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opinion

Viewpoint

In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – and everything in between – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?

“Viewpoint” allows your Prayer Team’s talented writing team to express their opinions on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree with all they have to say. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say, and perhaps even receive a response back from the writer.

Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders. 

World Vision’s Teeter-Totter

ViewpointProminent Christian charity wrestles over hiring gays

By Nikolas Grosfield

Below are the subject lines from the two most recent e-mails World Vision has sent me:

Perhaps you got those emails, too. World Vision may be the largest evangelical aid group in the world. Its website has 63 country profiles spanning five continents, mostly developing countries. But it also helps nations like New Zealand after natural disasters. It serves people in need around the United States – 2.3 million in 2012. And, World Vision is known across the globe for its child sponsorship program, which blesses more than four million children each year.

Most important of all, World Vision seeks to be “motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ [to] serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.” It began in 1950, and it has separate divisions in various countries.

Late in March, World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns announced that the U.S. arm would begin hiring professing Christians in legal, same-sex marriages. After two days of backlash from Christians across the nation, Stearns and Jim Bere, board chairman of World Vision U.S., issued a retraction statement and apology, which included the following:

“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.”

The press release also notes World Vision’s adherence to the biblical precepts of abstinence, marital faithfulness, confrontation, church unity, and confession. Quite a good letter, actually. Time will tell if it is good enough to overshadow Stearns’ earlier remarks, when World Vision U.S. initially changed its long-term hiring policy. In an exclusive interview with Christianity Today, he stated:

“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…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.”

Stearns affirmed World Vision’s devotion to unity, an admittedly overlooked biblical principle in American churches. He also denied any external or internal pressures leading up to the change.

Christianity Today cited varied reactions to World Vision’s renunciation. Some blasted it as only being for money, others denounced it as weak or untrustworthy. Still others praised it as the right response to brotherly confrontation, and one even suggested that World Vision may lose funds as a result of it. Another wrote that Christians can disagree and “still serve people in urgent need.”

A gay professing Christian wrote me an intriguing e-mail last week. He was “shocked” at World Vision’s reversed policy, “because I thought for sure World Vision had done enough research to know that it would face considerable backlash.” Yet, he supports World Vision’s “wise” move to apologize: “Issuing a quick apology to appease the base was the only way to stop the suffering of many innocent children, and so I don’t blame them for that.”

World Vision has apologized. So forgive. Whether they meant it or not is God’s business. But an obvious lack of, or at least lapse in, wisdom is a lingering cause for concern. Wherever you stand on the hot topic of same-sex marriage, it is worrisome that the World Vision U.S. leadership ever thought its change could be a point of unity. In recent years the issue has wreaked disunity and fallout all over America.

John Huffman, chairman of the board of Christianity Today and former long-term board member of World Vision, said this was his first disagreement with Stearns. He viewed the recanted policy as very “unwise.” He stated: “It lacks of wisdom in terms of biblical, theological, moral, cultural, and strategic implications to the organization.”

Please pray for wisdom and courage for the leaders of World Vision, as well as other church and parachurch ministries across America and in your own community. They each need God’s help – and the Christian community’s support – as they face the great spiritual and cultural wars of modern times.

Nikolas Grosfield is a part-time writer, rancher, and editor. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Cedarville University and has written more than 100 articles for a wide variety of media outlets. A proud Montanan, Nik is a full-time child of God, husband of Elsbeth, and father of Oliver.




Your Comments


The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily
represent or reflect the biblical or world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team.

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  1. Lori Bevard says:

    I certainly believe in World Visions program of helping innocent children. I have been a supporter of their work, that said, if I thought they were going to jump in and go as the world goes on the Gay issue, they may very well lose my support. Why? Because the gay life style is not in line with biblical principles, one cannot openly practice something that God himself is against, they do not reconcile with each other. We all struggle with sin, and it our love for Christ that we should be trying to overcome that sin, petitioning Gods amazing grace to help us to reach that goal. However if a person is steeped in a sin he shouldn’t want or be put in a position to lead since he obviously is struggling, we should rally to help and encourage, lend a hand up to them. I do hope World Vision is going to stand behind the retraction and not sway. I had heard they had considered changing there program, I hope they realize that many Christians believe this action would be wrong and make good on the retraction. We certainly need to pray about this situation. The very nature of God tells us himself, I am the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and he also told us he abhors the homosexual lifestyle , I think that in itself defines where one should go with this. God go with us all the way…

  2. michelle says:

    There is much in the Bible about being of “one mind”, and to do that we need to agree on the scriptures and what they mean to us today, which is the same as they meant to the Church and/or the Israelites years ago. I also pray WV will stand firm in the faith, while continuing to show love toward homosexuals, so they may have a good thoughts towards us and respect we must side with God on these matters. Maybe by seeing Jesus in us they may side against themselves and with Him in due time.

