God’s grace in Christ
by Deborah Coe
Overwhelmingly, Presbyterians who participated in a summer 2016 Presbyterian Panel survey agreed that the concept of God’s grace means that God loves everyone, no matter who they are or what they do. This is an important finding, because even though Presbyterians may disagree on immigration policies or how we engage in social welfare, or even on what constitutes racism or sexism or any other “ism,” we agree on this: God’s love is available to everyone. No matter what.
Most Presbyterians also agree that Jesus is central to salvation. However, there’s a big difference in the way that members and teaching elders understand this tenet: Significantly more teaching elders than members believe that God chooses who is to be saved through Christ, while significantly more members than teaching elders believe that people choose Christ as their Savior.
An overwhelming percentage of Presbyterians consider the sovereignty of God a very important Reformed principle, though this concept might not mean the same thing to everyone. One Merriam-Webster definition of sovereignty is “supreme power especially over a body politic.” Asking how that applies to one’s understanding of the sovereignty of God would make a great theological discussion starter for a session meeting or a small group discussion.
To learn more, see: pcusa.org/theo-reflection
Deborah Coe is the coordinator of Research Services for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
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