World Vision, Gay Marriage, and a Different Way Through
by Jen Hatmaker on March 25th, 2014

Hi, good readers. Here we are again, stumbling through another ancillary brawl regarding gay marriage. If you missed it yesterday, Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization "dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice," announced a policy change to allow employees in same-sex marriages to be eligible for employment.
 
To Christianity Today, Stearns said, "Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues," he said. "It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."
 
Regarding sexual conduct, World Vision has always held an abstinence requirement for single employees and fidelity for the marrieds. But with employees from over 50 denominations, some of which sanction same-sex marriages (United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), as well as staff in the 17 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriages are legal and binding, World Vision has chosen not to make this issue a condition of employment. Rather, they are leaving the theological sorting to the local church of which WV considers their organization an “operational arm,” not a “theological arm.”
 
As Stearns explained: "I think you have to be neutral on hundreds of doctrinal issues that could divide an organization like World Vision. One example: divorce and remarriage. Churches have different opinions on this. We've chosen not to make that a condition of employment at World Vision. If we were not deferring to local churches, we would have a long litmus test [for employees]. What do you believe about evolution? Have you been divorced and remarried? What is your opinion on women in leadership? Were you dunked or sprinkled? And at the end of the interview, how many candidates would still be standing?”
 
He went on: "It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there…This is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more.”
 
As you can imagine if you are a thinking person, the outcry was swift and furious.
 
I spent last night and today readings dozens of rebuttals, rebuttals to rebuttals, emotionally manipulative analysis, and hundreds of comments. I hashed it out (again) ad nauseam with Brandon. I jumped on the phone with my friend and partner in global community development, Chris Marlow, CEO of Help One Now, of which I gratefully serve on the board. I prayed and breathed and slept on it all. I will attempt a measured response that might help us through yet another damaging fallout surrounding the single most polarizing issue in our generation. I aim to be a peacemaker, because someone has to be.
 
First of all, the Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully predictable, the language identical, the interpretations immovable, and after all the energy expended, we discover we are at the same impasse.
 
This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been. Historically, Christian theology has always been contextually bound and often inconsistent with itself; an inconvenient truth we prefer to selectively explain.
 
But regardless of theological bullying, there has never been "one way" to interpret scripture. There has never been "one way" to be a biblical church. Even the early church leaders had severe and lasting disagreements about the nature of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Salvation, Faith, Works, etc. This admission is not an indictment on the Word of God at all. Rather, it is simply a reasonable assessment of the trajectory of the kingdom as God has interacted with each new generation of the church.
 
Reason and humility occupies too small a place in the analysis of the historical church and the progressive interpretation of Scripture. We just get ANGRY and DEFEND and say WELL I GUESS YOUR BIBLE IS MISSING A SECTION. It’s immature and myopic and a watching world is dumbfounded by our refusal to critically self-evaluate and invite nuance into an ancient text that was written across several cultures, 40+ writers, 1500 years, 8 genres, and an entire worldview shift once Jesus hit the scene.
 
My point is this: What seems crystal clear to you is not necessarily to another believer. You don’t have to like that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. You may fill-in-the-blank on the issue (and homosexuality is certainly at the top of the list here), but the church has a long history of revisionist interpretation, selective obedience, varied theology, and cultural adjustments with the arc of freedom (see slavery, women, interracial relationships, the requirements of the Law). We could take a sermon from one of our most revered Christian voices today, drop it into the church 500 years ago, and those congregants would be forced to conclude that he had lost his ever-loving mind, so different would some interpretations be.
 
Consensus is impossible here. So we go to the next level: how do we deal with explosive issues like gay marriage without destroying people, specifically involving this World Vision announcement?
 
Reactionary, emotional attacks are not helpful. Denny Burk decrying the “collapse of Christianity at World Vision” under a “false prophet who comes to you in sheep’s clothing…but inside is a ravenous wolf” is exactly the sort of emotional jargon that whips Christians into a frenzy and incites us to crucify one another. Burk declared that we would know false teachers by their fruits: “In other words, what they do will often reveal far more about who they are than what they say.” Then he absurdly called as his witness this singular policy change to demonstrate what Stearns does – not serving 100 million vulnerable people in nearly 100 countries. Somehow this marriage concession had neutered decades of faithful work with the world’s poor.
 
We do not need any more inflammatory soldiers in the culture wars; we need more thought leaders who are slower to publicly condemn their faithful brothers and sisters and quicker to invite reason and dialogue to the table. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).
 
Nor is it fair to put the entire spiritual burden on sponsors in this case. Stearns said, “It's my hope that all of our donors and partners will understand it, and will agree with our exhortation to unite around what unites us… I'm hoping not to lose supporters over the change.” That is intellectually dishonest. At no point does a Christian organization with a predominantly evangelical base make a policy change surrounding gay marriage and truthfully expect it not to offend.
 
I would have preferred Stearns admit that they absolutely know they will lose some supporters and weighed that cost soberly, they have X amount in the bank to cover the initial losses so the shortfall doesn’t get passed down to the least culpable here – the kids – and offer a gracious way out. To change a policy that knowingly offends the majority of his base without acknowledging their established theology or making any concessions for their conscience was unfair and passive aggressive.
 
So for World Vision sponsorship, I see three options, all of which are fully valid:

1. If you are so offended by the employment of a legally married gay person at World Vision that you can no longer support your sponsored child with a clear conscience, then that is your right. Without question, you hold an established evangelical position. Christians who espouse traditional marriage are often all painted as hateful and abusive (the squeaky wheels get all the oil), and that simply isn’t true. For many, this is their genuine conviction not born out of disdain but belief. 

May I suggest cooler heads prevail here? Because the children have always been at the center of the World Vision mission and still are, possibly give WV your 3-month notice, affording them a short runway to replace your sponsorship? Or even finish out your year-long commitment with notice of your non-renewal? The emotionally volatile STOP BANK PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY isn’t necessarily the best way through when a child’s monthly needs are at stake. I think sponsors can reasonably and faithfully find a better exit strategy where the losses are mitigated. If you plan to pull your sponsorship, please do it prayerfully, humbly, and carefully. This is a moment to practice gracious disagreement and radical love in the midst of theological disparity.

2. Perhaps you don’t agree with gay marriage, but this policy change at WV doesn’t affect your support of their mission. This is not a deal breaker for you. Great. It doesn’t have to be. You do not need to defend your continued sponsorship. Without question, WV is a high-ranking international charity that has transformed millions of lives. It has a solid, established history and employing married gay people has no bearing on their infrastructure or unambiguous mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ. If your conscience is unaffected, you can continue to sponsor your child, comfortably lay your head on your pillow tonight, and sleep like a baby. Carry on. 

3. For supporters of gay marriage or WV’s right to extend employment protection or simply believers in their global mission, perhaps you pick up a sponsorship that will certainly be dropped. While WV has enough revenue to maintain the current level of international support (anything less would make their announcement incredibly irresponsible), and certainly no dropped sponsorship means a child goes without water or gets pulled out of school tomorrow, the sustained effect of canceled sponsorships will eventually take a toll. If you are outraged at canceled sponsorships, then perhaps the kindest, healthiest response is to cancel out the cancels. $38 a month. It’s too easy. Inflamed, angry arguments will have no effect but mitigating the financial deficit will. Again, this is a moment to practice gracious disagreement and radical love in the midst of theological disparity.

------------------------------------------------------------
 
Brothers and sisters, I am starving for reasonable, measured Christ-followers to become the dominant voices in the ongoing culture wars. We needn’t race to our laptops with our hair on fire every time another Christian offends our personal sensibilities. We certainly ought to consider calling another believer’s salvation into question the gravest action.
 
We need intellectually honest Christians capable of critical self-evaluation. The church has never, not for one millisecond of its entire history, been right about everything. This sobering fact should give us pause and inject some much needed humility into our ethos. It should at least produce Christians who are swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Better to treasure our beloved gospel with humble hands than mar it with arrogant hearts, because as often as we consider ourselves its gatekeepers, we are really only its unworthy recipients, usually blind to our own defects while remaining crystal clear on everyone else’s. 
 
If we are truly concerned about revival, about God’s sustained presence in our generation, then our only recourse is to get on our knees and beg Him to purify our own sinful hearts. Let us not cast the burden on “them” and “they” but take faithful responsibility to allow God’s spirit to reign in you and me. May we take precious care of our fellow man, treating hearts and minds and bellies with the utmost respect, daring to believe that love is indeed the most excellent way. And may our generation not be remembered by all we tore down but by all we built back up.

“You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
Isaiah 58:12


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883 Comments

Ashley - March 25th, 2014 at 9:02 PM
Very beautifully written, Jen.
Alissa - March 25th, 2014 at 9:03 PM
Thank you for this thoughtful, gracious, considerate wise Christ-like response. How appropriate fir a Christian. Love you.
Emily Roach - March 25th, 2014 at 9:06 PM
So do you consider gay marriage to be ok, according to the Bible. Not the church, the Bible?
Another Jen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:31 PM
Respectfully, That is not Jen's point.

"Reason and humility occupies too small a place in the analysis of the historical church and the progressive interpretation of Scripture.

We just get ANGRY and DEFEND and say WELL I GUESS YOUR BIBLE IS MISSING A SECTION.

It%u2019s immature and myopic and a watching world is dumbfounded by our refusal to critically self-evaluate and invite nuance into an ancient text that was written across several cultures, 40 writers, 1500 years, 8 genres, and an entire worldview shift once Jesus hit the scene."
Not another Jen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:40 PM
It is the point though...it's not unaddressed in the Bible. So either the Bible is our guiding principle or current culture is...which is it?
Adam - March 25th, 2014 at 9:58 PM
You don't think the Bible was guided by its current culture?
Katie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:59 PM
Just because you frame it as an either-or, "which is it" question doesn't make it so. It's under-addressed. Inconclusive.

I'll tell you what isn't under-addressed or inconclusive, though. Romans 14-15. It's a chapter and a half on Christians dealing with other Christians that define sin differently.
Ted LeBlanc - March 25th, 2014 at 10:02 PM
The truth is God will provide the judgment when the time comes for each of us to face him. You need not trouble yourself with these matters. Concentrate on your self and your personal relationship with God. He will deal with the unworthy whoever they are. The point is it is not for any of us to judge. I believe the Bible says that too.
CMV - March 25th, 2014 at 10:25 PM
Ted and Momof3 hit the nail on the head! That's EXACTLY what I've been saying! We're called to love one another despite what the bible considers a sin and each will be judged by Him in their own time!
Liam - March 25th, 2014 at 10:52 PM
Who didn't get the "don't cast stones... judgement belongs to God alone... and love one another" parts of Christianity? "Come on, people now..."
momof3 - March 25th, 2014 at 10:17 PM
Overwhelmingly addressed in the Bible: who did Jesus help? Whom did he shun? Which party did he become absolutely irate with in the Temple to the point of turning over chairs? Over and over we see Jesus reach out to the poor, sinful, sick and disenfranchised. I cannot get around this ads a Christian and therefore my call is to do likewise WV does an excellent job of this, and if they could only hire those free from sin I imagine things would be pretty quiet at the company picnic. If we allow this issue to divide us, we've missed the boat. And a tremendous opportunity to love and serve as we're called. Please pardon errors, I do loathe autocorrect. st.
Amy Barnhart - March 25th, 2014 at 10:28 PM
Excellent point. Thank you. Either we as christians agree the Bible is the Word ofvGid and our foundation for our beliefs or the culture is. We've gotten so "gray". It's got to grieve the heart of Christ to see His bride choose to listen to culture rather than Him. Thats what happens when we only read the red words.
Lindsy Wallace - March 25th, 2014 at 9:06 PM
Amen sister.
Tammy Spencer - March 25th, 2014 at 9:06 PM
Thank you.
Kirsten - March 25th, 2014 at 9:07 PM
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Thank you for trying to find reconciliation without needing agreement.
Bronwyn Lea - March 25th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
Thanks, Jen. This IS peace-making and incredibly helpful.
Becky - March 25th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
I appreciate you not being another flame thrower and talking through this wisely. Love, not hate.
Cris Perry - July 16th, 2014 at 12:54 AM
That is the whole point, Love not Hate. We are suppose to love the sinner but hate the sin. Love was and is our Commandment not a suggestion.
Sarah Botts - March 25th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
Thank you. :) Your last line is my heart's desire....May we take precious care of our fellow man, treating hearts and minds and bellies with the utmost respect, daring to believe that love is indeed the most excellent way. And may our generation not be remembered by all we tore down but by all we built back up. Love wins. Let me er on the side of love.
Lauren - March 25th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
While I admire your peace making spirit in this, The church has to change. We have ti be on the right side of history, or we will loose this next generation. As a millennial myself ( though an early one) I can tell you that the majority of the kids I went to church with do not attend anymore. And the churches refusal to accept gay marriage is at the top of their list of reasons why. Can you imagine if the church still refused to allow women in leadership? There would no church. We are coming to the same point with same sex marriage. You have such an amazing presence in our culture. I respect your peace making attitude. I really do. But even suggesting that someone pull their sponsorship ( as you do in option one) is ridiculous.
Amy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:20 PM
Lauren... Jen did not suggest that pulling sponsorship as an option. She is saying that, if you choose to (as it is anyone's right), here are some responsible ways to go about doing it....
Megan - March 25th, 2014 at 9:30 PM
Well said, Lauren. Thank you.
LaDonna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
I agree that response should show love and respect but I also agree with Lauren in that as Christians we can no longer be the silent MAJORITY. I too am sickened when I see people representing Christ calling people names and spewing venom. I think that we need to follow the example of Jesus, but he too got angry and had to have some heated discussions with people, even his disciples. Homosexuality is mentioned as sin many times in the Bible, never suggested as a way of living, never. That's not "interpretation" that's fact. I can love sinners because I am one but it doesn't make it an okay lifestyle.
Megan - March 25th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
Comments like this make me intensely sad for our generation. I, too, am a millennial and I see a generation of Christians wanting to be cool and who are obsessed with moral relativism. Judges says, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." We are Israel, in the throws of the cycle of apostasy: first we abhor the sin, then we endure the sin, then we accept the sin...and from there, it is a sobering thought to remember that one of God's attributes is that he is a just God. God called judges out to be bold and courageous in proclaiming the Truth and rescuing his people. He didn't call people to make truth relative so that everyone feels warm and fuzzy. You can't have good without evil; you can't have good news without bad news. We are sinful, we are fallen, and we are so far from God's original intent. Stop saying the Church has to change, especially on this issue. There is good reason for some theology debate on baptism or women in leadership...but the Bible is clear on homosexuality. It just is.
Incidentally, I agree with Jen...as a private company, WV has every right to do this. And as Jen says, supporters have every right to withdraw support. It's their money and their beliefs. But, a warning period should definitely be given so WV has a chance to shift resources.
There are plenty of other organizations to support doing great work for God's kingdom...without bowing to moral relativism.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Thank you for your stand Megan!
amalia - March 25th, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Absolutely megan. so sad to read this piece and most of the comments.
kate - March 25th, 2014 at 10:31 PM
Amen, girl. Amen.
Brittany - March 25th, 2014 at 10:39 PM
The bible is also pretty clear about divorce and remarriage. Why don't conservative Christians throw the same fuss over that issue? It sucks that people would pull their support for hungry babies because they cling to their conservative view so tightly that their palms are bleeding. Like if they let go God will fall out of His kingdom. My husband and I will be supporting a child through WV. Thanks Jen.
Debbie - July 21st, 2014 at 8:43 PM
There is a huge difference Brittany. The Bible says that divorce was permitted because of the hardness of man's heart. Why am I "conservative" because I believe what the Bible says? Sin is sin, no matter what it is, but NO ONE is in congress lobbying for laws for me to lust, or steal, or to envy, or to backbite. But the sin of homosexuality is now politically correct, and your friends might be gay, so now you have to not only accept it, you have to approve of it, don't you? Call me conservative or that dirty "fundamentalist" word if you like, but I only believe what the Bible says. I don't have to interpret it, like Jen is insisting, it is not that hard, really!
Beccy - March 25th, 2014 at 10:48 PM
Well said Megan! Thank you!
Shannon - March 25th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
This is the best comment I've read yet on this article. The church, the people of God, cannot stay silent.
Robin - March 25th, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Very well written and thoughtful response Megan.
Sifo-Dyas - March 25th, 2014 at 11:15 PM
By all means, please share this clarity on homosexuality that has been conclusively established and espoused from generation to generation. Mrs. Hatmaker contends that it's not and I'm inclined to agree with her. Romans 1 is as simply applied to homosexuality as Ephesians 5 (and other texts) is to the absolute, unequivocal submission and squelching of the female voice in the church.

Additionally, I think that you're omitting the possibility that homosexuality may be a clear corruption of the natural order, but that loving GLBTQ Christians and empowering them to serve others is a grasp at "coolness." That's quite the logical leap you make there. There are many, many sins that occurred in the Old Testament (many that Israel committed) to which the church simply turns a blind eye (celebrity, having other gods, the arrogance of believing that God is OK with our special brand of syncretism because we're "favored.").

Finally, and I don't want this to be lost ... I also appreciate your conviction. You speak with passion and you clearly want to ensure that Christianity stays as close to doctrinal purity as possible. That is commendable. My point is that sometimes that passion gets in the way of reason (as Mrs. Hatmaker has already noted) and I don't want your sense of conviction to be obscured by the fact that much of what you said were illogical leaps and ad hominem. Please, continue the passion, but use reason and information to support the conviction.
Dan - March 25th, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Megan you are completely correct with your comment. As Christ followers we have to follow God's Word, the Bible, reading it makes it clear, with no room, for interpretation in this case that homosexuality is a sin and against God's plan. My concern as a long time supporter of World Vision is how they will represent this topic when witnessing to people they work with. Are they going to preach homosexuality is ok, if so I can not support this organization.
Christina - March 25th, 2014 at 10:04 PM
Many churches do not allow female eldership, as they didn't for millenia. Neither do they need to change a view of homosexuality that has persisted unquestioned amidst far more permissive cultures than ours. You miss the point of Scripture and Jen's post to suggest that church needs to keep up with culture. No. Church needs to stay true to Scripture and seek to redeem culture, which will put Her at odds with culture constantly.
jen - March 25th, 2014 at 10:31 PM
YES! agreed! stick to THE WORD of God. and as great as I think the Hatmakers are, the Bible is QUITE clear on the subject of homosexuality. yes, there has to be love and grace and mercy and compassion- there IS also truth and consequences and statutes that stand the test of the masses yelling and screaming about how they're not fair or don't appeal to their lifestyle.
Grace - March 25th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
You. Are. Awesome.
Donna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
AMEN, Jen Hatmaker. Thank you.
Janice - March 25th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Yes. Thank you for your 24 hours of prayer, discernment, rest, analysis, and well written words. You are appreciated.
Meghan - March 25th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Honey. I can't even. Thank you.
Heather - March 25th, 2014 at 9:10 PM
LOVE this. That is all.
Sandra B - March 25th, 2014 at 9:10 PM
Preach. It. Love this so much. Thank you for being a reasonable, cool head in this debate!
alinna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:11 PM
you did it again, hatmaker. thank you.
Carol - March 25th, 2014 at 9:11 PM
Thank you so much for these words. You are a great encouragement.
Marcie Porterfield - March 25th, 2014 at 9:11 PM
Well said! Thank you.
Mandi Palmer - March 25th, 2014 at 9:11 PM
I absolutely agree, Jen! I so enjoy hearing God speak through you and your blog.
God Bless!
Meg - March 25th, 2014 at 9:12 PM
A thousand times YES. Thank you for your articulate, measured, reasonable analysis.
Kory Plockmeyer - March 25th, 2014 at 9:12 PM
Thank you, Jen, for the most loving, thoughtful response I've seen all day today.
Tracy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:12 PM
Definitely the least emotionally charged and most thoughtful analysis I've read. Thank you.
Sher Sutherland - March 25th, 2014 at 9:13 PM
You are so brave and have my total admiration. Bless you for tackling this mess.

Lesley - March 25th, 2014 at 9:13 PM
Thank you, Jen. As always, a voice of reason while the storm rages.
Kai - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Beautifully stated.
Rhonda - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Let him, who is without sin, pull the first sponsorship...
runner girl - March 25th, 2014 at 9:49 PM
Amen!
JenW - March 25th, 2014 at 11:11 PM
I love this comment. Amen.
Shawna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Well said Jen! There are simply some things that are not ours to judge. Love God, love people, end of story.
Wendy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:44 PM
You have absolutely, unequivocally missed the entire point.
Deb - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Amen Sister! Very well said
Jeanne - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
"Better to treasure our beloved gospel with humble hands than mar it with arrogant hearts, because as often as we consider ourselves its gatekeepers, we are really only its unworthy recipients, usually blind to our own defects while remaining crystal clear on everyone else%u2019s." AMEN, Jen Hatmaker!!!

As a person who has been truly humbled by the Holy Spirit's convicting me of a grevious sin that I wasn't even aware of being deeply embedded in my heart (and with which I continue to struggle), I am overwhelmingly humbled by God's grace. It came at a great cost. While the Bible has a lot to say about homosexuality, it also has a lot to say about PRIDE. Hmmm...now there's something with which I am shamefully familiar...

We are all sinners under grace, and I am so glad I will be judged the very God who has pardoned my sin through the blood of Jesus. I personally believe we should extend that grace to others in a way that leads them to an encounter with Jesus. It is only there that the Holy Spirit can convict a person of sin which leads to repentence. In the end, it is between us and God, since He is the one against whom we have sinned.
Amy Volk - March 25th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Jen-thank you. I have also read dozens of responses to this issue. We support a child from WV and also Compassion. Here is the truth for me:I don't get the homosexual issue. I don't disagree with the scriptures, but I also don't understand why it's wrong. People loving people. What's harder about that is helping my teenage twins navigate this issue. In some ways I simply raise the white flag of surrender-surrender to love in spite of understanding.
I will not drop my WV support because we have loved Juma for 7 years and his beautiful mom and brother and they deserve our measly $30/month. My heart breaks for humanity over this issue and there are just some things in my Christian walk that I cannot explain but will instead choose LOVE over disgust or anger or judgement or hate.
Corie Clark - March 25th, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Thank you!!! I've seen several bloggers flipping out and while I can completely relate to their feelings you can't fight hatred with hatred. Thank you for shedding light with grace and for patiently waiting until you were fully ready. Beautiful truth.
Dee - March 25th, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Well said!
Debbie O'Donnell - March 25th, 2014 at 9:16 PM
Thank you for being the voice of reason!! If only more Christians walked in love and not judgement, oh how much more we could accomplish! Looks like I need to get on the phone and start sponsoring a child!
Thank you for the great encouragement!!
God bless,
Debbie
Lori - March 25th, 2014 at 9:17 PM
I saw this quote recently and it seems appropriate to this discussion:

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."- JFK

I like this one too...

