Beckelfest at Socrates in the City

Socrates in the City or Beckelfest?

Originally slated to feature Cal Thomas and his new book, What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America, last night’s Socrates in the City (SITC)event turned into a Bob Beckel therapy session. Now that may be a little strong, but the event was definitely different than normal.

SITC is an event masterminded by Eric Metaxas (author of Bonhoeffer, daily commentator on Breakpoint). The event is a sophisticated evening of wine, cheese, intellectual discussion, book promotions, and, of course, Metaxas’s wit and humor. A truly enjoyable experience.

Something different happened this time. Oh, the refreshments were there, the books, and the humor. I am not sure how intellectual it was. But the evening was different. Metaxas called it historical because it is customary at SITC to feature only one guest. A feature whose value was reinforced at last night’s event.

So, here’s the deal. Thomas wanted Beckel there because they are friends, so he invited him to come along. They are working together under the guise of having somehow demonstrated that they have found common ground on issues such as welfare, term limits, even school vouchers. But for the most part, Beckel just did what Beckel always does: he slammed the Republican Party, the tea Party, the war in Iraq (that old chestnut), all the while treating us with his course language and his homespun rambling. He even declared that Hillary Clinton was not a liberal! (It’s amazing how conservative people can look after six years of Obama!)

Did Beckel Fall Asleep?

The fact is, Beckel kind of hi-jacked the event. He spoke the most, rambled quite a bit, and I could have sworn (if I were a swearing man) that he had fallen asleep! I’m not kidding! About three quarters of the way through the event I began to hear regular breathing. I looked at Beckel and his eyes were closed and he was very still.

A few times, Metaxas looked as though he was not sure what he had gotten himself into. He had given a humorous but sort of Don Rickles-style introduction of the two men. Once they came to the platform a bit of an insult war erupted. It was tongue in cheek but still a little uncomfortable. No matter how hard he tried, Metaxas could not get Thomas and Beckel to share some of their common ground solutions to America’s problems. No less than five times he had to prompt them for solutions instead of definitions of the problem.

As for solutions, both men were able to gather applause for some of their sentiments. Thomas waxed bold on behalf of traditional American values and Beckel for his passionate concern for those less fortunate. But for the most part they raged against the machine.

After what can only be described as a “testimony” given by Beckel, in which he owned up to his dark days and his turn to faith due to the influence of Thomas, Thomas said that we would all leave with a different opinion about Beckel. He commended Beckel’s great heart and their very close friendship. At one point Beckel did, in passing, say he was a Christian. I was glad for that.

All in all, the two men were both a little salty, low on solutions, and seemed to have been a handful for Metaxas. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. I don’t it was what Metaxas thought it would be either!

Let’s Talk About Metaxas

Regardless of the uniqueness of last night’s Beckel-fest invasion of SITC, it remains a must attend event. It is worth all the time and effort you have to expend in order to be there. I took it as an opportunity to enjoy some time in Manhattan before I made my way to the Union League Club where it was held.

As for Metaxas, he was as sharp as ever, though he found himself dealing with a less than delicate personality. It was good practice for the future talk show he wants to host!

When SITC hosted Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Metaxas said, “I want to ask you about your book, do you mind? Because we have a lot of copies here, we’ve gotta move some product.” It was classic Metaxas humor. (You can watch the video and catch that funny moment 31:40 into the interview). While he was at least semi-joking, make no mistake: the product being moved at SITC is Eric Metaxas himself! As he promotes others he is also indirectly promoting himself. I don’t think that is a negative thing! In fact, I think it is a rather good way to do it! It must be working because he seems to be everywhere these days. So, if you’d like to hobnob with him for only $35, you should do it while you can and be in attendance at the next Socrates in the City event. But you’d better hurry! I don’t know how much longer he will be able to fit it into his schedule!

 

 

The Juggernaut: The Progression of Homosexuality from Minority Status to Cultural Juggernaut

By Scott Fowler

It seems to me that President Obama played a key role in moving gay rights to its Juggernaut status when, on January 21, 2013, in his second inaugural address, he said the following,

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall….Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law— for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.1

With those sentiments, he officially elevated gay rights (Stonewall)2 to the level of a civil right, on par with women’s suffrage (Seneca Falls) and the fight for racial equality (Selma).  From that time, homosexuality has been “a massive inexorable force, crushing everything in its path,”3 namely the institution of marriage and the authority of the Bible.

