World Vision's U.S. President Rich Stearns, center, visits with Syrian refugees in Irbid, Jordan. Photo by Jon Warren, courtesy of World Vision

World Vision’s U.S. President Rich Stearns, center, visits with Syrian refugees in Irbid, Jordan. Photo by Jon Warren, courtesy of World Vision


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) In an attempt to create unity, World Vision managed to poke a hornet’s nest around the issue of same-sex marriage. President Rich Stearns openly acknowledges the mistakes the relief organization made while flip-flopping on the issue.

On Monday (March 24), the World Vision announced that it would allow employees to be in same-sex marriages. Within 48 hours, the $1 billion Christian organization reversed course, saying that it had made a mistake. The backlash illustrated how evangelicals will continue to wrestle with a growing cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage.

In an interview with Religion News Service on Thursday, Stearns suggested that the number of sponsors lost was under but around 5,000. Those who sponsor a child pay $35 each month, so the loss could have tallied up to $2.1 million a year.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What has been the reaction since the reversal?

A: This has been a painful week in terms of the division that we created around our initial decision, and then reversing the decision two days later has created a lot of concerns with our employees and our key partners around the country.

Q: Can you say how many child sponsors have been lost?

A: I don’t actually have today’s number but it’s less than 5,000 so far. We’re learning that a number of people are calling back since the reversal to reinstate their sponsorship. They’re forgiving; they’re saying, ‘Hey we stand with you.’”

Q: What about nonreligious partners? Have you lost any partnerships with them since the reversal of the decision?

A: Not that I’m aware of at this point. We’re still obviously evaluating the impact of all of this on all of our partners. The important thing for World Vision is that every organization has to clearly define who they are and what they stand for. And we’ve done a pretty good job of that for 63 years, and this week has unfortunately caused a lot of confusion and dissonance across the country, certainly with our closest partners and sponsors, pastors and churches, some who have been with us for decades. The mistake I think we made was to confuse those folks about where we stood on what we feel and they feel on certain issues, certainly the issue of traditional marriage.

Richard Stearns, seen here during a visit to Zambia, is the U.S. President of World Vision. Religion News Service photo courtesy of Jon Warren/World Vision.

Richard Stearns, seen here during a visit to Zambia, is the U.S. president of World Vision. Religion News Service photo courtesy of Jon Warren/World Vision.


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Q: Someone said you had tears in your eyes in this morning’s staff meeting. How has it impacted you personally?

A: I’ve had better weeks, I’ll tell you that. This has been emotionally difficult for all of us at World Vision. I feel responsibility. I’m the leader. I led us into this situation. I’ve made some mistakes and I have to live with that. But I think some of the emotion is about how we are so proud of what we stand for, we are so proud of what we’ve done, all the good work we do with refugee camps in Syria, rebuilding the Philippines after the typhoon, and work in the Congo. All of those things have been taken off the table and out of the discussion because of the controversy around this recent decision. If I have any heartache, I hope and pray that it doesn’t impact the amazing staff and work we do around the world.

Q: Has anybody called for your resignation, on the board or elsewhere?

A: If you read the Internet, there are people that are calling for the resignation of me, the board and anybody else who wears a World Vision T-shirt. No, there have been no serious requests for my resignation. I would certainly understand if the board wanted to make a decision around that. Some of the board members have asked the question about their own resignation. Right now, our feeling is we were all in this together. We made certainly, in retrospect, a bad decision, but we did it with the right motivations. We weren’t trying to harm, or trying to find revenue; we weren’t doing it for wrong motives. We were trying to find some kind of solution to a divisive issue that would create some space of togetherness around differences within the church. Our regret is that we caused more division instead of finding a place of more unity.

Q: Have any staff members resigned?

A: We have had one or two resign that I’m aware of, but not a large number.

Q: Was that earlier this week?

A: I believe at least one resigned earlier when they learned about the decision. We had a few in the past few days resign partially because of stress. You can imagine some of the folks in our call center that are answering our 800 line. They’re receiving an earful of anger. I think we had a few people who couldn’t handle the stress and the anxiety created by the incoming calls.

Q: What about since the reversal? Has anyone left?

A: Not that I’m aware of. Within an hour of the reversal, the call volume dropped. The angry calls stopped and dropped to a much lower level. Some of the sponsors called back to reinstate their sponsorships.

Q: Did anyone come out in the time between the announced decision and the reversal? In other words, are there any employees in same-sex marriages currently?

A: As far as we know, we don’t have any World Vision U.S. employees involved in a same-sex marriage. With a population of 1,100 employees, I’m sure we have people with a same-sex orientation on our staff. But I think it’s important to say that we respect the privacy of our employees. We don’t ask about sexual orientation in the interview or in hiring because we do welcome people regardless of their sexual orientation if they can affirm the Apostles’ Creed and the statement of faith, and if they can abide by our conduct policy. The conduct policy applies to heterosexuals and homosexuals. We’re not trying to exclude someone because they have a same-sex orientation, but we do have a conduct standard that governs all employees.

