What we believe

All Christians are united by our core beliefs, which are summarized in the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed. These two creeds have been used by all kinds of Christians for over 1,600 years to define our faith and our unity in Christ. While the visible and structural unity of the church has been eroded by error and division over the centuries, the spiritual union of all true believers in Jesus Christ remains strong.


As a confessional Presbyterian church and a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Forest Hill also subscribes to the Westminster Confession of Faith, a statement that we believe to be the best human summary of the truths taught in Scripture. As a Statement of Faith, it's long, just over 12,000 words in length. It's also one of the oldest comprehensive statements of faith still in use, dating back to 1647.


Our Core Values at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church:


Christ-centered: The good news of our life in Christ is at the heart of who we are and what we do in every aspect of our church life. – “For to me, to live is Christ.” – Phil 1:21


Deeply Rooted: We are called and committed to deep knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and Reformed theology. – “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” – Col. 2:7


Inter-generational: We value the connections between the generations as vital to healthy church life. – “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” – 1 Timothy 5:1-2


Reverent, Yet Relaxed: We believe in worshiping our Holy, Holy, Holy God in spirit and in truth. Worship is a covenantal meeting with God shaped by Scripture. Our worship is not trendy, silly or entertainment-driven, but neither is it stuffy, cold or tradition-driven. – “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24


Actively Growing: We are not content to be stagnant, for life and health are found in growth. Growth is not measured in mere numbers but in lives being actively changed by the Gospel into the likeness of Christ. – “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” – 2 Thess. 1:3


Tightly Connected: As members of one body, we belong to each other as we belong to Christ. We are committed to seeking ways to live life together and to love each other. – “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” – Romans 12:5


Serving in Mission: The church has a mission in the world, to glorify God by seeking to make Christ and His kingdom manifest, that Christ might be known and worshiped by more and more people. – “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations” – Romans 1:5


Reaching Our Neighbors: Our first calling in missions is to those immediately around us, our families and our neighbors. – “The second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:39


Reaching the Nations: The call of the Great Commission is a call to make disciples of all nations, to bring the nations to Jesus as His rightful inheritance. – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” – Matt. 28:18-19 


To learn more about what we believe and teach at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, these blog posts by our pastor, Jason Van Bemmel, may be helpful to you:


1. Churches Unmoored: The Gospel vs. Gimmicks

2. 26 Reasons to Glorify God for the Gospel

3. Healthy Churches: Rooted and Reaching (Part 2: Rooted and Reaching Explored)

4. Our Confession of Faith: From 3 Words to Over 12,000. How? Why?

5. Loving God and Putting Theology in Its Place


What do we believe about baptism?

Listen to Pastor Jason explain baptism at a recent baptism of a covenant child.

Read Pastor Jason's paper explaining baptism.

Highlights of our confession

Here are some highlights from the Westminster Shorter Catechism that help summarize what we believe, in a question-and-answer format:


Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.


Q. 2. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.


Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?

A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.


Q. 4. What is God?

A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.


Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.


Q. 6. How many persons are there in the godhead?

A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.


Q. 9. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.


Q. 10. How did God create man?

A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.


Q. 11. What are God's works of providence?

A. God's works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.


Q. 21. Who is the redeemer of God's elect?

A. The only redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.


Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?

A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.


Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?

A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word and deed.


Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?

A. Every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.


Q. 85. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.


Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.


Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.


Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?

A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.


Q. 98. What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.


Q. 99. What rule has God given for our direction in prayer?

A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord's prayer.