What We Believe
We are the body of Christ: Christ Presbyterian Church. God has called us to the city center of Canton, so that we might minister here and beyond. Our life together is a sign of the Kingdom of God.
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. John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, took Calvin’s teachings back to Scotland. Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland.
Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin are still at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What these tenets mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job — ministers and lay people alike — to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian Church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
Presbyterian denominations in the United States have split and parts have reunited several times starting in the 18th century. Currently the largest Presbyterian denomination is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has its national offices in Louisville, Kentucky. It was formed in 1983 as a result of reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS), the so-called “southern branch,” and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), the so-called “northern branch.” This reunion has been a bright spot of reconciliation and unity in the history of American Presbyterianism. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is governed by its Constitution, the Book of Order and The Book of Confessions.
For more information, visit the denomination’s website.