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. -James 1:19

Thank you for your measured, peacemaking thoughts.
Sara - March 25th, 2014 at 9:28 PM
I really like that JFK quote!! Wow, so good! Thanks for sharing it.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:17 PM
It is clear that you speak from your heart, and peace is your message-I realize that. It is important to remember, that while Jesus brought much peace and set an example of peace, He also brought unwavering TRUTH. Sometimes His truth was not peaceful, and in those times He stood-unafraid and unashamed. We must embrace Christ's full message-not just the peaceful portion. And when brothers and sisters stand for what is in clear opposition of TRUTH, we must be willing to stand and in some cases, walk away from the direction they are going. Truth cannot die on the altar of peace, Jen. It is popular to be peaceful these days, with our Christianity. Unfortunately, our generation of Christians is walking away from depth of relationship and a life of sacrifice dedicated to Jesus Christ, in favor of a politically correct Christianity. All of Jesus' eleven remaining, faithful disciples died a martyr's death. They did not do that by being only peaceful and politically correct. Let's not forget Jen, that Jesus was never, and I do mean NEVER politically correct. Thank you for voicing your opinion, and thank you for listening to mine.
michelle - March 25th, 2014 at 9:32 PM
Thank You
Liz - March 26th, 2014 at 10:00 AM
I wish it was actually more popular to be 'peaceful with our Christianity.' I keep scrolling through the comments, and nobody is saying THIS: IF you hold as TRUTH that homosexuality is a sin (which if you study the Bible, it's understandable that you would,) WHY is it the one sin we hate so much above all others that we are willing to tear down so many for? Some people say all sins are the same in the eyes of God, I heard a compelling sermon once that made the case that sexual sins are the worst, because they are 'of the body.' Even if this is so, and sexual sins are the worst and we should construct our society (where we are free to practice whatever religion we choose, thank God) so that we police sexual sin in others, sexual sin includes a variety of behaviors- promiscuity, infidelity, divorce, sex before marriage (all behaviors that have been normalized in our culture, even in Christian circles)... We forget that and focus all our rage at people who love people of the same sex and making sure society doesn't give them any rights. Why don't we get up in arms over the fact that divorce is legal (and as common among Christians as non-Christians)? Why is there no push to make divorce illegal? Certainly fidelity to marriage is one TRUTH Jesus spoke to, yet we are comfortable finding room to wiggle there and allow room for personal liberty. Why don't more pastors refuse to marry non-virgins? Why do we tolerate and forgive adulterers in our midst so readily? Not to mention the fact that where homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible, it is often among other, non sexual sins: greed, gluttony, lying, anger etc. Also behaviors we easily tolerate and forgive, often accept or even glorify... the TRUTH is, Jesus died so that ALL our sins could be forgiven. And when he left, he clearly said, as his last instruction to his disciples- love each other AS I HAVE LOVED YOU- (ultimately that love looked like tolerating shame, abuse, mockery and injustice, then an agonizing death.) When I hear people call to balance a humble and peaceful posture so that we can stand for TRUTH (our very correct, non compromising understanding of it) what I hear is a lot of pride. Also a serious sin, btw. We can't escape sin, that's why we need Jesus. (Sorry for not quoting scripture for all my Bible references, I didn't have time to look the addresses up, though those familiar with the Bible will easily recognize my references, I can provide them if necessary)
Erin - March 25th, 2014 at 9:33 PM
Amen.
Yvonne - March 25th, 2014 at 9:40 PM
Well said, Jill
Julie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:43 PM
Amen!
Anna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:44 PM
Jill, thank you for voicing exactly what is on my heart and mind. I couldn't agree more.
Laura - March 25th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
^^ agree! Jesus spoke the whole truth and wrath played a big role. It wasn't "feel-good" Christianity.
Being able to clearly articulate that homosexuality is a sin no different than anger or pride, is the key.
Turn from all sin, he said.
susan - March 25th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
You are absolutely right, Jill. Thank you for posting this.
Elizabeth - March 25th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
Jill, You Are The First Commenter To Respond To Mrs. Hatmaker's Post With A Modicum Of Discernment. Well Said!
(No Idea What's Up With My Phone Capitalizing Every Word...)
Debbie - March 26th, 2014 at 1:10 AM
An excellent reply spoken graciously and with discernment.
Brandie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
Yes, yes, and yes.
justjill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
Right on.
Dana - March 25th, 2014 at 9:56 PM
Very well spoken Jill. It is our job as Christians to love God, love people, serve others, tell everyone. Not once have we been instructed by God's word or Jesus' example to make anything more palatable or popular. God is truth and we all are beholden to the truth He has clearly given us. Just because we don't like what it says does not mean we get to water it down so it looks acceptable to everyone. Yes, we must love each other but this must be done in truth just as God loves us and there is no exception.
Angie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:56 PM
Amen and thank you. Very well said Jill.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:56 PM
You said exactly what I was thinking. Although Jen made her point, FAR too many have interpreted the Bible yto accommodate their lifestyles-offending people has become a copout for acceptance. Acceptance of things not of God and more. It takes a whole lot more to stand firm, in love, than to be peaceful, just to appease.
Amy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:57 PM
Right on!
Kristen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:58 PM
Yes. Just. Yes.
Michele - March 25th, 2014 at 9:59 PM
Thank you Jill! So true. We can speak truth in love (no need for crazy, reactive hatred) but we have to speak Truth!
Lea - March 25th, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Amen and Amen Jill! Well stated,
Megan - March 25th, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Yes, they died a martyrs death. Do you think they died simply for their opinion on a divisive issue? No, they died because they lived their lives according to the Great Commission, to go and make disciples of all nations. Most American Christians are too caught up in arguing their way through the culture wars that they have been distracted from their purpose: to make disciples. I've never known a person to come to Christ because they were judged by a fellow, flawed human. Jesus always preached love first. Did he judge others? Yes, because that is His right as our perfect Savious, not ours. Believe what you want, but when your beliefs keep you from living your ultimate purpose in Christ, I believe strongly that you are not living to your full potential.
Bethany - March 25th, 2014 at 10:01 PM
AND Jesus never, never one time mentioned homosexuality. I have trouble choosing as my line in the sand anything that my Jesus didn't draw for me in His time here. He did, however talk aLOT about letting the children come to Him, and the orphaned, and the hungry, and the poor, and how I use my money... I can't imagine pulling sponsorship for a child due to a policy change, when we give our money so freely to grocery stores, superstores, Etsy, Amazon, etc, and they have policies we don't like...
Lisa - March 25th, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Jesus affirmed marriage between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:4-6. 4 He answered, %u201CHave you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, %u2018Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh%u2019? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.%u201D
Terry Bell - March 25th, 2014 at 11:16 PM
As a Pastor, Professor and a Father I agree with what Bethany said 100%. This is about the children. It's time for us to be known for our love, not our disagreements. Why hurt the children?
Dawn - March 26th, 2014 at 12:27 AM
Hi Bethany, you make a very good point. Jesus did not address homosexuality specifically because he always addressed the issues of the heart. Paul the apostle however did clearly address the issue. I have been to several of the countries supported by world vision. I support them currently as well and am not sure that this will change. The issue however is that my desire is not for the belly's only of these children to be filled, but for their spiritual needs to be met. My desire is to support an organization that will teach them about Jesus, His love, and the untainted Word of God. And sad to say, even before this whole argument began I have been wondering if that has been what they have been teaching them. Are they just being given the milk or are they getting the meat of the word? Just wanted to share some things I have been thinking about :)
Karl - March 26th, 2014 at 12:44 AM
http://www.worldvision.org/our-impact/our-faith-in-action
Tami - March 26th, 2014 at 12:50 AM
Bethany, Jesus may have not specifically addressed homosexuality, but God did; and they are one in the same.
JT - March 25th, 2014 at 10:04 PM
Well said!
Nicole - March 25th, 2014 at 10:07 PM
My thoughts exactly.
Sarah - March 25th, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Speak it sister. I agree with you! I believe we can still LOVE those we disagree with, yet stand firm on truth, even when it's not popular, or seems like we are being "hateful" or not promoting peace by disagreeing with the WV decision.
Becky - March 25th, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Jesus and his disciples may very well not have been peaceful and politically correct. But I venture to guess that they didn't engage in the hateful, vitriolic name-calling that has come up in blog posts and comment threads in the last 24 hours. Truth is surely truth. And truth needs to prevail. But there's something to be said for speaking truth in love. And BTW, I think you did a good job sharing your truth in love. :)
Brooke - March 25th, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Thank you, Jill. I agree and appreciate your thoughts! I understand what Jen is saying and the theological background. However, in an effort to be peacemakers, I notice that a lot of American Christians are going down the path of apathy rather than speaking what they believe is truth (I am not saying Jen is doing this -- I don't know her -- but I know a lot of people who do). For those like me, who believe the Bible teaches gay marriage is a sin, it is difficult. I have a lot of gay friends and wish I did believe the Bible theologically endorsed it - I wish them nothing but happiness! We are not called to judge - but I fear that even when we say the phrase "I think gay marriage is a sin" we appear to be judging and are automatically deemed as hateful or not being peacemakers. We can be peacemakers as we lovingly, thoughtfully, and emphatically (not in the rash way Jen described some as acting) express our beliefs and listen to others who think differently. There is a way to state our beliefs and be a peacemaker at the same time -- something that can only be done with Christ's help.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 10:22 PM
I agree Brooke, with the need to show love. We are surrounded by ungodliness, and this new perverse generation seeks to make clear Scriptural teaching irrelevant and out-dated. I believe, that surrounded by this culture-bending, homosexual society, we have great opportunity to share love with the lost. After all, who needs to come into the open doors of a church more than the lost? But it is important that we RECEIVE THEM WITH LOVE, and GIVE THEM THE TRUTH. We have done nothing for the lost, if we welcome them in and right back out again, all the while "glossing over" the truth of God's word regarding homosexuality.
Sonja - March 25th, 2014 at 11:15 PM
Well said Jill. I too have to disagree with Jen.
Jennifer - March 26th, 2014 at 1:22 AM
Do you truly mean that if you share the love of Christ with a gay person, but don't specifically mention their homosexuality, then you have "done nothing"? When someone shared the love of Christ with me, they didn't address a bullet point list of my specific sins. I came to realize the range and depth of my sins over time.
Lynnea - March 25th, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Thank you. My thoughts exactly. I do appreciate jen's words .....but you hit the nail on the head. We do need to stand up for the truth.
Katie - March 25th, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Agree Jill. I absolutely agree, grace without truth is foolishness. But, let us be very, very cautious what we categorize as TRUTH. Jesus said He was the Truth. And I'm sorry, but I just can't see how gay marriage opposes Jesus. I can see how some think it is unrighteous. I can see how some think it is offensive to God. But so are we. On both counts. The Truth that the disciples died defending was not what is righteous and what is not. Well, come to think of it, it kinda was. The Truth they died defending was that Christ Himself is righteousness, and all are unrighteous apart from Him.
Dawn - March 25th, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Yes, Jill. You speak truth. This is the best comment on the matter I have read through all the hatred and confusion of this matter.
Cheryl - March 25th, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Thank you, Jill, for speaking truth so beautifully.
Sarah - March 25th, 2014 at 10:22 PM
Amen
Bryan - March 25th, 2014 at 10:27 PM
I appreciate this comment, Jill. Thank you. I do agree that "flame-throwing" is a poor option, so too is silence and agreement in the name of peace. If the foundations crumble and we stand by without raising an alarm, the building will fall and many will be crushed. A slow, eroding crumble seems to be happening and too many cry out for tolerance, to our own detriment.
"Truth cannot die on the altar of peace." Thanks for that wisdom.
Not a Jen either - March 25th, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Another to agree with Jill! Yes, be peacemakers, act in love, but always stand up for the TRUTH! Period.
Allison - March 25th, 2014 at 10:37 PM
Thank you for this. I would add, though, that John didn't die a martyr, he was banished to Patmos & later died of old age in Ephesus, I believe ;)
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 10:42 PM
:) Thanks for the clarification Allison. I believe he was actually intentionally burned and scarred with hot oil before he was banished, but you are correct...he died on Patmos.
Carrie - March 25th, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Thank you for your comment I agree w/ every word
Lana L - March 25th, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Beautifully said, jill. Thank you. "Sometimes His truth was not peaceful.. but He stood- unafraid & unashamed". So true. But I do think that challenge/reminder can be paired with Jen's challenge to be gentle in our responses.. not quick to show anger/hatred but instead speak the truth in love :).
Shannon - March 25th, 2014 at 11:05 PM
Yes. Christ died to set us free from sin, not for us to continue in it. After encountering the Messiah tax collectors stopped collecting taxes, prostitutes stopped selling their bodies, etc. I wish I could see this issue as unclear or ambiguous as many do but I don't. While I agree hate and judgment is not the answer, I am not so convinced that acceptance is. Love yes. Acceptance no. But in this particular case, I don't think it would deter me one bit from continuing to support the mission of this organization.
Alise - March 25th, 2014 at 11:19 PM
Jill, amen. thank you. I appreciate your reply.
Tami - March 25th, 2014 at 11:30 PM
I appreciate your gracious comment, so right on. Thank you.
katie - March 25th, 2014 at 11:39 PM
Amen!
Sue - March 26th, 2014 at 12:15 AM
Thank you, Jill. I love the expression 'Truth cannot die on the altar of peace'. Wow.
heather - March 26th, 2014 at 12:21 AM
I agree with this Jill. My heart breaks regarding this issue of homosexuality in the church (its a given that there will be sexual confusion outside of Christ- no boundaries for those without God's conviction)... We all have our issues, and the only answer to the habitual stuff- be it sexual or not- is healing rather than justification, confession rather than denial, accountability rather than friends tempted with the same stuff, self-control rather than consumption, a life of sacrifice rather than rights...surrender to the ONE who made us and calls the shots on how life under His reign and rule is supposed to be. Jesus- the LOVER of our souls- modeled and taught the disciples... we are to do the same, making His disciples, not disciples of a new or different gospel. Lord, have mercy on us, you church, in this matter... show us your heart. Fill us with wisdom, discernment, peace, power and joy to live and make followers of you.
Brittany - March 26th, 2014 at 1:01 AM
Beautifully stated Jill. I am not a current WV sponsor, but if I were, I wouldn't be pulling my sponsorship because this is about the children. It is disappointing to hear a Christian organization make a policy change like this. Thanks again Jill for being objective and honest!
Phyllis - March 26th, 2014 at 1:30 AM
Why are we not this TRUTHFUL when Christians get a divorce?? Nothing has torn the fabric of family values more than that. But no one is opposed to or walking away from or pulling support of businesses who employ divorced people.

I'm not gay, I could never be gay. But I am married, and divorce could be considered an option. It's a {sinful} option for my husband or me. It's been a {sinful} option for a lot of Christians. The truth is, it's a lot more uncomfortable for me to judge/condemn something like divorce because that's a sin I could potentially commit. It's a whole lot easier for me to claim as "truth" a sin that I'm not capable of committing {homosexuality}.

I just honestly do not understand this environment today where we Christians passionately point out one particular sin {homosexuality} but not JUST as passionately point out other sins {like divorce}. If we are going to crusade for TRUTH then by all means we better go to town over ALL sin! If that's the case, I'll just need a minute to remind myself of Christ's message ~ the one where He says I'm supposed to judge my neighbor. Oh wait. He doesn't say I'm supposed to judge my neighbor. ANY of them. Not the divorced. Not homosexuals. He says ~ commands ~ that my part is just to love 'em.
Debi - September 4th, 2014 at 4:28 PM
Amen, Jill. We can continue to love our neighbors - all of our neighbors - without watering down God's unchanging truths given us in His Word. The two are not mutually exclusive.
To me, marriage already HAS a definition, defined by GOd himself: one man, one woman. I can't just decide to call my house my car because it makes me happy.
I do respect the right of same sex couples to have a form of Civil Union, one that affords them respect and the ability to be considered 'next if kin" when one partner is dying in the hospital (and other such situations).
In light of WV's , 'abstinence & fidelity' policies, I find it baffling and incongruent to expect the average Bible believing Christian to just accept whatever changes they arbitrarily adopt.

Who's to say they won't feel spiritually led to do away with their current rules regarding abstinence & fidelity in the name of inclusion and Christian love? -- and whatever accommodations they make in the future as society continues to change and decline...?
Gini - March 25th, 2014 at 9:17 PM
I have been a World Vision sponsor for 9 years. I've always been a supporter of equality and human rights for ALL. Your words are beautiful, thought-provoking and full of love. God bless you, Jen Hatmaker. My sponsored child, Sheleme, and the thousands of children need our continued support.
amanda - March 25th, 2014 at 9:18 PM
love your heart so much my friend, that.is.all.
Denise M - March 25th, 2014 at 9:18 PM
BEST--- Jenn, last night when I was reading through my twitter posts, I was thinking these thoughts, only not articulated as clearly as you have here. The BIG takeaway here-- why are we so surprised to find out we disagree with other Christians?? And can we not be civil instead of inflammatory to each other? I saw both sides of this argument posturing in a very holy manner in response to the other side. I also agree that WV had to know that they'd be starting a firestorm with this policy change, and maybe they could have handled that a little differently.
Thank you for the grace filled response. May we learn from you. Amen.
Si Mathison - March 25th, 2014 at 9:19 PM
Yep you make a lot of sense.
Kelly - March 25th, 2014 at 9:19 PM
Beautifully written. Wish I could "like" this a thousand times. Thank you.
Keri - March 25th, 2014 at 9:20 PM
Thank you, thank you and thank you.
Peggy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:21 PM
A reasoned, considerate, logical, and loving response to a hot-button issue for many people. Not all will be able to see the reason, despite the truth contained in your response. Once it was considered morally wrong and unBiblical for people of different races to marry, once it was considered perfectly alright to own slaves... There are well-researched interpretations of the Bible that allow good, loving, moral, true & faithful Christians to understand that homosexuality is not wrong between loving committed adults and that gay marriage is a right that should be extended to all people. There are also Christians who believe it to be a sin. Can we respect both sides of the issue without casting stones?
Miriam - March 25th, 2014 at 9:22 PM
sensible, sensitive, thoughtful. Jen I applaud you. I also agree that world vision is not able to line up with every theology from every church and I'm sure many churches would resent them if they tried to tell them how to do things properly.
Stacie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:22 PM
Just curious which option you would choose if you were a sponsor?
Cathy K - March 25th, 2014 at 9:22 PM
Jen, this was very well written and explained. I have been in discussion all day over this issue. The problem that is most evident to me in all of this is that we, Christians, and our faith are under almost constant attack lately. This comes as another blow to an already fragile hold we still have on our faith. The government is doing it's best to diminish religions hold on our children and ourselves daily!! The Hobby Lobby trial before the Supreme Court comes to mind. Then THIS, a faith based organization supported mostly by Christians is saying that a long held common belief that God abhors homosexuality is all of the sudden OKAY!! Well isn't that just dandy!! Who died and made them God!! You cannot read the Bible without coming to the clear conclusion that men laying with men and women with women is a sin. So then if we do not support this attempt at social engineering being committed by WV are we in sin by supporting them?? I sure hope not. I will continue my support for my child, but I will never recommend their organization to anyone. There are others out there that have not made this radical leap into condoning debauchery.
Laura - March 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Amen, well said.
Jordan - March 26th, 2014 at 2:10 AM
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 well put Cathy..I too sponsor a child through WV but will not stop my support, yet I will not recommend nor support anymore kids through this organization!
Rebecca - March 25th, 2014 at 9:22 PM
I am slowly feeling my long-held legalistic views crumbling around me. Writing like this is a reminder to me that there is so much more grey in this world than black and white, and maybe I can just worry more about loving people than peering down at them from my soapbox. Thank you.
Steph - March 25th, 2014 at 9:32 PM
This is the most meaningful thing I've read all day... And I think we're standing surrounded by the same crumbling walls. I'll pray for you tonight, Rebecca, and do the same for me. It is grace.
Sheila - March 25th, 2014 at 11:49 PM
Oh man, Rebecca. My legalistic views/walls came crumbling down a few years ago. I am humbled to leave the rubble behind, shake loose the chains I carried, and see people for who they are for the first time. I'm grateful, humbled, and thankful for the view on this side. I'll never go back. Bless you!
Taylor - March 25th, 2014 at 9:23 PM
Thank you, Jen! I so appreciate the reverence you have for words and responses and most of all people.
Judy - March 25th, 2014 at 9:24 PM
I love this response. I just finished Gospel Amnesia by Luma Simms, and its been on my heart with the highest regard to infuse LOVE for our brothern. Just as you stated we are merely recipients of God grace. So lovely true. %uD83D%uDC9C
anne - March 25th, 2014 at 9:24 PM
Jen, my husband and I were debating this topic tonight. I so appreciate your thoughtful, loving, balanced response. I will be showing him. Thank you.
Shawna - March 25th, 2014 at 9:25 PM
I like how you spoke to everyone no matter their position and gave them food for thought.
Ellen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:26 PM
Jen I appreciate this measured response, thank you. My concern not expressed here is sponsorship of your world vision child is not just financial. We pray for them, write letters, send pictures. They are invited into your family and now because of an American culture war people are leaving these children with no explanation. I'm worried for the message that sends. I hope those considering ending their sponsorship understand the money is a temporary setback for world vision they can recoup, the relationship you end with this child can never be replaced.
Brenda - March 25th, 2014 at 9:27 PM
This leaves me with so many questions. Not because I'm trying to be a bully or argumentative but b/c I don't understand. "there has never been "one way" to interpret scripture. There has never been "one way" to be a biblical church." - I agree, but is there such a thing as absolute truth then? And shouldn't we always strive to understand scripture as the absolute truth that God intended? And the other thought is, I assume they don't think of homsexuality as a sin b/c even if you have same-sex attraction being married is not working to overcome that. They probably wouldn't hire someone who is engaged in other behaviors deemed sinful but are not seeking help. Then there's the whole "no sex outside of marriage" and "fidelity" clause. But do they think that even if the state says it's a marriage that's it's a marriage in God's eyes? I disagree with the comment "%u201Coperational arm,%u201D not a %u201Ctheological arm.%u201D. Being a leader with the label "Christian" comes with a lot of accountability with how people are led. The bottom line for me is that "love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth." It seems loving, but something that leads people away from truth is not loving them. It's leading them further away from the abundant life God always intended for us to live.
Nicole - March 25th, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Yes Brenda. I love Jen's measured response (And I so love Jen!), but I am totally on board with the mixed messages this WV announcement sends to the world - just another blurred line drawn in the sand between biblical truth and cultural trends. "What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular" is a quote that comes to mind.
When Lot's wife dared look back on the burning cities of S&G, we all know how that ended. When God sent rains to flood the entire earth, we all know what happened. It seems as if God has historically "taken a stand" on these issues of morality. I think it is okay if the modern day church does too.
Lauren - March 25th, 2014 at 11:27 PM
Brenda, there are people/churches/denominations that interpret scripture in a way that they believe that homosexuality is not a sin. Often it is called referred to as some type of "trajectory theology". If you read up on it will help you understand the other side of the argument on the Christian side. It is like some churches believe it is absolutely unbiblical to have a woman ordained while other churches believe that it unbiblical NOT to allow a woman to be ordained. Both sides agree there is truth in Scripture and we should seek to interpret it rightly... they just disagree on what that Truth is and what the interpretation is basically. I went to a very conservative seminary and there was a seminary of another denomination literally cross street that we sometime used their library if needed and met homosexuals who were students at that seminary. Opposite ends of theology... literally across the street from each other. It was very eye-opening to realize that there was a whole other world of theology outside of my denomination and conservative evangelicalism.
Michele - March 26th, 2014 at 3:34 AM
Well said, Brenda!!! Agreed!!!!!!!!
Michael Dailey - March 26th, 2014 at 4:14 AM
I agree.
aysha - March 26th, 2014 at 4:19 AM
I think that when arguing about the Word and interpretation we dorget that the absolute capital T Truth is JESUS. Jesus IS th- he never changes. If you want absolute Truth, look to him. As
Ron - March 26th, 2014 at 4:43 AM
Well said.
Beverly Griffin - March 26th, 2014 at 5:03 AM
Wordl Vision Has Been Drifting From Classic Christianity For a While: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/world_vision_international

Maggie - March 26th, 2014 at 5:53 AM
Sometimes I think we forget that gods greatest command was to love Him, and then to love your neighbor as yourself. There is no "clause" found in that command...as in, love your neighbor unless he/she is gay. Or, love your neighbor unless he/she is a a liar. In Gods eyes, sin is sin. It is not numbered, there isn't one sin worse than another. I whole heartedly believe that our human brains make religion too complicated. We take God breathed scripture and run it through our human thought process, twisting it and contorting it until we can make it so we can understand it, only what is left after our wringing of the word, is mush. So I often fall back on the book of James. He puts it so beautifully, "religion, that God our father accepts as pure is this, to take care of the widows and orphans in their distress and to keep ones self from being polluted by the world." Dear friends, don't miss that last part. Don't miss out on one of Gods commands, to love each other, because of a certain sin. Turn the looking glass back on yourself, ever sin? I know I have, and I know sometimes I just need love.

Jen, this is spot on! Thank you for being a voice of reason and not of condemnation.
jan - March 25th, 2014 at 9:28 PM
Thank you. I do sponsor a child and have for several years. I am not an active sponsor, meaning I seldom send a package or note, but I made a commitment to support that little girl in that far-off country until she is of age... I did not qualify my commitment with conditions that I would continue only if WV acted only as I wish. I don't expect any charity to align 100 percent with my beliefs. We are far too complex as human beings for that. I will stand by commitment as long as WV has a reputation for using my donations wisely and getting the funds to those for whom the funds are intended. I don't feel the need to approve of every WV employee.
Heidi - March 25th, 2014 at 9:28 PM
Thank you. Beautiful. Thought provoking. True.
Laura - March 25th, 2014 at 9:28 PM
Hi, Jen. I thought you might enjoy reading another blogger's take. Specifically, she admonishes those who sponsor not to abandon their child for monetary reasons but also because many sponsor and kids have developed a relationship over the years. It's one of the amazing things about sponsoring a child, through any organization which permits letters to be exchanged, and breaking that off should NOT be done lightly.

http://www.unexpected.org/2014/03/world-vision-gay-marriage-and-breaking-off-sponsorship/
Emily - March 25th, 2014 at 9:30 PM
Sorry, Jen, but although I know your heart is in the right place, I completely disagree with your support of same-sex marriage (using this term intentionally) and holding to a view of scripture and God's design of His creation as something we can decide how to define. I have sponsored a precious child through World Vision for many years and I am doing this to be Jesus's hands and feet and I can no longer associate World Vision with the Jesus I follow and trust so I am having to determine what my next steps will be. I give to other non-Christian based charities and I have no problem if they want to hire same-sex married couples, but I can't support an organization claiming to represent Christ but not holding to Biblical Truth. I am looking at my options, praying World Vision changes its stance.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:37 PM
Thank you for your stand Emily.
Heather - March 25th, 2014 at 9:47 PM
Thank you Emily for standing on His Truth!

