How The Free Presbyterian Church Began
On St. Patrick’s Day, 1951, a new Biblical witness for Christ was born in the village of Crossgar, County Down, Northern Ireland. As a result of the high-handed actions of the Down Presbytery, the elders of the local Presbyterian church were banned from using their church hall for a Gospel mission. When the leaders refused to acquiesce, they were suspended. All this took place less than twenty-four hours before the mission was due to commence.
Those elders could not go back to their church without denying or compromising the gospel. So they decided to leave a denomination that permitted dances and parties of various kinds in its church halls but which, in this case, banned the gospel of Jesus Christ.
With the help of the Rev. Ian Paisley, their guest evangelist, they formed the Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. From four congregations in that first year, the growth of the new church continued until its witness spread to all parts of Northern Ireland. The church was founded to faithfully preach and defend the gospel of Christ in an age of growing compromise and apostasy. That determination is still to be found in every Free Presbyterian Church.
The church has now spread well beyond the boundary of Northern Ireland. Today there are over one hundred Free Presbyterian churches and extensions throughout the world; in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, the Irish Republic, Australia, Canada, USA, Kenya, Nepal, Liberia, Jamaica and Spain with missionaries in many other places.
The Free Presbyterian Church also has a world-wide radio ministry, “Let The Bible Speak”.
Ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers are trained in the Whitefield College of the Bible. It is situated in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, with extensions in Greenville, South Carolina, USA, and in Toronto, Canada.
The spirit of family fellowship among all these far-flung churches, missionaries and ministries is deep and sweet, united in the common desire to preach Christ in all His fulness, endeavouring to lead souls to saving grace in Him.
The Stand of the Free Presbyterian Church
There are many churches and denominations in the world. How is the Free Presbyterian similar to, or different from other churches? The Free Presbyterian Church is:
- Fundamental in Doctrine, believing in the divine authority and verbal inspiration of the Bible, and the great fundamental doctrines of grace it contains. The Scriptures alone are the supreme authority in matters of faith and practice. The Free Presbyterian Church uses only the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible.
- Evangelical in Outreach, in obedience to the great commission of Christ to “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel”. A virile program of Gospel preaching, missionary endeavour and radio ministry is actively pursued with the great objective of leading people of every class, colour and creed to an experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
- Sanctified in Behaviour, encouraging its members to lead godly lives in obedience to God’s Word, that will be testimonies of holiness and righteousness, in a world increasingly plagued by lowering moral values.
- Presbyterian in Government, being ruled by elders and deacons chosen from the people, by the people, to serve the people. The Free Presbyterian Church stands for a born-again membership and the ministers, elders and deacons are men genuinely born-again by the Spirit of God, and dedicated to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ.
- Protestant in Conviction, gladly taking its stand alongside the great Christian leaders of the Protestant Reformation. The twin pillars of Protestantism, namely a positive witness for Christ, and a protest against error, are cherished and defended.
- Separatist in Practice, believing and practicing the doctrine of Biblical separatism. In accordance with this, the Free Presbyterian Church has no association with the modern Ecumenical or Charismatic movements, nor will it fellowship with any church which has departed from the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God.
Who Are We?
The Free Presbyterian Church (FPC) is a group of Bible-believing Protestants whose Presbyterian roots go back to the great Reformation of the 16th century. Our motto is that of the reformers: “The Scriptures Only.”
Believing the Bible to be the verbally inspired and infallible Word of God, we hold it to be the final authority for all our belief and practice. We acknowledge the Bible’s revelation of God as One who is absolutely sovereign, preaching that “salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). As Presbyterians, we adhere to the exposition of Scripture doctrine that is set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Articles of Faith of the Free Presbyterian Church
We are part of a growing Presbyterian denomination that is serving the Lord with more than 100 churches and extension works in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, the Irish Republic, Australia, Canada, USA, Kenya, Nepal, Liberia, Jamaica and Spain.
What Is Our Message?
Very simply put, “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). This is the message of God’s Word that every soul needs to hear. Therefore, Christ is central to all our preaching. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that the love of Christ is the Christian’s motivation for holy living.
Thus, we have a message of grace and salvation for guilty souls and hope and encouragement for burdened souls. Many have never discovered the peace, joy, and assurance a truly Christ-centered ministry can bring.
We invite you to come and learn for yourself the glorious fullness that there is in Christ, “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).
Points of Emphasis
We encourage God’s people to an earnest and serious study of God’s Word, as it is the direct revelation of His will and the source of spiritual growth and strength.
Believing that prayer is the life of the Church, we stress the vital importance of the prayer life of the Christian, seeking to foster the sense of our total dependence upon God alone.
In these days of great spiritual apathy, we pray continually that God would once again send a gracious revival to His Church.
What do we mean by “Free” Presbyterian?
Contending that God’s people are “separated unto the gospel” of Christ (Romans 1:1), we are free from all association with liberalism or ecumenism. Specifically, we are separated from the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, and every other form of theological compromise that would undermine the truth of Scripture.