Franklin Graham and World Vision in a World of Changing Gods

Franklin Graham and World Vision in a World of Changing Gods March 25, 2014


World Vision, which is an evangelical Christian organization, has evidently decided to hire “married” gay couples. Rev Franklin Graham has issued a statement condemning this action.

I hadn’t intended to comment about this. Public Catholic is a Catholic blog, and the World Vision-Franklin Graham argument is taking place among Evangelical Protestants. My first thought was that it would be best to let them tend to their own chickens.

I’ve changed my mind because there is only one Jesus, and only one universal body of Christ. That makes this a matter of concern for all Christians and not just the Evangelical Protestant part of us.

I’m going to begin by saying that I have seen this before. After Roe v Wade came down, most of the many Christian denominations dithered. Several denominations that are now stalwart pro life warriors leaned toward accepting Roe. The Catholic Church stood almost alone in its resistance to the ruling.

I believe the same thing is happening once again with gay marriage. A lot of religious organizations are dithering. They don’t have 2,000 years of consistent teaching to instruct them. All they’ve got are their own personal interpretations of Scripture. It’s tempting — given the human desire that we all feel to make things easy on ourselves — for these organizations to come up with a scenario that allows them to go along to get along.

I’m no stranger to this. Politicians are justifiably famous for it. That is not due to any special weakness in those who hold public office. It is due to the fact that when a politician does it, everybody knows about it. Most of us get to trim the corners of our beliefs to make things easy for ourselves without anyone else being the wiser.

However, large Christian organizations are even more high profile than politicians, especially at a time like now, when the cultural gods are changing. Our society has taken the cross off the altar and replaced it with 300 million little tin gods of self. Instead of following Christ, we bow down to our own desires.

The little g gods of self say that whatever people want to do is morally right. We refuse the real God and chase, like a dog following its tail, after this most picayune of gods — our ever-changing, never-satisfied desires. We fix our course on self-love, selfishness, self-righteousness, self-promotion; everything but self-awareness.

We lie to everyone to excuse our behavior, but most especially we lie to ourselves.

When a well-known Christian organization publicly departs from 2,000 years of Christian teaching on a matter as serious as the definition of marriage, it can not legitimately claim, as World Vision has done, that it is doing it to “unite Christians.” That’s a specious argument if I have ever heard one.

I do not know, do not pretend to know, what the real motivations for this change are. But I don’t believe that the public statements I’ve read are anything more than a lie. They may, at least at some level, be lies that the people who put them forward told themselves, but they are not the truth.

No one could be intelligent enough to run an organization of this size and be stupid enough to believe that this action will unite Christians.

People who have donated money and otherwise supported this organization on the assumption that it was and would continue to be genuinely faithful to the Gospels have every reason to feel betrayed. This was a back room deal. Whatever the true motivations of its proponents were, fealty to their historic organizational beliefs and respect for their supporters could not have been among them.

I think Franklin Graham is justified in expressing dismay and disavowal of World Vision’s decision.

I am also a little bit philosophical about it. We’re going to see more of this. We’re also going to see some of these early deserters turn around and get their heads right as the Holy Spirit works on them. Others will become, as many Christians are today about abortion, set in their defense of principles that fly in the face of Christian morality.

These are difficult times for Christians. The gods of our world are changing. Many will fall away.

Our task is to stay close to Our Lord and to be faithful in all we do. We need to pray, go to mass, trust God and not be afraid.


For a brief look at long-standing Christian teaching, including Catholic teaching, concerning marriage, go here.

For an entirely different take on this question, check out Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Inebriate Me and Billy Kangas at The Orant.


