What is a Presbyterian?
In a word, Presbyterian means "elder." Presbyterian refers to churches who govern themselves by electing people to serve on a ruling council of elders called a session. Specifically, we are governed by The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which includes Part I - The Book of Confessions, and Part II - The Book of Order. The most recent Confession of Faith approved by the Presbyterian Church is the Brief Confession. This confession was approved in 1990. Of course, as with many denominations, the Presbyterian Church because of some fundamental differences in philosophy and other reasons, while still Presbyterian have "splintered off" so to speek and there are Evangelical Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Presbyterian Church of Amriac )PCA and Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA). The PCUSA Seal follows:
Though we are presbyterian in the way we govern ourselves, our faith is centered in the person of Jesus Christ, whom we believe is the Son of God. We are Christians who follow the ideals of the Prostestant Reformation of the 16th century which focus on:
- the priesthood of all believers,
- the authority of scripture, and that
- salvation is granted by God's grace alone.
We are monotheists and trinitarian by faith and so believe in one God who is called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe God is sovereign over the universe. We believe that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our sins against God are forgiven and we are saved for eternal life.
Our Faith and Our Works
The way we believe certainly affects the way we live. Our faith in the living Christ requires us to live with a concern for others, our community and our world. Our belief in a loving God implies that we are to model a loving behavior toward all of God's creation. That is why Presbyterians involve themselves in all aspects of creation. Our members take leadership roles in community affairs and many gladly volunteer their services locally and worldwide.
Really, What is a Presbyterian?
If you want the basics of those of us who are Presbyterians, just look at us. We are teachers, laborers, doctors, farmers, and everything in between. We are those who strive to serve God in the best way we know how. We love justice and deplore injustice. We are realists who think that the best way to serve God is to do the best we can for our families and our neighbors. That is how we hope to please God, which is, of course, our main goal.
We observe two Sacraments: Baptism (only one), which celebrates our entry into the family of God and The Lord's Supper, which celebrates Christ's perpetual resurrection presence among us. There are many good texts on Presbyterianism.
Want to Find Out More? Don't take my word for it, check out a Presbyterian Church near you. Last but not least. Attend a church of your choice on Sunday.
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LAST UPDATED 11:14 PM 02/01/2011