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Portal:Calvinism/Selected article/1

Main School Tower

The Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney (P.L.C. Sydney), is an independent, Presbyterian, day and boarding school for girls, located in Croydon, an inner-western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is the longest continuously running Presbyterian Church school in New South Wales.

Founded in 1888 by a committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales, the school has a non-selective enrolment policy for all years apart from Year 11, and currently caters for approximately 1350 girls from Branxton Reception (4 years old) to Year 12 (18 years old), including 70 boarders. Student's attend P.L.C from all regions of the greater metropolitan area, New South Wales country regions, and overseas.

Formerly a school of the Presbyterian Church, Pymble Ladies' College is P.L.C's 'daughter school' in Pymble.


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Portrait of Knox from the original in the possession of Lord Torpichen at Calder House.

John Knox (c. 1510 – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation and he is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. He was educated at the University of St Andrews and worked as a notary-priest. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.

When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and reestablished Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. On his return to Scotland, he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary's reign. In several interviews with the queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Roman practices. Eventually, when she was imprisoned and James VI enthroned in her stead, he openly attacked her in sermons. He continued to preach until his final days.


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Portrait attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger

John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism or Reformed theology. In Geneva, his ministry both attracted other Protestant refugees and over time made that city a major force in the spread of Reformed theology. He is renowned for his teachings and writings, in particular for his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Calvin's father was an attorney and in 1523 sent his fourteen-year-old son to the University of Paris to study humanities and law. His Protestant friends included Nicholas Cop, Rector at the University of Paris. In 1533 Cop gave an address "replete with Protestant ideas," and "Calvin was probably involved as the writer of that address." Calvin later settled for a time in Basel, where in 1536 he published the first edition of his Institutes. John Calvin died in Geneva on May 27, 1564. He was buried in the Cimetière des Rois under a tombstone marked simply with the initials "J.C.", partially honoring his request that he be buried in an unknown place, without witnesses or ceremony.


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Unattributed portrait

William III (Kingdom of England), also named William I (Kingdom of Ireland), William II (Kingdom of Scotland), and William III of Orange (Principality of Orange and the Netherlands) (The Hague, 14 November 1650 – Kensington Palace, 8 March 1702), was a Dutch Prince of Orange from his birth, and Stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch Republic from 28 June 1672, King of England and King of Ireland from 13 February 1689, and King of Scotland from 11 April 1689, in each case until his death. Born a member of the House of Orange-Nassau, William III won the English, Scottish and Irish Crowns following the Glorious Revolution, during which his uncle and father-in-law, James II, was deposed. In England, Scotland and Ireland, William ruled jointly with his wife, Mary II, until her death on 28 December 1694. He reigned as 'William II' in Scotland, but 'William III' in all his other realms. Often he is referred to as William of Orange, a name he shared with many other historical figures. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, he is often informally known as King Billy. An important consequence of William's reign in England involved the ending of a bitter conflict between Crown and Parliament that had lasted since the accession of the first English monarch of the House of Stuart, James I, in 1603. The conflict over royal and parliamentary power had led to the English Civil War during the 1640s and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. During William's reign, however, the conflict was settled in Parliament's favour by the Bill of Rights 1689, the Triennial Act 1694 and the Act of Settlement 1701.


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James VI and I

James VI and I (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been forced to abdicate. Regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578. On 24 March 1603, as James I, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. He then ruled England, Scotland and Ireland for 22 years, until his death at the age of 58. Towards the Puritan clergy, with whom he debated at the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, James was at first strict in enforcing conformity, inducing a sense of persecution amongst many Puritans; but ejections and suspensions from livings became fewer as the reign wore on. A notable success of the Hampton Court Conference was the commissioning of a new translation of the Bible, completed in 1611, which became known as the King James Bible, considered a masterpiece of Jacobean prose. In Scotland, James attempted to bring the Scottish kirk "so neir as can be" to the English church and reestablish the episcopacy, a policy which met with strong opposition. In 1618, James's bishops forced his Five Articles of Perth through a General Assembly; but the rulings were widely resisted. James was to leave the church in Scotland divided at his death, a source of future problems for his son.


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Huldrych Zwingli in an oil portrait from 1531 by Hans Asper; Kunstmuseum Winterthur.

Huldrych Zwingli (1 January 1484 – 11 October 1531) was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of rising Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism. In 1519, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmünster in Zürich where he began to preach ideas on reforming the Church. The Reformation spread to other parts of the Swiss Confederation, but several cantons resisted, preferring to remain Roman Catholic. Zwingli formed an alliance of Reformed cantons which divided the Confederation along religious lines. Zwingli’s ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers. They met at the Marburg Colloquy and although they agreed on many points of doctrine, they could not reach an accord on the doctrine of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 1531 Zwingli’s alliance applied an unsuccessful food blockade on the Roman Catholic cantons. The cantons responded with an attack at a moment when Zürich was badly prepared. Zwingli was killed in battle at the age of 47. His legacy lives on in the confessions, liturgy, and church orders of the Reformed churches of today.