  3. Joy says:

    Some believe and follow God’s word and others make up their own doctrine to follow what suits their flesh. We are to love everyone, just not condone sin. It is a sin like any other sin, there is forgiveness, if they come to the Lord and ask, and recognize His word as truth.
    The devil is pushing the issue to make it huge in our eyes, sin, is sin, and they have been deceived to believe a lie, just like Romans 1:28 says. God will turn them over to adversity. In the end, they have brought harm to themselves by believing Satan’s lie. We need to love them and show them Jesus in us, so they will want the Jesus of the bible, not the one the media is pushing. Satan pushes, the Holy Spirit gently leads.

  4. Sue McMinn says:

    Troubles me that a person can use “Christian” and gay together. If we believe what the Bible tells us if you are a Christian you are Christ like. Being gay is of the world and not part of being a Christian. Christ loved the sinner not his sin and we should do the same. People are being fed a twisted view and we should look to Christ for the answers not to man’s gospel. People can twist the truth and begin to believe their own lies. I pray people will seek Christ before He turns his back on America because of what we have allowed to fill our hearts and minds.

  5. Grama Bee says:

    It is not for man or woman to judge, label or malign others. If gay people want to help others, do not be afraid to accept that help. It’s the gossips who do more harm than good.

    Thank you.

  6. Shielah says:

    For the last thirty years I have supported World vision by monthly sponsorship of children. I get reports about the children’s progress and watch them grow over the years. So will I stop helping these children? Of course not. I hope we see the big picture here. Does world Vision employ liars, gossipers, haters and fornicators. Like we just need to stop throwing stones rather than loving people and demonstrating God’s Love.

  7. Liz Jones says:

    This article troubles me greatly on many levels. We have supported World Vision for many years, and I also really enjoyed the book The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns. Perhaps it’s good to remember that there has never been a leader that God appointed who was perfect. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed to cover it up. Moses disobeyed when God told him to speak to a rock to bring forth water for the people at Meribah (Num. 20:1-13).

    Notably, God neither rejected Moses or David personally nor removed them as leaders after they disobeyed, though they did suffer severe consequences. David’s son died and Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

    As far as whether a gay person can be a Christian, you could also ask if an alcoholic can be a Christian-or an adulterer, or a fornicator. If these people can repent and follow Christ, then surely someone who struggles with attraction to the same sex can also repent and follow Christ! Someone in a legal, same-sex marriage is obviously not repenting, however, hence my first paragraph. I personally seek to show love to gays to help lead them to the gospel while still speaking truth; and it’s not always easy to find the right balance. On the other hand, it is really easy to try to avoid being targeted by those who want everyone in this country not only to tolerate them but also to praise them.

  8. M. Bash says:

    I do not think a Christian can be in same sex marriage. Not biblical nor Christ-like.
    WV should not employ anyone who is practicing unconfessed sin.

    I did not vote: I do not know what is the position of World Vision,. does the apology mean a reversal of the acceptance of gays? I am disappointed in Worrld Vision, that they would even consider such action!
    M. Bash

  9. michelle says:

    This goes along with what Sheilah said above.
    1 Corin. 6
    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    That means all people who habitually practice these sins, and have not repented will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.
    People still sin, if there is a slip and we fall the Lord is faithful to forgive us when we confess.
    John 1:9
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    When talking about sin in the church Paul says…
    5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
    He is specifically talking about sin in the church/ministry. Sin spreads throughout.
    The problem is the gay community does not feel they are in sin, have not confessed or repented. The churches and ministries are being persuaded by the homosexuals in their congregation and I guarantee their pastor/preachers do not speak on the subject at all, when they do they are met by angry people. When you just speak about Gods love and do not speak on His judgment and righteousness then you are not being loving at…

  10. michelle says:

    …all. Does that mean we do not try and met these people where they are in their sin and show them and speak about the love of Christ? Absolutely not. But when they accept Christ they are expected to repent, and through the power of Christ, they must begin purging their lives of sin (leaven). That includes homosexuality. Jesus can and will give them the power to do that and will change the desires of their heart if they are sincerely trying to follow Him. Luke 9:23
    And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him DENY himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
    We would only be lying to them if we told them (all sinners) anything different.

