The Christian world blew up again yesterday over homosexuality when World Vision (WV) announced that it would hire people legally married to a same-sex spouse. Richard Stearns, WV President, stated that the decision to rewrite their hiring policy was to bring about “unity” and “not a compromise to Scripture.” While Stearns acknowledged that WV wasn’t taking a side about gay marriage, they did. While the board hoped it wouldn’t be seen as a political move, it was. Regardless of how they framed things, WV made a clear choice to stand and call equality between traditional marriages and same-sex marriages. In a sense, their call for unity sort of back fired.
In the wake of this announcement, the Evangelical Church, is asking a ton of questions like, “Do we still support World Vision?” and “If we support them, are we endorsing their theology or stance on marriage?” These are all fair questions to be asking. In fact, I’ve been trying to formulate my position since yesterday, and I still haven’t risen to a solid conclusion. Each answer I give, I’m reminded of “Yeah, but what about this other point?” Sometimes, things are not as cut and dry as we tend to think.
Instead of giving “answers” in this post, I want to give some Scripture passages that I’ve been mulling over since yesterday. My prayer is that you would sincerely reflect on them with your ministry team before making a final decision about your partnership with WV.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
1 Peter 3:8-18–
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.”
As I said, there is no easy answer to give in this situation. We all must do what we hear the Father telling us to do. Those who break partnership with WV are no less of a Christian than those who stay. For better or worse, we generally live out our faith through our individual convictions. May we stand for what is right, not based on popular opinion but on the standard God has asked us to stand upon. In the end, He remains sovereign, faithful, and gracious.
My friend John has a sweet blog post processing this very topic, too. Check it out here.