About Oakhurst Baptist Church
We are a Baptist congregation with a rich and unique evolution, from large and quintessential SBC model to radical example of engaged Christian discipleship. Through the crucible of racial integration in the 1960s, the church learned that we could take a stand for integrity and not only survive, but eventually—through much toil and transformation—even thrive.
Largely because of the leadership of a relative outsider (a Canadian) as pastor and a small band of powerful, faithful people who were converted around the issue, the church was able to transcend its cultural captivity. A large percentage of the church membership left, and those remaining found a new identity in writing a covenant. All this helped create an environment in which church members would continue to examine cultural issues in light of a more radical vision of the gospel, as well as the principles of the Radical Reformation which historic Baptists had helped to start centuries ago.
At each crossroads issue—including women’s rights, homelessness, gay and lesbian rights, peace and justice, disability rights and others—the church wrestled and reaffirmed this particular commitment to authentic Christian living. There exists now a firmly rooted culture of expectation that we will model among Baptists and other Christians a radical form of integrity to our own tradition coupled with openness and relevance to a multi-cultural, inter-faith world.
We affirm and celebrate Baptist historic distinctives, including:
- The local congregation owns its own property
- The power to ordain and call our own leaders
- Congregational autonomy, in balance with connectionalism
- The priesthood of all believers
- Free church in a free state; the separation of church and state
- Centrality of scripture and the freedom and responsibility of the individual for ongoing interpretation of the Bible as led by the Holy Spirit
- Openness to ongoing revelation
- No creeds
- The competency of the individual soul in matters of faith