The following Statement of Faith describes the belief, teachings and practice of Forest Hills Baptist Church. It is an expression of the conviction of our Church, spoken into and from a point in history, and details the beliefs and perspectives from which we teach and pattern ourselves as a church family. It is informed and further explained by the 1925, 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith & Message statements adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention – a copy of which may also be requested from the Church office. The Scriptures serve as the basis of all belief and practice and are the final arbiter on these matters.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's written revelation of Himself to mankind. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It is completely true and trustworthy. It is the final authority for the believer in matters of belief and Christian living. It is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
(Ex. 24:4; Deut. 4:1-2, 6:4-9; Ps. 119; Matt. 5:17-19)
There is only one living and true God who is eternally existing as three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In His trinitarian nature, He has harmoniously revealed Himself as the Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Ruler of the universe. God is holy and perfect. He is all powerful, all knowing, all present, all loving and all wise. He alone is worthy of all glory and honor from all creation and to Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.
(Gen. 1:26-27; Ps. 2, 139; Is. 42:1-8; Joel 2:28-29; Matt. 3:16-17, 28:18-20; Jn. 1:1, 17:20-24; Acts 1:7-8; 1 Jn. 4:7-8, 5:1-6)
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
(Gen. 1:1, 2:7; Ex. 3:14, 6:2-8; Deut. 32:6; 2 Chron. 29:10; Is. 64:8; Mk. 13:32; Lk. 10:21-22; John 17; Acts 1:7; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Pet. 1:17)
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God, the incarnate revelation of God to mankind in Jesus Christ. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, being fully God and fully man. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind, yet without sin. He fulfilled the law and gave Himself as the substitutionary sacrifice to redeem mankind from sin through His death on the cross, burial and resurrection from the dead. After many bodily appearances, He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, our advocate and intercessor before the Father. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.
(Ps. 2; Is. 7:14, 52:13-53:12; Matt. 1-2, 17:1-12, 24:1-28:20; Lk. 1:26-2:52, 22:1-24:53; Jn 1:1-5,14, 13:1-21:25; Acts 2:14-41; Rom. 1:1-6, 3:23-26; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:1-3, 4:14-15, 7:25-28; 1 Pet. 1:21-25, 3:22; 1 Jn. 1:1-3, 2:1; Rev. 1:13-18, 5:6-14)
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine, proceeding from the Father and the Son. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures and presently illuminates and enables mankind to understand truth from the Scriptures. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration, He indwells and baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He fills, empowers and enables all Christian living, obedience and service and bestows unique spiritual gifts by which believers serve God through His church. He sanctifies, comforts, intercedes and seals believers unto the day of final redemption and is the deposit guaranteeing Christ’s return and our final glorification.
(Gen. 1:2; Is. 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-29; Matt. 3:16, 10:19-20, Lk. 11:13, 24:49; Jn. 14:16-17, 16:7-15; Acts 1:8, 2:1-13, 38, 7:55, 8:17, 10:44-48, 13:2, 16:6, 19:1-6; Rom. 8:5-11, 26-27; 1 Cor. 12; Gal. 4:6, Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Tim. 1:14, 3:16; Heb. 9:14; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Jn. 4:12)
Mankind is the special, crowning work of God’s creation. God made mankind in His image and likeness, male and female, distinct and complementary. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning mankind was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice mankind sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan mankind transgressed the command of God and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring mankind into His holy fellowship and enable mankind to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created mankind in His own image, and in that Christ died for mankind; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
(Gen. 1:26-3:24; 5:2; Ps. 1:1-6, 32:1-5, 51:5, 139:13-16; Is. 6:5; Acts 17:26-27; Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-19,23, 5:12, 7:14-25; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Eph. 2:1-3, 11-13)
Salvation is God’s gracious gift of redemption from sin, its penalties and, ultimately, its effects offered to mankind. It is offered freely to all who, upon hearing the Gospel of Jesus, repent of their sin, place their faith in Jesus and his atoning sacrifice through His death, burial and resurrection, and make Him Lord of their life. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Those who are truly saved will, by God’s grace, persevere to the end.
