World Vision was a Christian charity.
One of America’s largest Christian charities announced on Monday that it has altered its employee handbook to allow staff members to enter into same-sex ‘marriages’ as long as they profess to be Christians.
World Vision, a Washington-based organization that has been assisting the poor and orphaned worldwide for over 60 years, stated that it decided to change its policy to bring “unity” among Christians. President Richard Stearns told Christianity Today that he wants to avoid the division over homosexuality that has been “tearing churches apart.”
“Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues,” he stated. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
Professed believers in Jesus Christ who actually, truly ARE believers in Jesus Christ do not mock the God-ordained institution of marriage by entering into a supposed ‘marriage’ with someone of the same sex; true Christians eschew homosexual relations of any kind.
Somehow, Richard Stearns has lost that understanding.
Stearns denied that he was under any pressure to make the policy change, and asserted that the organization was not caving into the homosexual agenda by allowing employees to enter into same-sex “marriages.”
“This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church,” he stated. “This 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.”
No. First of all, a Christian charity should defer to the authority of God, not churches, per se, and definitely not ‘churches’ that are anything but orthodox; God’s Word is clear as to what He thinks of homosexual activity. Churches that are faithful keep to that. Charities that are Christian should do likewise, not compromise.
However, some have expressed great disappointment in the decision, regardless of Stearns’ contentions that he is not compromising his faith. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality wrote in a press release on Tuesday that World Vision has actually caused division and confusion through its policy change.
“World Vision now puts hundreds of thousands of biblically faithful and compassionate Christians in a bind: they want to keep supporting poor children through World Vision sponsorships, but they do not want to give their money to a charity that actively undermines God’s Word through its policies,” he explained. “Many Christians will abandon World Vision and children will suffer.”
LaBarbera’s point is well-taken, but there are other Christian charities helping Third World children, including church-run ones, to which Christians can donate, instead of donating to World Vision. We should do so – charities should always remember that they exist to serve the people they are trying to help; not the paid staff working for them. Frankly, that’s the bigger problem with too many of the bigger charities, today – that they are bloated organizations, who raise vast sums of money, but only a tiny percentage of which actually goes towards helping those they are ostensibly trying to help, the rest getting eaten up in the costs of paid staff’s salaries, etc. And so then you get this kind of thing happening, once helping people is no longer the main goal…
“World Vision does a great spiritual disservice to its ‘gay married’ employees. By implying that unrepentant, practicing homosexuals can be faithful servants of Jesus Christ while living openly in grave sexual sin and mocking true marriage, World Vision becomes an impediment to their repentance before God,” he said. “Salvation requires humbly acknowledging and turning away from sin, just as genuine marriage requires two people of the opposite sex joining to produce a natural family.”
“By recognizing homosexual ‘marriages’ in its hiring practices and treating them like actual marriages, World Vision has not only entered the debate over this issue but greatly advanced the LGBT agenda by lending ‘Christian’ credibility to ‘gay’ activists’ misleading ‘marriage equality’ propaganda,” LaBarbera stated. “World Vision also undermines religious liberty by signaling that immoral laws that defy God’s law are more binding than Scripture—unilaterally throwing up the white flag of surrender on freedom of conscience.”
Michael Brown has an excellent commentary on this subject, here:
This is a betrayal of the gospel, a betrayal of the Lord, a betrayal of the family, and a betrayal of the countless thousands of Christians who have put their trust in World Vision as a legitimate Christian organization.
In no way does it contribute to “building a better world for children” – one of the fundamental goals of World Vision. In fact, it does the opposite.
Last June, World Vision U.S president Richard Stearns stated that, “No one ever died of gay marriage,” thereby trivializing the importance of the issue, as if it contrasted with the organization’s mission of providing tangible relief to suffering humanity.
Today, he went much further, claiming that this radical, unbiblical move is actually a “very narrow policy change” that should be viewed as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.”
What? World Vision redefines the nature of marriage – the most fundamental institution of society, ordained by God in Genesis 2 as the lifelong union of a man and a woman and reaffirmed by Jesus as such in Matthew 19 – and ignores the explicit and repeated condemnation of homosexual practice throughout the Scriptures and then claims it is a “very narrow policy change”?
What? World Vision mocks the sentiments, convictions, and sensibilities of countless thousands of its Christian constituents, rejects the historic testimony of virtually all branches of Christianity, decides to take a terribly controversial stand on the most socially divisive issue of the day, and then claims that this is “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity”?
Stearns stated, “We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us. This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.”
No slippery slope? No compromise? By sanctioning homosexual relationships, World Vision is “deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues”?
Worst of all, World Vision did not make this decision under duress or pressure, making their decision all the more inexcusable.
Stearns said, “It’s been heartbreaking to watch this issue rip through the church. It’s 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. We’ve got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find unity in our diversity.”
Is this not the height of self-deception? Does World Vision not realize that they have just exponentially increased that “tearing apart” of believers? Do they actually think that this divisive, destructive policy change will unite Christians around serving the poor? Does their board, which overwhelmingly approved the policy, actually feel that they have not “jump[ed] into the fight on one side or another on this issue”? It would be like saying, “Because politics can be so divisive and we don’t want to get into the fight, we’ll just vote for the Democrats.”
Michael Brown concludes:
Now is the time for every church that works with World Vision, every Christian musician and artist that partners with World Vision, and every believer that supports World Vision to inform them that they have made a terrible choice and that they will no longer have your support.
And then, without missing a beat, partner together with other fine Christian, humanitarian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse or Food for the Hungry, and continue your compassionate giving.
And for every child who will fall through the cracks because of World Vision’s betrayal of its Christian principles, I say to Richard Stearns and those who made this decision together: You will have to answer to God.
*Update: they changed their minds, apparently, and have reversed their decision.