  11. Lori Bevard says:

    Let’s not confuse a Christian who makes a mistake and repents with someone living in sin and asking you to approve of their actions. Also there is a difference of a Christian who makes a mistake and has a responsible position with putting someone in position when they profess to be living in sin. God uses all sorts of people, I get that but they are not all used for honor, some are for dishonor. I just can’t reconcile putting in charge of innocent children when they obviously have issues that would be questionable to safety and welfare of the child. If it makes one feel better I would say that about a drunkard, prostitute, drug user, pedophile also. You can love these people and try to reach them where they are at, share the gospel and try to bring Gods grace to reality for them, but you don’t put them in charge of an innocent child when they can’t even care for themselves. Likewise, those who failed in following Christ and sinned also were reprimanded by the Father, but you don’t ignore blatant sin, and you don’t condone it by participating in it. Real love shares the truth, not turn their heads away and. Pretend it doesn’t exist.

  12. michelle says:

    I agree Lori, the ministry will suffer. When sin is allowed to influence us in a way such as homosexuality, there will be corruption in the ministry and it will not be honoring to the Lord or as effective as it could be. It will likely fail if it gets wide spread enough. (Just like our country is failing, that was once dedicated to God.) Although it does not seem that way when you see these mega churches, actually many churches, raking in the money from the homosexual community. I am using homosexuality because it is a sin people will not repent of, instead they are passing laws that say it is OK. Just because the laws of the land now say it is legal, does not mean God has changes His word. In these cases I believe the “church” is actually serving the money not God. Casing away the lessons on sin (all types) and replacing them solely with the message of love. Bottom line, people like to feel good about themselves and each other-not convicted so they are led to repentance.

  13. If World Vision’s support base feels so strongly about excluding gays from its workforce, I hope that for the sake of consistency that it will also ban the giving of aid to victims who practice gay lifestyles, as well, or any other very objectionable sin, and then amend its commentary to “God’s unconditional love for a special selection of people, to be determined by our strict scrutiny of the behaviors of others.”

    I also object to the author’s invocation of the Syrian crisis in an article that says nothing about the sufferings of its people. There are over 1 million Syrian refugees here in Lebanon right now and I doubt many of them care about married gays distributing aid to them – it seems rather out of proportion to the task at hand.

  14. michelle says:

    We should never say we are not going to reach and help the sinners. That is exactly what the love of Christ and His ministry represents. I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center and they want you to live a life of purity for the sake of the ministry. We would not let a woman who is living with her boyfriend outside of marriage come and be a volunteer. But of course we minister to these women. It would threaten the integrity of the ministry because the woman living with her boyfriend may not speak to these women about sexual integrity as she should. And someone who continues in these habitual sins are not walk closely with God.

  15. Lori Bevard says:

    You got it Michelle! Who you employ and ask to represent what you believe in is a whole lot different than who you bring help to. If you are doing something in the name of Christ it best look and talk the way you profess to believe, there is enough references of Christians not acting like there suppose to. We should be walking the walk,and talking the talk, not saying we are perfect mind you, but the Christ in us is, not by my might but his. How do you teach someone, or share to someone the gospel, if you do not practice it ourselves? It is with His LOVE, AND GRACE that we are helping others, and it is with HIS EYES that we see need and HIS SPIRIT we are doing something about the need. It is all about living like Christ and putting aside our own worldly natures.

  16. Karen says:

    I have supported a child in Ethiopia since she was about six years old. She is now sixteen. I have sent extra money for the family to buy a cow and a bull. It is a joy to know that so little money can help a family in such a profound way.

    I did not know about World Vision’s decision to hire married homosexuals until they had reversed it. First the outcry was from those supporting children and other of WV ministry. After the recant, there was threats of a petition being signed to support WV in the recant. I thought that was ironic. Why didn’t they pledge to support the children since some original supporters of children felt they needed to not support WV for reasons of conscience. How would the petition benefit the children? Supporters of gay marriage seem to only have a political agenda, and not a heart for the poor.

    I will continue to support Kokeb through World Vision, even though they have “opened a can of worms”. I will continue to agree with God about sin; my sin and the sin of others.

    However, if anyone is interested and able to support a child, Compassion International is another ministry to contact.

