This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
G R A H A M
P. O. Box 3000, Boone, North Carolina 28607
Boards of Directors & Staff Samaritan‟s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association March 25, 2014 Recent Announcement by World Vision
World Vision and Samaritan‟s Purse were founded by the same man, my mentor and dear friend, the late Dr. Bob Pierce. The impact of this remarkable missionary and servant of God is almost incomprehensible, as the two ministry organizations he gave birth to have touched the lives of tens of millions of hurting people around the world. Much of my adult life has been guided by something Bob Pierce often said that I‟ve never forgotten—“I want my heart to be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Well, today I believe the heart of God is broken by the decision of the board of directors of World Vision to employ men and women living in same-sex marriages. This is no small matter of non-profit ministry policy or practice and I am as grieved by it as I have been by anything in my lifetime of ministry. Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: Samaritan‟s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will stand upon the Word of God which is our statement of faith in its entirety, including what the Bible clearly says concerning samesex relationships and behavior. We will not change to be more palatable to the shifting tide of American public opinion (incidentally, of the 196 nations on earth, only 16 currently recognize same-sex marriage) or even to shifting tides within the church in America. This debate is ultimately about something much more important than the question of same-sex marriage—it is about one‟s belief concerning the authority of Scripture. If we don‟t agree about the authority of Scripture, we will eventually disagree about all sorts of things. As ministries based entirely upon God‟s Word—the Bible—we cannot endorse samesex marriage, regardless of what our President, the Congress, Supreme Court, the media, or the latest Gallup poll say about the matter. This moral issue has been settled by God Himself and is not subject to man-made revisions or modifications. In the end, I would
rather be on the wrong side of history or public opinion than on the wrong side of Almighty God who established the standard of living for all mankind. In explaining its decision to offer employment to people living in state-recognized same-sex marriages, World Vision noted that as a para-church organization they were not “a body of theologians whose responsibility it is to render biblical advice and interpretations of theological matters.” This is perplexing to me on at least two levels. First, same-sex marriage is a biblically moral issue, not a theological one; and second, World Vision does render interpretations of theological matters because it requires employees to “affirm our Statement of Faith and/or the Apostle‟s Creed, acknowledging the deity of Christ, Christ‟s death, burial and resurrection, and His atonement for our sins.” World Vision has further ducked responsibility to fidelity to God‟s Word by saying they have “chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue” (of same-sex marriage). What if a job applicant belonged to a church that sanctioned polygamy—or incest? Or what if an employee joined a church that practiced the mistreatment of women by men? Would they hire a member of Westboro Baptist Church where the late Fred Phelps preached a message of hate both toward gays and toward those they didn‟t feel hated gays strongly enough? Why would we defer anything to the authority of the local church that is clearly spelled out by the authority of God‟s Word? Church doctrine does not trump the Word of God. Now, I do agree with World Vision on one thing—that, “over the past decade perhaps the single „stormiest‟ issue within the church has been the debate over same-sex marriage.” What we disagree on is what we, as followers of Jesus Christ should do when a stormy issue arises in the church. Chapter 2 in the book of Revelation addresses some stormy issues in the first-century church as it records Christ‟s edict-letters to His seven churches. The church at Thyatira was commended for its works, love, faith and service, but it was condemned for tolerating “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality….” The promised punishment was severe: “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” World Vision, as a para-church ministry, has chosen not to take a stand against samesex marriage by calling it a theological issue, while many churches are refusing to stand against it by calling it a political issue. May I submit to you that the issue of same-sex marriage is neither theological nor political? It is a moral issue that was settled at the beginning of time by the One who created male and female and told them to populate the earth within a marriage covenant with each other (Genesis 1; Matthew 19:4-5).
I understand the challenges and complexities of operating a large global ministry organization with hundreds of employees representing scores of churches and denominations—I am responsible for leading two such organizations. But I do not understand how we can call ourselves Christian organizations staffed by followers of Jesus Christ while at the same time putting His commands and principles up for a board vote. (At least the World Vision board was not unanimous in its decision.) So, what should we, as team members of Samaritan‟s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association do about this divisive issue? Let me suggest six things:
1. Pray for those seeking to follow Christ while struggling with issues of personal
sexuality. This is not a lighthearted matter, but a real and serious struggle for many men and women in our world. Christ died for all, and they deserve our love and prayers.
2. Pray for pastors and ministry leaders who face increasingly intense pressure to
compromise their long-held biblical convictions on this matter in favor of a more politically correct, socially acceptable position. The Apostle Paul wrote: “My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).
3. Balance truth with grace and love—and grace and love with truth. If people
disagree with us on this issue, make sure they are rejecting what we believe, rather than rejecting us because of how we are presenting what we believe. The Apostle John gives us the model of grace and truth—the Lord Jesus Himself, in John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
4. Pray for the leadership of World Vision, that they would look to God‟s Word and
reverse this decision.
5. Pray for the leadership of Samaritan‟s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association—that we would remain faithful to God‟s Word, regardless the cost to our popularity or funding. “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NKJV).
6. Be faithful in our own reading of God‟s Word every day. Read it; study it;
memorize it; share it; then do what it says. “Be imitators of God...And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Ephesians 5:1; Romans 12:2 NKJV). God has richly blessed our two ministries; but I believe He could remove His hand of blessing—and protection—in the blink of an eye if we ever deliberately reject any part of His Word—“The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160 NKJV). I believe we are
living in the “last days” as described in Scripture—let‟s be faithful until the very end, that we might hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?