What is a Presbyterian?
“Presbyterian” comes from the Greek word “presbyteros” meaning “elder.” Used 72 times in the New Testament, it refers to the custom of choosing leaders from the wisest members of the church. Presbyterians are a group of Protestants whose church is founded on this democratic rule under the Word of God. The denomination is a form of Christianity democratically organized to embrace the faith common to all Christians.
A Rich and Exciting History
The Presbyterian Church traces its roots back to the early church in Jerusalem, to Augustine and to Paul. The Protestant Reformation moved forward in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 94 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. John Calvin, called the father of Presbyterianism, converted to Protestantism in 1533, and it spread from Calvin in Geneva throughout Europe. The Scottish Protestant, John Knox, studied with Calvin in Geneva and returned to Scotland in 1559 to establish Presbyterianism. The first Presbytery in America was established in 1705. At least 14 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Presbyterians. Presbyterians are worldwide.
What Presbyterians Believe
Like other Christians, Presbyterians believe in God the Father and Creator of the universe; Christ the incarnation of God on earth; the Holy Spirit, the presence of God in the world and in the believers; the Bible, the inspired word of God; forgiveness of Sin made possible by the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Two Sacraments
The two Sacraments as described in the Bible are: Baptism, the ceremony symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper. The bread and wine symbolize the new covenant between God and all people.