The Fractured State of Christianity:
Virtually all Christian churches and denominations teach and defend their own fixed belief system which they have held for a very long time and claim is "biblical." This would be fine if there was one monolithic version of Christianity which faithfully represented the pristine teachings and practice of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
The problem, however, is that there are a plethora of competing claims and doctrines, many on very fundamental issues. What makes any particular church the TRUE representative of Christianity at the expense of all other churches that teach contrary to it? Where does this leave someone who is genuinely seeking the TRUTH? The real reason we have so many competing belief systems is because false teachers have invaded Christianity over the last two millennia, developed their own following, and those persuaded by them have become comfortable in their beliefs. They are unwilling to entertain the thought that they might be wrong. Tradition is a powerful thing. Those who think they have all the truth no longer pursue TRUTH.
Pseudo-Unity, the Modern Panacea:
In modern times, this problem has been sidestepped by "Seeker Friendly" churches. They appeal to people's comfort, teaching "self-help" and prosperity messages which are allegedly based on "biblical principles" and "formulas" geared towards developing a pleasant and enjoyable life in this age. They typically downplay biblical standards for Christian behavior and the importance of TRUTH itself. They instead focus on unity around the lowest common denominator.
Yet, since Jesus said, "you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free," abandoning the pursuit of TRUTH means abandoning the means of true freedom in Jesus Christ. How can someone "worship in spirit and in TRUTH" if TRUTH is obscure and not clearly defined, defended, and modeled?
The Biblical Solution:
TRUTH can only be found when we are entirely objective. And real objectivity demands HUMILITY! We must always be on a quest for the TRUTH. That means questioning everything we have been taught from the various Christian denominations, and digging deeply into the Scriptures (including the original languages) and Christian history with open minds. We must "Test all things; hold fast what is good." (1 Thess. 5:21). We must strenuously defend the OBJECTIVITY of the discovery process, using the same kinds of objective discovery and testing principles used in science, criminal investigations, and the courtroom.
We must learn to set our presuppositions aside and be completely objective, even when the pursuit of TRUTH comes with a high cost, demanding that we make uncomfortable changes to our beliefs, practices, and personal lives. We must be willing to investigate the historical sources of various doctrines to understand how and why they developed. We must be willing to follow wherever sound investigation leads, yet genuinely seeking God's help and wisdom to guide our study. And we must be open and honest about our previous mistakes, and how we have come to our current conclusions.
Jesus said that the path to destruction is broad and easy, but the path to life is a very difficult. At Oasis, we have chosen the difficult path. We have been on a journey of discovery, seeking the TRUTH at all costs. We have sought to staunchly defend objectivity in our search for TRUTH. This has led us on a very humbling trek. Over the years, through our intensive study, we have been forced to change our doctrinal positions (and practices) on some major issues, including eschatology, the meaning of baptism, the meaning of election, the nature of God, the nature of man, death, the destiny of the righteous and the wicked, even which holidays we celebrate and which we should avoid. We have come to see how much Christianity has been polluted over the centuries by outside influences, particularly Greek philosophy and paganism. Advancing towards TRUTH has provided us with renewed trust in God, a very exciting hope in His promises, and absolute trust in His character because we more clearly understand Him and His plan for this creation and His people. This translates into great confidence and joy in our daily lives, as we keep focused on Christ's soon return as King.
If you are looking for a church that makes you feel good about yourself without challenging you, or one that thinks we should all just get along and not bother with all those divisive theological issues, or a church which gives you tips on how to be happy and successful in this age, platitudes and shallow Christian-speak, or "relevant" sermons that give you formulas for manipulating God into to serving you, you won't be happy here. However, if you really want to understand God Himself and His plan for His creation, if you want to be challenged, if you really are seeking TRUTH even if it means you must embark on a difficult and challenging journey, then you have finally found that place. Welcome! Put on your hiking boots; it's an exciting trip.
10:00am - BEREANS Bible Institute
11:15am - Worship
8303 Jackson Springs Rd.
Tampa, Florida 33615
"Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches." (Galatians 6:6)|
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