Whirled Vision

My brief post on the reversal of the turnaround at World Vision generated some questions and comments, so let me chase them here.

Start with the central thing — and that would concern our duty of not being the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. If the subject is sin and repentance, it should go without saying that we should never sneer at a broken and a contrite heart. How many times do we forgive someone? Jesus dealt with this famously when He said the right number was 70 times 7. And that does not mean that once the sinner gets past 490, then pow, right in the kisser. Our forgiveness for others should imitate God’s forgiveness of us, and it is obviously impossible to outshine Him.

Jesus taught that someone could sin against us seven times in a day, and that upon a profession of repentance we should forgive him each time. Now, along about the fourth or fifth incident, I might begin to suspect that my friend is not dealing with the root issues — but I am still to forgive (Luke 17:4).

So, how does this relate, if at all, to World Vision? Our problem is that we have confused two categories that must never be confused. In the church, we must learn to maintain an understanding of a fundamental difference between qualifications for fellowship (on profession of repentance) and qualifications for leadership (as found, for example, in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1). The former is not based on the record at all — the publican in the Temple professed himself wretched, and went home justified. But the latter is very much based on proven character over time.

If you require that every member of the church meet the qualifications for elder, then congratulations, you’re a Pharisee. But if you think that elders don’t have to meet the qualifications for elder, then congratulations, you’re a anarchist.

If a pastor committed adultery, can he be forgiven? Of course. Can he be restored to the fellowship of the saints, admitted to communion again? Again, of course. Could this happen in a very short period of time? Of course. Could he preach the sermon three weeks later? Of course not. But the fact is that we live in muddled times, and to refuse him the privilege of the pulpit would be seen by many as a “refusal to forgive.” But it is nothing of the kind. Apples and mangoes.

World Vision is a parachurch diaconal ministry. This means that the qualifications for leadership apply, and not just the qualifications for fellowship. And this means that the leaders of World Vision cannot just announce one day that a practice that God declared to be an abomination is now all right with them, and then two days later (after their financial support started to evaporate) drop that position like a hot rock, and yet remain qualified to provide moral leadership. They blew a huge hole in their credibility. Leadership being what it is, they can receive full and free forgiveness — but the hole is still there. The hole is still there because God wants it still there.

They destroyed their credibility, not me. The first step in restoring that credibility is to receive forgiveness. The second is behave in a way that shows that they understand that destroying their own credibility is what they did. The third is to recognize that credibility is something that is built over time, in the very nature of the case. They can’t just “have it back.” The next thing they should do is start accepting resignations. They sinned in a number of different ways, but one of the big ones is that they demonstrated that they were and are untrustworthy.

One of the most important truths I try to communicate in pastoral counseling is the idea that trust and forgiveness are two very different things. Many people cannot see their way to forgive someone else because they assume that forgiveness requires trust, and they are in a situation where trust would obviously be insane. Forgiveness is required of us because it has been sought, and we give it by grace. It is grace. But trust is earned.

So, do we forgive the leadership of World Vision for this sin that they have confessed? Absolutely. Do we trust them? Are you serious?

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Matt Massingill

    That all holds plenty of water, and yes we should give forgiveness by grace,  but my question is, have they really repented for the sin of dishonoring God by disregarding his Word in an effort to be expedient, or have they simply “asked forgiveness” – i.e. more as a figure of speech –  for striking the wrong chord with their partners and supporters.  Are they repenting for sin or are they issuing an organizational “my bad,” to mitigate the financial bleeding. 
    I have not read the letter they sent out, so maybe it’s more specific than I’m assuming, but the language in the news pieces I’ve read it sounds as if they’re apologizing for not being sensitive enough to their supporters desires, which is a different animal for repenting over sin.     And to be clear, I’m not suggesting we message a repentance that is sincere on it’s face in an effort to read hearts and then declare it insincere.  What I’m saying is, it doesn’t seem to be repentance on it’s face.  It seems more like a generic mea culpa. 

  • http://rcsprouljr.com rcjr

    Excellent. Helpful. Hopeful. Boy howdy you have skillz. 

  • Matt

    So just to be clear, it is a sin to hire homosexuals?

