WHAT WE BELIEVE
GOD THE FATHER
There is only one God. And in the Christian scriptures, God describes Himself as having three persons, or personalities – Father*, Son and Holy Spirit – each full of Godness, yet each different from and distinct from the other. We matter deeply to God in a passionate parent-child way: He created us each with purposes and futures that, if followed, would bring us delight and fulfillment. He also provided us with the earth to be our long-lasting home – a place where He for us to have a reconciled, joyful relationship with Him in all 3 iterations, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Equally importantly, God gave us the earth to tend and care for it, and to live humbly as creation’s stewards.
* INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE: All people are created in God’s image—male and female both, God says in Genesis 1:27—so that the ‘He’ pronoun God picked for Himself might have been a flip of a Divine coin, but Scripture uses the male pronoun almost all the time, so although God is beyond gender, the male pronouns are what we normally use.
JESUS THE SON
Jesus of Nazareth is the part of God who was sent to redeem humankind. He taught with parables, healings, and miracles about God’s Covenant and Kingdom, and lived a sinless but deeply connected human life among us. Forgiving our sin and healing our brokenness were important enough that Jesus was willing to pay the price for our sin by dying innocently on a Roman cross. By being raised from the grave by the power of the Father, Jesus also overturned Satan’s prideful claim to be have the final say over us and God’s creation. But we believe Jesus will return a second time, in an indescribable way, to consummate history, to ‘judge the living and the dead’ as the Creeds say. But judging us has never been God’s primary goal; restoring us has! His return will fully redeem our fallen world, and fulfill the eternal good and gracious plan of God for all Creation.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is the part of God that convicts us of our sin and brokenness, and draws us back to God and the gift of salvation He offers. This ‘third part of the Trinity’ makes his home within all believers. Through whispered promptings, gentle assurances and specific spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit helps mature us, inspire us, and equip us to give our lives meaning and purpose as we bless the world He died to save.
The Church is a local community of believers who gather to worship, pray, learn, mentor, and bless the world by working together. In fact, Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels sums it up simply: “The local church is the hope of the world.” Through the local church they’re called to, Jesus-followers invest time, energy and resources to fulfill His great commission — reaching people far from God and growing them into fully devoted followers of Christ. All believers in Jesus Christ, whether as individual believers or as part of their local church, are also members of the one worldwide (katolikos in the original Greek) Church.
Christians at Kaw Prairie live out Jesus’ call to spiritual unity by welcoming, respecting and loving one another across racial, ethnic, gender, cultural, generational, socio-economic, denominational, sexual-orientation and national lines. Our lifestyle of obedience to Christ supersedes all earthly loyalties, churchly doctrines and national patriotisms, and forces us out of our comfort zone as we give Christ-like honor even to people our society considers different or undeserving. The true Church is filled with the fruits of the Spirit, too, which foster respectful, grace-filled and reconciled relationships with friends, strangers and adversaries.
The word Bible is shorthand for the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures which were compiled in the centuries after Christ. Those Scriptures form God’s unique revelation to us, and its words are divinely inspired, aimed at describing God and what a covenant relationship with Him and with one another should be. It is clearly not a science book, but a library of wisdom, testimony, history and promises from God’s heart to us. We teach from it humbly — aware of the possibility of our own error, and pained by the error of interpretations that precede us. We know that even among Christians, fervor is not the same as faithfulness. And in contrast to the popular human enterprise of critiquing the Scriptures, we long to have Scripture critique us, instead.
HEAVEN AND HELL
In order to make His gift of human life truly meaningful and to give His people integrity of life and purpose, God chose not to make us puppets, but to give us free will. Free will is what allows each of us to make the decisions which impact not only our individual futures but our world, as well. At the final judgment, God will honor us by respecting our life’s primary identity decision: Those who desired to live apart from God by rejecting His offer of reconciliation, will find their desire honored for all eternity as they dwell forever apart from God. Those who chose to accept the grace of a reconciling God through His son, Jesus Christ, will continue to receive that gift — the grace of heavenly closeness eternally with God and His people.