    The decision Magazine had an interesting report of an African leader signing a law banning homosexual behavior. They are taking the higher moral ground. The United States is in decline. I believe that it is God’s judgment on the immorality in our country. And, unfortunately, immorality seems to be our largest export.

  17. Janeta says:

    I used to be a regular reader of view point. No more, I decided that there were much better use of my time. This week I just checked in because of the survey request. I wanted to see if anything had changed. So I happened on this page. I generally do not check back after I have posted but this time I will make an exception.

    To Liz Jones, I want to thank you for the many years of your gracious postings. Over the years you have been an encouragement to me with your compassionate, well thought out and gracious comments. I admit I do miss your level headed, balanced comments.
    However, with no malice and not meaning to offend, I have to ask. Do I understand that if a person is living with a boy friend, that person is not worthy of serving in a Crisis Center? What would I as a holy holy and righteous individual have to offer more than a person who may have had experiences? How do I know that this person will not be able to reach and convince others, just because she has been there and will be able to influence another?
    Look I am aware and have no doubt that marriage is significant in God’s sight. Who decides what is a marriage? Some people living without the benefit of a somebody saying a word over them are living better lives than those who have said I do in front of the crowd.

  18. Janeta says:

    I apologize! I know the rules say keep it short! But I am so bothered by this type of old time religion, I just have to speak my piece.
    I am actually not only bothered but confused. So, this woman living with a boy friend is not worthy of serving. Does that not mean that she has a need for Christ..right? So how will she be won? Not by rejection and saying she is not worthy. She comes to us..instead of embracing her and cleaning her up and then she can go and show the boyfriend how to live, we say, you are not worthy? Scriptures says if i marry someone who is a Christian and I become a christian, I can chose to live with that person.
    Is this what Jesus did? Maybe they do not have the means to get married and we can work with her/them to achieve that goal.
    According to my Bible, Rahab was a known prostitute. Imagine if the spies decided she could not be used?
    Ruth was a Moabite, a pagan tribe. The prophets Nehemiah and Ezra had literally commanded the Jewish people to stay away from them. What if Noami had said to Ruth, please you are not wanted?
    Did Tamar sins cancel God promised blessings to the people of Israel?
    Can you clean any fish you have not caught?
    Thank You Father that your son Jesus who knew no sins, stopped and had a chat with that woman at the well.He went and ate with the tax collectors and sinners.

  19. Janeta says:

    should have said. if I, a non Christian marry a non christian, then I find Christ and become a Christian, the Bible give me permission to continue with that non Christian. It is up to me to be the example and try to win that person.

  20. Liz Jones says:

    Janeta, I mean no disrespect by how I answer this-space is just limited. People who are sinning can definitely be used in ministry-otherwise there would be no one in ministry since we all sin! As for a believer ministering to someone struggling with the same sins they are currently practicing-why would the person being ministered to believe that Jesus gives victory over sin if the person helping them has had no victory over their own sin? It seems to me that would like people in AA trying to tell other alcoholics that AA helps you stay sober without getting sober themselves. A believer doesn’t have to achieve perfect victory over sin before ministering to others, but they should have some evidence of victory over their sin.

    If someone is struggling with a sin and really trying to overcome it, the church should come alongside them to help rather than condemning them; and unfortunately people in that situation sometimes do receive condemnation rather than support. It is different when believers continue to sin and refuse to repent; and it’s not about what I think but about what God says (I Cor. 5:11). I think I understand your confusion and distress; but the cultural issues we have today are not new to God-and God hasn’t changed.

    The women in the Bible you referenced all made decisions to turn from their old ways or sins and to choose God’s way. It’s exactly the same for us when we turn from sin towards God.

  21. Karen says:

    Yes, Rahab was a prostitute, but she did not continue to be a prostitute. She married and was an ancestor of Jesse and David. She was a sinner, but by faith she hid the Israelite spies. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “go, and sin no more” and to the man that he healed by the pool of Bethesda ” go and stop sinning or something worse will happen to you”. Jesus died to forgive our sins and was raised to give us the power to not live in sin.

    Sin separated Adam and Eve from God, and living a sinful lifestyle separates us from God. I know this by the scriptures and by personal experience. But when we do agree with God about sin, and turn from it, “God is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

  22. Liz Jones says:

    Just to add for Janeta…I believe God gave us the commandments he gave for our good, not to oppress us or keep us from enjoying ourselves. This has proved true throughout my life. Why would God want people to get married? To oppress us? I don’t think so. I think he knew that men, women, and children do better in committed monogamous relationships. Even modern girls my daughter’s age who aren’t believers frequently talk about getting married. God’s way works-it’s we humans who screw it up with abuse and oppression and so forth.

