A GENERAL GUIDE TO FACTS ABOUT THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.)
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.
Calvin did much of his writing from Geneva, Switzerland. From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe and the British Isles. Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706. The first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The first Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Who are we Presbyterians?
Questions have been raised about the position of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in comparison to other Reformed bodies. It is always helpful to compare parallel categories. Sometimes the official positions of one body are compared with a characterization of the other body.
Learn more about the Presbyterian denomination, Presbyterians beliefs, and Presbyterian governance or polity.