This book is for Presbyterians. I hope others besides Presbyterians will read it, but the book is for Presbyterians who want to know more about our Christian faith. I have spent my life in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), so the book is specially written to those people in this communion. I offer a look at important theological beliefs we share as Presbyterians and what they can mean for our lives. We share these beliefs with others in our Reformed family and with most Christians throughout the world. The Presbyterian ...
This book is for Presbyterians. I hope others besides Presbyterians will read it, but the book is for Presbyterians who want to know more about our Christian faith. I have spent my life in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), so the book is specially written to those people in this communion. I offer a look at important theological beliefs we share as Presbyterians and what they can mean for our lives. We share these beliefs with others in our Reformed family and with most Christians throughout the world. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is part of the Reformed theological tradition. This tradition is rooted in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation and is associated with reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, and most especially, John Calvin. I have most often quoted Calvin in these pages. He was a leading voice, and his legacy to us endures. Other voices join the chorus. Presbyterians have inherited a rich theological heritage. We have many important theologians and confessional documents within our family circle. They speak with different accents and emphases, but they witness to a Reformed faith with significant theological emphases that, historically, have distinguished it from other Reformation theologies and ecclesiastical traditions as well as from Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox church traditions. We are, first of all, Christians--disciples of Jesus Christ. This is our primary identity. We express this identity through our ecclesiastical and denominational traditions. Here in the United States, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is one Presbyterian denomination. There are others. All Presbyterians are part of the larger Reformed family, which includes churches that do not have "Presbyterian" as part of their names but that hold Reformed theological convictions in common with Presbyterians. Some examples are the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, and the Christian Reformed Church. The Reformed family has many branches in the United States and throughout the world. As we reflect theologically in relation to one denomination, we realize that there is a greater body-- and a greater unity--that is represented by the terms "Presbyterian" and "Reformed." This book is meant for those without formal theological education, as well as seminary students and pastors. Much more documentation could have been provided, but I hope this has been written accessibly and can be read easily. The intention is to take a look at some important theological themes and how they have been understood and emphasized in Reformed and Presbyterian theology. These theological insights guide our churches and affect the whole of the church's life. The book does not try to prescribe answers to issues that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) faces in these days. It does try to provide some foundational understandings that can broaden and deepen the faith of church members and provide theological nourishment for a Presbyterian faith that lives today.
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