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Act 48, 2011 (XLVIII) – Act anent Difficulties of Conscience arising from Act I, November 2010. 26th May 2011.

The General Assembly, noting that the change in the form of worship in the Church authorised by Act I, Class II, November 2010, is permissive and not mandatory, enact and ordain as follows:

1. The General Assembly recognise that the practice of the Free Church of Scotland prior to the passing of Act I, Class II, November 2010 was to avoid the use in public worship of uninspired materials of praise and instrumental music and that the Questions and Formula referred to such practice.

2. The General Assembly affirm that, while the Questions and Formula have not been changed by Act I, Class II November 2010, nevertheless the said Act allows for a wider understanding of the Questions and Formula with regard to worship.

3. The General Assembly recognise that the change authorised by Act I, Class II, November 2010, may have created difficulties of conscience for some office-bearers and some who may be elected to office in the Church.

4. The General Assembly, therefore, ordain that, in order to address such difficulties, candidates for office, at the time of licensing, ordination or induction, may intimate to the relevant Church Court their own personal conviction with regard to sung praise and the use of instrumental music in public worship.

5. The General Assembly further ordain that existing office-bearers may intimate to the relevant Church Court at any suitable opportunity their own personal conviction with regard to sung praise and the use of instrumental music in public worship.

6. It shall be the duty of the Clerk of Presbytery or Kirk Session in all cases to record any such intimation.

7. The General Assembly exhort all office-bearers, members and adherents to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.