A Presbyterian is a Protestant Christian identifying with "the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church" (Wikipedia). Presbyterians believe in Calvinism, or the teachings of sixteenth century theologian John Calvin (1509-1564). While Calvinism contains many doctrinal elements, the most important separating it from other Protestant Christian denominations is that of predestination, or the idea that God has predetermined who will or will not be allowed into Heaven. Presbyterianism derives its name from a form of church government in which decisions are made by councils of elders (or presbyteries). Presbyterians have a long history in the United States dating back to colonial times, and aside from doctrinal and governmental differences from other Protestant churches, are known for having disproportionate wealth and education, leading to conflicts of race, class, gender, and sexuality throughout the nineteenth century and beyond (Britannica; Wikipedia).

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