In February of that same year, 278 companies filed an amicus brief in support of the woman whose challenge of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was to be considered by the Supreme Court later that year.4  In March, Bill Clinton expressed his regret over having signed the bill into law.5  Obama had already expressed his “evolution” on the subject in a 2012 ABC interview with Robin Roberts, indicating he no longer supported DOMA and that he was influenced by his conversations with friends and staff who were in “incredibly committed, monogamous relationships—same-sex relationships—who are raising kids together.” 6 A steady stream of public figures also stepped forward to declare their “love for love” and homosexuality.7 But perhaps Nicole Wallace (presumably a conservative operative who worked for Bush and advised the McCain/Palin campaign, but who also came out in favor of same-sex marriage in February 2013), captured the essence of the moment best when she said:

“If you are running for office and trying to court the vote of anyone under forty, you oppose marriage equality at your political peril.”8

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, declaring it unconstitutional, paving the way for the Federal Government to acknowledge same-sex marriages.

Juggernaut.

The April 8, 2013 issue of Time Magazine recorded that as of that date nine states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage.9 At present that number has risen to seventeen states with seven more in the hopper, ready to fall upon appeals.10 Chronicling the surprising and rapid rise of support for same-sex marriage, David Von Drehle opined,

With stunning speed, a concept dismissed even by most gay-rights leaders just 20 years ago is now embraced by half or more of all Americans. . . . Exit polls in November showed that 83% of voters believe that same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide in the next five to 10 years. . . . Like a dam that springs a little leak that turns into a trickle and then bursts into a flood, the wall of public opinion is crumbling.11

Juggernaut.

The Inaugural itself was marked by a rejection of a well-known minister when the invitation to Lou Giglio was rescinded because of a twenty year old sermon he preached against homosexuality.12 The Inaugural Committee wanted someone inclusive, accepting of all Americans, and celebrating diversity. 13 In a letter to his church (which no longer seems to be available except through various articles that reported the incident), Giglio said,

“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”14

And just like, Giglio was out, Luis Leon, an inclusive Episcopalian was in, and those who trumpet inclusion had excluded a potentially diverse and dissenting voice.

Juggernaut.

In the ten months since SCOTUS struck down DOMA, what began as the fight for same-sex marriage has evolved into a full-scale discussion in the evangelical church about gay Christianity, an oxymoron to be sure. But not everybody thinks so.

Those who have found it meaningful to be identified as evangelicals are being divided by the issue of homosexuality. The discussion began to round the corner between the subject of same-sex marriage and that of gay Christianity when World Vision decided and then un-decided to hire people involved in same-sex marriages. Since then, there has been daily evidence that the Juggernaut is dividing evangelicals (see Failing the Smell Test).

While many on both sides still couch the debate in terms of same-sex marriage, it is actually a question about the Bible’s authority and its ability to speak to contemporary cultural challenges. It is about gay Christianity. Dr. Albert Mohler captured the urgency of this historical crossroads when he wrote,

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question. 15

Mohler is right. He wrote those words in response to a book by Matthew Vines entitled, God and the Gay Christian. In it, Vines concludes that

“It isn’t gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is the church that is sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships.”16

Ah! The familiar sound of the Juggernaut as it tramples over nature, history, Scripture, and the Church!

 

Dr. Scott Fowler is the founder of the Christ and Culture Initiative.

Footnotes

1 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inaugural-address-president-barack-obama

2 Stonewall is a Greenwich Village gay bar in Manhattan where it is said “gay pride” began.

3 The definition of Juggernaut.

4 http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0227/Gay-marriage-why-corporations-are-coming-out-against-DOMA

5 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/us/politics/bill-clintons-decision-and-regret-on-defense-of-marriage-act.html?pagewanted=all

6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQGMTPab9GQ&feature=player_embedded

7 http://gokicker.com/2013/03/26/same-sex-marriage-where-things-stand/#!GJ80e. See also David Von Drehle, “How Gay Marriage Won: The Gay and Lesbian Community Has Gone from Stonewall to the Altar in Two Generations,” Time Magazine, April 8, 2013, 18, 22.

8 Ibid., Tweeted by Andrea Mitchell.

9 Von Drehle, “How Gay Marriage Won: The Gay And Lesbian Community Has Gone From Stonewall To The Altar In Two Generations,” Time Magazine, April 8, 2013, 16.

10 http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857 see also http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/church-of-christ-sues-in-pursuit-of-same-sex-marriage.html. North Carolina becomes the first state where a pro same-sex church sues the government because it is denying them their religious rights to marry same-sex couples!

