Hi Pastor George!
So I have another church question for you. I have been doing some research on the Presbyterian church, but im having trouble comparing it to the Reformed Church, but it seems to me that they tend to follow similar doctrine from John Calvin, and use the Nicene and the Apostles Creed as well as the Hiedelberg Catechism. All this said, what are the similarities and differences between the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches?
Thanks for your time
Thanks for your question.
The differences between the Reformed and Presbyterian churches are not all that great. They are more historical than theological.
The word “Presbyterian” comes from the NT Greek word “presbyter” which means “elder.” When they call their churches “Presbyterian,” what they mean to say is that their churches are governed by the presbyters, that is, the elders. In that sense, our Reformed churches are Presbyterian. At the same time, Presbyterian churches are Reformed in doctrine, so they are Reformed.
Presbyterian churches hold to the three ecumenical creeds as we do (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian). Instead of the Three Forms of Unity, they have the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards are, mostly, parallel to each other. Both Reformed and Presbyterian churches have great respect for the theology of John Calvin.
The history of the Presbyterian churches goes back to Scotland and England whereas our history goes back to Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
Just as there are conservative and liberal Reformed churches, so there are conservative and liberal Presbyterian churches. The Canadian Reformed Churches recognize as sister churches several Presbyterian churches, e.g, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland.
I hope that helps.