Presbyterians: The invention of the printing press in Germany around 1440 gave common people access to the Bible. With this access Martin Luther, an educated German Professor, had issues with the conduct of the Roman Catholic Church and in 1517 posted his grievances on a church door in Wittenburg, Germany. This was the start of the Protestant Reformation and movement to reform the church. The Presbyterian Church was formed in the 16th century when John Calvin, who was studying to become a priest, broke away from the Catholic Church and became a theologian and minister. John Knox followed Calvin’s teachings and was instrumental in establishing the Presbyterian Church in Scotland during the 1600’s.
Presbyterians share most of these same Christian beliefs, except with a few differences. We recognize only two sacraments: infant baptism; and communion. However, unlike the Catholic’s and some other Christian denominations who believe the bread and wine actually turn into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during communion, Presbyterians acknowledge communion as symbolism. Presbyterians also do not recognize the Pope or Bishops as infallible and therefore structured the management and governing of the church into three equal parties. Presbyterians have been influential in America since colonial times when Reverend John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian, was the only Christian minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. The structure of the United States government was designed after the Presbyterian Church government.