Who are the Presbyterians?
Presbyterians are Protestant Christians who owe their origin to the Protestant Reformation in Europe in the 16th century. Like Lutherans, Presbyterians emphasize faith in Jesus Christ as the way of salvation and the Bible as the sole standard for faith and practice. The word “presbyter” means elder. The Presbyterian Church is governed by boards of elders at the congregational level, and in larger districts called Presbyteries and Synods. The ordained clergy are “teaching elders” and lay elders are “ruling elders.” Both share in the governance of the church at all levels. Presbyterians belong to a family of Protestants called the Reformed Churches. All the Reformed Churches are a result of the teaching of the Protestant theologian John Calvin who lived in Geneva, Switzerland in the 16th century. Presbyterians hold to all the classic Protestant teachings but have traditionally also affirmed a strong belief in the sovereignty of God and of God’s gracious providence within creation and human history. The Westminster Confession and Catechism are the most familiar doctrinal documents of Presbyterianism. There are several Presbyterian denominations in the U.S., the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) being the largest.
Thank you Rev. Bob Hart