Presbyterianism

Presbyterianism is a form of church government, practiced by many (although not all) of those Protestant churches (known as Reformed churches), which historically subscribed to the teachings of John Calvin. Presbyterianism traces its institutional roots back to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. There are many separate Presbyterian Churches in different nations around the world. Besides national distinctions, Presbyterians also have divided from one another for doctrinal reasons, especially in the wake of the Enlightenment.

History of Presbyterianism

These denominations derive their name from the Greek word presbyteros, which means "elder." Presbyterian church governance is common to the Protestant churches that were most closely modelled after the Reformation in Switzerland. In England, Scotland and Ireland, the Reformed churches that adopted a presbyterian instead of episcopalian government, became known naturally enough, as the Presbyterian Church.

In Scotland, John Knox (1505-1572), who had studied under Calvin in Geneva, returned to Scotland and led the Parliament of Scotland to embrace the Reformation in 1560. The existing Church of Scotland was thus reformed along Presbyterian lines. In Ireland the Presbyterian Church was formed from the Church of Scotland and later became The Presbyterian Church In Ireland.In England, Presbyterianism was established in secret in 1572, toward the end of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. In 1647, by an act of the Long Parliament under the control of Puritans, the Church of England embraced Presbyterianism . The re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660 brought the re-establishment of episcopalian government in England (and in Scotland for a short time); but the Presbyterian church in England continued in non-conformity, outside of the established church. In Ireland, Presbyterianism was established by Scottish immigrants and missionaries to Ulster. The Presbytery of Ulster was formed separately from the established church, in 1642. Presbyterians, as well as Roman Catholics in Ulster and the rest of Ireland suffered under the discriminatory Penal Laws until they were revoked in the early 19th century. All three, very diverse branches of Presbyterianism, as well as independents, and some Dutch, German, and French Reformed denominations, combined in America to form what would eventually become the Presbyterian Church USA (1705). The Presbyterian church in England and Wales is the United Reformed Church, whilst the tradition also influenced the Methodist church, established in 1736.

Because of an emphasis on equal education for all people, Presbyterians have 'planted' and encouraged schools across the US as the country grew and the missionaries were sent out to the people.

Characteristics of Presbyterians

Main article: Presbyterian church governance

Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by both doctrine and institutional organization, or as they prefer to call it 'church order'. The origins of the Presbyterian churches were in Calvinism, which is no longer emphasized in some of the contemporary branches. Many of the branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups. These splits have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the Calvinist Westminster Confession of Faith, which historically serves as the main constitutional document of Presbyterian churches. Those groups that adhere to the document most strictly are typified by baptism of the infant children of believers, the exclusive use of Psalms (modified for metrical singing), singing unaccompanied by instruments, a common communion cup, only men are eligible for ordination to any church office, and a fully Calvinist doctrine of salvation. Because of this diversity of belief, more conservative Presbyterians are likely to attend the smaller denominations that have chosen to split from a larger body. While these conservative Presbyterians are not in the majority, their numbers are significant.

Presbyterian government is based on Elders. Teaching and ruling elders, sitting as a 'Kirk Session', (commonly refered to as simply 'session') are responsible for the discipline, the nurture and the mission of the local congregation. Sometimes the practicalities of buildings and finance in the congregation are delegated to a distinct group (known variosly as a 'Board' or 'Deacons' Court'. Teaching elders (ministers) have responsibility for teaching, worship and performing sacraments. Ministers are called by individual congregations. A congregation issues a call for the minister's service, but this call must be ratified by the Presbytery.

Above the Kirk Sessions exist Presbyteries, which have area responsibilities. These are composed of ministers and elders from each of the constituent congregations. The Presbytery sends representatives to a broader regional assembly, generally known as the General Assembly, although an intermediate level of a synod sometimes exists. This congregation / presbytery / synod / general assembly schema is based on the historical structure of the larger Presbyterian churches, like the Church of Scotland; some of the smaller bodies, like the Presbyterian Church in America or the Presbyterian Church in Ireland skip one of the steps between congregation and General Assembly, and usually the step skipped is the Synod. The Church of Scotland has now abolished the Synod.