    God’s commands have been like guardrails, as one popular author writes. When I have broken them, I have experienced pain and brokenness. When I have followed them, I have experienced peace and blessing. It hasn’t always been immediate pain or immediate blessing, of course. I’ve broken some commandments and enjoyed the fruits of my sin for a time-but it was only for a time before the pain began. Following God’s way has been hard sometimes-a lot of the time, in fact-but it usually gets easier with time and eventually leads to peace.

    I still struggle to let go in certain parts of my life, usually areas where I have been hurt in the past. It’s hard to trust God and to believe that he won’t hurt me or disappoint me like various people have. However, the more I’ve been able to trust him and do things his way, the more he has proved worthy of my trust.

  23. michelle says:

    Thank you Liz and Karen for the great answers to Janeta’s questions.

    I want to add that is about overcoming our sins by the power of Christ that we are able to witness of the works He has done in us. By bringing us out of the mire, and cleaning us off, is when we can testify how we were in the same place as these men or women and by God’s amazing love for he has changed us, allowed us to also triumph over sin (as He did on the cross) and has given us life more abundantly. Really, when you are in the ministry you are using the power of God not your own power–This is His same resurrection power which over came sin and the grave. So if you have not utilized that Power, or let God work it in your own life to cast off sin and begin living in God’s will, then you will also have no Power in the ministry.

    The Lord says to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers in
    2 Corinth. 6
    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

    He says you can stay together if one in converted Christian while the other is not (or you just did not know) in hopes by your GOOD witness he/she maybe won over to Christ but He doesn’t say go looking for it. You will be torn between living for your husband/wife or living for God.

  24. michelle says:

    Let me put it really simple…if the book tells you how to make a foundation and what you need is cement, and you choose to use the items which make plaster of paris because it sounded better or ok to use this instead of what the books says. Your going to get something that falls apart and is eventually useless. The same thing occurs if you think you are making a equally strong Christian by someone else’s (or the worlds) definition of good and not God’s recipe.

  25. michelle says:

    Correction, “your” should be “you’re” above…I see a few others but that one is not a simple typo but grammar.

  26. Lori Bevard says:

    Amen, and again I say amen. Life is so much better when we live it according to our Lord and Savior, my worst times in life were when I struck out on my own, twisting things in life to fit my desires, tweaking the gospel to fit the way you want to is indeed like using plaster instead of cement, and we do have suffer the consequences of our actions. His plans for us are good, but man often messes it up by thinking that changing a few things or inserting a few small sins in won’t hurt us. Wrong! They can cost you greatly. Sin can take you a lot farther away, cost you a lot more than you want to pay, and keep you there longer than you want to stay. So be careful little eyes what you see, ears what you hear, mouth what you say, feet where you go, hands what you do ,and heart whom you trust.

  27. Karen says:

    Thank you for the powerful illustrations.

    Jesus’ parables were powerful and sometimes take a while to get the full meaning. Take the parable of the ten virgins, for example (Matthew 25:1-13). The five virgins who will not share their oil with the five that ran out, may seem to be selfish and unloving. But the oil is salvation. We can only receive the gift of forgiveness and faith for ourselves. We cannot do it even for our spouse or children. Those who weren’t ready when the “bridegroom-Jesus” came thought they were Christians, but they were not true Christians. And the bridegroom said “I do not know you”.

    We cannot come to the Lord on our own terms. We can come only on God’s terms. John the Baptist came preaching message of repentance. Matthew 4:17 says that Jesus began his ministry also saying “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” To repent means to confess and turn away from sin and receive forgiveness, salvation and eternal life and then to follow Jesus. Only God knows our sincerity.

    It is so important to read the Bible daily, starting with the Gospels and all the New Testament. The Bethel Series, Bible Study Fellowship, Beth Moore, Community Bible Study and others are a wonderful help for those who read the Bible but feel they don’t understand it.

    It is so true that God loved the world so much that he gave his son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him (as he revealed himself in the New Testament), will not perish but have eternal life…

  28. Nancy says:

    Holy Spirit Come to the workers of world vision so the children can receive all. Lord send education
    Of the Spirit.. Protect in Jesus Name. Release discerning of spirits and gifts of purity.



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