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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by ~JM~, Mar 11, 2007.
I'm looking for critics on Presbyterianism, any links or articles?
Go to Google, get overwhelmed. Read some definitions. Look for statements of faith.
There is always the group on this board that opposes infant baptism and Calvinism.
I have a question. Do all presbyterians automatically believe in the same statements of faith? Does this mean that it doesn't matter which presbyt. church I go to they will always preach exactly the same stuff because they all share the same statements of faith?
There are hundreds of subdenominations among Presbyterians, even though there are certain consensus among them.
In short, no.
Most Presbyterian denominations hold to the Wesminster Confession with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Some don't follow it, but most do. Some also embrace other confessions like the Belgic Confession and the Heidleberg Catechism. My church is part of the PCA which holds to the Westminster.
Some of the more liberal churches threw out the confessions. I know of one Presby church about an hour away from where I live where the pastor doesn't believe in the resurrection or any of the miracles in Scripture or the Christ is God. What does he preach on every Sunday? Good morals and loving your neighbor. No cross, no sin, no grace, no forgiveness, no repentence, no justification by faith, just good morals and loving your neighbor. It's pretty sad.
Here's the PCA website: http://www.pcanet.org/
There are no Presbyterian denominations I know of which would, or constitutionally could, tolerate such behavior.
The sole requirement for membership in a PC(USA) church is a confession of faith in the resurrected Christ as savior and Lord, and having been baptized by some church.
http://www.pcusa.org is the website for the Presbyterian Church (USA). We are a constitutionally governed church, with a Book of Confessions which includes the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds, the Westminster Confession, the Theological Declaration of Barmen, and several others.
The PC(USA) is the demonimation from which the PCA split over the issue of ordaining women. I was born into the church where the PCA originated, though I was long gone by the time the split happened.
You'll find a wide variety of ancillary theologies amongst Presbyterians.
What makes us Presbyterian is our polity, or form of government. Our churches are governed by groups of ordained individuals called "elders," who make up the "session" of the local church. Groups of churches are governed by "Presbyteries," which are groups of sessions arranged either geographically or by a particular common theme (there are, for example, Korean church presbyteries and Native American church presbyteries). Groups of Presbyteries are arranged into geographical "synods," and twice annually (in the case of the PC(USA)), the whole church meets in General Assembly to decide matters affecting the whole church.
Are any Presbyterian churches not Calvinist?
Do any reject infant baptism?
As Dustin said -- Presbyterian Churches ( there ministers at least )should be following the Westminster Standards . I do think that thew percentage of those that are in compliance are fewer than there should be .
The Free Presbyterian Church allows for some freedom regarding the practice of baptism .
A lot of this, Bob, hinges on what you consider "Calvinist" to be.
We are generally Reformed, a theology birthed by Calvin, to be sure, yet different from what I've seen Calvinism described as in these here parts.
However, the name "Presbyterian" refers not to our theology but to our polity.
Free Prebyterians just don't set to one mode. In fact, in thier statement of faith, they say that mode is a matter of liberty because there are biblical cases for sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. They don't want to spend time arguing over secondary issues. It's the actual act of baptism that is important, not how it's administered. I heard a sermon about it a few weeks back.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Yep, I forgot to say that. I wouldn't say it was birthed by only Calvin, but maybe the Reformation itself. Probably men before that too, I've been reading a lot of Augustine lately. But Calvin is one of the larger figures, with Luther, Beza, Augustine, Owen, etc...
I'm also fond of the Puritans.
Soli Deo Gloria,
If we grant that 3pt, 4pt and 5pt Calvinists are all Calvinists - can we then say that all Presbyterians are Calvinists - as opposed to Baptists who might even include Arminian groups in some cases? (Free Will Baptist, some Southern Baptists etc)
My husband was raised Presbyterian, went to church every week while he was growing up. I was once discussing this with him, and he flat out DENIED that Presbyterians were Calvinists! Some months later we went to his childhood home church for the funeral of his aunt. I insisted we ask the minister there about this. When I asked him if it was true that Presbyterians were Calvinists, he said "Yes, but we don't like to talk about it. It just confuses people." So my take on this is that it is sometimes downplayed (though often not) for PR purposes. It probably just depends on how theologically sophisticated the congregation is.
Of course, it was John Knox who established the Presbyterian church, and "presbyterian" refers to how the church is organized and administered, not to a specific theology (though Knox was very definitely a Calvinist). Historically it was opposed to the more centralized episopalian polity of the Anglican church in the 1600s during the English civil war. If I understand it right, presbyterian polity is organized from the bottom up, episcopalian from the top down. Congregationalist is alternative #3, which is what Baptists generally are, which means that there is no true heirarchy. Each individual church is the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth.
Here is a funny story from the early days that illustrates one of the major issues at the root of prebyterianism: The imposition of the Book of Common Prayer in Scotland.
I think the articles on religion on Wikipedia are generally very good!
BTW, the Cumberland Presbyterian church is an off-shoot that came about during the so-called Great Revival of the early 1800s. They are pretty Arminian.
So maybe the fact that Knox was also Calvinist is what is getting us to the point where all Presbyterian teaching is essentially Calvinist.
Bob, I wouldn't be comfortable saying that "all Presbyterians" are anything outside of a particular form of polity.
I could, within limits, agree that all Reformed churches are, within your rather broad guidelines, Calvinist, though Reformed theology is much broader than Calvin.
However, polity is not theology.
PS - I omitted a bit about baptism. In the PC(USA), we baptize both infants and adults, accept members who have been baptized by any Cristian denomination, and while we typically sprinkle, there are provisions for all forms of water baptism.
Do Presbyterians believe in any form of apostolic succession?
Speaking for the PC(USA), PCA, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Chruches, and reformed theology in general, we do not.
I guess that makes me a Presbyterian