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Religious Beliefs

Presbyterian Religion -16th century subset of the Protestant Reformation

Presbyterian Religion
A Brief Overview of the Presbyterian Faith

Presbyterians trace their beginnings back to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. The writings of a French lawyer and later theologian named John Calvin are the basis of the Presbyterian religion and heritage today.

Some of the principles that John Calvin wrote about continue to be at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. website, the largest of the Presbyterian denominations, lists their beliefs as follows:

  • Sovereignty of God or God is the supreme authority throughout the universe.
  • The authority of the scripture described as 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 and the priesthood of all believers meaning salvation (justification) through Jesus is God's generous gift to [everyone] and not the result of [individual] accomplishments.

Presbyterians have a Book of Confessions in addition to the Bible that contains statements confessing their beliefs. These statements cover their understanding of God and what God expects of them, in accordance with the fundamental beliefs above. It is left to each individual to understand what these principles mean in their own lives.

Other facts about the Presbyterian Faith:

There are several different Presbyterian Sects throughout the world; some of the largest are The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Presbyterian Church in America, Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the The Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Each sect adheres to different writings of John Calvin and varies on their interpretations. The different denominations vary when it comes to topics such as covenant theology vs. dispensationalism, temperance, ecumenism and premillennialism.