By James H. Smylie

A short background of the Presbyterians deals laity and clergy a succint and thorough advent to the historical past of Presbyterianism. James Smylie chronicles the origins of the Reformed culture and contains the sage via each one next period as much as the eve of the twenty-first century, concentrating on Presbyterianism in North the US.

All the foremost figures within the historical past of Presbyterianism, resembling John Calvin, Francis Makemie, and John Witherspoon are integrated, in addition to a bunch of others.

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The Scots became psalm singers who delighted in the gifts of William Kethe. When in Geneva, Kethe adapted Psalm 100 for an "Anglo-Genevan Psalter": All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice; Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell, Come ye before Him and rejoice. In the Scots Confession (1560), Knox embraced the doctrinal traditions of the early church. He placed an emphasis on the Reformation view of the faith, justification and sanctification, Scripture and its authority, The British Isles 31 Christ's offices as prophet, priest, and king, the church and sacraments, and the civil authority.

He even allowed for the temporary use of the office of superintendent to oversee the church's life. He also expected the cooperation of the civil as well as the ecclesiastical powers in fostering true religion, but did not approve of the state interfering with the authority of the church. When Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots; 1542-1587) returned from France in 1561 to rule Scotland, Knox entered into hostile combat with her about her political powers. He often made her weep in anger. Eventually, personal scandal forced her into exile.

He was also concerned for churches in "all and diverse nations," illustrating his ecumenical interest. Although he expected the state to assist the church in various ways, he opposed the assumption of the spiritual sword by james VI when he came from Scotland to the throne in England. Melville referred to james as "God's silly vassal" and reminded him that "King james is the subject of King jesus .... " Needless to say, james, who became james I of England, was suspicious of such plainspeaking Presbyterians.

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