THE founder of Oasis, the Revd Steve Chalke, has criticised the
decision of the Evangelical Alliance to end Oasis's membership, but
insists that he does not regret his support for same-sex
Mr Chalke said on Tuesday that it was "regrettable" the
Evangelical Alliance (EA) had ejected Oasis last week after
discussions between the two groups for more than a year.
Mr Chalke, who is also the Baptist minister of Oasis Church,
Waterloo, in south London, wrote an article 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 last week, the EA said that, even
though the board of Oasis had not taken a view on the issue, they
had not complied with requests to give equal prominence to the
"traditional" view of same-sex relationships on their website and
in their resources.
"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
In a response on Friday of last week, an Oasis spokesman said
that they had made changes to their website content, and believed
that their relationship with the EA could have continued.
Mr Chalke described the EA's move as a mistake. Oasis continued
to support the Alliance's basis of faith. "This issue isn't in
their statement of faith," he said. "It seems to be promoting the
issue of sexuality to an issue that is essential to salvation. We
have urged them to be a big table around which Evangelicals of
different shades of opinion can sit and talk.
"This is a conversation that the whole Church is having, and
must have. To stop the conversation and remove us sends the message
that, if you're of this view, we don't want to talk to you."
Mr Chalke said that he had no regrets about making a stand. But
he said that it had always been phrased as a "conversation".
"I happen to be of the view that we should be accepting to
people with other sexualities. But this is my view; it's not even
the view of everyone in Oasis. On the website we set up a blog so
anyone of any view can post what they think. It's a completely open
In a message to members of the EA on Tuesday, the group's
director, Steve Clifford, said that individual members were free to
believe what they wanted as long as they stood by the Alliance's
basis of faith.
The reason Oasis were expelled, he said, was not to do with
their views on sexuality, but rather because the relationship had
broken down over the website dispute.
But Mr Chalke was unimpressed by the EA's suggestion that Oasis
should "equally profile" the traditional position. "Our question
back is: 'Why isn't there room for a more progressive view on the
"I am an Evangelical," he insisted. "Oasis works with
Evangelical churches around the country. I don't think [being
forced out] will make any difference to our mission."