A new Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding study for adults explores two important aspects of Reformed and Presbyterian identity and conviction, “Grace and Gratitude."
Written by the Rev. Dr. Charles Wiley III, coordinator of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Theology and Worship, Grace & Gratitude—which consists of a participant’s and a leader’s guide, the latter written by Eva Stimson—explores what some church people say is a fast-disappearing part of the worship service, the confession of sin.
Wiley, bucking the prevalent trend, says people cannot fully know they belong to a God of grace, nor live grateful lives without confessing their sin and hearing the good news: “In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.”
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the response of Presbyterians to the idea that grace and gratitude is a faithful and inspiring way to frame Presbyterian identity,” Wiley says. “I focused this resource on confession, forgiveness and peace in worship because I am convinced that these acts of worship—while experienced by some as a downer—are a key to unlocking how overwhelmingly gracious God is and how we might be freed to live our lives in gratitude.”
Published by Congregational Ministries Publishing (CMP), Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding is a series of biblically based studies that provide adults with a foundational understanding of the Reformed faith. Each six-session study—written by well-known and respected scholars—features scripture, in-depth commentary and questions for reflection.
“Charles' urgent question, ‘Why be a Presbyterian Christian?’ propels his readers toward a fitting conclusion—we belong to a God of grace,” says Mark D. Hinds, Ed.D., interim publisher for CMP. “Our response to God, then, takes shape in grateful acts and attitudes of generosity, hospitality, and love. Wiley’s study will help Presbyterians claim their particular faith identity and bless the world in Christ’s name.”
“Grace and gratitude mark our time during Advent,” says Wiley. “It is easy to see God’s graciousness at Christmas with the arrival of the Christ child, but this same gracious God keeps promises and sustains us in the long period of waiting and anticipation during Advent. We are thankful for the gift of sustaining hope as well as the fulfillment that will come.”
The new resource is available for pre-order, making it timely for Advent and Christmas. It will be available in Spanish and Korean in 2016.