Friday, March 28, 2014

World Vision Episode--"A Truth Serum For Evangelicals"

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Dr. Richard Land with the Southern Baptist Convention says this week's episode with World Vision deciding to embrace homosexuality in their employment policy---then 24 hours later reversing their decision, provides a reality check for evangelicals.

In fact he says through this episode same-sex marriage has provided a "Truth Serum" for evangelicals.

I wrote about this yesterday and did not intend to mention it again today, however the shock waves and ripples continue across the evangelical community.

Dr. Land is suggesting that this event and the homosexual agenda may in fact serve to bring greater focus to the Truth of God's Word and serve to purify and refine Evangelicalism.

And that, he says, is always a prerequisite for true spiritual revival.

I want to share what other leaders like Franklin Graham, Russell D. Moore, with the Southern Baptist Convention, and Dr. George Wood, head of the Assemblies of God, are saying, and what we can take from their wisdom.

Franklin Graham said earlier this week, "I was shocked today to hear of World Vision's decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman."

"My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin."

After the reversal, Franklin said, " World Vision has reversed their decision to employ individuals who are in same-sex marriages, after an onslaught of negative reaction. In our country today, there is tremendous pressure on Christians, churches, and Christian organizations to lower our moral standards. God is clear in His Word, and His standards never change. I’m thankful that Christians across the country urged World Vision to reverse their decision, and prayed fervently that they would do so. Three cheers."

Russell D. Moore was quite candid when he said, "This is no surprise, on one level." He explained, "The constellation of parachurch evangelical ministries founded after World War II have been running headlong, with some notable exceptions, toward the very mainline liberalism to which they were founded as alternatives. Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom."

He said, "But here's what's at stake. This isn't, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth. 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."

Moore said he believes we are entering a time "where we will see who the Evangelicals really are, and by that I mean those who believe in the Gospel itself, in all of its truth and all of its grace." He says he expects "many will shrink back."

He wrote that there's "an entire corps of people out there who make their living off of evangelicals but who are wanting to 'evolve' on the sexuality issue without alienating their base."

"I don't mind people switching sides and standing up for things that they believe in," Moore states. "But just be honest about what you want to do. Don't say, 'Hath God said?' and then tell us you're doing it to advance the gospel and the unity of the church."

He points out that, "Donor bases come and go. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands forever. World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see."

Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, initially expressed his profound disappointment in World Vision's decision.

He said, "Recognizing legally valid same-sex marriages is not a narrow policy change. It is a fundamental shift away from a normative biblical understanding of marriage as the lifelong union of a man and a woman. Far from promoting Christian unity, the policy change enlists World Vision on the liberal Protestant side of the same-sex marriage debate as opposed to that of Pentecostal and evangelical churches in the U.S., not to mention Pentecostal and evangelical churches worldwide. And the policy change cannot be construed as anything but an endorsement of same-sex marriage. World Vision requires its employees to practice sexual abstinence outside of marriage. If it now permits its employees to enter legally valid same-sex marriages, then it has explicitly taken a position opposite of Scripture."

He told Assemblies of God churches and pastors, "Because of this policy change and the need to maintain continuity of care for the people who most need our help, I encourage Assemblies of God churches and individuals to begin gradually shifting their support away from the U.S. branch of World Vision to Assemblies of God World Missions and other Pentecostal and evangelical charities that maintain biblical standards of sexual morality."

Wood said, "Above all, I encourage Assemblies of God churches and individuals to remember and continue to put into practice James 1:27: 'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world'" (NIV).

Yesterday, Dr. Wood applauded World Vision's decision to reverse their prior decision and called on members of the Assemblies of God churches to accept the apology from World Vision and continue any support they had committed to the organization.

It was Dr. Richard Land who perhaps put it all in perspective, and caused me to write on this subject again today.

He said, "The essential truth that emerges from this sad, but instructive episode, is that the issue of same-sex marriage is utterly unlike the other issues raised by Stearns in his original statement. The Bible is crystal clear on the issue of marriage. As God declared in Genesis and Jesus reaffirmed in Matthew's Gospel, marriage is between male and female (Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 19: 4-6). Furthermore, God condemns all same-sex behavior as sinful and immoral (Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 6:9).

"As World Vision has learned, Evangelicals cannot declare 'neutrality' on this issue, and it cannot be fudged or finessed. If you tolerate same-sex marriage and/or same-sex behavior as acceptable morality for Christians, then you have rebelled against biblical authority and departed from the orthodox faith of biblical Christianity," Land said..

Land was very candid. He said, "As the World Vision episode illustrates so vividly, the same-sex marriage issue will act like a truth serum, dividing true Evangelicals from the faux Evangelicals who seek to travel under the Evangelical banner while denying the biblical faith of their Evangelical forefathers."

