Ten Thousand Kids in 2 Days

Ten Thousand Kids.

Those are the words that kept ringing inside my brain as I tried to listen to Rich Stearns talk about what happened last week at World Vision.

Ten thousand kids.

Ten thousand brown, black, tan, or white faces…

Ten thousand souls…

And in only 2 days.

As Stearns chatted with a handful of bloggers about why the board made the decision it made and then reversed that decision two days later, those words—TEN THOUSAND KIDS! TEN THOUSAND KIDS!—blinked like a neon sign in my head.

And that was the two-day cost of their decision, a decision to hire married gay folk, a decision that was decided on last fall and leaked to Christianity Today last week. That was the cost.

Last Monday, the day of the announcement, World Vision’s call center received 7000 calls and a loss of 2000 child sponsorships. That’s just in 12 hours on Monday! The following day those numbers swelled. And then on Wednesday, within minutes of World Vision announcing that it was reversing its decision, the calls stopped and, according to Stearns, “the bleeding stopped.”

Rumor is it stopped almost like magic. Almost as soon as the press release hit, the cancellations stopped, the angry phone calls stopped.

It took several days to count the total loss of sponsorships, a number that eventually rose to “just about 10,000 children,” according to Stearns. A handful of people did call back, hoping to start up their sponsorships again. But the majority did not.

And that breaks my heart.

It should break all of our hearts, regardless of whether you praised World Vision’s initial decision or panned it as “godless.”

Even still, those three words should break us friends. Because it’s a number that represents 10,000 needy children, flesh and blood of various races and nationalities, little ones who are precious in God’s sight.

And yet, a large number of so-called born again Christians treated their relationships with their kids like they were little more than subscriptions to HBO. Sure, some people probably stopped sponsoring their kid and began sponsoring another kid through a different organization. But that’s not any better. A child sponsorship is not a product that can be returned and exchanged for a different brand. There’s nothing “moral” about using a kid as a bargaining chip to punish a Christian organization for making a decision that you don’t agree with. There’s nothing honoring about using children to force an organization’s hand. There’s nothing “pro life” about that. There’s nothing remotely “Christlike” about that. It’s downright disgusting, manipulative, and sad. If I was a Pentecostal, I might even call it demonic.

Not only do a lot of Christians wage war against flesh and blood, they’re willing to use child sponsorship as their weapons… like little ransom notes…

May God have mercy…

May light shine on all of us…

May we wake up from our intolerant slumber…

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child through World Vision, you can do that here.

126 comments
shaungroves
shaungroves

Tragic. So sorry to hear this, Matthew. Grieving here for you, everyone at World Vision and communities around the world that you all serve so well. Sorry.

joemazza
joemazza

Done. Just sponsored a child.

josephchgreene
josephchgreene

It's just as morally reprehensible to use kids as a bargaining chip to try and downplay egregious doctrinal error/sin.

PowerKidsBooks
PowerKidsBooks

Is it a requirement to be a Christian to sponsor a child through World Vision? If not, then why assume those who canceled their sponsorships were Christians? 

LynnKalinosky
LynnKalinosky

Seen enough arguing, I'm acting.  Signing up today. 

AngelJabbins
AngelJabbins

I am a Christian and been a WV sponsor for 34 years. I have been sponsoring my present child for 16 years. I  have not been happy with WV's policies in several areas for some time now and plan to discontinue association with them once this sponsorship has ended. I will not end now, however, because of the relationship I have with this girl through letters. She is a Christians and requests prayers for various concerns and it is a blessing to pray for her often. I know she will not be dropped form the program if I quit her sponsorship right now. Yes, the monthly contribution does go into a general fund. However, once a year, at Christmas I have been able to designate a special one time money donation to go exclusively to her family. I get a letter from her and pictures of what was purchased each year. That has been a real blessing to them and I want to continue to do that in the two years that remain. Once she is 18, her sponsorship will end...and I will be done with WV and find another organization that truly shares the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as meeting the temporal needs of people. That was my dual goal when I began sponsorship with them. But they have abandoned sharing the gospel for the most part...too politically incorrect for them now.WV had changed over the years. As a long time sponsor, I know that so well. I have seen it firsthand. It is now a worldly secular organization. If you have no problem with that, then sponsor a child with them. Absolutely!  As a Christian, however, there are many other worthy organizations that do share my biblical values and goals. No one should be judged for bailing out of their sponsorship with WV. WV is accountable for their decisions and should be prepared to accept the consequences if Christians turn away.  Christians were the core, backbone, and the foundation of the organization from its inception. They want to adopt  a more secular, politically correct stance now?  Fine. Then do it and stop all the whining....and stop criticizing Christians for pulling out. I will stay put presently for the sake of my child...but only for a little longer.  Christians who leave WV will NOT stop giving, helping....not by a long shot! They will just take their money elsewhere. Christians still out give atheists and agnostics by a long shot...so stop all your blubbering.

Bartondad
Bartondad

A couple of bubbles to be burst concerning the World Vision debacle of this last week.

First, the myth that hiring policies are changed within a large company all the time without anyone noticing is wrong. This is because they are not changed often or at all and when it happens there are watchdog organizations and unions who specifically look for these things. In fact you can google hiring policies and see how they are reported in the press all the time, especially when they are controversial.

Second, although donors may break relations with the children which is the greatest heartbreak of all (see comment below), no child will be tossed from school or pulled from a food line because of this issue. WV doesn’t fund like that, your letters go to a specific child but your dollars go to a general fund.  This hit will cost World Vision 4.2 million in their 1 billion a year budget.  They can cover that.

