The Scottish Reformation Society exists to defend and promote the work of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. We do this by organising meetings, by publishing literature, by running an essay competition, and through the work of our local Branches.
The Scottish Reformation Society has been evangelical, Protestant, and non-denominational since its foundation in 1850. Membership of the Society is encouraged and is open to all who support its aims.
The Scottish Reformation Society owns the historic Magdalen Chapel which is the headquarters of the Society. The Chapel is open to visitors, usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10.30-2.30 (but check before visiting).
History of the society
The Scottish Reformation Society was founded on 5th December 1850. This happened at the conclusion of a large public meeting held in the Edinburgh Music Hall to protest against the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. The stated purpose of the new Society was “to resist the aggressions of Popery; to watch the designs and movements of its promoters and abettors; and to diffuse sound and scriptural information on the distinctive tenets of Protestantist and Popery”. To this purpose, the Society has adhered to the present day.
Over the years, smaller Protestant bodies such as the Scottish Protestant Alliance (1911), the Scottish Women’s Protestant Union (1950), and the Protestant Institute of Scotland (1964) have been incorporated into the Society. The last of these amalgamations led to a broadening of the work of the Society.
The Protestant Institute was founded in 1860, the 300th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation. It owned the Magdalen Chapel and the property at 17 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, which housed the Institute, a teaching centre, and the offices of the Scottish Reformation Society. Discussions over incorporation took place over several years, in the early 1960s. They culminated in an agreement in 1964 to unite the two bodies under the title of the Scottish Reformation Society. All assets and property of the Protestant Institute were transferred to the new body.
Opportunity was taken to examine the Constitutions of both of the former bodies. In the wake of this, a new Constitution for the Scottish Reformation Society was approved by the Committee and by the Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Reformation Society in 1965. An update of this Constitution took place in 1992.
For more information on the history of the Society, and on James Begg who was the driving-force behind the foundation of the Society and of the Protestant Institute, click here.
The objects of the Scottish Reformation Society
(a) To propagate the Evangelical Protestant Faith and those principles held in common by those Churches and Organisations adhering to the Reformation;
(b) To diffuse sound and Scriptural teaching on the distinctive tenets of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism;
(c) To carry on missionary work among adherents of the latter faith with a view of winning them to the doctrines of grace and to the fellowship of the true Gospel;
(d) To produce and distribute evangelistic, religious and other literature in connection with the promotion of the Protestant religion;
(e) To promote the associating together of men and women, and especially young people, for systematic Bible Study and holdings of meetings for the above specified purposes.
The Scottish Reformation Society Committee
Chairman » Rev Dr S James Millar
Vice-chairman » Rev John J Murray
Secretary » Rev Douglas Somerset
Treasurer » Rev Andrew Coghill
» Rev Maurice Roberts
» Rev Kenneth Macdonald
» Mr Allan McCulloch
» Mr James Dickson
» Rev Alasdair Macleod