Why I Stopped Giving To World Vision

Today I received  a phone call from a World Vision representative asking if I’d want to renew my sponsorship of the child I’ve sponsored since 2009. With sadness, I had to tell her that no, I would not be renewing my support.

The controversy surrounding World Vision’s decision to hire practicing homosexuals (as long as they were legally married), and their almost immediate retraction of that decision has mostly blown over by this point. But I still have a picture of a 9-year-old boy from Albania on my fridge, and I haven’t yet forgotten what the decision of the President and board have cost him.

World Vision’s initial decision had a lot of people wondering whether or not they should remove support from the organization. Was it right to sacrifice the “well-being” of children and families in need over the peripheral issue of homosexuality? I struggled with this question hour by hour for the days leading up to World Vision’s reversal, and removed my support just the night before their retraction.

After prayer, thought, and discussion, my husband and I did choose to remove support, and therefore left my sweet little boy without a sponsor. There were a few factors that went into the decision at the time.

1) World Vision’s sponsorships work on a pool system. My understanding is that the money I sent in for my sponsored child wasn’t just going to him. The money was going into a larger pool of money that provided for the entire group of sponsored children. The retraction of my funds wasn’t going to mean that they would kick him out of school, or that his family would starve. It just meant that his support funds were going to have to come from other places within World Vision. That was important to me.

2) John Piper has said, “Christians should care about suffering — especially eternal suffering.” That quote (or paraphrase) has been very helpful to me as I think about the sort of issues that seem to pit the social gospel against biblical morality. Care for physical suffering should not come with the cost of eternal suffering. It is not one way or the other. In this situation, World Vision’s decision made it very clear to me that my sponsored child’s eternal needs were not going to be met in a good and true way.

3)The compromise of homosexuality in the church is a big compromise, and signifies what I think is a bigger problem of bad hermeneutics, disrespect for the Word of God, and an immoderate care for the whims of the world. An organization with those sorts of problems, in my opinion, ought not be trusted with the hearts of children we care about. Though my heart and prayers are with that little boy in Albania, I am a better steward of his heart and my money if I give elsewhere.

And then the next day, World Vision changed their mind. So what then? They apologetically reversed their decision, so that means it’s okay to give them support as they minister to children again, right? Well, I thought about it. On one hand, yes. They were reprimanded and seemed to come to good conclusion. The woman I spoke to on the phone was extremely apologetic, and said several times that she hoped that I could forgive them. I didn’t know what to say to that. I don’t think that they need forgiveness from me. Can you even forgive an organization?

And there’s still the other hand. Yes, they reversed their decision, and fast! But how long did it take them to reach the first decision? I don’t think that they came to the decision to hire married gays overnight. My guess is that they wrestled with the issues, sought counsel, etc. and came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do. But then — when they saw the negative response — they reversed their decision overnight. This makes me ask questions, like:

  • Who were they (the board) listening to, that told them this was a good idea? Obviously not someone to whom I would entrust souls that I care about.
  • What kind of people are on this board? Obviously people who are a) easily swayed by deceptive, persuasive arguments, or b) progressive “Christians” who really thing this would be a good idea. Again, not people to whom I would entrust souls that I care about.
  • What led to the quick reversal? Financial pain. Although framed in a theologically repentant tone, I can only assume that when they started to lose money and saw the impact their decision would have on their mission, they buckled and apologized to the people who could save them from bankruptcy.

All three of those thoughts lead me to believe one thing about World Vision. They are not to be trusted with the Word of God or with souls that I care about because of their complete lack of steadfastness. They did not stay true to a biblical worldview with their initial decision, and the immediate reversal leads me to believe that even their firmly-felt convictions will be sacrificed to their immediate needs. I don’t think they are trustworthy enough to disciple children, and not trustworthy enough to give money to, especially if I care that it goes primarily toward the relief of eternal suffering.