Third this is not a same sex marriage issue as much as some would like to make it so, but rather a trust issue for most of the donors. Although many of them would disagree with hiring same sex married people into this ministry they are ultimately offended that this change was made with out consultation of those who support the work. If, however, it was a change made on principle as World Vision first asserted then why the quick reversal, this tends to look like a money grab and further alienates donors.

So with plenty of blame to go around…

  • Kids and donors are left with broken relationships. (see comment below)
  • World Vision will not operate as smoothly this year while they try to regain some of their financial loss that will be covered by their reserves and people who will give more.
  • Another crack has been formed in evangelical Christianity that is leading, I am afraid, to a great divide.

Pray for the Church at large, pray for World Vision as they try to recover and re-identify themselves, but mostly pray for the donors and children who may not hear from each other again until heaven.

* Comment: If WV would make a way available for letters to be sent to continue the relations between former donors and children until they graduate on I’m sure many would take advantage of this. It would be a tremendous PR move for WV and may ease the budget hit they will inevitably take over this issue.

SharonKuykendall
SharonKuykendall

I think it's a false dichotomy to say that one party in this sad situation is all wrong, and the other all right. That just makes it easier for everyone to stand on the sidelines and throw stones at each other. There's more than enough blame to go around.


World Vision: I don't have any reason to doubt that they were making a personnel decision that they truly believed was the right and Christian thing to do. I find it strange, though, that they seem to have been either so out of touch with the probable reaction of a good portion of their donors. No non-profit, donor supported entity can survive if it does not have an incredibly clear feel for the needs, desires, preferences, and passions of those donors. A large portion of WV's donors are Evangelical Christians, so it would be naive to think WV wasn't aware of how this charged decision would be received. They had to know that those donors, being sold WV as a Christian organization, would feel broadsided by this decision. Even if you think the personnel decision was correct, you can't not understand that people with the opposite belief would feel that they were put in the position of financially supporting an organization that now stood for something they strongly did not believe in. What kind of responsibility do they have to the people who donate the money that makes their existence possible? That's not to say that WV's personnel decision was right or wrong, but, that they didn't seem to take the responsible position of anticipating how it would impact and be interpreted by the very people their organization depends on. If at that point they still felt the decision was the right one to make, then have a plan, a solution for any potential financial repercussions. For such an established, world renowned, large organization, they seem to have handled this in the most amateur of fashions.


Donors: Yes, your money is not going directly to that particular child. Yes, if you do not believe in marriage equality, your money is now going to an organization that supports something you disagree with. Yes, you could take your money and use it to support another child, through another organization more closely in line with your beliefs. But, it's not all about the money, is it, or you wouldn't be sending those letters and pictures back and forth. How do you explain to the child you have gotten to know, who has come to depend on you, that you can no longer help them, because some strangers they have never heard of, have made decisions you don't like on a topic they have no knowledge of? Do you care so little for them that you just see them as a commodity that you can now cross off your checkbook, with maybe the hope that someone else will step into the breach, if they're lucky? You had a relationship with this particular child, this specific unique human being. If it was your child, would you stop paying child support because you didn't agree with something your ex-spouse did? I don't think I could walk away from that child, no matter how much I disagreed with something the organization did. If I felt so strongly, I'd have to find another way to support and promote that belief.


Christianity Today: I have the least problem with them. They are a news organization. Like it or not, gay marriage is a huge issue in today's society and Christian church. To those who support it, it may seem like it never should have been a newsworthy issue, but, as long as it's a contentious issue in the church, it is more than just office supplies. A large, well known Christian organization making a decision like this is news, much more so than if it was Xerox or General Foods making a similar decision. News organization have to report news, good or bad, regardless of what the fallout will be, otherwise they are no longer news outlets. It's not their job to worry about the consequences of facts coming out. That's the responsibility of the people behind those facts.


Christianity is about relationships, and a lot of people have failed in that department in this situation. WV tried to do what they saw as right in their relationship with employees, and yet, dropped the ball in handling their relationship with their donors. Donors thought they had legitimate concerns about their relationship with WV, yet, chose to solve it by destroying their relationships with the most innocent of all involved, the children. I don't pretend to have many answers, but, I do know that a lot more love and thoughtfulness is needed. Black and white convictions tend to have gray consequences.

MissCaron
MissCaron

TRUTH. This breaks my heart, still today. How does Jesus process all of this from His "followers"? I'm sure it breaks His heart just as much (if not more).

CalvinLewis
CalvinLewis

This is all just a mess. One additional thing should be pointed out: Your money doesn't go to a specific kid. (Your letters do, but your money doesn't.) Your donation goes into a general fund. Those funds are used as the relief organization sees fit to do whatever they want to do in a region. Richard Stearns, President of WV wrote about this in his 2010 book: Telling the touching story of a single child is more effective for causing people to give money, so that's why child sponsorship is used as the mechanism for fundraising. Emotional connection increases donations.

CalvinLewis
CalvinLewis

10,000 dropped kids is tragic and heartbreaking. It also proves the point: Sponsoring a child is more than sponsoring a child. It is a partnership with the child AND the relief organization. When the relief organization makes a change in who they are and what they stand for and when the donors are not consulted plus kept in the dark about that change of course, it should be expected that donations will be negatively effected. This is intro level leadership for any non-profit organization. If World Vision thought they could make changes in their ethics without it affecting their support base, they think differently on that now. This is not just about 10,000 children (although that is the most important issue by far), it is about the organization that people trust to manage and use the donations.

