Blogroll on World Vision and Gay Marriage
**Update**World Vision has reversed its decision.
As the movie Noah rolls into theaters across the country, Christians across the blogosphere have another choice for controversial topics: World Vision's announcement that they will employ Christians in same-sex marriages.
World Vision is a Christian non-profit that provides aid and advocacy for communities in need. Although sponsors are encouraged to communicate with a specific child, unlike other organizations, support does not go directly to that child. It is pooled within the community for the good of everyone there. So, instead of providing a lunch for a little girl, you're helping to build a well for the town. There's nothing unbiblical about this model.
World Vision is a Christian para-church organization. Although they do not require those they support to listen to an evangelistic message before receiving aid, they consider evangelism to be integral to the work they do, but they share Christ more through their actions than through direct speech. They have a strong policy against prostlytizing.
As a Christian organization, World Vision has regulations regarding the behavior of their employees. Until recently, this included the rule that sexual relationships were to be confined to a man and woman within a marriage. Recently they have changed their stance to allow employees to be involved in a legal, monogamous homosexual marriage as well.
They give several reasons. They consider themselves a practical arm of the global church, not a local church that determines and enforces theological matters. They wish to remain open to all Christian denominations and allow those denominations to dictate the Bible's view on same-sex marriage (and others including the mode of baptism and women preachers). They also claim that this action is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage; it's just an employment policy.
What does it all mean? Every blogger has a different take.
In "The Worldliness in World Vision's New Hiring Policy," Pastor Kevin Deyoung says an organization cannot say it affirms biblical sexual relations while affirming marriages which intrinsically affirm sinful sexual relations. In his follow-up article, "Two More Thoughts on the World Vision Controversy," Deyoung expands on two issues: Is the argument worth having when there are starving children to feed? And, Should a para-church organization take a theological stand where the church as a whole hasn't? To the first, he says there are many ways to help the poor around the world, and World Vision didn't need to compromise to continue to do so. To the second, he says there are myriad issues denominations argue about, and World Vision has taken an absolute stance on some of them — why is this issue different?
Marty Duren, in "Whirled Vision? Life in a post-Christian America," takes a broader, sociological view of the influence of Christianity on modern culture. Duren ignores World Vision's insistence that their policy change was not influenced by government or public pressure, and points out that it is tough to be a Christian in society and it is supposed to be. We are to expect resistance when we stand for what is written in the Bible. Jesus warned us. To follow along with the culture is a cop-out.
Big issues aside, the more practical question is, Should believers discontinue their support of World Vision? Will the on-going support of kids and their villages act as an endorsement of same-sex marriage? There are different takes here, as well.
Melanie Dale, a sponsorship coordinator for Children's Hope Chest says keep sponsoring. The kids have nothing to do with the organization's hiring policies, and they need help. In "On whether Christians should keep supporting World Vision," Matthew Lee Miller says that the fact World Vision pools donations for an area means if sponsors do pull out, the loss will be mitigated over a wide area, and will not catastrophically affect any one child. The greater loss would be the sudden break in communication between the sponsor and the child. He suggests that if there is a relationship with the child, it would be prudent for the sponsor to continue. But whether the sponsor continues or not, if he or she disagrees with the policy change, it's not inappropriate to drop World Vision a (polite!) note expressing disappointment.
Blogos's parent organization, GotQuestions.org, has no official stance on the matter. For many, 1 Corinthians 8 may apply: because the news is so public, continued support of the organization could be seen as support of the policy. For others, the knowledge that a sponsor's money, not a change in hiring practices, affects whether a child has a clean water supply and a school matters more. These are personal decisions that must be made with humility and a lot of prayer.
Our only stick to add to this fire would be this: look to the right of this, and every, Blogos article.
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