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Christian charity’s blunder rectified

Christian charity’s blunder rectified

A COUPLE of days ago, World Vision, one of the largest Christian charities in the United States, dragged itself into the 21st century and announced that its American branch would now be willing to hire gay Christians who are legally married.

So great was the outrage that followed that WV went scampering back into its cave of homophobia, saying yesterday that the move was a horrible  mistake.

World Vision leaders, President  Richard Stearns (above), and Chairman of the World Vision US Board Jim Beré,  said it had “failed to be consistent” with the Bible and had reversed its decision after a board meeting.

Initially, it emphasised that the change really wasn’t a radical one for them, and that their code of conduct for employees remains the same, but they’re simply opening their doors to gay Christians as a show of unity.

Bouquets and brickbats followed. The first from LGBT advocates; the latter from conservative Christians.

On leaning of the about-turn, Rachel Held Evans, a popular blogger who had rallied her readers to donate to World Vision when it first announced its decision to allow married LGBT employees said:

This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.

Meanwhile, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had loudly criticized the initially change in World Vision’s policy, applauded the reversal.

World Vision’s right decision, as articulated in their board letter, conveys a spirit of Christlikeness and humility in tone and content. World Vision has done the right thing. Now, let’s all work for a holistic gospel presence, addressing both temporal and eternal needs.

The American Family Association's Brian Fischer wants Stearns sacked.

The American Family Association’s Brian Fischer wants Stearns sacked.

World Vision’s full statement is below. Have a sick bucket close to hand:

Today, the World Vision US board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

We are writing to you our trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.

In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.

While World Vision US stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Please know that World Vision continues to serve all people in our ministry around the world. We pray that you will continue to join with us in our mission to be “an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

56 Responses to “Christian charity’s blunder rectified”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Matt: I would love to agree with you, as there is no harm in children learning fables, even Biblical ones, but look who is behind this venture – “Bible Society”, whom we talked about only recently.

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/british.children.no.longer.know.bible.stories/35753.htm

    James Catford, chief executive of the Bible Society, said: “We’re not here to tell children what to believe. We simply want to give them a really fun experience they will always remember.”

    Sorry, but that’s not true. I know some of them personally and they are evangelical Christians whose mission is to “bring people to Christ” (look at their website). I think that in this case those responsible have made a wise decision, as who knows what the outcome might have been?

    PS “The Potter’s Field” was the burial place of Judas Iscariot and other outcasts, according to Matthew’s Gospel!

  2. 1859 says:

    @barriejohn: From that site about children not reading the bibble –
    ‘Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate (1999-2009), says that these statistics are becoming a disturbing reality and that many of Britain’s brightest students no longer know the story of Adam and Eve – making it difficult for academics to teach crucial literary and historical texts.’

    At only 10 years old Mr. Motion had a lot to say. But maybe the reason Britain’s ‘brightest students’ no longer read the bible is precisely because they are intelligent enough to see through the the crap of talking snakes etc., etc.

  3. barriejohn says:

    @1859: There’s far more Greek mythology referenced in English literature. Do “Bible Society” want THAT given priority in our schools?

  4. barriejohn says:

    PS They’re not interested in the education and welfare of children at all, apart from their “eternal welfare”. I used to have something to do with the Hampshire Bible Camps, and came across this on the Hampshire Christian Trust (Plymouth Brethren)site only the other day:

    http://hampshirechristiantrust.org.uk/Andrew%20Sullivan%20Profile.pdf

    I wonder what parents think of that.

  5. 1859 says:

    How can the above WV statement…

    ‘….While World Vision US stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect….’

    …possibly be true? How is telling someone ‘Sorry, god loves you but you can’t work for us because you’re gay,’ treating them with dignity and respect? Religion is surely the refuge of myopic fools.