We once believed we were the only true church. Our doctrines affirmed our exclusive teachings. We worked diligently to have all the right answers, but sometimes we forgot to ask the right questions.
When we encountered new cultures and places in the 1960s, we realized that the Restoration needs to provide answers for the pressing problems of today as much as it did in the 1830s. Rather than curators of a nineteenth century museum, we are a people of Zion here and now!
It was a time of deconstruction and re-imagination. A key step was a shift from doctrine to theology. Theology is a way of thinking about God that identifies what is most transcendent and essential on one hand; and on the other recognize factors that are more connected with historic context and culture. Theology, defined as faith seeking understanding, focuses on discovering the right questions—and the engaging dialogue that follows—as we endeavor to understand God's will for our time.
We are defined by how we live our faith in a beautifully diverse world. We acknowledge the limits of any doctrine to define and incarnate the living Christ. Our Enduring Principles (core values) provide guidance as we engage in the liberating mission of Jesus and strive to make the world a better place. These nine principles define the essence, heart, and soul of our faith community:
Community of Christ Basic Beliefs offer a starting point for our theological exploration:
We believe in one living God, revealed in Jesus Christ, who moves through all creation as the Holy Spirit. We affirm a Triune God—God who is a community of three persons, known traditionally as the Trinity. All things that exist owe their being to God: mystery beyond understanding and love beyond imagination.
We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, fully human and fully divine. Through Jesus’ life and ministry, death and resurrection, God reconciles the world and breaks down walls that divide. Christ is our peace.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the Holy Spirit, Giver of Life, holy Wisdom, true God. The Spirit moves through and sustains creation, and transforms disciples. Wherever we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control, there the Holy Spirit is working.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. To follow Jesus is to share Christ's peace. Peace is realized through justice which affirms the worth of all persons. Peace is more than the absence of war. It includes ideas found in the Hebrew word shalom: justice, righteousness, wholeness, and the well-being of creation.
Every human being is created in the image of God. In Jesus Christ, God took on the limits of human flesh and culture, and is known through them. We therefore affirm without exception the worth of every human being. We also affirm that God has blessed humankind with the gift of agency: the ability to choose whom or what we will serve within the circumstances of our lives.
God created us to be agents of love and goodness. Yet, with tragic results, we often misuse our agency individually and collectively. Sin separates us from God and from one another. Grace reconciles and heals relationships with God and all creation.
The gospel is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ which brings healing and wholeness to brokenness, sin, and separation. This healing is for individuals, human societies, and all of creation. We experience salvation through Jesus Christ, but affirm that God’s loving gift of grace has no bounds and God's love is greater than we can know.
A Christian community lives out love of God and love of neighbor, together in the context of community. The church of Jesus Christ includes all who respond to Jesus’ call to share peace. Community of Christ strives to be a true church as we claim our "unique and sacred place within the circle of those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ." (Doctrine and Covenants 161:1b)
We affirm the Living God is ever self-revealing. God is revealed to the world in the testimony of Israel (Old Testament), and above all in Jesus Christ. By the Holy Spirit we continue to hear God speaking today. The church is called to listen together for what the Spirit is saying then faithfully respond.
Scripture is writing inspired by God’s Spirit. The Bible is our foundational scripture. Community of Christ also uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants which, like the Bible, affirm that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. When responsibly interpreted and faithfully applied, scripture provides divine guidance and inspired insight for our discipleship.