Monthly Archives: May 2014

  • Presbyterianism, Part 3

    Polis. It’s the Greek word for city. You’ve seen it in English before, in words like metropolis. It’s from this word that we also derive our English word, polity. When applied to the church, polity refers to the structure and governance of the church. We have been surveying the landscape of church polity with an eye toward understanding our own polity as Presbyterians. Last week we considered Congregationalism and the week before that, Erastianism. This week we consider the Episcopalian form of government.

    If numbers are the determining factor for which polity is correct, Episcopal polity would win easily. Episcopal polity by far represents the largest number of Christians living today. Aside from the obvious church that is structured along these lines—Episcopal/Anglican—the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and some independent churches are all structured along Episcopal lines.

    Episcopal comes from the Greek … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Presbyterianism, Part 2

    As we noted last week, there have been four historical approaches to the polity, or the government of Christ’s church: Erastianism, Congregationalism, Episcopacy, and Presbyterianism. Last week we surveyed Erastianism, the form of Church government wherein authority over the church resides with the state. This week we turn our attention to Congregationalism. Congregationalism is the fastest growing form of church government in the United States, most easily seen in the “non-denominational” church movement. This is not entirely surprising because, as we will see, Congregationalism is most similar to the democratic ethos of America.

    At the heart of Congregationalism is its independence from all other churches. Final governing authority rests within the local congregation itself. This in turn is fleshed out in four different ways at the local level. In some Congregationalist churches, the authority rests solely with the pastor. This is … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Presbyterianism

    As a local congregation of Jesus Christ there are a number of doctrinal points that separate and distinguish us from the churches down the street. One of those distinct elements is found in our name. We are New Life Presbyterian Church. What does that say about us? Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Some may conclude from that that we are a liberal, mainline church, mistaking us for the Presbyterian Church USA. Of course we are not that at all, our denomination broke off of the PCUSA in the 70’s. Some more in the know, might think that Presbyterian means we are reformed or Calvinistic. We are that indeed, indeed. But that is not what is meant by Presbyterianism. The list could go on and on. So what is meant by this designation: Presbyterian? Simply put, … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog