The church is “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is the responsibility of every member of the church to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
God’s truth has always been questioned, attacked, and perverted. The Bible warns us that such deception will continue, and history has demonstrated the accuracy of these warnings. It is no wonder, then, that in our day, truth is rare while error is rampant.
We offer this statement of faith, not as something new or profound, not as a response to any single system of false doctrine, but rather as a simple and sincere attempt to proclaim and defend God’s inerrant Word.
We pray that the reader, whether in agreement or disagreement, will emulate the attitude of the people of Berea, who the book of Acts states: “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
How We Use Our Statement of Faith
Churches have historically used confessions or statements of faith in order to summarize and clearly identify what they believe. Many historical confessions have been preserved, and are used by churches to this day. Instead of adopting a historical confession, we have chosen to use this summary of doctrinal points as our statement of beliefs. Below are some important things you should understand about the purpose of our statement of faith and about the way it is used in our fellowship.
1. Our statement of faith will be a helpful introduction to the teaching at Oasis, giving you assurance that we will remain solidly biblical in our convictions. While we strongly believe that the doctrines set forth in our statement are an accurate summary of biblical truth, we do not require everyone joining our church to understand and affirm the statement at every point.
2. We may invite guest speakers who do not agree with every point of doctrine in our statement of faith. There are many faithful ministers of the Word who do not hold to the exact expression of our convictions. Though our statement will guide us in selecting those we choose for guest speaking, it will not prohibit those who are in complete agreement in the most basic areas, while differing somewhat on secondary issues.
3. We do expect conformity to the statement of faith for our elders/pastors and teachers–those most associated with the duty of teaching the truth. This does not imply that every teacher must have a thoroughly formulated understanding of every aspect of the statement. It does mean, however, that they are willing not to knowingly teach contrary to the established doctrine of the church while working out the finer points. Certain doctrines are so clear and so necessary that a teacher or potential leader would have no reason to be in confusion over them (e.g. the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ, etc.). However, certain difficult points of doctrine may take even good students of the Word some time to work out. Since any teaching is a pastoral extension, the elders/pastors will decide which points of theology, on a case by case basis, may remain suspended in the mind of a teacher or potential leader. Pains should be taken, however, to remove the confusion and to come to a solid conviction and doctrinal unity.
4. If a teacher comes to a conclusion contrary to the statement of faith, that teacher is responsible to inform the elders about his/her conflicting belief. The elders will work with these concerns until there is unity in understanding. If an issue in the statement is found to be in error when compared with the Word of God, a correction will be made to the statement. If unity is unattainable, then the elders and the individual must fall back on the statement of faith as correct, until proven otherwise. In this case, the teacher will be asked to discontinue teaching until there is a better resolve. It is possible that at some point, a pastor or teacher may completely apostatize (i.e. abandon or disbelieve certain essential doctrines once held true). In that special case, church discipline is in order and all teaching responsibilities will be terminated.
5. Our statement of faith is subservient to the Scriptures. It should never be viewed as having an authority equal to that of the Bible. It is authoritative only in a limited sense, as far as it accurately reflects the meaning of Scripture. We view it and use it as a tool to promote, achieve, and maintain doctrinal understanding, purity, and harmony.