11 Von Drehle, How Gay Marriage Won,” 18.

12 http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/10/giglio-bows-out-of-inauguration-over-sermon-on-gays/

13 Ibid. See also, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/luis-leon-benediction-obama-inauguration-louie-giglio_n_2468824.html

14 Ibid., see also http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-anti-gay-obama-inauguration_n_2448796.html.

15 R. Albert Mohler, God and the Gay Christian, (Louisville, SBTS Press, 2014).

16 Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships, (New York: Convergent Books, 2014), 162.

 

What to do when the house is on fire . . .

This little note is for all of those who get tired of hearing about the whole gay Christian, same-sex marriage issue. If you are one of those who is asking, “Why do we have to talk about this all the time?” let me ask you a question: If you walked out of your house on your way to dinner and you looked over and saw your next door neighbor’s house engulfed in flames, what would you do? Would you continue on to dinner? Would you call the fire department and then continue on to dinner, irritated at the interruption? Or would you call the fire department and immediately move into crisis management mode?

Obviously a four-alarm fire at the house next door is a threat to the family who lives in that house, but it is also a threat to your house and your family. Right now, the evangelical church is being threatened not by a four-alarm fire at the house next door, but a four-alarm fire in the living room! The fire is in our house! The legalization of same-sex marriage in America has proven to be a juggernaut that has immersed evangelicalism in a doctrinal, theological, social debate of historical proportions. Daily the lines of division are being clarified. The line of demarcation threatens to run straight through our jobs, our churches, and our families. It isn’t adultery, or lying, or thievery, or tax evasion, or pornography, or gambling that is dividing evangelicalism! It’s the debate over whether or not one can live righteously as a Christian and affirm and embrace a homosexual lifestyle! The question is, “Can you be a Christian and be gay?” Answer that and the other questions will solve themselves.

Evangelicalism is in a theological emergency state!

Every day it seems there is another big name evangelical player who does not understand what is at stake in the present debate going on within the church concerning homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and gay Christianity! Now, Dan Haseltine, the front man for Jars of Clay has tweeted that he just can’t find any reason not to allow gay marriage. He simply cannot see any downside to it (See Michael Brown’s article  “The Shattering of Jars of Clay”  and the Twitter feed for yourself!)!

Our present Christian culture is in a theological emergency state! Though division in the evangelical church over homosexuality has been coming for a very long time, the World Vision flap greatly accelerated the pace. Now, we are hearing almost daily about supposed evangelical Christian leaders who themselves are “coming out” in favor of homosexuality. Foolishly, some still seem to think that this is a discussion about marriage. It is not! It is a discussion about whether or not you can live righteously and affirm or remain in a homosexual lifestyle (see “It’s not about same-sex marriage! It’s about gay Christianity!”)

So many are fond of turning up their noses at theological discussions but today we are reaping the results of not caring about the theology! It matters what we believe about God! It matters what we believe about the Word of God! Haseltine Tweeted:

I don’t particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is ‘wrong.’ I care more about how it says we should treat people.”

This kind of logic is tragically shallow, puffed up as it is with its love for mankind over its love for the Word of God. It sounds like Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Haseltine also Tweeted:

Wow this escalated really quickly! 🙂 I am simply asking questions. Don’t quite know how I’ve offended so many. . . . Fascinated by the comments saying I have abandoned Christ and faith. Get off your “jump to conclusions” mat. 🙂

Well, let’s see . . . for years we in the church have trusted our children to the ministry of Jars of Clay only to discover that the group’s front man cannot understand the dangers of endorsing homosexuality and really does not care what scripture says about right or wrong! Believe me, Dan, the Christian support you have gotten over the years was almost entirely from people who assumed you could navigate through this differently than you did on Twitter!

Here’s my advice as a pastor: Don’t take all of this too harshly, just receive it as correction. Get with a genuine pastor (one who believes the Bible) and allow him to walk you through the issues at stake. Then, Tweet your insights and apologies. Lesson learned.

 

 

 

Failing the Smell Test: Evangelical Christian Publisher Endorsing Gay Christianity?

Here comes more of what we are going to see a whole lot of: Christian ministries, organizations, publishers, and business leaders trying to thread the needle of compartmentalization between what they say they believe and what they are actually practicing or willing to endorse. In the last three weeks, there have been three notable instances demonstrating the struggle that is coming and which, in fact, is already here.

