Black Lives Matter
Indigenous Lives Matter
Lives of People of Colour Matter
Just before getting to our “We Share” topic, there have been some substantial changes in provincial strategies in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the four provinces in which congregations operate in the Canada West Mission Centre have implemented significantly revised procedures, some of which affect congregational worship and other church gatherings. These changes are very briefly summarized in this Updated Summary of Provincial Requirements. Links to more details on provincial websites are provided. Please at least review the summary for your awareness.
We Share…Scripture in Community of Christ
This is the 12th and final in a series on the “We Share…” theme. For background, see the first entry in the series here: We Share #1
In the book, Sharing in Community of Christ, upon which this series of columns is based, the section dealing with “Scripture in Community of Christ” can be found on pages 63 to 67. The section consists of a “Preamble” statement followed by nine “Affirmation” paragraphs. Each of the Affirmation paragraphs are very tightly worded and do not lend themselves well to summarization or abbreviation. Rather than trying to do so, I will pick a few key concepts from the Affirmations to share as examples.
From Affirmation 1: “We declare that Jesus Christ…is the Living Word of God. It is to Christ that scripture points.”
From Affirmation 3: “Scripture is a library of books that speaks in many voices. These books were written in diverse times and places, and reflect the languages, cultures, and conditions under which they were written. God’s revelation through scripture does not come to us apart from the humanity of the writers, but in and through that humanity.”
Affirmation 5 (quoted in its entirety): “Scripture is vital and essential to the church, but not because it is inerrant (in the sense that every detail is historically or scientifically correct). Scripture makes no such claim for itself. Rather, generations of Christians have found scripture simply to be trustworthy in keeping them anchored in revelation, in promoting faith in Christ, and in nurturing the life of discipleship. For these purposes, scripture is unfailingly reliable (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”
Affirmation 9 (also quoted in its entirety): “With other Christians, we affirm the Bible as the foundational scripture for the church. In addition, Community of Christ uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture. We do not use these sacred writings to replace the witness of the Bible or improve upon it, but because they confirm its message that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God (Preface of the Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants 76:3g). We have heard Christ speak in all three books of scripture, and bear witness that he is “alive forever and ever” (Revelation 1:18).”
Scripture varies in age and nature from the ancient accounts of God’s mighty acts among ancient peoples (Book of Genesis and much of the Hebrew Bible – or Old Testament) to modern prophetic revelation that is current and relevant to the challenges of the world today (the latest sections of the Doctrine and Covenants originating in the last two to sixty years). All of scripture is worthy of our study and efforts at discerning its message for us in our own lives. The revelatory experiences with God, recorded by humans with the best words and language available to them to express the unexpressable, are available to us today to study, to interpret, and from which to learn and gain wisdom. It is a lifelong opportunity and challenge available to anyone.
If you have an interest in pursuing questions or further discussion about scripture in the Community of Christ, please contact the writer or a congregation near you. Material for this column is drawn primarily from the book, available online, Sharing in Community of Christ: Exploring Identity, Mission, Message, and Beliefs.
This is the last in our “We Share” series. I commend the book referenced above for your reading pleasure and study. It is the best current statement of what defines Community of Christ as a Christian denomination. If you are someone newly interested in Community of Christ, get to know us a bit better through this book. If you are a member of Community of Christ, get to know your church a little better and be more prepared for sharing the church with your friends and associates.
I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537