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52 responses to “Franklin Graham and World Vision in a World of Changing Gods”

  1. The thing that really makes me angry, is WV has politicized themselves in such a manner where the only ones who will suffer are the children. You know, the ones they are supposed to be caring about. There are plenty of folks who will ditch supporting children thru them out of concern for WHAT exactly they are going to be trying TO teach those kids… helping spread sin, rebellion and heresy is NOT something most of us want to be a part of! (in reality, it probably won’t change WHAT the kids overseas experience any time soon, but most folks won’t understand that, and the perception is what people will base their response on) So, who loses by keeping peace with gay activists by declaring this okay? THE CHILDREN. Had WV’s leadership declined to bow before the gay altar, they would have risked lawsuits and all kinds of concentrated hate from those who would seek to crucify them. To which I say to them, SO WHAT? Let’s be perfectly blunt: the liberal, selfish gay lobby doesn’t support their ministry in the first place. They do not, generally speaking, support Christian ANYTHING, nor do they typically sink money into any charity outside of the LGBTQ sphere of concern. Kids starving in Africa mean nothing to these folks. They aren’t establishing charities to care for the poor anywhere or of any color or creed! The leaders at WV have made a terrible choice, one they think will keep them out of the fire, but which will instead burn them badly. I pray they repent of this before too many thousands of children lose sponsors. Or, if they won’t repent, that they are removed from their positions. (and I’d better stop now, because it’s only making me angrier, as I think of the kids who will be forced out of school and lose the meals and clothing they get thru these programs, all so some overpaid cowards can feel good about their acceptance of the world).

  2. Oh, and Mr. Gobry misses the point. Would he be in favor of officially sanctioning the inclusion of unrepentant murderers, thieves, gossips and slanderers in a Christian worksite, ’cause, you know, we all sin, so, it’s like, no big deal if you’re openly practicing your particular favorite sin? He offers up the bizare scenario of a gay unable to find work anywhere in this world if Christian organizations and businesses were to insist on employees living godly lives, ignoring two things. 1) Christians are in the minority and most employers don’t care what depravity you indulge, as long as their bottom line isn’t afflicted. And 2) God actually admonishes His people over and over in Scripture, OT and NT, “not to associate with such a one” who is embracing a life of sin. Pretty darned judgemental, that God guy. It gets old hearing these same, “judge not lest ye be judged” lines coming from those who conveniently forget everything else said about sin.

  3. I agree with your decision to support Graham on this. Whenever we can unite with our fellow Christians from a different perspective, we should do so. I’ve never heard of World Vision, but it’s hard for me to contemplate an true Evangelical group supporting SSM. Hiring married gays is not necessarily the same thing as endorsing it. I would like to see World Vision’s response before I take a definite position. But kudos to Graham for bringing this to public light. World Vision will either have to defend the hiring while still condeming SSM (which might be possible to do) or admit they’ve capitulated on this issue.

  4. Wait, I’m certainly no friend of same-sex marriage, but is there anything wrong with hiring someone with SSA, even someone who’s ‘married’ to someone of the same sex? It’s not as if this is a teacher at a Catholic school.

  5. Speaking as an Evangelical Protestant, you are well within your right to comment on this subject. Denominational lines mean little in the big picture.

    What bothers me the most is their attempt at insisting they are remaining theologically neutral on a divisive issue. I don’t know if a neutral position exists in this debate, but I don’t think they’ve taken it. It’s problematic because they have kept certain restrictions on employee behaviour (no sex outside of marriage for single employees, no affairs for married employees), but removed others. If they were truly being theologically neutral, they wouldn’t take those stances either. If I were an employee who was reprimanded for sinning by getting my girlfriend pregnant, while being of the belief that homosexual sex is also a sin, it would certainly be tough to view the situation as neutral and fair.

    I too agree that it’s not about “uniting Christians”, it’s about trying to distance themselves as their base does the fighting at a different level. In my opinion they are too big and too corporate, and like most big institutions, and are unwilling to put up with the negative press that will come from holding to a traditional Christian position on the issue. I can’t say I blame them, they certainly won’t be the only evangelical organization to take these steps in the coming years, but seeing it happen certainly raises the respect I have for the Catholic church’s refusal to sway to popular opinion so easily.