Q: Do you have employees or members of the board who are worried about being perceived as anti-gay?

A: Certainly that would be a concern. I certainly don’t want to send a message to the gay community that we are anti-gay. We are not. We are pro-people. We believe that all people are created in the image of God and are to be treated with love and respect. That’s the foundation for our work around the world. We work with all people. We don’t discriminate based on religion. We work with Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and Christians and animists. We don’t discriminate racially, ethnically or religiously. We would not want people to think we have negative attitudes towards people with same-sex orientation.

Q: What kind of church do you attend, and has that informed your personal view on same-sex marriage?

A: It’s a Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Seattle area, but I don’t want to drag them into this. I’m not telling people where I stand on same-sex marriage because I don’t think it’s relevant. The decision the board made is about what World Vision should do strictly around our code of conduct. We saw it as a narrow issue and we have board members who have our own opinions and go to various denominations and churches.

World Vision has been aware that this issue has been dividing churches, denominations and families in a heartbreaking way. Our board was trying to make an honest attempt to wrestle with a divisive issue. We created more disunity by our action and we blurred the image of World Vision in the eyes of our supporters and church partners, so we took steps to rectify that and be quite clear in where we stand.

Q: In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote about you: “Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy.” Do you still feel this way when it comes to an evangelical focus on sexual morality?

A: I’m not suggesting at all that marriage or sexuality is a trivial issue for a Christian or for the church. They’re important issues around conduct and the authority of Scripture in our lives. What I do feel is there is a tremendous amount of energy going into these issues from within the church, and certainly because of who we are at World Vision, we see that the issues of poverty and suffering and caring for the least of these around the world, these issues sometimes seem less important than these issues of policy and sexual morality in the United States. I’m not trying to equate the two, but to say we should certainly be as passionate about serving the poor as we are about issues of sexual morality in the United States. In many churches, that is the case. But we all have to admit that issues like this distract us and take up more time than they should or than they ought to.

KRE/AMB END BAILEY

97 Comments

  1. It was sad to see that some “Christians” would starve five thousand children rather than let a small handful of same sex partners employed by World Vision to marry each other in Christian denominations who accept the practice. Sadder still to see World Vision call it’s decision a mistake. By pandering to the lowest common denominator in their donor base they have made an even bigger mistake.

    The dollar speaks and World Vision listens.

      • If you donated money to an organization that started allowing pedophiles (who continue in the practice) to work on their staff, and you decided to quit donating to them, should we call you a bully?

        • Eric,
          It is very difficult to move forward from bullying, however, it is not always so clear who is doing the bullying. I lost a job because of bullies who want to force there view of acceptance of same-sex marriage on me. Or should I say there intolerance of anyone who does not see things there way. I am sorry but there has been bullying on both sides of this issue and it is because of that that so many innocent people are being hurt. Not unlike other wars that are being carried out around the world. When families break up because on of the parents begins to believe the lies they are being told about there same-sex attractions it is generally the children that pay a price. Stop the lies, both sides.

          • ” I lost a job because of bullies who want to force there view of acceptance of same-sex marriage on me. ”

            I get the feeling that probably meant treating a married gay co-worker with basic professional courtesy and respect befitting the position.

            Behind the overwhelming majority of stories of “Christians being persecuted for their beliefs” stories in the US is usually a person acting in an uncivil obnoxious manner and claiming it is his religious belief.

        • Its money! Its money! Its money! That’s the ONLY REASON they reversed their decision. These people are likely not Christian if they falter so quickly on such a basic obvious issue. Even a baby new born Christian knows that homosexuality is a sin. Plain and simple. Why try to sugar coat this? Its not divisive. Truth is not divisive. Stand for truth!

    • To say this about $$$ is to miss the point of integrity to principles long established and held dear to the vast majority of Christians and non-Christians alike. Your judgmentalism is also not God honoring.

        • Why don’t some of the richest people in America send money to help the poor and starving children instead of spending the millions they have spent on pushing same-sex marriage.

          • Who says they don’t? And why aren’t you asking the same question of those spending millions to oppose the legal recognition of the rights of gays and lesbians?

        • Your comment makes no sense Eric. Are you telling me you never judge any thing, ever? We all judge all day long, every day. That how we make decisions throughout the day.

          So once you donate you are now required to donate for the rest of your life, otherwise you are a judgmental bully. People need to learn to think.

          Answer me this: If you were donating to a secular organization, and they started supporting anti-homosexual laws, would you continue to give your money to them? Probably not. Why should only Christians with a conviction not be allowed to stand by their conviction. Just stupid, seriously. Think people.

        • Who says that many of these people who stopped donated to World Vision won’t start donating to another Christian organization who feeds starving Children? They obviously donated because they cared, so I’m sure sure many of them will just find another way to donate.

          • Exactly.. there are many other reputable true believing Christian organizations. Just because an organization does ‘external good works’ doesn’t mean that its not morally bankrupt, as is the case with World Vision..I mean just look at the responses to the questions. This person wouldn’t even be fit to be an elder in a church!

