While Stearns admits that it has been a tough year financially, he insists that this is a theological decision toward unity, and will help them further their mission around the world.
I have heard only great things about the global relief work of World Vision for years. I have no reason to believe that their work is anything less than totally commendable as it demonstrates the gospel through compassion around the world. Moreover Richard Stearns has helpfully raised awareness that believers in the comfortable West should not be hypocrites, but engage the real brokeness of the world we are tempted to ignore. My desire is that ministries like this would expand in these days and not weaken and that the children being supported would continue to experience the compassion of believers around the world and not be the victims of controversy.
For these reasons my hope is that supporters of World Vision would seek to reverse this decision because it’s lack of compassion for at least three reasons.
1. Many gay Christians who believe in the sacrificial work of World Vision make sacrifices every day to remain celibate. Their belief (whether you agree with their self-identification or not) is that although being gay is a permanent orientation that can’t be reversed, God’s grace can help them not give in to sexual temptation, nor enter into monogamous relationships (as commendable as that is) with someone of the same sex. They do so through community, honesty, and accountability. What some may consider a death sentence, others have discovered a means to renewal through communion with Jesus. However, this is a daily sacrifice out of love for God. When Christian organizations who call for loving sacrifice make decisions like this they send the opposite message to those struggling with same-sex attraction.
2. World Vision believes the love of God can birth hope in unexpected places. Many Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction have seen God do that very thing by granting new (often surprising) desires for the opposite sex over time. This may not be immediate. This may not necessarily be the goal. This doesn’t mean same-sex attraction goes away. Nor does this happen for everyone. But it does happen. This decision doesn’t communicate the same message of hope to those in the battle.
3. The Great Commission and the Great Commandment (one of Stearn’s argument for this decision) calls all men and women to surrender their sexual immorality in every form to a Savior who died for them. Whether that’s lust, emotional or physical affairs, pornography, or giving in to same-sex attraction, the message is the same. The Bible shows us that every human is fallen and sexual immorality touches all of us in a variety of ways, but Jesus came to earth as the only human to live sexually pure before God. Compassion to the world requires we believe the grace of Jesus can change anything–including sexual sin.
Believers should push churches and parachurch organizations to consistency. Compassion cannot be narrowly applied to a few critical (and needed) activities. It also means entering the battle of those with same-sex attraction and not unintentionally fighting against them through a mixed message.
Image:photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/coltrane/3608434116/”>Christopher JL</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>