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Anyone want to give me the basics about Presbyterianism?


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Thereason I want to know is bc I am learning about a Presbyterian church. this particular church is new *to me* but an older historic church that would be included on a tour I would give.

I don't technically need to know the religion to talk about the building but I am curious.

If you feel like it, just the basics are fine. I know a bit about the denomination but feel free to explain like i am five. 😉

thank you!

I'm fine with the building...I know the history, style, architect, interior, etc. I will not be talking about Presbyterianism for any tour, however I am curious for my own interests.

I hope I clarified a little.

 

 

Edited by unsinkable
trying to clarify
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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

Like, as in the physical structure?  Most Presbyterian churches around here aren’t in anything special compared to any other Protestant church 🙂. The interior may have some differences, but that depends very much in the body and type of Presbyterian in question!

No, the religion...beliefs, history, etc.

I have resources for the building and I am in the early stages (like larva!) of learning about ecclesiastical architecture so I am good there.

 

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Presbyterian is just a system of church government. The theological beliefs of different Presbyterian denominations will vary widely. There are typically elders (including a pastor) over the local church body, a presbytery (usually regional/geographic) over the elders in each church, then some type of general assembly that handles denomination-wide theological statements and the like. But Presbyterianism isn't a belief system.

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1 minute ago, EmseB said:

Presbyterian is just a system of church government. The theological beliefs of different Presbyterian denominations will vary widely. There are typically elders (including a pastor) over the local church body, a presbytery (usually regional/geographic) over the elders in each church, then some type of general assembly that handles denomination-wide theological statements and the like. But Presbyterianism isn't a belief system.

ah. why are churches named things like First Presbyterian?

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Also I may be misinterpreting what you're asking about because I don't understand what a Presbyterian church building is or looks like because I've attended several and none of them have a distinctive look. Right now we're meeting in an SDA church.

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13 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

ah. why are churches named things like First Presbyterian?

Because they are Presbyterian in government, probably falling under a larger Presbyterian denomination. First as an identifier is typically because way back in the day they were the first of that kind of church in that particular town.

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6 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Also I may be misinterpreting what you're asking about because I don't understand what a Presbyterian church building is or looks like because I've attended several and none of them have a distinctive look. Right now we're meeting in an SDA church.

I have my resources for the building. I am fine with that.

I just am curious about the beliefs, worship, etc. I don't *need* to know that stuff, just want to know. 

 

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OK...i am learning about a specific building which is a Presbyterian church. I know about the history and particulars of this specific building, which technically is all I need to know. Bc I will not tell tour groups about the religion, bc it is not part of the tour.

But I am curious about Presbyterianism (which is not a denomination, thank you for that!) for my own interest.

does that help?

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16 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

OK...i am learning about a specific building which is a Presbyterian church. I know about the history and particulars of this specific building, which technically is all I need to know. Bc I will not tell tour groups about the religion, bc it is not part of the tour.

But I am curious about Presbyterianism (which is not a denomination, thank you for that!) for my own interest.

does that help?

Yes, I get it now!

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So, there is a style of governance called presbyterian. And then there are denominations (plural) that have Presbyterian in the name. Sort of like there is a style of government called a republic, and then there are the Republicans.

And then there are churches that are episcopal in structure, and denominations that have the word Episcopal in the name. 

So for beliefs you'd want to narrow it down to which denomination exactly, but in general that branch of the Christian tree believes in predestination, is an offshoot of calvinism,  and has historic roots in Scotland. 

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Well...no offense to anyone, but whenever I hear Presbyterian I think "Frozen Chosen." 🙂 (And before anyone jumps all over me, I attended--and loved!--a Reformed Baptist Church and our "sister church" with whom we worshiped and took communion was Presbyterian. I have nothing against them.)

Frozen = formal in worship 

Chosen = Calvinist-leaning in doctrine

The main difference between the Presbyterians I knew and my Reformed Baptist church is that they baptized infants and we did not.

Edited by MercyA
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2 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Well...no offense to anyone, but whenever I hear Presbyterian I think "Frozen Chosen." 🙂 (And before anyone jumps all over me, I attended--and loved!--a Reformed Baptist Church and our "sister church" with whom we worshiped and took communion was Presbyterian. I have nothing against them.)

Frozen = formal in worship 

Chosen = Calvinist-leaning in doctrine

The main difference between the Presbyterians I knew and my Reformed Baptist church is that they baptized infants and we did not.

I always heard that phrase in reference to the Episcopal Church (grew up in it, and am attending one now). 

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Can't link from my phone, but pcanet.org is the homepage for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a conservative, evangelical presbyterian denomination. The mainline denomination, PCUSA, is progresive/liberal.

Different theology, vary similar forms of government.

The word presbyter is from the Greek for elder. 

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A statement of historical Presbyterian beliefs can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Its an old document, full of theology, some of which has been modified in different ways and to a different extent by the various modern presbyterian denominations. In my church, elected leaders must be willing to uphold the Westminster Standards in order to continue in office. 

