doctrine and denomination
Oak Hills Christian College is interdenominational; we are not associated with any one denomination. Our students, staff and faculty come from a variety of churches. We welcome all applicants who are personally committed to faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are all verbally inspired by God, without error as originally written, and our only infallible rule of faith and practice.
We believe God is the creator and externally exists in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and these three are one God; having precisely the same nature, attributes, perfection, and worthy of precisely the same worship, honor, confidence and obedience.
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh. We hold to His virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His present high priestly ministry, His translation of the church, and His personal premillennial return to set up an earthly kingdom.
THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity who convicts the unsaved and effects the full salvation of the believer.
We believe that all human beings are made in the image of God and, therefore, have dignity and worth. We further believe that, through the fall of mankind in Adam, all are sinners by nature and stand in need of regeneration.
SALVATION FOR SINNERS:
We believe salvation was provided through Jesus Christ by His substitutionary and sacrificial death on the cross, sufficient for all, taking every legal obstacle out of the way, and that all must be born again or be forever lost.
We believe eternal life is the sovereign work of God’s grace given to those who believe and receive Christ.
We believe the destiny for the believer is to be present (at home) with the Lord and for the unbeliever is to be separated from the presence of the Lord in everlasting punishment.
We believe the church is an organism of which Christ is the head, made up of individual believers who have been saved by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the grace of God and baptized into Christ’s body by the Holy Spirit.
We believe the great evangelistic and missionary commission given by Jesus Christ to the disciples and to the continuing church is that of making Christ known by word and example and bringing to maturity those who believe by instruction in the Word.
Human Sexuality and Gender Identity
This policy is intended to address marriage, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, transsexualism, transgenderism, and other related gender identity issues.
OHCC’s policy regarding human sexuality and gender identity is grounded in our long-standing institutional Christian identity. This identity is founded in the teachings of the Bible as understood in the Protestant evangelical theological tradition. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are all verbally inspired by God, without error as originally written, and our only infallible rule of faith and practice. Therefore, everything we say and do must be under the guidance and authority of Scripture. Our integrity depends on consistent application of our understanding of biblical truth in order to honor Christ and bring glory to God.
We uphold the sanctity of marriage as God-ordained, a special union between a biological man and a biological woman, within which sexual relations are honored and affirmed by God. We have the conviction that all sexual unions outside of marriage as thus defined are sinful. In dealing with sexual sins outside of marriage, we must be attentive to Scripture and therefore consistent in applying Oak Hills’ community policies to both heterosexual and homosexual situations.
We affirm that God’s original and ongoing intent and action is the creation of humanity manifest as two distinct sexes, male and female. However, due to sin and human brokenness, our experience of our sex and gender is not always that which God the Creator originally designed. We further affirm God’s capacity to heal and transform our brokenness. With this foundational understanding of creation, sin and redemption, we do not affirm the resolution of tension between one’s biological sex and one’s experience of gender by the adoption of a psychological identity discordant with one’s birth sex. Nor do we affirm attempts to change one’s given biological birth sex via medical intervention in favor of the identity of the opposite sex or of an indeterminate identity.
Our obligation before God is to love all persons, understanding such love in the context of the truth of God’s Word. In that light, we will demonstrate civility and compassion as we engage in dialogue with others on these issues seeking to embody the gentle and patient love of Christ. “We believe that all human beings are made in the image of God and, therefore, have dignity and worth” (OHCC Statement of Faith) even though we may disagree with some and even though some may come under discipline for violating Oak Hills’ community standards for biblical living.
We will make institutional decisions in light of this policy regarding student admission and retention, housing, employment hiring and retention and other related matters.
Oak Hills affirms that God is the creator of all that exists. We regard this to be the clear teaching of scripture. This is clearly affirmed in the Oak Hills’ Statement of Faith: “God is the creator.” Oak Hills does not hold to one specific interpretation in regard to the process of creation. There are two primary reasons for our position. One relates to our understanding of the intent of Genesis 1 and the other to our theological positioning within the evangelical community which helps form our philosophy of education.
Intent of Genesis 1
Genesis 1:1 states “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Old Testament assumes God created the earth and all it contains without specifying the process by which this took place.
Shortly after the incarnation, early church fathers questioned the interpretation of the process of creation. For example, Origen (c. 185-254) questioned the idea that Genesis 1 represented creation taking place over six 24 hour periods of time. Basil (330-379) argued the time frames should be understood literally as six 24 hour days, but recognized the difficulty of the sun being created on the fourth day. Augustine (c. 339-397) later argued that creation was instantaneous and the days of Genesis 1 were symbolic in some fashion.
