Presbyterians number about six million in the United States, divided between the mainline Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the evangelical Presbyterian Church in America, and a number of smaller Presbyterian confederations. Presbyterianism originated in Scotland as part of the Calvinist Protestant movement. One of its distinct traditions is the appointment of church members to function as deacons and elders. The elders (“presbyters”) govern their respective churches. Individual churches combine with each other into presbyteries, depending on locality, which are in turn parts of larger synods. The system developed initially as a rejection of the system of ruling bishops as used in the Church of England.
Presbyterians believe in the infallibility of the Bible as the revealed word of God, and in a definite (though spiritual) concept of heaven and hell. Presbyterians believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and in the Holy Trinity as the revelation of God in three manifestations. They practice Baptism by sprinkling rather than immersion, of infants and un-baptized adults.
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