United Free Church of Scotland

This body was formed in 1900 by the union of a majority of the Free Church of Scotland* and the United Presbyterian Church.* Unsuccessful efforts at union had been broken off in 1873 because of the strength of opposition in the Free Church. Thereafter both churches, which were opposed to the Church of Scotland,* were active in a disestablishment campaign aimed at the political parties. It failed, but it did something to bring the two groups together. Other factors were at work: revolt against hyper- Calvinism which found expression in doctrinal Declaratory Acts,* reverent biblical criticism, the spiritual awakening under Moody and Sankey, and changes in public worship by the introduction of instrumental music and hymns. In 1898 both churches accepted a modified formula to be signed by ministers and office-bearers by which they pledged their adherence to the fundamental doctrines and principles of the Church. The next two years were spent in fruitless efforts to bring in those who were to continue as the Free Church.

In 1929 the United Free Church united with the Church of Scotland to bring into being a church which had within its fold four-fifths of the churchgoing population of Scotland. As in 1900, however, a minority remained outside the union and called themselves the United Free Church (Continuing). With over ninety congregations and a membership of some 17,000, the denomination in recent years has entered into discussions about union with the Church of Scotland and several Scottish non-Presbyterian bodies.