Mandy - March 25th, 2014 at 10:11 PM
I am currently studying Romans and while it most definitely covers this very heated topic, it also says in Romans 12 that we should be peacekeepers. If a wrongdoer is thirsty, we are to give him a drink. If he is hungry, we should feed him. This is the case here - whether you agree with WV stance on same sex marriage, they are hungry and thirsty for humanitarian aid. Paul, in his letter, tells us we should give that aid.
smitty5 - March 25th, 2014 at 11:01 PM
Mandy, thank you! Beautifully said.
Connie - March 25th, 2014 at 11:58 PM
But there are many other ways and organizations through which to do that...WV is not the only way to care for the poor and hungry.
Ken - March 26th, 2014 at 4:24 AM
Peacemakers acknowledge or point out the offense, in this case WV's new stance on something God has already clearly taught in His word, and work to bring parties back into a right relationship with one another, and most importantly with God. To live and let live without acknowledging the offense and taking steps to correct the relationship is not peacemaking. We tend to think that showing Grace means we ignore sin and those situations where truth needs to be spoken to someone who has been deceived by Satan's lies. Grace is gracious enough to speak the truth out of a heart that knows God's love for the offender, offers restoration of the relationship based on repentance, and regardless of response treats the offender as one who is imago dei without supporting their decision to continue in falsehood.
Smitty5 - March 25th, 2014 at 10:47 PM
There is not a single indication that Jen is supporting same-sex marriage from her article. You have completely missed the point.
Are you seriously taking a stand for "truth" by giving to other organizations that support same sex marriage but not WV because they claim Christ's cause? The hypocrisy in this has me dumbfounded. You either support truth in ALL areas when giving the money your entrusted with or you don't. There is not a single reference in scripture to withhold a job from someone because of sin in their life.None of us would be employable if that were the case. And no, I DON'T support same sex marriage. I support Christians(self included) laying down hypocrisy and not making the gospel look foolish.
Olivia Faix - March 25th, 2014 at 11:23 PM
Smitty5, your comment hits the nail on the head while so many others seem to be missing the point. People who will stop their sponsorships are not simply taking a stand against samesex marriage. No, rather they are saying that they can't possibly stand to support a company that doesn't close the door in the face of openly gay people. Regardless of what one feels about samesex relationships, I don't see how the orientation or status of WV staff is even material. If someone decides, "Hey, I love Jesus and I want to help impoverished communities," why do we care whether they are attracted to men or women? There is important kingdom work to be done here. I appreciate Jen trying to be the peacemaker here, but while anyone has the right to choose option number 1, I certainly do not see how it is morally tenable as a follower of the one who said, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me." If a Christian dislikes gay people so much that they can't stand to work with them for the common good of helping the poor, then their priorities are seriously out of whack. And I will believe that it is just about standing against sin the day that evangelicals carry on as much about other sins as they do about the "sin" of homosexuality.
Sad for the children. - March 26th, 2014 at 6:11 AM
Would you allow other sexual orientations to become employees? Pedophiles, incest, beastiality? Marriage is between a man and a woman. Changing that, allowing homosexuals to marry their same sex partners, is not a marriage. Allowing brothers and sisters to marry, allowing an adult to marry a child, allowing marriage to an animal does not make those relationships right. There are organizations right now that are working towards this. Don't forget that organization that wants to lower the age of consent for adult men to have sex with boys as young as 11 (also heard 8). Where does this slippery slope end?
Why do we care? I'm attracted to woman. If I allowed this attraction to override my biblical marriage, then I no longer have a marriage, but a broken one. (Having an affair.) If someone one feels they are attracted sexually to a person of their same sex, then they have a choice. Choose to violate God's word and give in to these feelings or obey God. I can choose to give into my attraction to other woman or I can choose to obey God and stay faithful to my wife.
The article above said that the children are the most important thing to WV. Jesus Christ should be first. Not putting Christ first allows for sin to enter into this organization. (Yes, we are all sinners, but allowing open sin, I.e. me having affairs on my wife, will ultimately turn this organization away from Christ and make it like the secular ones. One step at a time. Our compassion goes to the children, WV has made a decision to suddenly dump this into the laps of believers. Perhaps WV has lived its life and time for a new organization to stand firm on Christ's teaching. Christ talking to the woman at the well, who was living with her fifth I married relationship was told to go and sin no more.
C - March 25th, 2014 at 11:37 PM
Really????? It's obvious Jen is supporting same-sex marriage without directly saying so. Oh so cool, marketable and politically correct. Blurring the lines and making those who stand for the truth feel intolerant for doing so. That's the best way to make believers feel they can't speak truth without looking like haters. It's working like a charm all over our country.
Deb - March 26th, 2014 at 2:15 AM
Amen
Robbie - March 27th, 2014 at 1:40 PM
Yours is the most intelligent post Smitty5!!! Emily must have read a different blog post, because never once did Jen say she was in support of same sex marriage%u2026and to withdraw your sponsorship of many years for the reason your stating is indeed hypocritical.
Jodie - March 26th, 2014 at 12:31 AM
Truth is easily explained. Grey areas, partial truths & pretty packaged lies take much discussion. God is truth. The Bible is truth. All the discussions are the enemy's ways of wrapping himself up in our well-meaning sensitivities.
We should stand firm and pray for the children via WV that they will know God's truth, including that love, sex & marriage was created for one man and one woman. Also praying that WV changes its stance, for the sake of the children.
BJD - March 26th, 2014 at 1:41 AM
Like, Like Like
Tera - March 26th, 2014 at 2:24 AM
Well said, Emily. I'm astonished that evangelical leaders and others would compromise the gospel with the rationale that "the end justifies the means". Most of the comments here seem to point to many Christians being deceived and espousing a social gospel rather than Jesus' good news of REPENTANCE of sin (homosexuality or otherwise) and acceptance of His blood sacrifice for those sins. We seem to have forgotten that repentance requires confessing the sin and turning from the practice of it. No organization can prosper under the name of Christ without practicing all of scripture. Caving to social pressures will not lead the lost to Christ. Remember we are to be IN the world, not of it.
Denny - March 25th, 2014 at 9:31 PM
Thank you.
Karen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:31 PM
This issue was central to the division that occurred in my church and resulted in 800 members leaving. In our case, the thought of being led in worship by someone who is gay ( married or not) was too abhorrent to stay in the church. Yet, they willingly have been led by others who have cheated on wives, husbands, and committed crimes. I appreciate your measured response.

Angela - March 25th, 2014 at 9:32 PM
Exhaling. Thank you for this. Thank you for your voice in our generation.
Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista - March 25th, 2014 at 9:33 PM
Amen. Thank you for presenting us some much needed grace and truth. It is about those sweet children. Your three what next points are perfect.
Margaret - March 25th, 2014 at 9:36 PM
Being a peacemaker does not mean that we condone sin. The Bible is very clear in Romans chapter 1 that homosexuality is vile and shameful. It is only natural that there is an outcry against an organization that professes Christain values and then becomes accepting of behavior that is un-Biblical.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:38 PM
Amen!
Caris - March 26th, 2014 at 6:12 AM
Amen
Nicole - March 26th, 2014 at 6:28 AM
Margaret, we are ALL sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Why must a Christian organization refuse to hire Christians who are also in a same sex marriage when they also employ people who lie, fantasize about people other than their spouse, had premarital sex, etc. I believe sexual relations with someone of the same gender is a sin, but I also know, work with and love many homosexuals who demonstrate the love of Christ far more than many Christians. There is one God and I will let him be the judge. Until then I choose to love and respect all people, regardless of lifestyle or religious beliefs and I pray you will too.
Andrea - March 26th, 2014 at 6:43 AM
This.

Sometimes I feel utterly alone in my opinion, but you expressed it here, that while homosexual sex is a sin, so are a great many other things that we tend to quietly ignore. (What comes to mine for me is the Bible's harsh judgement on gossip!) Only the Spirit convicts, and to try to browbeat our fellow Christians about their sins is - literally! - playing God. We're not called to judge. We're called to love.
Tammy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:17 AM
True, but we can also be good stewards of our money. Many organizations line up with how I view the bible and will point people to Christ. I believe there is no point in feeding empty bellies if we don't show the hungry children who Jesus is and how he came to give them eternal life free of hunger and pain. Please let us not lose our eternal perspective. Yes, we are called to feed the poor, take care of the widows and orphans, AND to tell them of a new life in Christ. If an organization chooses to make decisions based on popular cultural opinion, but against what I believe the bible teaches, I will continue to feed, clothe serve the poor, I will simply find other means to do it
Samantha Hardin - March 26th, 2014 at 7:17 AM
Amen! Amen! Amen! God does not measure sin. WE measure sin. "His sexual addiction is so much more sinful than my lies. That murderer is worse than me, all I did was commit adultery. My food addiction is far less sinful than her drug addiction." No. It does not work that way. When we try to take on the role of God, when we look at our sin against others (just to make ourselves feel justified) we have missed the reason Christ came to die for us. WE ALL FALL SHORT! Yet He loves us anyway. Enough to die for us. And fix us. Sin is still wrong. It put our Savior on a cross. Let us not throw stones at one another but show love to one another. And most important, let's pray for each other to overcome our sins.
SLC - March 26th, 2014 at 6:28 AM
%u2026.and doesn't their new policy mean they will be providing same sex partner benefits such as healthcare, etc%u2026??? So a donation would by definition be supporting that? Are Christians supposed to support a "Christian" organization that provides abortion coverage for their employees too b/c we can all agree to disagree on abortion too? I am guessing most people who pull their donations will then put them elsewhere - so children still won't suffer. Seems to me this organization is serving itself - if indeed they know the majority of their donations come from those who disagree with this policy.
Tammi - March 26th, 2014 at 6:29 AM
Welcome to Adventures in Missing the Point. For today's assignment, please re-read the first 1/3 of this post. Thank you.
Mandy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:01 AM
Yes, and honestly, there isn't debate on the "clarity" of this issue. It's repeated, it's clear. Just tossing your hands up in the air and saying things like "there are many interpretations of scripture" is a cop out, and basically saying you can interpret things as you like. The authority becomes man, and not God. And no, the world doesn't need more "thought leaders" who provoke "dialogue" the world needs brothers and sisters who will speak the TRUTH IN LOVE. Something I was hoping to read from this article, but sadly didn't. I still like you and what you do though Jen. :-)
Bill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:38 PM
"To give truth to him who loves it not only multiplies his information for misinterpretation." The reason bible has been "open to interpretation" is very simply because folks are not concerned at all with Biblical truth. They are after what politically correct and itching ears want to hear.
Lauren - March 25th, 2014 at 9:39 PM
Thank you. We forget that we are the hands and feet of Jesus when we become so preoccupied with being "right."
Brandi Whaley - March 25th, 2014 at 9:39 PM
Jen,
great words, in my opinion, on cautioning the Christian community not to react too quickly and too harshly to the WV decision.I totally agree with this point and I fear there are children who will not have their needs met if the church doesn't prayerfully and humbly navigate these new waters.

However, I would ask you to clarify just one thing for me %u2026%u2026 Are you trying to say among other things that the Bible is unclear, and sexual orientation should now be relegated to an "openhanded" issue for the Christian church for the sake of humility and unity? I don't think I can ever be ok with that.. but I would love to know if that is a point you are trying to make . Thanks %u2026Brandi


Diane - March 25th, 2014 at 9:41 PM
For years, I've heard the phrase - from the pulpit, I might add "then maybe you are not truly saved". So naturally, for years, Satan has used this against me. Everytime my thoughts deviated from "the Christian right" then I went through this cycle: am i saved? I dont feel like you do so I must not be, etc etc. This is a trap - salvation has never been up to me or how I act - It is dependent on Jesus and what he did. End of story. It's dangerous to question someone's salvation. You can condemn them to a lifetime of doubt in what God did for them. All of you screaming about gay people and gay marriage - you know who you remind me of? The Pharisees/religious leaders who watched Jesus and questioned everything he did - while he was sitting with the sinners. Guess which group he died for? The same group the gay people were in. Get over it.
Megan - March 27th, 2014 at 6:12 AM
Well said, Diane. I agree with you. While I am not gay and do not have any close friends or family members who are openly gay. I agree with the point that it is not up to us as humans to condemn one another and speak of salvation, that role is reserved solely for The Lord our Saviour, Jesus Christ and his Father. I also feel like the people who are so quick to jump down anyone's throats about any "Christian" issue, are mimicking the Pharisees and forgetting all that Jesus came and died for.
Teresa - March 25th, 2014 at 9:41 PM
When you talk about the church I hope that you are letting people know that you are talking about people in the church, not God himself. The Bible should not be diminished in value simply because it was written so long ago in another culture, in different languages. One thing that I think is so important and the reason so many people argue is number one; it's people, that is what they do; and two because a lot of the time instead of reading the Word and allowing God to speak to our hearts, we listen to someone else and allow them to dictate what we think. How great would it be if everyone held their tongue, went to the Father in prayer and did not move until He answered them.


Jen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:42 PM
Good thoughts! I have sponsored through WV for years and definitely will continue to do so.
Jane - March 25th, 2014 at 9:42 PM
Just made a donation at WV. Love wins.
Heather - March 25th, 2014 at 9:44 PM
:) thanks
Arissa - March 25th, 2014 at 9:45 PM
Wonderfully spoken!
Valerie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:46 PM
Thank you for your well said point of view here. Now for everyone had open eyes/ears to what point was actually made without criticism.
Kristen - March 25th, 2014 at 9:48 PM
Bravo for your courage and honesty. As a fellow "unworthy recipient of the Gospel," I am blown away by the prayerful, humble hands with which you lead others to treasure, interpret, and live it out.
Barb - March 25th, 2014 at 9:50 PM
You have cooked up some excellent food for thought, Jen. Thank you for honest, thoughtful commentary. I pray that what you have written will be received in the peaceful spirit that you wrote it in.
Kim Hoover - March 25th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
Jesus is very clear about marriage. Very clear. With that said, I'm pretty sure He would also hire people who call themselves gay - He's cool like that.
skyesthelimit - March 25th, 2014 at 10:11 PM
I don't know you, Kim, but I like you. I totally think Jesus is cool like that.
Shash - March 26th, 2014 at 8:17 AM
yup, it's true. People need to remember Jesus hung out with society's low-lifes, misfits and outcasts of the day. He has far more GRACE, MERCY and LOVE for people - ALL people (k, maybe minus the religious crowd, He called them whitewashed sepulchres and a brood of vipers).

And I think I read somewhere where He said... "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." ;)
Kay - March 25th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
I havn't yet read any of the articles or blogs about this decision by World Vision. Does this mean that people who are living a lifestyle of defiant disobedience to the Word of God (not the church) are going to be working for a biblically based, evangelical organization? I don't really know why they would want to, but I don't understand how World Vision would come to such a decision. No emotional outburst or preaching here, just confused.
Rosalie - March 26th, 2014 at 12:42 AM
Kay, you might find it helpful to read the Christianity Today article and let Richard Stearns speak for himself and his board. But yes, you've summed it up fairly well.
Jennifer - March 26th, 2014 at 7:24 AM
I think the issue is that many churches (some listed above) don't consider it defiance to God. They have deemed it completely ok in the eyes of The Lord. That being said, there are many homosexuals out there who believe that there is nothing wrong with being homosexual and that it doesn't defy God at all. THAT is where the problem lies. It's a whole culture of churches leading their people to believe that homosexuality is Gods calling for their life.
Bobbie - March 26th, 2014 at 7:30 AM
In the article I read they are hiring homosexuals who are followers of Jesus. I am a supporter of WV and will continue. We need to reach out in love and the truth, letting The Lord work in hearts of man. It is not for me to judge another for I have sins of my own.
Robin Downs - March 25th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
How can we know whether anything is true at all? If the clearly stated truth if Scripture is continually watered down, even the gospel will begin to be in question- as it actually is in many "denominations" that are truly Christian only in name but reject concepts like the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus told that there would be certain conditions under which he would step out of a ministry and church -http://biblehub.com/revelation/2-4.htm. When there is no honor for his word and standards/for absolute truth somewhere, we don't have even a cup of cold water to offer in his name-because it no longer represents Him truly. I usually enjoy your writing but I think you left a wide open door to relativism today.
Erin - March 26th, 2014 at 7:30 AM
Well said, Robin
K Jones - March 26th, 2014 at 7:52 AM
Spot on Robin. We're going to have to agree to disagree on this issue Jen. Doesn't mean I don't like ya, but I just can't line up w/this one.
BGraham - March 26th, 2014 at 8:11 AM
Robin, what does Jesus say about homosexuality?
Cate - March 25th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
You are precious to me.

Today has been a constant stream of meanness about this decision. Friends who support WV's decision are mocking those who don't as closed-minded, against our call to help those in need, and hateful. Friends who don't support the decision are questioning the commitment to Christ of those who do.

I believe that people need to prayfully consider what to do in this situation because real lives are impacted - not those in the offices, but those on the ground. When God speaks to them - that is the valid response for that person. And, we all need to be gracious enough to let our friends and family live the way the Spirit leads them.

Just like we have different points of views in our churches about the place of women in leadership, birth control, abortion, divorce and re-marriage, fighting in wars, etc. this is going to be one of those issues we are never going to have a uniform point of view on. But, we need to find a way to be civil with each other.

Thank you sharing today. And, thank you for the reminder to take a step back, pray for the Spirit's leading, search for truth, and think before we respond. Bless you Jen.
Angie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
Truth is not relative. Ever.
Anonymous - March 26th, 2014 at 7:17 AM
No, but our understanding of it is. Only GOD knows all truth. The rest of us work toward knowing that truth and the path looks different for all of us.
Jen Griffin - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
What scares me is that you have become quite an influential person in the circle of Christian Women and if you can, with good conscience, be ok with this - I'm frightened for the future of what God's Word will look like in a few years. I think you have a lot of great things to say and you've done amazing work for your community, but to say that this decision "offends our personal sensibilities" is not the case at all. It goes beyond our sensibilities and completely against scripture. I'm not chastising people for being gay - I want to believe that through the strength of Jesus, I can love anyone that I come in contact with, not define them by any category other than "a child of God" and treat them accordingly. But to change the definition of marriage - a covenant with God - a premise on which the marriage relationship defines how Jesus interacts with us, the church, is misleading and dangerous. I know that you want to be a peacemaker, but at what cost? When will you, in the influential position you have, actually defend God? People struggle with all kinds of sin - I know I do. But to condone the marriage of 2 people of the same sex is wrong. To love them - a definite yes. But to encourage it by changing the "interpretation of the Bible" and using the argument that "interpretation has changed for hundreds of years" - is cowardly. Sprinkling vs. dunking, slavery, interracial marriage, etc%u2026 have seen change in the church - not because the the scripture of the Bible changed, but because people got smarter and interpretation became more advanced and because Jesus came to save us and break the chains of those things, and people began to understand those things as time went on. But the definition of Marriage in the Bible has NOT changed. It's crystal clear. I can't believe that there are that many people in gay marriages knocking down the doors of World Vision for employment, and why they couldn't be told, "I'm sorry - we'd love to have you, but we just can't support your interpretation of marriage". I'll bet they have 10x the amount of people they can choose from applying for the same job. I'm all for hiring gay Christians that are practicing abstinence - I believe that anyone can be a believer. But we can't change what God has ordained as holy and that's the traditional marriage model - one man and one woman. I, much like you, can't stand for anyone to feel left out - It breaks my heart in two. And I pray that enough influential, wise Christians will ask Mr. Stearns to reconsider. And I'm praying that people will seek God's will where their sponsorship is concerned - the children should not have to bear the penalty of this. But I'm mostly hoping that you will see this as an opportunity to show what it means to live in the world (with agape love), without being conformed by it. I'm praying for the influence you have on women around the world - you're in a position to show what Romans 12:2 looks like - I'm praying for you.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 9:59 PM
I sadly agree with you Jen (Griffin) It's one thing for our government to be progressive, but not the truth of God's WORD!
Dana - March 26th, 2014 at 12:13 AM
Oh this is just what I was thinking Jen G!! Love the sinner not the sin. We ALL have to do this with everyone every single day. I love how God has used you Jen Hatmaker in your community at home and mine! I too am praying for you as you consider the great privilege, burden, and responsibility God has given you as you move forward in His mission for you.
Liz Cates - March 26th, 2014 at 6:32 AM
I was just getting ready to type out a similar response! This is one of the first blogs from Jen that I'm extremely disappointed with. Appeasing a person's view on what IS CLEAR in the word is not what God meant when he said "seek peace and pursue it." I pray that Jen will be bold and unpopular with the world by standing up for what Jesus said about sexual sin, no matter the context. Go and sin no more.
Daisy - March 26th, 2014 at 9:15 AM
She is being bold and unpopular. She is being Christ like. She is showing love and grace to people like you...Christians so inside your box of "love the sinner hate the sin" that you can't see how you shun them, hurt them, persecute them in the name of love and Jesus. The tides are changing. The Spirit is revealing His heart for the church and this post? this is spot on. THIS is revival, This is hearts softening. This is the broken being restored by churches opening their doors to ALL. Jesus never said change and follow me. He said follow me and then slowly changed hearts.
Chantelle - March 26th, 2014 at 6:39 AM
I am sure Jen Hatmaker doesn't even read these responses, but I had to write to say thank you to Jen Griffin. It scares me too and makes me sad. The gay rights pushment (not movement) has put my faith in crisis mode. I appreciate Jen Hatmaker's measured response and focus on the children in this case. I agree that World Vision is an operational not theological arm. But her arguments are one step away from saying "there are many ways to reach God" type of spirituality. I have a non christian friend that uses Jen's blogs as evidence that God is a made up entity and we should all believe whatever and do whatever and if we are nice, we'll have a nice reward from the "universe" when when we die. Will Christian proponents of gay rights be willing to have gay marriage performed in their church? What about allowing multiples to marry in their church (i.e. consenting Man and 2 women). Will they allow the multiples to lead the children's ministry if they say they love Jesus? What about the movement that says pedophilia is an "orientation" and shouldn't be jailed for it?
Scott - March 26th, 2014 at 8:06 AM
This is a complete left turn from the original point. World Vision is allowing people in committed, legal marriages join their global mission. I believe the call of our faith is to love people; let God deal with matters of the heart.
Amanda M. - March 26th, 2014 at 6:48 AM
What a great response. I guess what is so confusing to me about the "rules" WV has in place, is the fact that singles have to practice abstinence while same sex marriage is welcomed. In Scripture, they are both considered sexual sins, are they not? I sponsor a child through WV and this would never change that fact but my question is when are we going to stop letting Grace outshine Truth and show equal amounts of both?
Dawn - March 26th, 2014 at 6:48 AM
I completely agree- speaking the truth in love is what we are called to do. I don't think the actions of WV uphold biblical truth, and ultimately are not loving to the same sex couples that will be in their employ. I am not sure what this is going to do for WV as a whole, and those they help
Jill - March 26th, 2014 at 7:17 AM
Thank you for this great response. I really hope that Jen (Hatmaker) will one day take a stand for what is Biblically wrong rather than trying to be neutral and please everyone. I am a big fan of Hatmaker but would love to see her use her influence even if it means losing some of her fans.
Lori - March 26th, 2014 at 7:21 AM
Amen, Jen Griffin!!!!!!! The Bible has NOT changed. We are going down a slippery slope when we leave it up to "interpretation."

Well said.

Jody - March 26th, 2014 at 7:52 AM
Well said, Jen Griffin! I couldn't agree with you more!
Hat A - March 26th, 2014 at 8:03 AM
Gracefully said, Jen G. Couldn't have explained it any better.
Joy - March 26th, 2014 at 9:02 AM
well said.
Jen Adams - March 26th, 2014 at 9:11 AM
Jen Griffin, like you I am disappointed in Jen Hatmaker's response. She has had such influence on this generation of women, including myself. I love her contagious passion for peace and justice, and am praying for her too. Thank you for articulating this response so well, I fully agree. If this is the Jen Griffin I know, greetings and love!
Kate - March 25th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
so spot on Jen, thank you.
Emily Fridenmaker - March 25th, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Dang, girl.

This part:
"The church has never, not for one millisecond of its entire history, been right about everything. This sobering fact should give us pause and inject some much needed humility into our ethos. It should at least produce Christians who are swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Better to treasure our beloved gospel with humble hands than mar it with arrogant hearts, because as often as we consider ourselves its gatekeepers, we are really only its unworthy recipients, usually blind to our own defects while remaining crystal clear on everyone else%u2019s."

Awesome, great, beautiful, level-headed post. You killed it (in a good way)!
julie - March 26th, 2014 at 7:36 AM
Yes!!!!!!!
ohAmanda - March 25th, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Jen, thank you!

"I am starving for reasonable, measured Christ-followers to become the dominant voices in the ongoing culture wars. We needn%u2019t race to our laptops with our hair on fire every time another Christian offends our personal sensibilities. We certainly ought to consider calling another believer%u2019s salvation into question the gravest action."
Vickie - March 25th, 2014 at 9:57 PM
Which sinners should they hire and which should they refuse...the glutton, the gossiper, the liar, the proud, the covetous? Let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Hiring someone is not condoning a person's actions. It's God's business to judge sin. It is mine to love my neighbor.
Hope - March 26th, 2014 at 1:43 AM
I agree! But why didn't WV anounce the in a less provocative way so that people didn't get "up in arms" about this. They could have announced they are opening their positions to any qualified individuals and as long as they have moral fiber and a great work ethic, they are welcome to apply. You can't no be legalistic and forcibly legislate morality. Sin can be many things, some less obvious then others. But God loves the sinners (believers are sinners too, but just covered by his blood) and God wants us to love them too.
Cathy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:52 AM
I agree with you, Vickie! Sin is sin. If you aren't going to hire a homosexual because it's sin, then don't hire anyone..........because we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Love the sinner. Hate the sin.
T. - March 26th, 2014 at 8:20 AM
It is sin to tell my girlfriend I love her haircut when I really don't. It is also sin to have sex with her husband. Yes, sin is sin. However consequences can vary greatly.
LB - March 26th, 2014 at 11:25 AM
People often forget that after Christ made that statement, he also said , "go and sin no more." In order to be more Christ-like we must turn away from our sin on a continual, habitual basis. 1 john 3:6 is relevant here.
Robyn - March 25th, 2014 at 10:00 PM
"For many, this is their genuine conviction not born out of disdain but belief." Yes! My views on same sex marriage are my beliefs, born out of my relationship with Christ. I do not hate anyone because of how they live their life. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and be concerned with your own sin that is separating you from Him. Live your life as a light in the darkness, showing others how to live for Him. God's conviction will take care of the rest. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic.
Deena - March 25th, 2014 at 10:01 PM
So does this mean that they will now also allow single employees who engage in sex before marriage and marrieds who commit adultery?
Linda B - March 26th, 2014 at 2:51 AM
If you read the World Vision statement, it is pretty clear that they require "abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage".
Shalom - March 25th, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Well said. My family will be adding at least one more sponsorship to our role.
Tiffany - March 25th, 2014 at 10:02 PM
I had the joy of visiting the Tanzanian child our Sunday school kids sponsor. He pulled out a package with every single letter and photo he'd ever received from us. When I gave him a soccer ball all the kids had signed, he read each name and then pointed to each child in the pictures of our Sunday school kids. He had memorized all their names and faces based on the names written on the backs of the photos. He considered our kids his brothers and sisters across the ocean. It's not just financial support. It's a relationship. Prayers, prayers, prayers for all those kids who may lose their "families" here in the U.S.!!
Zabrina - March 26th, 2014 at 7:22 AM
Tiffany - this is what breaks my heart about all of this. To pull their sponsorship from WV will be HURTING these children. That should be more important than anything else. It isn't about whether another family will take up the sponsorship or not. It is about the fact that these children see us as a lifeline - we are literally providing food, clean water and education for these children. Do you not think that they LOVE you for that? Not WV, but YOU. We do not sponsor through WV, we sponsor through Compassion, but that little girl (Wendy!!!) is OUR little girl!! She is my adopted Dominican beautiful daughter!! I love her. I would not for one second think of dropping my sponsorship over something like this. This has nothing to do with my beliefs - those are between me and my Saviour. I know we are called to gently restore other believers who are sinning, but that is not to be done publicly. It is to be done in private with a believer that we have a relationship with. Not in judgement, but in love.
Erin - March 25th, 2014 at 10:03 PM
I wish everyone with an opinion on this topic could read this. So perfectly and humbly stated. Thank you for being brave enough to stand up and be a voice of reason on this most decisive issue.
Sami - March 25th, 2014 at 10:04 PM
As a wife of an employee at WV, I do wish that someone would address their struggles at this point and not just discuss whether one should stop sponsoring a child. Although there are many who do not argue with the new policy, it is a struggle for many this week.
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 10:28 PM
I'm sorry for your emotional pain over this. Praying for all of you..yes, disappointed terribly over this decision, but really feel for those of you affected. God bless you!
Christina - March 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Sami, excellent point that I hadn't even thought of and wasn't mentioned. I'll definitely be praying for your family to have wisdom as you seek your next step. That has to be tough. God is still writing your story and he is always at work. He sees you and hears you.
Margaritka G - March 25th, 2014 at 10:06 PM
Jen Griffin, you have masterfully refuted Jen's attempt at trivializing the Truth claims of scripture in calling them our "offended sensibilities". I assume she would want her readers to take what she says seriously, yet to take the clear Biblical teaching on homosexuality, not so much.
Jacob Lupfer - March 25th, 2014 at 10:13 PM
This is very balanced and gracious. I will be sharing it with friends on both sides of the Christian culture wars.

