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
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