I was passing through a town this week and drove by a Presbyterian church and realized I had no idea what they believed.
Any Presbiterians around to let me know?
Just curious.


I used to be a Presbyterian:

The name means “having to do with elders” and it has to do with their form of church government which is led by elders.

They have two kinds of elders, teaching elders (pastors) and ruling elders (laymen with spiritual oversight of the church). they also have deacons who are responsible for the money the land and the charitable work of the church.

They differ from congregationalists in that they believe that the elders of a local session (what they call the elders of a given assembly gathered to meet in deliberation) have some duty of submission to larger assemblies of elders gathered in Presbytery (the elders of a given geographic region) or, beyond that to a Synod or General Assembly (all the elders gathered in a country).

Local sessions will meet quite often, Presbytery meetings are about monthly or quarterly as I recall and GA’s meet every yerar or two.

Presbyterianism is the English (and mostly Scottish) expression of Reformed Christianity which got its start in Switzerland and France as well as the Netherlands during the Reformation period.


Depends. Presbyterians came out of the Calvinsit tradition.

Here are some links:
Presbyterian Church (USA) (more liberal)

Presbyterian Church in America (more conservative)

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

I think that covers the US branches, but there may be more


Evangelical Presbyterian Church

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

Are these liberal or conservative denominations?



There are LOTS of Presbyterian Churches, one reason why they’re known as the “Split-P’s”


The OPC was a splitoff from the Northern Presbyterians in the early 20th century, led by James Gresham Machen. It basically continues conservative Presbyterianism of the 19th-century “Princeton School.” Westminster Theological Seminary belongs to the OPC. A more fundamentalist group, the Bible Presbyterians, split away from the OPC.

The PCA split away from the Southern Presbyterians in 1973, ten years before the Northern and Southern Presbyterians got back together. As you’d expect, the Southerners were more conservative, hence the much later date of the main Southern split and the unease of conservative Southerners at the prospect of reunion. The PCA is currently the biggest conservative Presbyterian denomination, I believe. It has a wider range of belief and practice than the OPC and is more closely connected to the broader evangelical world. At least that’s how it looks to me.

The EPC ordains women but is more conservative than the PCUSA. It’s basically a refuge for people who are unhappy with the liberalism that dominates PCUSA but not conservative enough for the PCA or OPC.

The ARP is a small, conservative denomination. I don’t know a lot about them though one of my colleagues belongs to them.



Thank you!:slight_smile:


The ARPC is a covenanting branch of the Presbyterian movement which uses only psalms in their hymnody, no other hymns and the women wear head-coverings .


It sounds like they are the most conservative Presbyterian denomination then.


Actually they now allow hymns, according to their website and according to what my colleague told me. I found the website of one of their churches which still uses Psalms only, and it said that the change dates from around 1950.



A very good friend of mine was an ARP pastor, and I attended several services at his church in the 1990s. Hymns all over the place, no head coverings.



It was also this way in the 1970s at minimum—the Presbyterian Church I grew up in was so small we had to band with three other churches to form a youth group, including an ARP one, so I had some experience with it…


Interesting. Thanks Karen!
Also One other question, both the episcopals and the presbyterians seem to say the apostles creed, which states that they believe in The catholic church, the communion of saints…etc.
would this not make them catholic then?


Episcopalians use the Nicene Creed at the Eucharist and the Apostles’ Creed for the Daily Office. Presbyterians use the Apostles’ Creed, as you note.

Of course Protestants define the “Catholic Church” differently from those of you in the Roman Communion. The Catholic Church means the One True Universal Church, however we define it. Protestants typically define it as consisting of all believers, or of all local churches where the Word is preached and the Sacraments are administered. It doesn’t have anything to do with being in communion with Rome in the typical Protestant definition.



Thank you for the clarification Edwin. But it seems that the presbyterians and episcopals believe most of the same things that Catholics believe. The Nicean Creed, the Apostles creed, the 10 commandments, really we are not all that different.


The basics might be the same, but that’s a far cry from not being that different!


TULIP is where the difference occurs.


I seem to have gotten them confused with the RPCNA


Could you be a little more specific…TULIP?


Well let’s see, what exactly is different?

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