Bartondad
Bartondad

They will spend more than they lost in damage control, and I'm guessing future contributions will sag.  They just swung and missed.  Its unfortunate for the kids.

isabellamoi
isabellamoi

Heart breaking.  



I have an honest question that I haven't really seen addressed in all this:  What is Christianity Today's responsibility?  Someone leaked them the 'story'...I know they are 'just journalists following a lead' but didn't they have a moral obligation to think about the pros and cons of writing the story?  I imagine WV asked them not to go ahead with the story.  I don't know how it all played out.  Obviously the spot light is on WV in all this but I'm wondering if there are editors at CT who feel some regret or guilt for their part in this fiasco.  They could have quietly let WV sort out their own hiring practices without writing a story that the NA church was always going to find sensational.



Or were they just doing their jobs as journalists?  


Anyone have thoughts on this?

ChristinaOizaf
ChristinaOizaf

It is terrible that 10,000 children lost their sponsorship.  YET< there is consequences to SIN.  If you have a problem with that, take it up with God himself. 

RachelEnsley
RachelEnsley

@SharonKuykendall A very thorough and well-articulated post on this complicated situation.  I personally agree with pretty much everything you said.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad  How did they "swing and miss?" WV did absolutely nothing that could have conceivably lead to this debacle. It started with Christianity Today's decision to deliberately print as newsworthy, information that, in and of itself, was innocuous, but which spurred a lot of people to make uncalled-for decisions to withdraw money that they had already promised to those ten thousand children.

Frank D Myers
Frank D Myers

@isabellamoi Keep in mind I'm gay --- and that the World Vision debacle served only to confirm long-standing unfavorable impressions about fundamentalists and evangelicals. However, it's unfair to shoot the messenger --- Christianity Today. It is a news organization with the expressed mission of informing the evangelical community. When a huge evangelical organization like World Vision makes what would be (and was) perceived by evangelicals as a huge social move (and to argue that appearing "soft" on same-sex marriage was not a huge issue is disingenuous), it is obligated to report. Anonymous tips are at the heart of the news business; reputable news organizations need only confirm the accuracy of the tip and avoid spreading misinformation.. Even if this policy shift had been implemented quietly, I can almost guarantee it would have blown up into something similar eventually. This is an evangelical/fundamentalist issue, not a journalistic one.

cindybrandt
cindybrandt

@isabellamoi  I've wondered the same thing. CT's role in all this has been under-played, it seems.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@isabellamoi    You are right. And the "information" that was "leaked" was not only inflammatory, it was unnecessary! WV's hiring practices have absolutely NOTHING to do with their capabilities. What possibly made anyone think that that was newsworthy?

WyattNewYork
WyattNewYork

@ChristinaOizaf  Is this a joke? Do you really believe that Jesus, who never uttered a word about homosexuality, would have sponsors pull their donations from 10,000 needy children - the "least of these" whom he talked about CONSTANTLY? REGARDLESS of your beliefs on gay marriage and homosexuality, these sponsored children are AT OUR MERCY - the mercy of Americans like you and me who are able to provide for them and their communities. 


To pull your sponsorship from a child who has done nothing wrong to punish an organization over a theological issue is not only cruel - it is selfish, self-righteous, and evil. If you want to switch organizations AFTER your sponsorship period is over (once the child is old enough), that is one thing. But all sponsors have made a commitment to their child. If pulling a sponsorship has adverse affects in a child's community, which it will - and by adverse affects we're not talking about discomfort, which is what these issues cause Americans, we're talking LACK OF FOOD AND WATER - then the guilt rests on the heads of the sponsors. 


No, Jesus has no hand in this. I sponsor a child through WV, and no matter what decision the organization made, I could not sleep at night knowing I pulled valuable resources and support from my sponsored child. I have never been so ashamed to be a Christian. 

RachelEnsley
RachelEnsley

@ChristinaOizaf It is not our job to dole out "consequences" for other people's actions according to our own judgment.  It is despicable to hurt an innocent third party -- especially children and those in great need -- in order to try to arrogantly prove some point about your disapproval of someone else.  Only God is anyone's judge; He has set certain "natural" consequences for sin in place, and any beyond that are for His discretion only.


Scripture commands us to love others.  Scripture commands us not to judge.  And Scripture commands us to remove the plank from our own eye.  If you have a problem with that, maybe ask God to help you learn to submit to His word.

SandraHeretic
SandraHeretic

Ten thousand children losing sponsorship over a doctrinal point is a sin. I expect God will take that up with those who thought dogma more important than charity.

Jack Burton jr
Jack Burton jr

@WesRobertson @Bartondad  Wes sez: “WV did absolutely nothing that could have conceivably lead to this debacle.

And “So every time they change the brand of pencils or staples, they should notify the stockholders? If they change window-washing companies, they should tell everyone?

Jack responds: And thus ends any hope of a actual conversation about this issue. When one side has only an interest in snark and no interest in reality there is little foundation for communication. 

Jack Burton jr
Jack Burton jr

@WesRobertson Wes sez: “WV did absolutely nothing that could have conceivably lead to this debacle.

And “So every time they change the brand of pencils or staples, they should notify the stockholders? If they change window-washing companies, they should tell everyone?