  6. Accepting homosexuality is more and more becoming a symbol. I read that one way tyrants have tried to destroy Christianity in the past is to force Christians to violate a symbol of the Faith by walking on a Bible or image of the Lord. “All you have to do is step on the image and you’ll be safe.” So just verbalize your support for “gay marriage” and you’re allowed in. Don’t say it and you’re more and more alienated from social structures like the business community or government. Just a few little words.

  7. One of the reasons I found WV honorable and upright is the help they have given to the children the world over for so many years with a Christ centered message…now, who knows?

    Will promoting SSM be on the “new WV” agenda?

    A sad day indeed…”to forsake Christ for the sake of the world” if that is the new path they have chosen, may the Lord have mercy on them so they may return to their true roots before the world swallows them up and they be lost.

  8. It is difficult not to cast the first stone. Yet, when Jesus went to the mount of Olives, he asked us to do exactly that.

  9. And an ancient one. From the mother with 7 sons in Maccabees (just eat a little pork) to St. Thomas More (just sign the paper). The weak and cowardly would say “You don’t have to agree, just go along”. Trouble is you can save your life in this world but risk losing it in the next.

  10. You know, it makes no sense whatsoever to me that an Evangelical “Christian” organization like this would hire “married” gay couples. It’s disgusting. Are they really Christian or are they not? I think they really are Christian but evidently they must have some heterodox doctrine or people.

  11. One cannot remain neutral when it comes to issues such as “gay marriage”. Jesus Christ said you are either with me or you are against me. There is no neutral ground.

  12. Yes, it is wrong. By hiring people who are “married” to the same sex, they are inadvertently and indirectly supporting “gay marriage” and that is WRONG!

  13. A couple of weeks ago Microsoft donated over $10 million in computer software to World Vision. I doubt that money came without strings.

  14. Not to mention that to the Catholics (and to Eastern and Orthodox Christians, and many others) marriage is a sacrament. I keep repeating this: the mockery of marriage in the service of ideology and of lust is nothing short of sacrilege. A sacrament is the presence of God; to pretend a sacrament where none is possible is to mock God.

  15. World Vision does not understand that they are opening a can of worms. They are going to be sued. This is the lesson of the Catholic schools – if you are nice and let gay people teach at Catholic schools, they will turn around and sue you eventually when they openly defy Catholic teaching.
    However, the central problem with gay marriage is that it inevitably leads to the decline of monogamy. If you google “gay marriage” and “monogamy” you will find that an extremely large percentage of gays find that they are basically unable to be monogamous. So monogamy in marriage will be eroded as married gays start trying to justify their non-monogamy. They will start making the case that having casual sex with strangers is perfectly OK. The news media will love this “controversy” and we will be treated to show after show about “Monogamy – is it necessary?” After a few years, they will be teaching kids in school that monogamy is questionable. After all, if you really love someone, why couldn’t you have sex with as many other people as you want? As long as you are not doing it behind their back, why not?
    And the fact is that once you have no monogamy, and no ability to procreate, you have no marriage.
    They very carefully have hidden the monogamy problem, since it would sink their “marriage equality” ship.

  16. The best thing we can do is to let others know about this decision on the part of World Vision. Let’s face it, the truth will have the final say. It’s up for those of us who follow the One whose name is Truth to not be silent. When it comes to the Truth, there is no ‘middle road.’

  17. Very well said Rebecca. I’m thinking money is the motivator here. I’m not saying it’s greed per say, World Vision does a lot of good things and they are probably rationalizing. Regardless, they have traded the one true God for Mammon, and they can tell themselves whatever they have to in order to sleep at night, but truth is truth and Almighty God will have the last word in this as He always does.

