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What It Means To Be A Presbyterian



“To be a Presbyterian is to be in a relationship with other Presbyterians all over the world. We are not individual congregations choosing to associate with one another in order to accomplish certain tasks; rather we are the Body of Christ, unified and unbroken.” Presbyterian Polity for Church Leaders by Joan S. Gray, Joyce C. Tucker

GPM’s Vision 2020 – Church Without Walls

The followings are some of the relevant links:

​1​.​ The Apostles Creed that we read out at the beginning of every month before we ​par​take​ the Sacrament of Holy​ Communion:


I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

This is why the Reformed churches consider the Apostles’ Creed to be the best summary of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith​:

​2. We are all members of one church​ – the Presbyterian church in Malaysia or Gereja Presbyterian Malaysia (“GPM”)​. The ​​130​ or so​ congregations in GPM ​are all members of​ one church. There are no 130​ or so​ churches. All are members of ​just ​​one church​, that is​ GPM. ​The various congregations in GPM are just different groups​ in the same church​​ for administrative purposes only; under different presbyteries, etc.​​ ​And in turn, ​GPM​ sees ​itself as a member of the universal invisible Church of Jesus Christ​. We are a member and part of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). WCRC is the largest association of Reformed churches in the world and the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox​ ​Churches: ​

Technically, we​ are ​all ​members of the Presbyterian church (universal) in Malaysia (country) at ​whatever location that we choose to worship (​the ​local congregation).

The Presbyterian Church in Malaysia:

3. In contrast, a congregational church, for example, a Baptist church:

”The pronounced congregational constitution does not allow for a centralized church structure but promotes unions and conventions of individual churches.”

4. From The Presbyterian Church in Singapore website:

”Each member church of PCS does not see itself as an independent, unconnected unit. Rather, while each PCS member church sees itself as a church, it also recognises the need for the fellowship with member churches to form The Presbyterian Church in Singapore. In turn, PCS sees herself as a member of the universal invisible Church of Jesus Christ.”

5. During the Reformation, where Martin Luther stopped on the theology, John Calvin continued to work on the structure of the church government by writing it straight out from the Bible to become what is now known as the Presbyterian or Reformed church. “Proponents of this governing structure in the 16th and 17th centuries did not regard it as an innovation but as a rediscovery of the apostolic model found in the New Testament.”

6. “Presbyterianism holds to the idea of a universal visible church as the goal of ecclesiology. This principle arises from the scriptural idea of church unity. The Nicene Creed speaks of “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The Scriptures are clear about the oneness of the visible church, for there “is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4-5; see also John 17:20-23).

In the New Testament the word church (singular) appears to be applied “to something intermediate between a single congregation on the one hand, and the catholic or universal church on the other” (see Acts 8:1; 11:22; 15:4; Eph. 4:4-5), according to William Cunningham in his Historical Theology. Cunningham notes that the church in Jerusalem could not have met together in the same place (there were no basketball arenas for sale then), and therefore met in several places. “Yet,” Cunningham says, “these distinct congregations are still spoken of repeatedly as the church which was at Jerusalem; and this church, consisting of several congregations, is represented as being under the superintendence of one united body of apostles, and presbyters, or elders” (see also Acts 6:1-6; 15:2). Note also the implication of Acts9:31 whereby the singular word church refers to all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.”:

7. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized byc one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12-26

8. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary: “Christ and his church form one body, as Head and members. Christians become members of this body by baptism. The outward rite is of Divine institution; it is a sign of the new birth, and is called therefore the washing of regeneration, Tit 3:5. But it is by the Spirit, only by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, that we are made members of Christ’s body. And by communion with Christ at the Lord’s supper, we are strengthened, not by drinking the wine, but by drinking into one Spirit. Each member has its form, place, and use. The meanest makes a part of the body. There must be a distinction of members in the body. So Christ’s members have different powers and different places. We should do the duties of our own place, and not murmur, or quarrel with others. All the members of the body are useful and necessary to each other. Nor is there a member of the body of Christ, but may and ought to be useful to fellow-members. As in the natural body of man, the members should be closely united by the strongest bonds of love; the good of the whole should be the object of all. All Christians are dependent one upon another; each is to expect and receive help from the rest. Let us then have more of the spirit of union in our religion.”

9. Nyomi Setri, the immediate past General Secretary of World Communion of Reformed Churches first and last weekly staff worship on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (see photo attached).

10.​ We are also part of the Council for World Mission, our sister organization, where we share our resources to carry out missionary work ( Please see photos attached herewith. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had: Acts 4:32.