What We Believe
CKPC affirms the essential, historic tenets of the Christian faith that have been the foundation of our discipleship and that of the Church from the earliest times. These include:
- The sovereignty of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit over all things in heaven and on earth.
- The deity of Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who through His death and resurrection God reveals to the world that he is the Savior and Redeemer.
- The sinfulness of all humanity and resultant brokenness of the natural world, including nature and all human systems.
- The authority of Scripture for all faith, practice, which may not address all activities in particular but which provides principles, examples, exhortations, and most of all the character of God and the life and Christ against which life may be evaluated, emulated and eventually judged.
- The Great Commission, given by Jesus in Matthew 28:16-20, which provides the Church with its essential mission, which is to make disciples, that is faithful followers of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, of all peoples in every nation as well as the Church itself.
God’s Call to Discipleship
This is far more than simply being a better person or avoiding certain sins. It’s an invitation to be transformed from the inside out by coming to know ourselves as God’s beloved, made in God’s image and created to reflect God’s beauty in our personal lives, in our relationships with others, in the healing of our brokenness and woundedness, in the fellowship of the Church and in fulfilling Christ’s mission in the world.
We become free from judging ourselves by our success and failures, what we think we are and know we’re not. We become free from the opinion of others or the whips of what society says we should be. We begin to find our true selves and learn to love ourselves as Christ loves us.
In Christian discipleship we learn what it means to truly love and be free to serve others. Through the power of Christ we set aside the hardness, fear and insecurity that keep us from experiencing deep relationships. In Christ we come to know healing from the wounds that have shaped us and we find a renewed desire to be a force of good in the lives of those around us. Because Jesus knows us as we are – and is our only judge – we can be transparent with ourselves and bring a renewed sense of confidence in our interactions with others.
In Christian discipleship we become free from those things that control us. Things like addictions and compulsive behavior; material excess and uncontrolled spending; fear, jealousy and ingratitude; pride, arrogance and prejudice. In Christ, self-control becomes our friend and we realize that the disciplined life is one of freedom – freedom from those things that destroy ourselves, others and the world around us. And it’s through this freedom in Christ that peace becomes ours – that peace that only God can give and the world can’t take away.
In Christian discipleship we find our true calling. We understand that through our gifts, skills, intellect and efforts God wants us to build his Kingdom. We have a renewed sense that we don’t live unto ourselves but for God’s purpose. Moreover, we have a spontaneous desire to give away the good things that God has given us: our time, attention and material abundance. We seek to serve the stranger (who can do nothing for us), the outcast (who isn’t like us), and the unfortunate (who remind us of our humanity) because of the love of Christ in us.
Doing justice is an often overlooked aspect of Christian mission, but is of critical importance, advocated often by the prophets and Jesus, it is not enough to “give a man a fish,” nor is it enough to “teach a man to fish.” We must also ask the question, “What if he doesn’t have access to the pond?” We live in a world where injustice abounds: from our nation’s horrifying history and ongoing stain of the sin of racism in which people of color are again and again dispossessed, oppressed and killed, to the over 45 million people in our world today who are trafficked and/or in forced labor. We long for–and work for–the day when “justice will roll down like mighty waters.”
Grace, then, is God’s way of leading us into this new life. It’s God’s grace that gives us assurance that he loves us and will never leave us. It’s God’s grace that convicts of us sin: those habits, actions, beliefs that erode His purpose for our lives. It’s God’s grace that reminds us that we have a future, that our life isn’t defined by our mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacies – or successes. It’s God’s grace that gives us power to become the person – and people – that he’s made us to be. This grace is presence of Jesus Christ himself, through the Holy Spirit, working in and through us.
Scripture is God’s self-revelation to His people. It is God-breathed and perfect in that it points to God’s physical self-revelation, the person and work of Jesus Christ and accurately reveals the historical Jesus. When studying Scripture we seek first to know the author’s original intent and, where possible, how this would have been applied by the author’s intended audience. Only then do we seek the Spirit’s leading in applying the Truth of Scripture to our own times and our own lives.
