World Vision: At First a Loss, Now a Win

By Richard Nelson

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March 27, 2014

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Conservative Christians are accustomed to defeat after defeat it seems in the culture wars. This week, we were struck a major blow. World Vision, the preeminent evangelical mercy ministry known for feeding the world's poor, announced that it would allow for Christians in same-sex marriages to be employees of their organization. This move was made, ostensibly, because World Vision employs individuals from many denominations, some of who have regrettably and sinfully chosen to bless same-sex marriage. Upon World's Vision announcement, there was an immediate outpouring of protest. Russell Moore, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, offered probably the wisest counsel on World Vision’s misstep. Said Moore,

But here’s what’s at stake. This isn’t, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth.

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.

[…]

There’s an entire corps of people out there who make their living off of evangelicals but who are wanting to “evolve” on the sexuality issue without alienating their base. I don’t mind people switching sides and standing up for things that they believe in. But just be honest about what you want to do. Don’t say “Hath God said?” and then tell us you’re doing it to advance the gospel and the unity of the church.

              Donor bases come and go. But the gospel of Jesus Christ stands forever. 

              World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see.

Good news came mid-week after World Vision repented of its actions and reversed course. Christians who hold to the authority of the Bible should be thankful for this action.

Andrew Walker, also of the ERLC, offered sound perspective on what the World Vision episode reveals about evangelicalism in America. According to Walker,

But once in awhile, we get our movement and ourselves right. Leaving aside the (valid) criticisms of para-church ministry structure and its lack of ecclesiological grounding, World Vision’s decision to reverse course from a patently unbiblical and patently unhistorical position, demonstrates that evangelicalism has boundary markers. We have core beliefs about authority. We may not always agree on what the precise boundaries are, but the World Vision event this week helps us identify the approximate boundaries, and when it has been crossed. Evangelicalism did triage this week, and did it well. We saw through the malaise of theological indifferentism and insisted that while evangelicalism remains a big tent, at some point, the canopy ends.

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