Rachel Held Evans offered an eloquent summary of the World Vision debacle and the crumbling façade of evangelicalism in her March 31st piece “How Evangelicals Won A Culture War and Lost a Generation.”
Kanon Simmons’s response to Evans, “Evangelicals and Homosexuality: A Response to Rachel Held Evans,” provides a typical example of the conservative’s understanding of what’s at stake regarding this issue.
Simmons asks, “What does it matter if we feed the poor, but we so mar the gospel of Christ that the poor are lost for eternity?” She closes her post with this deeply troubling challenge:
Is this fight worth it? Absolutely, because it ensures that those thousands of needy children, who are in need of salvation and nourishment, will have access to the only information that can save their souls.
Simmons believes that by tacitly endorsing homosexual marriage, World Vision would have done irrevocable harm to the gospel message that Christians are tasked with spreading. She feels that by over-emphasizing love, much of the Church has abandoned the crucial fact that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
But must a starving child be told that homosexuality is a sin while they’re being given food?Must the one giving that food publicly profess a specific understanding of the nature of sin in order to receive our support?
The Bible never places such strictures on helping those in need; it consistently speaks out against imposing theological caveats on expressing our love to the world. The Good Samaritan isn’t lauded for his proper theology. The sheep weren’t separated from the goats because of their doctrinal fidelity.
There’s room for constructive disagreement among Christians on many issues. But when we elevate theology over love, when we’re more concerned with proper doctrine than practical compassion, we not only sacrifice the heart and spirit of the gospel, we turn our backs on the very person of Jesus:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Mat 25:45 NIV)
Dan is a writer, graphic designer and IT specialist. He lives in Montana, is married and has two cats. He blogs at CoolingTwilight.com.