Is it the Mormon church this is about I hear you say?
Well close, or maybe not for that matter, this is the community of Christ which used to be called the Re-organized church of latter day-saints which in January this year made an addition to its doctrine and covenants.
President Stephen M. Veazey has authored this new scripture which can be found in full here (www.cofchrist.org/wc2010/counsel/section164.pdf,) however in short "The new scripture provides the opportunity for people baptized in other Christian denominations to become members of Community of Christ without being rebaptized. The scripture also emphasizes the power of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Community of Christ practices open Communion."
A move which at this stage would be unimaginable for the LDS church to perform as this accepts the authority of other churches to baptise. The belief in the lack of which in the mainstream Christian church is a fundamental belief for the LDS church.
As a quick history lesson the Community of Christ exists because after the death of Joseph Smith a movement within the LDS church believed Joseph Smiths successor should be a descendant of his, clearly the church as a whole disagreed and appointed Brigham Young.
This group within the church broke away taking the copyright for the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible and ownership of the Missouri temple with it and became the Reorganised church of Latter-day saints. Still at that time retaining all of the other beliefs of the LDS church.
Up until 1996 all presidents of the RLDS church were descendants of Joseph Smith, under this new leader W. Grant McMurray in the year 2000 the church changed its name to the community of Christ.
Today looking at the churches website (http://www.cofchrist.org/) its hard at first to see anything that differs it from any other Christian church, a nice bible quote emphasis on Christs love and evidence of a multi Cultural emphasis in the church.
Its mainly when you get to the beliefs you start to see the difference, but even then how different is it.
Of Christ it says this:
We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Word made flesh, the Savior of the world, fully human and fully divine. Through Jesus’ life and ministry, death and resurrection, God reconciles the world and breaks down the walls that divide. Christ is our peace.
Which sounds ok to me.
Then of scripture it says this:
"Scripture is writing inspired by God’s Spirit and accepted by the church as the normative expression of its identity, message, and mission. 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—not to replace the witness of the Bible or improve on it, but because they confirm its message 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."
We have the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (though where is the pearl of Great price?) however a clear statement that the bible is the foundational scripture for the church.
Looking at a facebook group for this church I came across an ongoing debate about how the Community of Christ today differs from the original RLDS church, points made include how women are now included in the priesthood and how the leadership now see truth as something that can be redefined for each generation.
All an interesting shift for what was originally a group of Mormon people, part of me wonders if there is potential for what we saw in The Worldwide church of God and we will see them saved, or will they go down the line of the quakers and become liberal and not know what they believe?
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