trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our
heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin
(1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that
came before him.
did much of his writing from Geneva,
From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe and the British Isles. Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England,
Scotland and Ireland. The
first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706. The first General
Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The first Assembly was convened by
the Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of
What is distinctive about the Presbyterian Church? Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.
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