Christianity Today reports that “World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.” World Vision president, Richard Stearns, clarified, “The new policy will not exclude someone from employment if they are in a legal same-sex marriage.”
World Vision is in the top ten charities in America and took in over a billion dollars last year and serves over a 100 million people in 100 countries.
This “very narrow policy change,” Stearns explained, “is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more. . . . This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. . . . We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. . . . This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues.”
The rationale for the change is that so-called same-sex marriage is in the same category with differences over baptism, divorce, evolution, and others. “Denominations disagree,” Stearns said, “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.”
This issue, Stearns said, “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.” Christianity Today seemed to agree that they are not taking a position by asking, “Will supporters, particularly theologically conservative ones, let World Vision adopt a neutral stance on same-sex marriage?” (emphasis added).
Trivializing Perdition and the Cross
This is a tragic development for the cause of Christ, because it trivializes perdition — and therefore, the cross — and because it sets a trajectory for the demise of true compassion for the poor.
When J.I. Packer walked out of the 2002 synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, he was protesting its decision to “bless same-sex unions.” His rationale is relevant for the developments at World Vision.
First, his words about unity expose the crass alignment of homosexual intercourse and baptism as comparable markers for biblical faithfulness. Packer wrote, “It is most misleading, indeed crass, to call this disagreement simply a difference about interpretation, of the kind for which Anglican comprehensiveness has always sought to make room.”
When World Vision says, “We cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue,” here is the side they do, in fact, jump onto: We forbid fornication and adultery as acceptable lifestyles among our employees (which they do), but we will not forbid the regular practice of homosexual intercourse. To presume that this position is not “jumping into the fight on one side or the other” is fanciful.
But worse than fancy, removing homosexual intercourse from its biblical alignment with fornication and adultery (and greed and theft and drunkenness) trivializes its correlation with perdition…
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