  • http://www.elmhurst-farm.com David Axberg

    Amen my brother. 

  • David

    You remind me that being a pastor is a calling and that those called are gifted by God. Praying for you. Thanks for what you do.

  • Rick Gibson

    Another, and very important, reason not to support World Vision is that they are anti-Israel.  One of the best, and fastest, ways to ascertain if an allegedly Christian group has gone liberal on us, is to check out their position on Israel.  World Vision, like all liberal alleged Christians, supports those who wish to destroy Israel.

  • timothy

    So just to be clear, it is a sin to hire homosexuals?


  • Dan

    Matt to answer your question we need to make a few qualifying statements.
    1. Same sex attraction is not a sin
    2. Acting on same sex attraction is.
    3. In a Christian organization policy of hiring should directly relate to scriptural adherence.
    this would include  things such as orthodoxy in matters of faith, character, i.e behavior.
    A person with same sex attraction who doesn’t identify themselves as “gay” i.e as their birthright, and also would agree that any sexual activity outside of marriage is forbidden by scripture; i.e. therefore any gay sex as sinful would imho be hirable  provided they continued to live as any single person would be required to live under scripture.
    I hope that helps.

  • carole

    This reminds me of the beautiful post you wrote about Doug Phillips.

  • Matt Massingill

    Correction, “massage,” not “message.”

  • Alex

    Thank you Pastor Doug,
     My question and concern still remain. It doesn’t sound as though you actually addressed your statement from yesterday. My concern from it did not have to do with the distinction between forgiveness and trust (which was helpful, thank you), but rather, the judging of motives in repentance. In other words, I cannot gather from your comments that you forgive them, which, wouldn’t you say you have the obligation to do based solely on expressed confession, and measure of repentance? If not, should you not make that explicit, even with reservations regarding trust? It seems a gospel-issue to not do so. But more pointedly, the charge to you is that you judged their motives in repentance (and in sin), not only that you didn’t explicitly offer forgiveness (which you didn’t). The practical matter is that, as you admonished Truman in his response to transformationalism, we need to make sure we are fighting our enemies, and not our friends. Sure, our friends act like enemies at times, but perhaps more evangelicals wouldn’t be as naive and lack the required character needed to lead if those who had understanding (you) and character (you) acted more like the father. No one is claiming the prodigal should be king, even if he finds himself in that position. But the Father didn’t offer a bunch of qualifiers and defenses; he offered an embrace, a ring, a robe, and a feast. We’ll sort the rest out from there. I do appreciate your help in these matters.

  • Matt

    Then Worldvision, at least in respect to this matter, hasn’t sinned and need not beg forgiveness of anyone.

  • Wesley

    Matt, I think Pastor Wilson explained the necessity for repentance and forgiveness in paragraph 7, explaining that it’s a diaconal ministry that normalized sin.

  • Matt Massingill

    I think part of the issue here is that World Vision didn’t sin against Doug Wilson in particular, or against all who disagree with their initial policy change.  They sinned against (a) God; and (b) any of their supporters who they (may) have made promises or pledges to to adhere to Scriptural principles.   I’m not sure that it can be said that anyone else who disagrees with their decision is an offended party.   In other words, not everyone who comments or offers a public rebuke is in the position to offer forgiveness, b/c they weren’t necessarily the ones sinned against.
    Furthermore, there is a difference between refraining from attempting to judge hidden motives of the heart, on the one hand, and giving the benefit of the doubt in situations where there is little doubt.  If they offered a full-fledged repentance, stating that they realized their actions were against God’s law and they had simply caved in to expediency and were ashamed of their actions, etc. then we would have no right to try and “divine” whether they were sincere or not, b/c the repentance would be sincere on it’s face.  But from what I saw they basically apologized for not being responsive enough to their supporters and partners – for upsetting them – which is more of mea culpa about bad marketing than it is repentance.

