Evangelical Alliance ejects Oasis Trust

02 May 2014

OASIS

Scathing: the Revd Steve Chalke, who has criticised his fellow Evangelicals for using New Testament passages to “destroy” LGBT people

Scathing: the Revd Steve Chalke, who has criticised his fellow Evangelicals for using New Testament passages to “destroy” LGBT people

THE Evangelical Alliance has ended the Oasis Trust's membership after a dispute sparked by the Trust's founder, the Revd Steve Chalke, who announced his support for same-sex relationships.

Mr Chalke, who is also the Baptist minister of Oasis Church Waterloo, in south London, wrote an article for the magazine Christianity, in January last year, in which he argued that Christians should support permanent and monogamous same-sex relationships (News, 18 January 2013).

In a statement on Friday, the Evangelical Alliance (EA) said that it was discontinuing Oasis's membership of the Alliance after several months of discussion between the two groups. The EA statement said that even though the board of Oasis had not taken a view on the issue, it had not complied with requests to give equal prominence to the "traditional" view on same-sex relationships on its website, and in its resources.

"After many months of prayerful discussion," the statement said, "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."

A spokesperson for Oasis said that the board was saddened by the EA's decision, and insisted that Mr Chalke's views had not been imposed on any staff, volunteers, or church members: "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 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."

After Mr Chalke's comments on same-sex relationships last year, the director of the EA, Steve Clifford, said that Mr Chalke had departed from 2000 years of Church teaching on the issue, and from Evangelicals throughout the UK.

Nevertheless, Mr Chalke insisted that he was still an Evangelical, and said that it was his interpretation of the Bible that had informed his views. He also said that, following the civil-partnership ceremony of two gay Christians, he had conducted a service of blessing at his church in Waterloo, despite a ban by the Baptist Union on blessings for same-sex relationships.

Mr Chalke was previously criticised by Evangelicals in 2004, after the publication of his book The Lost Message of Jesus, which rejected the doctrine of penal substitution (News, 15 October 2004). 

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