Presbyterians place great importance upon education and continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church. References to the adoption of Calvin's theology of predestination and the typical member's predisposition to conduct themselves "decently and in order" have earned them the moniker of the "frozen chosen". However, most Presbyterians generally exhibit their faith in action as well as words, including generosity, hospitality, and the constant pursuit of social justice and reform as well as proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

Varieties of Presbyterians in North America

Even before the Presbyterians left Scotland there were divisions in the larger Presbyterian family. In North America, because of past doctrinal differences, Presbyterian churches often overlap, with congregations of many different Presbyterian groups in any one city. The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States is the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA). Other Presbyterian bodies in the United States include the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC (http://www.epc.org)), the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP Synod), the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS). In Canada, the largest Presbyterian Church is the Presbyterian Church in Canada; in 1925, about seventy percent of which, merged with the Methodist Church, Canada, and the Congregational Union of Canada to form the United Church of Canada.

Famous American Presbyterians

  • Dick Armey, U.S. Representative; conservative Republican from Texas
  • John C. Breckinridge, U.S. Vice-President under Buchanan
  • William Jennings Bryan of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee 1925 and three times U.S. Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party
  • James Buchanan, 15th U.S. President
  • Frederick Buechner, author of fantasy novels and non-fiction religious books
  • Aaron Burr, U.S. Vice-President under Jefferson
  • The Rev. Aaron Burr, co-founder of Princeton University
  • John C. Calhoun, U.S. Vice-President under Adams and Jackson
  • Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th U.S. President
  • Brian DePalma, film director; raised as a Presbyterian
  • John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President
  • Bill Frist, current Senate Majority Leader
  • Lamar Alexander, junior United States Senator from Tennessee
  • Jay Rockefeller, junior United States Senator from West Virginia
  • Mel Watt, Congressman from North Carolina and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • John Glenn, Astronaut, United States Senator
  • Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 election crisis and current congresswoman (R)
  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd U.S. President
  • A. A. Hodge, seminary professor
  • Charles Hodge, seminary professor
  • Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President
  • Stonewall Jackson, General in the Confederate Army
  • Norman Maclean, author and academic
  • James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. President (converted from Presbyterianism to Methodism)
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President
  • Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005- )
  • The Rev. Fred Rogers, also known as the famous Mister Rogers, was an ordained Presbyterian Minister up until his death.
  • Jimmy Stewart, actor
  • Norman Thomas runs for President as the Socialist Party candidate in 1928
  • Daniel D. Tompkins, U.S. Vice-President under Monroe
  • Mark Twain, American author
  • Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Vice-President under F.D. Roosevelt
  • Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Princeton Seminary professor
  • William A. Wheeler, U.S. Vice-President under Hayes
  • Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
  • The Rev. John Witherspoon, only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence

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In Canada, the largest Presbyterian Church is the Presbyterian Church in Canada; in 1925, about seventy percent of which, merged with the Methodist Church, Canada, and the Congregational Union of Canada to form the United Church of Canada. This is Tampa's worst start since Gruden took over the Bucs in 2002, and led to a final record of 5-11, which made the 2003-04 Buccaneers the first NFL team ever to follow up a Super Bowl championship with back-to-back losing seasons. Other Presbyterian bodies in the United States include the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC (http://www.epc.org)), the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP Synod), the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS). In the 2004 season, the Bucs started out 1-5 after losing two of their best defensive players (John Lynch, Warren Sapp) and one offensive player (Keyshawn Johnson) after deactivating him ten games into the 2003 season. The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States is the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA). Finishing the regular season 7-9, it marked the first time in the decade of the 2000s that both Super Bowl teams from the previous season did not even make the playoffs; Tampa Bay was thus unable to successfully defend their Super Bowl title. In North America, because of past doctrinal differences, Presbyterian churches often overlap, with congregations of many different Presbyterian groups in any one city. The 2003 season proved to be a losing one for the Buccaneers.

Even before the Presbyterians left Scotland there were divisions in the larger Presbyterian family. The 2002 Buccaneers became the first team ever to win the Super Bowl after not having made selections in either of the first two rounds of the previous spring's college draft (having traded these selections to the Oakland Raiders for the rights to head coach Jon Gruden), the first team ever to win the Super Bowl after having lost at home on opening day, the first team ever to win the Super Bowl after having gained less than 100 yards rushing per game during the regular season, and the first team ever to win the Super Bowl after having been eliminated in the wild-card round of the prior season's playoffs. However, most Presbyterians generally exhibit their faith in action as well as words, including generosity, hospitality, and the constant pursuit of social justice and reform as well as proclaiming the gospel of Christ. Louis Rams on the road. References to the adoption of Calvin's theology of predestination and the typical member's predisposition to conduct themselves "decently and in order" have earned them the moniker of the "frozen chosen". They are 1-0 in Super Bowls, having defeated the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in January, 2003, and they are 1-2 in NFC Championship games, having defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on the road on January 18, 2003), and losing to the Rams twice, in 1979 to the Los Angeles Rams at home, and in 1999 to the St. Presbyterians place great importance upon education and continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church. With league realignment in 2002, the Bucs moved into new NFC South division, along with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

