Existence of Presbyterian Church traces to as long back as the 16th century when it was introduced by John Calvin. Although Calvin was a trained Catholic priest, he became a reformer after his conversion to the movement. He became a minister and theologian.
Calvin thought on matters related to ministry, church, education based on religion, and Christian life. He was forced to lead the reformation movement in Geneva. In 1541, his Ecclesiastical Ordinances were enacted by the town council. Rules on issues like church order, gambling, swearing, dancing and religious training were enacted. People who broke these rules were dealt with strictly.
He was in agreement with the ideals of Martin Luther on issues related to original sin, priesthood of all believers, justification only by faith and scriptures having the sole authority. Theologically, he differed from Luther with regards to doctrines concerning eternal security and predestination.
Another important person concerned with Presbyterianism was John Knox. He resided in Scotland in mid-1500. He was responsible for reformation in Scotland by protesting against aspects like Catholic Mary, Catholic practices and Queen of Scots. His principles laid the foundation to the moral tone for the Scotland church and gave shape to the democratic form of governance. In 1690, the National Church of Scotland was formally established based on reformed theology and Presbyterian type of church government which remains till today.
In America as well, Presbyterianism made its strong presence felt. In early 1600, Reformed churches were established with Presbyterians giving shape to the political and religious lives of the young nation. The Declaration of Independence was signed by Rev. John Witherspoon who was the lone Christian minister and Presbyterian.
In the US, Presbyterians played instrumental roles in movements concerning women’s rights, temperance and abolition of slavery. The basis on which USA was founded included emphasis on working hard, attainment of salvation by souls, discipline, and construction of better world.
During the time of Civil War in the US, Presbyterians were divided in to North and South branches. They were later reunited in 1983, thus forming Presbyterians Church, USA.
Due to past or present differences in the doctrines, Presbyterian churches have an overlap with many such churches congregating in one place. The largest of this denomination is the Presbyterian Church, USA.
The area within a radius of 50 mile of Charlotte, North Carolina is regarded as the greatest congregation of Presbyterianism in South US. A similar congregation around Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is the largest in the whole nation.
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