition

While the denomination is recognized by a number of Reformed denominations and Affinity, due to their involvement in court action at the time, the denomination was refused full membership in the International Conference of Reformed Churches in 2005.

Congregations

The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) presently has 33 congregations in Scotland, 1 in each of Australia and Canada, and 3 in the United States. There are also two preaching stations in the United States, and a seminary in Zambia.[2][3]

Seminary

The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) maintain a seminary on the outskirts of Inverness for the training of their ministers.

References

External links

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