            I think Christians need to be discerning when giving their money to organizations that betray the message of the Gospel. Its so basic and so simple to just stand for the truth, but it will lose them money.. So they try and play both sides to get more donor money. The only reason they reversed their decision was due to loss of money. Its so sad and I would never ever support this organization.

      • This isn’t just a value that’s held dear to many Christians. It’s something that God himself established. That is what this whole debate is (or should be) about. God created men to be with women. He gave us Sodom and Gomorrah as an example to show us how serious of a sin homosexuallity is. He also gave us the Corinthians as an example of how despite it being a very serious sin, you can still be forgiven of it.

        Any Christian who denies this denies what God has shown us and has established.

    • I wouldn’t say ‘let starve’ I would say, ‘redirect funds to other international aid organizations that help feed the hungry that continue to uphold biblical truths’. If you don’t believe in an organization then find one that you can believe in.

  2. I guarantee that if a gay organization reversed it’s view and said that gay marriage is now a sin, that they would pull their support too. Because they supported the organization based off of shared values. I am sure most people shifted their support to other organizations with their shared values doing the same things.

      • There is bigotry and bullying on both sided of this stupid war. Those on the same-sex marriage side and the US government cannot be seen as faultless here. They are using bullying tactics as well.

        • If “both sides” are “bullying”, and virtually any statement or action can be slapped with that label, the term is stretched so thin that it becomes meaningless. Playing the “equal blame game” just doesn’t square with reality. Thing are changing, and have changed dramatically, but let’s not pretend we’re talking about two groups competing on an even playing field. Be honest: which side would be happier if the term “bully” simply went away, because “both sides” should stop “it”?

      • I will be be very compassionate here. Please read these verses for yourself.
        But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

        10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him, God speed.

        11 For he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.

  3. “I certainly don’t want to send a message to the gay community that we are anti-gay. We are not. We are pro-people.”

    The biblical view is a nuanced one; those who are not committed to the truth of the Scriptures can easily distort it. When Mr Stearns made the comment quoted above I believe he meant it sincerely. I would say it sincerely too. But, speaking for myself, what I would mean by it is nuanced. We are not anti-gay in the same sense that we are not anti-bigamist or anti-adulterer or anti-drug dealer. Which is to say that we are not the enemies of any human beings. But if anti-gay means that we think that homosexuality is wrong, then we ARE anti-gay. Increasingly it is the case that to be tolerant of homosexuality means that you think that it is just another lifestyle choice — no better, no worse. That is the world’s view, and as Christians we need to decide whether we will be loyal to the world or loyal to our God.

    Jesus Himself loved and associated with “sinners” (i.e., those whose sins were well known to the rest of the community), but there was never a man who lived who abhorred sin more than He did while He was on the earth.

    • “But if anti-gay means that we think that homosexuality is wrong, then we ARE anti-gay.” You do, so you are. Because unlike adulterers and drug-dealers, the behavior of gays and lesbians as gays and lesbians has not obviously sinful effects.

      “That is the world’s view, and as Christians we need to decide whether we will be loyal to the world or loyal to our God.” Was Paul loyal to God or to the world when, in Romans 1, he recycled Greco-Roman moral ideas about sex “contrary to nature”?

      • The essence of sin is rebellion against God. Sometimes sin has obviously sinful effects, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes sinful effects that are obvious to one person aren’t obvious to another.

        There is a story about the theologian Paul King Jewett that I like to tell. In one of his books, he stated, essentially, “The Apostle Paul taught that women were not to exercise authority of men in the Church — but he was wrong.” (You see, I not only believe that homosexuality is wrong — I also think that women should not exercise pastoral authority over men in the Church.) So what is my point? Simply that Jewett, the liberal that he was, at least had the integrity to admit what Paul was saying. That integrity is lacking in those who claim that the Bible endorses homosexuality. Your view of Romans 1 at least has in its favor that it accurately represents what Paul was saying.

        • So the sin of indifference to the suffering and impoverished was less important than attacking the lives of charity workers. We can see where your priorities really lie.

          In your moral calculus it was important to make children suffer on behalf of your views. After all to treat gay people humanely was so much more harmful than letting children die from clear indifference and callous behavior. So many millstones hung around so many little necks. All of this coming from people professing to live a moral upstanding life (and demanding others to live as they do). What a joke!

          This is why I have to laugh when a self-righteous Christian starts sputtering about how all morality comes from following God. Obviously religion provides great excuses not to act morally. It gives you that great excuse to tell children growing up in poverty to drop dead. Nice.

          • Larry – Your post is shown as a response to me. Is that a mistake? It seems to have absolutely nothing to do with what I have posted. To be precise, nothing I have posted implies that I want children to suffer, or even that I bear any animus towards World Vision.

          • No, I had the right person.

            Someone more concerned with attacking gays than with the welfare of starving children.

          • Again, a complete non sequitor. As if I could conclude that you don’t like chicken because you attacked the owner of Chick-Fil-A.

