#1 Are Presbyterians Liberal?

There is certainly a divide and room for differences of opinion within this religion, with some Presbyterians being more liberal than others.

As the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) is conservative in theology, they a Christian denomination held by strict morals and a strong code of ethics, typically not considered ‘liberal,’ in approach initially.

Nonetheless, Modern-day Presbyterians may be considered more liberal than Fundamentalist, and this has led to a divide within the PCA religion since the 1970s.

Religions that tend to have a more conservative view on theology include:

  • The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
  • The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America
  • The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
  • Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC)

Religions that tend to have a more liberal view on theology include:

  • The Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA)
Figure 1 – PCUSA

Breaking off from the PCA to the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church of the United States of America), the PCUSA has made increasingly liberal progressions in recent years, such as making same-sex marriage acceptable within the denomination.

For reasons such as this, the original PCA felt the need to break-off from the PCUSA, distinguishing themselves as different forms of the same theology. As stated on TheGospelCoalition.org, these differences that led to a separation in 1973 was in:

“Opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christa and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.”

Related Scripture(s):

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

Related Video(s):

  • What is a Presbyterian? – Peter Matthess at Cambridge, Definition given by Pastor of Cambridge Presbyterian Church. Published October 19th, 2011. 

#2 Are Presbyterians Evangelical?

There is a specific denomination, self-titled, ‘The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), which fosters a Reformed theology that is rooted in Orthodox Christianity.

The larger PCA religion (Presbyterian Church in America) is also Evangelical to some degree, but not as heavily swayed as the EPC church members. As with many Christians, there are believers that practice in all areas of the spectrum.

With the translation of Evangelical being sourced from the Greek term euangelion, meaning ‘gospel,’ or ‘good news,’ the main characteristics of Evangelical beliefs are:

  • Positive
  • Up-lifting
  • Liberal
  • All-accepting
  • Modern
  • Flexibility
  • Experimental
  • Modern
  • Open-minded

You will find:

  • Many Presbyterians that fall under the label of these approaches to Presbyterianism  

And many that do not favor these approaches to Presbyterianism.

Figure 2 – ECO

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” – Proverbs 30:5
  • “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”’ – Matthew 28:18-20

Related Video(s):

 

#3 Are All Presbyterians Calvinists?

No, not all Presbyterians are Calvinistic, but most are.

As even the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Presbyterians by their intrinsic Calvinism, most Presbyterians are, in fact, Calvinistic.

“Of, relating to, or constituting a Protestant Christian church that is Presbyterian in government and traditionally Calvinistic in doctrine.”

Most Presbyterians in North America are considered Calvinistic, or Reformed. Calvinistic beliefs is a theological orientation, but not a denomination.

As the NYTimes writes:

 “Evangelicals Find Themselves in the Midst of a Calvinist Revival – Presbyterians descend from Scottish Calvinists.

Many early Baptists were Calvinist. But in the 19th century, Protestantism moved toward the non-Calvinist belief that humans must consent to their own salvation — an optimistic, quintessentially American belief.

In the United States today, one large denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, is unapologetically Calvinist.”

This change is leading many Presbyterians to find flaws within the Calvinistic approach. The First Presbyterian Church of Augusta writes in their piece Myths of Calvinism:

“These theologians emphasized that God’s relationship to evil was permissive rather than causative; his election is to life not to death; and the reprobate are passed over for their sins rather than directly predestined to hell.”

Amazon The Practical Calvinist

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” – Acts 13:48

Related Video(s):

 

#4 Are Presbyterians Reformed?

Many Presbyterians are Reformed, prescribing to a more Evangelical belief of the Presbyterian religion, instead of stricter Fundamentalist view. Dating back to 16th-century Switzerland, Presbyterian and Protestant Churches began the evolution of becoming more reformed.

As one of the earliest religions to prescribe to a reformed theology, Presbyterianism has long held a reformed belief, although this does not mean that all members of the religion feel the same on the matter.

The terms which you may hear to describe Calvinistic Presbyterians may include (but are not limited to):

  • Calvinistic
  • Reformed Presbyterians
  • Modernist Presbyterians
  • Apostolic
  • Evangelical Presbyterians

According to Adherents.com:

“The Reformed family of churches is one of the largest Christian denominations. The Reformed/Presbyterian/Congregational/United churches represent 75 million believers worldwide.”

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” – Acts 13:48

Related Video(s):

 

#4 Are Presbyterians Reformed?

Many Presbyterians are Reformed, prescribing to a more Evangelical belief of the Presbyterian religion, instead of stricter Fundamentalist view. Dating back to 16th-century Switzerland, Presbyterian and Protestant Churches began the evolution of becoming more reformed.

As one of the earliest religions to prescribe to a reformed theology, Presbyterianism has long held a reformed belief, although this does not mean that all members of the religion feel the same on the matter.