Being God’s Church in a Real World
We strive to understand the many real-world issues facing our society today through a theological lens as informed by Scripture, the traditions of the Church, and the experiences of the faithful. We humbly seek God’s truth and are slow to resort to simplistic answers to the complex issues of our day. It is all too easy when approaching such cultural issues to dismiss or even vilify those who have come from or to a different understanding than our own. Even so, we believe the Church plays a prophetic role in culture by pointing to God’s design as exemplified through the life of Jesus Christ.
Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught that government is useful and necessary and its to be obeyed insofar as it goes. But we must remember, no matter how things might seem, all power and authority has been given to Him, not our governmental structures or leaders. Governments motivate change through the threat of force (fines, imprisonment) while the Gospel motivates change through the inner conviction of the Spirit and a personal call to God’s higher life. The difference is often overlooked but it as the core of the message of the Gospel itself. Government can facilitate the general work of God’s Kingdom by protecting the marginalized, feeding the hungry, and bringing attention to the evils of our day. But like all human creations, governmental systems can be corrupted by sin and fail to achieve even these God ordained purposes.
The Church is the body of Christ in the world, but it is, after all, made up of fallen people. People are rebellious, desiring to follow their own motives and desires rather than those of their Creator. As such, transparency is key to developing, maintaining, and restoring holiness to the Body. Our Presbyterian system of government is designed to keep all levels of Church leadership open and subject to the will of God as discerned by the people of God. The strength of this system is found in discerning God’s will together as we each submit to God’s Word.
The downside to this system is it, like our American system of government, can be heavily influenced by special interests. Sadly, a great deal of energy has been expended in our denomination’s recent past not on evangelism and kingdom building, but on infighting and political debates. It is our prayer that God will restore and reunite His people and, in particular the Presbyterian (USA) denomination, quickly so we can get on with the business of being a light in a dark world. In 2015 the CKPC Session voted, at the recommendation of a Discernment Team, for CKPC to remain in the PC(USA) and align itself with The Fellowship of Presbyterians, a renewal group committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We believe God’s purpose in marriage is most fully expressed in the lifetime union between a man and a woman. The uniqueness of each gender is by God’s design and both are integral and necessary parts of humanity (Gen. 1:27, 2:20-24). Femininity and masculinity are genuine, essential and immutable human distinctions given to us by our Creator. Next to the Trinity, Marriage is the most powerful representation we have of God’s nature of diversity in unity.
That said, we believe the current marriage crisis in our culture is due in part to the failure of faithfully living out God’s purpose in the high calling of true Christian marriage. Whether it be our divorce culture or the inability for couples to embody the love and selflessness that Christ calls us to, we confess that we have not shown the world what God intended. We understand why many people, especially the younger generation, express confusion, cynicism and relativism over this issue. Nonetheless, we stand by God’s definition and purpose for marriage and exhort all who claim it to let Christ reign in this most important relationship.
God has been using both men and women to accomplish His purposes from the beginning. He considered Eve to be Adam’s co-equal. Esther and Ruth are heroes of the Old Testament, and prophetesses are mentioned on many occasions. Jesus frequently lifted women to a status on par with men, something that was unheard of for his time. Paul references house churches facilitated by women and a woman apostle. Given the weight of the evidence, it is our belief that those few passages that appear to restrict the roles women are to play in the Church are more a reflection of certain cultural issues than they are of God’s will and design for human interaction. We remember that the long and tragic oppression of women by men is a result of the fall and is a curse. The Church has participated in that oppression in horrifying ways throughout history and must work actively to break that (and all) curses sin brings about. So we welcome and thrive off the participation of women in all aspects of ministry at CKPC.
As the Bride of Christ, the Church looks forward to a day when its work will be done, fully accomplished by the Second Coming of Christ. We believe he will come to usher in a new age of peace and harmony when all things, human beings and nature, will be made new. This is the future that the work of the Church is to foreshadow. We believe this future will be physical in nature and that the dead will be resurrected and given new bodies, akin to Christ’s body following his resurrection. The book of Revelation is the most compelling evidence we have for such a future. It describes the current state of the world, tumultuous and permeated by evil, and the eventual victory of Good over evil in the Second Coming.