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Brown Memorial Presby Church

Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, Maryland, United States, is a large, Gothic Revival-style Presbyterian church located at Park and Lafayette Avenues in the city's Bolton Hill section. The church is noted for its ornate stained glass windows by the renowned artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, soaring vaulted ceiling, and prominent persons associated with its history. Maltbie Babcock, who was the church's pastor 1887–1900, wrote the familiar hymn, This is My Father's World. Storied virtuoso concert performer Virgil Fox was organist at Brown Memorial early in his career (1936–1946). Called "one of the most significant buildings in this city, a treasure of art and architecture" by Baltimore Magazine, the church underwent a $1.8 million restoration between 2001–2003.

A portion of the congregation decided in 1956 to build a church in the suburban Woodbrook area north of Baltimore. Others members wished to remain at the Bolton Hill location, prompting a decision to operate one church at two locations, with a shared ministerial staff. This arrangement continued until 1980, when the congregations of the two churches voted for separation. The original Bolton Hill church was subsequently referred to as "Brown Memorial Park Avenue", to distinguish it from "Brown Memorial Woodbrook".


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Huldrych Zwingli, woodcut by Hans Asper, 1531.

The basis of the theology of Huldrych Zwingli was the Bible. He took scripture as the inspired word of God and placed its authority higher than human sources such as the Ecumenical councils and the church fathers. He also recognised the human element within the inspiration noting the differences in the canonical gospels.

He developed the symbolic view of the Eucharist. He denied the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and following Cornelius Henrici Hoen, he agreed that the bread and wine of the institution signify and does not literally become the body and blood of Christ. Zwingli’s differences of opinion on this with Martin Luther resulted in the failure of the Marburg Colloquy to bring unity between the two Protestant leaders.

Zwingli believed that the state governed with divine sanction. He believed that both the church and the state are placed under the sovereign rule of God. Christians were obliged to obey the government, but civil disobedience was allowed if the authorities acted against the will of God. He described a preference for an aristocracy over monarchic or democratic rule.


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This painting by John Rogers Herbert depicts a particularly controversial speech before the Assembly by Philip Nye against presbyterian church government.

The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of theologians (or "divines") and members of the English Parliament appointed to restructure the Church of England which met from 1643 to 1653. Several Scots also attended, and the Assembly's work was adopted by the Church of Scotland. As many as 121 ministers were called to the Assembly, with nineteen others added later to replace those who did not attend or could no longer attend. It produced a new Form of Church Government, a Confession of Faith or statement of belief, two catechisms or manuals for religious instruction (Shorter and Larger), and a liturgical manual, the Directory for Public Worship, for the Churches of England and Scotland. The Confession and catechisms were adopted as doctrinal standards in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches, where they remain normative. Amended versions of the Confession were also adopted in Congregational and Baptist churches in England and New England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Confession became influential throughout the English-speaking world, but especially in American Protestant theology.


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Pietro Vermigli, by Hans Asper, 1560

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499 – 1562) was an Italian-born Reformed theologian. His early work as a reformer in Catholic Italy and decision to flee for Protestant northern Europe influenced many other Italians to convert and flee as well. In England, he influenced the Edwardian Reformation, including the Eucharistic service of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. He was considered an authority on the Eucharist among the Reformed churches, and engaged in controversies on the subject by writing treatises. Vermigli's Loci Communes, a compilation of excerpts from his biblical commentaries organized by the topics of systematic theology, became a standard Reformed theological textbook.

Vermigli's best-known theological contribution was defending the Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist against Catholics and Lutherans. Contrary to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, Vermigli did not believe that the bread and wine are changed into Christ's body and blood. He also disagreed with the Lutheran view that Christ's body is ubiquitous and so physically present at the Eucharist. Instead, Vermigli taught that Christ remains in Heaven even though he is offered to those who partake of the Eucharist and received by believers.


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Samuel Merrill Woodbridge 1819-1905.jpg

The Reverend Samuel Merrill Woodbridge, D.D., LL.D. (April 5, 1819 – June 23, 1905) was an American clergyman, theologian, author, and college professor. A graduate of New York University and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Woodbridge preached for sixteen years as a clergyman in the Reformed Church in America. After settling in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he taught for 44 years as professor of ecclesiastical history and church government at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and for seven years as professor of "metaphysics and philosophy of the human mind" at Rutgers College (now Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) in New Brunswick. Woodbridge later led the New Brunswick seminary as Dean and President of the Faculty from 1883 to 1901. He was the author of three books and several published sermons and addresses covering various aspects of Christian faith, theology, church history and government.


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Engraving of a baptism in a Reformed church by Bernard Picart

In Reformed theology, baptism is a sacrament signifying the baptized person's union with Christ, or becoming part of Christ and being treated as if they had done everything Christ had. Sacraments, along with preaching of God's word, are means of grace through which God offers Christ to people. Sacraments are believed to have their effect through the Holy Spirit, but these effects are only believed to be beneficial to those who have faith in Christ.

In Reformed theology, baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the visible church, or body of people who publicly claim faith in Christ. Baptism also signifies regeneration and remission of sin. Reformed Christians believe that the children of those who express faith in Christ should be baptized. Because baptism is believed to be beneficial only to those who have faith in Christ, infants are baptized on the basis of the promise of faith which will come to fruition later in life.