Jack responds: And thus ends any hope of a actual conversation about this issue. When one side has only an interest in snark and no interest in reality there is little foundation for communication. 

CalvinLewis
CalvinLewis

@WesRobertson  I understand what you are saying. I am surprised an organization the size of WV (until a few months ago) even had a policy on not hiring people who were sexually-active, non-married heterosexuals. But for a vision-driven nonprofit relief organization that is significantly dependent on donations of evangelical Christians, WV leadership's approval of monogamous, homosexual intercourse is not even remotely innocuous for conservative donors or a conservative magazine. You wrote that the withdrawal of funds was uncalled-for, but that is exactly the sort of thing each donor decides based on their trust in the organization. Maybe people are now hoping that more liberally-minded Christians will make up the difference in funding, but that isn't likely to happen. Like WV and other similar groups already know, evangelicals donate 5x more money than other Christian groups.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson I get minutes from corporations I invest in because I don't go to the stockholders meetings.  Any investor does during the course of a year.  Most of us throw them away because frankly we don't care what they decide at those meetings.  But an organization that is built on the idea that they care for people should not make policy decisions without consulting its constituency.  Put it in the minutes, make an announcement, hey, maybe even ask if anyone thinks its a good idea.  You can't say, "we care for kids" and at the same time, "we don't care enough about you to to let you know what is going on".  That's where they swung and missed.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson Evidently the thousands of supporters thought it was newsworthy.  And why did they know months in advance they were going to make this an official policy and yet didn't until now consult anyone who gives/supports their work?

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WyattNewYork I agree that broken relationships will happen and that is a sad thing no doubt and we should try to keep that from happening but because of the way WV handles their finances no child will be dropped from their programs.  None will be kicked out of school or tossed from a food llne or asked to leave any facet of the help they now get.  That is just sensationalism.  

shieldsk68
shieldsk68

@RachelEnsley @ChristinaOizaf    Rachel, that is the best response I have seen in this whole thread!  Those innocent children should have in no way been punished for anything.  I sponsor through Compassion and I can tell you there is Nothing that company could do to make me drop my kids.  The only reason I would ever drop my kids is running completely out of money (which has happened a few times, but somehow God has kept my head just enough above water this far).  I LOVE my sp. kids, and I can't Imagine what was going through those people's minds when they dropped their kids.  I see dropping your sponsored child due to a policy change as a higher sin than any of the ten commandments (except for murder).

Bartondad
Bartondad

@RachelEnsley Whoa hang on, "Scripture commands us to love others.  Scripture commands us not to judge."  You might want to check that.  We are to love others as ourselves (meaning we want the best for them) and we are most certainly called to be judges of each other within the body of Christ (Paul even commanded the Corinthians to throw people out of the church).  Its unbelievers we can't judge because they don't pretend to be believers and only God knows their heart.  I don't believe World Vision falls into this category.  They are certainly accountable to the body if they are a Christian organization and especially to those who pay their bills. 

LynnKalinosky
LynnKalinosky

@SandraHeretic  I find it interesting that the best, and most to-the-point comments, are like this one.  I've been scrolling past bartondad and wesrobertson's pissing contest for five minutes now. 

Bartondad
Bartondad

@SandraHeretic"Ten thousand children losing sponsorship over a doctrinal point is a sin." Agreed. But I think that statement to applies to World Vision not the many faithful donors who were not consulted about the change.

Sigel
Sigel

@WesRobertson @Bartondad @CalvinLewis  

"God told us to welcome all sinners and witness to them." Really? Where?

You're writing your own Bible to fit your own self-created doctrine.



Would you agree that these verses are in the Bible?


The Bible actually teaches exactly the opposite of what you just told everybody that it teaches.



Does this give you any concern?


1 Corinthians 1-13

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast,the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."


WyattNewYork
WyattNewYork

@DanRhoda @WyattNewYork @WesRobertson @Bartondad @CalvinLewis  Dan - thank you for your respectful response. The 50's in the United States of America, regardless of church attendance, should go down as one of the most morally bankrupt decades in American history. The way we treated our African-American brothers and sisters was disgusting, inhumane, and absolutely the opposite of Christlike. The fact that the Civil Rights Movement was even necessary, and that good people had to die to make it happen, is shameful. If church attendance was higher then than it is now, which may in fact have been the case, than it is even more shameful, considering that many very vocal church leaders in the country were open proponents of segregation. In fact, MLK's letter from Birmingham was specifically addressed to pastors who were condemning him for being "unchristlike" in challenging segregation. Let's also not forget the mistreatment of women during this decade.


You say that "the Bible was not written with secret truths that contradict it's plain reading." I think that is a very naive statement. It was these same religious leaders who used the "plain reading" of scripture to support segregation, to condemn interracial marriage, just as they did during slavery. Even the Phelps church uses the "plain reading" of scripture to support the horrible and hateful things that they say and do. We tend to think, as a culture, that the most mainstream interpretations of scripture, the ones which have been the longest accepted, are the most accurate. Because how could God allow us to be misled for so many centuries? I don't know the answer to that, but the Reformation is an obvious example of the fact that sometimes the mainstream view is, in fact, not always the right one. The support of slavery through scripture is another. I don't believe Paul, when you really get down to it, necessarily supported slavery in the form we know it, but the "plain reading", the surface reading, would make it seem that he did, which is how many leaders used it then. 