          • Is there really any point in anti-gays continuing to claim they “only disagree” with LGBT Americans? Federal courts are revoking anti-gay Hate Votes, whose sole purpose was to HURT LGBT Americans, by proving those dirty, traitorous Hate Votes are all based on unconstitutional animus. Americans are not anti-gays now.

          • I believe you are referring to this question: “Was Paul loyal to God or to the world when, in Romans 1, he recycled Greco-Roman moral ideas about sex ‘contrary to nature’?”

            I’m not sure if you’re asking me if I think Paul was recycling Greco-Roman ideas about homosexuality or if in general the act of writing Scripture was a loyal act on Paul’s part. I do sense that your style of communication is not that of someone engaged in a good faith dialog. I notice above that you are rather quick to label someone a bigot. People who take the pro-gay position like to talk about bigotry and hate, as if they can’t at all put themselves in the position of a religious conservative, and that they really place no importance on religious freedom and on the right to think what you want. I can sympathize with someone who is gay. I’m sure it’s not fun hearing someone voice opinions like mine. But to say that hate and bigotry is involved is both wrong and dishonest.

            In any case, my answer is: In penning the book of Romans under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul was being loyal to God, though that’s hardly the first word I would choose to describe him in that moment. I haven’t read John Boswell’s books, but no, I don’t suppose that Paul was unduly influenced by Greco-Roman views of homosexuality, especially given that he was a highly trained Jewish scholar, a student of Gamaliel.

          • “I haven’t read John Boswell’s books, but no, I don’t suppose that Paul was unduly influenced by Greco-Roman views of homosexuality, especially given that he was a highly trained Jewish scholar, a student of Gamaliel.”

            It’s responses like this that reveal how little thought many conservatives have put into issues of interpretation. Where to begin? Perhaps with the painfully obvious: just because Paul was Jewish doesn’t mean he was unfamiliar with Greek culture and ideas. Far from it. You do know that Paul wrote in Greek, yes? Now to the next obvious: in Rom. 1, when Paul uses the phrase para physin, “against nature,” he is not drawing on Jewish, but Greco-Roman, philosophical terminology. So contra your assertion, Paul is demonstrably influenced by Greco-Roman views of same-sex sex. And any honest and informed biblical scholar knows this, whether they have read the outdated work of Boswell or not.

            Let me describe this the way conservatives love to describe liberal thinking: Paul is conforming to the dominant culture and accommodating his thinking to secular reason. When Paul talks about same-sex sex or gender, he sounds little different than a elite, educated pagan. In short, he follows the “world’s view.”

            So, care to tell us again how we have to choose between loyalty to the world and loyalty to God?

          • I think it’s clear that our axiomatic principles are quite different. Was Paul influenced by his culture? Yes. Was his choice of language influenced by his culture? Yes. But the 900-lb gorilla that you’re dancing around is that I believe the Scriptures were inspired by God and you don’t. If Paul’s language was superintended by the Holy Spirit to the extent that his writings were the very word of God, then it makes very little difference if he used language of the Greeks and/or Romans. To the extent that Greco-Roman views of homosexuality match those of Romans, they are correct.

          • “To the extent that Greco-Roman views of homosexuality match those of Romans, they are correct.”

            Well, at least you answered the question. But I find your answer puzzling, if not stunning. Apparently you don’t see how your idea of inspiration justifies picking and choosing some aspect of culture and treating it as if it were a divinely-revealed timeless truth. Because that is what Paul is doing, choosing to agree with the moralists of his culture. And you attribute that action to the *direct* work of the Holy Spirit.

            I get that it probably doesn’t bother you that the Holy Spirit agrees with privileged male authority figures who held a whole range of ideas that most modern people would find morally unacceptable, ideas about war, slavery, crime and punishment, ethnic “others,” and sex and gender, among other things. You even say that if they agree with Paul, then they agree with God. Which means God agrees with them. And if they share common ground with God on one topic, why not others?

            Doesn’t it bother you what this implies about your idea of God? Because it implies that God is little different than an elite Roman male, but with a dash more omnipotence. Doesn’t it bother you, in other words, that the God behind your view of both inspiration and homosexuality is a mirror reflection of human culture?

          • What a relief to me that you have deigned to declare your question answered.

            My final comment: You, sir, are the master of the loaded question. Look up “Loaded Question” in Wikipedia if you’re wondering what I’m referring to. It is a cheap rhetorical device that is not at all becoming, and its use betrays a lack of integrity.

          • I can understand you not wanting to answer a difficult question. I can’t understand the lack of self-awareness it takes to criticism someone for asking “loaded questions” after writing something like this:

            “That is the world’s view, and as Christians we need to decide whether we will be loyal to the world or loyal to our God.”

            I take your personal insult–that I lack “integrity”–to be a tacit admission of defeat.

