The Evangelical Alliance say:
It is with sadness that the Evangelical Alliance have discontinued the membership of Oasis Trust.
Having heard the concerns expressed by the Alliance’s board and council as to what has been perceived by some as a campaign to change the Church’s historic view on human sexuality, the Oasis board did clarify their position as having ‘no corporate view on this matter’.
However they were unwilling to fulfil the council’s request to adjust the content of their website/resources and social media output to equally profile the traditional Christian view.
After many months of prayerful discussion, the Evangelical Alliance council concluded that a relationship between an organisation and one of its members in which the member felt it could not comply with a reasonable request from council, was not tenable.
The Evangelical Alliance council remain deeply respectful of the work and achievements of the Oasis Trust and have a strong desire to avoid any unseemly dispute and to speak well of each other.
"The Board of Oasis is deeply saddened by the decision of the Evangelical Alliance to remove Oasis from its membership. We would like to take this moment to restate our profound belief that the ethos, values and mission of Oasis sit firmly within the evangelical tradition.
"The Evangelical Alliance made its decision following comments by the Founder of Oasis, Rev Steve Chalke, calling for an open and generous acceptance of people with sexualities other than heterosexual as well as to affirm and support all those who seek to live within faithful, lifelong, monogamous relationships. When making these comments, he argued that they had come from a deep understanding of the overarching message of scripture and has subsequently written about the importance of moving towards a more affirming, compassionate, rounded and thoughtful approach to the Bible, humanity and sexuality.
"At no point has anyone within Oasis tried to impose the Founder’s view on Oasis staff, volunteers or church members (let alone anyone else) and, as such, the board of Oasis continues to give Steve their full support in his quest to seek an open and honest conversation amongst the Church on these issues and on how to restore society’s confidence in the Bible more generally.
"Since the publication of his article ‘A Matter of Integrity’ in January 2013 the Oasis board has been in an on-going conversation with the Evangelical Alliance. At their request, we have made several changes to our online content and believed that we had reached a point where both parties could be satisfied that our relationship would continue. We are, therefore, disappointed by their announcement but will continue to seek and enjoy a warm relationship with the breadth of the Christian Church in Britain and across the world, forming partnerships to lift people and communities out of poverty and exclusion, and seeking to demonstrate the love of God to all through practical service."
I spent some of this afternoon reading around this. And ultimately was left with the feeling that for many people that categorise themselves as being evangelical Christians there is no room for debate about certain topics. Or perhaps there is room for debate. But there is no room to hold a viewpoint that is different than the one defined by the correct and true view.
I was also surprised to find so many people still write stuff arguing about the infallibility and inerrancy of the bible – even when they aren’t just saying it has to be that King James version.
I’m left with the feeling that the days the evangelical are numbered.