Beliefs and Guiding Principles
Oakhaven Church was established in order to share the message of Jesus with people in and around the Oshkosh community. The purpose was and is to provide people with a church where individual spiritual decisions and viewpoints can be developed.
Each person is encouraged to search the scriptures for answers to spiritual questions. Assistance and guidance is offered but creedal statements and hierarchical positions on doctrinal questions will not be issued by ministers or other leaders of the church. In this way each person’s beliefs shall be formulated through their personal study of God’s word. While this approach may sound as if it would produce a chaotic and confused theology, it actually produces unity and understanding.
The Bible is considered the inspired record of narratives and guidelines set forth by God to be our only authority in matters of faith and practice. Utmost respect is given to the scriptures and to the individuals who read and draw conclusions based upon God’s Word.
Seven Guiding Principles have been adopted to facilitate this approach:
1) People are accepted and encouraged to start growing from where they are.
2) People are encouraged to grow at their own pace.
3) People are encouraged to build upon their past religious heritage but they are also challenged to make changes when growth suggests a break with beliefs which are found to be scripturally unsound.
4) Development and use of Christian gifts is encouraged.
5) Participation in large group, small group and one on one Bible studies is encouraged.
6) An open discussion of faith questions is encouraged.
7) Scripture is the guiding authority in establishing and maintaining all church programs.
The Function of the Church
The church is the body of Christ and as such is to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in its collective worship. The church is also to be active as an encouraging and equipping environment where individuals can discover and develop their spiritual gifts. These gifts and ministries are then to be used in the inner workings of the body-life of the church and also in the outreach to the community.
The Beliefs of the Church
The doctrinal beliefs of the church shall be determined by study and examination of the teachings of the Bible. The teachings of Jesus in the Gospels offer a lifestyle and personality to model. The teachings of the book of Acts and the letters to the early churches give us clues as to how the church was intended to conduct itself. A careful examination of these inspired documents will take in consideration the historical and cultural context to determine which practices and forms are specifically required and which ones are to be kept in principle.