  4. I have sponsored a child thru World Vision for the past several years. As a person in a same sex marriage I was happy to hear about their first decision to change their policy and disappointed when they reversed it. But i will not stop my sponsorship because of their reversal. I donate because as a Christian I believe i am called to try to help those in need, which, from what I know about the organization, they do. If at some point World Vision strays from their mission of helping children in need then I will stop contributing (because it’s about the children, not me).

    I will pray for the WV leaders and employees that they will be led by God in all their decisions and work. That their stress will be relieved. And that love for all God’s children will be their guide.

    • You are in a same sex marriage AND you are claiming to be a Christian?

      Nope, that ain’t working out. Not trying to be harsh, but since we’re all speaking candidly on all sides anyway, it’s time to tell the truth. We both know what 1 Cor. 6:9-11 says. Either “God is Lord” or “Gay is Lord”, and you can’t serve both masters. What Jesus did for the ancient Corinthians, he can do for anyone.

      Time to choose. Time to get rid of the gay marriage and choose Jesus instead.

      • Your comment clearly demonstrates a closed-mindedness. Fundamentalists seem to reach a point where there is such an emphasis on the protection of the Gospel that there is an inability to experience the Gospel.

        • You are right. Close-minded to the error of being gay and claiming to be a christian. BUT open-minded to the scriptures. Please read more below:It’s surprising to hear homosexuals attempt to interpret the Bible. They argue against the fact that the Bible condemns homosexuality. They read and interpret the scriptures with such bias that they refuse to see the obvious. Homosexuals reject verses that clearly condemn homosexuality in the old Testament.
          The verses which clearly show that the Bible condemns homosexuality include Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) which reads; “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” and Leviticus 18:30 (KJV) which also reads “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
          What could be clearer. The Bible condemns homosexuality! It’s easier to understand atheist homosexuals who openly profess a non-belief in God. To such, Biblical verses mean nothing since they deny the existence of the writer.What is more worrisome ,however, is to see these same atheists attempting to interpret the Bible they don’t believe in! What contradiction! The extremely absurd however are the so-called gay-christians.
          Gay-christians and their atheist/agnostic counterparts put up lame arguments against the clear truth that the Bible condemns homosexuality. What could be clearer than the statements ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” How about the statement that “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
          But, does the Bible really condemn homosexuality? Yes it does. The lack of understanding of the differences between the moral and ceremonial laws exposes the pitiable ignorance of men and women who know lack understanding of the scriptures they attempt to interpret! They make reference to prohibitions about food like shrimps, pork etc.
          As a proof that the Bible condemns homosexuality, could you please take a look at the dialogue in Acts 10? ; “Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed,that call not thou common.”
          This discourse clearly shows the difference between dispensational, ceremonial laws from eternal, moral laws. A quick look at exodus 20 reveals what is commonly knows as the ten commandments. Do you notice that “Thou shall not kill” remains eternal despite a dimensional shift from the old to the new testament?
          Whenever religious bigots tried to enforce old testament dispensational laws on new testament believers, they met with resistance from the Lord Jesus Christ.Such was the washing of hands in Judaism which Jesus quickly dispensed with in the statement Mark 7:10; “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
          Another principle in the interpretation of old testament scriptures is that while time-limited dispensational guides are dispensed with in the New testament, eternal truths are carried over, re-emphasized and re-established in the New testament.
          Consider the clear command, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus teaches 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
          In like manner, the old testament commands; ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” How about the statement that “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” are eternal truths rather than time-limited dispensational guides. Why? They are re-emphasized in the New Testament as shown below;
          Romans 1:27 (KJV) “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
          Again, I Corinthians 6:9 (KJV) reads “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”
          Furthermore, Jude 1:7 (KJV) declares;”Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
          One other principle in the interpretation of scriptures is the law of first mention. An excuse given by homosexuals who claim that sodomites were destroyed for their lack of hospitality rather than their sexual perversion in Genesis 19. It is however foolhardy ignorance to accept that position because Leviticus makes it clear why the sodomites were destroyed. It was because of an abomination. Leviticus left us in no doubt of what that abomination was; ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
          With that clarification and taking the Old and new Testament references together makes rubbish of insinuations that the new the new testament only condemned homosexual prostitutes or heterosexuals who practiced homosexuality. This has been referred to as “ unreasonable mental gymnastics.” A desperate attempt to “naturalize” an unnatural sexual perversion!
          You can therefore choose what to believe, BUT the Biblical position is clear.
          Bottom-line: the Bible condemns homosexuality. QED.

      • Hey Anthony (I refuse to call you “Doc”),

        You can say you “know” what 1 Cor. 6:9-11 says, but any honest person recognizes that, well, it says nothing about homosexuality. Nothing. Nada. Not a damn thing.

        Go ahead, bring out your translations. Try to fudge the meaning of words. Make your dubious conflations between ancient and modern concepts. Project your assumptions into Paul’s language. Pretend the Bible always and only agrees with what you were taught in Sunday school at age 8. Go head, we’ll wait.

        After that, though, I’ll ask you to choose. Choose Jesus. For real this time. Renounce the idol you’ve made and repent. He’s knocking. Maybe you’ll let him in. Maybe.