The terms which you may hear to describe Calvinistic Presbyterians may include (but are not limited to):

  • Calvinistic
  • Reformed Presbyterians
  • Modernist Presbyterians
  • Apostolic
  • Evangelical Presbyterians

According to Adherents.com:

“The Reformed family of churches is one of the largest Christian denominations. The Reformed/Presbyterian/Congregational/United churches represent 75 million believers worldwide.”

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” – Acts 13:48

Related Video(s):

 

#4 Are Presbyterians Reformed?

Many Presbyterians are Reformed, prescribing to a more Evangelical belief of the Presbyterian religion, instead of stricter Fundamentalist view. Dating back to 16th-century Switzerland, Presbyterian and Protestant Churches began the evolution of becoming more reformed.

As one of the earliest religions to prescribe to a reformed theology, Presbyterianism has long held a reformed belief, although this does not mean that all members of the religion feel the same on the matter.

The terms which you may hear to describe Calvinistic Presbyterians may include (but are not limited to):

  • Calvinistic
  • Reformed Presbyterians
  • Modernist Presbyterians
  • Apostolic
  • Evangelical Presbyterians

According to Adherents.com:

“The Reformed family of churches is one of the largest Christian denominations. The Reformed/Presbyterian/Congregational/United churches represent 75 million believers worldwide.”

Figure 4 – Broomhall Reformed Presbyterian Church

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:18-21

Related Video(s):

 

#5 Are Presbyterians Christian?

Yes, Presbyterians are Protestant Christians, with more than 1.3-million members and 9,000+ local congregations in the United States alone. With many denominations of Presbyterianism, there are an estimated 75-million Presbyterian Christians worldwide. 

Led by the sovereignty of God, placing power in the authority of scriptures and the grace of Christ. Being steadfast Protestant Christians, Presbyterians tend to believe that the spirit of God can be found in all three branches of The Holy Trinity.

Figure 5 – Presbyterianism

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38

Related Video(s):

·         St. Andrews Presbyterian Church – What are Presbyterians?

#6 Are Presbyterians Catholic?

Due to similarities such as the practice of ‘confession,’ Presbyterians and Catholics are sometimes conflated. Nonetheless, these are entirely separate and distinct denominations within the larger Protestant Christian religion.

Even in the Book of Confessions chapter – The Apostle’s Creed, an affirmation reads:

 “I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.”

The Apostle’s Creed is also utilized by:

  • Congregationalists
  • Moravians
  • Methodists

Despite this, Presbyterians have been opposed to countless Catholic practices for centuries, including their hierarchical structure, commonly abusive tactics, and many of the Roman-based religious teachings.

There are many differences to decipher between these two denominations, only some of which include:

  • Beliefs on power (With Presbyterians believing that the Pope holds too much dominion with an institutionalized authority and lavish office).
  • Differing beliefs on Church structure and hierarchy organization
  • Sacrament beliefs
  • Celibacy for priests
  • Perspectives on free will
  • Translation of Scripture (literal for Presbyterians, considerably more interpretable to Catholics)
  • Presbyterians do not believe in apostolic succession, Catholics do
  • Catholics believe in Transubstantiation, Presbyterians do not
  • And many further disparities

When John Calvin progressed reformation in the Christian religion, he essentially wanted to throw out ever traditionally Roman Catholic practice which he could not find scriptural-justification or evidence to support.

Figure 6 – Presbyterian Historical Society – Catholics

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” – Acts 2:21

Related Video(s):

 

#7 Are Presbyterians Conversative?

With a long-lasting disagreement within the Presbyterian theology called the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy, this debate has been raging on since the 1920s-1930s, with traces of it dating back to the religion’s commencement in the 16th century.

Up until the 1970s or so, one would undoubtedly say that Presbyterians were Calvinistic, and therefore, conservative. However, this debate has festered strongly over the last century or so, which has only picked up speed in recent decades due to a formal separation of these denominations and partition of their beliefs.

HistoryofPCUSA.org describes:

“Although Rev. McIntire protested against the PCUSA and its successor denominations for the remainder of his long life, the controversy which caused 1930s West Jersey Presbytery meetings to be such acrimonious gatherings largely abated in later years, to be replaced bydisagreements about the roles of women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and others the Church had often excluded.”

As Presbyterians are often considered Calvinistic, which is a Reformed Protestantism or Reformed Christianity, Calvinists are deemed the more conservative and Fundamentalist view on religion, while Arminianism is a liberal reaction to Calvinism.

Ultimately, the answer would depend on what Presbyterian you asked.

If they are PCA or PCUSA (PCA typically being Conversative, and PCUSA members being more liberally-inclined).

Figure 7 – CPCMC.org

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:1-2.
  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:23-24:14.

Related Video(s):

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