When it comes to doctrine, culture and preferences, we take an open hand vs. closed fist approach. Out of a loyalty to the teachings of Jesus, there are some things that we hold with a closed fist and cannot compromise. Those things are described as “beliefs” and are explained on our Beliefs page, which is the Oasis Church Statement of Faith. What we mean by “closed fist” is that we hold those beliefs to be essentially true, and fellowship among Christians is based on those things.
On the other hand, where the bible is silent or on issues where Christian orthodoxy can be (and has been) legitimately debated, we hold these areas with an open hand and give freedom to conscience and wisdom. There are a number of things we “value” as a church but also recognize that other churches may not value them the same. Yet we can still have loving fellowship as brothers and sisters because such values are “open-hand” issues, meaning they are not essential for Christian fellowship. Some examples of open-handed beliefs that various local churches might value differently are:
- views on spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues)
- musical styles during a worship service
- ideas on what happens during the “end times”
- whether or not to drink alcohol
Those are just a few examples. But it is important for us to recognize that Christians have the freedom to have their own opinions regarding open-handed issues and may discuss and even debate their opinions as long as they do not allow these open-handed issues to cause division within the church. With open-handed issues, Christians can agree to disagree and still lovingly maintain unity within the church.
In the links under our “values” page there are explanations for five characteristics that we highly value and want to strive toward as a local church every day.