Presbyterian Church Structure
Elders and ministers who serve in governing bodies are called presbyters. Elected laypersons known as elders is the governing authority. The elders of a local congregation are called a session. Several sessions constitute a local synod which in turn are collectively known as a General Assembly to govern the entire denomination.
Beliefs held by the Presbyterian Church
But to note not every Presbyterian Church holds to all of the following.
This doctrine teaches that the guilt of Adam’s original sin is passed on to succeeding generations. When born man is so Morally corrupt that he cannot respond to God without direct supernatural intervention.
The Bible plainly declares, “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear
the iniquity of the son”, Ezekiel 18:20.
- Verse 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Children are used as examples of purity and innocence, Matthew 18:3, 19:14, and are not depraved sinful beings.
Matthew 18:3-6 (KJV)
- 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
- 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 19:14-15 (KJV)
- 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
- 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
This doctrine proclaims that God decreed which individuals would be lost and which ones would be saved from eternity. For example, if one is set apart to damnation, he could never be saved even if desired. On the other hand if elected to salvation, his actions and attitude would not matter because God would save him anyway.
But we see here that God is not a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34-35 (KJV)
- 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons
- 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
This doctrine teaches that Christ died only for those arbitrarily chosen to salvation. In contrast God desires all men to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:4 (KJV)
- 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
And He is “not willing that any should perish”, (2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
- 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
This doctrine of Presbyterianism coupled closely with other teaching of Calvinism applies to those chosen for salvation. And the forgiveness of sin for Christs sacrifice upon the cross is directly applied to the souls of the ones chosen for salvation.
Perseverance of the Saints
According to this doctrine of Presbyterianism it declares the chosen can never do anything to jeopardize their salvation.
Galatians 5:4 teaches you can fall from grace.
- 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
The Appointment of Female Elders
This practice is not held by all Presbyterian churches. In the New Testament the office of a bishop is the same as the office of an elder and applies to a man only.
1 Timothy 3:1-2,4 (KJV)
- 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
- 2 “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife”
- 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
Titus 1:5-6 (KJV)
- 5 “ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee”
- 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
You can fall from living faithful. 2 Peter 2:20-22, goes into more detail.
- 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
- 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
- 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Christ died for all, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)
- 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
- 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
He is the propitiation for our sins and also for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2:2 (KJV)
- 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
What the New Testament says about grace:
Titus 2:11 (KJV)
- 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
- 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
- 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Man will be judged according to his works, 2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
- 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.