Presbyterian

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by bapmom, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. bapmom

    bapmom
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    Im curious about what the Presbyterians teach. Can anyone give me any insights?
     
  2. Gershom

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  3. Aaron

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    Where they differ from most Baptists is in the area of pedobaptism and Covenant Theology. Covenant Theology is the belief that God's Promise to Abraham has its fulfillment in Christ and His church.

    From this comes the idea of the Universal Church, the body of all believers from Abel to the last man to be saved.

    The structure of their government is somewhat different. They don't have an hierarchy, but they do believe that authority is vested in the presbytery, the body of elders.

    As far as Calvinsim, the priesthood of the believer, the authority of the Scriptures, and most other aspects of their belief, they are like most Baptists.
     
  4. Miss22

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    Well reformed presbyterians believe in Calvinism. I go to one of their churches here in Canada. Although I don't nessecarily believe in it.. [​IMG]
     
  5. bapmom

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    Aaron,

    by pedobaptism, do you mean infant baptism and that they baptize babies?
     
  6. bapmom

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    Oh, and thank you all for your responses
     
  7. ascund

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    Hey bapmom

    I can't believe the responses missed the #1 differentiator: determinism.

    Perhaps it is in the links provided by Gershom.

    Calvinists believe that God determined from before the foundation who He would save and by default those who He would not save (I personally don't believe they have a single verse for this that doesn't abuse context in some fashion).

    Another word for "determinism" is "election."

    Lloyd
     
  8. bapmom

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    Thank you ascund, they just didnt define calvinism, but I pretty much knew thats what they were referring to.
     
  9. El_Guero

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    Bapmom,

    determinism is not the same as election or predestination.

    Altho' I do think they are very close, most reformed thinkers would not like that comparison.
     
  10. Ben W

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    Presbyterians can be similar to Baptist in that they are a group of several different denominations each using the name Presbyterian, the denominations differ on a number of things as do Baptists!
     
  11. FriendofSpurgeon

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    This is from the PCA Website - hope you find it helpful.

    "WHAT WE BELIEVE
    Presbyterian Church in America

    We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.

    We believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.

    We believe that salvation is by God alone as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.

    We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.

    We believe that God is gracious and faithful to His people not simply as individuals but as families in successive generations according to His Covenant promises.

    We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.

    We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people to Himself.

    We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ."
     
  12. Jim1999

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    The false notion that God elects some to salvation and others to eternal damnation is incorrect. God has elected some to eternal salvation from before the foundation of the world, and He has passed by the remainder to their own damnation. There is an essential difference in the terminology, and also affects the order of the decrees.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. Johnv

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    Also similar in beliefs to the Presbyterian church is the Reformed Church (www.rca.org). While most have heard of Presbyterians, the Reformed Church in America is relatively unknown.
     
  14. Aaron

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    Yep.
     
  15. Matt Black

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    What say ye, good brethren, of the 16th-17th century saying that "new presbyter is but old priest writ large"?
     
  16. Monergist

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    As a fairly recent convert from being a lifelong Baptist to a "truly reformed" Presbyterian (PCA), I can say that there is a W-I-D-E variance as to what is taught in Presbyterian churches; wider perhaps that what is found among churches bearing the name 'Baptist.' Even among the generally liberal leaning PCUSA demonination (by far the largest) there is a mixture that ranges from those who seemingly deny every Biblical truth and embrace every sort of theological and moral perversion to some who are still fairly conservative in their views.

    The name 'Presbyterian' denotes an adherence to a specific form of church government. That is about the only thing that my particular church shares with some other Presbyterian churches in our town. We have more in common with the conservative Baptists of the IFB and SBC types than we do with other churches that bear our name. However, there are notable differences, some of which have already been mentioned.

    In short, what makes us different from other conservative churches, Baptist & otherwise, include (my church is viewed as very conservative even in the conservative PCA, but here are some things a visitor might notice):

    Full subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith & Catechisms.

    A distinctly Calvinistic view of salvation.

    An emphasis on biblical church discipline.

    An embracing of Covenant Theology & rejection of Dispensationalism.

    An emphasis on the entirety of scripture, not primarily just the New Testament.

    A covenantal view of Baptism, including infant Baptism.

    We see much more continuity between the old & new covenants (the default view today seems to be that what is stated in the old has been done away with unless re-stated in the new, we hold that what is stated in the old still applies unless done away with in the new).

    A rejection of the "Left Behind" end-times view (my church teaches partial-preterism & postmillenialism).

    Holding to Regulative Principle of Worship (meaning that God has prescribed how he is to be worshipped-- we don't add to it. Example, we don't have drama programs or altar calls, as scripture nowhere commands them. We do sing Psalms, as we are instructed to do).

    A plurality of ruling elders.

    A literal six day, young earth, view of creation.

    An emphasis on the Presuppostional approach to Apologetics (rather than Evidentialist approaches which often appeal to science, history, archeology, etc. to "prove" that the Bible is true. We accept as fact that the Bible is truth and let all else bow the knee to scripture, rather than vice-versa).

    An emphasis on the family. As far as I know, all 150 or so members homeschool (it isn't required, but grows out of people simply putting their faith into practice). Families worship together, there's no childrens church or youth pastor. Men are instructed to lead their families and encouraged to practice daily family worship.

    A rejection of Charismatic practices (healing gifts, speaking in tongues, etc.)

