George Sprott and the Revival of Worship in Scotland

J Clark Saunders

The Canadian upbringing and influences on this pre-eminent reformer of Presbyterian worship (he served in Canada and Ceylon as well as in Scotland) are explored. As well as worship, Sprott affirmed the threefold ministry of the church according to Reformed principles, always lodged in apostolic tradition: ministers, elders, deacons. He had a high doctrine of ordination, against views of the time, and attacked ‘low and defective views of sacramental grace’, reaffirming the centrality of the Lord’s Supper, which should be celebrated more frequently. Against an emphasis on ‘worthy receiving’, he affirmed the objective event, arguing for the epiclesis and the setting apart of the elements, for the minister communicating first, and the return to the old custom of communicants coming forward to receive. He also deplored the schisms of the Presbyterian Church and looked forward also to larger scale union involving the two national churches in Britain. It was in response to his writings and proposals that the Church Service Society was formed on January 31, 1865.

Volume 07, Number 01 May 1977, p45