This popular history offers a broad sweep of major themes in the story of the post-reformation Church of Scotland, century by eventful century. Accessible, informed and engaging, it is written for church people wishing to learn more of their story and also for general readers interested in the history of a significant Scottish institution.

The headline events and key issues of each century are explored:

  • 16th – the aftermath of Reformation; John Knox and Mary Queen of Scots and the laying of foundations for a new presbyterian church
  • 17th – the struggles between presbyterian democratic concepts of leadership and episcopacy, kirk and king, crown and covenant, leading to the 1690’s establishment of the Kirk as the national church of Scotland
  • 18th – official recognition of a separate Scottish Episcopal Church; fragmentation and splits within the presbyterian establishment; theological and political controversies underlying these
  • 19th – the rise of foreign missions; development of biblical criticism; the major split of the 1843 Disruption
  • 20th – the great reunion of 1929 followed by the kirk’s ‘glory days’ with membership peaking mid-century 1.3 million and its subsequent decline; new ventures – the church extension movement, women’s ordination, acceptance of gay ministers
  • 21st – the renewal of mission, the work of the church today and tomorrow.