  18. Yes he did, and he also told the woman to go and “sin no more.” God is compassionate and loving and He loves sinners, but He hates sin

  19. As an evangelical myself I have seen this happening more and more, in the big mega churches, radio stations, the huge Women of Faith organization, etc. We have taken the “love” thing to the extreme where the “sin” thing is now a blur

  20. But as long as they have the support of Microsoft, Bill Clinton and others, I guess they’ll be ok…or will they?

  21. Some Catholic organizations, espeicially Universities, have done the same. Lucky for us we have a centralized authority that is locked into tradition (the Papacy) that holds Catholics to beleifs. Even the Pope can’t change on SSM. (I’m not trying to prosletize, just trying to get Protestants to understand us.) You have a nice day Yolanda. 🙂

  22. The fact that most of those who sponsor do so FOR the kids will probably blunt the impact… people will hate their sellout but keep paying for the kids’ sakes. Which will probably enable them to weather the storm and wait for people to forget all about this. It IS hard to advocate for the kind of backlash that would be needed to truly hurt their bottom line enough to get them to reconsider. It should not BE money that speaks to them about what IS or ISN’T right, but I think at this point they have revealed that they are so worldly-acclimated a financial penalty IS the only thing that will change their minds. Which alone means their leadership needs removal. Looking up their Board of Directors, I see two women who are “important people” with Google. Google is beyond “big” in pushing the homosexual/letter-soup agenda. There’s also some women from various social advocacy groups there. That tells me, unless these foxes are removed and replaced with people who value Christ above their social agenda, even if an out cry caused a momentary backing off of these changes, these boardmembers will continue to work to promote their true concerns, which have NOTHING to do with Children or Christ. :-/

  23. Oops, the two from Google are one male one female, not two females… eyes got lost in the text. At any rate, Google is well known for their politics. The guy is the Vice Chair of the WV Board, and Sr. Product Mgr for Google. The woman is Google’s Director of Giving. So… not surprising where this group is taking the organization, even as it’s repellant. 🙁

  24. Mr. Graham is addressing the growing tip of the iceberg. This decision by World Vision is just another in the long history of undermining Holy Matrimony that started decades ago. Mr. Graham mentions scripture but his mention is not complete. He leaves out a major point in scripture:

    Ex 20: 14 You shall not commit adultery.

    Matt 5: 32 “But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    When major portions of the Christian world accepted divorce, it was only a period of time before same sex marriage found the same acceptance.

    There was a time when the teachings of Jesus were the teachings of Jesus – period. Now the teachings of Jesus are seen as a smorgasbord by way to many, and people go through the teachings picking only those that make them comfortable.

  25. I think this is a cautionary tale for Catholics to be very, very careful about engaging in ecumenical projects with other Christian churches where money is involved. According to the explanation given by WV, they had to hire gay marrieds because a number of their member churches support it and are performing ssm. For obvious financial reasons they don’t want to kick them out or even tick them off apparently. How true it is that you can’t serve God and mammon.

  26. What percentage of SSM couples are unable to stay monogamous? Is that more than heterosexual couples or are you just assuming that is true? That is a broad statement—reminds me of the assumptions some folks make about certain religions or certain ethnic groups etc. Where did you look for your back up to that statement?

  27. If the person hired is qualified to do the job, what difference does it make who they are married to? It is not saying that the employer is supporting anything—they are just hiring a qualified person to work for them which ultimately helps the organization/ business to succeed and profit. As a non-Catholic, I was hired to teach in a Catholic school. I was qualified, and I was hired. My beliefs were not questioned. Same situation, IMO, with hiring a person who is married to a same gender person.

  28. Thankfully, there are other Protestants like Franklin Graham who see and follow the truth (at least in matters of morality).

    Just yesterday, Franklin Graham was quoted as saying that some officials in Obama’s administration are acting like anti-Christ.

    How true.

    I wish more Catholic leaders (bishops, especially) had the courage to say the same.

  29. How does the fact that God hates, dictate your behavior? Did Jesus throw a stone at the woman? Did Jesus shun or chide her? Did Jesus discriminate her because she was an adulter?

