The Church in Scotland The Free Church

The Contemporary Free Church – Diverse, Biblical and Growing

The Free Church is growing, changing and developing.   Yes – this is really happening, its not just the kind of pep talk that church leaders offer as a type of religious propaganda.  I have seen too much to be either taken in by such talk and I would certainly not want to participate in it.  So this is not hyperbole.  There is something in the air, something happening.

Yesterday was for me a great insight into some of what is going on, showing the growth, variety and potential.    In the morning I went to take the first communion in Grace Church Montrose.  They are just a ‘baby’ church, several months old, but they have a great set up.   Most are ex-Church of Scotland and they are experiencing a freedom and joy that they have not had in some time.  They really appreciate the Word and are hardworking servant hearted people.   There is so much potential.  The next step will be to get a minister.

Then in the evening I drove down through the rain to the new Free Church in Stirling.   The last time I was there they met in a scout hall and the whole image and impression for me was that of a 1950’s Brethren type church.  It was good and enjoyable but it really needed to develop.  This time I was really surprised.  They meet in Stirling art gallery with a mini-auditorium circular, lecture hall type seating.  I loved it.  The venue was superb, there were about 60 people (including a few visitors) and they were reflective of different cultures, ages and nationalities.  It was a great joy to preach to them and they too were really enthusiastic.  And they are getting a minister – Iain Macaskill will be transferring from Rosskeen in February.

These two new churches are great examples of the contemporary Free Church.  One is homogenous, the other multi-cultural.  But both reflect the communities they are based in, and both show a level of diversity and willingness to adapt, whilst being wholly committed to Confessional Christianity.   Of course, both have problems because they consist of sinful people living in the midst of a sinful world – but the ‘trajectory’ is from death into life, from darkness to light, from despair to hope.

I also heard today of others who are interested in starting up new Free churches in their areas.   And the dream of a Tayside presbytery is not now as far fetched as it once seemed.   And why not an Aberdeen presbytery?   I am very encouraged by this not because I like to see organisations expanding, or new institutions being set up, but because I believe that the people of Scotland need to hear the Good News of Jesus and that the best way to communicate  that Good News is through lively, local, biblical contemporary churches. May the Lord grant that the wee shoots I saw yesterday would only be the first gleanings a great harvest!





  1. Lovely to read, what about here on the Spanish Northern Costa Blanca where the Lord called me? I have been unchurched for 5 years now and in need of the whole counsel of God preaching………prefereably reformed, which is not to be found here.


      1. Thanks Andy for the link but they are nowhere near the coast. I pretty much know most of the existing churches here and most usually do not have ‘good biblical church’ links on the coast.

        If I want female pastors, an alpha course, ecumenicism (sp?) of the ‘let’s just all get along in love irrespective of theology’ or a social club or even spiritual services it’s all here in abundance. However what is missing is strong biblical ‘protestant’ teaching that is not afraid to preach of the Holiness of God and our sin before Him… last pastor would say that our sin had nothing to do with him it was just between us and god! He could and would not talk against divorce (he had 3 himself!) or any other thorny subject, it was just love and grace, no food for we sheep just fodder for the goats!

        I only started growing when I left, just miss true Christian fellowship but my Lord knows all this and in His time I will be placed with brethern again.

        Costa Blanca

  2. Dear Mr Robertson.

    I am encouraged to hear of the blessing that you are seeing, praise God. However, I do think it is unfortunate that you used the term ‘brethren’ to characterise a fellowship in your own circle which you thought at one time was behind the times.

    There are many in that circle who pray for you and support the work of Solas.

    Yours in Christ, Iain Jamieson

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

    1. Iain – sorry no offence meant. You will note that I used the terms 1950’s Brethren. There are many Brethren who have realised that they had to move on from that as we no longer live in the 1950’s. The same would have applied if I’d said 1950’s Free Church! And actually I thought that I was describing an advance for the Free Church in Stirling – coming in to the 1950’s! On a wider issue, and one which greatly concerns me is that the Brethren movement in Scotland seems to be in terminal decline, with Assemblies closing and numbers falling. I remember one man saying to me – we belong to the largest church in the world – the ex-brethren. For me that is a real shame because the Brethren have been an influence for good in the Kingdom.

  3. I think the church plants are a tremendous testimony to what God is doing through the hard work of Dr Robertson. I so would like a Free Church to be planted in East Lothian where I stay. I know I could go up to Edinburgh, but I don’t want to travel to and from Edinburgh on a Sunday. Perhaps the Free Church of Scotland would consider this for the future, as we no longer wish to be in the Church of Scotland.

    1. Greig, I believe that we re planning to do that – in Musselburgh. If you are interested contact David Meredith or myself. Also just a small correction – Stirling is not my work and neither is Montrose – I just help the latter….its really the Lord who is building his church. And I am not a “Dr’….yet…!

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