In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the rich tradition of Presbyterianism– what Presbyterianism is and the role of ruling elders and deacons. Here some excerpts:

What is Presbyterianism

“…If you ask someone what Presbyterianism is, he will probably tell you that Presbyterians are those strange folk, who believe in Predestination; or he will mention that it means government by presbyteries. But this is not so; the Presbytery is only one of our Church courts. We believe in government by Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies. Presbyterianism is not a system of church government; it is a doctrine of the Ministry. It is the doctrine that the ministry is wholly contained within the office of the Presbyter—this is the essence of Presbyterianism…”

Church Officers in Presbyterianism

“…[T]he early Church was organized—into a threefold ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons. And isn’t this the way the Church is organized throughout all the Presbyterian world? Isn’t it the way Faith Church is organized with its ministers, elders, and deacons?…”


“…The elders’ essential function is that they be overseers, going in and out among the people to see how they are measuring up to the standard of the law of Christ and the law of the Church. That is why Session meetings are, traditionally, and are meant to be, closed meetings…”

The Priesthood of All Believers

“…But within this priesthood of all believers there are certain men and women chosen to be not the representatives of the people to God—the people do not need such a representative, but…”

“…I can think of no more worthwhile calling for any man or woman than to be an elder or deacon in the Church of Jesus Christ; and today we pray that wisdom, zeal, and grace may be granted to all who serve in these honorable and responsible positions…”


Presbyterianism. Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.

March 13, 1988

1 Peter 2:9

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)