Update 3/26/14 3:30pm PST World Vision Reverses Their Decision to Allow Gay Marriage Among Employees

Christianity Today reports that, “World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.” World Vision president, Richard Stearns, clarified, “The new policy will not exclude someone from employment if they are in a legal same-sex marriage.”

World Vision is in the top ten charities in America and took in over a billion dollars last year and serves over a 100 million people in 100 countries.

This “very narrow policy change,” Stearns explained, “is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more. . . . This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. . . . We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. . . . This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues.”

The rationale for the change is that so-called same-sex marriage is in the same category with differences over baptism, divorce, evolution, and others. “Denominations disagree,” Stearns said, “on many, many things: on divorce and remarriage, modes of baptism, women in leadership roles in the church, beliefs on evolution, etc. . . . So our practice has always been to defer to the authority and autonomy of local churches.”

This issue, Stearns said, “is tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart, tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families apart. Our board felt we cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue.” Christianity Today seemed to agree that they are not taking a position by asking, “Will supporters, particularly theologically conservative ones, let World Vision adopt a neutral stance on same-sex marriage?”

Yesterday, John Piper provided a concise scriptural indictment regarding the theological implications of World Vision’s position stating, “Without care about eternal suffering, care about temporal suffering is a mirage.” His post may be found in its entirety at http://www.desiringgod.org titled, “World Vision: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes.” In this post, I’ll provide further assessment on the sociological implications of World Vision’s disappointing and heretical choice.

BUILT ON THE BLOOD OF MARTYRS

A foundational element of Christian faith is its resiliency under persecution. Be it the cages of Domitian, the denunciation of Diocletian, communism, monarchial fascism, syncretism, or national socialism, Christianity has always risen from the dust to continue it’s kingdom course under the most difficult of circumstances.

Christianity has survived these harsh oppositions because of God’s sovereign will and the blood of martyred men and women who held faithfully to that will above all else. Men and women, of many eras, willing to stand upon biblical principles, regardless of the insult or injury they may incur.

From tender families kneeling silently in arenas while surrounded by roaring lions to noble missionaries speared by cannibalistic natives in front of their loving wives, these men and women have held the one item necessary to pass true Christianity along to children and grandchildren – An item I’ve termed, “Faithful conviction” – wherein their beliefs or opinions, rest so firmly held, that they would accept death as opposed to renege or turn back, for, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” (Heb 11:1)

This faith conviction itself is an interesting element of social-spiritual order because it’s very essence requires belief in something greater than my human condition, making it naturally selfless and preparing it’s possessor for some form of cost. And, when people live out this true conviction, there will come natural peer to peer choice, wherein others around it are required to either accept or reject this particular conviction as their own.

One premium example is that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who held the conviction that all men were created equal and should be treated as such. His clarity of true conviction required every man choose whether he agreed or disagreed, mandating that for the past fifty years, it be difficult to find one living American who will plead ignorant apathy on the issue of race and ethical responsibility. Dr. King died for his faith conviction and his conviction transformed the world.

One may ask, “Did not Hitler then also have conviction? He also stood firm for his opinions? He also died?” The clear answer to this would be that Hitler, and other sociopaths like him, did not hold conviction at all because their desire and opinion was toward an order all their own. In Hitler’s example, he committed suicide, like a selfish child not given his way, thereby proving his actions were not based on conviction regardless of cost, but on selfish gain based on personal reward.

And, here lies one tragic consequence of World Vision’s capitulation – Namely, that a Christian giant founded on biblical faith convictions, for which many have died, reneged on a portion of those convictions to protect popularity and the bottom line.

A NOTE TO WORLD VISION

Dear World Vision, you failed Christendom when you decided to change a covenant-policy based on political correctness instead of the Word of God because you broadcasted that the profitable bottom line of ministry was more important than the literal interpretation of Scripture. You proved that your trust is in human manipulation of mission instead of faithful trust in the hand of a mighty and sovereign God.

Dear World Vision, you did cave to “pressure”, because you changed a core covenant value that had stood in your governance policy likely since inception.

Dear World Vision, your practice has not always been to “defer to the church” or the biblical covenant in question would not have been drafted when you were founded. Certainly, a group of men in an era passed, opened their bible, prayed, and determined your founding doctrines.

Dear World Vision, in a nation of quasi-Christians, afraid to stand up for truth, you lent your one hundred million dollar voice to the trappings of mainstream culture. When you voted that day, you divorced yourself from having a voice in true Christianity.

Dear Richard Stearns, the “slippery slope” you’ve mentioned isn’t a World Vision issue, it’s an American issue. Our nation is tumbling head first down a sheer muddy void and true Christians with “faith-conviction” to God’s Word are digging their sword and trowel in for a fight toward the second reformation while your capitulation simply strengthens the pacifism of an apathetic generation.

When IRS sanctions are soon levied against schools, para-church organizations, and churches whom refuse to marry gay couples, you will feel sorrow. When clergy housing allowances are terminated and tax-deductible donations are redacted for parishioners who attend churches not meeting “state” criteria, you’ll be burdened. It is with tears, that I admit you are not alone, we’ve all made mistakes. Yet, even today, I exhort you to go back, repent, and change. You may lose sponsors, you will lose money, you’ll likely lose your jobs, but the angels will cheer and one day you’ll be vindicated. You do not want stand akin to martyrs in heaven, attempting to explain why you blasphemed the very text for which they died.

KNOW YOUR FREEDOM, STAND FOR FAITH

We’re at a crossroads in America where true Christians, for the sake of their children and grand children, must rise fervent in their faith conviction and be counted as protectorates of religious freedom, not capitulating due to pennies or popularity.

We’re at a crossroads where true Pastors must preach the narrow path of Christian discipleship, preparing their sheep for a time of significant change.

We’re at a crossroads where we must parent our children in a way that instructs them to cry over those far from Christ while illuminating them to stand for purity within the body of Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote of this time, telling young Timothy, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (2 Tim 4:3-4)

World Vision and countless others have simply joined the rank and file of evil that seeks to pluralize America into a post-Christian state, leaving monolithic cathedrals vacant, as archaic museums of a former time. But, the glory of God has not yet departed, and a remnant of men and women of faithful conviction still exists. Christianity has always risen from the dust to continue its kingdom course across history. Unless Christ returns we’ll see the second reformation.

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Posted by Anthony Wood

Anthony is Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA, and has authored the books Defining Church & Defining Family. He’s married to Bre, and they have three children.

One Comment

  1. “In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of biblical marriage and our own statement of faith, which says, ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God,'” Stearns and Bere wrote. “We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent.”

    Worl Vision has gone back on their policy!

    Reply

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