Thursday, April 17, 2014

World Vision, Same-Sex Marriage and the Weightiness of what we Believe

How should we vote and judge our leaders? Richard Stearns, the president of the mega-Christian-charity, World Vision (WV), doesn’t believe that our biblical views are relevant. According to the Religion News Service, he protested:

  • I’m not telling people where I stand on the same-sex marriage issue because I don’t think it’s relevant.

Meanwhile, he announced on March 24, 2014 that WV:

  • Would allow its U.S. branch to hire employees in same-sex marriages. [However] Stearns announced on March 26 that the World Vision board had made a mistake and would reverse the controversial decision. (World, April 19, 2014, 42)

So any connection? This hasty reversal doesn’t seem to have been a matter of the board conducting an exploratory Bible study. Rather, it was because “protests followed” their initial announcement. These came from contributors. Therefore, if the opinions of these protestors change, WV will most likely revert once again to their original proclamation.

Does what a leader believes matter? Perhaps this is a better question – “Is there anything more important than what we believe?” Clearly, what we believe is foundational to how we live. What the WV board believes has directly impacted their decisions. Here’s another small example:

  • A former director for international relations at World Vision estimated as many as 20 percent of staff overseas were Muslims. (45)

Without knowing more, it’s hard to quibble about this. Perhaps these employees were mainly security guards and had little influence of the provision of WV’s supposedly Christian services. However, there have been some unquestionably shady activities: “It awarded $300,000 to Sojourners,” a “Christian” organization which has a low view of Scripture and supports same-sex marriage. WV also “granted $242,786 to Save the Children in 2010.” However, this group says:

  • “Adolescents should be provided with information and access to safe abortion services when legal.” (45)

In whatever we do, we must glorify our Lord (1 Peter 4:11). We do not glorify Him if we enable what is an abomination to Him, whether it’s a matter of promoting sin or false worship. Besides, if we compromise our Christian witness, we ultimately will hurt and confuse those we seek to help.

WV was also understandably criticized for “producing Easter cards for sponsored children that don’t mention the resurrection.” What better time to proclaim the fact that Jesus rose for us! We are left to wonder that since WV would not mention the resurrection in Easter cards, whether they would mention it at any other time.

What then does it mean to be Christian if not to offer Christ to the world? Are we not to be ambassadors for Christ by conveying the Gospel message (2 Cor. 5:21)? If we provide material benefit without providing Christ, we are giving a false message – that Christ isn’t so relevant!

And what should we think of our Christian leaders who have “compared the issue of same-sex marriage to disagreements over baptism or women in church leadership,” thereby demeaning the weightiness of sexual sin (1 Cor. 6:19)?

What our leaders believe will determine everything else about them. We have a right to know and they have a duty to disclose.

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