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John Cotton by Smibert.jpg

John Cotton (1585–1652) was a clergyman in England and the American colonies and, by most accounts, the preeminent minister and theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Following five years of study at Trinity College, Cambridge, and another nine years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he had already built a reputation as a scholar and outstanding preacher when he accepted the position of minister at Saint Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1612. As a Puritan, he wanted to do away with the ceremony and vestments associated with the established Anglican Church and preach in a simpler, more consensual manner. Though he felt the English church needed significant reforms, he nevertheless was adamant about not separating from it; his preference was to change it from within. While many ministers were removed from their pulpits for their puritan practices, Cotton thrived at St. Botolph's for nearly 20 years because of supportive aldermen, lenient bishops, and his very conciliatory and gentle demeanor. By 1632, however, the Anglican church had greatly increased its pressure on the non-conforming clergy, and Cotton was forced to go into hiding. The following year he and his wife boarded a ship for New England.


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Anne Hutchinson on Trial.jpg

Anne Hutchinson, born Anne Marbury (1591–1643), was a Puritan spiritual adviser, mother of 15, and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy that shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

Hutchinson is a key figure in the development of religious freedom in England's American colonies and the history of women in ministry. She challenged the authority of the ministers, exposing the subordination of women in the culture of colonial Massachusetts. She is honoured by Massachusetts with a State House monument calling her a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration." She has been called the most famous, or infamous, English woman in colonial American history.


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Scottish Protestant at prayer.JPG

Scottish religion in the seventeenth century includes all forms of religious organisation and belief in the Kingdom of Scotland in the seventeenth century. During the sixteenth century, Scotland had undergone a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk, which was strongly Presbyterian in outlook. James VI favoured doctrinal Calvinism, but also episcopacy. His son Charles I authorised a book of canons that made him head of the Church and enforced the use of a new liturgy, seen as an English-style Prayer Book. In the resulting rebellion the Scottish bishops were formally expelled from the Church and representatives of various sections of Scottish society drew up the National Covenant. In the subsequent Bishop's Wars the Scottish Covenanters emerged as virtually independent rulers. Charles I's failure led indirectly to the English civil war (1642–46). The Covenanters intervened on the side of Parliament, who were victorious, but became increasingly alienated from the Parliamentary regime. The Scottish defeats in the subsequent Second and Third civil wars, led to English occupation and incorporation in a Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland led by Oliver Cromwell from 1652 and the imposition of religious toleration for Protestants. The Scottish Covenanters divided into parties of Resolutioners and Protesters.


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Dr Webster sermon, c.1750.jpg

Scottish religion in the eighteenth century includes all forms of religious organisation and belief in Scotland in the eighteenth century. This period saw the beginnings of a fragmentation of the Church of Scotland that had been created in the Reformation and established on a fully Presbyterian basis after the Glorious Revolution. These fractures were prompted by issues of government and patronage, but reflected a wider division between the Evangelicals and the Moderate Party. The legal right of lay patrons to present clergymen of their choice to local ecclesiastical livings led to minor schisms from the church. The first in 1733, known as the First Secession and headed by figures including Ebenezer Erskine, led to the creation of a series of secessionist churches. The second in 1761 led to the foundation of the independent Relief Church.


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WHS portrait.jpg

William Henry Sheppard (1865–1927) was one of the earliest African Americans to become a missionary for the Presbyterian Church. He spent 20 years in Africa, primarily in and around the Congo Free State, and is best known for his efforts to publicize the atrocities committed against the Kuba and other Congolese peoples by King Leopold II's Force Publique.

Sheppard's efforts contributed to the contemporary debate on European colonialism and imperialism in the region, particularly amongst those of the African American community. However, it has been noted that he traditionally received little attention in literature on the subject.


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Wheelwright.John.AmAntiquarianSoc.jpg

John Wheelwright (c.1592–1679), was a Puritan clergyman in England and America, and was most noted for being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Antinomian Controversy, and for subsequently establishing the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Born in Lincolnshire, England, he was raised in a family with substantial means, and received both a B.A. and M.A. at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge where he was a noted athlete and where Oliver Cromwell was a college friend. Ordained in 1619, he became the vicar of the church in Bilsby, Lincolnshire, and held this position for ten years until removed for simony.


Portal:Calvinism/Selected article/19 New Brunswick Theological Seminary, which has its main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was founded in 1784, and is the oldest independent Protestant seminary extant in the United States. It is one of two operated by the Reformed Church in America (RCA), a mainline Reformed Protestant denomination in Canada and the United States that follows the theological tradition and Christian practice of John Calvin. First established in New York City under the leadership of the Rev. John Henry Livingston, who instructed aspiring ministers in his home, the seminary established its presence in New Brunswick in 1810. Although a separate institution, the seminary's early development in New Brunswick was closely connected with that of Rutgers University (formerly Queen's College and Rutgers College) before establishing its own campus in the city in 1856. Since 1986, the seminary has offered classes at a satellite campus on the grounds of St. John's University in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York.


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Thomas Cranmer by Gerlach Flicke.jpg

Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.

During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany.

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