To What Extent Do We Unite?

Much of the Evangelical world is in shock now one day after the announcement from World Vision – the largest NGO around the world working in community development and disaster response – that they will no longer consider same-sex marriage as a determining factor in the hiring process of employees.  They have attempted to take a neutral stance on the divisive topic by deferring the authority to local churches where employees attend, to the end of unity amongst believers to serve the poor.

This is a tragedy.  

If we cannot submit to the authority of Scripture which clearly defines sin, we can offer no eternal hope.  And that is, indeed, the greatest need of all of humanity.  We only pave with gold the road to Hell if we feed the hungry but do not offer him salvation.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

– 1 Cor 6.9-11

World Vision holds to the Apostle’s Creed, and all who are hired within the continental United States must affirm this statement of faith.  They must be active in a local church, and any other sin of those listed above is grounds for termination.  However, since it is now a topic of debate whether one sin listed here is truly a sin, no stand will be taken.

I believe that the greater tragedy around the world is that even though World Vision is a Christian organization, and under the leadership of those who declare that we have a “hole in our gospel” when we preach Jesus and do not meet physical needs, the stand is also taken that “We do not talk about Jesus in situations where it could put someone in danger”.  If you sponsor a child in a Muslim country or in one where Jesus is not a free topic of conversation, you are not allowed to write about Jesus in your letters to him.  We will feed him, we will educate him, we will help build his community so that he can have a job, a house and stuff, but we will not tell him of the only, eternal hope.  He can die and go to Hell.

World Vision does partner with many organizations that do do the illegal work of evangelism in these settings, but they will not take that stand.

If we understand our end to be physical relief, community development and disaster response, then we can unite.  There are people from every worldview and every religion who are seeking to better the world by fighting hunger, poverty and injustice.  I can work with a Muslim, a Hindu, and a homosexual couple who is legally married in the United States to feed the starving.  But every faith-based organization must determine where their lines of cooperation are drawn when it comes to uniting for the purpose of the Gospel.  And when we claim the identity of Christ, we must determine His Word to be our authority and governing power.

Permitting homosexual marriage is not a debatable and secondary doctrine like mode of baptism.  We do not have the authority to change the Word of God.  God Himself defines it as a sin.  We all have sins of disposition and engaging in them without repentance is damnable.  And while we accept the Bible’s authority of murder, stealing and lying as sins, we must understand God’s heart and will that engaging in a homosexual lifestyle, having sex outside of marriage, adultery, drunkenness and even coveting are also sins – though they do not break the laws of the land.

Let us then unite under Scripture.  Let us understand our own, personal sin.  Let us allow God to determine right and wrong, and let us seek to live lifestyles that honor Him – by feeding the poor, establishing physical hope in the third world, and by proclaiming His name boldly.

many wise men have already written on the topic. I have only encourage you to read John Piper, Russell Moore, Franklin Graham, and Albert Mohler.  And pray.  God has revealed his heart to us in His Word, the Bible.  Let’s seek to know Him and honor Him, not change Him.

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