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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
Prominent 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:
- 140 Syrian children report. How you can help.
- Be there from the beginning and help a child.
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.
The following expressions and comments are
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