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:
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.
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?