I pray that God will work truth and real repentance into the hearts of the president and board members of World Vision where it doesn’t already exist. But today, although the woman I spoke to was kind, gentle, apologetic, and probably had nothing to do with the initial decision, I let the my little 9-year-old go for good. May the Lord bless him and keep him. And may he forever treasure his creator, trusting him with all of his heart, soul, and mind.


7 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Giving To World Vision

  1. I am sure that there are a lot of organizations that you support without you having a clue how they view the bible. Punishing the kids you support because you disagree with them doesn’t seem right. To me its a mistake to put doctrine before loving people and caring for people, something that Jesus never did. I will continue to support those kids.

    • Welcome to my blog! Thanks for reading and responding.

      I want to first say that actually no — I don’t support organizations without knowing how they view the Bible. I research where my money would go before I give it. I don’t take giving lightly, and I don’t want to support something that I think intentionally compromises truth.

      Secondly, in the post I mention that care for eternal suffering and physical suffering are connected. I care for physical suffering, but not at the expense of caring about eternal suffering. There are other organizations that I trust more to do a better job at relieving both physical and eternal suffering than I feel World Vision will do. Caring for just physical suffering without appropriate attention to eternal suffering is like giving someone ibuprofen for cancer. It might make things hurt less right now, but will do nothing to help the fatal problem. I don’t think that’s very loving.

      Third, I’m glad you’ve thought about it and will continue to support your sponsored children. That’s your decision, and I’m not judging you for it. I know that there are people that I know that disagree with me, and that’s alright, it’s just not where I landed. I don’t think this is a black and white issue, but this was the decision that seemed right to my husband and me.

      • I probably should have said “companies” instead of organizations, because most of the stores or place you go to purchase things I would guess you don’t know what they are going to do with the money.

        You say that you think their are better organizations to “help relieve suffering” but what you’re really saying in the article is that you aren’t supporting them because they at one point decided to be accepting of folks who claim to be gay? My question is this… When did Jesus ever disassociate from people who needed Him?

      • This is my last comment, and it needs to be quick, so I’m sorry if it sounds short. “Companies” are different from organizations that I’m paying simply for the gospel-work they do. Hell is real, and it’s important to keep in mind — giving someone ibuprofen for cancer is nice, but it doesn’t really solve the problem. Jesus did turn people away. He healed and helped a lot, but he didn’t heal everyone. If you do a search for “Jesus withdrew,” there are a lot of times where he chose to draw back into seclusion when he could have been helping people. To follow that line of logic, you could say that he never should have died in the first place, because he hadn’t healed everyone. But instead, he valued their eternal suffering and so died on the cross and ascended to heaven. He did care about physical suffering — that much is obvious — but it’s equally as obvious that if physical relief was the end goal he would have been more “loving” to stay on earth as a man forever.

      • It just seems to me that if you won’t support one organization for their one time support for homosexuality why would you support a company that does the same? Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

        When I’m talking about Jesus disassociating with people I’m referring to your disassociating with the organization. Jesus could only be in one place at one time while here on Earth. I know his “end goal” was much bigger than physical relief. The thought that we are to disassociate with someone because we disagree theologically with them to me just isn’t biblical…

      • Okay, you sucked me in for one more comment. 🙂

        Didn’t Jesus disassociate from the Pharisees for theological reasons? Their “theological differences” were of such a grand nature that for them to stand side-by-side in “unity” would have been hypocritical, false, and misrepresentative of who God and Christ are. You and I disagree, I think, that the theological differences between me and World Vision were enough to remove support, which is a valid disagreement and I’m happy to admit that people like you can disagree with me and be Bible-believing Christians. But I just want to say that it is biblical separate from organizations for theological reasons, even if people (like you and I) have different opinions about the point at which to do that.

      • But don’t you think in this case you are the Pharisee and not world vision? And did Jesus really disassociate from the Pharisees or did he attempt to teach them correct doctrine but they didn’t want to hear it?

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