I have pretty strong opinions, like most people (I'd say I'm a liberal to most evangelicals and a moderate liberal to liberal Protestants). But I try not to excommunicate people who are a few decades ahead of or behind me on certain issues. Or for holding a position that was the unanimous ecumenical Christian consensus for centuries.

People of good faith and good will disagree. That is a fact. To deny it is a lie.
K bear - March 25th, 2014 at 10:13 PM
I traveled with World Vision to Zambia. Just to clarify, they do not provide education. Water, yes. It was repeatedly explained to me that they stay out of the education game though.
Jennifer - March 26th, 2014 at 12:32 AM
I worked with WV International which is a the acting arm of the fundraising/child sponsorship of WV-US and other countries like the UK, Australia,bSwitzerland, and many more. I worked largely in South Africa but also some in Lesotho, Kenya, Botswana, and Zambia. WV helps pay school fees for students, so in that way they assist with education as well as offering life skills, job training,and health/sanitation skills.
April - March 25th, 2014 at 10:17 PM
Considering the message delivered in this post, why didn't you close it to comments?
Mary - March 26th, 2014 at 9:08 AM
Agreed!!!
Cheri - March 25th, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Oh my goodness...just because someone sins differently that some of the people commenting on this thread, doesn't make them any less important to an almighty God. WE ALL SIN...World Vision employees sinners that Jesus died to save. He has already forgiven them and he has forgiven you! Get off your high horse and love people and work to accomplish God's work. THANK YOU JEN HATMAKER for being brave enough to address this issue. What would Jesus do? He wouldn't be casting stones, y'all!
Jill - March 25th, 2014 at 10:38 PM
Just a quick clarification Cheri, The problem lies in the fact that the new movement of "gay-friendly Christianity" does not believe that homosexuality is a sin. Therein lies the problem, as the Bible is clear that it is a sin. For instance, lying was considered a sin in the Bible-it still is sin. Stealing, killing, sleeping with your neighbor's wife, worshiping other Gods-all considered sins in the Bible- still sins today. The culture war lies in the distinction that some are alleging that homosexuality is just mis-understood & not a sin. That position is NOT supported by Scripture.
Sifo-Dyas - March 25th, 2014 at 11:19 PM
Good distinction, Jill. I am curious, though, where Mr. Stearns explicitly stated that homosexuality wasn't a sin.
Robin - March 25th, 2014 at 11:27 PM
Yes,yes,yes!
Morgan - March 25th, 2014 at 11:38 PM
Hi Jill--please do not assume one's belief because a Christian or a Christian organization is "gay-friendly" ... sure, there are many who do believe homosexuality is not a sin, but don't make assumptions. Neither Stearns/WV or Jen offered their personally held opinions on the sinfulness of homosexuality. You are speaking out against a "movement" that I wasn't aware Jen was a part of. Why here? Why on this blog post?
Amanda A. - March 25th, 2014 at 11:46 PM
The issue is not the definition of what constitues a sin. If you've read the bible you are fully aware of what is sin. The issue is the Church feeling the need to call out and condemn those who are sinners. I find no where in the bible where Jesus ever walked a day on this Earth and refused to accept someone as they were. Obviously he would coach them and teach them and encourage them in their journey but he wouldn't just condemn and turn away. That's where the true problem lies. Today's Christians are quick to condemn but don't offer to coach, teach, or encourage the others around them with differing views or opinions. It is not our place as Christ followers to but someone else's sin on blast. That is God's job.
Lowell Adams - March 26th, 2014 at 4:33 AM
Tolerance and inclusion are not virtues that trump all others. We are to pray," thy kingdom come come on earth as it is in heaven." Realization of God's dream for all of us involves tolerance and love toward unbelievers behaviors and high standards of conduct for the believer. God's wants to ultimately build a wholesome loving, safe community on this earth. Explicit or implicit endorsement of beliefs and practices that thwart that goal are ultimately undermining God's vision for the world. I wish I could believe that World Vision's position on this issue would have no long term negative consequences for the Kingdom, but I can't see it. I have looked for loophole for my friends and family who are practicing homosexuals. I love them and wish the best for them. Unfortunately I have found no Biblical precedent for viewing homosexual behavior as normal , and not a sin. Yes we lll sin. I have struggled all my life to be a wholesome heterosexual, but would never try to convince others not to struggle with sin and that it should be tolerated or celebrated. The choice you make on this issue is what you choose to model for the world and to the children we support.
kristin - March 26th, 2014 at 6:29 AM
Thank you
Kim Bradley - March 26th, 2014 at 8:13 AM
See, this is exactly where the difference lies. I read the Bible, and I don't think it says homosexuality is a sin. I could go into all the reasons why, but it doesn't matter. It's exactly what Jen is saying: some of us are committed Christians, read the Bible, and don't think homosexuality is a sin. I don't expect to change your point of view, but you should have the graciousness to respect mine. I know you think I'm wrong. I think you're wrong.
Eric - March 26th, 2014 at 9:21 AM
All true. However, eating shellfish, shaving beard, getting tattoos, socializing during your period were all sins in the Bible and are not now. Owning slaves and having multiple wive were not sins in the Bible and are now. There is serious disagreement within the Church as to whether being gay is more like shaving a beard than killing someone. YOUR opinions on what is supported by Scripture are not gospel. Arrogance is a sin in the Bible and it is still a sin today. Christ needs more followers. It is not our job to cast out those who follow differently from us.
Robb - March 26th, 2014 at 9:28 AM
N.T. Wright has an a great quote not all of this:
That wider tradition always was counter-cultural as well as counter-intuitive. Our supposedly selfish genes crave a variety of sexual possibilities. But Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachers have always insisted that lifelong man-plus-woman marriage is the proper context for sexual intercourse. This is not (as is frequently suggested) an arbitrary rule, dualistic in overtone and killjoy in intention. It is a deep structural reflection of the belief in a creator God who has entered into covenant both with his creation and with his people (who carry forward his purposes for that creation).

Paganism ancient and modern has always found this ethic, and this belief, ridiculous and incredible. But the biblical witness is scarcely confined, as the shrill leader in yesterday%u2019s Times suggests, to a few verses in St Paul. Jesus%u2019s own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behaviour outside heterosexual monogamy. This isn%u2019t a matter of %u201Cprivate response to Scripture%u201D but of the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition.

The appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favour of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry simply begs the question. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. The appeal also seriously misrepresents the notion of justice itself, not just in the Christian tradition of Augustine, Aquinas and others, but in the wider philosophical discussion from Aristotle to John Rawls. Justice never means %u201Ctreating everybody the same way%u201D, but %u201Ctreating people appropriately%u201D, which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant %u201Cthe right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire%u201D.

Such a novel usage would also raise the further question of identity. It is a very recent innovation to consider sexual preferences as a marker of %u201Cidentity%u201D parallel to, say, being male or female, English or African, rich or poor. Within the %u201Cgay community%u201D much postmodern reflection has turned away from %u201Cidentity%u201D as a modernist fiction. We simply %u201Cconstruct%u201D ourselves from day to day.

We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other %u2014 a distinction regularly obscured by references to %u201Chomosexual clergy%u201D and so on. We all have all kinds of deep-rooted inclinations and desires. The question is, what shall we do with them? One of the great Prayer Book collects asks God that we may %u201Clove the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise%u201D. That is always tough, for all of us. Much easier to ask God to command what we already love, and promise what we already desire. But much less like the challenge of the Gospel.
Dorothy - March 26th, 2014 at 9:55 AM
I wonder if you're right about Jesus not casting stones. He was righteously angry with the church of his day for turning away from God and serving their own agendas. World Vision isn't a church but it is a large organization that raises money using His name. God's condemnation of homosexuality is so clear in the scripture, you can't say it's a matter of interpretation or nuance. It's simply a matter of reading. Acceptance of homosexuality is a denial of the Bible. Everyone who says homosexuality is okay bases their stance on the Bible being outdated or just plain wrong. Either the Bible is the word of God or it isn't. As a conservative Christian I believe the Bible IS the word of God. As He says in Revelation 22:18 "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."

Also, Cheri, you say Jesus died to pay for our sins. You are correct, he did. BUT, you have to make a deliberate decision to receive his salvation and commit your life to following him. He offers, you accept or reject. If you accept, you must follow his teachings. Mistakes are allowed so long as they are genuine mistakes and you repent of them. He can see your heart and know whether you are rejecting him or just making a mistake. Only God can decide on the condition of your heart. Man can only decide whether your actions are godly.
Paige - March 25th, 2014 at 10:19 PM
Would world vision allow a drug addict to be employed with them? Hopefully not because that person has clearly chosen a lifestyle of sin. The same is true with homosexuality. It's a lifestyle choice of sin. I can't support a Christian organization that has chosen to employ people who choose sin as their lifestyle. I don't want to be politically correct, but Biblically correct. Apparently WV feels differently.
Kelly - March 25th, 2014 at 11:24 PM
We ALL sin. All of us. Every day. Multiple times a day. Sometimes the same sin...over and over and over. I'm pretty sure that WV employs divorced people, liars, people who covet, people who think bad thoughts, greedy people, fornicators and gluttons (just to name a few). I live a life in which I sin every day. Because I have been washed by the blood and saved by Jesus, my slate is wiped clean-every day. God isn't going to penalize His people for any act that errs on the side of love. Guess what? Your donation might be supporting a homosexual child. That doesn't mean you are condoning any sin...it means you are feeding and clothing one of the least of these. Jesus died for us ALL. The addicts, racists, liars, liberals, conservatives, homosexuals and homophobes. We should all focus on hating OUR OWN sins. Love God and love your neighbor. The end.
Mellie - March 26th, 2014 at 7:41 AM
Just to clarify... WV might hire fornicators and adulterers, but once they are employees, they have to stop participating in their particular sin. ;-)
Vanessa - March 26th, 2014 at 8:51 AM
I think it's incorrect to assume that WV has NO employees currently committing fornication or adultery. For me, that's just statistically impossible. And frankly, it doesn't jive with my experience serving overseas, working with Christian workers in aid organizations.

Also, Stearns' statement affirmed that they would respect the denomination of the employee on this issue. So, if the employee's church leaders/pastor/whatever said this person is gay and therefore is no longer fit for ministry, I assume they'd be unemployed. That's hardly "gay-friendly".


Kathy - March 26th, 2014 at 8:20 AM
Yes, Kelly, we all sin, but then we confess our sin, repent of our sin and turn away from our sin and are forgiven of our sin by the loving Christ who died for our sins. The problem is that many homosexuals do not identify their actions as sin, so there is no repentance,....and no turning away from that sin. I'm certain that WV employs some who lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery and fornication, etc., but those people usually struggle with guilt brought on by conviction of the Holy Spirit and their knowledge of the Word of God. They recognize their actions as sin and try to turn away from it. Those precious ones who engage in a homosexual lifestyle cannot take the path of forgiveness because they don't believe they are sinning and, therefore, will not stop that behavior. There are liars, cheats, adulterers, etc. who must strive constantly-against their human natures-to obey the teachings of Christ, but most homosexuals do not want to change their behavior, they want the precepts of God to be viewed differently to accommodate their actions. I do not believe we should allow the children to suffer the repercussions of this decision.
Erin - March 26th, 2014 at 8:47 AM
But do you blatantly choose sin? Someone who feels attracted to the same sex but knows that God says acting on that attraction is a sin so they turn from it is not a homosexual, they are someone who struggles with homosexuality. Knowing it is sin and then choosing to live it is so different. If someone came and said I like to get drunk, I know it is a sin but will not change is in this same situation of blatantly choosing a life of sin regardless of what God's Word says. People may slip up and sin all the time true, but deciding to choose it is another story.
Becky - March 26th, 2014 at 9:01 AM
Amen Kelly!
Julie - March 26th, 2014 at 9:24 AM
We do all sin. We are also all called to repent and turn away from our sin. We are called to love the sinner, but hate the sin. As brothers and sisters in Christ we should help and encourage each other to live lives pleasing to Christ free of continual sin. Jesus didn't tell the woman caught in adultery to go back to living her sinful life. He told her that he forgives her and that she should go and sin no more.
Lana L - March 25th, 2014 at 10:24 PM
So well written, Jen! I admire you & appreciate your challenge to us! Just a random thought: I wonder if WV thought that there could somehow be more sponsorships in the end, resulting from this. I know there will be some cancelled... But I assume WV knew that if they allow gays, then all those churches/denominations that support gays will have respect for WV & want to jump on board & support them. Just a possibility..

Regardless, most important thing for us who love Jesus & pray for revival in this generation: Slow to speak, slow to show anger/opinion.. & instead LOVE others.! (aka: ease up on the crazy tweets!! Ha!)
Lisa - March 25th, 2014 at 10:25 PM
What a gift you have. What a gift you are. Thank you. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Thomas - March 25th, 2014 at 10:29 PM
There is another useful Proverb: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." (18:17). So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that you hold to the authority of Scripture and yet you believe Jesus, Moses and Paul all blessed male on male sodomy and lesbianism? That is, after all, what World Vision is approving (and you, as well, it seems). There are verses about millstones that should give pause to some blog writers...
norma - March 25th, 2014 at 10:29 PM
You are so right, it is my decision to withdraw. When they made this decision they had to know some of us would so disagree. To me this is truly shocking. Still, I'm praying for this company as they move forward without me. Sad!
Jim Caldwell - March 25th, 2014 at 10:30 PM
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2
Hard to believe we seem to be jumping to an Evangelical civil war over an issue spoken of in 6-7 verses (never by Jesus) and using it to disregard the 3000 verses about the poor, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner.
Thank you Jen for looking for that elusive third way that does not succumb to binary thinking. Perhaps we should walk together in dialogue. We make the way by walking.
Rob - March 25th, 2014 at 10:39 PM
This situation reminds me of the woman caught in adultery and brought by the religious leaders before Jesus. If we were to read that story from Scripture and replaced His name with a title like Teacher, most of us wouldn't believe that it was Jesus in the story. Yet, He did speak Truth with Love to the woman. As a sinner (like we all are) she felt His love, forgiveness and acceptance when He told her that He did not condemn her but to go and sin no more. How much better the world would listen to the gospel message of love, forgiveness and acceptance if they also saw compassion and love instead of hate in our eyes.
Lynn - March 25th, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Jen, first, let me say that I do believe if someone is sponsoring a child, then I would hope people would reconsider before withdrawing support regardless of the anti-biblical stance WV has chosen to take. Those children still need care. I also believe our rhetoric needs to be more unifying than dividing or at the very least civil. Having said that, however, I cannot allow one of the things you have said to slide and that is that the church has not always agreed on the issue of homosexuality over the years. That statement is incorrect. Until about the last 30 years, when a very liberal theologian wanted to rock the boat, the church has always understood the practice of homosexuality (note I said practice) to be an abomination. One of the reasons it is mentioned very little in the Bible is that it was just understood especially by both the Jewish community and the early church to be unacceptable so there was little need to talk about it. Its practice was taboo. But when God does speak, he is very clear, and for those who say Jesus does not talk about it specifically are choosing to ignore what he says about marriage and the understanding that when he speaks of adultery it includes homosexual behavior. To say anything in scripture is an "opinion" trades on dangerous territory. Why should we believe anything scripture says if it is all only opinion anyway? Why should be believe anything is a sin if we pick and choose? Now, this remark is not about bashing the gay community. I have a friends who are gay, and I have my own sins with which to content, but to pretend scripture says anything other than what it does is also against God. Just because we don't like something God says does not make it less valid, and it grieves my heart to think we think we are above his tenets. There is a biblical scholar by the name of Robert Gagnon who teaches at the very liberal Pittsburgh Theological Seminary who has written and taught extensively on this subject and holds strongly to Biblical one man/one woman marriage at the risk of strong disagreement from his colleagues. Explore his extensive research if you want to know more. But I digress. Yes, we need to love. Yes, we need to love God's children no matter who or what or where they are. Yes, we have treated the homosexual community abominably. But our "feelings" cannot supercede what God has taught. (And I apologize if someone else has already addressed this. I have not read all of the comments.) Let's treat each other more kindly, but let's also honor the truth of scripture.
Angie - March 26th, 2014 at 9:20 AM
Well said Lynn
Diana - March 26th, 2014 at 9:50 AM
You just completely missed the point. The Bible is NOT CLEAR on homosexuality. It just isn't. You've completely ignored all of the study and exegesis that points to a different conclusion than what you've come to. And believing you have the solid answer on it, and using that belief to hurt people is just arrogant and despicable. I'm sick of it. And I'm feel fairly certain that Jesus is pretty sick of it too.
laura - March 26th, 2014 at 9:57 AM
You just said what my husband and I were just saying. Finally. Thank you.
Lynn - March 26th, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Important information to add from a Greek/NT Scholar who does not feel someone should draw support but wants us to see the bigger and more honest picture of WV's decision: I would only add that USAID's policy of favoring grant applicants who follow a nondiscriminatory policy on hiring homosexuals, announced in 2011, for which World Vision initially asked for clarification, surely played a significant role in WV's decision. That's surely bigger than the debate about the consensus fidelium, especially since so few Christians or churches globally endorse same-sex unions (see "List of Christian denominational positions on homosexuality" on Wikipedia for some perspective), let alone historically (ours is the first generation of Christian adherents to debate this issue at all). Compared to the baptism issue, which WV cited as a similar case, there's little division on this issue.
alt - March 26th, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Lynn - I can't allow something you said to slide.The part of the Bible that talks about homosexuality as an abomination also said that having sex with your wife while she's on her period is an abomination. Of course, you would never mention that because that scripture doesn't apply to you today. Of course, however, you have no problem applying the "abomination" card it to someone else.

I'm not going to go into a history lesson, but just be thankful that our western view of monogamous heterosexual marriage is actually quite modern. Be thankful your face isn't covered, that you aren't forced to go to church in a different room, you aren't sharing your husband with 10 other wives and that you aren't stoned for trying to take leadership roles. We don't apply those verses literally to us today because they HAD an ancient and historical context that doesn't apply to us today. If you really want to take those few verses, use them literally without any historical context, to tell someone born gay they can never find love or companionship, then at least use the same verses and use them literally and apply them to yourself.

I gotta go before I do exactly what Jen was trying to avoid with this wonderful post!
Leah Stewart - March 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
How clear does the Word need be on marriage is a union between a man and a woman. There really is no room for argument there, is there. We can still, most certainly, love one another through the disagreements which are grey area...social drinking, hanging w sinners and so on. But, marriage in the context which God created. No grey there.
megan - March 26th, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Agreed.
Rissa - March 26th, 2014 at 9:05 AM
If there were no room for argument, then there would be no argument.

Words mean things. It is their very nature and purpose.
Amy - March 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
I think this guy has a great point, though - not taking a stand on the issue, essentially IS taking a stand on the issue: http://adam4d.com/theologic/

Liz - March 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
To me this is such a non-issue. Yes this is a Christian organization, but it's about helping these kids. Who are we to judge someone who's gay? I don't personally agree with same-sex marriage, but if someone has a heart for service, they should be allowed to serve. Plus if they are going to exclude someone based on that particular sin, they should exclude everyone else because all sin is the same. My husband and I support three kids and their families through WV and wouldn't even dream of pulling our sponsorship over such a thing. Life is way too short to be offended when children's lives are on the line.
Sarah - March 26th, 2014 at 9:40 AM
Exactly
Dawn Nicole - March 26th, 2014 at 10:01 AM
That's how I view this as well. I don't agree with same-sex marriages, but I've done other things the Bible condemns and am in no position to judge anyone.
Zeke - March 25th, 2014 at 10:46 PM
A thought... homosexuality is a sin. Being gay is not a sin. The real issue is sexual purity. There is a line where gray becomes black and where it becomes white. If the real issue is sexual purity and the sexual act inside homosexual marriage is a sin... then it is a sin (as the Bible seems to clearly articulate).

HOWEVER, should not pornography be on that same side of the line? Right now in America 50% of pastors participate in habitual (at least weekly) viewing of pornographic sites. The fingers that are pointing the most at the gay community are from the religious community (who are also sinning). It seems to me that if we focus on the real issue of sexual purity we could make some progress.

In this case two scriptures come to mind: John 8:7 "But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'" and Matthew 7 (read the whole chapter).

Seems that a focus on personal purity, sexual and otherwise, is a solution. Or, are we not convinced that God will provide conviction through the Holy Spirit for those who are sinning? I believe if we hear and obey the Word of God, He will provide the direction in our lives.

I'm not suggesting a "soft" version of Christianity, nor am I saying that all who say LORD, LORD will enter the gates of heaven. Read the rest of Matthew 7... I'm just suggesting we all seek TRUTH and live according to what we hear from it. Does that mean we will have to change the way we life... most of the time, of course. Does that mean it will be difficult... absolutely. Purity is not an easy thing.