  30. “Just yesterday, Franklin Graham was quoted as saying that some officials
    in Obama’s administration are acting like anti-Christ.”

    The antichrist was only supposed to rule for 3 years. I don’t know about you, but the difference between 2009 and 2014 is longer than 3 years.

  31. West Viriginia is pretty solid, thank you kindly — at least for the foreseeable future. WV is not hip or trendy and doesn’t want to be.

    World Vision is a different ball of wax.

  32. “After Roe v Wade came down, most of the many Christian denominations
    dithered. Several denominations that are now stalwart pro life warriors
    leaned toward accepting Roe.” Thus we see the principle of too little, too late, and as a result we, as a people, have a collective responsibility for formally endorsing the “right” to commit tens of millions of murders. And now that they are “stalwart pro life warriors”, they still generally (along with many Catholics) tell us we still have to put our energy behind a party that makes an end to abortion a lower priority than lower taxes, optional wars, and pretty much every other plank in their platform, so , predictably, nothing changes.

    Stalwart warriors who are late to the battle and ineffective once they arrive — and this is supposed to be GOOD news?

  33. I think it is a mistake to try to distill the essence of Jesus’s message into one, small. out of context Bible verse.

  34. I think World Vision’s “wrong” was not in hiring people with SSA, but in deciding to treat marriage equally with not-marriage.

  35. Does not even that sinner have the right to be considered by their merits when it comes to hiring? Once again, if this was, say, a Catholic school teacher, I would agree that they probably shouldn’t be hired. But this isn’t a school.

    Dob’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of legislating against World Vision if they chose not to hire them, but it isn’t necessarily immoral. Of course, if there was a morals clause in their contract, it would be different…

  36. I wrote (and Franklin Graham said), “acting like antichrist.”

    There is a difference between THE antichrist, and anyone who seriously lives up to the label, but is not necessarily “the” Antichrist. And such are people in the Obama administration. I.e., they are so full of lies, that they deserve the label. Beginning with Obama.

    Read 1 & 2 John:

    Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22, RSV)

    Every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. (1 John 4:3)

    For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

  37. Anyone, any “church,” any organization that accepts, tolerates, performs, or encourages homosexual “marriage” is not Christian.

    But Evangelicals have no central authority, and none of their leaders speak for all. In other words, if one says the truth (such as Franklin Graham), then he is an orthodox (small “o”) Christian (at least orthodox on the basics of faith and morality). If the leaders of World Vision fell into the lies of the culture of death, they are not (or, are no longer) Christian.

  38. “…(unless the marriage is unlawful) …”

    An excellent example of the unadulterated Word…:D

  39. Jesus did not shun or “discriminate” her.

    But, as Yolanda Dresback already replied, he clearly told her to “sin no more.”

    I always thought that this saying was fairly easy to understand: do no commit adultery anymore, because it is terribly sinful. In fact, it is so sinful that the Law’s punishment for it was death, a death from which Christ alone can save. Christ saves unconditionally, but he also gives the commandment to not sin like that anymore. BTW, the commandment “to not sin anymore” and “repent” is itself a old as the world.

    What Christ told the Adulteress Woman applies to homosexuals as well.

  40. What matters is that Christ commanded here not to sin, not what she did afterwards, which we have no means and no interest of knowing. Our morality does not originate with Christ’s disciples’ successes or mistakes, but from Christ’s teaching.

  41. “But, as Yolanda Dresback already replied, he clearly told her to “sin no more.””

    Did Jesus “command” or “told”?

    “Jesus said to her, I will not condemn thee either. Go, and do not sin again henceforward” – John 8-11

    Strangely compassionate?

  42. We know what the penalty for adultery is: “Moses, in his law, prescribed that such persons should be stoned to death; what of thee?”- John 8:5

    What is the penalty for homosexuality prescribed by Moses?

  43. “and no ability to procreate, you have no marriage.” Really, well I guess that infertile married couples are no longer married. And after wives go through menopause, I guess their marriage is no longer valid.