(Gen. 3:15, Matt. 1:21, 4:17, 16:15-28, 28:18-20; Mk. 1:14-15; Lk. 1:68-69, 77-79; Jn. 1:9-14, 3:16-21, 36, 5:24, 10:28-29, 15:1-11, 17:17; Acts 2:21, 37-39, 4:12, 16:30-33; 17:30-31; Rom. 1:16-17, 3:23-26, 5:1-2, 6:23, 8:1-18, 28-30, 10:9-17; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Tim 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Rev. 21:1-7)
A church is a congregation of baptized believers in Jesus, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel and operates under the lordship of Christ. Each church observes the two ordinances of Christ, is governed by His laws, exercises the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeks to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are Elders/Pastors and Deacons. All men and women are gifted and expected to lead within the church, however, the office of Elder/Pastor, or Deacon is limited to qualified men as described by Scriptures. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
(Matt. 16:15-19, 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47, 6:3-6, 13:1-3, 14:23-27, 15:1-30, 16:5, 20:17-38; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 5:1-13, 12:1-14:40; Eph. 1:22-23, 2:19-22, 4:1-16, 5:22-32; Col. 1:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-14, 3:1-15, 4:14; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Rev. 2-3; 21:2-3)
Baptism & the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is, following conversion, the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
(Matt. 3:13-17, 26:26-30, 28:18-20; Acts. 2:41-42, 8:35-39; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 11:23-34; Col. 2:12)
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever with the Lord.
(Is. 2:4, 9:6-7, 11:1-10; Matt. 16:27, 18:8-9, 24:1-25:46, 26:64; Lk. 12:40, 16:19-26; 17:22-37; Jn 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:5, 15:12-58; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11; 2 Thess. 1:5-12; 2 Tim. 4:8; Heb.9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Pet. 3:7-18; 1 Jn 3:2; Rev.1:18, 3:11, 20:1-22:13)
Evangelism & Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to share the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the Gospel of Christ.
(Gen. 12:1-3; Ps. 67, Is. 42:6-7, Mt. 28:18-20; Lk. 10:1-18, 24:46-49; Jn. 17:20-21; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:13-15)
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society. Followers of Jesus should seek, under the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Even though all believers this side of eternity will wrestle with sin, the Christian should never be content in sin and should personally strive for holiness, purity, righteousness and should seek to be above reproach in all things. Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the widowed, orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek in all aspects of life to live in the spirit of love for all people without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
(Ex. 20:3-17; Lev. 6:2-5; Deut. 10:12; Ps. 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zech. 8:16-17; Matt. 5-7, 22:36-40, 25:34-40; Mk 1:29-34, 10:21; Lk 4:18-21, 10:27-37, 20:25; Jn 15:12, 17:15; Rom.12–14; 1Cor. 5:9-10, 6:1-7, 7:20-24, 10:23-11:1; Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 6:10-20; Col. 3:12-4:1; 1 Thess. 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27, 2:8)
Gender, Sexuality, Singleness, Marriage & Family
God is the creator of all things and the author of human life. God created man and woman in His image and likeness, with equal dignity and value, but with distinction in design and function. Mankind, comprising male and female together, uniquely reflects the image of God on earth. A person’s gender is determined at conception at the chromosomal level. Attempting to alter one’s gender is contrary to God’s design, distorts His image that we bear before the world, and is ultimately detrimental to the person’s well-being.
Because God is the creator of man and woman and the author of marriage, only God can define the marriage relationship. Marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, created and ordained by God. In Scripture, the marriage between a husband and wife is a sacred covenant that God designed to reflect His relationship of sacrificial love and faithfulness to His bride, the church. A husband is to sacrificially love his wife as Christ loved the church. He is to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, is to respect her husband and to serve with him as his helper.
Faithful, lifelong marriages are one of the ways we witness to the world and give glory to our God. The permanence of the marital bond mirrors God’s unfailing faithfulness. Furthermore, the Scripture also elevates celibate singleness as another way to reflect the eternal reality of undistracted devotion to the Lord. Scripture also allows and provides acceptance and support for single-parent families.
Sexual intimacy is a gift from God for the purposes of procreation and for mutual enjoyment of the husband and wife, all within the confines of the marriage covenant. Due to the sacredness of this God-ordained covenant, any sexual or marital deviations to God’s design for marriage is sinful and ultimately detrimental to a person’s well-being. These include but are not limited to pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, pornography, polygamy, and homosexuality.
We believe that God loves all people and that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, truth, and dignity and no one is beyond the redemption of the Gospel. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the Church. We do not believe that calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ constitutes hateful or harassing behavior.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, guardianship, or adoption. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Furthermore, it is the parent’s responsibility to share the good news of salvation with their children and to model how to share it with others. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
(Gen. 1:26-28, 2:15-25; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Psalm 127, 128, 139; Prov. 6:20-22, 31:10-31; Ecc. 9:9; Song 4, 5:10-16; Mal. 2:14-16; Matt. 5:31-32, 19:4-6, 22:23-30; Mk. 10:6-16; Jn. 3:16; Rom. 1:18-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-7:16, 7:25-35; Eph. 5:21-6:4; 1 Tim. 5:8; 2 Tim. 1:3-5; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)