World Vision—one of the largest charities in the United States—sent shockwaves throughout evangelical churches earlier this month by announcing that it would hire people who are in legally recognized same-sex marriages. Concerned evangelicals responded swiftly, and World Vision quickly assembled its board of directors to pray. Within about 24 hours of the policy change, World Vision rescinded it and apologized to the Christians whom it had offended.
Though the firestorm has now been over for weeks, the implications have not ended. World Vision has lost sponsorships. Some churches are now wary of the organization. And Bible-believing Christians around the country remain unsettled: if a respected organization like World Vision could consider and briefly embrace a policy that is so antithetical to Scripture, which other trusted parachurch organizations could be at risk for such a fall?
To help us navigate these questions and more, I spoke with Bob Bouwer, senior pastor of Faith Church in northwest Indiana. For much of the past decade, his church has closely partnered with World Vision in a number of ministry efforts out of which God has borne much fruit. In this interview, Bob shares his emotions at the height of the World Vision controversy, discusses whether that controversy has changed his church’s relationship with the group, and counsels other Christians struggling with whether and how to move forward in partnering with World Vision.
He also has timely, practical help for believers and church leaders when it comes to responding to the immense challenge same-sex marriage presents for faithful churches: How do we gracefully yet truthfully minister to gays and lesbians and those struggling with same-sex attraction? What is the key to not caving in to the prevailing cultural view on this issue? Why is it impossible to separate the right view of same-sex marriage and the proclamation of the gospel? And are we prepared to suffer for holding to the biblical view?