what does it mean to be a 'presbyterian church'...
We rejoice that Hornsby Presbyterian Church belongs to God’s worldwide church. We stand together with Christians around the world on everything that matters most. And we love to welcome newcomers from every kind of church background, and from none.
At the same time, we are glad to be part of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in NSW for three reasons:
1. Biblical teaching centred
on the Gospel
2. Team leadership
3. Co-ordinated mission
with other Churches
1. Biblical Teaching centred on the Gospel
The Presbyterian Church is committed to the great truths of the Bible, centred on the gospel of Christ. We are a confessional church, and hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith (AD1647), read in the light of a Declaratory Statement (AD1901). This Confession is one of the classic statements of biblical Christianity. It emphasises:
i. the glory of the one true and living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
ii. the authority of God’s Word in the Bible;
iii. God’s sovereignty in creation, providence and salvation;
iv. the horror and depth of human sin;
v. God’s gracious initiative to save his people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone;
vi. the unity of the Old and New Testaments in declaring this one way of salvation through Jesus Christ;
vii. the centrality of the person and work of Christ in God’s plan to save his people;
viii. the sovereign work of God’s Spirit in enabling and sustaining Christian faith and life;
ix. the significance of God’s Church, made up of believers and their children, and the centrality of the Church’s ministry of Word and sacrament in God’s worldwide mission;
x. the promise of Christ’s return to judge the world and save his people.
These great biblical truths have sustained God’s church down through the centuries. We are thankful to have such a clear summary of the them in our Confession.
2. Team Leadership
The Presbyterian Church recognises that the Lord Jesus Christ himself is “the only King and Head of the Church”.
We also recognise that the Lord Jesus hasn’t left us to make up for ourselves how to run his Church. The Bible teaches that each local church should be lead by a team of elders, one or more of whom might serve in the church full time (as a “Minister”). The name “Presbyterian,” in fact, comes from a Greek word (presbuteros) which means “elder”.
Being led by a team of elders means that each elder brings his own gifts and life experience to the leadership of the church, and no single elder bears all the weight of responsibility. God’s plan is brilliant.
3. Co-ordinated mission with other churches
The Presbyterian Church recognises that local churches don’t exist on their own but belong to each other, and that this belonging includes a common government. We believe that the Bible teaches that the elders of local churches should meet together to oversee the life and mission of all the churches.
In the Presbyterian Church of Australia the common government takes the form of Presbyteries and Assemblies. The Presbytery is a regional leadership body made up of the Minister and one elder from each of the local churches in a region. The Presbytery is charged to oversee the health and co-ordinate the mission of each of the particular churches. The Assemblies are State and National leadership bodies made up of representative Ministers and elders from churches across the State and the Nation. These oversee the joint ministry of all the churches.
The brilliance of co-ordinated mission means that we are able to work together to promote the good news of Jesus and bless the world in a range of ways. At Hornsby Presbyterian Church, we're glad be to in partnership with ministries like Presbyterian Youth, Jericho Road, Christ College, and the Australian Presbyterian World Mission.