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Presbyterian Church Beliefs and Practices

Understanding the Doctrines of Presbyterianism


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The roots of the Presbyterian Church trace back to John Calvin, a 16th-century French reformer. Calvin's theology was very similar to Martin Luther's. He agreed with Luther on the doctrines of original sin, justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the sole authority of the Scriptures. He distinguishes himself theologically from Luther primarily with the doctrines of predestination and eternal security.

Presbyterian Doctrine:

  • The Authority of Scripture - Our knowledge of God and God's purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ.
  • Justification by Grace through Faith - Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God's generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments.
  • The Priesthood of All Believers - It is everyone's job - ministers and lay people alike - to share this Good News with the whole world. The Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
  • The Sovereignty of God - God is the supreme authority throughout the universe.
To read more about the Presbyterian church visit The Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

(Sources: ReligiousTolerance.org, ReligionFacts.com, AllRefer.com, and the Religious Movements Web site of the University

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