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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20

The Law of Ecclesiastical Property

The Law of Ecclesiastical Property.

Mr Innes, in his able book on "The Law of Creeds in Scotland," * thus sums up the present state of the law:—"That when a Church or general ecclesiastical body changes its principles, it cannot compel the congregation to go with it. That when the Church, without changing its principles, merges its separate identity by union with another body, it cannot compel the congregation to go along with it. That not only a majority, but even a minority of the congregation, has a right to vindicate the congregational property in the two cases last mentioned." (P. 363.) The application of these principles to any attempt to force a union on the footing of abandoning our distinctive principles, and to carry over the property of the Free Church to a united Church, without the consent of the ministers and people, is sufficiently obvious, and has been established by several recent decisions.

* Edinburgh: Blackwood & Sons.