Yesterday news struck that World Vision, one of the top ten charitable organizations in the world would no longer prohibit the hiring of Christians in open homosexual relationships.
World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.
Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.
World Vision argues that the decision about whether or not homosexuality is a sin is a theological question and as a parachurch organization they leave open theological questions to be solved by local churches. This news did not go unnoticed.
Russell Moore responded:
At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish.
When World Vision says, “We cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue,” here is the side they do, in fact, jump onto: We forbid fornication and adultery as acceptable lifestyles among our employees (which they do), but we will not forbid the regular practice of homosexual intercourse. To presume that this position is not “jumping into the fight on one side or the other” is fanciful.
But worse than fancy, removing homosexual intercourse from its biblical alignment with fornication and adultery (and greed and theft and drunkenness) trivializes its correlation with perdition.
Trevin Wax posting at Gospel Coaltion said:
Sex is our god. Children are our sacrifice.
Albert Mohler challenged [perhaps my favorite of all the responses]:
Richard Stearns has every right to try to make his case, but these arguments are pathetically inadequate. Far more than that, his arguments reveal basic issues that every Christian ministry, organization, church, and denomination will have to face — and soon.
The distinction between an “operational arm” of the church and a “theological arm” is a fatal misreading of reality. World Vision claims a Christian identity, claims to serve the kingdom of Christ, and claims a theological rationale for its much-needed ministries to the poor and distressed. It cannot surrender theological responsibility when convenient and then claim a Christian identity and a theological mandate for ministry.
I think there is much that is tragic about this situation. What stands out to me most keenly is that our culture’s interest and preoccupation with sexual identity is causing a subtle redefinition of Christianity. I agree with Word Vision that human sexuality is not at the core of Christianity, it ought not be a part of their intentionally inclusive statement of faith. But the question of righteous Christian living in regards to sexual practice has become so decisive that I think many churches and organizations will be tempted to place their understanding of Biblical sexuality at the top of their doctrinal standards.