Later, the Protestant reformers Luther and Calvin moved away from Augustine’s symbolic interpretation to six literal 24 hour days of creation.
Today, the church continues to wrestle with this issue. Evangelical Christianity has proponents in the symbolic interpretation camp, the six 24 hour days camp (young earth creationists) and the six extended periods of time camp (old earth creationists). The question which arises is whether or not Genesis 1 can support any or all of these theories.
This question leads us to the function of Genesis 1 and the Bible as a whole. The Bible does not claim to be a scientific textbook and should not be understood as such. The people to whom Genesis 1 was written were not concerned with the process by which the world came into being. They were interested in why humans were on the earth and where they came from. Consequently, Genesis 1 is a polemic against the ancient Near Eastern religions. Genesis 1 focuses on who created the world. The God who created the world in Genesis 1 is the same God who later called Abraham. Genesis 1 also presents the answer as to what humans are to do on the earth. Genesis 1:26-28 states that humans were created in the image of God and were to multiply and rule over the earth.
Genesis 1 does not provide us with the scientific process by which the world was created. Therefore, while it is valuable to discuss theories on how the world came about, it is not legitimate to force Genesis 1 into one, and only one, of the above creation theories as the sole possible interpretation. Early church fathers disagreed in their understanding of the creation process and that disagreement has carried to the present day. In light of this, shouldn’t we be humble and open to holding our theories of the creation process lightly?
Genesis 1 clearly presents God as the creator of the world and everything in the world. Beyond this, there is room within Evangelical Christianity for diversity regarding the process by which this came about.
Sanctity of Human Life
Statement of Faith (Board of Directors Approved, June 22, 2012) item that speaks to the sanctity of human life.
MANKIND: We believe that all human beings are made in the image of God and, therefore, have dignity and worth. We further believe that, through the fall of mankind in Adam, all are sinners by nature and stand in need of regeneration.
Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life.
Theological Position and Philosophy of Education
Because of Oak Hills’ interdenominational heritage, theologically we fit within the mainstream of evangelicalism. Consequently, we hold to the core doctrines of the evangelical position and consider these non-negotiable. However, when evangelicals differ in their understandings of “negotiable matters”, we encourage debate and dialogue. This theological perspective informs our philosophy of education in that we want our students to learn to think about these matters and apply proper biblical interpretation and appropriate critical thinking skills. We use these “negotiable” issues as opportunities to teach students how to think, not what to think. Our goal is to develop critical thinking skills so students will be able to use their knowledge and understanding of the Bible to be wise in discerning truth from non-truth. We believe there needs to be unity in matters essential to the faith and liberty in matters considered nonessential.
Relationship between General and Special Revelation
We believe God has revealed himself to humankind through creation (general revelation) and through his Word (special revelation). The truths found in these revelations of God are consistent with one another. However, as humans inquire into both creation and the Word, the theories of science may sometimes disagree with the interpretations of Scripture. On account of our humanity (being finite and sinners), we are unable to interpret scripture or science without preconceived ideas coloring our thinking. No single individual has the corner on truth. Hence we need to have an attitude of humility, recognizing there may be error in our own thinking. We need to be learners carefully listening to and dialoguing with others in our search for truth. Our responsibility as Christians is to be thoughtful, patient and careful in our thinking as we attempt to integrate both science and Scripture. This is not a new thought. Christians have successfully navigated through the apparent contradictions between science and Scripture for generations. At Oak Hills we seek to enable our students to learn the skills needed to seek and find the unity of both God’s general revelation and his special revelation.
Relationship to Creation Position
We believe that God is the Creator of all that exists. This is non-negotiable (see Oak Hills’ statement of faith). This is consistently affirmed throughout the Bible. However, as noted above, conservative evangelical scholars differ on the process of creation. Based on our understanding of Genesis 1, we do not consider the process of creation to be a core issue and therefore do not find it essential to ensure all students come to the same conclusion on the matter. Students need to be exposed to the various views, from the theory of six literal 24 hour days to the theory of theistic evolution, so they can wrestle with the matter themselves. They need to arrive at their own conclusions as they seek to integrate the truth of Scripture with the truths of nature discovered through scientific investigation. Students also need to know the various positions regarding the process of creation so they can interact and converse intelligently with others.
This fits with our philosophy of education. Within the context of a Christian worldview we teach students how to think, not what to think. As they wrestle with these viewpoints, we have the opportunity to help them with their thinking processes as they attempt to integrate biblical truths with real life issues and concerns.
Note: Information on the church fathers and the Protestant reformers was taken from the “Report of the Creation Study Committee” written by the PCA.