Enduring Principles

The Foundation: God, Christ, Holy Spirit

God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and continuing presence through the Holy Spirit, as proclaimed by scripture, is the foundation of our faith, identity, mission, message, and beliefs.

In faithful response to our heritage and continuing experience with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we endeavor to uphold the following enduring principles (values, concepts, themes) as essential components of church identity and mission.

Enduring Principles define the essence, heart, or soul of church identity, mission, and message. They describe the personality of the church as expressed through its participants, congregations, and affiliate organizations throughout the world.

Some call Enduring Principles “core values.” Others call them “foundational concepts.” Use whatever terms make the most sense in the setting where you are writing, sharing, teaching, or preaching. For general official purposes, the World Church will use the term “Enduring Principles.”

Enduring Principles

Grace and Generosity
Sacredness of Creation
Continuing Revelation
Worth of All Persons
All Are Called
Responsible Choices
Pursuit of Peace (Shalom)
Unity in Diversity
Blessings of Community
Each principle follows with statements that help explain its meaning. Each set of statements ends with “we” statements that emphasize calling and desired response. The statements following each principle are not meant to be limiting or comprehensive. They are provided as helps. Use phrases, illustrations, stories, testimonies, scripture passages, and additional points to provide clarity and understanding for those with whom you are sharing.

Grace and Generosity

God’s grace, especially as revealed in Jesus Christ, is generous and unconditional.
Having received God’s generous grace, we respond generously and graciously receive the generosity of others.
We offer all we are and have to God’s purposes as revealed in Jesus Christ.
We generously share our witness, resources, ministries, and sacraments according to our true capacity.
Sacredness of Creation

In the beginning, God created and called it all good.
Spirit and material, seen and unseen, are related.
Creation’s power to create or destroy reminds us of our vulnerability in this life.
God is still creating to fulfill divine purpose.
We join with God as stewards of care and hope for all creation.
Continuing Revelation

Scripture is an inspired and indispensable witness of human response to God’s revelation of divine nature.
God graciously reveals divine will today as in the past.
The Holy Spirit inspires and provides witness to divine truth.
In humility, individually and in community, we prayerfully listen to understand God’s will for our lives, the church, and creation more completely.
Worth of All Persons

God views all people as having inestimable and equal worth.
God wants all people to experience wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
We seek to uphold and restore the worth of all people individually and in community, challenging unjust systems that diminish human worth.
We join with Jesus Christ in bringing good news to the poor, sick, captive, and oppressed.
All Are Called

God graciously gives people gifts and opportunities to do good and to share in God’s purposes.
Jesus Christ invites people to follow him by becoming disciples who share his life and ministry.
Some disciples are called and ordained to particular priesthood responsibilities and ministries for the sake of the community, the congregation, and the world.
We respond faithfully, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to our best understanding of God’s call.
Responsible Choices

God gives humans the ability to make choices about whom or what they will serve. Some people experience conditions that diminish their ability to make choices.
Human choices contribute to good or evil in our lives and in the world.
Many aspects of creation need redemption because of irresponsible and sinful human choices.
We are called to make responsible choices within the circumstances of our lives that contribute to the purposes of God.
Pursuit of Peace (Shalom)

God wants shalom (justice, reconciliation, well-being, wholeness, and peace) for all of creation.
Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God’s shalom (peace), reveals the meaning of God’s peace in all aspects of life.
The vision of Zion is to promote God’s reign on earth, as proclaimed by Jesus Christ, through the leavening influence of just and peaceful communities.
We courageously and generously share the peace of Jesus Christ with others.
Led by the Holy Spirit, we work with God and others to restore peace (shalom) to creation.
We celebrate God’s peace wherever it appears or is being pursued by people of good will.
Unity in Diversity

The Community of Christ is a diverse, international family of disciples, seekers, and congregations.
Local and worldwide ministries are interdependent and important to the church’s mission.
The church embraces diversity and unity through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We seek agreement or common consent in important matters. If we cannot achieve agreement, we commit to ongoing dialogue and lovingly uphold our common faith in Jesus Christ and the mission of the church.
We confess that our lack of agreement on certain matters is hurtful to some of God’s beloved children and creation.
Blessings of Community

The gospel of Jesus Christ is expressed best in community life where people become vulnerable to God’s grace and each other.
True community includes compassion for and solidarity with the poor, marginalized, and oppressed.
True community upholds the worth of persons while providing a healthy alternative to self-centeredness, isolation, and conformity.
Sacred community provides nurture and growth opportunities for all people, especially those who can not fully care for themselves.
We value our connections and share a strong sense of trust in and belonging with one another—even if we never have met.
Some disciples are called and ordained to particular priesthood responsibilities and ministries for the sake of the community, the congregation, and the world.
We are called to create communities of Christ’s peace in our families and congregations and across villages, tribes, nations, and throughout creation.
To see how church members throughout the world express the enduring principles of the church, follow the link to the statement: “We Are One, We Are Many.” http://www.CofChrist.org/discernment/onemany.asp

Enduring Principles and Basic Beliefs

What is the relationship between enduring principles and Basic Beliefs?

When people try to understand the church’s identity, mission, and message, they bring different ways of perceiving reality, which leads to different questions.

What is the church like? Enduring Principles are the underlying truths and affirmations that shape the personality of the church. Enduring principles guide how we live in our communities, families, workplaces, congregations, and cultures. They describe how we experience and share the gospel and the church with others.

What does the church believe? Basic Beliefs are the more comprehensive, rational explanations of what the church holds to be true, arranged in categories that are part of the broader Christian tradition. Basic Beliefs represent a deepening level of inquiry about the gospel and the church.

We need both ways of expressing the identity, mission, and message of the church, along with the others described in this document, to ensure that people can explore and experience the gospel in ways that are the most informing and transforming for them.

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