 

World Vision

First it was the World Vision fiasco when the decision was made to hire same-sex couples for the U.S. World Vision staff (See the Christianity Today article). Though the decision was reversed, it revealed some startling logic from its president, Richard Stearns. After “the World Vision board had prayed for years about how to handle the issue” of “recognizing same-sex relationships,”  World Vision decides to look the other way and hire same-sex couples saying, “We have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue,”  as though that was a good thing. Not only does such logic fail to realize that by making the choice to hire same-sex couples, World Vision was siding with particular churches, but it also demonstrated World Vision’s willingness to check its spiritual and theological integrity at the door for the sake of the operation of its mission. 

 

Chic Fil A and Dan Cathy

Then, it was Dan Cathy who, in the midst of a campaign to promote his new food line and push his business ventures into the gay-rights holy ground of New York, who told USA Today,

All of us become more wise as time goes by . . . .We sincerely care about all people. . . . I’m going to leave it to politicians 
and others to discuss social issues.

Once again, the idea that it is a noble gesture to “pass the buck” and defer to “politicians and others” to decide what is right and wrong. I’m not saying that a person has to take his beliefs and create a media storm as Cathy did when he publicly stated that he supported the traditional biblical view of marriage. But now, though his views have not changed, he seems to have retreated for the sake of “customer service.”

 

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Finally, WORLD magazine reports online that,

Convergent Books, a publishing imprint under the same corporate umbrella and leadership as the evangelical WaterBrook 
Multnomah Publishing Group, is scheduled to release God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines next Tuesday. Vines, a 
24-year-old former Harvard student, attempts to refute biblical passages that declare homosexuality a sin (Can a divided 
publishing house stand?).

Waterbrook Multnomah publishes such authors as John Piper, David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, and David Platt. Steven Cobb heads up both Waterbrook Multnomah and Convergent. In fact, according to The Christian Post, the two publishers or imprints are virtually the same: same leader (Cobb), same staff, same everything. Just a different name. The CP also reports from an inside source that

Multnomah is now consciously trying to hide from NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] and its members the fact that it is putting out this new project. Insiders are reporting threats should they release any such information outside the company… 

Essentially, Steve Cobb is asking traditional evangelicals to ignore the fact that he is also willing to publish titles that are pro-gay Christianity. More compartmentalization. It is hard to imagine that someone in a board room did not at one point say, “Wow! There’s a whole new market with gay Christianity! Evangelicals aren’t going to like it if we publish gay Christian material but there is too much money at stake if we don’t. So, let’s publish the material under a different name. Maybe no one will notice.” We noticed!

 

Yet Another Example: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Last year, I expressed concern to the Thomas Nelson Publishing company my concerns about an author they endorse, Rachel Held Evans. (Not that they had published a pro-gay Christian book, but that an author they publish also endorses gay Christianity, and by implication, Thomas Nelson.) Just visit Evans’ website and soon you will realize that she is a liberal Christian trying to reform traditional evangelicalism. In part I wrote,

I have always held Thomas Nelson in high regard, assuming it to be a trustworthy publisher upholding evangelical beliefs and values, I am greatly disturbed that you have chosen to stand with an author who openly supports gay Christianity, the Gay community, and by association at least, same sex marriage. . . . The issue is not about the church’s need to lovingly embrace those who are struggling and need the love of God. The issue is that she accepts gay Christianity on its own terms and thereby the whole “Christian LGBT” agenda and perspective. She directs her audience to the Gay Christian Network and others who support the gay “Christian” lifestyle. Am I to assume, by association, that Thomas Nelson also supports the same? 

A rep. from Thomas Nelson replied, in part,

The personal opinions and political views expressed by an author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect that of the company. Thomas Nelson publishes products written from a Christian worldview, and we respect our author’s right to express their personal opinion. We cannot comment on anything concerning Ms. Evans other than the book that she has published through us.

In other words, We only want to be responsible for what we publish. If one of our authors stands against traditional Christian values, we kindly ask you to forget that while you are reading her books that we publish. 

 

Failing The Smell Test

Back when Bill Clinton was elected the first time, he astutely realized that if he would focus on the economy (“It’s the economy, stupid!”), Americans would look the other way and ignore his Jennifer Flowers discretion if they thought it would help their pocketbooks. He was right. Then, after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was able to stay in office, even though he was impeached by the House. Is this where the country began to get comfortable with compartmentalizing personal indiscretions as long as publicly the job gets done? Maybe. But when did the Church get comfortable with turning a blind eye to a person’s character or beliefs just so long as they don’t sin around us? It’s like saying to someone who is accusing a man for beating his children, “Hey, he’s never beaten his children around me so it’s none of my business.” Whether it is raising money for the needy, selling chicken , or selling books, it seems that some of the leaders and influencers looked up to by traditional evangelicals are willing to suspend or table their convictions for the sake of business.

