It only took two days for World Vision to see the error of their way and change course. The statement was released today by president Richard Stearns expressing sorrow for their shortsighted decision and even acknowledging that the issue was a Matthew 18 sin. This of course was one of the two options I had specified needed to take place. I am happy World Vision took ownership of their mistake and can only pray that this will serve as a means of greater theological purity for the organization that has helped so many. Perhaps, this will be what God uses to jolt World Vision back to the reality of the importance of putting doctrine before policy, political correctness and influence. One can only wonder if there are people who will need to be held accountable for this lapse of judgment.
The recent developments in World Vision’s employment policy is yet another reminder why the subject of Homosexuality remains a hot button issue. On Monday March 24, Christianity Today released an article entitled: World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages. The implications for the para-church organization, which prides itself for its concern for the poor and needy, are vast and of critical importance. The consequences of this recent move are concerning for a variety of reasons here are a few. World Vision is truly delusional in thinking that they can remain “neutral” on the issue while in reality actually taking a crystal clear side on the issue. They seem to acknowledge the toxic nature of this sin yet, bewilderingly, they refuse to get on the right side of the “fight.” The president of the organization Richard Stearns recently said:
“[the homosexuality controversy] 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.”
For Stearns, the problem does not seem to quite clear enough. You would think an organization that is self-designated as concerned for social ills including family harmony would want to help the problem by taking a position that is actually conducive to a family environment where children will be truly cared for appropriately. This of course can only happen in the context of a biblical marriage and biblical family structures. Still, Stearns does not seem to see the hopeless contradiction of World Vision’s recent decision when he says:
“World Vision is committed to our Christian identity. We are absolutely resolute about every employee being followers of Jesus Christ. We are not wavering on that,”
To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that you keep His commandments (John 15.14). Total disregard for God’s commands on an issue that is admittedly destructive to “churches… colleges… even… families” should be fought against in all biblical faithfulness no matter what it costs us. Other reasons why World Vision’s decision is so disconcerting is the fact that such ethical shifts within the broader evangelical world are seldom alone. Sadly, World Vision will set a trend for someone, even several other organizations that will cite World Vision as the basis for following suit. In fact, it seems that this is explicitly World Vision’s aim. Stearns is quoted as saying:
“I’m hoping this may inspire unity among others as well. To say how we come together across some differences and still join together as brothers and sisters in Christ in our common mission of building the kingdom.”
It seems these “differences” are not so imported that unity is circumvented in light of them. Yet for any one who desires to uphold the moral vision of Scripture; such “unity” is impossible. We cannot build “the kingdom” with those who are not willing to make decisions based on the demands of that kingdom. As Russel Moore put it, referring to this issue, “We empower darkness when we refuse to warn of judgment.” Also quite shocking is World Vision’s double standard of being concerned about adultery and fornication while thinking God thinks any better about homosexual relationships that are monogamous. This is pure contradiction. As World Vision was putting out their statements, their worldview was virtually imploding before their own eyes; not to mention the public view of the broader Christian community. For example, Albert Mohler recently wrote:
“… 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.”
Mohler also spoke prophetically about this issue on a recent edition of The Briefing, saying, “eventually and quite quickly, every single Christian organization, every Christian church and congregation, every individual Christian will have to declare a position a public position on the issue of same-sex marriage and the larger context of the sexual revolution.” That is why it is imperative for us to understand that moral compromise always leads to ethical self-contradiction leading to divine condemnation. This is precisely what is happening to World Vision even as I write. Similarly, John Piper had this to say on desiringgod.org:
“… to treat regular homosexual intercourse as less dangerous than fornication, adultery, greed, theft, and drunkenness is to treat perdition as if it were a small thing, or not really coming. The same text that imperils active fornicators and adulterers and thieves and coveters, also imperils those who practice homosexuality.”
Much of what has been written in condemnation of World Vision is superfluous. Scripture is crystal clear that homosexual behavior will result in judgment and Hell (1 Cor. 9.6; 1 Tim. 1.8-11). In fact, all manner of immorality is condemned in Scripture (Rev. 22.11, 15). God’s design for sexual relationships is clear— one man, one woman, one covenant (Matt. 19.4; Mal. 2.14). No matter how much the culture, Christian organizations, or the “church” seeks to tolerate, endorse, or bless such sexual deviations; God’s blessing will always be withheld and God’s judgment will always ensue (Rom. 1.18-30). World Vision does not seem to understand the cultural connection either. Already secular outlets are picking up the story further complicating the issue. When the world looks at Christian organizations such as World Vision it makes that much easier for the state to demand that all Christian
entities adopt the same position seeing that it is apparently within Christian standards to do so.
Two options: either reverse course through repentance and biblical fidelity; or drop the Christian label and acknowledge what World Vision has become— a secular humanitarian organization without distinctly Christian convictions. To continue down the course as is will only compound the problems that will now plague the organization as it tries in vain to keep its Christian identity.
Emilio Ramos is the preaching pastor of Heritage Grace Community Church. Pastor Emilio is committed to the expository and exegetical teaching of the Word of God. Emilio is also the author of Convert, From Adam to Christ and the founder of redgracemedia.com- a media ministry devoted to the glory of God’s redemptive grace through Jesus Christ. He and his wife Trisha live in Dallas, TX.