Peoples Baptist Church: About Us 

What we Believe

Pastor Richard Forsythe

Jay Hanger
Youth Pastor

Diana Forsythe

Joyce Gray
Our Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Forsythe, Pastor of Peoples Baptist Church is an enthusiastic, expository, Bible-believing Preacher. The Lord has used Rev. Forsythe's vision to accomplish much for His glory since he became pastor in 1990.

Peoples Baptist Church was founded in 1950 with the original location on South Main Street in Harrisonburg. The church later purchased ten acres on 33 East of Harrisonburg and built a beautiful 26,000 square foot, two-story church.

The church averages nearly 260 each Sunday.

Rev. Forsythe was born in Statesville, NC and was a 1970 graduate from Piedmont Baptist College, Winston-Salem, N.C.

He and his wife, Diana, have five children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Missions Pastor
  Richard Abbott is the Missions Pastor.  You can reach pastor Abbott at

What We Believe 

1. The Scriptures.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God breathed, and therefore are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to the normal grammatical-historical meaning. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the preaching and teaching ministries of the church. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20,21).

2. Dispensationalism
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardship by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensations: the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the Kingdom, are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Gen. 1:28; I Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6).

3. God The Father
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, as infinite, sovereign Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. (Ex. 20:2,3; Deut. 6:4,5; I Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11)

4. God The Son
a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Lu. 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4,5; Phil. 2:5-8).

b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24,25; I Pet. 2:24; Eph. 1:7; I Pet. 1:3-5).

c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; Rom. 8:34; I John 2:1-2).

5. God The Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person possessing all the attributes of personality and of deity. He is equal with the Father and the Son and is of the same nature. His relation to the unbelieving world is that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is the agent of the new birth, and His work among believers includes His sealing, indwelling, infilling, guiding and teaching them the ways of righteousness. We believe there is a distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and His ministry in the New Testament. There is a new and unique work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Body of Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit endues believers with service gifts. We believe the Bible disavows the authenticity of the sign gifts such as prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, miracles and healing for today and repudiates the experience-oriented theology and ecumenically, oriented practice of the charismatic movement. (John 7:39; 14:16,17,26; Acts 1:5; Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:8-13, 28-31; 13:8-12; Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:7-11; Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 22:18,19).

6. The Personality of Satan.
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job. 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

7. Creation
We believe the Genesis account of Creation as being neither allegory or myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any (organic or theistic) evolutionary process; that man, spirit, soul, and body, was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race. (Gen. 1,2; John 1:3; Col. 1:16,17).

8. The Fall of Man
We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created by a direct act of God and not from any previously existing form of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race. By voluntary transgression man fell from his sinless state, in consequence of which all men are now sinners by nature and by choice, utterly devoid of the holiness required by God’s law, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal judgment and everlasting existence separated from God without defense or excuse. (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19).

9. Salvation
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christ died for the whole world and that salvation of sinners is divinely initiated, wholly of grace, and accomplished only through the mediatorial work of the Son of God. It is wholly apart from works and is upon the sole condition of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and never without genuine repentance. In order to be saved the sinner must be born again, personally receiving Christ as Savior, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in God’s Word and becoming the recipient of a new nature. The great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification, that judicial act of God accompanied by the pardon of sin and the imputation of divine righteousness, not because of any works of righteousness on our part, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. The believer who has exercised personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is completely justified and in possession of eternal life which is eternally secure. (John 1:11,12; 3:3-6; 16; 10:28-29; Acts 13:39; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9,10; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 4:2; 1 Peter 1:18-23; 2 Peter 1:4; 2:1).

10. The Church
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Church of Jesus Christ began at Pentecost and will be completed at the Rapture. It must be considered in two aspects: the local church and the “church which is His body.”The local church is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by a covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word. Its Scriptural officers are Pastors, sometimes called bishops or elders, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus.
This definition of the local church leads to these Scriptural distinctives:
 a. Sole authority of the Scriptures for faith and practice;
 b. Autonomy of the local church;
 c. Believers’ baptism by immersion before church membership;
 d. Two offices; Pastor (elder, bishop) and Deacon;
 e. Two symbolic ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s table;
 f. Individual priesthood of the believer and soul liberty;
 g. Separation of church and state.The “church which is His body” is the entire company of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of denominational affiliation and present position in heaven or on earth. (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:5; 2:1-4,41,42; 10:44,45; 11:15,16; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22,23; Titus 1: Hebrews 12:23).

11. Baptism and The Lord’s Supper
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem his identification with the crucified, buried, risen Savior, thus illustrating the believer’s death to sin and his resurrection to a new life. It is a prerequisite to membership and privileges in a local church. We believe that communion is the commemoration of His death until He comes and should be preceded by solemn self-examination and confession of known sin. Observance of communion is for baptized believers only. The ordinances of baptism and communion must be observed under the authority of the local church. (Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:3-5; I Corinthians 11:23-28)

12. Separation
a. Personal Separation
We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God from the world, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, should walk in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness and loving-kindness. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. We also believe the Scriptures admonish every believer not to love the world or the things in the world, but rather to flee evil desires, avoid every kind of evil and refrain from questionable practices which destroy one’s testimony, offend one’s brother and fail to glorify God. (Proverbs 15:33; Romans 14:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 8:9-13; 10:23,33; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:32; 5:1,2 7-10, 15-20; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 5:5,6).

b. Ecclesiastical Separation
We believe the Scriptures teach that the believer should be separated from apostasy
as exemplified in ecclesiastical organizations which include radicals, liberals and
those who sanction theological compromise. This doctrine is based upon God’s
eternal principle of division between truth and error and His specific command to be
separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. This truth is to be practiced
with an attitude of devotion to God, humility, compassion, and yet with conviction,
to create the proper condition and atmosphere for the main objective, i.e. the
salvation of the lost through the gospel of God.

We believe ecumenical evangelism which involves apostates violates the principles taught in God’s Word. (Matthew 10:34-49; 18:15; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:7-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 11:4; Galatians 1:8,9; I Timothy 6:3-6; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; Titus 3:10,11; 2 John 9-11)

13. Coming Events
a. The Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and
under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting happiness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. (Genesis 18:23; Proverbs 14:21; Malachi 3:18; John 8:21; Matthew 25:34-41; Romans 6:17,18; 1 John 5:19)

b. The Rapture of the Church
We believe in the “Blessed Hope”, the personal imminent pretribulation and premillennial appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to rapture His redeemed ones of the church. (1 Corinthians 15:51,52; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,2; Titus 2:13; I John 3:2)

c. The Judgment Seat of Christ

We believe that every saved person of the Church Age will appear before the “Judgment Seat” to be judged by the Lord in regard to his service and receive rewards according to his works. (Matthew 6:2; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

d. The Millennial Kingdom

We believe that Christ will return to earth after the tribulation with His saints to establish the Millennial Kingdom which literally will be on earth and will be ruled by Christ from the throne of David. Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:32; Acts 2:29,30 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12; Revelation 20:1-6, 12-14)

e. The Eternal State
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire. The souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and new body are reunited to be forever glorified with the Lord. The souls of the unbelievers after death remain in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with spirit, soul and body reunited they shall appear before the Great White Throne Judgment and shall be cast in the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment. (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:19-26; John 5:28,29; 2 Corinthians 5:8,10; Philippians 1:23)

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