  • sean carlson

    You are correct about forgiveness & also correct about trustworthiness. WV can receive the 1st but I’d say the 2nd has pretty much been shot to doll rags. How in the world did this Christian organization ever come to their original position in the 1st place? How can the Lord’s people trust them again? At the very  least their board needs to be re-shuffled.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    What does the question of “hiring homosexuals” have to do with what World Vision did, Matt? You do realize that this was not about that, right? It was about hiring people engaged in a mockery of marriage.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Or I should say, it was about hiring people engaged in a mockery of marriage for work in a Christian ministry, which is a substantially different thing from whether it is a “sin to hire homosexuals” in general.

  • willis

    For all the people chiding for Pastor Wilson questioning their motives in repentance, can we be serious for a moment. Do you really think that funding had nothing to do with it? Do you really think this group of intelligent people would sit down and carefully think out a major break from biblical teaching, send out their leader to defend it, and then two days later suddenly have a change of heart unless funding was involved? 

    I am all for personal forgiveness but Doug is right on with the leadership thing. They are not fit for leading and it will take a lot of steady behavior before they are trusted to lead again.
    And to get some perspective, consider other sins (pedophilia, endorsing racism, embezzling funds, etc) and consider whether two days after being found out, if they issued a letter saying “sorry!” you would endorse going about with business as usual. Obviously, you would not.  Forgive? yes. Trust with leadership anytime soon? No. 

  • Jill Smith

    When I look at pictures of hungry third world children, it is hard for me to see why they should be penalized because an organization failed to maintain doctrinal purity.  I would hold my nose and partner with the Westboro Baptist Church if it meant that starving children get clean water, food, and medical care.  I am very glad that WV reversed itself; but I am stunned by people were prepared to dishonor their commitment to specific children whose trusting faces they see every time they walk past their desks or their refrigerator doors.

  • David

    I can completely relate to what you are saying, and I have thought about this as well. In reality, there are other groups you could redirect your financial support to, if you were so inclined. What I found so edifying about Doug’s posts on this topic was his comment regarding the difference between criteria for fellowship, and criteria for leadership. The interruption of funds in that scenario is really a consequence to the appropriate withdrawal of support from men who decided to disqualify themselves for Christian ministry (as opposed to secular ministry), and the blood is on their hands, as it were. You are correct, the children should not have to suffer for the stupid decision of these men, which is what burns me up about what they did.
    I admit that if you have a child you support, it is complicated as to what to do. For me, I have never sent them a dime, and I will not be sending them a nickel anytime in the near future.

  • Jeremy

    One thing that may have contributed to World Visions reversal, but I have not heard mentioned, is the response of its 1,100 staff.  More than losing 2,000 child sponsorships in 2 days, having x% of staff hand in their resignation letters at the same time can quickly bring change.   Like Doug suggests, World Vision has a credibility problem when they make a policy change that does not reflect the majority values of its staff.  

  • Rod Story

    Charity Navigator (website) is helpful in ranking organzations who sponsor inpoverished children, particularly the administrative costs and real impact for these childern. World Vision has been slipping in recent years, becoming heavy on adminstration costs, including a highly paid CEO. Consider Compassion International for a better “bang for the buck.” Oh, and avoid UNICEF, unless you want to pay for fancy Europeans to vacation.

  • willis

    Jill, there are countless good organizations (or at least ones that do not publicly reject the bible). I can recommend Compassion International and the PCA’s MTW One Child program (we give to both).
    Yes, it is sad to stop giving to one child but if there are other children that are unfunded because of the money that World Vision takes. 

  • Rick

    Jill, the reality is that partnering with pro-homosexual marriage WV would be not very different than partnering with Mormonism. Not even hungry children are more important than honoring and obeying God.

  • Rod Story

    One more thought: there are many organizations, religious and not, that seek to do good, and in a measure provide some temporary relief of suffering. However, passages like Matt 7:21-23 should give us pause–it is possible to do what we perceive as “great good” and yet not know God and His salvation. We must seek to do good “because we belong to Christ,” as Christ directs us in Mark 9:40+

  • Greg

    Could he preach the sermon three weeks later? Of course not.