Remember, again, that we are translating a document that is thousands of years old into a language in which it was not written, into a culture that is vastly different from the one in which Jesus lived. There will be errors. Hopefully, for the most part, they will be small. Sometimes they will be devastating. This is what happened with slavery in this nation.


Yes, there will be scholars that deny the divinity of Christ, and all kinds of other things, based on Scripture. Remember, EVERYONE has an agenda, even if they don't realize it. People are naturally afraid of what is most different from them - culturally, racially, sexually. The segregation of African-Americans in the US depended on this fear, and then many "scholars" used scripture to justify it. 


I am not saying you are wrong. You may be very right about your interpretation of scripture. What I am saying is be careful to remember that we all have biases built in, and never stop searching your heart to uncover them. Not that you have. 


Throughout the Gospels, Jesus constantly turned things on their head. The Pharisees were primarily concerned with setting doctrine and morality above people, and Jesus would not have it. It's why he fed his disciples on the Sabbath. It's why he defended prostitutes and tax collectors. Not because he said "your sin is ok", he didn't. But because, above everything else, there is love. Conservatives tend to believe that they cannot love without also constantly reminding their neighbor that they are also sinning in this way or that. I prefer to love my neighbor unconditionally, teach him who Christ is, and allow Christ himself to convict him of whatever sin lies in his heart. He certainly knows it better than I do.

DanRhoda
DanRhoda

@WyattNewYork @DanRhoda @WesRobertson @Bartondad @CalvinLewis  


"The days" I was referring to are days that I didn't experience personally, so if you grew up in the 40s and 50s correct me when I characterize them as a time when the vast majority of people attended church or were known in their communities as those who didn't and therefor those who's morals were suspect.  This is not to say that church attendance made one's morals upright and honorable before God, it was just how people interpreted things.  There was a generally accepted belief that the morals of the Bible if not the theology were a solid basis for our society.  This is my understanding of our moral history.  

I recognize that this is no longer the case in our society.  The Bible (and it's many interpretations) are held at arms length by our culture, and perhaps seen as particularly suspect in the grand scheme, due in part I would surmise, to it's claim of exclusivity, that there is only one way to salvation, to redemption, to acceptability before God.  

With this cultural rejection of the authority of the Bible comes a "marketplace of ideas" that is much broader than in "days gone by" and in our culture and in our society, that is ok.  

Within the Church of Christ (church universal, not a particular denomination) the unseating of scripture as authoritative I feel strongly that this equates to an unseating of God as master and King, the submission to which is the very definition of being a follower or disciple.  

My rejection of the same sex marriage movement, the gay is ok movement is a plea to keep God as Master and King, that following anything else is a rejection of God's authoritative claim on our lives and that rejection is what defines the perishing.  To claim that succumbing to any sin temptation is not sin is equal to spiritual death. 

Many reject God outright, and to them I would plea to humbly seek truth and consider who Christ is, but to create the illusion that you can pick and choose from what God has said, that when God said "no" that He meant "yes" that we can follow sinful desires free from guilt and shame with not the most fleeting thought of repentance is to follow a highway sign that leads us a break-stop speed off the cliff of eternity.

Having said all that I am not saying that the Bible has not been abused, not that I may not be in error in my interpretation of some passages, I may believe lies of the enemy that lead me to reject the truth and I put my faith in God's Word, His Spirit, His people (clergy and lay) to bring about correction in my life, I put my faith in His mercy which is/has been/ and will be dispensed in ways that I do not claim to fully understand, but when I see that people are putting up a roadsign to those who desire to serve and follow God, that will lead them to mistrust and ignore the directions that have come from God, I believe it is critically important to speak.  God has clearly said that we should provide for the widows and orphans, it is not more important than to submit to God's standards, teachings, Lordship, it is ALSO important.

As for Bible Scholars, there are "Major Bible Scholars" that have spent their lives studying scripture and concluded that Christ was not divine, or any number of other things.  The bible was not written with secret truths that contradict it's plain reading.  The new testament does provide a clear end to the authority of the Levitical law as having been given for a purpose but not as a burden to be born.  There are any number of sins that Christ did not proclaim but nor did He proclaim any type of sexual activity outside of marriage to be acceptable, nor did He attend any Same Sex marriage, if God were redefining sin in this case doesn't it stand to reason that Christ would have made it a priority to relive so many people of this guilt burden and not wait for 20th and 21st century "thinkers" to fix the mess?  Arguably under this logic that is what happened with slavery, although I don't see slavery in bible times as either equal to chattel slavery nor God ordained.  I will say that because there is no legalized slavery nor a movement within the church to define slavery as God honoring as there is with same-sex relationships I have not spent as much time in prayerful consideration.  

