What happened last week with World Vision should make us all take notice. The billion dollar evangelical charity announced they would accept same-sex marriage when hiring employees.
The reaction to World Vision was swift and unambiguous. A number of high-profile evangelical leaders rebuked the organization, and thousands of laypersons added their voices via websites, emails, and phone calls. It seems likely that donations to the charity would have dropped like a stone. Many of those who give to them would have simply switched to support of some other Christian charity with a similar mission. Perhaps some have.
Within two days, thankfully, the organization relented, recanted, and repented. World Vision’s own policy states, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative Word of God.” So it’s hard to understand why they would have made this decision in the first place.
In their initial announcement, they noted Christians are divided on some issues, such as evolution and modes of baptism. But marriage? Jesus affirmed marriage as being between one man and one woman (Matthew 19).
Despite the culture’s growing acceptance of same sex “marriage,” it is not up to us to redefine it.
What almost happened last week gives me an opportunity to reflect on a wider issue.
History is filled with great movements that began Christian, but now are mostly not. Some are even committed to the opposite point of view. There are many of them: the YMCA, the International Red Cross, Harvard and the Ivy League schools. Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, the first president of Princeton, said, “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
In virtually each of these organizations, there was always some wedge issue that arose that caused them to go from being Christian to eventually being secularized.
Spiritual entropy is always at work in this world. It’s the natural tendency for movements, even ones with strong Christian beginnings, to eventually secularize---if we’re not careful.
For example, New England began with very strong Christian roots. In 1643, the various settlements that comprised it created the New England Confederation and stated: “[W]e all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in the purity with peace. . . .”
But in the late 18th century, Unitarianism began to grow within some of Boston’s formerly Trinitarian churches. Unitarianism disagreed with Trinitarianism, i.e., the position of the historic Church for the most part.