World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns expressed grief over the child sponsorships that were canceled after the organization announced its original policy change on hiring those in same-sex marriages.
After receiving feedback from supporters and faith leaders who were opposed to World Vision’s decision to employ Christians who are in same-sex marriages, Stearns said in a press conference call Wednesday that the board decided to reverse its earlier decision and reaffirm the nonprofit’s commitment to core biblical principles and the belief that “marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and a woman.”
“I can say from a personal standpoint, the last couple of days have been painful. We especially feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion that we caused for many of our faithful friends and partners around the country who saw the policy change as a reversal of World Vision U.S.’s strong commitment to biblical authority, which was not intended to be,” Stearns commented.
Although World Vision doesn’t have a precise count on the number of child sponsorships that were canceled following Monday’s announcement, Stearns confirmed that many supporters had canceled their donations in protest of the board’s decision.
“That certainly grieves us,” he said, “because the children that we serve will suffer for that. I can’t tell you what the cumulative financial impact has been or will be. But I will say that our choice is not about money or income, it’s really about a sincere desire for us to do the right thing: to be consistent with our core values, and to respond to the legitimate feedback and counsel that we have received from faith leaders and friends of World Vision.”
Outside of public statements from evangelist Franklin Graham, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God – all of whom denounced the policy change – Stearns said World Vision was also contacted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the National Religious Broadcasters association.
The organization had also received communications from Joel Osteen Ministries, among others, but he noted that he believes “it’s appropriate to keep the heartfelt counsel of these friends confidential.”
Openly acknowledging the board’s mistake in its original policy change, Stearns said they’re asking for forgiveness from partners for their “poor judgment.”
“[T]he feedback we’ve paid special attention to has come from our many trusted partners, supporters, pastors and church leaders, many of whom came to us with sincere concern and love and conviction for not only World Vision, but for this delicate issue that this policy governs,” he stated.
“We listened to their counsel, and they tried to point out in a loving way that the kind of policy change that had been made was simply not consistent with our commitment to traditional marriage, and authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture in our lives.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post