More World, Less Vision

Darrell L. Bock's picture

This is a sad blog to write. It is about a profound failure in a ministry whose track record has been good, even exemplary. World Vision has served the needs of the poor in exceptional ways for decades. I recall with deep fondness visiting numerous times their school site located on the edge of the garbage dump in Guatemala City, Guatemala. I took students in to show how poverty can be met with ministry. Their outreach to children living in the dump to give them a core education using the help of volunteers and seminary students showed love and compassion of the deepest kind. It was the faith at its caring best.

But the decision World Vision made to accept same sex marriages among its employees was a betrayal of that care for kids. It let different kind of standards guide their choices than that which has led them to minister to kids in the dump. The betrayal was not about laws in a nation nor about rights in the public square debate about same sex marriage. People are making their choices there quite evident. Our culture has signed on, for better or for worse. No, this act was a betrayal of the nature of the Christian community and the importance of pursuing divine standards in our ways of life within that community. It was a denial of how Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman when he was asked about divorce. It was a rejection of the call of the Christian community to be distinctive even as the world goes its own way. It ignores that whatever one might expect of standards of life in the world or see there, that Christians are to strive to live and love in a way that is not merely what others do.

World Vision had an explanation for why it did what it did. Its goal was Christian unity, acknowledging a disagreement about the area of monogamous same sex marriage across all the denominations World Vision serves. It was opting out of that debate, just as it does on modes of baptism. No one should doubt the sincerity of the transparency this announcement conveys. What is questioned by one sympathetic to all the good World Vision does is the judgment and lack of discernment it reflects.

The suggestion that this debate is equal to a kind of neutral thing, like modes of baptism, reflects a blind spot of black hole proportions. The idea that the decision might hope to unify the church by accepting that which Jesus and the Scripture rejects shows how tone deaf the action is. The explanation and defense in part was that because same sex marriage is now legal, World Vision did not want to be placed in a position of excluding someone who meets a legal standard. So what World Vision did was let the world set its moral standard and lose its vision for reflecting to righteousness that God sets forth as a Christian community's standard of righteousness. It ignored how unitedly the church has read these texts for centuries despite more recent discussion. God's vision for how we are to live by His Spirit calls us to do better than the world. One can only pray that World Vision will regain its biblical sight and move from more world and less vision to being an example again.  

Looks like the board reversed the decision...

Darrell L. Bock's picture

See next blog entry. There is much to learn here.

I thought it was interesting that they refer to themselves as a parachurch organization and went out of their way to disqualify themselves as being the church. They have become Switzerland in the spiritual war for the world. My attempting to take a neutral stance that will ultimately neutralize their effectiveness.

Are you saying that if one is lesbian or gay that she or he cannot be a Christian and have a desire to serve the Lord?

Darrell L. Bock's picture

No, I did not say that. I was discussing standards for an organization trying to live consistently and reflecting that honor God by what his revelation declares.

I object to your statement  that this is a bettayal of the nature of the christian community. Please be more explicit in your statement as to which one as there are many differing christian communities who believe different things. At least be specific in your type of Christian Community.. Those who walk under a spirit of 21st century westernised self righteousness..and it is a spirit.. It has nothingto do with the gospels and how Jesus lived.. Where you call ancient texts that were written for the Jewish people and today the Holy Spirit illuminates that word to speak to us.. When you call it the infallible innerrant Word of God.. Jesus didnt because it wasnt even written!
When you take the bible and use it like a written text from one person even though you only take the laws and use them to abuse and hurt people.. This is not the Christian Community that I belong to.. Jesus is more interested in the heart: self righteousness ( which is the precursor to all other sins..) hatred anger bitterness than he is in what people do in their bedrooms behind closed doors.
To think that comfortable affluent middle class people who use the name Christian would stop supporting a needy child because of a theological difference?
I just hope a lot of my non christian friends dont see this piece of writing or others like it as they most certainly wont want to give their lives to Christ.
Your Christian Community.. Not mine..

Darrell L. Bock's picture



I never said do not give to World Vision. I simply said I thought the original decision was wrong and that their change of mind was right. Jesus did love all people, but he also challenged them if their actions were dishonoring to self and God (see the woman at the well or what he says to the woman caught in adutlery). Someone whose key message was repent (said to everyone) challenges everyone in this regard to walk more faithfully with God. 

Jesus never 'defined' marriage, to say so is the twisting of a discussion in the style of a politician.  What's sad is that World Vision had to over turn their decision because of bunch of 'christians' threatened the continued care of thousands of children. A bunch of righteous bullies that would say, try to bust Jesus on a legalistic issue like divorce (hint hint).  Thank God WV cares enough about those kids to appease a bunch of cold hearted pharisees. Those 'christians' cared more about an issue than people, and apparently don't care about millstones either. Jesus cares more about people than issues. 

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Jesus cited Genesis 2 in discussing marriage in Matthew 19 and in doign so treated its basis for discussing divorce. In doing so he defined marriage.

I agree with the thoughts you bring forward in this blog.  Such a complex issue do we make of this.

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