    Thank you for the thoughtful, intentional and Scriptural observations you shared. Now, concerning your quote above: this state of things has always been a curiosity to me. What is the time standard by which we measure “enough” time to reestablish leadership or credibility or both? Though experienced prior to the Pauline declarations of the qualifications of elders, I’ve always been drawn to Peter’s betrayal of Christ some 50 (or so) days before he stands on the Day of Pentecost to preach the Gospel. Clearly, God ordained the moment and the man and the move of the Spirit in the hearts of people to believe. Given Peter’s profound sin against the Lord, even to deny Him with bitter cursing, would he have been “eligible” to stand and preach that historic message if evaluated by man’s standards of “enough” time?

  • Moor

    @Matt: There is little to add to those who have already addressed your question, but just so that we are all clear, your question is a red herring and does nothing to address the issue at hand.  You seem bent on turning this debate into something other than what it is, and while you are undoubtedly asking important questions, they are not particularly salient.  If you have a statement to make, just make it.

  • Melody

    Greg, does the name “Jimmy Swaggert” ring any bells?  Remember the big repentance drama in front of his church after he got caught with a prostitute?  Jimmy claimed that because he publicly repented of his sin, he did not need the proscribed year of counseling required by the AOG denomination under which he served.  Now, remember the next prostitute he got caught with? – Suppose a man confesses to his wife an affair he has had and seems genuinely repentant.  That same day he puts the moves on his wife to get her in bed.  When she protests that it is going to take time re-earn her trust he says, “But Baby, given [the Apostle] Peter’s profound sin against the Lord, even to deny Him with bitter cursing, would he have been “eligible” to stand and preach that historic message if evaluated by man’s standards of “enough” time?”.  Just a little food for thought.

  • Melody

    It seems to me that the leadership at WV has held needy children hostage and used them as pawns in a game to obtain homosexual power over another group of defenseless people.  If those leaders cared a fig about those children, they would gladly give up their own salaries to bridge the gap formed by the thoughtless and uncaring people who would withhold funds – wouldn’t they?

  • J

    Thank you, everybody.  I think that this could make a person decide not to support WV if they have never done so, but I would hope they could find a way to ensure that every child they currently sponsor can be transferred to another organization.  If not, I would want to go on sponsoring my child even if every monthly check was accompanied by a letter of protest.  But, I do hope that people will reconsider their refusal now that WV has changed its mind.  I think there is a middle ground between backtracking because of genuine moral conviction and backtracking just to keep the money flowing.  I think they backtracked because they didn’t want the children to pay for what they did.  But I do understand that, although I am a little squishy on the whole gay issue, you can’t possibly recognize gay marriage within your organization and still expect support from people who find the entire concept sinful.

  • Eric the Red

    I need some more facts, but based on what I’ve read thus far I’m not convinced WV went quite as far as what they’re being criticized for.  If they have 2500 staff positions, do all of those positions involve leadership?  Presumably this includes people who work in the mailroom, empty the wastebaskets, and order office supplies.  Are all of those people required to be held to the standards of elders and deacons, just by virtue of working for a parachurch organization?  For that matter, are people in non-leadership positions in a parachurch organization even required to be Christians?  I strongly suspect that someone in a same-sex marriage would still not have been considered for a WV staff position that genuinely did involve leadership.  Maybe there’s less here than meets the eye.  Regardless, speaking as an outsider, I will way that the politics of it is completely fascinating.

  • Eric the Red

    I need some more facts, but based on what I’ve read thus far I’m not convinced WV went quite as far as what they’re being criticized for.  If they have 2500 staff positions, do all of those positions involve leadership?  Presumably this includes people who work in the mailroom, empty the wastebaskets, and order office supplies.  Are all of those people required to be held to the standards of elders and deacons, just by virtue of working for a parachurch organization?  For that matter, are people in non-leadership positions in a parachurch organization even required to be Christians?  I strongly suspect that someone in a same-sex marriage would still not have been considered for a WV staff position that genuinely did involve leadership.  Maybe there’s less here than meets the eye.  Regardless, speaking as an outsider, I will say that the politics of it is completely fascinating.

  • Eric the Red

    Sorry for the double post.

  • John R.

