In an interview for Christianity Today the World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns explained the reasoning for this recent policy change. “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 stated. “It allows us to treat all our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
This big tent move by World Vision is to incorporate the various theological views of the various churches and denominations that World Vision has as a parachurch relationship with. “This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues,” said Stearns. “We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.” In short, World Vision is trying to incorporate the decisions of the various churches and denominations that have approved same-sex marriages or unions.
World Vision is intent on making this “very narrow policy change” a matter of unity among Christians and not division. However, the organization does not acknowledge that the issue of same-sex marriage in the evangelical world has caused division because some Christians no longer embrace the biblical definition of marriage. They want to focus on their mission while side-stepping the issue entirely. Should a Christian organization like World Vision adopt a neutral stance on same-sex marriage? If they remain neutral on same-sex marriage then should there also be neutrality on abortion, guns, drug legalization, or any stance that a church under their organization newly defines?
In a book called Mission Drift authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst outline how faith-based organizations can drift from their founding missions by often times embracing secularism in the church and forgetting that they exist to promote the Gospel. The book outlines organizations that are mission true and adapt and change with the times but do not alter their core Christian identity. It also identifies faith-based ministries and corporations who fall into the secularism trap and often decline in their core beliefs. Should a world-wide Christian relief organization like World Vision make policy changes based upon decisions of churches and denominations or based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ itself? It seems while certain churches and denominations abandon the truth of the Gospel, faith-based organizations are being pulled in the same direction drifting farther away from their founding vision.
World Vision can maintain that this recent policy change is about neutrality and unity but for Christians who strongly believe in the biblical definition of marriage there is nothing neutral about it. We are living in a day where Christians who own businesses are being sued for their religious beliefs in standing for the biblical definition of marriage. Religious liberty is being threatened in the court system. Having a Christian organization remain neutral and even hiring based upon the issue of same-sex marriage further threatens and undermines religious freedom in this country. Jesus did give us the Great Commission and encouraged us to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ but according to the whole counsel of scripture, not based upon what the church or denomination we are affiliated with theologically believes.