The Church of Scotland has now abolished the Synod. The Bucs also abandoned their traditional team colours of orange and white in favour of dark red, black, and pewter. This congregation / presbytery / synod / general assembly schema is based on the historical structure of the larger Presbyterian churches, like the Church of Scotland; some of the smaller bodies, like the Presbyterian Church in America or the Presbyterian Church in Ireland skip one of the steps between congregation and General Assembly, and usually the step skipped is the Synod. The team's performance dramatically improved when the Glazers brought in Tony Dungy to coach. The Presbytery sends representatives to a broader regional assembly, generally known as the General Assembly, although an intermediate level of a synod sometimes exists. In the mid 1990s the team was sold by original owner Hugh Culverhouse to the Glazer family, who's financial support allowed them to finally become competitive. These are composed of ministers and elders from each of the constituent congregations. McKay responded "I'm in favour of it." Besides their poor performance the team's bright creamsicle uniform and logo (pictured right) were often mocked.

Above the Kirk Sessions exist Presbyteries, which have area responsibilities. After a particularly dismal effort in the late 1970s, longtime Bucs coach John McKay gave perhaps the quintessential comment on the organization's plight: A reporter asked McKay about his team's execution during the game. A congregation issues a call for the minister's service, but this call must be ratified by the Presbytery. The Buccaneers lost at least ten games in 17 of their first 21 seasons, including 12 straight from 1983 to 1994. Ministers are called by individual congregations. The team made a habit of losing. Teaching elders (ministers) have responsibility for teaching, worship and performing sacraments. In addition, the club once had a 20-game road losing streak against AFC teams, which ended when they won 17-10 over the Broncos at Denver on December 26, 1993.

Sometimes the practicalities of buildings and finance in the congregation are delegated to a distinct group (known variosly as a 'Board' or 'Deacons' Court'. They also once lost 27 consecutive games played both outdoors and on artificial turf; this streak began after a victory over the Bengals at Cincinnati in the 1980 season opener and lasted until they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia on the first week of the 1995 season. Teaching and ruling elders, sitting as a 'Kirk Session', (commonly refered to as simply 'session') are responsible for the discipline, the nurture and the mission of the local congregation. The club also did not win a game in which the temperature at kickoff time was below 40F (4C) until the last week of the 2002 regular season, having lost 20 such games prior. Presbyterian government is based on Elders. Tampa Bay went 0-14 in their inaugural season, and started their second season 0-12 before recording their first win. While these conservative Presbyterians are not in the majority, their numbers are significant. Started out in AFC West in 1976; moved to NFC Central in 1977.

Because of this diversity of belief, more conservative Presbyterians are likely to attend the smaller denominations that have chosen to split from a larger body. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (sometimes abbreviated as the Bucs) are a National Football League team based in Tampa, Florida, currently owned by Malcolm Glazer and coached by head coach Jon Gruden. Those groups that adhere to the document most strictly are typified by baptism of the infant children of believers, the exclusive use of Psalms (modified for metrical singing), singing unaccompanied by instruments, a common communion cup, only men are eligible for ordination to any church office, and a fully Calvinist doctrine of salvation. Jon Gruden (2002-current). These splits have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the Calvinist Westminster Confession of Faith, which historically serves as the main constitutional document of Presbyterian churches. Tony Dungy (1996-2001). Many of the branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups. Sam Wyche (1992-1995).

The origins of the Presbyterian churches were in Calvinism, which is no longer emphasized in some of the contemporary branches. Richard Williamson (1990-1991). Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by both doctrine and institutional organization, or as they prefer to call it 'church order'. Ray Perkins (1987-1990). Main article: Presbyterian church governance. Leeman Bennett (1985-1986). Because of an emphasis on equal education for all people, Presbyterians have 'planted' and encouraged schools across the US as the country grew and the missionaries were sent out to the people. John McKay (1976-1984).

