In the spirit of forgiveness that God Himself extended to us through Jesus, I believe we should accept World Vision’s statement of repentance with graciousness and offer their leadership the forgiveness they requested, commending them for their contrition.
This could not have been an easy thing to do, as they will now have to deal with accusations of being double-minded, not to mention the pro-gay activist backlash they will surely face along with accusations that they were not sincere in their repentance but rather acted out of mercenary concerns, and so we need to be just as vocal in affirming them as we were in rebuking them.
The question is: Since they recognize that they deeply betrayed the trust of a large number of their constituents, how can they now regain that trust? (When speaking of World Vision throughout this article, I’m referring only to the U.S. branch, which made the initial, tragic decision.)
Not surprisingly, many are questioning the motivation of World Vision’s reversal, suggesting that they did not act out of conviction but rather out of pragmatism, not wanting to lose a massive amount of donor support. Of course, World Vision could have said, “But our mission to help the poor depends on money, and when we realized that our initial decision to change our employment policy regarding homosexuality was going to hurt us financially, we decided to reevaluate that decision.”
But that is not what World Vision said (and, candidly, such a response would hardly be worthy of a purportedly Christian organization). Rather, their statement of repentance was unequivocal.
“We have listened to you,” they said, “and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
They acknowledged that they “failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith.”
And they explained that, “We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority,” claiming that this was “never the board’s intent.”
Further, they affirmed that, “World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage.”
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.