It is a long and dishonorable tradition in Christianity, I call it the Judas Tradition, to place at the helm of ostensibly Christian organizations people who end up eager to transform the organization into an adversary of Christianity. Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives us the latest example:
Another “Christian” ministry surrenders to the Zeitgeist:
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.
Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.
Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.
Oh, sweet mother of…
“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,” he said. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
Face? Palm? You know the drill.
“It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there,” he said. “This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.”
“We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us,” said Stearns. “This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.”
Give me a break, Stearnsie. Quick question. If you weren’t under some kind of pressure, if some group or other wasn’t threatening to sue you, then WHY MAKE THE POLICY CHANGE AT ALL?!!
While we’re on the subject of slippery slopes there, Stearnsie, what are you going to tell a potential employee who wants a job with World Vision but tells you that he’s a devout Christian who’s living with and currently banging three women on a regular basis? After all, “the global church” hasn’t definitively weighed on that topic yet, has it?
Prominent Christian thinkers aren’t buying what you’re selling, Stearnsie. Russell Moore:
At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish.
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.
The explanation given by World Vision President Richard Stearns is fatuous. He claims World Vision is remaining neutral on the issue of same-sex “marriage”. No, World Vision’s policy for employees was celibacy for singles and monogamy for the married. By deciding that gay sex inside of same-sex “marriage” meets that requirement for employees, World Vision is most definitely taking sides.
This is a cover for partnership with apostate denominations and letting them call the shots. The United Church of Christ holds to the faith of the creeds? Really? As long as libchurchers can cross their fingers and mouth a creed, Stearns is just fine with partnering with them and letting them set, nay, abolish Christian moral standards for employees. And that in the name of a unity which really destroys genuine Christian unity.
I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin.
Check the stats, World Vision; Episcopalianization is not the wave of the future. So I have no idea who you think that this move is going to impress.
Go here to read the comments. Stearns, the head of the US division of World Vision, has been trending this way for some time. From a Kristof column in The New York Times in 2010:
“A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.
“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?
Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”
In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)”
I love that this bozo was at the head of the US division of a Christian charitable group that has supplied God knows how much aid to people in need around the world since 1950, and he was parroting leftist talking points to bash Christians about allegedly being uncaring to the poor. This was yet another example of a man put at the helm of a Christian organization who was eager to transform it so he wouldn’t be embarrassed at his next cocktail party with members of the chattering classes who are in ideological lockstep on the issue of homosexual marriage.
Well, that didn’t take long:
Facing a firestorm of protest, the prominent Christian relief agency World Vision on Wednesday reversed a two-day-old policy change that would have allowed it to hire Christians in same-sex marriages in the US.
The aid group sent a letter to supporters saying the board had made a mistake and was returning to its policy requiring celibacy outside of marriage “and faithfulness within the Bible covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”
“We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness,” the agency said in the letter, signed by World Vision president Richard Stearns and board chairman Jim Bere.