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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the sixteenth-century origins of Presbyterianism. It looks first at the broader reforming impulse in medieval European Christianity, and in particular, the sixteenth-century Reformations. Turning to the Reformed movement of which Presbyterianism is a part, it argues that the Renaissance humanism was its driving impulse and shaped its ethos. It examines three specific features of the sixteenth-century Reformed movement with significant influence on Presbyterianism: the Reformed theological synthesis, often called Calvinism; the style and priorities of Reformed worship; and the distinctive Reformed polity that made pastors the teachers of the faith and placed lay elders or presbyters in charge of congregational discipline. The chapter concludes by describing the evolution of the Church of Scotland into recognizable Presbyterianism.

Keywords: reforming impulse, Renaissance humanism, Reformed theology, Reformed worship, Reformed polity, Church of Scotland

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