    • Sorry sir. GOD will not lead the leadership against HIS word. He is not the author of confusion. Christians are not GAY and GAYs are NOT Christians.
      Please read more here. Sorry, but that’s the bible. Plase see more here It’s surprising to hear homosexuals attempt to interpret the Bible. They argue against the fact that the Bible condemns homosexuality. They read and interpret the scriptures with such bias that they refuse to see the obvious. Homosexuals reject verses that clearly condemn homosexuality in the old Testament.
      The verses which clearly show that the Bible condemns homosexuality include Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) which reads; “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” and Leviticus 18:30 (KJV) which also reads “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
      What could be clearer. The Bible condemns homosexuality! It’s easier to understand atheist homosexuals who openly profess a non-belief in God. To such, Biblical verses mean nothing since they deny the existence of the writer.What is more worrisome ,however, is to see these same atheists attempting to interpret the Bible they don’t believe in! What contradiction! The extremely absurd however are the so-called gay-christians.
      Gay-christians and their atheist/agnostic counterparts put up lame arguments against the clear truth that the Bible condemns homosexuality. What could be clearer than the statements ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” How about the statement that “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
      But, does the Bible really condemn homosexuality? Yes it does. The lack of understanding of the differences between the moral and ceremonial laws exposes the pitiable ignorance of men and women who know lack understanding of the scriptures they attempt to interpret! They make reference to prohibitions about food like shrimps, pork etc.
      As a proof that the Bible condemns homosexuality, could you please take a look at the dialogue in Acts 10? ; “Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed,that call not thou common.”
      This discourse clearly shows the difference between dispensational, ceremonial laws from eternal, moral laws. A quick look at exodus 20 reveals what is commonly knows as the ten commandments. Do you notice that “Thou shall not kill” remains eternal despite a dimensional shift from the old to the new testament?
      Whenever religious bigots tried to enforce old testament dispensational laws on new testament believers, they met with resistance from the Lord Jesus Christ.Such was the washing of hands in Judaism which Jesus quickly dispensed with in the statement Mark 7:10; “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
      Another principle in the interpretation of old testament scriptures is that while time-limited dispensational guides are dispensed with in the New testament, eternal truths are carried over, re-emphasized and re-established in the New testament.
      Consider the clear command, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus teaches 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
      In like manner, the old testament commands; ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” How about the statement that “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” are eternal truths rather than time-limited dispensational guides. Why? They are re-emphasized in the New Testament as shown below;
      Romans 1:27 (KJV) “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
      Again, I Corinthians 6:9 (KJV) reads “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”
      Furthermore, Jude 1:7 (KJV) declares;”Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
      One other principle in the interpretation of scriptures is the law of first mention. An excuse given by homosexuals who claim that sodomites were destroyed for their lack of hospitality rather than their sexual perversion in Genesis 19. It is however foolhardy ignorance to accept that position because Leviticus makes it clear why the sodomites were destroyed. It was because of an abomination. Leviticus left us in no doubt of what that abomination was; ”Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
      With that clarification and taking the Old and new Testament references together makes rubbish of insinuations that the new the new testament only condemned homosexual prostitutes or heterosexuals who practiced homosexuality. This has been referred to as “ unreasonable mental gymnastics.” A desperate attempt to “naturalize” an unnatural sexual perversion!
      You can therefore choose what to believe, BUT the Biblical position is clear.
      Bottom-line: the Bible condemns homosexuality. QED.

        • Edward Borges-Silva

          Actually Solomon’s summation is one of the best thought out and well expressed offerings on the distinctions, nuances, and clear scriptural principles of the entire bible I’ve seen on this website. To Solomon; Thank you for a well constructed apologetic.

          • If by “well constructed apologetic” you mean piling tired talking points on top of a mountain of proof-texts, then sure. Most people, though, wouldn’t call that an argument or even a summation of one; they’d call it what it is, a mere assertion held together by elisions and sophistry.

  5. It saddens me that WV was subject to such a backlash when their motivation was to promote peace and unity. I’m doubly saddened that when they reversed course because they realized that their actions, far from promoting unity created more divisiveness, subjected them to more derision for “flip-flopping”. All Christians are called to love the sinner but hate the sin. Those wrestling honestly with the issue can recognize that is a hard mandate to follow in real terms. How do we communicate that Christ loves us, all of us, in spite of all our many shortcomings and our sinful nature, without condoning the very behavior he died to liberate us from? Perhaps it time we review our entrenched positions?

      • Huh, that’s funny, “Doc.” I thought evangelicals liked to go on and on about their growing numbers. Cause goodness knows, they’ve been re-writing the Bible and “the core of the gospel” for about a century and a half now.

