We learn about God's relationship to people and all creation through sacred story, which we define as the unfolding story of God's reconciling work in the world. With other Christians, Community of Christ uses the Bible as our foundational book of scripture.
We also find witness of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, which help shape our identity and remind us our sacred story continues.
The Holy Bible
The Bible represents different types of literature: sagas, poetry, prayers, genealogies, histories, visions, laws, parables, letters, and sermons. These writings emerged over centuries as a diverse people responded to God's call in diverse settings.
We encourage disciples to search out meaning from various translations of the Bible. While we do not have an official translation, the Bible most commonly used in worship services and referenced in sermons and other messages is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a text dictated by Joseph Smith, Jr., first published in 1830. It offers a complementary witness to the Bible through stories set in the context of ancient peoples. Many of the challenges faced by people seeking Christ in nineteenth-century America (when it was written) can be understood through its stories. The Book of Mormon affirms a revealing God who meets all people in Jesus Christ and invites all people into abundant living.
Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants are the documents provided by the prophet-presidents of Community of Christ that the church accepts as inspired counsel representing the "mind and will of God." The inspired documents date from 1828 to the present, and are numbered sequentially as they are given. Our Enduring Principle of Continuing Revelation is a belief that God continues to guide us today.
Other Parts of Sacred Story
The story of God's transforming work in the world is not limited to scripture. It is found in the hymns and songs we sing; in testimonies shared by family, friends, and community; and in stories from all cultures and nations. The sacred story also continues with our own lives and witness: our story.
Responsible Scripture Study and Application
Doctrine and Covenants 163:7a-d reveals guidance given to the church on the topic of responsible scripture study and application:
7a. Scripture is an indispensable witness to the Eternal Source of light and truth, which cannot be fully contained in any finite vessel or language. Scripture has been written and shaped by human authors through experiences of revelation and ongoing inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the midst of time and culture.
b. Scripture is not to be worshiped or idolized. Only God, the Eternal One of whom scripture testifies, is worthy of worship. God's nature, as revealed in Jesus Christ and affirmed by the Holy Spirit, provides the ultimate standard by which any portion of scripture should be interpreted and applied.
c. It is not pleasing to God when any passage of scripture is used to diminish or oppress races, genders, or classes of human beings. Much physical and emotional violence has been done to some of God's beloved children through the misuse of scripture. The church is called to confess and repent of such attitudes and practices.
d. Scripture, prophetic guidance, knowledge, and discernment in the faith community must walk hand in hand to reveal the true will of God. Follow this pathway, which is the way of the Living Christ, and you will discover more than sufficient light for the journey ahead.