Presbyterian Beliefs for Visitors



John Calvin

  • French lawyer John Calvin’s (1509 – 1564) writings brought together the core beliefs of the Reformed movement that led to the founding of Scottish Presbyterianism by clergyman John Knox (c. 1513 – 1572).

  • Immigrants from Scotland brought their church to America before the American Revolution in 1776. Key principles of these men form the cornerstone of American Presbyterianism today.




John Knox image

  • God is the supreme authority of the universe. Church Term: “Sovereignty of God”
  • Our knowledge of God and of God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, especially the New Testament and its account of the life of Jesus Christ. Church Term: “Authority of Scripture”
  • Our salvation (or justification) through Jesus is God’s gift to us; we did not and cannot earn it. Church Term: “Justification by grace through faith”
  • Everyone’s task in life is to share the Good News of our salvation throughout the world. Church Term: “Priesthood of all believers"



Presbyterians believe in two sacraments:

  1. Holy Communion
    • The invitation to the Lord's Supper is extended to all believers in Christ.
    • One doesn't need to be a Presbyterian to participate.
    • One doesn't need to be a church member to participate.
  2. Baptism
    • Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s grace and covenant in Christ.
    • One baptism is sufficient.
    • Neither the manner of baptism nor the age of the person being baptized matters.