Which Way is the Wind Blowing Today?
Two days ago, World Vision announced a change in their hiring policies. From now on, they announced, they would embrace homosexual “marriage” among its employees and recognize practicing homosexual employees who profess faith in Jesus as true Christians.
Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision, said in a statement published in Christianity Today, “Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues. It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
He went on to say, “Denominations disagree on many, many things: on divorce and remarriage, modes of baptism, women in leadership roles in the church, beliefs on evolution, etc. So our practice has always been to defer to the authority and autonomy of local churches and denominational bodies on matters of doctrine that go beyond the Apostles’ Creed and our statement of faith.”
In a letter to World Vision employees explaining the policy change, Stearns wrote this, “…our board of directors is recognized as one of the leaders among Christian organizations in the U.S. It includes deeply spiritual and wise believers, among them several pastors, a seminary president, and a professor of theology. Since this policy change involves the sensitive issue of human sexuality, the board spent several years praying about and discussing this issue.”
“The board and I wanted to prevent this divisive issue from tearing World Vision apart and potentially crippling our ability to accomplish our vital kingdom mission of loving and serving the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ. Through our many discussions and much prayer, we began to discern some clarity around this issue.”
Well, that was then, this is now.
Earlier today, a mere 48 hours after the original announcement, World Vision put their finger in the air for a second time, and discovered that “several years” of “praying about and discussing this issue” is trumped by two days of criticism and the threat of lost income. So much for principle.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they reversed themselves. But if this isn’t an example of being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, then I don’t know what is. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. It will only be a matter of time before their principles change again. Word Vision has revealed what they want to do. If they were honest about it, this is what they would say… “It was the right decision, but it was the wrong time. All of these right wing evangelicals are still stuck in the past. We should have waited until more people caught up with our progressive views. Eventually, we’ll do what we want to do, but to do it now would cost us too much.”
So now what? Should people forgive and forget? Forgiveness is always required of the Christian. I could be wrong about all that I have said above. I doubt it, but its possible. And so forgiveness is to be extended. Everyone makes boneheaded decisions now and then.
What we don’t do, is forget. There is a reason why Scripture speaks of “fruit in keeping with repentance.” It’s all too easy to say, “Oops. Sorry about that.” One can be sorry because they got caught, or because, as it seems in this case, the consequences of one’s decision were unforeseen. Genuine repentance will result in tangible change…in fruit in keeping with repentance.
Should those who currently support a child through World Vision continue to do so? That’s a difficult choice. It is an easier choice now that WV has reversed themselves, but still difficult. After all, we’re not just talking about a multibillion dollar organization. We’re talking about real, flesh and blood children. We’re talking about children with names and voices. We’re talking about children who need to be fed and educated. So I would guess that there are many who have supported children through World Vision until those children grow out of the program. That is a perfectly legitimate decision.
But then what?
In the letter to employees cited above, we are told that the World Vision board, which is ostensibly responsible for the direction of the organization, consists of “deeply spiritual and wise believers, among them several pastors, a seminary president, and a professor of theology.” These “deeply spiritual and wise believers”, have spent “several years praying about and discussing this issue.” Mustn’t one then ask how much trust can be invested in an organization whose “deeply spiritual and wise” leaders can spend years in prayer and discussion and then determine that it would be a great idea to endorse that which God’s Word clearly refers to as an “abomination”? And then, after coming to that horrendous decision, decides within 48 hours that all their years of prayer and discussion didn’t really provide them with any wisdom or spiritual insight after all, and so they change their minds again.
World Vision has let the mask slip. They long ago abandoned the gospel of Jesus Christ in all but name. When an organization boasts, as they do in that same letter to World Vision employees, that the mission of WV unites “…Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox, nondenominational, etc.—more than 50 different expressions of the Christian faith represented within WVUS alone”, then that organization has given up the gospel in any clearly defined, meaningful sense. There is no single gospel that unites biblical Christianity with Romanism and Eastern Orthodoxy and apostate Episcopalians and Presbyterians.
What we are seeing in World Vision is just the latest example of a pattern which has been repeated over and over again. We’ve seen it happen in churches and seminaries and mission agencies and entire denominations. It is the history of liberalism and apostasy. It happens gradually, and if one is not paying attention, the changes are almost imperceptible. And that’s just the way the leadership wants it. Convictions change. Principles change. Methods change. But the doctrinal statements will remain unchanged, and appearances remain unchanged, for as long as they can fake it. Why? Because as long as the faithful can be misled, the faithful will still write the checks.
I am neither the prophet, nor the son of a prophet. But mark my words. We have not heard the last of this. It may take years, but unless God brings a revival or new leadership, World Vision will eventually put its finger in the air for a third time, and they will issue another apology. Only this time their apology will not be to the church, but to the culture. They will apologize for not standing firm in their support of homosexual marriage. And that is where they will finally stay.