different and are very informal. Methodists utilize the Bible and the hymnal
during their worship services. Most Methodist worship services may be
classified as liturgical.
Two sacraments, Baptism and the Lords Supper, are observed in the
Methodist church. Baptism is administered to both infants and adults,
usually by sprinkling. There are 23 separate Methodist bodies in the United
States of which the United Methodist church is the largest.
PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES. Pentecostalism is a very inclusive
term applied to a large number of evangelical groups, assemblies, and
churches in America. They use a variety of names, and do not always include
the term Pentecostal in their name. The Assemblies of God and the
Church of God are two of the largest Pentecostal churches in America.
Assemblies of God (General Council of).The largest of the
Pentecostal bodies is the General Council of the Assemblies of God. This
body is made up of an aggregation of Pentecostal churches and assemblies
with a combined membership of over 1 million people. The government of
the assemblies is an unusual mixture of presbyterian and congregational
forms. Local congregations are very independent regarding their policy and
the conduct of their local affairs. Worship services within the Assemblies of
God are non-liturgical. Two ordinances, Baptism, and the Lords Supper,
Church of God.At least 200 independent religious bodies in the United
States bear the name of Church of God. In spite of differences among these
bodies, they hold many common doctrines. They stress divine healing and
accept Baptism, the Lords Supper, and Foot Washing as ordinances. They
abstain from the use of alcohol and tobacco, and the wearing of jewelry.
Worship services within the Church of God are non-liturgical.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES.Presbyterian congregations were
worshipping in the Americas as early as 1611. In 1706 Francis Makemie,
a young Scotch-Irish minister, invited six ministers to meet him in
Philadelphia. They bonded together to form the first presbytery. In a few
years many other churches joined the presbytery and they set up a parent
synod with four presbyteries responsible to it. In this way, the Presbyterian
church was organized independently in America.
The Presbyterian church drew its inspiration from the teachings of
John Calvin. The central idea is the absolute sovereignty of God. The
Westminster Confession of Faith of 1648 stands as the Presbyterians creed.
Worship in Presbyterian churches is simple and dignified. Pastors exercise no
priestly functions, and the church recognizes only two sacraments, Baptism
and the Lords Supper.
The ruling courts of the Presbyterian church are: the session; the
presbytery; the synod; and the general assembly. The synod covers a wider
area such as a state. The minister and a board of elders rule each local
church. The members of the church elect the ministers and the elders. The
elders help the minister exercise spiritual oversight over the congregation.
Deacons look after the poor and distressed. Trustees handle the property and