free church

free church

noun
1.
(sometimes initial capital letters) a church free from state control. Compare established church.
2.
(sometimes initial capital letters) a dissenting or nonconforming church.
3.
(initial capital letters) . Also, Free Kirk. (in Scotland) the church established by those who left the Church of Scotland in 1843.

Origin:
1825–35, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
Free Church
 
n
chiefly (Brit)
 a.  any Protestant Church, esp the Presbyterian, other than the Established Church
 b.  (as modifier): Free-Church attitudes

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

free church

generally, any Protestant religious body that exists in or originates in a land having a state church but that is itself free of governmental or external ecclesiastical control. Examples of such free churches are the Baptists in Scotland, where the established church is Presbyterian; the Presbyterians in England, where the Anglican Church is established; the Waldensian Church in Italy, where the Roman Catholic Church is established; and the Mission Covenant Church in Sweden, where the established church is Lutheran.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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