ETA: In all likelihood, the church you are showing started out as a congregation that was devoted to interpreting scripture a la Westminster, Heidelburg, Calvin, et al. It has probably evolved over the last 200 years to a congregation with a liberal "progressive" view of scripture. 

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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then, there's the Evangelical Pres. Church. This link will take you to their "about us" page.  https://epc.org/about/  I don't know which flavor of Pres you need.  but if they are EPC, that has some basics of history, governance, beliefs.   

unsinkable, you might see the church you're giving tour has a brochure available to help on tour?  I was visiting a "reformed pres" church one time for homeshcool co-op and they have a little handout thing.  It was new to me that they do not use instruments on Sundays.  But our kind of Pres uses them (and with skilled musicians and it's a big part of our beliefs and yet not part of my friend's practices. that's cool.  )  So they knew it was a FAQ and had it on hand to answer.  Maybe this historical place has one too?

 

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1 hour ago, ScoutTN said:

Can't link from my phone, but pcanet.org is the homepage for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a conservative, evangelical presbyterian denomination. The mainline denomination, PCUSA, is progresive/liberal.

Different theology, vary similar forms of government.

The word presbyter is from the Greek for elder. 

I belong to a conservative, pro life PC-USA church and yes, we are the biggest and most conservative church in our Synod.  

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30 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

This is what I meant upthread:  individual churches may hold more or less tightly to the stated confessions of their sub-denomination.  

Yes, very true.

Confessional would be another good descriptor. Presbyterian churches hold to (in varying degrees) historical confessions and creeds.

The PCA and most small, conservative presbyterian denominations use the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. 

Does the PCUSA also? 

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16 minutes ago, ScoutTN said:

Yes, very true.

Confessional would be another good descriptor. Presbyterian churches hold to (in varying degrees) historical confessions and creeds.

The PCA and most small, conservative presbyterian denominations use the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. 

Does the PCUSA also? 

Yes. https://www.pcusa.org/media/uploads/oga/pdf/boc.pdf

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3 hours ago, MercyA said:

Well...no offense to anyone, but whenever I hear Presbyterian I think "Frozen Chosen." 🙂 (And before anyone jumps all over me, I attended--and loved!--a Reformed Baptist Church and our "sister church" with whom we worshiped and took communion was Presbyterian. I have nothing against them.)

Frozen = formal in worship 

Chosen = Calvinist-leaning in doctrine

The main difference between the Presbyterians I knew and my Reformed Baptist church is that they baptized infants and we did not.

😄 I like this!

- as a Baptist at heart currently worshipping in a Presbyterian church... I'd agree that the two main differences we see, in practice, are the infant baptism and the beuracracy  church governance structure 😉

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4 hours ago, MercyA said:

Well...no offense to anyone, but whenever I hear Presbyterian I think "Frozen Chosen." 🙂 (And before anyone jumps all over me, I attended--and loved!--a Reformed Baptist Church and our "sister church" with whom we worshiped and took communion was Presbyterian. I have nothing against them.)

Frozen = formal in worship 

Chosen = Calvinist-leaning in doctrine

The main difference between the Presbyterians I knew and my Reformed Baptist church is that they baptized infants and we did not.

I've always thought of Jews in Minnesota as the "frozen chosen." 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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I grew up Presbyterian...I have no idea if we were PCA or PCUSA back then.  Not sure if there was a difference/division.

History goes back to John Knox, though.

Our services were boring...old school, organ music.  Nobody brought their own Bible.  We would sing the doxology and such.  My brother and I kind of thought as long as you avoided the "Big 10" you were fine. Nothing was ever said about abstinence, accepting Jesus (we were baptized as infants--and becoming confirmed was kind of automatic), etc.  John 3:16? Not spoken about. I loved being in the bell choir, though.  We had "reverands" or "Dr." (doctor of theology) not pastors. 

Church was about being social....seeing the other "right kind of people".  Our church was gorgeous...it looked like it came from Scotland. 

We dressed for church.  Dresses, pantyhose, etc. Men wore suits and ties.  

Later, I moved down South and met much more religious Presbyterians.  Totally different game.  Francis Schaeffer was a big influence. People brought Bibles, had Bible studies, etc.  Church dress was more casual, though...not sure if it's a Southern thing or not.  AFAIK, church I grew up in hasn't changed.

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I attended a PCUSA church for awhile. It met in a beautiful, gothic church, had a huge organ and choir with classical religious music and hymns, and the congregation skewed older, well educated, wealthy, liberal-ish, and white. The highly educated pastor preached once on the evils of predestination, so yeah, the churches differ quite a bit 😄.

I always thought the term “Frozen Chosen” came from their predestination views coupled with the stereotype of rigidity, piousness, and lack of warmth and expressiveness in the earlier congregations. I don’t know if it fit then, but it doesn’t now for the denomination anyway.

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