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What does it mean to be Presbyterian?

Deirdre Cox Baker
Deirdre Baker

Mar 26, 2016

Ten years ago, shortly after his ordination, the Rev. Ken Golden started a project to capture his faith in a solid, yet readable book.

The result is “Presbytopia,” which is being released in the United Kingdom by the publisher, Christian Focus Publications. Distribution in the United States follows in April.

Golden, who lives in Davenport with his wife, Cressid, and four children, is the organizing pastor at Sovereign Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 4444 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport.

It also is the site of the Davenport Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which holds its services on Saturdays. Sovereign Grace rents the space for its Sunday morning services.

“Presbytopia,” (the title mirrors the idea of utopia) has attracted critical acclaim, including from Michael Horton, of Westminster Seminary in Escondido, Calif.

“Accessible, engaging and above all, faithful to Scripture, Ken Golden’s book is more than a new members class text. Anyone looking for an introduction or a refresher to basic Christian beliefs will find this a gem,” he wrote.

The Rev. Terry L. Johnson, senior pastor at Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Ga., added his thoughts: “Given how rare it is to encounter adequately instructed Christians, never mind Presbyterians, ‘Presbytopia’ is a valuable tool to pastors to use in the new member classes.”

Golden said he wanted to make the book accessible as well as factual to the Presbyterian faith. He greatly enjoyed working with the publisher, who is based in Scotland, and said the book’s editor improved his original work.

Sometimes, Golden said, the church can seem too heady, or academic in its approach. “We want to dispel the notion of being an advanced course in Christianity … we want to be welcoming to all,” he said.

“Presbyterianism has a lot to offer,” he added.

The book is set up like a class, in three parts. The first is “Christian Essentials,” with Chapter 1, the Bible, while the second chapter describes who God is. After that, the author describes man, sin, Jesus Christ and the spirit.

In the second section, Golden addresses “Reformed Distinctives,” such as doctrine, church government and how worship is according to Scripture.

The final section, “Means of Grace,” talks about preaching and sacraments, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or solemn nurturing, and prayer in daily conversation.

At a friend’s suggestion, Golden added a glossary of terms at the end, as well as a second appendix with a sample liturgy.

Golden, who said “never in a million years” did he think he would be a published author, hopes readers will find the book “clear and winsome,” as well as attract interest to the Presbyterian faith.

To that end, he plans to have copies available in general assembly meetings this spring, and he is speaking to local libraries that might want a copy.

It is also available on

What does it mean to be Presbyterian? written by Deirdre Cox Baker first appeared in the qctimes on Mar 26, 2016