World Vision endorses same-sex marriage, denies Biblical definition of marriage

I frankly don’t care to link to any source on this story other than Al Mohler and Franklin Graham. Lapsed Christian organizations and secular news sources are celebrating this decision, but they will have nothing valuable to say to anyone who takes the Bible seriously as an authority on moral issues. Even though  I keep posting secular evidence and research to confirm what the Bible teaches, I still get my moral positions from the Bible. Clearly, this is not the case with organizations like World Vision any more.

Al Mohler first, on what happened:

The headline in the news story by Christianity Today made the issue easy enough to understand — “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.”

As the magazine reported, “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 U.S. President Richard Stearns announced the change in a letter to World Vision staff. The organization, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, “will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff,” Stearns said. He then added that “since World Vision is a multi-denominational organization that welcomes employees from more than 50 denominations, and since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians, the board—in keeping with our practice of deferring to church authority in the lives of our staff, and desiring to treat all of our employees equally—chose to adjust our policy.” That led to the key change Stearns was then to announce: “Thus, the board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.”

Stearns basically claimed that the Bible is not clear on whether gay marriage is permissible. No theologians were cited, no Bible passages were references. He merely said that disagreement among denominations means that there is no right answer. Before continuing with Mohler, let me just point out the relevant quotation from the Bible.

Matthew 19:3-6: [NASB]

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

So Richard Stearns either doesn’t believe that Jesus said that OR he believes that Jesus was wrong, and therefore fallible. It’s one or the other.

Now, more from Al Mohler:

Richard Stearns has every right to try to make his case, but these arguments are pathetically inadequate. Far more than that, his arguments reveal basic issues that every Christian ministry, organization, church, and denomination will have to face — and soon.

The distinction between an “operational arm” of the church and a “theological arm” is a fatal misreading of reality. World Vision claims a Christian identity, claims to serve the kingdom of Christ, and claims a theological rationale for its much-needed ministries to the poor and distressed. It cannot surrender theological responsibility when convenient and then claim a Christian identity and a theological mandate for ministry.

Add to this the fact that World Vision claims not to have compromised the authority of Scripture, even as its U.S. president basically throws the Bible into a pit of confusion by suggesting that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the question of the morality of same-sex sexuality. Stearns insists that he is not compromising biblical authority even as he undermines confidence that the church can understand and trust what the Bible reveals about same-sex sexuality.

The policy shift points back to a basic problem with World Vision’s understanding of the church. No organization can serve on behalf of churches across the vast theological and moral spectrum that would include clearly evangelical denominations, on the one hand, and liberal denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ, on the other. That might work if World Vision were selling church furniture, but not when the mission of the organization claims a biblical mandate.

Furthermore, it is ridiculous to argue that World Vision is not taking sides on the issue. The objective fact is that World Vision will now employ openly-gay employees involved in openly homosexual relationships. There is no rational sense in claiming that this represents neutrality.

[…]Writing to the Corinthian Christians, the Apostle Paul stated: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]

The leader of World Vision U.S. now claims that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the sinfulness of same-sex sexuality and relationships, but he also claims a “mission of building the kingdom.” The Apostle Paul makes homosexuality a kingdom issue, and he does so in the clearest of terms.

Of course, Paul’s point is not that homosexuals are uniquely sinful, but that all of us are sinners in need of the grace and mercy of God that come to us in the gift of salvation. Thanks be to God, Paul follows those words with these: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [1 Corinthians 6:11]

The worst aspect of the World Vision U.S. policy shift is the fact that it will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation. Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin — and that is an act that violates the gospel of Christ.

Now my comments. Be aware that I wrote the stuff below in 20 minutes and was very agitated and upset when I wrote it – it may be revised when I calm down.

My thoughts

I have a long-standing policy of NEVER, EVER, EVER giving money to Christian organizations who do anything except apologetics. I am willing to give money to groups who do pro-life apologetics and pro-marriage apologetics. I am open to giving money to Christian organizations who put forward good economic policy and good foreign policy, too, like the Heritage Foundation or the Family Research Council. But I think the safest thing to do is to take your money and give it to groups like Reasonable Faith, Ratio Christi, Faith Beyond Belief, Stand to Reason, Please Convince Me, Cross Examined, Reasons to Believe, etc. I just sent $300 to Ratio Christi for an event yesterday. So generosity is not the issue – stewardship is.

Apologetics groups are the SAFEST groups to give money to, because they are the ones who are guided by truthWorld Vision and other “works-based” groups, including some missionary groups are some of the WORST places to put your money if you care about theological accuracy. People don’t get into apologetics in order to feel good or be liked, they go into it to discover truth and defend truth. We are hard-core in this business. So again, if you want to be a good steward of your money, put your money into apologists who are active in research, active on the university campus, and actively engaged for the truth of Christianity.

I realize I am being controversial here, but trust me on this. There is something different about people who go out and study philosophy, history and science and then get into debates with people. There is something inside them that is resistant to the spirit of the age, which is secularism, postmodernism and moral relativism. A lot of non-apologists think that God is primarily interested in making people good, and making them do good things here on Earth. And that’s what leads to the apostasy that you see in groups like World Vision – this focus on doing good, rather than on having true beliefs first, then doing good second.

