Community of Christ and the telos of the Restoration

I want to introduce a word: telos. Telos is a Greek word that means “aim” or “purpose.” However, the “aim” or “purpose” in the meaning of telos is not the goals and objectives that defines today’s business or organizational thinking. Telos refers to the purpose or aim unfolding,  guiding, and innate within a thing or an event.

Telos indicates the essential aim of purpose of a thing as it comes to fulfillment in a process of growth and change. It points to the deep, even divine, purpose that is unfolding and fulfilled in the outcome of its evolution. Considering something’s telos is a way to grasp or understand how the change at work in something works itself out and is fulfilled in its life.  This telos connects a thing to its true being, its fulfillment, and origins. Continue reading


Is Mormonism Christian?

I’d like to revisit the theme of the most recent Restoration Studies, while keeping my comments largely to the LDS Church (although with obvious implications for Community of Christ).

For most Mormons, to be “Christian” means being a believer in Christ.  But orthodox Christianity has higher standards, not unlike the standard of “the one true church” of the Latter-day Saints: Christian churches are true expressions of salvation through Christ; and to admit a church into this elite category requires recognition that it falls within the doctrinal, spiritual, and sacramental traditions of the universal church, handed down and preserved from Christ to the apostles, the apostles to the bishops, and the bishops to the present-day.  Before being recognized as part of this “one true church,” Christians are as exclusionary as Mormons, for, for both groups, salvation is on the line. Continue reading

Reminder: Plan to Attend Restoration Studies

The third annual Restoration Studies Symposium (Sunstone Midwest) kicks off tomorrow (Thursday) night with the third annual Wallace B. Smith Lecture, presented by Don H. Compier, Dean of the Community of Christ Seminary. Dr. Compier will address the symposium’s theme by discussing: “Who is a Christian? The Perspective of Ecumenical Christianity.” The lecture begins at 7:00 PM and the conference registration tables will open at 5:00 PM. If you haven’t registered, walk-ins are very welcome — be sure to arrive in time both to register and also to peruse the book tables. We will have copies of several newly released titles, including Restoration Studies XI, Community of Christ: An Illustrated History, and 150 Years of Song: Hymnody in the Reorganization 1860-2010. The Wallace B. Smith Lecture will be followed by an opening reception.

We have a full program that promises to enlighten. This year’s presenters and panelists include: Phil Barlow, Christopher Blythe, Don Bradley, Newell Bringhurst, Seth Bryant, Carol Cease Campbell, Ryan Combs, Don Compier, Ron Dawbarn, Marcello Jun de Oliveira, Craig Foster, John Glaser, Rachel Gostenhofer, Michael Humiston, Liana Kerzner, Page Kimball, Christine Magula, Sherry Morain, Stuart Parker, Mary Ellen Robertson, Michael Reed, Ryan T. Roos, Bill Russell, Gordon Shepard, Steve Shields, George D. Smith, Chrystal Vanel, and Barbara Walden.

You can view the whole program here: View Program

And you can still register online, just bring your printout and check to the symposium registration table: Register Now

All sessions will be held at the Graceland University Independence Campus, 1400 W. Truman Road in Independence: Map

If you’re planning to attend the Community of Christ World Conference, this will be a great way to kick off your experience. Hope to see you there tomorrow!