Rachel Held Evans: Staying or Going?

By Scott Fowler

Here is a little window into the mind and logic of Rachel Held Evans. Who is she? Well, she is described by herself and others as evangelical, but she does not fit into that category as it is traditionally understood.

Here’s how Dr. Joel McDurmon, from The American Vision, assesses Evans’ situation:

Now this is close to discovering her true identity. She has realized she doesn’t belong at the evangelical table.

That’s good. It was far too long in coming, but better late than never.

But her reasoning has still not quite reached the level of good therapy. So let me dialogue with her for a minute:

RHE: For many years, I felt that part of my call as a writer and blogger of faith was to be a different sort of evangelical, to advocate for things like gender equality, respect for LGBT people. . . .

JM: Rachel, that’s not “a different sort of evangelical.” That’s “a liberal.”

Doesn’t that just clear up so much?

She recognizes that “The response to World Vision revealed some major fault lines in the Church.” Yeah, they are fault lines that have been there for over a hundred years. Rachel just woke up and realized she’s standing on the wrong side of the line for what she’s been calling herself.

Now she finds herself standing in the “wilderness” and thinking she’s starting afresh. Rachel, you’ve been in the liberal wilderness the whole time.

Now she thinks she’ll start a new ministry, friendly to all people—a great big love tent with no labels and no divisions “where everyone is welcome.”

The problem is, and always has been, RHE wants the church on her liberal terms, suppressing the voices of conservative values, squashing God’s law in many places, and yet advancing the old liberal line of “diversity” and “tolerance.” It is anything but tolerant of those she disagrees with.

You see, when the conservative evangelical world bends RHE’s liberal way, she calls it “community”:

I want this community to be a place where the churched and un-churched, Republicans and Democrats, American citizens and people from around the world, can come together to dream big dreams for the future.

When it doesn’t bend that way, however—for example, like World Vision’s recent decision—she cries, pouts, and stomps out of the room in her own little Exodus.

Problem is, this is no real Exodus. She’s been wandering in that wilderness bearing the name of the chosen, but she rebels against Moses and promises to stay in the desert.

Not to be unkind, but someone is going to have to leave evangelicalism. Why? Because the truth matters. Doctrine matters. Theology matters. And they are not negotiable for the sake of some “hyper-enlightened, swaying-for-world-peace” approach to Christianity in which the Bible is subject to our approval and God is pressed into our image.

Read two articles by Rachel Held Evans that show her stance on the World Vision flap and her style of evangelicalism.

What Now?

On needing some time…(or, Oh evangelicalism, why can’t I quit you?!).

 

Perhaps World Vision Should Ask Evangelicals: “Who Did You Think We Were?”

By Scott Fowler

John Mayer, the popular guitar player and singer, has a song called “Who Did You Think I Was?” Part of the lyrics go like this:

Every mornin when the day begins

I make up my mind but change it back again

I’m a shifter of the shape I’m in

Who did you think I was?

This article asks this question of World Vision and its leadership.

In his article, How World Vision Can Regain Trust, Dr. Michael Brown’s perspective is right on. We must accept World Vision’s statement of repentance. I also think his list of questions for President Stearns are essential to answer moving forward. But there is something else we should ask of ourselves: What is World Vision? Does it claim to be evangelical? Who did we think they were before all of this happened? Were we accurate? I am fully aware that there are genuine evangelicals working in the midst of World Vision but are they in the minority? I personally never assumed World Vision was evangelical. Yet we find that evangelicals are holding World Vision to an evangelical standard. Who did we think they were?

I have read World Vision’s statement expressing its core values. It is a laudable expression of Christian faith and compassion. But we have made certain assumptions. We have assumed that we define Christianity the same. We have assumed that we share the same definition of sin. Do we?