The Presbyterian church in England and Wales is the United Reformed Church, whilst the tradition also influenced the Methodist church, established in 1736. Tony Dungy. All three, very diverse branches of Presbyterianism, as well as independents, and some Dutch, German, and French Reformed denominations, combined in America to form what would eventually become the Presbyterian Church USA (1705). Steve Spurrier. Presbyterians, as well as Roman Catholics in Ulster and the rest of Ireland suffered under the discriminatory Penal Laws until they were revoked in the early 19th century. Steve Young. The Presbytery of Ulster was formed separately from the established church, in 1642. Vinny Testaverde.

In Ireland, Presbyterianism was established by Scottish immigrants and missionaries to Ulster. Warren Sapp. The re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660 brought the re-establishment of episcopalian government in England (and in Scotland for a short time); but the Presbyterian church in England continued in non-conformity, outside of the established church. Errict Rhett. In 1647, by an act of the Long Parliament under the control of Puritans, the Church of England embraced Presbyterianism . Keenan McCardell. In Ireland the Presbyterian Church was formed from the Church of Scotland and later became The Presbyterian Church In Ireland.In England, Presbyterianism was established in secret in 1572, toward the end of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. John Lynch.

The existing Church of Scotland was thus reformed along Presbyterian lines. Keyshawn Johnson. In Scotland, John Knox (1505-1572), who had studied under Calvin in Geneva, returned to Scotland and led the Parliament of Scotland to embrace the Reformation in 1560. Wayne Haddix. In England, Scotland and Ireland, the Reformed churches that adopted a presbyterian instead of episcopalian government, became known naturally enough, as the Presbyterian Church. Warrick Dunn. These denominations derive their name from the Greek word presbyteros, which means "elder." Presbyterian church governance is common to the Protestant churches that were most closely modelled after the Reformation in Switzerland. Steve DeBerg.

Besides national distinctions, Presbyterians also have divided from one another for doctrinal reasons, especially in the wake of the Enlightenment. Reggie Cobb. There are many separate Presbyterian Churches in different nations around the world. Mark Carrier. Presbyterianism traces its institutional roots back to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. Ricky Bell. Presbyterianism is a form of church government, practiced by many (although not all) of those Protestant churches (known as Reformed churches), which historically subscribed to the teachings of John Calvin. 63 Lee Roy Selmon.

John Witherspoon, only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. Simeon Rice. The Rev. Brian Griese. Woodrow Wilson, 28th President. Charlie Garner. Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey. Michael Clayton.

Vice-President under Hayes. Derrick Brooks. Wheeler, U.S. Ronde Barber. William A. Mike Alstott. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Princeton Seminary professor. Steve Young (Began NFL career with Tampa Bay, appearing in 19 games. Acquired by San Francisco 49ers in 1987 for a second- and fourth-round draft choice and cash.).

Roosevelt. Lee Roy Selmon (the first pick in the 1976 draft and the Bucs' first ever pick). Vice-President under F.D. Wallace, U.S. Henry A.

Mark Twain, American author. Vice-President under Monroe. Tompkins, U.S. Daniel D.

Norman Thomas runs for President as the Socialist Party candidate in 1928. Jimmy Stewart, actor. Fred Rogers, also known as the famous Mister Rogers, was an ordained Presbyterian Minister up until his death. The Rev.

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005- ). President. Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President (converted from Presbyterianism to Methodism).

James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. Norman Maclean, author and academic. Stonewall Jackson, General in the Confederate Army. President.

Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. Charles Hodge, seminary professor. Hodge, seminary professor. A.

A. President. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd U.S. Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 election crisis and current congresswoman (R).

John Glenn, Astronaut, United States Senator. Mel Watt, Congressman from North Carolina and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Jay Rockefeller, junior United States Senator from West Virginia. Lamar Alexander, junior United States Senator from Tennessee.

Bill Frist, current Senate Majority Leader. Eisenhower, 34th President. Dwight D. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration.

John Foster Dulles, U.S. Brian DePalma, film director; raised as a Presbyterian. President. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th U.S.

Vice-President under Adams and Jackson. Calhoun, U.S. John C. Aaron Burr, co-founder of Princeton University.

The Rev. Vice-President under Jefferson. Aaron Burr, U.S. Frederick Buechner, author of fantasy novels and non-fiction religious books.

President. James Buchanan, 15th U.S. Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. William Jennings Bryan of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee 1925 and three times U.S.

Vice-President under Buchanan. Breckinridge, U.S. John C. Representative; conservative Republican from Texas.

Dick Armey, U.S.

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