The Presbyterian Church: Theology Paper

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The Presbyterian Church, in England and Scotland, developed as a reaction to and a separation from Roman Catholic practices as a result of politics.  “Politics were dominated by religion during the Scottish Reformation, but in England, religion had been secondary to political considerations.”[1] The barons and burghers of the middle class in Scotland united under John Knox against the Scottish Crown and Queen Mary Stuart to bring about reform.  The Reformation of Scotland was more radical than that in England.  In no other area, except Geneva, was the influence of Calvinism so strong.  John Knox was educated at the University of Saint Andrews and ordained to the priesthood in 1536.[2]

Knox and others in Scotland were disgusted with the idolatry that they associated with Roman Catholicism.  A number of these nobles met with Knox at Edinburgh in December of 1559 and created a covenant to use their lives and possessions to establish the Reformed Church and the Word of God in Scotland.  After Knox returned to Scotland, the Scottish Parliament met in 1560 and proceeded to the work of Reformation.  It ended the rule of the Pope over the Scottish church, declared the Mass to be illegal, repealed all statutes against heretics and accepted the Scottish Confession of Faith.  The Scottish Church was organized into presbyteries, synods and a national assembly with a system of representative government of the Church by elders as in the Reformed Church in Geneva.[3]

From Scotland, the Presbyterian Church with its emphasis on plain worship and ritual on Sunday and other important feast days spread to Ireland, England, and the United States.  In the United States, the Scottish Presbyterians migrated first to…..

[1] Earl E. Carins, Christianity Through The Centuries: A History Of The Christian Church, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1954), p. 319.

[2] Ibid., p. 320.

[3] Ibid., p. 321.

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