Thinking Out Loud

March 26, 2014

Breaking News: World Vision Reverses Hiring Decision

World Vision Comparison Question

Is this “New Coke” all over again?

After announcing on Monday that it would permit the hiring of gay Christian employees, late Wednesday afternoon it was announced that the organization would reverse its decision.  At play in the confusion are the people who:

(a) canceled child sponsorships because they opposed the decision
(b) sponsored a child because they supported the decision

Some in category (b) are sticking with their decision despite the reversal of policy today. Here are some random — and not so random — reactions on Twitter just after the announcement:

World Vision Reverses Policy

In my view, this is a week that will reflected in the annals of World Vision’s history for a long, long time. Only with the reflection that comes with much time will we see the ramifications of what they did, and then, why they undid it.

World Vision Flip Flop

The original statement on Monday read in part,

I want to be clear that we have not endorsed same-sex marriage, but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue.

Through our many discussions and much prayer, we began to discern some clarity around this issue. You see, World Vision’s mission is not the same as that of our local churches; nor are we a body of theologians whose responsibility is to render biblical advice and interpretations of theological matters. We are, as our mission statement so clearly expresses, “an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.” And it is this mission that unites us—Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox, nondenominational, etc.—more than 50 different expressions of the Christian faith represented within WVUS alone. In fact, for 60 years the Christian mission of World Vision has been a platform uniting followers of Christ around the world.

There was much conviction in that decision that now is undone. No matter where you stand on this issue, it’s hard not to be confused right now. 

Update 8:08 PM — Three hours in and Rachel Held Evans is at over 400 comments on this. Definitely the top Christian news story for March 2014. 

Update 8:27 PM — Be sure to read Wendy Gritter’s World Vision: A Drama in 5 Acts. Wendy is the director of New Direction in Toronto, a ministry of compassion to the LGBTQ community.

World Vision in Canada: “In Canada, our situation is different because of our legal and political environment…We do not ask questions about sexual orientation or marriage during our interviews, and we don’t have a lifestyle code of conduct for staff.” Read the full statement here

World Vision UK: “…We are, however, a very broad church and as long as applicants for these positions are practicing Christians and will bring a Christian heart and mind to the role it doesn’t matter what creed or church tradition they are part of.” Read more about jobs at WV-UK.

Related article (published before the reversal): Jamie Wright (Un)Follow, (Un)Support, (Un)Sponsor : What does our response to World Vision say about our Faith?



  1. Wow, this is very interesting I have read more of the comments on line and it seems the Christian community is at war with each other. I stand firm in my belief that being gay is a sin. I believe the church needs to let them know it is a sin and I applaud WV decision!

    Matthew 18:15
    “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”

    Comment by theywhoseek — March 26, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

    • The verse which comes to my mind actually has nothing to do with the issue at hand, but is still applicable:

      Luke 14:28 ESV
      For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

      They did not count the cost of their action at all, and now find themselves reversing the decision.

      (Unless the reversal was planned. It’s possible.)

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 26, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

  2. Paul:

    Thanks for posting the Canadian World Vision position. I can only hope that Christians in the US who stepped up yesterday to sponsor a child do not do what conservative US evangelicals did, by withdrawing their new support because of this reversal.

    World Vision USA could have waited a week or two, and I can’t get my head around the swiftness of this reversal.

    I don’t know what sickened and saddened me more; ‘evangelicals’ sacrificing their sponsored children on their alter of punishing an organization for not toeing their line, or guys like Franklin Graham demonizing World Vision in the hopes of scooping up angry and fearful potential donors. The poor are the pawns in religious wars.

    As Wendy Gritter says, “…this is a marathon – not a sprint. I’m in it for the long haul. And I’m up against deeply internalized and ingrained positions with invisible but significant blind-spots that resist the systemic change that I believe is needed to fully embody the love and justice of Christ.”

    My gratitude to World Vision Canada – “This is what is most key for us: When it comes to working with the poor, World Vision serves children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are aligned with our values or not. Race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation do not prevent us from serving the poorest of the poor.”

    Comment by Bene D — March 27, 2014 @ 1:15 am

    • Truthfully, I’ve always referred people interested in child sponsorship to Compassion. I think Gospel for Asia does sponsorships as well.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 27, 2014 @ 9:12 am

  3. Fair enough.I forgot about Compassion. When you have a moment Mike Bell penned quite a piece over at internetmonk.

    Comment by BD — March 28, 2014 @ 12:58 am

  4. This is a link to an updated post two days later.

    Pingback by The World Vision Story Irony | Thinking Out Loud — March 28, 2014 @ 11:58 am

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