OWR> Organizational Paths
April 5, 2014
U.S. Changes Same-Sex Marriage Hiring Policy
president of World Vision USA, did a complete reversal of the
boards policy change 48 hours prior, after intense reaction,
criticism and withdrawal of support by some. While not
unanimous, the board was according to Stearns, "overwhelming in
favor" of the initial policy change. 1
Monday March 24, Stearns announced that they would no longer
require their 1,100 plus employees to restrict their sexual
activity to marriage, that is, the Biblical standard of being
between one man and one woman. Although abstinence outside of
marriage remains a rule, the policy change permitted gay
Christians in state sanctioned legal same-sex marriages to be employed by them.
In an exclusive interview with Christianity Today, Richard
Stearns had explained the rationale behind their change for this
condition of employment. In that interview he discussed what
pressures were involved and whether other Christian groups with
faith-based hiring policies should follow their lead.
Claiming then that the "very narrow policy change" should be
viewed as "symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity".
1 With hopes the policy would allow unity and avoid division
currently "tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart,
tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families
apart." 1 By allowing same-sex
relationships and marriages for employees, World Vision wanted to maintain
their para-church philosophy of deferring to churches and
denominations on theological issues, so that it can focus on
uniting Christians around serving the poor.
"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," he said. "It also allows us to treat
all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of
marriage, and fidelity within marriage."1
Stearns claimed that the policy change did not mean what some
might suggest, "This isn't an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
We decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this
a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and
"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some
slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no
employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us
compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches
and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational
arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the
"This is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible
for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue,
and nothing more." 1
The problem is, one cannot separate being a Christian and
being obedient to Christ and the Word, by claiming it's left to
churches and denominations to decide what's right before God.
Each believer is accountable before God to uphold living Christ
and abiding the Word as the standard for our doctrine. Being
part of an ecumenical para-church organization, although it
provides an easy excuse, isn't an opt out on living Christ in
every aspect of what we do and say.
One of the largest ecumenical charities under the umbrella of
being called "Christian", and on of the US's top 10 charities,
World Vision U.S. took in more than a billion dollars in revenue
last year. It reportedly serves an estimated 100 million people
in 100 countries. The promotion for giving is that one needs to
sponsor poor or starving children, which invariably tears at the
hearts of supporters, but that sponsorship money does not go to
any of the children directly.
Richards Stearns acknowledged that other Christian organizations
might look to World Vision for leadership on defending faith
hiring practices, as they had in the past. He wanted observers
to understand why World Vision is voluntarily changing its own
policy. While World Vision has never asked about sexual
orientation when interviewing job candidates, they do screen
employees for their Christian faith. They ask if the applicant
can affirm the Apostles' Creed or World Vision's Trinitarian
statement of faith. 1
If I might point out, statements of faith are a dime a
dozen. Presenting and or agreeing to a "Creed" or "statement of
faith" is really nothing for those who are or are not of Christ.
There are many false gospels and other Jesus' who are being
promoted and followed, and we have been warned in the Scriptures
of those things. Many would willing say they affirm all doctrine within those documents, and
they may wholeheartedly agree, but the reality is they may not
know Jesus Christ of the Scriptures. Many are culture Christians
believing they are in a Christian nation, therefore they are
Christian. Many conservatives believe that makes them
'Christian'. Jesus said we would know them by their fruit.
Whether one believes, declares and lives Christ, and abides the Word for their doctrine
and standard of life, is what actually reveals whether someone
belongs to Jesus Christ, because it's part of the fruit of the
indwelling Holy Spirit.
According to Stearns, World Vision's policy for employees
"holds a very high bar for all manner of conduct." Regarding
sexual activity, World Vision has always required abstinence for
all single employees, and fidelity for all married employees.
Which means nothing if it is just words or holds a double
Realistically, the hiring policy issue was brought forward
because of World Vision being ecumenical and having staff from
more than 50 denominations, some of which have sanctioned
same-sex marriages or unions.
Stearns claimed the new policy reflects World Vision's
para-church and multi-denominational nature. Many will ask, does
it reflect sound doctrine found within the Scriptures?
"It's kind of a historical issue," said Stearns. "Same-sex
marriage has only been a huge issue in the church in the last
decade or so. There used to be much more unity among churches on
this issue, and that's changed."
"Our board felt we
cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue.
We've got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find
unity in our diversity."
Unfortunately that's the worlds mantra, "unity in diversity".
Stearns really wants all to believe it's about making a
statement about unity. He believes that it's part of Christ's
commission to bridge the gap differences and come together "in
our unity." He believes that Christians have not "finished
Christ's mission for the church" because, according to Stearns,
we've been divided and apparently distracted by too many other
things. He believes Christians need to find, "unity beyond
diversity in the Christian church."
We are already one in Christ, if we believe Christ and abide the
Bible for our doctrine and decisions. Paul admonished:
Philippians 2:1-2 If there
be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love,
if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2)
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love,
being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 3:14-17 I press toward the mark for the prize of the
high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (15) Let us therefore, as
many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be
otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (16)
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by
the same rule, let us mind the same thing. (17) Brethren, be
followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
World Vision board member, Pastor John Crosby, sat as interim
leader when churches split off from the Presbyterian Church
(USA) after that denomination dropped their celibacy requirement
for gay clergy in 2011. At a historical conference that laid the
foundation of the new Evangelical Covenant Order of
Presbyterians, he stated, "We have tried to create such a big
tent trying to make everybody happy theologically. I fear the
tent has collapsed without a center."1
However the division caused by accepting gay pastors and then
removal of the celibacy policy there, didn't keep Crosby from
voting for the policy change. He believes that it's merely a
matter of deciding what the core mission of an organization is.