DanRhoda
DanRhoda

@RachelEnsley

The Same  Sex Marriage movement is about redefining sin.  Hiring people is about running a business, I think that there should be no discrimination in hiring people to do a job based on their lifestyle choice unless and until that choice effects their performance in getting the job done, or the company/organization's effectiveness in meeting their goals.  Hiring someone to a ministry position in a ministry organization has historically meant that that person accepts the basic framework of the theology of the organization.  Obviously there are people working at WV and other ministries that would differ with the  message contained in the Biblical text that states that the acting out of homosexual eroticism is viewed by God, who get's to make the definitions as the creator, as sin.  I believe that it negatively effects the effectiveness of any Christian ministry to have employees saying  in effect "God got this one wrong" or sometimes when God says "No" he means "Yes".  God doesn't work that way.  I also thing that it would diminish the effectiveness of any ministry to have it's workers teaching that gluttony is not sin, or that gossip is not sin, or that lying or stealing or coveting or greed is not sin.  We have seen this lived out in the sad tails of many ministries shame, but for homosexuality and the murder of unborn children there is a massive movement that is out to redefine truth.  I am well aware that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but rather is spiritual.  It is the same battle that I fight when I am tempted to indulge my gluttonous tendencies, my slothful tendencies and too many others.  I am sure there are times when I justify my actions in wholly unholy ways in my own mind.  As I become aware of these I repent and seek solace in my Savior.  I sometimes get better at not falling into the same self-deception, but not always.  I pray though that I don't justify my own failings and weaknesses by saying "in this area, my own thoughts and desires are going to overrule God's desires and declared direction for my life as a believer."  I submit to Christs teachings (yoke) intellectually and fight the battle with my sinful nature, admitting that is what it is, to bring my body and spirit into line.  What makes the "sin" of homosexuality different from so many other sins is not it's severity, but the insistence of many that indulging that temptation is not sin.  Only abortion has as much or more blatant support for being redefined as not only acceptable, but something that ought to be celebrated (not that the abortion act should be celebrated but the "Choice" is seen as celebration worthy".

WyattNewYork
WyattNewYork

@DanRhoda @WesRobertson @Bartondad @CalvinLewis  Please tell me - when were "the days" you speak of when "our society's standards were similar to, or the same as Biblical standards?" I think maybe we, as a nation, have all lost our memory.


This question is especially fitting today, of all days, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Have we forgotten the Civil Rights Movement? That Christians used the Bible, and doctrine, to justify segregation? Or how about farther back, when Christians used the same Bible to justify slavery? Or the genocide of the Native Americans? Or when all of Europe used it to justify imperialism? Indulgences?


Did you ever think that you could be mistaken in your interpretation of scripture, or to what, and who, it applies? You're dealing with a text that is thousands of years old - a little humility would be appropriate.


I'm not saying you should throw away your beliefs. By all means, stand by them. But use your heart too. And realize that other people who believe something different than you aren't simply "following Christ in only ways they find comfortable, easy, or that they choose to follow", a charge that is both incredibly assumptive and incredibly disrespectful. There are major biblical scholars who have spent their entire lives studying scripture and concluded that the passages generally used to condemn homosexuality refer to something else entirely. Are they simply "going the easy route"? Maybe. But opponents said the same thing of the abolitionists.


Rich Stearns was simply acknowledging that there are differing views on the subject. Just because you think you're right doesn't mean you are. Same goes for me. He was trying to avoid division, and to allow people who had previously been barred access to the organization to lend their gifts and talents to a shared vision - serving the needy.


The point is, the debate over gay marriage in the scheme of things is so very small. It is, in fact, so small that Jesus never once mentioned it in any of the gospels. He did however, almost incessantly, talk about the importance of giving to the needy. 


Even if you're right, and homosexuality, and therefore gay marriage, is a definite sin, don't you agree that some things are more important? Like children in need? Can't you put aside your doctrine for that?  


MichaelGraham1
MichaelGraham1

@WesRobertson @CalvinLewisWes Robertson, I totally disagree with you. You are confusing general secular workplace principles with christian ministry principles. World Vision is not some mere secular charity... if it was, there would be no issue with what they decided in the first place... the problem is that they are a CHRISTIAN MINISTRY... which means that it now becomes "anti-Christian" to hire (and thereby support) same-sex marraige practicing people to work for them. You have to see the difference.


RachelEnsley
RachelEnsley

@DanRhoda @WesRobertson@Bartondad@CalvinLewisPlease explain how hiring homosexuals is re-defining sin. Giving someone a job is not an implicit approval of everything in their personal life.  You can disagree with a particular choice someone makes and still treat them like a worthwhile human being that deserves a place in society.

And where is the massive outrage from believers over the people holding positions in Christian organizations who gossip, are prideful, are materialistic, etc. etc.?  Who don't don't show love to the less popular or the downtrodden?  There are entire "ministries" fraught with these sinful attitudes, and relative silence  and acceptance in the Christian community.  In contrast, our hyper-focus on homosexuality, and insistence on decrying it at every possible opportunity, makes us appear extremely hypocritical.  It's disingenuous as believers to say that only people who do such-and-such a sin don't deserve to be treated with respect and equality.


"those who claim to be following Christ in only the ways they find comfortable"

Well first of all, everyone is guilty of this to some degree or other.

How about the Biblical model for resolving conflicts?  Like communicating about things you disagree with, instead of immediate retaliation and vindictiveness.  I guess the donors weren't comfortable with that.  Why waste that kind of time when going straight for the jugular gets you your way faster?


How about what the Bible says about keeping your oaths and promises?  Donors apparently weren't comfortable with this one, either.


