Friday, April 30, 2010

The principles of the Scottish Reformation

The Reformation in Scotland may be briefly characterised as the development of three great principles—
1st, The supreme authority of the Word of God in all matters pertaining to religion;
2d, The sole sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Head and King of the Church—understanding by the term Church, the company of believers comprising both ministers and people;
3d, The official equality of all ordained ministers.

From these primary principles flow others, secondary in position, but essentially necessary—
1st, The independent spiritual jurisdiction of the Church as a necessary consequence of the two first principles, and that the Church may obey Christ freely and fully according to the revelation of his mind in the Sacred Scriptures;
2d, The rights and privileges of the Christian people regarded as believers, and thereby entitled to enjoy the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free —this also follows from the two first;
3d, Presbyterian Church government, as necessarily arising out of the first three principles, and opposed both to Prelacy and Congregationalism ;
4th, The education of the people as a part of the Church system, and therefore based upon and thoroughly pervaded by the principles of sacred and revealed truth.

Authoritative Exposition of the principles of the Free Church of Scotland, 1845