And finally, Dr. Land concluded, "Perhaps in the final analysis the same-sex marriage and homosexual issue will purify and refine Evangelicalism (always a prerequisite for true spiritual revival) by causing those who accept the current politically correct zeitgeist to be known. As the Apostle John said long ago."

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not of us" (I Jn. 2:19).

Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed. 


  1. I stopped my support of World Vision after 20 years and then started it up again after W.V.'s reversal. I hope I don't have to go through this again! But in the times we are living in, it's possible!

  2. It is a difficult truth that the Church of Jesus, cannot embrace sexual and other sinful behavior, and still carry out the mission that the Lord gave to it. The need for unity is not met by compromise. When He prayed that we would be one with each other, "I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity", it was not so that sin would or could be united with God, rather that we would take on his Truth. It is now clear that the Church has failed in maintaining the unity with the Holy Spirit, by allowing sin in the camp so to speak. Jesus, the Word made flesh, cannot be made one with sinful man, that is why he died to provide redemption for all who come to the Father through Jesus and his saving grace. To the extent that we can remain separate from the world, we are one with Him. To the extent that the Church remains pure, spiritually in its pursuit of oneness with Jesus it calls to the lost to repent. If the Church, compromises on its message of Holiness, then we mislead the world into thinking that their behavior will not lead them into death. Despite the failures of the individuals for whom Jesus died to make Holy, for our union with Him at the time of his second coming, Jesus wanted us to be one spiritually, with He and the Father. We cannot be one with them while being one, even a little bit with the world spiritually. It is our heart that God looks upon not the failures of our flesh, but we cannot, we must not, seek to make that which is in violation of His Holiness, part of the "truth" of the church. To do so attributes our sinful nature to God and will result in the world, the lost, into justifying their rejection of right living as merely a philosophical position to be adopted or not, without the consequences of spiritual death which will result in a judgment to be cast into the outer darkness. I for one, defective and guilty of sin, do not want to lead someone who looks to me for spiritual Truth, into the false belief that how he is living makes no difference to God.

  3. It seems to me that what World Vision needs to do is solidify its stance on employees who sin. I'm not being flippant there; everybody has different sins and it seems inconsistent to prohibit employees who habitually engage in one kind but not employees who engage in, say, drinking to excess (privately, not on the job) or masturbation (hopefully with the same caveat). The distinction may lie in the fact that entering into a civil same-sex marriage indicates a refusal to repent, but again, if that's so, it needs to be codified and made consistent.

  4. It's encouraging to see these leaders speaking out bolding on behalf of truth. Thanks Gary for being a banner carrier.

  5. I get the feeling that World Vision did not come to the conclusion to hold to the biblical teaching just because it was the right thing to do. It seems to me that they were afriad they would loose a lot of donations. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  6. We live in a culture where it is functionally illegal to act as if any type of sexual behavior is sinful. This has caused a rejection of the concept of sin by our culture and therefore a rejection that Christ needs to be the spotless son of God that takes away the sin of the world. In response Christians tend to market Christ as someone who will give your life meaning and purpose while filling your heart with love however Christ no longer needs to be anything more than a prophet.

    And we have allowed this cultural shift.

  7. The impression World Vision is determining their policy by the money trail seems to be reinforced by asking the Assemblies of God to accept this apology and to continue their financial support. Any similarity to Susan Komen and Planned parenthood?

  8. It's been good to be a sponsor to the children of World Vision. Did you know that they will sometimes send sponsors drawings of things and that the sponsor can write back to them?

    If a child sends you a drawing of something, you can write back telling them what it reminds you of (something that honors God) and you might be amazed at what comes out from your pen. It really is something!

    Those kind of things I can't explain here or even give good examples of. It's something you have to experience. It really is something, and those kind of things encourage a child, and can fill them with such wonder. I know, because it has done so to me.

    The key is to write back and give them something that connects to what they sent you, and is honoring to God, giving him the glory. It really is angel's food.

  9. Seems pretty obvious that World Vision did not really change what they believe about homosexual marriage. They changed their position --- literally within a matter of hours --- solely because of the backlash which was going to lead to a tremendous loss of income for them. It's all about the money.

  10. I think this shows more and more how close the church has gotten to the world . I have heard liberal Christians defend sexual sin and relate it to gossip or any other sin . How could any ministry that states its reason for being is to support the Gospel of Christ and reach out to the poor put as a statement any kind of sin as an acceptable means of doing business for the Gospel . That Christ who sacrificed for us , gave up everything , was beaten , mocked , hung up on a cross to die , then use His life as a source of a Ministry and say that sacrifice is just part of doing business for some of the little sins .

    Mick In Kingston


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