DanRhoda
DanRhoda

@WesRobertson @Bartondad @CalvinLewis  The issue is not excluding sinners, that would by definition exclude all, and Christ came and gave Himself as a sacrifice so all might have the opportunity to be included in His Kingdom.  While inviting people to follow Him, to walk with Him, Christ said we should "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me...(Mt 11:27a) the yoke here is the teaching of Christ, in order to follow Christ or be a Christian we must accept His teaching.  For those who are not Christians, there is no reason to live by biblical standards, and for us as a church to expect that of those around us means that we have not realized that the days of our society's standards being similar to, or the same as Biblical standards are gone.  Within the church however, Christ's yoke, His standards must be accepted, it is the definition of what makes us His disciples, therefor whenever a "believer" chooses to redefine sin as not sin, (and it makes no difference here if we are talking about homosexuality, adultry, stealing, hate or any other sin) we cannot say that we are following Christ.  WV made a decision that said to people that we are going to partner with/employ those who claim to be following Christ in only the ways they find comfortable, easy, or that they choose to follow.  This puts their own feelings and thoughts ahead of Christ, but that's one of the top ten, Thou shall have no other God before me.  Redefining what is and isn't sin is to put yourself before God and by definition means you are not following Christ.  I understand that our "Faith Journey" includes times when we struggle with submission and Lordship. God brings conviction on different people at different times, but acknowledgement of Christ's yoke is the very heart of what it means to follow.

Jack Burton jr
Jack Burton jr

@WesRobertson @CalvinLewis  wes knows the issue was NOT about hiring homosexuals but he puts it forth anyway. This is why it is difficult to hold such conversations on this issue. One side plays fast and loose with actual truth.

tapple
tapple

@WesRobertson @CalvinLewis  I'm not agreeing that refusing to hire someone because of his practice of homosexuality is always wrong. Politically incorrect, I know.  I don't have a problem with a fast food company, a Fortune 500 company, or a public university hiring a practicing homosexual.  But when I support WV in providing help to children, I choose to support them over a secular organization because I believe the children's needs go beyond a meal and education.  I want that child to learn of the price Christ paid to bring forgiveness, healing, and hope to their lives.  I want to partner with an organization that can speak of the freedom from sin and the healing that Christ died to bring. 

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @WesRobertson @CalvinLewis You can't witness to people who aren't there. We should all think about the fact that Churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints, and all Christian organizations should think and act accordingly. - Don't build your own world, with high fences.+ God told us to welcome all sinners, and witness to them.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @WesRobertson @CalvinLewis I believe that people wouldn't have responded the way they did, if someone hadn't deliberately lit that fire and fanned the flames. After all, this is the 21st century. People today should be more enlightened, and realize that any Christian community that goes out of its way to exclude particular groups of people they consider to be sinners (hypocritical!), will see their numbers decrease.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson @CalvinLewisWe have to be careful to separate the company decision from the issue of same sex marriage.  Although the policy was about that, it is the way the policy was instituted and the non-inclusion of the donors with which so many people took issue.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@CalvinLewis @WesRobertson I simply maintain that refusing to hire anyone because of his homosexuality is as wrong as refusing to hire someone because of his heritage, or his race, or his politics. As long as that difference will make no difference to the functioning of the organization, it is morally wrong and anti-Christian to refuse that person the opportunity. And this would apply to a secular organization which decided not to hire Christians. Would you deny homosexuals to go to services at your Church?

Jack Burton jr
Jack Burton jr

@WesRobertson @Bartondad  Wes sez: “WV did absolutely nothing that could have conceivably lead to this debacle.”

And “So every time they change the brand of pencils or staples, they should notify the stockholders? If they change window-washing companies, they should tell everyone?”

Jack responds: And thus ends any hope of a actual conversation about this issue. When one side has only an interest in snark and no interest in reality there is little foundation for communication.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson "All they did was what any Christian organization should do"  I don't think yo would find all Christians in agreement with that statement.  It only reveals your bias not the doctrinal standing of anyone else.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson First, don't blame a magazine for doing what a magazine does.  I read about it first in the Seattle Times, so Im not sure the CT accusation is even truthful. Second, from an earlier post,"Lets be honest this isn't a policy like, "what color should the hallways be painted" this is about "same sex marriage" a hugely divisive issue throughout our culture."  so we're not talking about pencils and window washing, we are talking about an issue that the majority of donors care about.  If you think WV didn't know that then you are naive.  They decided in secret to do something they knew their donors wouldn't like that's the fact.  To say it was a mob mentality and that people weren't thinking, is to dismiss their decision and prayer to support the organization in the first place.  You can't have that both ways.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @WesRobertson If Christianity Today hadn't thrown gas on the campfire, there never would have been a flareup. But once they did that, a lot of people, in mob mentality, acted without thinking, and this debacle began. World Vision's reversal came right out of the Susan G. Komen handbook: first, make a decision that is the correct, Christian decision to make, then throw that Christian attitude out the window because some unthinking people complained.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @WesRobertson So every time they change the brand of pencils or staples, they should notify the stockholders? If they change window-washing companies, they should tell everyone? No - what they did was innocuous, and not worthy of going to the bother. All they did was what any Christian organization should do: they opened the door to employment wider, to allow all people to apply. Period!

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @WesRobertson There's no such thing as "gay marriage," so it's certainly nothing to fear. Marriage, by definition, consists of one man and one woman.
If a dairy farmer decided he wanted to get out of the milk business, and run a horse farm, he could simply pressure some legislators to pass a law stating that any farmer who says his cows are now horses, would then own just horses. But we would know that they are still cows, and they probably wouldn't take kindly to being saddled!

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson Lets be honest this isn't a policy like, "what color should the hallways be painted" this is about "same sex marriage" a hugely divisive issue throughout our culture. Why did they feel the necessity to make a decision at all.  The larger constituency of WV holds a completely different view than the policy implies, so expect to lose donors.  Its simple math and a bad understanding of your customer.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson For every action there is a reaction.  WV took action the donors reacted.  If they did not want to lose donors or hurt children's relationships they should not have acted the way they did.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@RachelEnsley  OK, again, a good reading of scripture would show that Paul wasn't asking them to leave because they were gay- that was not what was in view in that passage.  I was simply pointing out that we are to judge one another in the Church.  Second, this thread has gotten off the rails, it is about corporate ethics, regardless of our thoughts on same sex marriage.

