Church of Scotland

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Scotland, Church of,

the established national church of Scotland, Presbyterian (see PresbyterianismPresbyterianism,
form of Christian church organization based on administration by a hierarchy of courts composed of clerical and lay presbyters. Holding a position between episcopacy (government by bishops) and Congregationalism (government by local congregation),
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) in form. The first Protestants in Scotland, led by Patrick HamiltonHamilton, Patrick,
1504?–1528, Scottish Protestant martyr. While at St. Andrews, he was suspected of Lutheran sympathies. He fled (1527) to Germany, where, during his short stay, he met Luther and Melanchthon.
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, were predominantly Lutheran. However, with the return of John KnoxKnox, John,
1514?–1572, Scottish religious reformer, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism. Early Career as a Reformer

Little is recorded of his life before 1545. He probably attended St. Andrews Univ.
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 from Geneva, the Scottish Reformation came under the influence of Calvinism.

Following the signing of the First Covenant in 1557 by the great barons and other nobles, Parliament abolished (1560) the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. A Reformed confession of faith was adopted, and the church was organized along Presbyterian lines. The first general assembly of the church met in Edinburgh, and the First Book of Discipline (1560) was drawn up. The Second Book of Discipline (1581) was ratified by Parliament in 1592.

This definitely settled the Presbyterian form of polity and the Calvinistic doctrine as the recognized Protestant establishment in the country. But under James VI (from 1603, James IJames I,
1566–1625, king of England (1603–25) and, as James VI, of Scotland (1567–1625). James's reign witnessed the beginnings of English colonization in North America (Jamestown was founded in 1607) and the plantation of Scottish settlers in Ulster.
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 of England) and the other Stuart rulers who followed, periods of restored episcopacy interrupted the progress of the new organization and were accompanied by confusion and protest.

In 1638 the National Covenant, a promise to defend the Reformed religion, was signed; in 1643 the Solemn League and Covenant was signed in England as well as Scotland. In 1647 the Westminster Confession was accepted. In 1689, with William and Mary on the throne of England, religious liberty was secured, and the Act of Settlement (1690) ensured the establishment of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Confirmation of its status was made in 1707, when the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united.

Questions regarding the connection between church and state caused division and resulted in secessions from time to time, but there was no diversity in faith. The notable early secessions were the Original Secession in 1733 and the Relief in 1761. The most extensive break occurred in 1843, when the Free Church of Scotland was formed under the leadership of Thomas ChalmersChalmers, Thomas
, 1780–1847, Scottish preacher, theologian, and philanthropist, leader of the Free Church of Scotland. His preaching and his interest in philanthropic work during his ministry (1815–23) in Glasgow brought wide recognition.
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. In 1847 the United Secession Church joined with the majority of the congregations of the Relief Church to form the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In 1900 this body merged with the Free Church to form the United Free Church of Scotland, which in 1929 rejoined the Church of Scotland. However, some remnants of the Free Church and the United Free Church did not return.

Milestones in the separation of the church from the state were the transfer (1872) of church schools to civil authorities and the abolition (1874) of ecclesiastical patronage. The spiritual independence of the Church of Scotland was recognized by Acts of Parliament in 1921 and 1925. A merger proposed in the 1960s between the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of England, and the Episcopal Church of Scotland did not take place. The church has about 640,000 members (1999).


See J. H. S. Burleigh, A Church History of Scotland (1960); R. S. Louden, The True Face of the Kirk (1963); G. Donaldson, Scotland—Church and Nation through Sixteen Centuries (2d ed. 1972); J. Kirk, Patterns of Reform (1989).

References in periodicals archive ?
In view of the success with which ruling eldership formed a bridge between magistrates and ministers in the seventeenth-century Scottish kirk and in early New England, both of which polities ostensibly accepted the idea that churches should not wield coercive power, these reasons behind English parliamentary erastianism need a fuller explanation, one which compares attitudes towards, and the actual practice of, ruling eldership in all three polities.
The religion at the poem's core is of Calvinist origin (as is that of the Scottish Kirk) as the poem refers throughout to the doctrine of election in her prologue prayer in phrases such as "thy awin Elect" (A2v) and in the epilogue address to her readers as "Ye chosin Sancts" (B4r), and before entering hell, the poet-dreamer offers a critique of purgatory, "the Papists purging place" as a product of Catholic greed (B2r) (Dunnigan, 31-32).
This vast resource--qualitatively Scottish kirk session records are much more detailed than local church records in England--offers an unparalleled insight into local society, and Todd has overcome the barrier of their poor condition and appalling handwriting to reveal a dynamic and colourful picture of popular religion.
They say the couple's affair makes the Prince an inappropriate figurehead for the Scottish Kirk.
But whereas the death penalty has been condemned by virtually every major religious denomination, sect and organization in the United States, both the Anglican Church and the Scottish Kirk were among its chief defenders until as late as the early 1960s.
Jenny Wormald convincingly advances the theory that Anglican divines (especially Bancroft) misconstrued James VI's relationship to the Scottish kirk as adversarial in nature, and thus exaggerated their own problems with English Puritanism.
On attending the General Assembly of the Kirk in Edinburgh every spring, the Queen, or her representative the Lord Commissioner, sits one step below the Moderator, the churchman who is elected annually to reign if not to rule over the deliberations of the Scottish Kirk. It is a tiny point: but not to the Fathers and Brethren and their ladies who are, during the same week as they deliberate, anticipating an invitation to a royal garden party half a mile away, where they will be glad to defer and to curtsey to the Sovereign of the secular realm.
"Holy Willie's Prayer" was written for Burns's friend Gavin Hamilton, who had been accused of faults of behavior by an elder of the Scottish Kirk, or church, and was tried for these minor crimes in a church court.
TWO Highland churches welcomed Royal visitors yesterday - as the Queen's traditional Scottish kirk missed out.
The Machiavellian side of Charles was highlighted by his embarrassing dealings with the appalling Scottish Kirk after he made the mistake of seeking sanctuary in Scotland.
Morton also dabbled in the affairs of the Scottish Kirk, by appointing a new archbishop and bishops to ensure that church monies were passed to the state.
Even after the Act of Union, the Scots retained crucial forms of institutional and social identity - the Scottish Kirk and the established Presbyterian religion, a Scottish educational system at all levels, a national banking system and, most crucial perhaps, a national legal system.

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