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date: 31 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This handbook provides an overview of Presbyterian history, ecclesial forms and structures, theology, worship, ethics, involvement in politics, and educational philosophy and enterprises. It examines Presbyterianism in a global context, focusing primarily on its European background and development in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. It also analyzes, however, the planting of Presbyterian congregations and ministries in several African nations, the four main regions of Latin America—Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and South America—various parts of Asia, including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Korea, and the Middle East. The handbook highlights key differences over doctrine, polity, liturgy, and social issues, as well as ethnic, racial, class, and gender, regional factors, and personal conflicts, that have produced controversy and sometimes schism among Presbyterians. Nevertheless, Presbyterianism’s theological foundation, impressive heritage, organizational structure, educational institutions, social activism, and commitment to proclaiming the gospel have enabled it to have a substantial influence during the past four hundred and fifty years.

Keywords: biblical authority, John Calvin, ecumenism, ethics, educational institutions, polity, social reform, theology, vocation, worship

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