Presbyterianism and Old Pine Street Church

Presbyterian governance

Broadly speaking, Presbyterianism is a system of church government by representative assemblies called presbyteries, in contrast to the government by bishops (the episcopal system), or by congregations (Congregationalism). Each individual church is governed by members called “Elders,” elected to a body called the Session. The term “presbyterian” is derived from the Late Latin “presbyter" meaning “elder," and from Ecclesiastical Greek presbyters for "one that presides over assemblies or congregations." Presbyterians belong to a “Reformed'' denomination that traces its history to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and is heavily influenced by the French lawyer John Calvin, (1509-1564), whose writings brought into focus much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.