Monday, March 24, 2014

Compromising by "Not Compromising"

World Vision is announcing a change in it's policy regarding hiring employs united in same-sex "marriages. In defensive of their change Richard Sterns argues that they are not compromising but allowing churches to rule on the theological issue.

But the logic of justification here is twisted and convoluted. I agree that para-church organizations are not churches and do not have the authority that churches have, but the minute you consider yourself a religious para-church organization, you have to take some theological stances (even if you don't get as narrow as some particular churches might on issues of say baptism, eschatology or Calvinism vs. Arminianism). You still are going to have some notion of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and say the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds--otherwise you are not Christian. These commitments are going to have ethical implications. I mean I'm sure World Vision implicitly has some belief on the fruits of the Spirit. Even more some "churches" reject aiding the poor, so that's a divisive issue in theory right?

Here is the justification:
"It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there," he said. "This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support."

"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church."
The problem is that your non-endorsement is an endorsement. You can claim your are not 'rejecting traditional marriage' but the whole concept of traditional marriage is that marriage is defined by the union of a man and women. So if you allow other definitions you are definition not affirming traditional marriage.

You didn't defer authority, you made a pretty clear statement.

If you hired someone because they wanted a job but then they said "Look the church really shouldn't be so concerned with the poor--even if we are doing a good thing, it's not necessary" you'd jump all over that with theological arguments.

Your "not weighing in" actually weighs in.

Someone should point out that some of the liberal mainline denominations out there also cast aspersion on the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed. Why be so divisive over these issues too? Because you value them as important and defining to the Christian faith. Has any branch of major Christianity prior to the 20th century really been unclear on the Christian position on human sexuality & homosexuality?

The unity that World Vision wants to unite around is really a sham. It amounts to saying we'll make theological commitments when it suits us and ignore them when it doesn't suit us.

1 comment:

JustTheFacts said...

I don't want to sound judgmental, but homosexuality as we know it was barely a concept prior to the twentieth century.
And several major historical Christian sects were persecuted, with their supposed acceptance of homosexuality and/or gender equality part of the reason for doing so.
I think particularly of the Cathars and even the Waldensians.
Many have also argued that affrèrement or adelphopoiesis were Christian sanctified gay marriages.
I personally believe no organization that is tax-exempt or accepts federal funds should be allowed to discriminate against any population for any reason other than fear of direct physical harm.

"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...