A Guide to Religions, Religious Information and Help in Search for God

Presbyterianism (Reformed)

The Christian Protestant religion of Presbyterianism has an estimated 3,200,000 to 18,000,000 followers or Presbyterians. (NOTE: There is one source that estimates there to be 75,000,000 Presbyterians, but that is a highly over-inflated number.) Presbyterian churches were originally known as the Reformed churches, that originated in Switzerland through the work of John Calvin. However, the modern founder of Presbyterianism is generally considered to be John Knox (1505-1572), who was a student of John Calvin, with the founding of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland in Scotland in 1557.

The name Presbyterian is also used in England, Ireland, North America, Taiwan and some other countries. In France, followers of the Reformed movement were called Huguenots.

The Presbyterian church uses a "Presbyterian" form of government, that was modeled after the Reformation in Switzerland. The other popular forms of government used by Protestant churches are the "Episcopalian" and "Congregational" systems.

Each Presbyterian church has two congregationally elected bodies called elders (also known as "Presbyters") and deacons. Note that the name "Presbyterian" comes from the Greek word "presbyteros" meaning "elder." Elders take care of doctrine, while deacons take care of finances and other temporal affairs. Also, each congregation sends representatives to a presbytery or a local assembly. A presbytery sends representatives to a synod or broader regional assembly. A synod sends representatives to a general assembly of a particular Presbyterian church sect.

The Presbyterian church was traditionally Calvinistic in doctrine. However, like most other Protestant religions and major religions, the Presbyterian church divided into numerous divisions over time due to doctrinal differences.

Some of the major sects in the United States include the Presbyterian Church (in the USA), Bible Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


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