World Vision, Same-Sex Marriage, and an Apology
This was quite a week for World Vision. This past Monday, the massive humanitarian organization announced that they would be changing their employment policies with regard to individuals in committed same-sex marriages (in the American branch of the organization). They announced that they would allow professing gay Christians in “legal” same-sex marriages to be eligible to be hired as employees.
Several LGBT organizations cheered, while a number of prominent evangelical Christian leaders denounced the decision. John Piper called on World Vision to repent in strong terms. Prominent New Testament scholar, Darrell Bock (from Dallas Theological Seminary) wrote of World Vision’s decision that, “It was a denial of how Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman when he was asked about divorce. It was a rejection of the call of the Christian community to be distinctive even as the world goes its own way” (via the Gospel Coalition blog).
I had also written a blog post this week, calling on World Vision to do a similar thing. Their decision was a violation of clear biblical standards and the covenant of marriage. In the original decision on Monday, World Vision president Rich Sterns said that the issue of same-sex marriage “is 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.”
Unfortunately, World Vision did just that, making a decision to jump in on one side of the issue—the wrong side. This has nothing to do with our love for Christians with same-sex attraction. We need to love and support their struggle with a difficult issue. But Scripture is clear about the sanctity of marriage and that sexual activity is only to be within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman.
Then everything changed on Thursday of this week. Suddenly, World Vision changed their stance and repented of their decision. Apparently the avalanche of criticism was too much to ignore. The board of World Vision wrote on Thursday:
Dear Friends, today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our national employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
This is a glad outcome for the Christian community. And we need to applaud World Vision for the humility and courage to recant and repent. It is hard to imagine what World Vision was thinking. At first, they compared the differences over same-sex marriage to the differences Christians have over baptism or the role of women in the church. But this was clearly bad logic and bad theology. The sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman is far different than disagreements over the mode of baptism or whether a women can preach in the local church.
So let us learn from World Vision’s mistake: learn how to be faithful to the Scriptures and learn how to humbly repent when we are not. These are great lessons for all of us.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor