My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When leading a congregation in worship, it's important to have thought through what you are about, where the Gospel of Jesus fits in, and what will be the liturgical tenor. Therefore it becomes helpful to have resources to draw from that can give you a hand. Recently Bobby G. Griffith, Jr., one of the pastors at City Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, OK, has given ministers and worship leaders an easy-to-use, handy-sized 112 page pocket hardback for just this purpose, "Confessions of Sin and Assurances of Pardon: A Pocket Resource".
This teeny volume begins with a nice forward by Sean Michael Lucas on the importance of having confession of sin and assurance of pardon in Presbyterian and Reformed worship. Lucas, Church History professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS, explains how Calvin himself "knew that confession had to play a significant role in corporate worship if we will grasp and be grasped by the Gospel" (9). The forward is short, but very helpful in explaining the value of well thought-out liturgy, and the importance of a corporate confession of sin.
"Confessions of Sin and Assurances of Pardon" is 4.5 inches by 7.25 inches and easily slips into a pocket or purse. There are 79 confessions of sin from a wide range of sources that include the early church, the Reformation and present compositions. Some are responsive, but the vast majority are homothumadon ("one voice" Acts 4.24). Then there are 21 assurances of pardon, all simply appropriate Scripture citations that announce the Gospel of grace to repentant, confessing sinners.
This small booklet is ideal for worship leaders and ministers as they construct their weekly liturgies. Its handy size makes it easy for a minister to carry into the pulpit. Beyond this, it would also be fitting for bible study leaders who may find it appropriate at times to lead in confession of sin with a specific study. But even better, it would make a delightful addition to one's personal devotions in morning prayer. In whatever venue it is used, the goal is to draw worshipers to the throne of grace to find grace to help in time of need; that together they may entreat, "Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Bearer of our sins, have mercy on us. Jesus, Redeemer of the world, grant us peace. Amen" (11). I highly recommend this book for ministers, worship leaders, men, women, girls and boys.
Thanks to Christian Focus Publications for providing, upon my request, the free copy of “Confessions of Sin and Assurances of Pardon” used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).
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