World Vision U.S. is reverting to its longstanding conduct policy of requiring faithfulness within the biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, expressing regret with an earlier decision to hire legally married gay Christians.
World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns and board chairman Jim Bere announced in a letter the reversal March 26, just two days after drawing ire from the Christian community by saying World Vision would begin hiring legally married gays.
"Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy," they said in the letter. "The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman."
"We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority," the board reported. "We ask that you understand that this was never the board's intent."
Hiring married gay Christians would have broken with the ministry's commitment to biblically traditional marriage, and was made without adequate counsel with ministry partners, World Vision said.
"In our board's effort to unite around the church's shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.'s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, 'We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God,'” the letter said. "And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage."
World Vision confirmed its commitment to the biblical view of marriage and asked for the Christian community’s continued support.
"We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead," the letter said. "While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect."
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press general assignment writer/editor.)