These are exciting times in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). In the last few years, we have put our focus on Jesus Christ and the most important teachings of Christianity, and we have striven to remove exclusivistic and legalistic doctrines and attitudes from our fellowship. Individually and collectively, we have begun to reach out to other Christians and work for reconciliation and unity in the body of Christ. Many are identifying their ``spiritual gifts'' and finding new ways to serve, and many are discovering a whole new world of Christian literature and music.

These are also difficult times in the Worldwide Church of God. After splitting into several groups over doctrinal differences, we must cope with division and tension among families and friends. We face the consequences of former errors and the daunting task of reexamining many of our old beliefs and building a new worldview.

In these pages, we would like to share the insights we are gaining and the questions we are pondering as we travel together on the exciting and difficult spiritual journey of the current WCG. Through our articles, book reviews, and commentary, we hope to offer support to others who are facing the same issues and challenges.

One guiding principle in our discussions is the conviction that a better understanding of history can greatly increase our understanding of the present and provide valuable insight for the future. When we understand the history of our own denomination, we can see more clearly our place within the Body of Christ and the unique gifts that we can contribute to its mission. When we understand the history of Christianity as a whole, we can better appreciate our common ground with other denominations and be better equipped for achieving goals of reconciliation and unity. When we know the history of a doctrinal controversy or theological position, we can have a much better grasp of the different sides of the issue. Having labored under historical misconceptions in the past, we should be careful not to replace old misconceptions with new ones.

We shall also be interested here in reconsidering our doctrinal and worship traditions in light of our new understanding. Unlike those who would have us quickly abandon everything that we have believed and practiced in the past, we would like to promote the development of a distinctive WCG theology, combining the best of old and new. In particular, we are convinced that large parts of our traditional eschatology can be rebuilt upon a firm foundation, and that with legalism and error removed, the great value and meaning of the Sabbath and annual festivals shine through more clearly than ever. Without apology, we will joyfully celebrate here the special culture and traditions of the WCG.

In all of our articles, we will strive for a balanced and irenic approach. A slogan that has often been repeated in our church over the past few years is: ``In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.'' We support this slogan and would like to put it into practice in our magazine.

With the fall festival season upon us, our first issue features a Christ-centered discussion of issues related to the festivals. We hope that you will find Grace and Knowledge to be stimulating and edifying, and we welcome your contributions and comments.

Issue 1


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