Since its founding in 1950, World Vision has put the teachings of Jesus Christ into daily practice around the world by feeding and caring for those in dire need. As a ministry, it’s been one the great gems of evangelical Christendom. The organization has made – and is making – a dramatic difference in the lives of countless individuals.
Which is why I was so perplexed and concerned after learning of their policy change allowing their employees to live in homosexual marriage. Their original decision, announced on Monday, raised significant biblical contradictions that were simply irreconcilable when it comes to fidelity to the Holy Scriptures.
Earlier this afternoon, World Vision has reversed that decision and acknowledged its mistake. This is welcome news. According to a letter just released they will return to their “longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”
I believe the Board of World Vision had the best of intentions when they cited a desire for “unity” in making their original decision. But however well-intentioned, nothing is more important than adherence and faithfulness to the clear teachings of Christ. No matter how hard culture tugs, we cannot relinquish God’s truth.
There was a strong reaction when World Vision made their original announcement, and rightly so. These are critically important issues with far-reaching ramifications. But now that the Board of this important organization has asked for forgiveness, it’s time for us to do the right thing, too.
They made a mistake.
I pray that Christians will now respond likewise with a spirit of grace and humility. World Vision does not deserve to be harmed by this incident. The security and fate of too many children are at stake to hold a grudge and punish them by withholding support.
At the same time, there are those on the cultural left who might now feel compelled to chastise World Vision for their reversal. Those inclined to castigate often label those who hold to biblical definitions of human sexuality as “bigots.” In reality, true Christian love is the exact opposite of bigotry. True love demands that we speak God’s truth. As the Apostle Paul so eloquently wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Cor. 6:9).
In other words, it’s not loving to stay silent. We are called to share God’s perspective, which is always loving and true.
It should also be noted that Paul didn’t single out one sin over the other. There is no super sin. “Do not be deceived,” he wrote, “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 6:10].
As my friend Dr. Al Mohler recently reflected, “Paul’s point is not that homosexuals are uniquely sinful, but that all of us are sinners in need of the grace and mercy of God that come to us in the gift of salvation.”
So, again, love demands that we speak truth, not what simply tickles the ear. We find no way around it, no matter what culture calls for or demands.
I also pray that this incident will serve as a teachable moment for those of us within other Christian organizations. Just because the times seem to be changing doesn’t mean we have to be compelled to change or amend the universal and historic teachings of the Church.
The apostle Paul’s words ring true:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).