Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity

About Reformed (Presbyterian) Studies

Any missionary needs to understand the people they are sent to, their stories, and their sense of how God has already been at work among them. Ministers and church leaders can do no less.

Presbyterian Studies aims to help people make sense of their experience of Presbyterian Christianity and be able to contribute to it out of an understanding of its historical development in different cultures around the world. It provides an opportunity to grow your understanding of Presbyterian Christianity and also to relate it to your interests and ministry.

The 15 lessons (in 3 modules) cover key elements in Presbyterian identity from Celtic Scotland to the present day, including the Reformation, the Westminster Confession, the development of presbyteries and assemblies, the rise of revivals and overseas mission, and the story of Presbyterianism in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The final module looks at issues such as leadership, baptism and initiation, worship, controversy and mission. 

There is no exam but the grade is based on e-mail discussions for each topic and the essay assignment at the end of each module. 

Discussion with friends is strongly encouraged as part of the process. Reliable internet access and email is essential, preferably broadband.  

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course students will be able to:

  1. Recognise and discuss key elements of Presbyterian identity.
  2. Outline major events in the history of the Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  3. Evaluate the legacy of John Calvin to Presbyterianism or that of another key figure approved by the tutor.
  4. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the theology of the Westminster Confession or of another key document approved by the tutor.
  5. Analyse the theological and leadership issues involved in a critical incident or issue in a congregation showing respect for different points of view and understanding for the complex of factors involved.
  6. Adequately address the criteria specified on the Assignment Cover Sheet for essay writing, evidence of research, awareness of the viewpoints of others, coverage of key points, depth of understanding, discussion of issues and interaction and creativity.

About John Roxborogh

John was Senior Lecturer in Reformed Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. He has also taught mission studies at Laidlaw College in Auckland and church history and biblical studies in Malaysia. He was earlier in parish ministry in Wellington.

Before training for the ministry John was an electrical engineer. As well as seeking to make Presbyterianism fun, he is interested in archives and mission and the history of Christianity in Southeast Asia.

He is married to Jenny and they have four adult children living in New Zealand, Australia and UK. He has more information on .