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Moderator

The title given to the presiding officer of the various courts in Reformed churches. The term was used occasionally by John Calvin, but with the formation of the Reformed Church of France in 1559 it became the formal title of the chairman of official church gatherings. It seems to have been adopted in order to emphasize the equality of all presbyters. It was adopted by the Scottish Reformed Church in 1563 and has been generally employed by all Presbyterian bodies since. The attempts at different times to have permanent moderators, sometimes bearing the title of “bishops,” has usually been successfully resisted as being contrary to the belief that Jesus Christ alone is head of the Church.