      • Doc has it exactly backwards about the falsification of the Bible. Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870. Many major Christian and Jewish denominations condemn misusing the hate-based mistranslations to attack their fellow Americans and are marrying same gender American couples now. About 400 years ago, a group of religious authorities (sanctioned by King James I of England), secretly manipulated the English version of the Bible to reflect their own heterosexual attitude; they opposed the King kissing other men in public. But in revised versions, religious authorities re-defined the Greek word “arsenokoites” of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The most accurate translation, abusers of themselves with mankind [KJV], was pretty vague. Nevertheless, they replaced this vague 5-worded text with the not so vague and purposely targeted 1-word text, “homosexual(s).” Either way you cut it, this text does not describe loving, committed same gender couples. This campaign gave those who were looking for a reason to justify their own homophobia a license to openly express their bigotry.

        • Edward Borges-Silva

          The word homosexual may not have occurred in English before 1870, that does not mean the practice and the principle was not well understood no matter what the nomenclature; it is hardly a mistranslation. And why do revisionists claim that those most removed by time and place from the actual events have a superior inside track to evaluating the evidence.

          • Yes the practice of same-sex sex existed before the terms homosexuality and heterosexuality were coined. The principle of homosexuality, namely that of sexual orientation, most certainly did not. And that is absolutely key to understanding the difference between Greco-Roman and Modern, Western ways of conceptualizing sexuality.

            When Greco-Roman moralists wrote about erotic desire, they did not note a natural or moral distinction between same sex attraction and opposite sex attraction. They did, however, note an excess of desire as both unnatural and immoral, just as they noted an excess of appetite, gluttony, as both unnatural and immoral, or “soft.” And virtually all Greco-Roman moralists saw the excessive pursuit of sexual pleasure as immoral and “soft”–whether one pursued women or men.

            It was the man who spent all of time and money on prostitutes or chasing younger men or, the gods forbid!, submitting themselves to other men who was “unnatural” in their eyes. So unless you think we all live in Ephesus in 83 CE, the absence of the term and concept of homosexuality in the Bible matters hugely.

            And no “revisionist” thinks they understand the ideas in the biblical texts, like “contrary to nature,” better than cultural contemporaries of the biblical authors. Quite the opposite: it is by understanding how pagan writers in Paul’s world thought about sex and gender that we get to a better, and different, understanding of what Paul said about those things.

        • Biblical scholars have “proven” no such thing whatsoever.This is a distinctly minority view which has grown up out of a specific agenda over just the last generation. We know exactly what arsenokoitai means, as it is made up of the two key words of the Septuagint version of Leviticus 20:13, and we know exactly how 1st century Jews (which would include Paul and Jesus) understood Leviticus 20:13 from other early Jewish writings. Flavius Josephus, who was a contemporary of Paul, received exactly the same religious education and training as Paul and wrote in much the same vein, said that nature approves the mating of a man with his wife but “abhors the mixture of male with male.” Philo of Alexandria wrote on the subject in a similar fashion. The Midrash Rabbah Genesis and the Babylonian Talmud, which date from the first couple of centuries of the common era, even go so far as to speak of same-sex marriage in pre-Noahide times. There’s not so much as a hint in history that the key passages were ever understood in any other way, or that “love” or “consensuality” ever constituted any kind of excuse.for prohibited sexual behaviors.

          Don’t take John Boswell too seriously–hardly any real scholars do. That unfortunate man wasted a good deal of his life and talents trying to convince others, and himself most of all, that his own same-sex behavior was OK.

          • Then you’ll be easily be able to show us where Josephus and Philo use the word arsenoikoites, yes? (Sorry Rabbah Genesis doesn’t count as evidence here because it is not, you know, in Greek and we’re talking about the meaning of, you know, an obscure Greek word).

            And I do meant *the word* arsenoikoites–not just the component parts listed in the same sentence.

            Wait, what? Neither of them use the word? Shocker. Maybe “we” don’t know “exactly” as much as “we think. That attempted argument from Leviticus represents poor linguistic reasoning, no matter how common it’s been, hoss.

          • No, Josephus and Philo didn’t use the word, but that’s not the point here. It’s obvious that the word comes from Lev. 20:13; the question (if we can call it a question at all, which is debatable) is what the passage it was taken from means. That is why we look to the commentary of Josephus and Philo upon Leviticus (as well as the Midrash and Talmud), and it quite frankly reveals the 1st century Jewish understanding of the subject which would of course have been that of Paul and of Jesus as well — that mixing of male with male is wrong. And the relevant passage of Leviticus is: “Kai os an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gunaikos.” Arseno = man, koiten = bed, as euphemism for sex. The literal translation is “man-bedders.” It’s no great mystery that Paul took the two words that sat side by side in Leviticus 20:13 and coined a new term to tell people not to do what was referred to there. It’s exactly as if we were to take “adultery-committers” out of “You shall not commit adultery” and some bozo were to claim that the word was unclear.

            I’ll say to you as I’ve said to others, feel free to repudiate the bible’s guidelines if you wish, but at least do it openly and honestly. Don’t take the coward’s way out by trying to monkey around with what’s plainly there or whine that it’s “obscure” when it’s not.

