Reports on the most important debates from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Runtime: 30 minutes
General Assembly - Presbyterian polity - Netflix
Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of church governance (“ecclesiastical polity”) typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the presbytery or classis; presbyteries can be grouped into a synod, and presbyteries and synods nationwide often join together in a general assembly. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament. Presbyterian polity was developed as a rejection of governance by hierarchies of single bishops (episcopal polity), but also differs from the congregationalist polity in which each congregation is independent. In contrast to the other two forms, authority in the presbyterian polity flows both from the top down (as higher assemblies exercise limited but important authority over individual congregations, e.g., only the presbytery can ordain ministers, install pastors, and start up, close, and approve relocating a congregation) and from the bottom up (e.g., the moderator and officers are not appointed from above but are rather elected by and from among the members of the assembly). This theory of governance developed in Geneva under John Calvin and was introduced to Scotland by John Knox after his period of exile in Geneva. It is strongly associated with French, Dutch, Swiss and Scottish Reformation movements, and the Reformed and Presbyterian churches.
General Assembly - PresbyteryEdit - Netflix
In presbyterianism, congregations are united in accountability to a regional body called the presbytery, or, in Continental Reformed terminology, the classis, which comes from the Latin word for “fleet.” Presbyteries are made up of the minister and an elder 'commissioned' from each parish, as well as other clergy, such as theological college professors, chaplains, and retired ministers. When there is a larger number of ordained ministers than ruling elders, additional ruling elders are appointed to redress the imbalance. The commissioners of the presbytery are expected to exercise their own judgement and are not required to represent the majority view of their congregations. In some Dutch Reformed bodies, a classis serves as a delegated body, which ceases to exist in between meetings, whereas a presbytery exists perpetually. The officers of a presbytery are a moderator and a stated or principal clerk. The moderator acts as chair of presbytery meetings and has a casting, but not deliberative, vote. As with the moderators of synods and assemblies, the moderatorship is a primus inter pares position appointed by the presbytery itself. The moderator is addressed as “moderator” during meetings, but his/her position has no bearing outside of the presbytery meeting and affords him/her no special place in other courts, although typically the moderator (especially if a member of the clergy) will conduct worship and oversee ordinations and installations of ministers as a “liturgical” bishop, and other ordinances which are seen as acts of the presbytery. The stated or principal clerk takes minutes and deals with the correspondence of the presbytery, and is often appointed for an indefinite term. Presbytery Clerks are the ecclesiastical administrators and generally regarded as substantially influential due to their greater experience of the governance of the church and their ordering of the business of the presbytery. They are thus very much more than secretaries and often in fact are the lynch pin of the organisation. Presbyteries meet at a regularity between monthly and quarterly, some half-yearly.
General Assembly - References - Netflix