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What One Should Know About NJ Presbyterian Churches

By Stephanie Sullivan


The Presbyterian Church, often abbreviated as PC is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination worldwide. In the United States, the PC was established in 1983 following the merger of the PC in the US (PCUS) and the United PC in the USA (UPCUSA). The PC in the US had most of its churches located within the border and southern states while the UPCUSA had congregations in all the states. Today, NJ Presbyterian Churches and other churches are located within the whole of the United States.

At the end of 2014, PC denomination was estimated to have 1, 667, 767 members, 9, 829 congregations, and 20, 383 ordained ministers. Despite the big membership, it is observed that the congregation has been dropping for a long time. Adherents of PC (USA) average 3 million. Louisville, Kentucky is the place where denominational officers of the church are located. PC has a membership in many religious association including World Communion of Reformed Churches, World Council of Churches, and Christian Churches Together.

The origin of Presbyterians can be traced back to the Protestant Reformation that took during the sixteenth century. The theology and heritage of the church was started by Swiss/French theologian and lawyer named John Calvin. The writing of Calvin played a big role in solidifying much of Reformed thinking that appeared before him.

The rest of Europe had the Reformed movement spread to it from Geneva where Calvin was located. John Knox, a colleague of Calvin started the Scottish Reformation. Knox brought the reformation back home from Geneva. The Reformation moved to America and later the entire world. It is continuing to spread even today.

A lot of separations by independent denominations from the main church have occurred over the years. One among the earliest separation occurred in 1936 when Orthodox PC broke away from PC in the US. Separations have continued until recently when they have become a threat to the faith itself. Denominations that split claim to be dissatisfied with the direction the church is taking. Separated churches continue with reformed tradition.

The PC in America (PCA) broke from PCUS in 1973 and has become the second largest Presbyterian in the United States. PCA broke away because the main church was allowing ordained female clergies. The Evangelical PC (EPC) also broke away and became incorporated in 1981. EPC, unlike PC within the US and PCA, gives local presbyteries the power to decide if they want ordained female clergies.

PC works with a constitution which governs its everyday operations. The constitution is made of two parts. The first part is the Book of Confessions (BoC) while the second part is the Book of Order (BoO). The beliefs of PC are outlined in BoC through a declaration of creeds by which leaders are led and instructed.

The Book of Order is for complementing BoC. The rationale for the church and a description of its functions and organization are written in BoO. All levels from top to bottom of the church are covered in this book too. The implementation of constitution is the responsibility of local leaders who then keep regional and top leader informed.




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