          • You can keep on saying is something is “obvious” all you want, but that doesn’t make it so, much less make it correct. The degree to which you are straining to insist that your poor linguistic argument is “obvious” is the degree to which you actually know it isn’t that clear, at all. And you have the gall to say I’m monkeying with the text. Pff.

          • If you can look at that passage from Leviticus, with the two key words sitting literally side by side, and still claim not to know what Paul was talking about, then I’m afraid there’s no help for you. Enjoy your dream world.

          • “I asked Shawine5 to stand under the umbrella because it was raining, but he said no, the rain was a hoax, and I didn’t understand him.”

            If you think you can define the word “understand” by looking at sentences that contain the words “stand under,” you might lack the sense to come in out of the rain.

  6. I am glad to read that you M did not stop supporting the WV. It shows how many people see this organisation to be mainly of evangelising purpose the poor children. WV is here to help any person who is in distress. Never mind how originally the organisation started and by whom, it is about children. An employee has the right attitude to help children that is the most important thing. We all are made in the image of God and the biggest command we were given is “love your neighbour as yourself.

  7. alexander hamilton

    it is stunning the president of WV say what he says. My words for him is “Sr, you are not creating division among Christians. You are not making people “confused”. You are drawing a line between YOU and Christianity. No, Christians are not ‘confused” or “divided” by the SINFUL sexual apetite behavior of gays and lesbians. We are not divided. And for you to say that is absurd and outrageous. We all know about gay bulling and their nazi tactics out there in society. It is not going to work among Christians. What happened? the White House is pressuring you? are you been bullied by some “gay church” group?”. The absurd also is Mr. Stearns say that his mistake was “not to make more consultations” what??? consultations????? We Christians have the Scriptures and its Authority of our lives. This World and culture couldn’t care less about SIN. And the bullying, emotiional disturbed gays and lesbians are out there now screaming about “grace”, etc What they want is throw the Scriptures away to satisfy their urges. You gotta be kidding!!! After more than a decada supporting two kids I am out. The damage is not over yet. Today is a week after you revealed your apostasy. Can you believe this? the man says “he would like to unify the church around this issue”. Whaaatt??? first we are not divided. Second Don’t you ever say such garbage of unifying the church around SIN!!! The secular view, bullying gays and lesbians are infiltrated on World Vision. We found the organization and now they are stabbing us in our back. Unbeliavable the cynicism of this president and the board, embracing the secular, filthy culture and trumping the Bible. The damage for World Vision will be permanent. Historically permanent. And what the future holds nobody knows. One thing is certain, the Church is united and we live under the Authority of the Scriptures. Try to challenge that and you will see the consequences. No, not only donations dropping in Millions, but God’s judgment over you.

    • There are at least 2 things that are clear: 1- the Bible clearly teaches that Homosexuality is wrong. 2- church goers, christians and cultural christians have often been and still are ungracious towards homosexuals.

      The above points are the 2 points that are at the heart of the controversy. “Christians” often use the standard of truth in an unbalanced way, sometimes justifying their actions by that standard i.e. the crusades, inquisition.
      Homosexuals often use the fact that they are mistreated or discriminated against as proof that the christian standard opposing homosexuality is false.

      Most of the comments on this forum are an attempt to reframe the argument in favor of their own view, and either deny one of the 2 points, or try to reinterpret the basis of one of the points.

      The only area that is GRAY, is how we are to proceed. Are people born gay? Perhaps. I myself was born and adulterer and very naturally lust after women who are not my wife. That is not a fact to be celebrated. But it is also not a reason for me to be hated or abused. The point being, it does not matter what we are or how we became that way, as a Christian, the Biblical standard is clear. I don’t want to be accepted as sinner. I want to be accepted in spite of it. I don’t ever want my misbehavior to be condoned. Yes, it is in some sense who I am, but I have to wrestle with that, and when I indulge those natural urges I do wrong. Homosexuals are in the same boat, it is just a different temptation. But they should not be treated differently than me. Homosexuals are welcomed by Jesus, and are welcomed at my church. But in the same way that I would not be welcomed at my church if I practiced adultery and refused to admit I was wrong, a homosexual cannot be admitted to membership if they are practicing homosexuality and do not believe it to be wrong.

      Lastly, I do think that some of the Christians on this forum deserve a rebuke for being less than gracious, and only concerning themselves with right and wrong. Everyone is a sinner and have their own downfalls. We can have unity in that fact. But like some here have said: to love our neighbor is the greatest commandment. And that includes homosexuals and everyone else.

  8. The key is biblical. WV is supported by mostly Christians based on the biblical principle. Sounds to me that Mr. Stearns is a very skilled and smooth talking person. I get the feeling that he will reverse his position again when the wind started to blow differently. He has no concern about the biblical family value. He was sorry that it didn’t work out this time. I would call his resignation.

  9. Don’t like World Vision but still want to help children?
    www.compassion.com

    Compassion International
    PO Box 65000
    Colorado Springs, CO 80962

    Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

    Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.

    Today, Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries.

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