Pastor Bobby Griffith helped found and now pastors an urban Presbyterian church in the Midwest that embraced liturgy from its very beginning. He is part of a growing number of ministers and laypeople who are returning to historic forms of worship, as evangelicalism stumbles under the weight of what one author calls “entertainment worship” and a “performance mind-set.” This growing trend is gaining traction and being noticed by mainstream news outlets and evangelical magazines such as Christianity Today. In order for it to continue, new resources must take the place of contemporary worship helps for pastors and worship leaders who are trying to incorporate historic liturgical practices back into their services. Pastor Griffith’s new book, Confessions of Sin and Assurances of Pardon: A Pocket Resource, is a much-needed and wonderfully designed answer to that need.
This book contains the text of seventy-eight confessions of sin and twenty-one assurances of pardon, drawn from a broad range of Christian sources. They are intended to be used in a worship service for public confession of sin and a minister’s assurance of pardon. They are appropriate for all seasons of a church’s life and can be easily repeated or spoken in unison.
One hopes that this small book will be followed by other liturgical helps. Some churches are fortunate to have a strong history of historic Christian worship and know where to find otherwise forgotten resources for service planning. Other churches, especially in nondenominational settings, will turn to suspect sources and could ruin the experiment that would have returned them to historic Christian practices. New books that focus on the Call to Worship, public prayer, the Benediction, and even the use of a lectionary would be beneficial for all.
I commend Pastor Griffith for his work and encourage others to purchase and use his helpful book as they plan worship services that bring us closer to our historic and biblical roots.
Eric Landry is executive editor of Modern Reformation and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.