What is it about?

Grace is starting to get attention in positive psychology, though not much research has been reported yet. Seven doctoral dissertations explored how Christians of various denominations experience divine grace. In this synthesis paper we describe common themes and differences across the seven studies.

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Why is it important?

Positive psychology considers human flourishing, and one means of flourishing throughout human history involves seeing ourselves as favored and loved by a divine being. How do Christians understand God's grace? Using qualitative analyses of 35 interviews, we found two definitions. The first is a general definition based on God's love and desire for relationship, and the the second is a more specific understanding based on the atoning work of Jesus. Almost all of the participants would agree with the general definition, but only some would endorse the more specific one.

Perspectives

My co-author on this paper brings extraordinary skills as a qualitative researcher. I am also grateful for Dr. Peter Hill who served as the Principal Investigator for the John Templeton Foundation grant (#61304) that funded this research.

Mark McMinn
George Fox University

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This page is a summary of: The lived religion of grace: Exploring diverse Christian narratives., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, April 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/rel0000414.
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