What Does a Presbyterian Look Like?
Presbyterians are members of the branch of the Christian Church that came out of the Protestant Reformation, that great movement of the 16th Century. In a nutshell, our history looks something like this.
Originally there was only one church. In 1054 however, the church separated into two – the Eastern Church (Greek and Russian Orthodox) and the Western Church (Roman Catholic).
In the mid 1500s, another major event, the Reformation, occurred, when people like John Calvin (France), Martin Luther (Germany), John Knox (Scotland), Thomas Cranmer (England) and Ulrich Zwingli (Switzerland) spoke out against what they believed to be corruptions in the Western Church, and tried to encourage a return to what they regarded as New Testament Christianity.
From the Reformation came four main denominations: Lutheran, Presbyterian (or Reformed), Anglican and Anabaptist.
What does this mean for us now? Having said that we are part of the "Reformed" Church, that does not mean that we have finished reforming. It would be arrogant for us to say that. We believe that the Holy Spirit continues to speak and act in our midst, teaching us how we can continue to become more and more the people God is calling us to be. We believe that God speaks to each one of us and God speaks through the Church.
As Presbyterians, we believe, like all Christians,
- that God is Sovereign and is the Creator of all that is, both visible and invisible;
- that Jesus Christ, God's Son, lived and died to save people from their sins, rose from the dead and will come again;
- that the Holy Spirit continues to be active and present in our lives and in the world.
Presbyterians are people who:
- Love, serve and follow Jesus Christ
- Worship God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Use their gifts for the glory of God
- Grow in their faith
- Share with others out of their gratitude to God
- Care about and work for justice in the world