On the soapbox (just for a moment):
To those who suggest that because Jesus did not mention homosexuality therefore it's okay... he did not mention a lot of things that I would imagine most of us would agree are sinful. It does not make it right just because he did not mention it. Okay, I'm off the soapbox now. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Sifo-Dyas - March 25th, 2014 at 11:17 PM
Thank you for your well thought out response.
Beth - March 26th, 2014 at 12:07 AM
I'm so glad you pointed this out. I feel like there's a certain disingenuous nature to our "drawing a line" in the sand on this. While I certainly believe homosexuality to be a sin, I also believe divorce, according to Jesus himself, is a sin unless there is adultery involved. Yet there was nowhere near the outcry over no-fault divorce that we see now over this issue. The reason Jesus made such a big deal about the splinter/plank was that he knew when we focus on other people's sin, we lose sight of our own. Our own views on the sanctity of marriage and sexual purity would carry a lot more weight if the divorce and pornography usage rates weren't the same as outside the church.
Dawn - March 26th, 2014 at 12:34 AM
Zeke - This is exactly what came to my mind as I read the blog and the comments. The issue is sexual purity and a right heart before a Holy God. I am grieved to see that so many Christians are ready to crucify each other over this issue, but cannot join together in a unified voice to defend the weak and to set the captives free! I have been working on an aggressive campaign to educate the Christian community about the reality of child sex trafficking - and trying to get Christians to put their voices together against companies like Verizon who are streaming incest and child themed pornography into our homes via their FiOS TV and cable. They are providing titles like "Daddy Likes 'Em Young" and yet many will turn a blind eye to the fact that these kinds of films ruin lives and feed the demand for child sex trafficking, which is not child prostitution, but is rather, the act of children being raped for profit and for someone else's gratification. Why can so many turn a blind eye to this type of blatant sin and the exploitation of our precious children, refusing to drop their Verizon service because it's either inconvenient for them to switch providers or because they will have to pay a termination fee, but they might be the same ones ready to cancel the WV sponsorship this very minute??? We have indeed lost perspective and lost our direction. We serve a Holy God who wants us to live lives of purity. Rant over. (If you would like to join the battle to remove incest and child themed porn, hardcore sex slavery porn and wildly inappropriate racial porn...please join the battle by signing this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/kevin-tarrant-we-urge-verizon-to-discontinue-offering-incest-and-child-themed-pornography-on-video-on-demand )
Peg - March 26th, 2014 at 9:53 AM
The thing that caught my eye is your statistic. I'm a numbers person and i also like the proof to back it up. I'm not arguing about wether it is true or not, I am simply asking you to post the link to that so i can look into it myself. Where did you get the number of 50% of all pastors participate in viewing pornography? Are these Christian pastors? There are many kinds of pastors out there and certainly not all are christian. I'm just trying to gauge exactly how the data was gathered. thanks!
E - March 25th, 2014 at 10:48 PM
I am very impressed with the deeply held beliefs and kind expression of those beliefs from both sides. I am gay, married, and so touched that so many think so deeply about gay marriage. God bless everyone.
Wade - March 25th, 2014 at 10:57 PM
Jen Griffin is right on. How am I as a dad supposed to teach my children about Biblical marriage, between a man and a woman, and have Christian influences telling them a marriage is whatever you want it to be. The Bible hasn't changed but interpretation has. Christians have compromised Biblical truth for political correctness or inclusion.
Robin - March 25th, 2014 at 10:58 PM
This article deeply saddened me. As a believer I do not need for self-reflection as you have suggested. I need more gospel reflection. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture and that the truth is not swayed by public opinion. You asked us not to condemn and judge harshly yet the tone and theme of this post has been condemnation for those who have raised a voice to defend the gospel. I wholeheartedly agree that we should speak the truth in love and be slow to anger. However there is a time and place to act and speak up. Al Mohler has addressed this topic very thoroughly. I implore anyone wanting to hear the dire situation this allowance has create to read his blog or listen to his podcast.
Lynn - March 26th, 2014 at 12:51 AM
Robin, this reflects my thoughts exactly! Thank u for sharing!!
Jill - March 26th, 2014 at 9:52 AM
Yes. Right on. Jen, you err too much on loving all at the expense of relieving the guilty of repentance. Yes God's kindness leads to repentance. But it DOES lead there. It has too. If WV wasn't trying to make a statement with this, then why make one at all?
Amy - March 26th, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Jill - I soooo agree with you. I feel like this whole thing is a cop out. God's kindness ALWAYS leads to repentance. AND any true MOVE of God must extend redemption at the core of what they do. Saying to people, "I just love you the way you are and I don't condemn you" isn't loving. We always need to love them INTO the fullness of God's heart for them if we want to truly LOVE.
geoff - March 26th, 2014 at 1:45 PM
The reason to make the announcement - Someone really important within World View probably came out of the closet.
World View employees 1,100 employees. Chances are there probably already was an LBGT person working there. Now we know who the bigots are starting with WV previous stance.
Micah's mommy - March 25th, 2014 at 11:03 PM
I am a Christian who supports WV. I also feel homosexuality is a sin. However, I also am an unworthy sinner. I don't go around spewing hate but if asked my opinion on homosexuality I will give it-followed directly by the words that I am a sinner myself with no room to judge others. So many of us hide behind the fact that only God can judge us. This is true but some things in the Bible are not debatable. Homosexuality is one if them. There are tons of sins called out in God's word and many that are implied and open for interpretation. The problem is we are so quick to judge other but never acknowledge the sin in our own life. If we would worry more about strengthening our relationship with God and less about deciding whether or not others had one we would provide a much better example to those who don't yet know Him. Unfortunately, it has become common place to not want to offend anyone. Almost to the point of selling out our own beliefs. I feel comfortable being able to tell someone that homosexuality is wrong. I don't feel the need to want to follow up my offensive comment with "but it's debatable, maybe I'm wrong". Withdrawing funds from WV is like punishing a child for a father's crime. Many great things can come out of imperfect situations. I will continue to sponsor. However, I do think this article has some strong points and some very weak ones.
Rebekah - March 25th, 2014 at 11:08 PM
This is such a breath of fresh air. Reason Love = Christ's example. Thank you.
Stephanie - March 26th, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Totally agree! Thank you Jenn%u2026 loved this article and your prayerful thoughts.
Amber - March 25th, 2014 at 11:12 PM
I find it so sad that somewhere along the way, many Christians have made it their mission to preach the evils of homosexuality over preaching the love and grace of Christ. Honestly, there is a reason many non-believers call Christians judgmental, and have such a distaste for us. It's because we are just that-judgmental and full of condemnation, instead of being loving and full of grace.
Ruthie - March 25th, 2014 at 11:13 PM
" Better to treasure our beloved gospel with humble hands than mar it with arrogant hearts, because as often as we consider ourselves its gatekeepers, we are really only its unworthy recipients, usually blind to our own defects while remaining crystal clear on everyone else%u2019s." YEEEESSSSS!!!!! Thank you!!!
Sherry - March 25th, 2014 at 11:19 PM
A sign of a good writer is when the reader cannot determine which side of an issue the author is on. This piece was an objective presentation that neither supported or opposed scripture regarding this particular sexual practice. As far as World Vision is concerned, I hope they will drop the requirement of abstinence before marriage for male/female couples who are in loving relationships. If they are going to embrace the belief that gay unions are not in opposition to biblical teaching then they should be just as open to the belief that marriage is not necessary for a man and woman to physically pledge their love to one another.
I like how the options for how to or not to respond to WV were presented here. We sponsor Francisco, who shares a birthday with our son who lives in heaven. I will be taking your advice of careful thought and prayer before making my decision.
Janice - March 26th, 2014 at 9:16 AM
That is the sign of a good reporter not writer.
Shakira - March 25th, 2014 at 11:20 PM
Jen-- know I love you and you are incredible. So Im calling you out on this one. It exacerbates our impasses in dialogue and isolates biblically conservative/traditional people (of which I am not) when popular voices portray themselves as an unbiased and middle ground peacekeeper being "measured" in their response. Kind of like Fox News is "Fair and Balanced," and so is CNN. When you "stand in the middle" and ask people on both sides to call a truce, you are tacitly declaring where the middle (voice of reason) should be, thus declaring yourself to be some sort of authority on the matter. In reality, you are no different from any person fighting on either side of you, who also think they are the authority on the matter. Its like you still want in on the culture wars, but you just want to be the referee.

I, along with Jesus, would suggest that you kindly step aside from them altogether and go love people.

Peacekeeping is much different than peacemaking. Love is an action, not an argument. Peace wont be brought about on a blog, but with a cup of cold water. Cheers!


L - March 26th, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Wonderful insights, Shakira. I had not considered your point before.
I also, support a little girl in India and will be 'cancelling a cancel', because WV (for me) is about that cup of cold water.
I believe homosexuality to outside of what God intends. That makes it sin....for me. I have no idea, and do not want to speculate on what God is saying to others. God has told me it is sin...for me. He does not talk to me about the sin-life of others. I suspect that's because there's so much to talk to me about in my own life.
I have rejected judging others since I found myself in heart-breaking sin after being a Christian for over 20 years. I was shamed, judged and rejected because of it. It was not homosexuality, but it showed me in a profound way, what I had been doing to others all my life. I have been forgiven and live without shame today, but also without some of my old friends. Such is humanity.
What's the sense of all the talk, unless it's with God. I am glad that WV has made this decision, out of a sense of getting the work done, rather than wanting to pick a fight. Let God do the convincing. I too, have stepped aside from all the arguments and am just offering water wherever I see thirst.
I no longer need to be an authority on these matters, thank God. I do want to love.
Lindsey Byard - March 25th, 2014 at 11:20 PM
If two people of the same sex marry one another out of deep love for each another does this mean their sin is love? When they stand before Jesus to be judged, the time when so many think they will be condemned, will their biggest sin be that they loved? Is that what will place same sex couples in hell? Oh I pity the people who think a God would eternally condemn his children who have done exactly what he commanded all of us to do.
Julia - March 26th, 2014 at 2:32 AM
No sin can be done in love. Homosexuality - just like pornography or adultery or sex before marriage or pride or vanity or envy - is at it's heart a selfish pursuit of one's own desires. That is emphatically not love. That being said, God forgives those who trust in His son for salvation - and that only through the exchange of our sinful lives (including the sin of a homosexual lifestyle) for Christ's sinless one.
Heather - March 26th, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Well said Julia....
Heidi Groot - March 26th, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Dear Julia, the Bible says "judge not, lest you be judged." That means that it's not for you or anyone to determine what constitutes love or sin. We are called to love our neighbours while leaving the opinions and judgement of the personal choices of others up to God and not us. Go forward in love and I hope you can one day fully accept others for who they are, not who you want them to become. Love is love and it seems like the focus on sin is distracting many from being fully rooted in perfect love which casts out all fear, including fear of sin. My challenge to all who struggle with these topics is to not worry about what everyone is doing wrong, instead worry about what you are doing right from a loving perspective. The fruits of the spirit are a great guide to root on self in love and change hearts, lives and nations. I am thrilled and impressed by the courage of World Vision for changing their position on homosexuality to a more inclusive one!

Heidi Groot, Whistler BC
JT - March 25th, 2014 at 11:24 PM
Jen, I first heard you speak three months ago...was so inspired that I bought two of your books and promptly devoured one...will jump into the next book soon. Your post about WV's policy change & the ensuing fallout gave me rich food for thought & a serious gut check. I've been a Christ-follower for 30 years and know full-well that He's ever at work in & through me. With all that said, may I offer a few thoughts?

There is truly a desperate need in this world for peace, compassion, understanding and love. Your words today trumpet the Lord's call on our lives and, sister, I am listening! I heard what you said, felt it jolt my heart and winced as my conscience was convicted. I get it, I really get it.

My question is this. Why didn't you answer the obvious question? With the size, depth & breadth of your platform & who-knows-how-many folks following your blog, why didn't you speak to the proverbial elephant in the room? How, as Christians, are we to respond to the issue of homosexuality? That's the question. It's the heart of the matter.

Jen, you are a relevant, rooted, tell-it-like-it-is woman with a powerful testimony for the Kingdom. I'm listening to you and I am not alone. The Scripture is clear in what it says about homosexuality but help a sister out, would ya, and sprinkle some sage wisdom on how Chrisians are to respond.

Blessings!
LeaBee3 - March 26th, 2014 at 12:06 AM
She would tell us to love them. ;) What I'm not sure we'll ever know, however, is whether or not Jen believes practicing homosexuality is sin. In the years that I've been following her, I know that this is not the first time she's chosen to be ambiguous about this issue. Jen, it would be nice to know where you stand on the issue. :)
Priscilla - March 25th, 2014 at 11:25 PM
2 Peter 1:20 "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." The Bible is the Word of God. God is absolutely perfect! His words should have one interpretation, yes, there will be varying applications, but there should be one interpretation. The reason we have different views, denominations etc is because we are imperfect. Our imperfection affects even our interpretation of Scripture. Thankfully the Holy Spirit guides us, and will illuminates Scripture for us, but we are still imperfect Christians trying to grasp a view of our Perfect Savior. Like Paul said in 1 Cor 13:12 "12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." That's part of why Heaven will be so wonderful, these things we only partly see and understand will be completely understood! God's Word is clear on this issue. Yes, we treat all sinners with love because we've all been rescued from the same fate, but let's not hesitate to call all sin what it is...sin.
Alexis - March 26th, 2014 at 6:42 AM
Amen!

Allison - March 26th, 2014 at 11:13 AM
what we all need to understand as far as interpretations go is that an interpretation is something that is subjective. There is no one right way to interpret something because interpretations are formed within cultural, societal, financial, familial, political contexts and frameworks that are constantly changing as time passes. I believe that this is one of the reasons that God's Word is called the Living Word. Yes, His word is constant, but it is constantly applicable in changing times, and changing contexts. we depend on the Holy Spirit, but again, our interpretation of what the Holy Spirit is saying or asking of us is a product of these frameworks. Until we are actually with God, and can talk with him directly, his word is going to be open to interpretations, and those are inherently flawed.
Steve - March 25th, 2014 at 11:29 PM
I struggle with accepting what is clearly not accepted in the bible. Sorry, but homosexuality is not. It is one thing to count on Grace for say a sin or,sinning we are sincerely trying to defeat but failing. It is completely different to stand on grace when making a long term corporate choice to go against the Word. I know it is hard, but society reinterpreting the Truth to collaborate lifestyle choices is in the same camp as Christians who believe Satan is a storybook character drummed up by ancient believers with weak minds. Whose thoughts are those?

Brooke - March 25th, 2014 at 11:29 PM
I think where a lot if this gets gray is that as Christians, we are standing up to what is wrong but in all of this we quickly forget what is right about these organizations and the thousands of kids sponsored through them. We aren't hurting the organization by boycotting but we're turning our back on these kids and telling non-believers we can easily quit supporting the needy because of our stance. Not a great message to send to show the love of Christ. Supporting these children that look to us and pray for us and rely on our sponsorship to fill their bellies ONCE a day while we hash out our issues on social media and the like on our iPhones in our homes & cars. I loved the way Melanie shares her heart on this issue at her blog http://www.unexpected.org/2014/03/world-vision-gay-marriage-and-breaking-off-sponsorship/ It is truly where our minds and hearts should be...these children.
Mike Scalzo - March 25th, 2014 at 11:36 PM
I appreciate the attempt at peacemaking regarding this issue. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace but a sword. The Word of God divides mankind. You either believe what it says, or you don't. We cannot pick and choose what we believe. And while there are as you say many interpretations, the words speak for themselves. God's work condemns homosexuality, we all know the references. God's word says that marriage is between one man and one woman, we all know the references. There is no such thing as Christian gay marriage. In support of this issue, there are NO references. I pray that the body does not suffer more than it has to due to a misguided and biblically uninformed decision.
Ashton - March 26th, 2014 at 11:04 AM
References for marriage in the Bible? Let's hear 'em. Especially a reference between a man and a woman in marriage? There's really no such thing as Christian Marriage. Period. Let alone gay, christian marriage. If I wanted a marriage certificate, guess where I would go? Not a church. That's a marriage ceremony. Marriage is a legal doctrine. Let's be clear.
Amy - March 26th, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Here's a start:
Hebrews 13:4 (ESV)
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Alison - March 26th, 2014 at 11:37 AM
For heterosexual marriage: Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, the whole book of Song of Solomon, proverbs 31 describes a good wife. It's everywhere if you read the Bible.

Against homosexual marriage: the story of Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 19:1-13, Romans 1:18-32, Jude 7 talks about those who practice an "unnatural desire" in reference to homosexual sex, the Old Testament commands that homosexual people, who are indulging in immoral sex, be put to death.

Now hear me out. You can love someone of the same sex. You can find someone of the same sex attractive. But the sin comes when you begin to lust after them in your mind and begin to act on those longings physically. The fact that these people long to be married is proof that they are not ashamed of their sin and they have agreed with it and thus walked away from Gods intention and will. It is sexual immorality. That is why the church should not allow it. If the person recognizes homosexuality is sin and longs to turn from it, by all means love them through it. If that person is actively reading the bible and doesn't see anything wrong with homosexuality then something is wrong. It's everywhere in scripture. Sex between people of the same sex is immoral. Period. And in the old testament God destroyed an entire city for it.

We are under a new covenant now, but God is still the same God. The difference is that He is holding back His wrath in hopes that people will turn to Christ. He has given His Son to die on the cross in hopes that people will give up their sinful ways and follow Him. That does not change Gods stance on what is sin. He still demands righteousness.
Courtney - March 25th, 2014 at 11:39 PM
Thank you for being a peacemaker. I was so weary. I serve as a Child Ambassador for WV, I can hardly get my head around the topic because of all the hate and anger and finger pointing and threats--and this is from the other volunteers. We did feel blindsided and not ready to spend our Tues in either attack or defend or just keep your head down mode. Thank you for the respectful and balanced piece. I like the options laid out for our sponsored children and for our volunteer roles and all encouraged to plan our next moves in loving non judgmental way. That is being the Body.
RM - March 25th, 2014 at 11:53 PM
While I fully and absolutely agree that we need to demonstrate love and respect and compassion always in our dealings, writings, conversations with one another, Jen, I fear that your option 1, 2, 3 goes the way of the current PCness -" find whatever works for you and that's fine with me." There is still TRUTH in this world, and I believe with all my heart that Scripture teaches and that God created marriage as the union of a man and woman for many reasons written about better than I can. This even leads me to shudder at your phrase, "lawfully gay married people." Does my definition of marriage come from Scripture or from whatever a culture may dictate/change and call "evolving." At the danger of sounding oversimplified or too graphic: 1) can we not just simply look at the structure of the human anatomy? and 2) can we not say that marriage is a covenant union between a man and a woman and that ANY sexual relationship outside of that is sin? I realize I'm not addressing the WV issue - I need to pray and think about that since it's the first I heard of it. But I realize it comes at the same time as Hobby Lobby's people are in court. Do we let culture roll over us and continue to distort who we are as devoted followers of Jesus? Do we watch our nation of believers become even less than "lukewarm?" Yes, some battles are not "deal breakers" and don't need to be fought, but I don't believe even slightly that marriage is one of them.
Dave - March 25th, 2014 at 11:58 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZFCB9sduxQ
I sin persistently and fall short of the Glory of God at every moment. I know through Grace I am forgiven and seek renewal and repentance as often as I remember. I understand, as much as my flesh and ego dislike it, accountability is quintessential to my renewal and forgiveness, which comes from admittance of my sin.
There's no question that each of us will sin consistently and perpetually yet how do we choose do deal with it? To open ourselves to the light and let our sin be shown to the world so that we may be cleansed? Or be pious and revel in self righteous indignation? Or appoint ourselves the saviors of this world believing that we (individually) can rescue this world and condone certain behaviors/beliefs? Regardless, Christ is in control, HIS will and HIS outcomes will be what last and remain at the end of the day.
Yet, he asks us to follow in his Love, turn the other cheek and repent. I have been supporting WV for numerous years and watched my sponsor child grow and flourish because of WV. Yet, if I seek Truth, a Christian organization that represents our Lord and Savior which administers food both for the flesh and soul then I cannot knowingly support an organization which is welcoming sin into its identity. I would be turning a blind eye to that which the Lord has asked me to be aware of and stand aganist. None of us our without sin, yet how do we come to Christ, with repentant hearts or intellectual arguments questioning His authority and Word?
I grieve and pray that our Lord heals the anger this has brought about. Forgive me of my sins and let me trust in Him that he will work his hand both in our hearts and the children that need our support.
Amy - March 26th, 2014 at 12:07 AM
I absolutely love reading every single one of your blog entries....then I get to the comment section and it just gives me anxiety. I don't know how you do it (read and try to take in the comments, that is.) Every time I read your entry it makes me so hopeful for the future of Christianity, that people will one day just love each other and leave the judging up to God. I grew up going to Christian camps and going on mission trips. I have been to Jacksonville, Fl, Toronto, Romania 4 summers in a row, for mission trips and have been trying to plan a trip to Africa.....I am also gay. It depresses me that in spite of my love for Jesus and my willingness and need to serve Him, some of these commenters would rather me, what? Stop serving all together because I am not attracted to the gender they want me to be attracted to? If I was employed by World Vision, you would have me fired? What is the end goal then? Are we not on the earth to share and spread God's love? Maybe if everyone would just stop tearing each other down for one second we could accomplish something great in this world and all of my friends who I am trying to convince that Christians/the Church aren't so bad and hateful will start believing me. If our mission IS really to reach out, show love, save the lost, it isn't going to happen with people's unwavering stance on constantly telling society that they are idiots. Please. It hurts my heart. Anyway, thank you Jen, you give hope to this 23 year old tryin to figure life out.
Karen - March 26th, 2014 at 3:14 AM
Keep going, loving, serving, Amy. I'm inspired by you.
michelle - March 26th, 2014 at 9:36 AM
I feel the same way when I read Jen's blog. Hopeful and then often crushed by how so many people leaving comments completely miss it. I just want to say that as a fellow believer I applaud you for seeking to serve God despite the push-back you receive. God Bless.
Sandy - March 26th, 2014 at 9:42 AM
Amy - keep following the great commandment "Love God with all your heart, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself." By reaching out to the least, the last and the lost, I believe you are doing what we are all called to do. I, for one, believe that God made you as you are. It's not my place to tell God what he did is wrong. The more I study the Bible, the more I pray about what I learn, the more I believe that Love is the answer. You, by your mission and service, are being a true disciple. Amen.
Diana - March 26th, 2014 at 9:59 AM
Much love to you, Amy. God knows and loves you and your service to Him.
LaDonna - March 26th, 2014 at 11:04 AM
I am so glad I continued to read all these comments so that I didn't miss yours. You seem very earnest so I ask you in all sincerity and humility: How do you reconcile scripture with your lifestyle? How does that sort itself out in your mind? I have always wanted to ask someone.
EmLee - March 26th, 2014 at 11:15 AM
It's not a "lifestyle", LaDonna. Gay people know from a very young age that their homosexuality is intrinsic - God created everyone in His image and doesn't make mistakes. Homosexuality is not a choice, it's not a lifestyle - it's how God made them.
Joe - March 26th, 2014 at 11:16 AM
You can't be a Christian and a homosexual. The Bible is so clear on that. Where do u get the idea that its ok? If its ok for you to be homosexual because that's just the "way" you are is so stupid. Whats tge difference in me killing somone because its just the "way" I am. I mean....God will understand right? Its not like killing someone will send me to hell or that the Bible says its wrong. The point is your saying u can be a Christian and gay at tge same time
God says homosexuality is wrong. Just by using common sense then Amy.....you can't be both.
Janet - March 26th, 2014 at 11:22 AM
Bravo! You are blessed, and articulate, as is Jen, and I thank you for your hard work on behalf of God's poor. My daughters have many gay friends who are amazed that I am a Christian who does not judge them, even though there are times that I question my own beliefs and my stance on marriage equaility..
Marcia Hall - March 26th, 2014 at 12:19 AM
So many are missing the point here! The point is NOT justifying or defending gay marriage per se. Jen was pointing out that we tend to intensely focus on hot button issues such as this, as if they are the litmus test, and apparently use this test to justify spewing condemnation all over other brothers and sisters. In that case, we do so with a big freakin log in our own eye, dripping with pride (ooh, yucky). Gay marriage? Really, really non debatably sinful. Shacking up outside marriage? Well, bad, sure, but somehow not worth equal marginalization and public vitriol. Gluttony? Do we even address that in this obese, self congratulatory society of ours? When was the last time someone's standing was in question over an inability to moderate their appetites? Pride? Lying? Anyone getting their membership card pulled for those? How about calling someone "stupid" or "fool" or the equivalent? Didn't Jesus have pretty harsh words for those offenses, comparing them to murder? How did we miss those?Are some sins really less sinful than others?

It's not about compromise, it's about love. Jesus said they'll know us by our love, not by our ability to debate who has the most pristine doctrine. And I believe we are instructed that if we do not act in love, we are literally nothing.

Let's struggle with love and get that right first. Something tells me that along the way, we'll tend to get the other stuff closer to right without destroying our witness in the process.
J M Adams - March 26th, 2014 at 8:05 AM
Yes!!
Katie - March 26th, 2014 at 11:16 AM
you are right on sister!!! I could not of said it better!
Lori - March 26th, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Amen
Mary P. - March 26th, 2014 at 12:21 AM
If you practice what you preach, you should seek the forgiveness of Denny Burk. You picked a portion of his blog out of the context it was written and used it as a scapegoat to stick it to a group you deem too zealous for their position to suit your approach to handling differences. I'm quite certain you would not want your words to be treated this way nor does such treatment of his words support the gracious speech you claim to be advocating for in the community, especially among those with whom we have disagreement. I know he and his wife personally and he is the furtherest thing from "reactionary", "inciting" crucifixion & "whipping" people "into a frenzy" with his "absurd" "emotional jargon." (Goodness. My daughter's preteen friends would kill to communicate with such drama.) He is a thoughtful person who has committed his life to studying scripture and its careful, informed interpretation. He is a PhD, the author of several books and numerous articles for academic journals, and is considered an expert in articular infinitives in NT Greek. Now, while you might be tempted in your flippant way to say "whoop-dee-do", to equate his biblical interpretation to that of the average Jo blogging in her pajamas from her basement would be the equivalent of me proclaiming to know just as much about knee replacement surgery because I read an article on WebMD as the orthopedic surgeon who has performed hundreds of them herself. By all means, let everyone voice their opinion. But let's stop treating them all as equally informed.
Jordan C. - March 26th, 2014 at 12:22 AM
Dear Jen Hatmaker, with great remorse I write the following:

My wife, and many of her Christ-following female friends stay in tune with your work and writings. I had only heard positive things in what little I had heard about you, BUT, after reading your blog regarding the World Vision issue, I must say that I am embarrassed and saddened that you have a voice at all to Christian women in our country and abroad. Dumbfounded...is really the only word that comes to mind after reading your post multiple times. To be brutally honest with you, I don't want to waste my time commenting on your blog, but I feel the need to for some reason...and I think that reason is that you do have a strong voice, and I pray that the Lord speaks and challenges your heart on some key doctrinal issues, because as others have said in this comment section, you are on a very dangerous trajectory with your theology and personal beliefs. Drift is gradual, and the posture with which you are approaching this issue is very troubling.

You stated: "First of all, the Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been. Historically, Christian theology has always been contextually bound and often inconsistent with itself; an inconvenient truth we prefer to selectively explain."

This quote is blatant heresy and completely false. I understand that you are not trained in theology and you do not have a seminary degree...but if you claim to be an evangelical Christian, you can NOT mean what you just wrote. YES..."the Christian community" has reached the definitive conclusion regarding gay marriage. Jen...it is a sin...explicitly stated in the Bible. You do not need to know Greek or Hebrew to come to that conclusion. Where we are missing each other, is in how you and I define the term "Christian." From your post, I am assuming you use a very loose definition for the term...which is not biblical and extremely dangerous. Matthew 7:22 rings loud and clear in this setting...the road is narrow, we live in a country/culture, where millions of so called "Christ followers" are deluding themselves...There is truth...it can be known. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Simply because many "self-professing" Christians disagree on a topic (respectable leaders, academics or laymen) does NOT mean that the topic is up for debate, or that there is not a definitive truth claim available. That is exactly what Christ came to provide us through his life, burial and resurrection...truth...and that is found in the Bible. Also, just because Christianity has been defined culturally in the past, does not mean that is correct or righteous. God is the same yesterday, today and forever...we do not get to shape God into how we want Him to look and act. That is idolatry..you are creating your own version of God and convincing yourself that you worship and live for the "God of the Bible." Not true...you are an idolater when you do that. You profane the one true God, who is holy and requires the same, always.

You go on to say: "Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation."

Do you realize you are calling into question the inerrancy of the Bible, and saying that it is a subjective text, based on the culture and "man's" personal understanding of it's meaning? That shatters a core doctrine on which evangelical Christianity is founded upon. You do not get to give your own meaning to the Bible. The entire cannon of Scripture points to Jesus Christ, and his life, death and resurrection. God's grand narrative has been at work since before the foundation of the world, and you, or no one else is able to redefine and reinterpret the meaning of truth as presented in the Word.

