Our denomination – Presbyterian

The history of the Presbyterian Church goes back to the Reformation in the 1500’s, when men like John Calvin and John Knox sought to bring in many reforms to church doctrine and worship. Knox, in particular, was instrumental in the establishing of the Church of Scotland, and many of our roots trace back there. In fact when the First Fleet landed in 1788, on board was John Hunter, a former candidate for the Church of Scotland ministry as captain of the fleet flagship HMS Sirius.

Early settlers to Australia (particularly the South West of Victoria) were of Scottish origin and brought their faith with them. As these settlers came from a variety of Presbyterian churches, there was no one unified ‘Presbyterian Church’ in Victoria until 1859 when the Presbyterian Church of Victoria was formed as a union of Church of Scotland, Free Presbyterian and United Presbyterian congregations.

The Presbyterian Church of Victoria, then united with the Presbyterian churches of the other states of Australia to form the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1901. From 1901 to 1977, the PCV was the largest of the state Presbyterian churches. Then in 1977, the majority of Presbyterian congregations (but not all) voted to join the Uniting Church of Australia.

The word ‘Presbyterian’ comes from the Greek biblical word ‘presbyter’ which can be translated ‘bishop’ or ‘elder’. So the name ‘Presbyterian’ simply reflects the way the Church is governed ie a system of governance by Presbyters, or Church Elders (which includes the minister as an elder) with the Lord Jesus Christ as the ‘only head of the Church’.

The Supreme Standard of the Presbyterian Church is the Word of God contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The Subordinate Standard of the Church is the Westminster Confession of Faith read in light of the Declaratory Statement.

How does Presbyterian church government work?

So what’s involved in Presbyterian church government? The Presbyterian form of Church government is based on the biblical teaching of government by elders. The word ‘presbyterian’ comes from the Greek word which means overseer. There are four levels of government, or courts, within the Presbyterian Church: 1. The Session This is made up of the […]

What do Presbyterians believe?

The highest standard by which the Church’s belief and practice is to be measured is the Word of God; the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. So that others can clearly understand what we believe the Bible teaches, the Presbyterian Church of Australia has adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith (with two […]