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Free Church of Scotland

church organized in 1843 by dissenting members of the Church of Scotland. The disruption was the result of tensions that had existed within the Church of Scotland, primarily because of the development early in the 18th century of two groups within the church-the Moderates, who were primarily interested in social activities, in culture, and in their position within the established church, and the Evangelicals, who were stricter Calvinists who believed in adherence to the Westminster Confession. Patronage, approved by the British Parliament in 1712, allowed wealthy landowners to appoint ministers to local churches, and the church came to be controlled by the Moderates. In the 19th century the Evangelicals became stronger and insisted on more freedom from the state and the right of congregations to elect their own ministers. When the courts and Parliament upheld the patrons' rights to appoint ministers, many Evangelicals decided that they must leave the established church.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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