does Presbyterian mean?
Answer. It comes from the Greek word presbuteros. and signifies elder.
Q. What then is a Presbyterian Church?
A. It is a body of people governed by elders.
Q. How many classes of elders do they have?
A. They have two classes, teaching elders and ruling elders.
Q. Who was the founder of Presbyterianism?
A. John Knox.
Q. Who was John Knox?
A. He was Scotch in descent, born in Haddington in 1505, and was educated in the University of Glasgow, in which he distinguished himself. Soon after this he entered the priesthood in the Catholic Church.
Q. When and where did Presbyterianisru have its origin?
A. In Scotland, and about 1543 A. D. It was partly the result of the general reformation inaugurated by Martin Luther. It was at the above-named date that Knox was converted from Romanism to Protestantism, under the ministry of Wishart. This was the beginning, but it required time to formulate and get the Presbyterian Church as it flow is fully in headway. Much persecution was endured by Knox, but he lived to see Presbyterianism well established, and went to his reward in 1572. In the molding of Presbyterian doctrine John Calvin has had much to do; so much so that the five doctrinal pillars of the church are frequently mentioned as the five points of Calvinism.
Many divisions have since taken place in Presbytenianism, such as Seceders, Covenanters, Burghers, Reformed Presbyterians. Associate Reformed Presbyterians, Old and New School Presbyterians, Cumberland Presbyterians, etc. Most all of these claim to be the real John Knox Presbyterians.
Q. When and where did the Cumberland Presbyterians have their origin?
A. Cumberland Presbyterianism is the outgrowth of the great revival which swept over the states of Tennessee and Kentucky in 1800. Some Presbyterian laymen became fired up in this great awakening and began to hold private meetings, in which they would meet in private houses, pray and exhort. Many were converted in these meetings, and thus encouraged they continued, and began to preach contrary to the rules of the church, which prohibited uneducated men from preaching. Thus a controversy arose, and the revival spirit being so strong, it was natural that many would line up with those uneducated exhorters. The controversy continued, assuming different phases until in 1810, when, in the month of February, three ministers, viz: Finis Ewing, Samuel McAdow and Samuel King, with some laymen, met in a private house, on Cumberland River, in Middle Tennessee, and constituted the church, calling it after Cumberland River.
Q. In what do they differ from the Old School?
A. The two essential features are: 1st. They do not require that their ministers shall be educatedthat is, they do not bar the uneducated from the ministry, while the Old Schools do; and 2nd, they have modified Calvinism until it very nearly approaches Arminianism.
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