The Hole in World Vision’s Gospel—a Round-up of Responses

Many of you may now be aware of World Vision’s announcement yesterday of their policy change allowing gay Christians in same-sex marriages to be employed in their organization.

Below is a round-up of links of various responses with a key snippet from each post.

Albert Mohler, “Pointing to Disaster — The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision

In his final comment included in Christianity Today’s coverage of the issue, [World Vision President] Richard Stearns stated: “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.”

Note carefully that his language is deeply theological — not just “operational.” He speaks of being “brothers and sisters in Christ” and of “building the kingdom.” What kingdom? Whose kingdom?

Writing to the Corinthian Christians, the Apostle Paul stated: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]

Russell Moore, “On World Vision and the Gospel

We empower darkness when we refuse to warn of judgment. We empower the darkness when we refuse to offer forgiveness through the blood of the cross.

We’re entering an era where we will see who the evangelicals really are, and by that I mean those who believe in the gospel itself, in all of its truth and all of its grace. And many will shrink back. There are no riots if the gospel you’re preaching doesn’t threaten the silversmiths of the Temple of Artemis. And there are no clucking tongues if the gospel you’re preaching isn’t offered to tax collectors and temple prostitutes.

There’s an entire corps of people out there who make their living off of evangelicals but who are wanting to “evolve” on the sexuality issue without alienating their base. I don’t mind people switching sides and standing up for things that they believe in. But just be honest about what you want to do. Don’t say “Hath God said?” and then tell us you’re doing it to advance the gospel and the unity of the church.

Kevin DeYoung, “The Worldliness in World Vision’s New Hiring Policy

Before we get embroiled in a throw down about whether Jesus would love to take coffee breaks with World Vision employees, before we allow the issue to be reframed as “Jesus was nice; the Pharisees were mean; you are mean and not nice; so you are a Pharisee and not like Jesus,” before we accept that calling someone a bigot is the same as making an argument, before we write off every opponent of this policy as a Calvinist fundie inhabiting a hermetically sealed little house on a Christian prairie somewhere in flyover country, let us establish if the following is true:

Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31; Rev. 19:11-21). Those who repent of their sins and believe in Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30) and those who overcome (Rev. 21:7) will live forever in eternal bliss with God in his holy heaven (Rev. 21:1-27) through the atoning work of Christ on the cross (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:1-21; Cor. 5:21). Those who are not born again (John 3:5), do not believe in Christ (John 3:18), and continue to make practice of sinning (1 John 3:4-10) will face eternal punishment and the just wrath of God in hell (John 3:36; 5:29). Among those who will face the second death in the lake that burns with fire are the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars (Rev. 21:8), and among the sins included in the category of sexual immorality is unrepentant sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 5-7).

Trevin Wax, “World Vision and Why We Grieve for the Children“ (a post apoplectically labelled ‘bigoted’, ‘vile’, and ‘exploitative‘ by a prominent blogger…you can decide.)

No matter what you think about this decision, I hope you feel a sense of grief… for the children. This is a story of deep and lasting significance, because there are children’s lives at stake in how we respond.

Children will suffer as evangelicals lose trust in and withdraw support from World Vision in the future. It will take time for evangelicals to start new organizations that maintain historic Christian concepts of sin, faith, and repentance.

In the meantime, children will suffer. Needlessly.

That’s why critics of the evangelical outcry toward World Vision will say, Get over it! Kids matter more than what men and women choose to do romantically!

Strangely enough, we agree. In fact, this is one of the main reasons we’re against redefining marriage. We believe kids matter more than gays and lesbians having romantic relationships enshrined as “marriage.”

Children are the ones who suffer when society says there’s no difference between a mom or a dad.

John Piper, “World Vision: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes

Of course, World Vision does not intend to shipwreck their legacy of compassion for the poor. But that is what they are doing. …

…World Vision has taken a step away from the cry of biblical love, which says, ‘we care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering’. Without care about eternal suffering, care about temporal suffering is a mirage. It looks like love, but the greatest gift is being withheld.

When World Vision embraces as an acceptable alternative behavior what God says will lead to eternal suffering (1 Corinthians 6:9–10), it sets a trajectory of lovelessness.

Denny Burk, “Collapse of Christianity at World Vision

It really does come down to this. Is God’s word about human sexuality true, or is it false? Is it binding and authoritative over our consciences, or is it an optional debate that we can opt out of? This is where every Christian leader—and indeed every Christian—needs to be ready. This is a watershed issue in our time. You won’t be able to dodge this question indefinitely. You will eventually have to choose a side. Jesus once said, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division” (Luke 12:51). When it comes down to it, which side of the divide will you be on?

Matthew Anderson, “On Whether Christians should keep supporting World Vision”, is a long article but attempts to think seriously through the question implied in its title

World Vision USA has altered their employee handbook to allow them to hire members of committed same-sex unions. As I noted on Twitter, I find their rationale incoherent, but not terribly surprising.

Of the various threads I could take up, though, I want to focus on the decision which many conscientious Christians who deeply disagree with World Vision USA’s decision now face: should they continue on supporting the child that they had been, or should they send their donations elsewhere?

Jeff Wright’s, “How Should Christians Respond to World Vision?”, is a short, practical, and very helpful post

World Vision has put Biblically faithful believers in the awful position of having to choose between being clear about the gospel and supporting a child who needs their aid. Here’s my suggestion: (after you let World Vision know you will be distancing yourself from their organization in the future) continue to support your child until the natural termination of support then move on to a relief organization with more integrity (again, let World Vision know this is your plan). The child you are connected with is an innocent victim of World Vision and will likely not be able yet to properly process the catastrophe of the organization’s decision.

While in that relationship of support let me encourage you to take full advantage of your relationship with the child! Write them letters freighted with the gospel, the beauty of Christ, and His care for their circumstances. If you can, go visit the child. Do everything you can to help that young bearer of the image of God know the Father who gave His Son for their salvation and calls His followers to care for his or her needs.

 

 

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