EDITOR’S NOTE: We at BCNN1.com love Bro. Stearns and the people at World Vision and we have supported World Vision for years, giving thousands of dollars to their great mission work. However, we are disappointed in their decision and will cease supporting World Vision effective immediately. President Richard Stearns (who has had one of the books written by the president of our parent company, GLM Omnimedia Group LLC, on his public reading list), and the board of World Vision should be ashamed of doing this to the Christ whose name they fly under. They call themselves an evangelical Christian organization.
We encourage Christians everywhere who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God to cease supporting World Vision immediately. We appreciate World Vision’s honesty and not doing this in a corner so that God’s people would not blindly support this ungodly decision. Let us remind Christians that popularity with the world has never been the point of serving the Lord. The point is for Christians to trust God, love God, fear God, be obedient to God, and be faithful to God no matter how the world changes. God wants us to “be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
We don’t hear this much today, but the Lord calls us as Christians to separate from such ungodliness. 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” If we cannot separate from the abominable uncleanness of homosexuality, then we cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.
Christians, please notice in World Vision’s statement that, sadly, this policy change is only referring to “the World Vision in America” and not the rest of the world which reflects a situational morality that is equally as abominable.
President Richard Stearns says change is a symbol of Christian ‘unity’ not ‘compromise.’
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.
Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.
In an exclusive interview, World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns explained to Christianity Today the rationale behind changing this “condition of employment,” whether financial or legal pressures were involved, and whether other Christian organizations with faith-based hiring rules should follow World Vision’s lead.
Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.
[Editor’s note: All subsequent references to “World Vision” refer to its U.S. branch only, not its international umbrella organization.]
In short, World Vision hopes to dodge the division currently “tearing churches apart” over same-sex relationships by solidifying its long-held philosophy as a parachurch organization: to defer to churches and denominations on theological issues, so that it can focus on uniting Christians around serving the poor.
Given that more churches and states are now permitting same-sex marriages (including World Vision’s home state of Washington), the issue will join divorce/remarriage, baptism, and female pastors among the theological issues that the massive relief and development organization sits out on the sidelines.
World Vision’s board was not unanimous, acknowledged Stearns, but was “overwhelmingly in favor” of the change.
“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 said. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
Stearns took pains to emphasize what World Vision is not communicating by the policy change.
“It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there,” he said. “This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.”
“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,” said Stearns. “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.
“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.”
Yet the decision is still likely to be regarded as noteworthy by other evangelical ministries. Aside from World Vision’s influential size—it took in more than a billion dollars in revenue last year, serves an estimated 100 million people in 100 countries, and ranks among America’s top 10 charities overall—World Vision also recently fought for the right of Christian organizations to hire and fire based on faith statements all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court—and won. It also opposed a 2012 attempt by USAID to “strongly encourage” faith-based contractors to stop discriminating against gays and lesbians in order to receive federal funds.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christianity Today
Celeste Gracey and Jeremy Weber