Crosby stated that the same-sex marriage decision was about
making sure that World Vision is focused on its mission to
eliminate poverty worldwide. In agreement with Stearns
statements, he believes that because World Vision stretches
across countless cultural and theological divides in a hundred
countries, the issue of theology and how to interpret Scripture should be left to the local church.
He also believes many support World Vision because of it's
claimed Christian identity.
Another Board member and a seminary professor, Soong-Chan Rah
believes leaving the theology to others "honors the church as a whole."
Reiterating Stearns statements, he noted that the policy change
was not a statement going in any particular direction, but
rather the intent is to "acknowledge the proper relationship
between the church and the para-church."
He also believes that a lesson to be learned from this policy
change is the "value of having conversations and commitment to
prayer". Not just over same-sex marriage issues, but all
controversial issues which divide the church.
That said, in 2010 World Vision U.S. fought for the right of
Christian organizations to hire and fire based on faith
statements and won at the U.S. Supreme Court level. It also
opposed an attempt in 2012 by USAID to "strongly encourage"
faith based contractors to make specific anti-discrimination
policies which included sexual orientation or be at risk of losing federal funds.
In Uganda, where a new law criminalizing gays and
lesbians has been opposed by World Vision Uganda, it stated:
"The issue of same-sex relationships will neither prevent us
from serving children, families and communities around the
world, nor obstruct our collaboration with one another and with
our partner organizations"
The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington reported that World
Vision had reduced its U.S. workforce by 10 percent over the
past 15 months as expenses have risen and government grants have
decreased. As a result, in January Stearns wrote to 408,000
donors in an unprecedented appeal asking child sponsors to
increase their giving due to cutbacks.
World Vision, incidentally, caps federal funding at 35% of it's
cash revenues. However, Stearns claimed that government funding
had no impact on their hiring policy decision.
"If the U.S. government ever requires us to give up our
religious hiring rights in exchange for grants, we would walk
away from U.S. grants. World Vision's ministry is not for sale."
Stearns gave assurance that the policy change would not affect World
Vision's partnership with ministries that maintain current
faith-based bans on same-sex behavior. For Stearns, it was
strictly about whether this issue should be a condition of
employment at World Vision U.S.
Richard Stearns was adamant the same-sex marriage hiring policy
change would not impact World Vision's identity or work in the
field. "World Vision is committed to our Christian identity. We
are absolutely resolute about every employee being followers of
Jesus Christ. We are not wavering on that," he said.
Stearns also declared that the hiring policy decision was not
about "compromising the authority of Scripture," as some would
later respond with. Many theologians and denominations disagree
the issue is about compromising Scripture, instead believing their
particular Bible allows for it. Stearns, along with many others, said the
church is divided on
this and many issues. However, he claims because World Vision
U.S. is not 'the local church', but rather an operational
or para-church organization, their goal of serving the poor unites Christians,
"in the name of Christ" (and any supporters regardless of
religious beliefs who wishes to donate or they enter into
partnership with). Their website states
they are, "a Christian relief,
development and advocacy organization".
U.S. Reverses 2 Day Policy Change On Same-Sex
For more information
about World Vision please see:
World Vision ~ A U.N. Global Vision >
Institute for Global Engagement & Eastern College >
World Vision Cont. ~
United With Belial> http://www.seekgod.ca/worldvisioncont.htm
Global Education >
World Vision Board Members
1. World Vision: Why We're
Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages ,
March 24, 2014 > Christianity Today, March, 2014
2. World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex
Marriages March 26, 2014
3. World Vision, in reversal, won’t hire Christians in same-sex
Posted on March 26, 2014 | By Joel Connelly
4. World Vision Press Release > World Vision U.S. Board Reverses
5. Letter from World Vision Canada President, Dave Toycen, on
Vision Canada’s hiring practices _ About World Vision
6, Our Christian identity Responding to World Vision US hiring
discussion _ World Vision Canada Church Engagement
7. Christian Relief Agency World Vision to Hire Married Gay
8. Major Evangelical Charity to Hire Married Gay Christians >
9. Christian Group That Flip-Flopped on Gay Marriage Loses
10. On World Vision and the Gospel _ Moore to the Point
11. Forum Research Inc > http://www.forumresearch.com/forms/News%20Archives/News%20Releases/67741_Canada-wide_-_Federal_LGBT_%28Forum_Research%29_%2820120628%29.pdf
12. Ipsos Global >Same-Sex Marriage (June 2013)
13. An apology is not enough - World Vision needs to clean
Bryan Fischer - Guest Columnist > Thursday, March 27, 2014
14. Same-sex marriage in Canada
15. Where is gay marriage legal?
16. Gay Marriage Around the World [updated Feb 5, 2014]
17. World Vision trims workforce as expenses rise, grants
decline :Since 2010, it has laid off 120 U.S. employees,
including 52 in Federal Way > By STEVE MAYNARD March 20, 2014
18. World Vision board member quits over gay marriage hiring ban :
Google's Jacqueline Fuller leaves Christian charity's board after it reverses decision to hire workers in same-sex marriages
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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