    Eric, the immediate problem is not that WV was (necessarily) going to hire homosexuals for leadership positions (though that would indeed be a massive problem). The problem is that people in leadership positions in an explicitly Christian organization were going to adopt hiring practices which accede to a redefinition of marriage that mocks God, ignores the authority of the Bible, and is inconsistent with their own statement of Christian faith–which they admitted to in their apology. 

  • http://baptisttheologian.com Aaron O’Kelley

    This is a very helpful distinction, Rev. Wilson.  Thank you.

  • Robert

    Holding kids hostage is what every school district does at bond time. Why should we be surprised that UNICEF @ WV. Both do the same?

  • Tim P

    I was one of the donors who dropped a sponsorship because of the policy change. I did pick it back up after the reversal.  I agree that they have lost a lot of trust but I felt that continuing my current pledge was an acceptable way to demonstrate forgiveness, though I will not be making any new long-term commitments through WV until trust is reestablished.
    Additionally Eric, for me the crux of the problem was that WV essentially stated in their policy that a flagrantly unrepentant person should be accepted as a faithful Christian period (in this case the pet sin being homosexual sex).  If the policy change had been to hire non-Christians into the organization, even though these could be gay, “married” non Christians, then that would have been a problem, but less so, because they wouldn’t be openly trying to subvert the faith, just making what I would consider an unwise decision, but again not necessarily heretical on its face.  I would still drop my support long term in this case, but would consider finishing up my current commitment.

  • David Moody

    Stearns, the president of World Vision, was interviewed <a href=”http://www.religionnews.com/2014/03/27/qa-world-vision-president-rich-stearns-sponsors-staff-lost-sex-marriage-announcements/”>here</a>.


    It doesn’t look like he has changed his opinions.  It only looks like he has decided to be quiet about it again.

  • timothy

    From :David’s link above:

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

    This is not leadership.

  • http://www.hessionphoto.com Joseph Hession

    Pastor Doug,
    Could you address “the way forward” for those invested in W.V. children and/or initiatives?  For those un-invested they can choose Samaritan’s Purse or some other organization, but it’s quite a bit messy for those already in the game.  While I’m not trying to go for a “but what about the children” thing here…well…ok…in this case I am.  Sure, someone who was sponsoring a child could take their $30/mo elsewhere (there are no shortage of needy kids), but most of the money is going to the child someone is sponsoring, so the relationship is being severed with the child because of the organization funneling the goods to the children.  It just seems to me that someone currently supporting a child through W.V. should continue to do so and then have a “we’ll use another organization for the next one” kind of policy.  But what are your thoughts?
    Even more complicated might be the case of the Casting Crowns.  I just got to see them in concert the other day actually.  They are the real deal.  But, they are deeply partnered with World Vision (the concert tour itself, I imagine, has contractual obligations of some kind).  But they seek to get child sponsorships at their concerts.  What a hard and untenable position for them!  A few posts down on their FB page you can see their response to this whole thing… https://www.facebook.com/castingcrowns
    Anyway, can you comment on how to be faithful in these scenarios?

  • Cindy

    I have found this distinction between forgiveness & trust to be so very true in my own life.  Having said that, I’ve never really trusted or regarded WV very highly.  When we researched different organizations, they came to the top of the list for administrative costs, and after some prayer, we just felt ‘off’ when it came to them.
    I found a great response re how to handle an existing relationship with a child sponsored via WV on Mere Orthodoxy, from Matt Anderson.  http://mereorthodoxy.com/whether-christians-keep-supporting-world-vision/.  Thoughtful, intelligent.
    Thanks for this blog, Pastor Wilson.  Love. it.

  • Douglas Wilson

    Postscript: I received a private letter from someone who pointed out that while I affirm the need for forgiveness in this situation, what I wrote in both posts didn’t feel like forgiveness. This is a fair point, and one I should have addressed. While I believe that World Vision sinned egregiously, I do not believe that they sinned against me. I was an observer to the whole thing — not a sponsor of a child, or a supporter, etc. Thus I didn’t think I had any standing to say “I forgive you.” But I should have made that point clear, and also should have made it clear that if I had that standing, I would have freely and fully extended forgiveness.

  • timothy

    The link you provided pulls up a page-not-found. Could you please summarize what the page said?