I am going to stop there...your entire post was completely off the mark, and filled with statements and thoughts that have the potential to mislead many. There were a number of our great evangelical leaders who took solid stands in the past day on this issue (John Piper comes to mind), but your borderline heretical reply leaves my heart hurting for the way you approached this issue, knowing the voice you do have. I pray that you are challenged to press into the Scriptures and seek the truth that only the Gospel can provide.
Disappointed Reader - March 26th, 2014 at 8:36 AM
AMEN! Exactly my thoughts towards to this post. I was so disappointed to read this. Jen has shown her cards on what she thinks about the Bible and Evangelicalism. Is her husband not a Pastor of an Evangelical church? Shocked and disappointed. A reminder to all women to be thoughtful and discerning in who we choose to listen to in the Blog world.
Nancy - March 26th, 2014 at 9:15 AM
Thank you for saying this so eloquently and truthfully. In the end times there will be a great falling away and only a remnant will be left. We are experiencing the slow fade from the truth for our own silly beliefs and love of our sin
Kate - March 26th, 2014 at 9:54 AM
You sound very self-righteous. As most do in this comment section. Your statement "your entire post was completely off the mark, and filled with statements and thoughts that have the potential to mislead many," has me questioning what the problem is with someone who has their own thoughts and their own statements to make on their own blog. Is there a problem with someone having their own thoughts? Is there a problem with a woman explaining her point of view, although different from yours?

I am shocked you would use the word heresy in regards to this blog. It's not The Middle Ages. Your idea of strict interpretation of The Bible is narrow-minded and the basis of someone not fully complying with The Bible's Scriptures, thus reduced to a heretic, is what's off the mark. Galileo was deemed a heretic for his belief the Earth revolved around the sun. You are deeming Jen (and dare I say others like her), who see The Scriptures as interpretable and often contradictory, as heretics? How ignorant do we have to be to not question some of The Bible's meanings? The Bible has been translated many times over, and you don't think some meanings or ideas have been lost in translation?

I'm not going to be condescending and say I will pray for you, instead I'm going to say I have hope for you.
michelle - March 26th, 2014 at 10:40 AM
Thank you. My heart has been hurting after reading this as well. I appreciated your response. Thank you for pointing to scripture as the answer.
Chey - March 26th, 2014 at 11:23 AM
I have to agree here. The reason so many people miss the mark with the word of God is that they are going beyond truth and judging the word through experience, leaning on their own understanding and not the Holy Spirit who resides in true believers and leads us into truth. While I cannot judge those outside the church, that is definitely for God to do.. we are to judge one another in love and truth..even walking away from those calling themselves believers who practice "Such things"..therefore... I too had to walk away from Ms Hatmaker. Christ did not bring a spirit of Unity but division...that is the way it is. Making peace cannot be about compromise but about speaking in love and doing what's wise...yes.. I am a the righteousness of God only through Christ..and as such fail miserably in this flesh..but I am convicted and repentant because of it..with a love for Christ and His ways that goes beyond pleasing others at times. Thank yo so much for the way you wrote this rebuttal. It is in love and in truth and not ugly or with hatred. I think we forget that when Christ separates the sheep from the goats..it is not the world separated from christians but it is the church He weeds through. I pray that we remember when touting grace that if we won't stand for what Christ stood for which is righteousness even within our own hearts we will fall for anything. BTW God knows the children are hungry..and many of those countries are that way because their ancestors did not obey God nor fear Him.. the only way to fix this issue is to share God's true love with them..not through a watered down gospel and ministry but with Gods spiritual truth and His word through the power of the Holy Spirit..that's what these children truly need so they can spend eternity with Jesus ...
Jenny - March 26th, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Me too. Thankful for your clarification. I am praying also that Jen will realize her influence and her sincere error in this matter!
Hector - March 26th, 2014 at 11:45 AM
I once heard a great man of God say: "I would rather stand alone and in agreement with God's inerrant Truth than with millions in error. We must love the sinner but we must also judge the sin.
carol - March 26th, 2014 at 8:17 PM
I am very saddened also. Jesup Christ the same yesterday today and forever. We are all to be good stewards of our monies. I would urge all to pray before sending to these worldly groups. Such a shame.
cindy - March 26th, 2014 at 12:26 AM
Just my thoughts... if a pastor is into pornography and the church knows it but does nothing to help him, are they not condoning his sin?
If an elder is having an affair and the church knows about it but does not approach him, are they not condoning his sin?
If one of the parishoners has a gambling or drinking problem and the elders of his church know about it yet do nothing to help this lost sheep, aren't they condoning his sin?
If WV hires a gay man who openly enjoys his homosexual status and WV knows of this, are they not condoning his homosexuality?
All are sinners. All are wrong, including those who stand by and do nothing.
All WV employees are sinners but hopefully they are striving to be better Christians. But if a gay person is practicing their homosexual lifestyle, they are not trying to become more Christ-like! They may be wonderful, warm hearted, caring people but they are openly practicing their sin, and WV is condoning it.
WV should try to help these sinners, like they should try to help all sinners, but by turning a blind eye to the actual sin that they are aware of, are they themselves not condoning the sin and maybe even putting themselves in jeopardy of committing a sin?
I'm no theologian, but Christ did say 'go, and sin no more', not 'you're a nice person so its ok'!

Kate - March 26th, 2014 at 2:50 AM
Exactly my thoughts. I would also be against people demanding that I am okay with any (insert particular sin) or having parades to demand that divorce not be looked down on, adultery is okay!! Let us celebrate gossip as a good thing or sex with children isn't wired just sexual preference!! (Sarcasm!)
This blog entry is anything BUT peacemaking, just more divisiveness on the issue. How sad. I really hope women are not just blindly following Jen Hatmaker all the while nodding their heads as though what she says is law for Christians. Love one another, yes!! Cause more division between Christians and isolating those who are trying to hold onto Gods values in a world that is falling apart around us? That is what this is. So, good job.
andy - March 26th, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Kate, part of being a Christian means you believe the Bible is infallible and inerrant. The Bible is explicitly clear in regards to homosexuality being a sin. I believe to say that since the Bible has been "translated" so many times that we must "question some of the Bibles meanings or ideas" is to not trust the Bible as Infallible or inerrant. You can pickup any translation and open a strong concordance or go online and see what the original text says. The original Greek and Hebrew manuscript havent changed. The act of homosexuality is a sin, fighting a battle to remain sexually pure and obedient to the Lord is not. It the same as me being married and fighting not to look at other woman or porn, since that would be fornication and adultery. We know that those are sin and wrong because the Bible says it is. It also says homosexuality is a sin. God's word has not changed, and c as nt be interspersed by what "culture" demands. Culture will change, God will not.
Jess - March 26th, 2014 at 6:44 AM
Exactly. Everyone sins...that is irrefutable. Everyone has the choice to repent (sometimes this happens daily!). Homosexuality is choosing to live in sin...therein lies the difference.
Joshua Waltz - March 26th, 2014 at 12:28 AM
Jen,

I sincerely appreciate your plea for reflection, humility, and peacemaking; but I'm concerned that your thesis might be based on a false analogy. Yes, Christians have long disagreed about what the Bible teaches on various secondary matters of theology. But can you present any evidence from church history that homosexuality was ever one of these divisive issues, that any portion of the church approved of homosexuality, or that Christians were ever divided about how to interpret the Bible on this issue?

Granted, there have been some in the history of the church who defended slavery, polygamy, oppression of women, and other bizarre and sinful aberrations. But the church was never unanimous in defending these sins and cultural evils, nor did the entire church ever need to change its theology wholesale. The Catholic Church, for example, strenuously condemned slavery all throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, when England and America were neck-deep in the slave trade. So for slavery to be an analogy to homosexuality in how the church%u2019s attitudes and interpretations of the Bible are changing, we need to be able to find an analogue to the Catholic Church somewhere in the church%u2019s past %u2013 a Christian voice that vehemently defended same-sex relationships in the same way the Catholic Church vehemently defended freedom for all peoples and races.

To my knowledge, there is none. Homosexuality never was just another one of those issues where Christians have to agree to disagree.

If I'm correct that the church has long been unified in its stance against homosexuality, your thesis fails and your article is misleading a whole lot of people. I would earnestly request you to address this point. Thanks for considering!
stephen matlock - March 26th, 2014 at 12:29 AM
This is just a wonderful blog post.

I get it that Christians want to know doctrine down to the precise jot and tittle. I am one of those Christians. Sharing the gospel has been nearly 100% words, carefully constructed and presented, culturally relevant, three points and a conclusion.

I also know that Christians are not as involved in showing the Gospel by the acts we perform. That is the dang hardest part--doing the Gospel.

In my eyes, World Vision is doing the Gospel using the people who want to help out. The standard for working at World Vision seems to be "I want to help kids and in doing so work out the gospel in my own life."

That's good enough for me. Kids are getting help, Christians are following Christ to the best of their will and knowledge.
Janie - March 26th, 2014 at 12:35 AM
There is not one Scripture used to defend this stance, because there are none that you can use to do so. Whether or not we "agree" with it does not change the fact that the Bible calls it sin. It is not necessary to abandon clear Biblibal teaching to serve the poor. It grieves me that it is lumped together with the way we were baptized, as if it's sImply a matter of personal taste. I am saddened by this.
Heather Holter - March 26th, 2014 at 12:39 AM
I am christian, Catholic, and regardless of what I believe, I feel it is ridiculous to stop sponsoring innocent children because the company employs gays. What difference does it make? It changes nothing. It is a good and noble cause no matter who they employ. It's not like they are selling homosexuality.
Name - March 26th, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Oh my goodness thank you Heather for posting this......
Casey - March 26th, 2014 at 12:46 AM
Hey Jen, when you read these comments and you hear people calling into question your absolute devotion to the gospel, your fanatical love for Jesus, or your heart, just remember Satan only messes with you when you are making a difference. Your words matter, preaching LOVE first will change hearts to Jesus. If we love sinners with reckless abandon because we know we are saved from our own sin only by His love, lives will be changed.

This was not a post about condoning sin or watering down the gospel. It was a post about how we talk about sin and grace when we (the church) disagree, how we handle sin when drawing our line in the sand could mean harming innocent children, and a call to prayer. If we would spend as much time petitioning God to lead our hearts in His way as we spend tweeting, and commenting and throwing stones at one another we could each rest in the knowledge that His spirit is strong enough to lead each of His children in the way he would have them react.


Ashley - March 26th, 2014 at 11:37 AM
AMEN, CASEY!!! Standing with you!!
Dave - March 26th, 2014 at 11:42 AM
In response to Jesus' call on my life, and in trying to be more like him, I would rather err by offering abundant grace rather than abundant judgement. This seems to be guiding WV. Or will their HR department begin to screen job applicants with not only criminal background checks but Biblical background checks beginning with Leviticus and moving to the Sermon on the Mount? Remember, it's about the children.
greg - March 26th, 2014 at 12:51 AM
------------ Question: To those of you who believe homosexuality in the context of gay marriage is un-Christian - have you ever gotten to know a gay couple who are committed Christians? If not, I suggest you do so and integrate that learning into your theological presuppositions.
Jody - March 26th, 2014 at 12:58 AM
Thank you for such a thoughtful post. Regardless of where one "falls" on this issue, it's easy to become judgemental. As I recall, Jesus did not ask us to be judge, but to love. Thanks for the reminder.
Devin Greg - March 26th, 2014 at 1:06 AM
Thank you for the balanced article.
RS - March 26th, 2014 at 1:10 AM
Sadly everytime I read one of your articles, there is always something that doesn't sit right in my spirit. The church being full of people who aren't perfect will make mistakes and be inconsistent and will change, but our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Bible is God-breathed....His Word is Truth and there is no lie found in the Truth. As believers, we are to stand for righteousness - not water down the Word with political correctness. God is clear on this issue - Old AND New Testament. When we as believers say it's okay (and this pertains to any issue/sin), we call God a liar and say His Word is not true. None of us should add to or take away from the Word. We are to teach the Truth in love, not tickle their ears with words they want to hear. Teach the Truth.
April - March 26th, 2014 at 10:18 AM
"Sadly everytime I read one of your articles there is always something that doesn't sit right in my spirit."
I have wondered if I was alone in this. Sentences that bring many cyber high fives and 'Amens' leave me scratching my head, and seem to me overly flippant and....irreverent and at times blasphemous. Before someone is too quick to judge me as a prudish church lady, let me say my friends-Christian and not, even my dear friend I spent two hours with yesterday who also happens to be homosexual- would NEVER describe me as such. I worry for the masses who look to Jen Hatmaker as the standard Christian woman. No doubt she loves Jesus, and needs Him as much as we ALL do. We just need to look to God and His Word through the lens of the Holy Spirit that has been blood-bought for us in Christ to tell us what to believe and how to live out Christ in this world. Not Jen. She is still learning and growing right along with us.
Laura Jennings - March 26th, 2014 at 12:20 PM
The Bible is God's story. It is the True story from Genesis to Revelation of God's character. It is a story about who He is and what lengths He has always gone to and will always go to in order to pursue our hearts and redeem us. Every time we make the Bible a story about us and who we are, we miss the bigger story.
alicia - March 26th, 2014 at 1:36 AM
I am very sad to hear this policy change and I will be praying about continuing my support. The child I support has nothing to say about your policies, but I cannot support your decision. This puts me in a huge dilemma. I will also discuss with my husband before deciding. I believe Romans is very clear on this issue. We love people regardless of where they are at in their walk; but as a Christian ministry we would expect to see good examples of how to walk out the Christian life. Anyone who is walking in known sin should not be put into ministry; I believe they should at least meet the qualifications for deacons. This is not a doubtful situation, scripture is very clear. I didn't judge, God has already said it is wrong, so as uncomfortable as it might make me, I am responsible to agree with Him. I say this in absolute love and will pray for you to repent and be in agreement with Him.
Toni B - March 26th, 2014 at 11:46 AM
So sorry you and many others feel this way. I wonder what would happen if that gay doctor you needed refused to perform emergency surgery on your child or that gay "teacher of the year" refused to teach your child or that gay soldier refused to go to war for you or that gay fireman refused to pull you out of a burning house. Good works are good works and human compassion shouldn't be clothed in dogma or carry a stamp of approval. So if you pull your support from a child in need, please go that child point your finger at a gay person and tell that child that because a gay person works here I will not feed you. If you can live with that decision then may God have the mercy you show on your soul.
Greg - March 26th, 2014 at 1:42 AM
Thank you for the good piece, Jen. I've feel really attached and conflicted as I have worked in ministry for 20 years and know friends who work at the World Vision US office. These folks are some of the most committed Christians I know (some very conservative and some not so). The concern I have is that all of sudden so many people think (or think is going to happen) that WV is actively hiring gay Christians (married or not) and that this "problem" or other "moral" issues don't exist at other Christian ministries. Coming from someone who has worked in hiring for a long time, I suggest folks call up a place like World Vision and say Compassion. I'm not picking on Compassion...just using an example. Ask them, point blank, if they have a statement that asks "Are you a Christian (do they require affirmation of Statement of Faith). The answer at both: yes. Now, ask if they ask, point blank, if the person is a homosexual. I bet you WV doesn't, and Compassion and many others do not as well. Arguably, both have a small number of gay Christians working at the organizations. I think WV simply brought the issue to light before it becomes a bigger issue at many Christian para-church groups. When it comes to religious liberty, WV has fought more than many on the rights of hiring Christians. To suggest now that they have completely gone sour, and that some are risking hurting children, is not right. In the end, do I agree that they had to take on the issue now and that way? No. Do I think WV as well as many more Christian-based parachurch groups will face this among their employee base? You bet -- as the tide in American culture changes. Not saying I agree. Just a perspective.
Sarah - March 26th, 2014 at 1:47 AM
I think the disagreement on this issue among Christians centers more upon one's view on the Bible than anything. While some biblical issues provide room for varying interpretations (end times, young earth vs. old earth, baptism, etc), other issues are spelled out pretty clearly and don't leave much interpretive wiggle room, if you will. The following is an excerpt from a post on this issue by Russell Moore at erlc.com. He says that this is such a crucial issue that what is really at stake here is the gospel of Jesus. I found this excerpt helpful.

"But here%u2019s what%u2019s at stake. This isn%u2019t, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth. At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish. The devil works in two ways: by deception, %u201CYou shall not surely die%u201D (Gen. 3:4); and by accusation, %u201Cthe accuser of the brethren%u201D (Rev 12:10). For some people, the devil wishes to assure that there%u2019s no need for repentance, for others that there%u2019s no hope for mercy. Some people are deceived into thinking they are too good for the gospel while others are accused into thinking they%u2019re too bad for the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ tears down both strategies. The gospel clearly calls us to repentance, even when that repentance is hated by the outside world. And the gospel clearly calls us to mercy by faith in the blood of Christ, even when we can%u2019t believe that we%u2019d ever be received. We empower darkness when we refuse to warn of judgment. We empower the darkness when we refuse to offer forgiveness through the blood of the cross. - See more at: http://erlc.com/article/on-world-vision-and-the-gospel#sthash.30CfWrLU.dpuf

The Scriptures don't give any room for various interpretations on the issues of homosexuality. In no place is it a gray issue. The Bible is clear that same-sex attraction is broken attraction as a result of the fall, and homosexual activity is sinful (just as lying, stealing, slandering, fits of rage, adultery, etc are sinful...there are no varying interpretations on these sins). From all of these, we must repent! For all of these, we need forgiveness and mercy and grace.

I appreciate your exhortation for Christians to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. The Bible is clear that our words have power to do great good or great harm, and we should use them wisely. All too often, we do speak out rashly, rather than wisely, with our beliefs and slash others out of a desire to be heard and to be right. This is sinful and must be repented of. However, it must be noted that true love for another always speaks TRUTH from the motive of love. To not call a professing believer (who is walking in what the Bible teaches to be sin) to repentance is to be cruel and unloving. To be politically correct and morally tolerant for the sake of "peace" is to hold back from others the offer of true peace in being reconciled to God through Christ by repenting of sin and trusting Jesus in faith. Jesus came to bring peace by offering reconciliation to the Father and restoration from brokenness. The peace that Jesus brought didn't necessarily look peaceful because it brought division...division even between families (Luke 12:51-52). As believers, we have got to love others and desire peace for them enough to speak the truth, even when that truth leads to division and when the world hates us for it. God will honor our obedience to Him.
Kristina Logsdon - March 26th, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Exactly! Well said. Thank you.
Jessica - March 26th, 2014 at 12:10 PM
Such a good comment Sarah. Full of truth in love. Wish there was more of this.
leslie. - March 26th, 2014 at 12:14 PM
yes. thank you for this.
Alissa - March 26th, 2014 at 2:26 AM
There are SO MANY WORDS! Did anyone actually READ what you said?

It makes leaving a comment feel discouraging, and yet here I am.

Thank you Jen. You make me believe again.
Kim - March 26th, 2014 at 2:51 AM
I'm glad this was the first I'd read beyond statuses and Tweets. And I appreciate that you did not call any of the possible responses unacceptable. Thanks for helping me wrestle through my own response to an issue that is dividing the Church, my family whom I love dearly. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching two people I love and am invested in go through an ugly divorce refusing to remember any love or bond they'd had. I want to scream sometimes that they are making the rest of us miserable and working to pit us against each other.
Name - March 26th, 2014 at 3:03 AM
Are there no other suitable person to employ in stead of picking up from gay person? My request to faithful sponsors - why should the child suffer due to this unacceptable decision? After all, the new person employed will not remain forever. It will be a different story if WV continues to employ such people.
Robin Ford - March 26th, 2014 at 3:12 AM
I completely and totally disagree with Richard Sterns on his decision. You can't take out God's truth from the bible. What is at stake here is much more than differences of theological interpretation like infant baptism and predestination. God is very clear on homosexuality in scripture. It is clear to me that Sterns values his "social gospel" more than what God says about the matter. Also, just because a church denomination condones something doesn't make it truth.
Jessica - March 26th, 2014 at 12:15 PM
I to, do not understand how Jen - or anyone i.e.: Sterns - can place things like infant Baptism or end times along the same lines as homosexuality. The church has not been debating homosexuality for centuries. This is a new phenomenon really born out of a decline in overall morality and a significant increase in "free sexuality" and the sexual revolution.

I mean- you be ok with it if you so choose (what do your church elders say about this?) - but its not a marginal doctrinal issue- and to paint it as such is dishonest
Dawn - March 26th, 2014 at 3:22 AM
As a Christian woman who has sinned repeatedly in different areas, and continues to sin as part of our human nature, I am extremely offended by many of the comments I have seen here. Jesus told us to "Love one another," not, "Love those who are free of sin, and look, and act, and think, and believe like you."
The best way for us to show Christ's love is to love everyone. You may not appreciate WV's new policy, and no one says you have to. This, however, is not the place to throw around insults. Have compassion in your hearts. People matter. These children who are being helped with your sponsorships are the ones who will suffer, while we lurk on here & complain about policy.
People matter. Imagine a young LGBT individual who may be on the fence about their beliefs, was reading this article and the comments. Would your comments make them turn away? Or would it make them see your love for people, and possibly open a door to a relationship?
I happen to have several very close family members who are gay, and if these are the kind of comments they encounter on a regular basis, I can see why they would turn away from the church. The people of the church are supposed to represent the heart of Jesus, but so many are caught up in pointing out sins, that they forget to let the love of Christ shine through. I for one, will let my light shine. If I have a problem with someone, I will speak to them quietly, as we are told to do. %u201CMoreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. (Matthew 18:15 NKJV)
Proverbs 14:21 says "he who despises his neighbor sins: But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he."
We can't convince a non-believer to believe by pointing out their sins to them. We have to show them how the love Christ has, and the sacrifice He made for us, have made our lives better.
People matter. And the way we show them they matter, is what will make a difference in the end.
Name - March 26th, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Amen!

Lisa - March 26th, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Well spoken....thank you!
Cassie - March 26th, 2014 at 3:35 AM
How much do you send to Planned Parenthood every month? Get your attention?

We have many denominations in this country that have abandoned Biblical truth for cultural acceptance. Do you know many of the denominations you listed who support gay-marriage also recognize uphold a woman to abort their child? One day, when I read your blog will I find a post that says, %u201CLadies the bible was written over a thousand years ago, safe-legal abortion did not exist; it does now. If you are exhausted and overwhelmed from the tow children you already have, go out and get an abortion. What did the holy men, who were inspired by God know when they wrote the bible over a thousand years ago???%u201D

Not. A. Chance. This comment is also not intended to illustrate that I would spit in the face of a homosexual person%u2014I wouldn%u2019t I could write a list of people who I know that are now living openly gay lives%u2014it%u2019s not okay, I don%u2019t approve-- but when I see them, I can promise you I still love them. The same goes for a woman who has had an abortion. I won%u2019t get into all the ways that supporting and caring for women post abortion is important to me. But, just know I%u2019m not some crazy right-wing nut job. I am, however, a Christian.

At my church, I am leading high school and middle school girls in bible study. This is a calling that I take very seriously. There%u2019s only about fifteen girls who come, but I feel so burden to teach them biblical truth, ground them in scripture, so they will be able to navigate and battle the world, the flesh and the devil. Ms. Hatmaker, you have hundreds of women who read your blogs and listen to you speak. It saddens me that you are using this platform for anything other than biblical truth.

Do you remember when Jesus saw the woman at the well? Do you know what he did. He ddin%u2019t go up to her and say, %u201CHey lady, I know that you%u2019ve had all these husbands and the man at your house now isn%u2019t your husband. I%u2019m glad that culturally this is okay, keep it up. I love you, that is all.%u201D I went up to her, confronted her with her sin, loved her and she was so excited to believe and be forgiven she actually left her water pot.

Instead of using your platform to tell us:%u201D My point is this: What seems crystal clear to you is not necessarily to another believer. You don%u2019t have to like that, but it doesn%u2019t make it any less true.%u201D You need to stick to what is actually true: The Gospel. You should, every day, in your blog point your readers to The Gospel. What is the gospel? Can you actually yourself articulate a clear, concise response? Well, I%u2019ll tell you: It is about what Christ has done for you: His life (live a perfect, sinless life, moment by moment for you and me) it is death (burying our sins) and his resurrection (justifying us, freely and forever). What should be crystal clear to you and every believer is the gospel and moving away from that is when we get blog posts like yours.

If you look to The Gospel, the answer is clear. Jesus Christ lived for me, died for me, rose again for me. Who am I to look at His word as anything other than truth? That is made up of both law (that shows us our sin and why we desperately NEED a savior and tells us homosexuality and abortion are not okay) and gospel (which shows us our savior and that even if we engage in the grossest of sin; He still loves us%u2014like the woman at the well and calls us His) Wow.

Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, rosariabutterfield.com, is a prime example of how The Gospel saved her. The conundrum we face about WV is that lives are at stake, just like abortion. Your post shouldn%u2019t be a list of heavy legal statements that basically read as if you are saying, %u201CIF you are a good Christian, this will be your response.%u201D Instead it should say, %u201CIn light of The Gospel, and ALL that Christ has done for us, here%u2019s what I%u2019ll do!%u201D

What is the Gospel, Jen Hatmaker? I pray you find it, soak it up and let it pour through your blog posts.

Diana - March 26th, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Jen has a very firm grip on what the Gospel IS, Cassie, and we have seen it "pour through" her blog posts time and again. I wonder about your handle on it though.
Amy smith - March 26th, 2014 at 11:11 AM
I would only point out that while planned parenthood is in the business of killing babies, world vision is in the business of feeding, clothing and educating them. The comparison seems unfair. The bible does tell us that true religion is this, to care for orphans and widows... I certainly understand your response towards homosexuality, and I actually agree that the bible teaches it is sinful to practice it, it just concerns me that the children seem to be paying the highest cost.
Jessica - March 26th, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Just to clarify- feeding and caring for the poor and orphans is a response to the Gospel- not the gospel in and of itself. Its important to remember that- if we lose sight of the truth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ -and do not share life changing repentance with those in need- we can feed and clothe them for 50 years- only to have them die and go to hell. I mean thats the truth. Service without preaching the Word of the Lord- to believe in Jesus- lay DOWN your sins and follow him - trusting that in HIM you can do all things- and He has covered all past and future transgressions. THAT is the true charity that needs to be spread.

