Chapter

The Church Divided

Stewart J. Brown

in Thomas Chalmers and the Godly Commonwealth in Scotland

Published in print January 1983 | ISBN: 9780192131140
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670039 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192131140.003.0006
The Church Divided

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In 1839, the rising tension of the controversies regarding both Church Extension and the spiritual independence of the Church, combined with the economic depression and a darkening social environment, contributed to a series of religious revivals within the Church of Scotland. Chalmers, Welsh, and Gordon walked out of the General Assembly. This chapter narrates the culmination of The Disruption of 1834. The Disruption, Chalmers maintained, was not secession. Rather it was a tragic severing of the relationship between the true Church of Scotland and the British State which had broken its pledge to preserve the Church's integrity. For him, it was the Free Church that now represented the national Establishment and Christian commonwealth. To achieve the goal of a national territorial ‘establishment’, based upon the voluntary contributions, Chalmers devised his celebrated Sustentation Fund scheme.

Keywords: Church Extension; Church of Scotland; Welsh; Gordon; General Assembly; The Disruption; British State; Free Church; Sustentation Fund scheme

Chapter.  32012 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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