  • http://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com Eliza

    It seems there is such a low standard for repentance.  They didn’t confess their sin against God and against His Holy Word.  They were trying to appease their constituency both times, the first time, those who are pro-homosexual marriage, the second time, those who take a Biblical stand against homosexual marriage.  They saw their number of supporters drop in response to their adoption of a liberal hiring policy regarding married homosexual couples.  In contrast, this is what David said when he was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah:
    To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou might be justified when thou speak, and be clear when thou judge. Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desires truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psalms 51:1-6
    The truth they espoused in their apology letter was this:
    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. “
    Their statement “traditional understanding of Biblical marriage” leaves open the possibility of addressing this issue again in the future.  They are clearly not concerned with the Holy standard given to us in God’s Word.  Based upon their false repentance they deserve neither forgiveness nor trust.  True repentance would mean that they renounced their shameful ways and honestly desired to be true to the Word of God.  God bless you:)

  • willis
  • http://bethyada.blogspot.com/ bethyada

    Cindy’s link didn’t work because the stop at the end is in the hyperlink. Try http://mereorthodoxy.com/whether-christians-keep-supporting-world-vision/

  • James Bradshaw

    “Not even hungry children are more important than honoring and obeying God.”
    Let me put this a little more bluntly for you: Better a child should starve to death than a fag drive the truck that delivers the food to them.
    Christian love at its finest.  Do you demonstrate “God’s love” to your children by putting their puppy in the microwave after it pees on the floor?  I take that back … at least the dog’s suffering would come to an end.

  • timothy

    Thank you.
    When your blood pressure is reduced somewhat and you can think through your reflexive repulsion at God and His people, you may want to have a gander at the link as well. Your smear of “better a child should starve than a fag drive the truck that delivers food to them” speaks to your spiritual blindness and not to the character of the body of Christ.

  • David R

    @James – prior to this brouhaha, WV had a policy of sexual purity within and outside of marriage. Would you then claim that it was better that a child starve, than a lothario to drive a truck. Was this policy also hateful or punishing to children?

  • Melody

    The problem with WV and most other organizations like them – and the reason I choose to put my money elsewhere – is that they are interested in feeding children food and, for the most part, uninterested in the salvation of their souls. If you are going to market yourself as an Evangelical Christian organization, then for heaven’s sake, act like one or don’t ask me for support.  The wimpy Evanjellical Church has just become tiresome. The notion that WV chose to use children as hostages in order to promote a homosexual agenda is despicable beyond belief.

  • Rick

    James, has it occurred to you that hungry children can be fed through donations to God-honoring organizations? 

  • willis

    James, exactly! People are acting like WV is the only organization helping kids. But in reality there is a choice. The question is not ‘do I help kids or not based on what WV did?’ but instead ‘should I help kids via WV or via one of the countless other organizations doing similar work?’

  • Jill Smith

    I was thinking about your comment, Melody, and it got me wondering about something I read a few years ago.  A very well known mega-pastor (whom I won’t name because I have may have misquoted his exact words though not his sense) said that perhaps death by starvation in Africa is God’s special providence for children who would otherwise be damned if they reached the age of accountability.  I found this to be heartless but with a weird repellent logic all it own.  If he is correct, then why are we trying to prolong their lives in the first place?  My own view would have been that only by showing them that people care enough for their  (and their families’) sufferings to alleviate them, and only by enabling the mind and soul to focus on something other than hunger and sickness, are we likely to make the Lord we serve real and loveable to them.  I think most charitable organizations operate on that assumption.  The pink ribbons, the school supplies–the imaginative sympathy shown in meeting their material needs–tell them more about God’s love than just our words can ever do.  If this is true, is delivering food equally important as preaching the Gospel, at least as a starting point?  But I am still scratching my head about a belief that a greater mercy would be shown in letting them starve.

  • timothy

    But I am still scratching my head about a belief that a greater mercy would be shown in letting them starve

    I find that idea repellent; we are talking children here. Furthermore, from scripture…”I was hungry and you fed me naught, I was naked and you clothed me naught”
    Can I personally clothe and feed every child? no. Would I if I could. You bet your bippy I would. I will go further. You know those “snowflake babies”–the frozen embryos? I think it is our moral responsibility to give them life and care for them. If I could, I would.
    my 2 cents.
    rant off.