RachelEnsley
RachelEnsley

@Bartondad @RachelEnsleyI agree that there is a point where a person's rebellion may be so extreme and persistent that they need to be asked to leave a church body.  However I do not believe people struggling (and don't kid yourself please, it is a struggle) with same-sex attraction but who still love God fall into this category.  Many of them (who are Christians, anyway) have tried hard to change but don't feel it is even possible.  Take a moment to imagine life without any possibility of romantic love and intimacy.  

I'm not saying that we should start saying it's ok for them to have same-sex relationships.  I'm saying we should try to have more compassion for their struggle; that we should stop treating their sin as worse or more deserving of punishment than other more common sins; and that hurting people in order to control them or others is wrong, even if we feel we are trying to control them into doing something right.


All in all the church has spent way too much time and energy harping on a couple of pet peeve issues, while failing abysmally to do the basic job they are called to do for others: love them.  I am a pastor's daughter and have spent 35 years in and out of church, and the strife I've seen caused by controlling, judgemental people is sickening.  People will obsess over homosexuality and act like their own pride, materialism, gossip, and failure to love their neighbor is ok.  Homosexuals are people who sin, like every single one of the rest of us.  It's not our job to constantly throw their inadequacies in their face!  How would you  like if someone familiar with your temptations and failures did that to you?  


Finally, I don't suppose you or anyone cancelling their donations is planning on quitting their own job next time they sin somehow. 

Jack Burton jr
Jack Burton jr

@RachelEnsley @CalvinLewis  -- no,calvin is right. You are actually judging people who don't go along with your agenda. 


This "money" is unlikely now being stowed under mattresses... or spent on wine and debauchery... or given to pagan organizations. It is merely being spent on other, worthy ministries. 


Unless you are claiming that WV is the only org that Christians should give to then surely you have no objection to them providing support to children through the dozens of others orgs? 


Are you stating for the record that ~these~ children now being helped are unworthy ot it because you disagree with the donors?

RachelEnsley
RachelEnsley

@CalvinLewis @RachelEnsleyNope, just observing and stating the wrongness of this behavior.  Because maybe if enough of us point it out, people will think more about their attitudes and actions.  It isn't right to do wrong things in order to protest other (maybe) wrong things. Also, I'm not hurting or punishing anyone in order to get my point across.

Bartondad
Bartondad

@JBThompson @WesRobertson If it really is the right thing to do why are you affraid of it being public? And why so quick to change it back?  Either they realized they were being dishonest in their approach or they realize they need the money more than truth, which is it?

Sorry that is a huge credibility gap.

JBThompson
JBThompson

@WesRobertson @Bartondad  Yeah, these people aren't share holders. They aren't workers there. They don't have to know anything about the hiring policy. They're not giving to children on the basis that they know every inner working of the company. The moral obligation of this goes squarely on the givers who pulled their donations. 


I think of Mark 3:1-6, or Luke 13:10-17, when Jesus shames the religious elite for holding Law above Love. "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" And so my question is this, is it lawful to pull support from an organization that provides for children without shelter, family, or food, in order to promote a political stance that is more about lining up with a Christian culture that has long ago removed Christ as it's center, than it is about honoring God?

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson Are you actually blaming the faithful givers who supported this organization over many decades because they want a voice in how its run?

Bartondad
Bartondad

@WesRobertson"it was rightfully made policy", Why did they need to make that policy and how is that "right", "logical" or "Christian"?  This is about an non profit organization who thought they didn't need to consult their givers.  They lost credibility and ultimately the kids lost, don't blame the donors who have supported them for decades.  They just forgot who their audience is.

WesRobertson
WesRobertson

@Bartondad @SandraHeretic What change was there that they should have been notified of? If hiring gays was already a policy, then there was no change. If it was not policy, it was rightfully made policy, but that was only the logical, right, Christian thing to do. There was nothing in that hiring practice that could be a detriment to the organization. If you think there was, I hope you include all of those other employees who lie, steal, covet, commit adultery, live with members of the opposite sex without being married, etc.

Trackbacks

  1. […] There’s nothing “moral” about using a kid as a bargaining chip to punish a Christian organization for making a decision that you don’t agree with. There’s nothing honoring about using children to force an organization’s hand. There’s nothing “pro life” about that. There’s nothing remotely “Christlike” about that. It’s downright disgusting, manipulative, and sad. If I was a Pentecostal, I might even call it demonic.  (Source) […]

  2. […] There’s nothing “moral” about using a kid as a bargaining chip to punish a Christian organization for making a decision that you don’t agree with. There’s nothing honoring about using children to force an organization’s hand. There’s nothing “pro life” about that. There’s nothing remotely “Christlike” about that. It’s downright disgusting, manipulative, and sad. If I was a Pentecostal, I might even call it demonic. (Source) […]

  3. […] When the Evangelical Christian Complex does speak up on these issues, it is not to speak out against these people and organizations.  It is not to disagree with the prejudice and the hateful laws being spread.  It is to speak up so that a well-known Christian publisher leaves their organization because they published a book that tells people to study the Bible.  It is to speak up and stop sponsoring children. […]