Poverty or social gospel doesn't save people. Never has and never will.
Erin Kennedy - March 26th, 2014 at 4:19 AM
There is a wonderful organization working hard to create safe spaces to have dialogue around gender, sexuality, and faith. They do not have a desire to change your theology or you political view on these issues, but are working hard to open up dialogue between the LGBT and faith communities through art. It's worth checking out their website...

www.onlevelground.org
NW - March 26th, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Thank you Erin, I'll check this out.
David S - March 26th, 2014 at 4:42 AM
As a man who is Christian and married to a man, I respect World Vision's recognition of the validity of both my faith and my person. To those who are offended by my very existence - so much so that you can no longer associate yourself with an organization that would include my under the mantle of Christian - your decision to withdraw support is an act of disdain. It is hurtful and uncharitable (in more ways than one). There is no way to look at the act of shunning an inclusive organization as anything but an act born of belief-based animus toward people who are gay. Withdrawing your support is in no way aligned with the example of Christ. I will not judge anyone's hearts, but you will get no moral cover from me for this immoral act.
Erin Black - March 26th, 2014 at 5:33 AM
Thank you for your comment, David S! And I'm going to apologize in advance if any foolish people try to call you out for being gay.
Jared - March 26th, 2014 at 1:26 PM
David,
I am not offended by you. Nor is God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is so not offended by you that he died for you, for me. Why, because I sin. Because you sin. But you know this. I know this.

Your homosexuality is defined as wrong biblically.( I am not near my awesome look up every verse containing (x) word Ipad app so I will not be able to give you all the references, sorry.) My pride, arrogance, lust, anger, impatience and so on and so forth, to include my pre-marriage sexual sin are all defined as wrong and sin biblically as well. This is where WE, because you and I are Christians, have made a serious mistake, as well as the church. Some have deemed my pride less of a sin than your sexual sin. Or my sexual sin less sin than your sexual sin. Each of these sins sent Jesus to the cross. Each of these sins took him from being with the Father to being in human skin. It's a remarkable thing! It's beautiful!

The problem though, once you and I got "saved" or rather began our journey, We were to begin to start becoming more like Jesus. That means my pride needed and needs to become less. I needed to stop sleeping with women or lusting after women that I wasn't married to. Because Jesus began to live in me sin should have no longer been as enticing. I can say that it no longer is. If sin remains enticing and we choose not to stop sinning how can we continue to be more like Christ, in any capacity? I don't believe we can.

This is where I have a problem. If anyone condones any sin there is a problem. If anyone or any organization basically says x sin is okay, that is a problem. Sin is not okay. Sin is destructive and damaging. God did reveal sin to us because they are super fun things to do and he doesn't want us to do them, it's because they hurt us or they hurt others. Sigh. If only we, Christians, would do a better job of saying this. Sex before marriage was enjoyable. I did enjoy it "for a time." But, when those relationships were over I lost a piece of me. It hurt. And truthfully, I still remember those girls. I don't want to. I am married now, I only want to know and remember my wife. God was right, He still is. Don't have sex before marriage. There is so much more to substantiate this point but none-the-less. We can line out others sins just the same.

Another point that noone seems to talk about in regards to homosexuality with men is how much it literally hurts your body. I know this because I know men in this situation. The consequences of sex outside of God's created order is damaging, to both men and women. I know men who have had serious emergencies due to this. If natural relations with my spouse, my wife, cause her real and lasting pain I would no longer have sex with her. I love her. My need for sex is less important than her body, it's health, and comfort.

David, you and I could be friends. We should be if we both love Christ. Despite the post-modern, moral-relativism that is pervading the Church, there is a right way. God is HOLY and we are not. We cannot simply choose what is right for us if it does not agree with the Bible. That means that at the end of our days both you and I will find out that we did not do things the way we ought to. Both of us will learn where and how we sinned or did not, misunderstood the Word, and whether or not we were as diligent with the spread of the Gospel as we should have been. I know right now that there are areas of my life that do not line up scripturally. I pray daily for God to show me where I need to change. I must change, I want to be more like Christ. Homosexuality does not line up with scripture, nor does my pride.

What is marvelous is that is exactly why Jesus died for us. His love is perfect. He is perfect love. That doesn't mean either one of us can continue in our sin. We must pursue righteousness.

Stay motivated.


Jennings - March 26th, 2014 at 1:27 PM
For most of us, it's not your being gay. Sin is sin is sin. None is worse than the other to God, and we all live with sin. It's the marriage issue and the co-opting of that word, which does mean something, and is a contract that millions of people live under daily with certain understanding and expectation. I don't disdain you, think you less than anyone else, or even care if you're gay. Quite frankly, that's between you and God. I do care when the institution of marriage is changed without the consent of most of the people who reside within it.
Stanley - March 26th, 2014 at 5:16 AM
Both sides are unwavering. This is and will continue to cause more division than unity. Please read the following %u201Cpress release%u201D I created. This is the message I wish World Vision would say (I think they%u2019ve made a huge mistake). I think if they said something like this it could really please both sides of the issue: http://worldvisionpolicychange.wordpress.com If you like it, please share!
Renee - March 26th, 2014 at 5:20 AM
Jen Hatmaker you get points for being so very brave! Thanks for walking into this storm and giving us all something to think and pray about.
Stacey - March 26th, 2014 at 12:18 PM
Amen!
Steven Gant - March 26th, 2014 at 5:26 AM
THE BOTTOM LINE
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT
[9] Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, [10] or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. [11] Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
IF WE ALLOW ONE TYPE OF SIN THEN WE SHOULD ALLOW ALL SAD
Joni - March 26th, 2014 at 8:36 AM
I don't understand how there is any confusion about this scripture. Marriage, ordained by God, between a man and a woman includes procreation. Gay "marriage" does not biologically have the ability to procreate. I cannot understand how WV can say it is ok. Where do we blur the lines of God's word on what He considers sacred and compared Christ and His bride?
Louise - March 26th, 2014 at 12:41 PM
Then does that mean we cannot allow infertile women to marry, because they cannot procreate? I don't understand why the ability to procreate is such a big deal anymore... the planet is PLENTY populated by now...
Lynn - March 26th, 2014 at 12:42 PM
I am a heterosexual woman who cannot procreate. Does that mean marriage is out for me?
Brett - March 26th, 2014 at 1:44 PM
I am sorry for whatever condition you find yourself in that does not allow you to bear children. My wife and I are expecting our first with great excitement. Marriage is not only about procreation it is about God's design. Also, God is the God of the womb, Scripture says that He opens and closes it. There have been plenty of miracle children that should have never been born. However, concerning marriage, the last time I checked men had no womb to open and women are not naturally capable of spreading seed.

Lisa Y - March 26th, 2014 at 12:31 PM
The Bible is also clear that gluttony is a sin. Yet I'm sure we'd be hard-pressed to find a ministry organization that does not hire anyone who is overweight.
autumn - March 31st, 2014 at 6:54 AM
I have heard this gluttony bit before and I just dont think you can compare. Sexual sin is weighted differently. Yes, all sin greives the Lord, but there is a distinction made regarding sexual sin. As for the women who cannot procreate, I would say that men and women were made to be together. In the garden when God saw that man was alone and neded a helper, He gave Adam a woman, not another man. You may have issues procreating, but that is a different issue than man w/man or woman w/woman. We all still need to love people.
Erin Black - March 26th, 2014 at 5:36 AM
I've never understood what the big deal was about same sex marriage. If you don't like same sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. To deny someone else that right is just silly. But anyway, I can't imagine that World Vision will be any less affective because there are some gay people on the payroll. "Oh no, the accountant is a man married to a man! Everyone knows that means they're ruined!" That's just not how it works.
Mary bing - March 26th, 2014 at 5:39 AM
Amen sister!you are a very brave person to speak up!
Lee - March 26th, 2014 at 5:47 AM
Thank you, Jen. This was eloquently put. Why people are obsessed with this one 'sin' is beyond me.
Krissy - March 26th, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Amen, Lee. And yes, thank you, Jenn. The Christian community is so obsessed with this one sin that all perspective has been lost. The bottom line, and the greatest commandment, is to love. And this is not a trite sunshine and rainbows statement. To truly love is to get in the weeds with people, roll up our sleeves, take off our blinders, and focus intently on the hearts around us. Condemnation and judgement are not ours. If we do not exhibit love to the homosexual community, how on earth are they ever going to want to know Christ?! Let them know the love of Christ and trust that God will work in their lives. I dare us to drop the hot potato. We are to be heart gatherers, let's start gathering and stop dividing.
Amy B. - March 26th, 2014 at 1:38 PM
I agree with you both about loving those around us and doing so in a way to show them who Christ really is. However, and you knew it was coming, we (Christians) have gotten to a point where we paint God as a God of love, but not a God of standards and judgement. We do no one, including ourselves, any favors by watering down Jesus' message to the world. That message is and has always been that we cannot uphold God's standards without Christ and if we compromise at just one point of His standards, we are guilty of breaking it all. This includes ALL sin: such as lying, stealing, martial unfaithfulness, and yes, homosexuality. It is called out in specific in Romans as well as other books of the Bible. This said, we are not called to condemn, but to tell the world of God's love AND His standards and to love them no matter what their sins against God are. And then, let the Holy Spirit do His work. Jesus loved people PERFECTLY because He showed His love while he showed them their sin. All we can do as the hands and feet of Christ is show people Christ, love them as best we humans are able (with Chirst's help) and let God do the reaping! But, we cannot compromise our standards! I do not claim to know what this looks like for all situations or know God's perfect will, but I do know when the Holy Spirit is telling me something it not right and this situation with World Vision insights these prickly feelings in me!
Dave - March 26th, 2014 at 1:20 PM
I am not obsessed with this one sin. As a Christian I am called to repent of sin, not condon sin. Any sin. If World Vision said they were going to employ admitted practicing pedafiles then I think you would be outraged because you would see that sin as unacceptable. What you have stated shows that you think homosexual behavior is acceptable. The Bible which is the Word of God is extremely clear that it is not acceptable.
John - March 26th, 2014 at 5:58 AM
%u2018Peace, peace,%u2019 when there is no peace.
Lori - March 26th, 2014 at 6:01 AM
I wonder how many people died of starvation, water-born disease, malaria, AIDs, etc. while we take a stand for God? Satan is the only winner.
Rod - March 26th, 2014 at 11:55 AM
You are missing the point completely and are just making an emotional response. We can take care of the oppressed, the needy, the orphaned, the starving and still uphold the undeniable truth of scripture. Satan wins when we disobey God and sin.
stacy - March 26th, 2014 at 1:06 PM
Honestly, why cannot believers get that this is about undermining the very FOUNDATION God set forth. Yes. We must obey. Love is obedience. Satan is seething and jealous and he will use anything, especially confused Christians and children to win.
God is huge and will honor organizations that honor Him. The love resources WILL land where He deems for for them to land. Our Savior is disgusted by lukewarm devotion.
Coreect Rod.
Greg Williams - March 26th, 2014 at 1:19 PM
Show me the verse that satan still has a winning chance at all? He was defeated at the cross. We give the devil, and sin, too much credit.
D booth - March 26th, 2014 at 6:18 AM
Thank you for your gracious words of unity. May we all continue to call upon Our Holy God to be peacemakers.
Jim Clark - March 26th, 2014 at 6:34 AM
In the beginning, God created a man and a woman. One man - one woman. To me, it is very simple to understand.
Maureen - March 26th, 2014 at 6:52 AM
The world needs more of you.
Brandi - March 26th, 2014 at 7:02 AM
This seems like a good, reasonable, sensible article. That was certainly my first impression even though she said things I didn't quite agree with. And I certainly agree with her conclusions about the responses to this announcement. However, I do not agree that there is no clear right and wrong in the Bible. I think we understand better today than we did 500 years ago about the love that God wants us to share with Him and with others. But loving someone means not letting them fall into a lifestyle of sin. And, no matter how many ways people manipulate the text of the Bible to try to support their stance on homosexuality, it is nothing more than a worldly desire and has nothing to do with the written Word of God or His intention for us. I find no ambiguity on this matter whatsoever. Just because someone can take a few words out of the Bible to support their sin (such as what happened with slavery), doesn't mean that there is no truth in God's book. It simply means there is sin in our heart and how we choose to manipulate His words to suit our own interests.
Mallory - March 26th, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Well said!
Candice - March 26th, 2014 at 1:25 PM
She did not say there was no clear right and wrong in the Bible. She said there is no one consensus on the issue among theologians. Very different. She also was making the point that we all have sin issues that we feel strongly about and have taken the time to research and we feel the need to shoot off our mouths when someone does not agree with us about those issues.

I think she's just asking for patience and grace instead of condemnation with people who do not have the same convictions as you.
Mary - March 26th, 2014 at 1:29 PM
Yes, well said!
Bubba Rainwater - March 26th, 2014 at 7:08 AM
There is something about Numbers 25 that tells me that God is just pleading for men and women to stand up against the compromise of the "peacemakers" . . . the ones who excuse compromise and justify rationalization. Phinehas WAS a "peacemaker" . . . "he turned back My (God's) wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal."
Amy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:13 AM
Thank you for sharing this! Sometimes I struggle with my faith; not because I doubt Jesus, but because I struggle with identifying myself with the church. "All men will know you are my disciples if you love on another", Jesus told us, and boy! Have we ever mucked that up! I have personal convictions on homosexuality, but what I know to be true is this: Jesus loves you. Whether you're gay or straight, black or white, man or woman, silly or serious, smart or not, whole or broken; it doesn't matter. Jesus said that the whole Bible boils down to one thing: loving God and loving people. I feel that's my responsibility in this debate. Love God, love people. All else is secondary.
Beth - March 26th, 2014 at 9:04 PM
Amen, sister.
Val - March 27th, 2014 at 7:13 AM
This is my feeling, too.

Matthew 22:36-40
New International Version (NIV)
36 %u201CTeacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?%u201D

37 Jesus replied: %u201C%u2018Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.%u2019[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: %u2018Love your neighbor as yourself.%u2019[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.%u201D
Ty - March 26th, 2014 at 7:15 AM
Jesus makes it clear that helping the needs of others is paramount, so I don't think He would want someone to stop supporting a child because of this. I am reminded of the discussion Jesus had re: whether or not it was ok to heal on the sabbath in Matthew.
However, I am very troubled by the "interpretation" issues re: homosexuality. I know that those who feel it is not a sin support their argument with the thought that the Bible we have was misinterpreted. I'm sorry but my God is powerful enough to make sure that His word remains through hundreds of years and across cultures. If He isn't, then what's the point? Secondly, then if "homosexuality" was interpreted incorrectly what else has been jacked up in our current Bible? Do we need to reevaluate what it means to slander, murder, or be prideful? I find it very convenient that the sin that is publically scrutinized is the only one that is "misinterpreted", the only one that our current Bible doesn't get right. As a follower of Jesus who is depended on the word of God, the possibility that the current Bible isn't right is terrifying. Does that not scare anyone else? You say your comments are not an indictment on the Word of God, but really need you to explain this further. Either His Word is His Word or it's not. I trust that both sides of the homosexuality issue have prayed this through and believe they have received clarification from the Holy Spirit. If so, someone is wrong.
Jaime - March 26th, 2014 at 7:22 AM
I really appreciated your suggestion not to immediately pull support but give a gentler exit. I think that's wise. I read every word but its still unclear if you are in support of gay marriage or not. I'm assuming that was intentional?

Question: If you feel SO strongly about this issue, why would you choose to make your convictions unknown?
Erin - March 26th, 2014 at 7:27 AM
http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/997-world-visions-same-sex-marriage-stand-what-does-god-think#addcomments
Sandy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:30 AM
No, Jesus didn't condemn. He approached people of all socio-economic groups and involved in many areas of sin with compassion and love. HOWEVER, he said, "go, and sin no more"! Same sex couples who "marry" are still engaged in behavior God calls sinful. There can be no other interpretation in Scripture than this and there are many instances where this is confirmed. Of course, we all sin. WV would have no employees left if the litmus test were sinlessness. But when someone is engaged in sinful behavior (not my definition but God's) and they blatantly continue in that sin (surely God didn't mean that!), but they want approval for their behavior from society, I believe this is a different matter. I don't get a group of people together and have a "Liar's Parade" or a "Thief's Parade." No, I'm ashamed of my sin. I need help from God every day to shun sin and continually ask his forgiveness in order to be in right relationship with him. The Word has not changed. Society has changed. WV has done great work for many, many years and so many lives have benefitted and even saved from death and a life of poverty. For those whose conscience will not allow them to sponsor children through WV, there are many other agencies doing similar work, including Samaritan's Purse. May God give us love and compassion for those who are hurting and cause us to love him more by reaching out to others, not only in sharing our worldly goods, but in sharing the Gospel.
Becky - March 26th, 2014 at 11:59 AM
You said exactly what I keep thinking! I have had the exact same response in my thoughts - particularly the Liar's Parade!
Patricia - March 26th, 2014 at 12:40 PM
I love Jesus and that He died for my sins and my desire is to live a new life in Him. With that said, I am at a loss and heart broken to read the phrase, "gay Christian". Why is their sexual desire put before Christian? It is because that is the core problem. When Jesus, my Savior was crucified and was a bloody, bloody mess, unrecognizable in His appearance, hanging naked on a cross for my sins and the sins of the world...and that sin is condemned, especially in Romans, that one would blatantly justify it..that is beyond my understanding. Prayer warriors must pray for eyes to be opened, filled with His Holy Spirit and stand for righteousness and wisdom to answer.
Jared - March 26th, 2014 at 1:56 PM
I see where you are coming from, but the reality is that we ALL are sinning everyday, whether it's with our thoughts or most likely, gluttony.

We are consumed with gluttony, especially when it comes to food. But no one seems too worried about that. Who goes out to eat after church every Sunday and stuffs themselves to the point of needing an afternoon nap? How many of us are overweight because of gluttony and because we don't properly take care of our bodies (Which we are commanded to treat as Temples of God)? Why are churches spending millions of dollars on state-of-the-art facilities for those inside, but spending so little outside of the church (in comparison).

A church recently had $600k stolen from a safe. Why in the world does a Christian church have $600k just lying around? Why are state of the art audio/video systems a high priority in a church? Why? Because we've made the church about us. About our comfort. About our lifestyle. About us. We can twist it and say it's to lure more people in, but let's be real for a second. If we fully believe in our faith, we don't need to show off with material things to get people in the doors. And the reality? That stuff only lures the lukewarm and fuels that lukewarmess. It doesn't lure the lost who are sincerely searching for answers.

Why do we spend a ton of money (even if fundraised) and prefer to go on mission trips to help those in other parts of the country or world, but are not as interested in doing the same in our own communities? Why? Regardless of how we paint it, the reality is that we do it for selfish reasons. If that wasn't the case, we would be much more focused near home. But for the majority, we aren't.

Homosexuality is mentioned only a handful of times through the Bible and is always mentioned along with other sins like infidelity, divorce, having children out of wedlock, etc.. But those are all largely accepted in the church. So the church as a whole has already made those exceptions. They've found a way to make those welcome and accept their lifestyles. But we are unwilling to do the same for homosexuals.

Sure you may not lie, steal, cheat or break most of the commandments, but sin goes way beyond that. And no matter how much you ask for forgiveness, I can guarantee you that we all continually repeat those sins that we claim to ask repentance for. Which means we are on a level playing field with everyone else who is living in sin everyday.

Our first two commandments are to Love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds, and our second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. These are our two most important commandments and they apply first and foremost. And the reality is, that if we truly practice those, all others fall into place, even then Ten Commandments. Notice a theme? Love. Go check out what it truly means to love someone in 1 Corinthians 13. Really focus on each of the individual 14 elements.

If we are completely honest with ourselves and with God, do you know what we will find? We focus on the sins of others to keep the attention off of our own sin. To make ourselves feel better. Our thoughts typically are along the lines of "at least I'm not sinning as bad as so and so." "At least I'm not practicing this sin." That's not how it works.
Elizabeth - March 26th, 2014 at 7:30 AM
Jen,
I really enjoy you but am left wondering:
What are you really trying to say with this article and what do the Scriptures say about homosexuality?
Chris - March 26th, 2014 at 9:31 AM
She's "really trying" to say exactly what she said.
Jessica Grimes - March 26th, 2014 at 12:27 PM
I don't mean to be rude to Jen- but she is really NOT saying her position on it because- well, I think that she is connected to church leaders that hold to a biblical view of marriage but her fan base is probably a bit more liberal. There does come a time when someone in public life ( TV show, blogs , speaker etc) has to make a decision of how much to share and what may alienate their base.

I do feel , that if a Christian leader ( and she is- I mean she has preached and taught etc) is going to give their views they need to be open about their thoughts on doctrinal areas.

I wish she would - but to remain liked by many- it would be a lose / lose either way.

Elizabeth - March 26th, 2014 at 12:50 PM
I adore your writing Jen and almost always nod my head in agreement, saying "you too?!" Thank you for your thoughtfulness and the way you wrestle through issues before writing about them. It always shows.

Yet I have to agree with Jessica that I'm disappointed you weren't clear on your personal opinion. Claiming to be a peacemaker, you eschewed the opportunity to boldly answer the question, What would you do if you were a WV sponsor, and why? I also thought the shot at Rich Stearns as passive aggressive was beneath you and really just not true. Perhaps because I am a former WV employee and I've seen firsthand how thoughtful the WV leadership is over issues like this (see an article on OnFaith for more details...), I was disappointed with that conclusion. Of course it's your prerogative to share whatever you want.

As much as I wanted you to boil it down to where you personally stand, I'm thankful for the options you laid out. I think those are very helpful to folks trying to figure out where they stand.

We have a gorgeous additional child sponsored now, the same age and birthday as one of my children. My child spent all morning singing songs about Lesotho, looking it up on a map and begging me to go visit his new friend. I would call that a win.
Heather - March 26th, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Why does Jen's personal opinion make a difference to you? Will her personal opinion sway yours? How would you respond differently had she shared her personal opinion?

I think Jen was very clear in "what she was really trying to say" and that was to share thoughts on how to respond Christ-like to people who may or may not have a different opinion than you on this matter. Excellent post Jen!
Cassidy - March 26th, 2014 at 7:39 AM
Gosh...even the responses prove her point perfectly: there are some things Christians will never, ever agree on, but how we handle that and communicate is the key. Second to last paragraph was incredible. Zealots miss her point: she's not sitting here preaching the evaporation of traditional marriage and abandonment of conviction, she's simply asking for people to stop, pray, and back away from their keyboards instead of emotionally responding/eviscerating. Which few have done in response to even her own article. There was MUCH Jesus disagreed with, MUCH he clearly and verbally hated. But I think we could learn much about how he responded vs. we who scream from the rafters, bloodshot and hoarse, insisting excommunication and rotting-in-hell-ism. You can stand firm on truth and love others extravagantly and simultaneously. Listen to her point. Which is not to grab the nearest rainbow flag and hop in a Gay Pride parade. It's to critically think, slow down and reason, remember people made in the image of God are who is addressed...on both sides of this divisive issue. The whole "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" thing is hard, counterintuitive, and best way to handle such polarizing and emotional topics.
Shash - March 26th, 2014 at 10:14 AM
amen Cassidy!
katie - March 26th, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Ahhhh yes! A comment from someone who gets what she is saying in this article. Breath of fresh air. But then I ask myself why I am even reading the comments? :)
Allison - March 26th, 2014 at 7:44 AM
Jen, I love this thoughtful and measured response. Thank you
Sally - March 26th, 2014 at 7:48 AM
I'm a WV sponsor. While I believe that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong, I immediately made the decision to keep my sponsorship going. I refused to make my sponsored child a pawn in all of this. Whether or not I choose to sponsor another child will take some careful consideration.

As Christians, we are not exempt from the laws of the land. I used to work in Human Resources and was well aware of what could or could not be asked during the job application and interview process. We couldn't ask age, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, etc. These questions are considered discrimatory by law. Many states, whether we like it or not, do recognize same-sex marriage. I've no doubt that asking if you are in a same-sex marriage would be considered an act of discrimation and any company asking it would be facing a possible lawsuit. Look at what Hobby Lobby is facing with the Affordable Care Act. Money spent on legal fees means less money going where it should. In WV's case, that would mean the global communities they sponsor. Hobby Lobby is a for-profit business I believe. World Vision isn't.

The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. But it is not the greatest sin. We commit a multitude of sins when we lie, think unkind thoughts, disrespect our parents and others. We will all have to stand before God to explain ourselves, some more than others.