  • Melody

    Jill, I think you may have misread my comment.  Nowhere in it do I ever suggest letting children, or anyone else starve.  I merely pointed out that many so-called Evangelical organizations get so focused on physical food that fills the stomach for a day that they never get around to the food that lasts for eternity.   James 2:15-17 speaks to this, “If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, and one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?  So also faith, if it does not have works , by itself is destitute of power.” Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” I am merely pointing out that for the born-again Christian, these two must exist in tension.  WV has created a crisis when none should have ever existed and brought shame to the name of Christ.

  • Jill Smith

    Hi Melody, I really didn’t think you ever meant that giving the Word of God should replace giving food.  It just got me musing about the tension between priorities, and I would agree there should be no tension.  I also do understand that Christians can’t see their work here as primarily secular or they may as well be working for Oxfam.  Timothy, my heart is with you all the way and I feel that I don’t do enough with what I have.  Thank you both.

  • Eric the Red

    “The notion that WV chose to use children as hostages in order to promote a homosexual agenda is despicable beyond belief.”  That’s the one part of this story that still has me scratching my head.  Usually corporations like WV do things that they believe are in their best corporate interest.  Why, he asks, would WV think that it was in their interest to make the policy change?  They had to know their evangelical donors would hate it.  I can’t imagine it would be popular in third-world countries like Uganda where homosexuality is increasingly unpopular, and where they do a lot of their work.  And I can’t imagine that there are enough gay donors or prospective staff for it to benefit them all that much.  The only thing I can think of is that maybe they really did believe it was the right thing to do.  Not all evangelicals are social conservatives.  But I don’t have any inside information either; that’s just a guess.

  • Dan

    I don’t understand why World Vision made their initial decision either.  If they truly thought it was the right thing to do (which I don’t), then they shouldn’t have reversed their decision within 48 hours.  Hence, this shows astonishingly poor leadership on many levels.  In President Richard Stearns’ letter to his employees, he stated: “By way of background, our board of directors is recognized as one of the leaders among Christian organizations in the U.S. It includes deeply spiritual and wise believers, among them several pastors, a seminary president, and a professor of theology. Since this policy change involves the sensitive issue of human sexuality, the board spent several years praying about and discussing this issue. The board affirmed that World Vision U.S. will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff. The board will also continue to require that every employee agree to the doctrinal issues enshrined in the Apostles’ Creed and/or World Vision’s own Statement of Faith.”  The part that is especially troubling to me is this: “…the board spent several years praying about and discussing this issue.”  Really?  I’m not sure how this can be, if the board felt compelled to reverse their decision so abruptly.  Thus, they ended up offending gay people for reversing their initial “principled” decision, while at the same time offending the Evangelical community at large as well as thousands of donors and sponsors.  Was it worth it?  Apparently, not anymore.  My overarching question is, why did the board not anticipate the backlash and chaos that would result from their initial decision?  How on earth did they not see this coming?  My immediate answer is that they wanted to make a social statement because they felt they could.  Oftentimes, people in positions of power and leadership feel they can bulldoze their influence on others without thinking through the effect it may have.  Because, honestly, they often don’t feel they need others’ approval for their decisions.  I certainly don’t presume to know the personal motives in this decision regarding Mr. Stearns or the board; but I am pretty certain that they expected at least some degree of backlash for this, yet they decided to pursue their agenda anyway.  Personally, think some resignations are in order.  Due to their poor (and hasty) decision, even if World Vision doesn’t lose too many more existing sponsors, they have likely closed the door to many potential sponsors.  Again, was it worth it?  Why did Mr. Stearns and the board feel the need to get their parachurch ministry embroiled in an unnecessary same-sex marriage controversy?  To make a social statement?  Lastly, for all those who are now attacking Evangelicals for putting traditional marriage ahead of feeding hungry children, ask yourself this question: why did Mr. Stearns and the board decide to put same-sex marriage ahead of feeding hungry children?  What were they thinking?