    A rejection of practices which involve women preaching, leading worship, serving as elders or deacons.

    An emphasis on the Law of God being valid today (except for the ceremonial aspects which are fulfilled in Christ).

    An awareness and appreciation of a rich heritage that includes the Reformers and the Puritans.

    Consisitent and thorough expository preaching.

    An interpetation practice of Scripture based on the principle that Scripture is its own best interpreter, rather than forcing scripture through an artificial "literal" grid. We don't believe in "spiritualizing" as some charge; instead we recognize that scripture sometimes contains forms of speech that were never meant to be taken literally (for example, next time someone insists all prophecies in scripture must be taken literally, ask him where the literal "Bulls" and "Dogs" of Psalm 22 were at the crucifiction of Christ).

    I'm sorry if I've rambled. Like I said, we share much in common with many other conservative groups; these are just some things that I see that are different.
     
  17. PastorSBC1303

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    Monergist, can I ask what led you to leaving the Baptist church and going to the PCA? I have a dear friend that has just recently made the same choice.
     
  18. Monergist

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    Sure. I began my search for a new church home by looking for one thing- a Baptist Church with some depth in preaching and teaching. Even though I have been in "Bible-believing" Baptist Churches all my life, except for a few years of rebellion in early adulthood, I don't beleive my conversion came until a few years ago, when I was well past thirty.

    When God truly saved me, He gave me a hunger to know His Word. I recognised early on that I had been taught a lot of things in error (I grew up Free-Will Baptist) and was really seking for some answers. I found some help with reading John MacArthur & others. At the same time I got really excited about learning more and began to grow discouraged with the fact that I wasn't getting solid food at the SBC church I was going to.

    Through wrestling with the question of eternal security, I discovered the Doctrines of Grace and as I began to understand them I began to embrace them. My pastor was adamantly anti-Calvinist. I probably could have lived with that if there had been a more systematic and expository type of preaching; instead I felt as though me and my family were starving to death. There was plenty of excitement there but little depth. A deacon friend privately confessed to me that the church was about an inch deep and a mile wide. When he told me that in examining candidates for new deacons, the question "What are the two ordinances that Baptists recognize?" could not be answered by any one of the nominees (this is in a church running over 2000 in Sunday Morning worship) I knew that something was wrong. Over time I became more disgruntled, more than once my wife and I wept in the car after service because of what we were seeing and hearing.

    For two years we visited other Baptist Churches. I hoped to at least find a place where expository preaching was practiced. Calvinism really wasn't an issue; I knew we were in the minority and could live under preaching that didn't accept it as long as the preacher showed faithfulness in consistently teaching and applying God's Word. In all the places that we visited we found one, although it sill lacked the level of depth we desired, the pastor did seem committed to trying to effectively teach and apply scripture. We were seriously considering joining there when a friend (United Methodist, of all things) suggested that we visit what is now our home church.

    I had many questions and uncertainties at first. But it soon became apparent that this was the only church we had found that taught and practiced SOME things that we knew to be true. We prayed that God would give wisdom and direction about the things of which we were uncertain. It was obvious to us that the leadership of the church placed a high value on the authority and sufficiency of scripture and was committed to instructing the members in how to live and worship accordingly.

    I didn't fully accept Presbyterian doctrine all at once. When we joined my daughter was one year old; it was fully two years later that we were convinced of the need to have her baptized. I point that out to show that ours was a process.

    In many ways my bond with Baptists has not been broken. Most of my friends and nearly all of my family are Baptists (a few Pentecostals). And I still feel sadness at the lack of solid teaching that my friends and family unwittingly experience.
     
  19. PastorSBC1303

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    Mongergist, thanks for sharing.

    I am saddened at the lack of sound expository preaching in the SBC.

    Thankfully I think things are getting better, I know that our seminaries are committed to expository preaching and are producing pastors with hearts for sound expository preaching. I arrived at seminary for my MDiv with no real clue what expository preaching was all about. I left with a passion and desire for it and do not want to ever preach any other way. I am even working on a DMin in Expository Preaching from Southern.

    But sadly, it is going to take some time to get spread throughout the churches, and I fear we may loose more people to other denominations because of the lack of sound preaching. Thanks again for sharing. May God bless you and your family in your new church.
     
  20. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I too am a former Baptist and have been in the PCA for close to 20 years. I agree with Monergist's list, but wanted to point out a few things. I hope this is helpful.

    Eschatology - The PCA does not have an official stated postion. Most pastors are probably amil, some historic (non-dispy) pre-mil, and some post-mil. Partial preterism may also be taught. The PCA allows honest disagreement on this issue and it is not a "fellowship" issue as it is in some Baptist circles.

    Worship - While most PCA churches hold to a regulative principle of worship, it is not an official position. Also, most PCA churches sing hymns and praise songs in addition to (or instead of) only the Psalms.

    Creation - I don't think that a literal six day, young earth, view of creation is the official position, though most I think PCA pastors would probably support this view.

    Education - While there is an emphasis on the family within Covenant Theology, this does not necessarily correlate to home schooling. In our PCA church, most children attend the public schools, some attend Christian schools and very few (but some) are home-schooled.

    Women Issues - Women seem to play a larger role than what I've expereienced in Baptist churches. While there are no women elders or deacons, we have/had women in various roles - Director of Children's Ministries, Women's Youth Director, Choir Director, etc.
     

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