Would I have preferred WV not go this route? Of course. But they had to look at the big picture, including from a legal standpoint. I believe WV's main aim is to help those in need. They are still accomplishing that, regardless of who they employ to carry that out.
t - March 26th, 2014 at 2:34 PM
yes we are keeping our little boy as well, it is not his fault and should not be penalized by these changes. My disappointment is that I found this out about WV on FaceBook. being a supporter we should have received an email about this change before being publicized.
Hannah - March 26th, 2014 at 7:59 AM
This was an excellent post. I'm shocked at how many people posting in the comments seemed to miss the point completely.
Sarah May - March 26th, 2014 at 8:01 AM
I saw your name on Christianity Today, and was excited to look at your blog. I too have been married for a while(16 years). I am 39 years old. My husband and I are both professionals, but I mostly stay home. I have two children(old fashioned way) and two foster. So I thought wow. I'd like to read about her. But the first article, the very first, was a compromise of all things the Lord stands for.( Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been. AND ALSO
But regardless of theological bullying, there has never been "one way" to interpret scripture. There has never been "one way" to be a biblical church. Even the early church leaders had severe and lasting disagreements about the nature of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Salvation, Faith, Works, etc. This admission is not an indictment on the Word of God at all. Rather, it is simply a reasonable assessment of the trajectory of the kingdom as God has interacted with each new generation of the church ) But God says-I change not. He is the same. It's only the generations that have changed. If Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, why not us too. We have forsaken God's word and created our own word. Who says any humanitarian, world vision president or not, is holy and Godly. To be Godly, you must possess God. These respectable leaders are only respectable in man's eye, not God's. He has one opinion. And He is right about everything in every generation. There is no compromise in this scripture from God's opinion. What about Romans 1: 24-32. Is that not part of God's opinion. So who cares what men say. Stand for righteousness, at any cost. There's way to many half-hearted, wishy-washy people in the world. God despises sin but loves people, therefore, I despise sin- but I love people. We as believers should love, give, embrace, and sacrifice our lives for the broken men and women of this world. We should bring them in into our homes and churches. But we should not compromise on God's word. His blog is still being read after thousands of years! I thought I was going to be refreshed. Disappointed. I guess I should rant and get my own blog.
Haley - March 26th, 2014 at 1:48 PM
You missed the point she's trying to make by about two miles. I suggest you reread what she wrote. She did not ask any Christians to compromise their beliefs or suggest that the almighty Christian is wrong, but simply to re-evaluate what is important in this world, here and now. Is a legal battle over how "traditional marriage" is defined worth a child losing a crucial sponsorship that very well could mean life or death for them?
I also suggest you look into reading some of Jen's other writings. She's a brilliant woman with a lot of wisdom to add to the dialogue that is popular in today's Christianity.
Jt - March 26th, 2014 at 7:37 PM
Amen Sarah may! I've read several of Jens pieces and they're nothing but compromise on biblical truth. You hit the nail on the head w your assessment.
Amy C. - March 26th, 2014 at 8:08 AM
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Julie - March 26th, 2014 at 8:08 AM
Thank you so much for this. You have put into words what needed to be said. So many people have forgotten one very simple thing: love. Jesus said, "love one another as I have loved you." No love going on if you stop feeding a starving kid because of your righteousness. Right or wrong, the kids are the ones who will suffer in all of this. Thank you for being a peacemaker.
Erin - March 26th, 2014 at 8:12 AM
My biggest concern with this policy shift is how is this going to effect the workers in the field? Take for instance a recent trip to Burundi where the biggest question posed of Americans on the trip was, "Does everyone in America believe homosexuality is ok?" Many of the countries where WV workers work are anti-homosexual. Once word of this shift gets out overseas, WV workers will be at risk and their work could be compromised. No one has addressed this issue. It is truly sad that an issue that effects less than 1% of the American population is having such a critical effect on our world and the Church. These are things that can't be easily undone. There will be fallout and hopefully other Christian relief organizations will be available to help the orphans and widows. My guess though is that World Vision just opened the door for greater fundraising because people who wouldn't have otherwise supported them, including access to federal funding, will.
Angela - March 26th, 2014 at 8:13 AM
I agree with you on one point... We do not need any more harsh or hateful reactions to this change of policy by World Vision. After all my momma taught me my whole life two wrongs don't make a right. Please explain to me how the issue of homosexuality is up to each person's interpretation of the Bible. It's just not true. We could all take our particular sin and find some scripture to justify it. In fact, as a young 20 something year old, one of my best friends at the time was involved in an adulterous relationship with her pastor. And this friends mother showed me scripture that she said justified their relationship. Really?? But the Bible is so clear on this issue of homosexuality. We have all heard the verse quoted.... Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulters, nor men who practice homosexuality.... I am not sure how much clearer it could be stated. How could someone intereprate that any other way but that homosexuality is sinful? I do agree with you Jen Hatmaker that the world does not need to see us screaming at each other about this. But I think they do need to see us to take a stand for God's word that is uncompromising no matter what the issue at hand is. God help us all.
Julie - March 26th, 2014 at 3:02 PM
including the rest of that paragraph of scripture for you.....in 1 Cor 6:9-10 (you cited only PART of 9)

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

I think a WHOLE lot more folks would be included in that interpretation as well.

I thought this article is very well written and intellectually sound and in agreement with you as well Angela...God Help Us All...because it seems that there are a lot more of us "not inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven"...IF NOT for that last bit of scripture noted in verse 11 .

I hope WV continues to receive funds to help the children through the Vision.
Lisa - March 26th, 2014 at 8:16 AM
How does taking money away from a child in need further the cause of Jesus Christ? How can people retaliate by victimizing the child? Really? It is great to hear that a dropped sponsorship doesn't mean the child goes without food or education. But in the long run, if enough people dropped, it would hurt no one except the children. Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." - I wish I could afford a 2nd child. But we have had our child for many years now, he's almost an adult. I couldn't imagine dropping my sponsorship over theological difference in opinion. The very thought makes me sick. Good job World Vision. This is absolutely the only way you could have handled this.
Scott - March 26th, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Is WV really the only option for Christians to help a child in need? If a Christian decides to stop there support through WV are you suggesting they are in sin (failing to obey Matthew 19:14)? What about the millions of Christians who don't support WV, are they in sin as well? Good gosh, WV is not the only way that a Christian can make a difference.
Jennifer H - March 26th, 2014 at 2:03 PM
I think it's more about the commitment to a WV child I have already made. Whether or not I agree with this policy, I have made a commitment to support my child until they are 18 or WV leaves the community. As long as WV is supporting that community and child, I have the obligation to continue my support. Now, as to whether any additional dollars will go to them or to another organization, that is another question.
Carlee - March 26th, 2014 at 2:09 PM
There are an infinite number of ways to assist children in need -- choosing to (or not to) support World Vision is only one option among many.

I, personally, could not stomach WV's discriminatory practices regarding non-heterosexual employees and this (grudging) policy shift still doesn't address the discrimination to the point that I'd be comfortable supporting this particular charity.

So I'll continue giving to groups that assist the poor in ways that do not offend my conscience -- via SOS Children's Village and Smile Train. To each his/her own!
Ali - March 26th, 2014 at 8:20 AM
Couldn't agree more with what you wrote Jen. Then I made the mistake of viewing the comments. How there is so much divisiveness on a post calling for unity and acceptance is really disappointing to me. If people focused on the true gospel--the gospel of love--rather than focusing on the sins of others, the world would be a much better place.
Walk - March 26th, 2014 at 8:32 AM
I want to ask this respectfully as this is an issue that continues to come up in our culture. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever then how is it that issues specifically addressed in scripture are allowed to be ignored? If God is the same yesteday, today and forever, the great I AM, then isn't He powerful enough to inspire scripture to stand the test of time? He knows how long humans will be on earth, are you telling me He couldn't inspire His words to be written to be living and breathing for EVERY generation? Isn't God big enough to protect His word?

The church does have a history of ignoring issues that it didn't like for it's own personal gain, and this seems to be in alignment with that. I thought that as we sought relationship with Jesus our responsibility was to read all of scripture and obey it, even the hard parts. I mean, what would we say to a heterosexual woman living with her boyfriend? Society says that's ok, so should we? Or should we go back to our constant and live a life glorifying to God? I agree there is a much better way to handle things then to condem World Vision as no longer glorifying God, but I continue to be dismayed that Christian leaders so quickly jump to the defense of those supporting the acceptance of any sin, ESPECIALLY with the argument that historically they "just got it wrong". All those subjects you listed, slavery, interracial marriage, they weren't being observed because they were in line with scripture, the were being accepted because people were TWISTING scripture.

Jesus does call us to be at peace (Mark 9) but we are also called to be a light in the world, a light that shows others Jesus, not popular culture.
Jude - March 26th, 2014 at 8:33 AM
I just love you so much, but disagree with this SO MUCH! For the sake of argument, let's say that the Bible is indeed murky on whether or not homosexuality is a sin (that is NOT what I believe). I have 2 counter arguments:
1) What about what the Bible DOESN'T say? Where are the verses that are are like Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5: 22-33? Where does the Bible say that a man should leave his family and cling to his husband? Where does it say: "Wives, submit to your wives?" or "Husbands love your husbands as Christ loved the church?"
2) God created our bodies perfectly! They are amazing and efficient machines. They simply were not made for same-sex intercourse. I think that if homosexuality was "OK" with God, he would have made bodily provisions.

I personally know and love several homosexual friends. They are precious and amazing people and they love Jesus! I can't imagine how difficult it is to have those feelings and try to understand how God could give them such a hard life. It is also a very difficult thing for the church to say unrepentant sin is wrong without making them feel unloved. Very tough situation and may be what ultimately rips apart the churches.
Josh... - March 26th, 2014 at 3:28 PM
The sooner Christians realize that the Bible was written, and edited time and time again by man, the sooner we can get over this silly issue. If God didn't want his children to be homosexual he wouldn%u2019t have created them that way. If you still believe that homosexuality is a choice, then you have never been privileged to have a homosexual child. How sad is it that Christians are pushing Gods homosexual children away from his love. This practice seems the opposite of what Jesus taught.
RTN - March 26th, 2014 at 8:34 AM
Thank you for this, Jen! It is right on and so important. So many people are turned off by Christianity because of this issue. It upsets me to still see so much divisiveness in a community where we all really just need to love each other. That is it. Why so much fear and hate?

My mom is gay and for so long Christians that show this kind of fear and hate really hurt me to the core. Do you not know what you are doing hurts not only the people that are gay but their children, family members, etc. I ask that you reconsider that fear and hate and just LOVE. Just love.

Luckily, my mom is a Christian and I had a wonderful upbringing showing me what the true power of love looks like. I now have a family and I ensure my children know this love every single day. My goal is that they will show the unconditional love through their faith that was shown to me. It was this love that led me to Jesus amidst the hate and fear that surrounds this issue. If I would have let them win, I would not be a follower of Jesus Christ. Think about your actions and how this impacts people.

Thank you, Jen!
p.s. I have never been a donor of World Vision but I am NOW! Proud of it!
Lynnea - March 26th, 2014 at 8:42 AM
Jen, I think you did a great post. But now I challenge you to do a follow up post concerning what the Bible says about gay marriage.
You have a very large audience. And if people like you can stand up and speak the truth, in love, maybe our country will be better for it.
We are all about "tolerance." And yes, of course we are to love everyone. But we are on a very slippery slope and it is time for us to stand up and share what God says about it in His Word. Period.
Are you in????
Christian - March 26th, 2014 at 8:44 AM
I don't think Stearn's comment is "intellectually dishonest." He said "hope", twice. I would hope sponsors would understand and respect the organization enough, giving them the benefit of the doubt, that this change was not made haphazardly, but over a long period of time with much discussion. And I think Stearns explained well that that was the case. I don't think we can expect him to qualify all of his statements to fit each of our views of what he should say.
Elizabeth - March 26th, 2014 at 8:46 AM
To add complexity to the issue you could get hired by WV in _____ state, but not the state of _____.

Then there is potential challenge when you take your employee to another country and they have a different hiring practice as it pertains to sexuality. Or there is this, World Vision in a Muslim country hires Muslim employees, who are not professed Christians. If a comment on the CT website is accurate.
Evie - March 26th, 2014 at 8:46 AM
I appreciate your thoughtfulness on the issue and the breakdown of options at the end. However, I am concerned about the theological reasoning. There are plenty of hotly debated theological issues which I am willing to say, "I don't know." Generally, this is because I can see the Biblical arguments on both sides of the issue. On the particular question of same-sex marriage, I have yet to hear a Biblical argument in support of same-sex marriage. I've hear emotional and personal arguments, but I believe that we are to base it on the Word of God. I don't see how the Scriptural support of marriage as being between a man and woman is unclear. If this were an area without consensus,I believe that there would be more in the Bible that would be used to support this stance. The most Biblical argument I've heard in support of same-sex marriage is that Jesus was silent on the issue. Are there other Biblically-based arguments in support of same-sex marriage which I haven't heard?
David S - March 26th, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Evie -
Just like with Christianity itself, testimony is a part of our understanding of the Gospel. So I agree that we often hear personal stories to support the inclusion of people who are gay. That's good. I would hope that even if you disagree that homosexuality is not sinful, that you would be able to look into the lives of gay families and see something other than sin. There is undeniable virtue - lifelong commitment, care-taking and fidelity.

But that's not to say that Christians who are gay (including myself) do not take scripture seriously. There is solid biblical exegesis that finds covenant same-sex relationships morally permissible. If you are interested in understanding affirming perspectives, I would recommend two books: "Bible, Gender, Sexuality" by James Brownson, and "A Time To Embrace" by William Stacy Johnson.
Melissa - March 26th, 2014 at 8:47 AM
Jen, Thank you for your reasonable and wise words. I think too many of us Christians forget Jesus answer to "%u201CTeacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?%u201D
May we show the world Christian love every day!
Susan - March 26th, 2014 at 8:47 AM
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! We are united because of Christ, not because we all agree. Thanks so much for your well-reasoned, well-stated editorial. It's a breath of fresh air and a win for the Kingdom.

Jennifer - March 26th, 2014 at 8:53 AM
Jen Hatmaker, He brought me to your blog for a reason. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this. I left the church almost two years ago because I could not feel the LOVE. I felt the hypocrisy, I felt the anger, and I felt the judgment. But I did not feel the love of Jesus within the walls of the church I was raised at and I felt alone. So I left after 31 years. I never left Jesus, but by leaving my church I have seperated myself from Him, which is never what I wanted. I don't know if I will ever find a physical church with four walls that I can call home, but I desire more than ever to come back to Him. Thank you for your words.
Kristi - March 26th, 2014 at 9:04 AM
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Is 5:20

It's very dangerous to question God's Word and His view on sin. We have no business, as people who claim to follow Jesus, telling God that He's off on this one. He is the one who made marriage. It is a HOLY covenant, not formed for selfish and depraved sexual gratification.

I am very disappointed in Jen with this post. I am sure that her heart wants unity, but choosing to discredit the Word of God in the name of peace is the opposite of Christ's message. He came to divide. He came to separate. Jesus said (Matt 10:34), "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Jesus was not a wimp, a cosmic enabler for our sin. He turns the tables on sin and calls his children to repentance. Living in repentance doesn't mean acceptance of sin and pretending that it's ok. That is not love.

I know that God doesn't need me to defend Him. He is not surprised by the darkness of man. I just feel sad that trusted people are defaming my King and His Word. I am broken by that.

I will not engage in foolish arguments. This one has no business being argued by God's children, it is foolish, because it is not a grey area. We should despise sin, darkness and evil because they are crafted by our enemy. We are called to be His soldiers, fighting the father of lies (not each other). May we feel His conviction and turn toward truth, despite the risk. Truth is rarely popular.


Julie - March 26th, 2014 at 4:37 PM
Very well said. I have been bothered by this all day. Either the Bible is true or it isn't. We don't get to pick and choose. I did have to unfollow Jen. This disappoints me...she is funny and makes me laugh. But I cannot afford to follow opinions. The Word of God trumps all. Period.
Rock Foster - March 26th, 2014 at 4:48 PM
Thank you Kristi. If I might add - Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. And since when did the law of man usurp the law of God? Rock
Stephanie S. - March 26th, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Jen,
I have sat in my chair at home laughing until I cry at your blog. I have tried, in vain, to read them to my husband, but absolutely could not because I was laughing so hard. Why? Because you said exactly what I have thought and experienced in my own crazy life of four kids born within three and a half years. However, today I am not laughing or crying over your blog. I have been restless and pensive about it, hoping to find the correct response with respect and love to you that you deserve.

You are correct that the gay marriage is "the single most polarizing issue in our generation". Why is that? I believe it's because this country has been on a slippery slope about what it's going to do about it for decades. And in the past five years, it has decided to dive headlong into supporting it which basically has "flipped the bird" at God's Word and the true definition of marriage. To make it even more polarizing is that the homosexual agenda ramped up with words like "hate" and "homophobic" if you disagreed with them. They can not fathom that people can disagree with their lifestyle without hating who they are. We Christians sat back and did nothing for too long, and when we rise up and say, "No, this is against God's Word," not only do we get backlash from the left liberal progressives, but we get backlash from other Christians who want to put a bandaid on it because 'that's what Jesus would do'.

I know you have 5 children and I have four. Not only because they are born sinners, but because I'm their mother (another sinner) have they done things that I have taught them according to God's Word is wrong. Things like lying, gossiping, teasing people, etc. I did not just give them a hug and tell them it's all going to be okay, I went to Scripture and showed them where God teaches us that that is wrong and forgiveness is theirs for the taking and loved them as well. Jesus Christ showed over and over that he did not condone sin, the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, the woman caught in adultery, Zaccheus, Paul, etc. He called the sin out, told them to repent and loved them the whole way. Now I know we aren't Jesus, but since you are telling us that love will conquer all, I feel that standing silent on this issue is wrong. Are there "Christians" who are nasty and name-callers and say hateful things, yes! Are they wrong? Yes! But I think the majority of Christians are tired of being 'bullied' into saying nothing about what God's Word says by not only the liberal progressives, but by comments like you made, such as "there has never been one way to interpret scripture" and "our refusal to self-evaluate and invite nuance into an ancient text that was written across several cultures....until Jesus hit the scene." Like Jesus changed the definition of sin. He didn't, He just changed the way it is dealt with.

I totally disagree with you that Scripture is not clear on this subject. I am not worried about what "the church" says about homosexuality, I am only concerned with what God says about it, and He made Himself clear. To sweep in under the rug with statements cited above is paramount to saying Scripture is old, it is irrelevant in the 21st century and whatever you think it says, is what it says. I could go to Leviticus and Romans and Genesis, but you know the Scriptures I am talking about. I am not sure why you think they are unclear and open to interpretation.

Another reason we Christians keep standing up on this issue is because it keeps getting thrown in our faces. Every time some celebrity 'comes out' there's endless talking heads making a big deal about it. An NFL player comes out last month and that's all the sports shows could discuss ad nauseum for two weeks. Queen Latifah decides to take part in a mass wedding where the overwhelming majority are same sex marriages on a major awards show. There was no place for that. That was the homosexual agenda alive and well rubbing our noses in it and daring us to keep silent. Then a Phil Robertson is asked the question by a magazine (knowing what he would say, I might add) and he is villified for it. Now, a huge Christian organization has decided to announce that they will employ same sex couples in the spirit of "unifying the church". Unifying the church on "the most polarizing issue in our generation." Doesn't sound very unifying, it sounds divisive and it has divided.

I sponsor two children through World Vision. At this point, I will not pull my sponsorship. They deserve better than that. However, if I ever find out my money is going anywhere else but to water, education and their needs, I will pull it.

Jen, I will continue to read your blog, and I will not spew hateful things about you and call into question your Christianity or your heart. I simply disagree with you, and I think some of the things you said were dangerous. I love you as a sister in Christ, but I can love you and disagree with you at the same time. Blessings! Stephanie
Jude - March 26th, 2014 at 9:34 AM
I humbly suggest that you look into Samaritan's Purse as an alternative to WV. Kids will be still be supported, but through an organization that believes the scriptures are inerrant.
Cathy - March 26th, 2014 at 3:02 PM
So well said Stephanie. You have put into words my thoughts. We also support WV and have for many years but we also support other ministries who are doing the same type of work. We do have conviction to help the poor and most needed in this world but we believe we can do it through organizations like Samaritan's Purse and One Child, who have our same beliefs. We are stopping our support of WV because I believe as Bible believing Christians that we do need to take a stand for the truth. If we don't do it know, then when? Cathy
A.C. - March 26th, 2014 at 3:50 PM
Thoughtful and well said, Stephanie. Thank you for putting into words what I've been running through my head all day.p
I, too, will continue sponsoring my WV child because I don't want to punish the child, but want to offer another option if people are looking to help in the same style. Working with International Child Care Ministries, an organization through the Free Methodist denomination, is where my other children are sponsored. Thank you to both ladies for sharing. Love in Truth.
Tara - March 26th, 2014 at 6:21 PM
Stephanie,
I hear your heart and I agree. I could've written every word of your comment. Thank you for speaking up.

Annette - March 26th, 2014 at 9:09 AM
The Bible is clear on the issue. I don't agree with your stance. However, is there a way to support our already sponsored children and go around this issue? They are the ones who will suffer. I just wish organizations would take a stand and not be pulled down by what everybody else is doing.
Jonathan - March 26th, 2014 at 9:09 AM
Dear Jen,
Thank you for your work. I very much appreciate your genuine heart. My wife and I have really been blessed by you. I%u2019m hoping I can maybe speak to one of the issues you raised. I am a Christian Academic. My main areas of interest are historical and NT theology. I think that some of the points you make about biblical interpretation are a bit inaccurate and potentially misleading. While it is true that Christians have often disagreed over the interpretation of Scripture, human sexuality and marriage have not been among those issues where we find historical disagreement. It has simply not been among the adiaphora until recently. And even now, it is only a relatively small number of protestant churches that are arguing in favor of same-sex marriage (not usually found among Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, most Evangelicals or Pentecostals). Christians who argue in favor of SSM do not do so through biblical interpretation. Rather, the authority of Scripture is minimized and they establish their case on other grounds. One may not agree with Scripture, but we should not pretend that the Bible is unclear on the subject. Sex and marriage are not equivalent to other issues that Christians might legitimately disagree on (as Stearns appears to think). I am concerned that some of your readers will get the impression that this can be a legitimate intramural debate. This is like Paul telling the Corinthians that they should bring reasoned dialogue to the issue of a man sleeping with his step-mom. Instead, Paul emphatically and categorically rejects that as being out of step with the gospel.
I understand and appreciate your heart to encourage peace-making. I%u2019m concerned that it will become peace-faking if truth is minimized. It seems to me that a winsome and whole-hearted living out of revealed truths (like Christian marriage) would be an important response to this difficult situation. I%u2019m sure you agree with that. My point is that we should not give the impression that Christians have been confused about this issue for a long time, and it%u2019s OK to have different views on this, as long as we respectfully dialogue about it. Please understand, I am certainly for respectful dialogue, but we should be careful not to suggest that the Bible is unclear. If truth is treated as uncertain, people often resort to sentimentality to guide them. When, as you know, there is no love without truth. Do we really think Jesus is dispassionate about God%u2019s design for sex and marriage? It seems to me that if we minimize God%u2019s intentions (as seen in the creation narrative and re-affirmed by Jesus), we sort of deface God%u2019s glorious ideal.

Concerning World Vision, your recommendations for believers who cannot support this move is really good and wise. The issue for many of us is whether we can trust WV to embody genuine gospel ministry if they are confused on this issue....

Again, you are awesome. We are grateful for your work. I just thought I should mention these points. Thank you.

Stephanie S. - March 26th, 2014 at 9:15 AM
Well said Jonathan! I completely agree.
John - March 26th, 2014 at 9:13 AM
Scripture is clear - a man having sex with another man, and a woman having sex with another woman is sin. The Bible is also clear - we are to love these sinners and share with them how Jesus can change their life, just like we share with any other lost person how Jesus can change their life.
Truth is truth. Say it with love, but do not compromise the truth.

Jonathan - March 26th, 2014 at 9:14 AM
One more thing, I would highly recommend to your readers a couple resources: For a hefty academic read, see Richard Hays, _The Moral Vision of the New Testament_. For a personal story about a gay Christian NT Scholar, see Wesley Hill, _Washed and Waiting_.
chalice - March 26th, 2014 at 9:20 AM
i am so thankful for you, jen hatmaker.
Jill - March 26th, 2014 at 9:22 AM
World Vision brings children, and thereby their families, to the feet of Jesus. That's all we are called to do. Nothing else. I applaud them for breaking out of the personal lives of their employees and focusing on the task at hand.

And, once I have a bit more solid financial situation in the coming months, I plan to sponsor a child.

Jen, thank you for being this voice in our culture. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs because we so often get it SO WRONG. Bring people to the feet of Jesus. Focus on that and you won't have time to worry about who employs who or who marries who etc.
Terri - March 26th, 2014 at 9:35 AM
World Vision has a right to do what they feel they need to do, although I feel that they also need to remove the word "Christian" from their organization description. "Christian" means "follower of Christ" or "like Christ". The Bible CLEARLY speaks against homosexuality, and if any organization claims to be Christian, then they should follow Biblical standards. I am actually disappointed that so-called Christians are supporting them. Yes, I agree that we should not judge, and that we are to love everyone regardless, but supporting them is a different story. Jesus loved the sinners, but He did not condone their behavior/choice.
DaveO - March 26th, 2014 at 3:37 PM
We are not called only to bring children to the feet of God. We are also called to use our bibles for: "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." I agree that we shouldn't use our bibles to thump someone over the head or to attack them, but we should use it to remind them of the love of God and the life that he has called us to.

Pam - March 26th, 2014 at 9:24 AM
As a believer in Christ, we are called to LOVE people, not exclude people for their sins. If we are to allow God to do His work, that will be done at the gate. In the meantime, we are to accept people as Jesus did. As I am not gay, I pray for them as my way to love them. To continually focus on their sin is like telling a fat person they are fat. I think the gay people know how the extremist feel. Enough is enough. I love my gay friends. They have a cross to bear, as we all do. I know what the Bible says. I also know that the fruit of the spirit is missing when Christians take up a cross that is not theirs to take up. Sometimes we just have to ask ourselves, whose business am I minding? God's, yours or mine? This is one that I will allow God to handle. My business/calling is to love God! Love my neighbor! To prevent them from having gainful employment is not loving them. My brothers and sisters need to eat, dress and have a roof over their heads. Love should prevail! Would you rather they join the ranks of 'welfare' recipient? You sometimes just can't have it both ways. Judgement based on our moral standards, even Biblical, is God's job. Jen, I applaud you for taking the narrow road and showing your love. We were told it would not be easy.... :)
Kim - March 26th, 2014 at 4:57 PM
Thank you, Pam, for the message of love and acceptance. It's hard to understand why that seems to be so rare.
Dow Ford - March 26th, 2014 at 9:29 AM
What if every company adopted this policy: We Don't hire Sinners. Wouldn't that solve all the issues? Think of all the spare time we would have to bike, Dudette.
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