During the last few years I spent as a practicing Latter-day Saint, one recurring pet peeve that I had was the overbroad use of the term “gospel” to refer to all Latter-day Saint doctrines, teachings, and beliefs. In hindsight, learning to separate the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ from everything that I believed was a major part of my faith transition—and my ability to continue in Christianity even when the version that I was used to started to no longer work for me.
In the lead up to the 2023 World Conference of Community of Christ, prophet-president Steve Veazey has been releasing a series of videos introducing some of the major issues and discussions that will be relevant during the conference. I was struck by a particular line in this video on Decentralization and Flexibility.
The gospel is not dependent on a particular church structure. The gospel is God’s creative Word incarnated in Jesus Christ and in communities of disciples and friends throughout the world.
Latter-day Saints regularly make distinctions between church and gospel, but I was struck by how much more willing Community of Christ is to do so. Big changes are coming in Community of Christ, and while that sometimes makes me feel uncertain, I appreciate the humility inherent in the World Church’s approach—the gospel is independent of how our church has done things, and it’s even independent of our church.
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