World Vision Reverses Decision: What Will the Liberals Do?

What an interesting 48 hours it has been.

On Monday, World Vision USA announced it was changing its employee policy to include same-sex married persons.

This was met with a strong response in many sectors (I noted only a few here).

The responses to the responses generated plenty of heated reaction from progressive Christians.

But with World Vision’s reversal, the question must be asked: Will the liberal Christians who praised World Vision’s initial decision and heaped scorn on conservative Christians who opposed it turn that criticism back to World Vision? Will those who called supporters of traditional marriage unloving, bigoted and vile now say the same about World Vision for returning to their “commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage”? Will those who were critical of conservatives for maintaining that the Bible is clear on all sexual immorality (including but certainly not limited to homosexual acts), now object to World Vision’s “strong commitment to Biblical authority”?

It is my hope that they won’t. In the same way that there were (rightly!) calls to continue to support the amazing good that World Vision does despite their original decision, I hope there will be calls for continued (and increased!) support in the aftermath of their reversal. But I also hope that those who praised World Vision’s initial decision will also listen carefully to their reasoning for their change.

Here is World Vision’s explanation (via CT):

Dear Friends,

Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our 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.

We are writing to you our trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.

In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.

While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Please know that World Vision continues to serve all people in our ministry around the world. We pray that you will continue to join with us in our mission to be “an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Richard Stearns, President

Jim Beré, Chairman of the World Vision U.S. Board



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