While I agree with Dr. Brown that we should accept World Vision’s statement of repentance, I believe it is fair to ask of Wolrd Vision and its leadership, “Are you repenting of causing displeasure to your evangelical supporters or are you repenting that you slipped into a compromised view of homosexuality? How is it possible that after praying for years about this issue you can make such a decision only to reverse it just two days later? When you made the initial decision to hire same-sex couples was it because you decided that homosexuality was normative? Yes, you said you were deferring to the authority of the local churches, but it seems that you deferred to the authority of local churches that accept same-sex marriage and embrace gay Christianity! Did you decide that it just didn’t matter in the face of doing good deeds unto humanity? If so, isn’t that the definition of a social gospel?

After reading Mr. Stearns’ interview with Sarah Pulliam Baily in the Huffington Post given after the reversal, I have concerns that cause me again to ask, “What do we think World Vision is?” In response to the question:

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?”

Mr. Stearns answered, “

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 Apostle’s 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.

So, World Vision has no problem with gay Christianity.

When asked,

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

Stearns answered,

“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.

Even the Huffington Post recognizes that a person’s church affiliation affects one’s opinions and that those opinions affect one’s decisions!

When asked about his opinion concerning the emphasis evangelicals put on sexual morality, Stearn, in part, said,

“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. We’re trying to call people to our mission and let’s come together and change the world. I wrote a whole book called “Unfinished” that’s about the kingdom mission that was given to Christ is unfinished 2,000 years later, and we need to finish the job, working across differences. That’s not saying we shouldn’t violate core principles of our faith in various faith communities, but we have to come together to finish this kingdom mission.”

As far as I can see from World Vision’s statement of their core values, their mission is to relieve human suffering among the poorest of the poor. Who doesn’t applaud that? But that is not the kingdom mission! The mission is to go into all the world, preach the gospel, teach people to obey Jesus commands, baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to make disciples. In the process of fulfilling that great commission, yes we meet human need, regardless of our success at converting those in need. BUT, we can’t compromise the biblical truth and principles of the spiritual mission for the sake of completing the social aspect of the mission.

Some will say this article is mean-spirited. It is not meant to be. But we must answer the most fundamental questions concerning where we stand on gay Christianity. If we don’t, the same thing that happened to World Vision is going to happen to churches and ministries all across America. Genuine evangelicals must consider their endorsements and ask themselves, “Who did we think they were?”

World Vision’s “Lose-Lose-Lose” Situation

By Scott Fowler

As any who are following the story have already heard by now, World Vision reversed its decision to hire same-sex married couples. Unfortunately, this situation is a lose-lose-lose situation.

The first loss came when the initial decision was made. According to an Associated Press article report (Major Evangelical Charity To Hire Married Gay Christians), Richard Stearns, President of World Vision indicated that “the World Vision board had prayed for years about how to handle the issue as Christian denominations took different stands on recognizing same-sex relationships.” Initial response to World Vision’s decision from traditional evangelicals was sadness, disappointment, dismay, even rebuke. It’s decision to hire same-sex married couples in order to avoid division thereby shirking its responsibility to stand behind its own statement of faith in some attempt to remain neutral by deferring to the authority of local churches all while claiming that it was not compromising but holding true to Scripture was a ludicrous attempt at a balancing act that was doomed to fail. And fail it did, setting up the second loss.

The second loss came two days later when the decision that came after years of prayer was reversed and labeled a mistake. Okay. It’s a tough spot to be in for World Vision. By their own admission they “failed to seek enough counsel” from their own Christian partners (World Vision Reverses Gay Marriage Decision). It is possible to become myopic when we allow ourselves to become too isolated. It happens. But the problem now is that we are left to surmise that if the leadership at World Vision had felt no negative feedback it would have stood by its decision to hire married same-sex couples. The current leadership at World Vision is capable of making this kind of decision when left to its own counsel. So, even though their decision has been reversed and a sincere apology has been given, it seems that we now know where the leadership of World Vision really stands on the issue. This is a demonstration of its biblical hermeneutic.

The third loss is felt by true evangelicalism as a whole. It is just one more prominent ministry that has demonstrated that it does not understand the full seriousness of the battle that is engulfing evangelicalism and the believing Church. One by one ministries, leaders, politicians, and families are succumbing to the pressure of the culture and their own subjective experiences to compromise in their beliefs causing the Church’s cultured despisers to question just how deep our convictions go.

 

WORLD | A Wheaton discussion of homosexuality | March 1, 2014

An important article (with links to other sources) that give insight into what is happening at one of the premiere Christian colleges in America. I am encouraged by Wheaton’s stated policy. Also, Rosaria Butterfield’s story and insights constitute a significant perspective that needs to be considered.

WORLD | A Wheaton discussion of homosexuality | March 1, 2014.