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Friday, March 28, 2014

An Almost Harbinger Of Things To Come

For the majority of people who are outside the loop, the Conservative Christian community just dodged a bullet. What was the bullet? It was one of their own resigning itself to the same-sex marriage wave that was washing over the country. The ministry World Vision  had announced that would allow its Christian employees to be involved in same-sex marriages. Such would allow employees in a ministry of confessing Christians to violate Biblical sexual standards while remaining in good standing with the ministry.

Much was written about this on the blogs including the sample piece being reviewed here. This piece was written by Darrell Bock who has a blog on the Bible.org website. The blogpost we are reviewing here is called, More World, Less Vision

This blogpost was nothing but a lamentation for the fall of a well respected and admired, Christian humanitarian ministry. This ministry had decided on adopting a policy change that would allow its employees to either abstain or be married, but those who were married could belong to a same-sex marriage. This was first reported by Christianity Today.  This change of policy was done in the name of unity.

In his blogpost, Bock first calls this decision a betrayal of the care provided for children whom the ministry serves. He wrote this because the decision showed a reversal in the standards that drove World Vision into its ministry.  Bock correctly states that this new policy approved by World Vision was not about the current same-sex marriage debate in society. He went on to say that the policy betrayed the Christian community by abandoning God's standards for how Christians are to live and be different in the world.

Apparently, World Vision's decision to allow employees to belong to same-sex marriages was made for two reasons. First, to foster Christian unity by avoiding conflict with those denominations it serves which support same-sex marriage. Second, it seems that World Vision was conscious of possible legal problems since its employees lived in areas where same-sex marriage was legal.

But Bock interpreted World Vision's policy change differently. He saw it as a withdrawal from controversy over an issue which now implied, by the policy and its apologetic, that same-sex marriage were to be thought of as disputable as some doctrines such as the varying doctrines on how to baptize believers. In the end, Bock claims that the world was determining World Vision's morals and thus it was abandoning Biblical standards of righteousness.

Before responding to Bock's blogpost, we should note that World Vision reversed its policy decision (click here). But that should not stop us from making our observations here. And the first observation we should make is this, World Vision's late controversial policy decision could be accurately seen as a betrayal. But the kids to whom World Vision ministers are not the real, or first, victims of its breach of faith. Rather, the first, and perhaps the only, victims would be the Christian employees who would first benefit from the policy change.

How could the group receiving leniency become such a victim? Those Christians involved in same-sex marriages would be the victims of false feedback. It would be similar to a doctor who examines us and tells us there is nothing wrong when, in reality, he knew that we had a progressive disease. The failure to warn us of a serious condition would move us to ignore what was threatening our health. Such was basically setting up Christian employees to be shot with a gun they never saw. The gun was hidden by the feedback they received.

Would there be some compromises to the care the kids would receive? Yes and no. Certainly there would be no let down in the physical and emotional care the kids would experience. So in that sense, there would be no betrayal of the kids. But if the kids were also looking to World Vision for Christian teaching and moral standards, then there would be a false representation of God's Word. But it is the Christian employees who would or are involved in a same-sex marriage who would be betrayed the most.

Now, there are a few things that Bock fails to notice. And the first thing he fails to notice are the possible reasons why some of the denominations which World Vision serves have an unbiblical view of same-sex marriage. The first reason could be that the Conservative Church has overreached its bounds. It is one thing to deny same-sex marriage to those in a voluntary organization whose first loyalty is to God by following His Word as found in the Bible. It is another to try to coerce those in society, who do not share that loyalty, to follow the same standard. The varying degrees in which the Conservative Church has been forcing itself on the personal morals and lives of those who did not volunteer to adhere to the same standard has rightfully been seen as persecution. 

And this leads us to something else that both Bock and many of us suffer from. We have a personal and an emotional disconnect with our history of harming others. At best, we intellectually acknowledge some of our failures to others. But emotionally, we are unaffected and perhaps this is why we struggle to fully understand society's resistance to our agenda.

It is not until we do fully connect with how we have made others live and feel that we will know how to balance a proper commitment to Biblical morality with recognizing the equality of others in society. And it isn't until we find such a balance that we will know how to both promote that equality without making others feel persecuted.


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