What does the Bible say is most important?

Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40: [NASB]

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If people settle on a false set of beliefs about whether God exists and whether Jesus is Lord and Savior, it doesn’t matter how nice they are to other people – that’s not what God is looking for, primarily. Everyone has to answer the question that Jesus asked of Peter in Luke 18. “Who do you say that I am?”

Is World Vision right to focus on the poor rather than Biblical Christianity?

Matthew 26:6-11: [NASB]

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper,

a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.

But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?

For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.

11 For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.

So the real issue in this life is not being nice to people. That is a good thing, it’s not the main thing. The main thing is Jesus. Not a single verse in the Bible declares homosexuality to be anything other than a sin. By claiming that Christianity is somehow compatible with homosexuality, World Vision has ceased to be a Christian organization. My warning to you is to not focus so much on helping the poor at the expense of having true beliefs about God and Christ, and making those true beliefs known to others. We are here for just a few years and our purpose is not a worldly purpose. Our purpose is also not to feel good nor to be seen by others as kind, tolerant and compassionate. Be generous in your horizontal relationships, but not at the expense of that crucial vertical relationship.

UPDATE: My friend Neil wrote to me and suggested that I endorse giving to the poor directly, and I do endorse that. That respects the repeated Biblical commands to care for the poor, without getting in the mess described above.

15 thoughts on “World Vision endorses same-sex marriage, denies Biblical definition of marriage”

  1. At the end of the day, for this deist (small ‘d’!), things like this only further cement the notion that Christians don’t actually believe what it is they preach and are willing to jettison what they believe to be the Truth (capital ‘t’!) the minute it causes them any sort of financial or political pain which, in light of Jesus’ suffering and dying, seems to be impressively ironic, in a very clueless, complete lack of self-awareness, way.

    Like

  2. It’s funny, but I always had a check in my spirit about World Vision – something I came across years ago rang alarm bells. Rather than stir up dissent, World Vision should simply become an ordinary charity with no specific religious affiliation.
    I do however feel strongly that people who are already funding children through World Vision should continue to do so, as it is not right to pull the rug out from those children’s feet through no fault of their own.
    For people who are looking to help other such children through a Christian organisation, there are a number of other ones that provide support to impoverished or disadvantaged children. I give to two local Christian NGOs that help children.

    Like

    1. something I came across years ago rang alarm bells.

      Really? I’d be interested to hear more about that. I don’t know too much about them, but I think I have given money to them before.

      I do however feel strongly that people who are already funding children through World Vision should continue to do so, as it is not right to pull the rug out from those children’s feet through no fault of their own.

      Agree with this.

      Like

  3. “since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians…”

    hmm, this reminds me of my study in the Views or Nature of Truth::

    –Relativism: denies absolute truth: The belief that all truth is relative, being determined by some group.
    –Subjectivism: doubts all truth: The belief that all truth is subjective, being defined by the perspective of the individual.
    –Perspectivism: The belief that truth is found in the combined perspectives of many.
    –Pragmatism: The belief that truth is ultimately defined by that which works to accomplish the best outcome. “The end justifies the means.” Only practical knowledge is true. (Views only the methods of natural science as valid).

    None of these views are Biblical or how Jesus defines truth:
    Objectivism: The belief that truth is an objective (independent) reality that exist whether someone believes it or not.. This is Jesus’ definition of truth. So, i conclude that Worldvision’s definition of truth is not objective but relative, subjective and pragmatic.

    Like

  4. Ugh. I do give to organizations that help the poor, but I’m *very* fastidious as to the theological stance of professed Christian organizations on key issues. Thanks for the excellent post, WK.

    Like

  5. I agree with you completely that WorldVision has lost its way. It’s sad. It’s very, very sad.

    I also agree with “Observer” above, however, who comments that hungry children should not be made to suffer because of the failings of WorldVision’s leaders. This puts believers who have “adopted” WorldVision children in a difficult position. I pray they’ll have the wisdom of God in the matter.

    I also agree with your concern that “doing good for the poor” can become, at least in some people’s minds, a way of excusing all sorts of immorality. We should not, however, let that discourage us from doing things for the poor.

    Summarizing, I hope that we who love Christ the most will always do our best for the poor. There are millions of children in the world who don’t even have clean water to drink. As the materially rich of this world, Americans should continue leading the way in giving financially for their sakes. Fortunately, there are other Christian organizations – such as Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse – who can facilate our doing this in the name of the Lord.

    The Board of Directors of WorldVision has done the cause of Christ a great disservice. May the Lord Jesus raise up champions for Himself who will redeem with grace the wrong that WorldVision’s leaders have done.

    Like

  6. Well? They’re done. Maybe not completely, but donations are going to be much, much less. Let them learn the hard way.

    Like

  7. Here is the Franklin Graham statement for any who want it:

    “I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God.

    World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church.

    From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin.”

    http://billygraham.org/story/franklin-graham-statement-on-world-vision/

    Like

    1. Thank you Franklin Graham for your statement. We appreciate your standing for the truth. We have ended support of World Vision after many years. God will continue to bless BGEA for remaining true to His word. Carmen and Gary

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s