World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization and relief agency dedicated to serving children and their families in their communities in nearly 100 nations. They provide emergency assistance in disasters and civil conflicts, and seek to alleviate poverty and injustice of the poor. (Mission Statement world vision.org).
Shockingly, this highly respected Christian charity issued a statement earlier this week that they would begin hiring “Christians” in same-sex marriages. Apparently, members of their board have very liberal "un-biblical" views on homosexuality. They were, however, inundated with outcries from prominent Christian leaders that this violates Jesus’ teaching concerning marriage. Following are excerpts from two news agencies:
FOX NEWS 03.26.14
Facing a firestorm of protest, the prominent Christian relief agency World Vision on Wednesday reversed a two-day-old policy change that would have allowed it to hire Christians in same-sex marriages in the US….. The aid group sent a letter to supporters saying the board had made a mistake and was returning to its policy requiring celibacy outside of marriage "and faithfulness within the Bible covenant of marriage between a man and a woman."…. But the change drew widespread condemnation, with many donors posting on the agency's Facebook page that they would no longer fund the sponsor-a-child programs that are central to World Vision's fundraising and education..
Darrell Bock, a New Testament scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote on his blog that the new hiring policy as an “act was a betrayal of the nature of the Christian community” and “a denial of how Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman when he was asked about divorce.”
CBN NEWS 03.27.14
Church leaders were quick to denounce the charity's decision to hire applicants in same-sex marriages. World Vision President Richard Stearns had said the move was “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.”
But faith leaders like Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, dismissed Stearn's reasoning. “World Vision maintains their decision is based on unifying the church -- which I find offensive -- as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the Church,” Franklin wrote on his Facebook page.
In addition, the Assemblies of God had called for its members to shift their support to other charities.
Stearns said the board of the non-profit had been praying about the decision for years. But in the letter to supporters Wednesday leaders admitted they had not sought enough counsel from their Christian partners. “As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage…. While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect,” they said.
Does Unity Trump Truth?
We have to wonder if they reversed their decision because they were convicted in heart and realized what an offense it is to those who uphold scriptural teaching as sacred and refuse to compromise in the face of public and political pressure, or because they realized their coffers were taking a hit?
In my view, this is certainly a sign of the times and of the things to come. Christians are becoming more pressured by the gay rights agenda to vacate their Biblical principles and violate their consciences, all in the name of love and unity, as if unity trumps truth. Some people don't get it: The Gospel is not the great unifier. In fact, Jesus said that the Gospel causes division between parents and children, families, friends, and neighbors when there is a rejection of its message (Ref. Mt. 10:34-36). True Christians will always be tempted to compromise for the sake of getting along and being accepted, especially by people we care about.
But if being accepted means that we have to approve of their sinful lifestyles, this is where Jesus says: “Whoever will not forsake all for me, is not worthy of me” (Ref.Mt.10:37-38). James said that to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of God (James 4:4). It is not that God is the enemy of men, but that men are the enemy of God. And the thing that alienates men from God is sin (Eph. 4:18 & Col. 1:21).
Acceptance versus Approval
Some accuse Christians as being haters, because we denounce sin, especially the hot button sin of homosexuality. They accuse Christians of being intolerant, because we refuse to equate same-sex marriage with Biblical marriage between a man and a woman. Yet they are self-justified with being intolerant of others’ rights to a different opinion, be they Christian or not. They don't seem to see the hypocrisy in demanding that everyone adopt their position. This is not just a religious right, but an American civil right to express one's opinion, no matter how unpopular or odious it may be to some.
This issue crosses the line for both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Ministers are lambasted for just reading straight from the Scriptures that refer to homosexuality as sin, such as Romans 1:24-32 & 1Corinthians 6:9-11. Will the day come when preachers will no longer do so for fear of fines or imprisonment? Probably. It's already happened in Canada.
On the other hand, some Christians are confused about how to handle the fallout relating to the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage controversy. Believing that Christians should show love, and not wanting to be vitriolic towards homosexuals as many have been, they are compromising Scripture in the name of acceptance. What they don't realize is acceptance of one's person as a fellow human being worthy of love and salvation, is not approval of their sin. Nor is it approval of corrupting God's ordination of marriage between man and woman.
As Christians, we should accept all people as being worthy of Christ's love and reach out to them in love. We should also realize that we now have a whole generation who has grown up without any godly training or Biblical foundation. They have no idea what God's Word says about homosexuality, and what they have been told by some claiming to know Christian teaching, is often out of context and inflammatory. To these we must speak the truth in love and “with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (1Tim.4:2).
Partaking of Others’ Sins
It is incredulous to me that the leaders of World Vision have spent years praying about the issue of whether or not to hire practicing homosexuals. What is there to pray about? There is no need to ask for direction on a matter so clearly defined in God's Word as sin. Why would anyone think that prayer could change God's mind about what He has declared to be sin in His Word? To come to such an erroneous decision after so many years of prayer questions the integrity of their leadership. There are certain things Christians cannot do if they don’t want to appear to be condoning another man’s sin. Paul wrote to Timothy: “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be a partaker of another man’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1Tim.5:22). This means not to be quick to install an unproven, unqualified person in an office. How does this square with hiring homosexuals to serve in a Christian ministry? Would this be partaking of their sins? Would it defile the purity of the ministry?
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and then that hear thee” (1Tim.4:16).