Beliefs | Garst Mill Presbyterian ChurchBeliefs




We confess that God is One in His being and Three in His person. This is a great mystery which defies human logic – it is “supra-logical” – “above logic” – for God’s ways and thought are higher than ours. The image to the right is an ancient Christian symbol depicting the doctrine of the Trinity of God. The unity of the Godhead is depicted by the middle circle with “Deus” – Latin for “God” – in the center. Note that the letters abbreviating the Latin words for each person of the Godhead (P – Pater / Father; F – Filius / Son; SS – Spiritus Sanctus / Holy Spirit) are each connected to the central circle “Deus” with the Latin for “is (est).” So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But in order to show the distinction of personality in the Godhead, each of the Latin letters mentioned (P, F, SS) are also connected by the Latin for “is not (non est)” — thus, the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father.


We believe that the same God who created the world out of nothing has revealed himself to man in various ways and at various times, and that hese revelations are collected in the 66 books of the Bible. The Bible is God’s inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word. Only the Bible, out of all the books in the world, is able to make man “wise unto salvation.” Therefore, faithfully teaching the Bible is at the very heart of our mission as a local church.


We are Christ-centered in our worship. We proclaim that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and man and the Redeemer of God’s chosen people, the church. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Through the Bible, we learn that God created all things (Creation). We learn that Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, disobeyed God and sinned against Him — and that every man and woman since then is born a sinner (Fall). We learn that in due time God sent Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, to live a perfect life, and to die for the sins of His people (Redemption). Finally, we learn that at the end of time God will judge the earth with righteousness, and believers in Christ will inherit everlasting life (Consummation).


We have great respect for the wisdom of godly saints of generations past. Our system of doctrine is based on the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and the Westminster Larger Catechism. These confessions and catechisms were formulated in the 17th century in England by a group of pastors and scholars. Unlike the Bible, these are fallible documents, but we believe that they have stood the test of time, and that they are an accurate and faithful representation of the system of doctrine taught in the Bible.


We trace our heritage back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, which was a reaction to certain non-Biblical beliefs and practices of the medieval Roman Catholic church. These beliefs and practices included the belief in the infallible authority of the Pope, the practice of selling “indulgences,” and the requirement that clergy remain celibate. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the other leaders of the Protestant Reformation were by no means without their flaws of their own, but their work and ministry contributed greatly to a recovery of the essential doctrines and practices of Christianity.


Priests, bishops, arch-bishops, cardinals, and the pope ruled the medieval Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Presbyterianism was the system of church government adopted by the Reformed churches. “Presbyterian” derives its meaning from the Greek root word presbyteros, “elder, older person.” Presbyterian church government is marked by three characteristics:

  1. Government of local churches by pastors, elders, and deacons;
  2. The absence of a leadership hierarchy outside the local church; and
  3. Regular regional presbytery meetings of church leaders for the purpose of mutual encouragement, exhortation, and accountability.


Evangelical means Gospel-centered and Gospel-driven. The Gospel is the good and important news of Jesus Christ — His meritorious life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

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