Monday, August 1, 2011

The "Hole" in World Vision's Gospel

Dear World Vision,

I have sponsored one or more children through World Vision since the year 2000, including one “Hope Child” in Africa.  I see quite a disturbing trend that has developed in the World Vision organization that replaces the teaching of true Gospel of the Lord Jesus with “social justice” or the “social gospel”. This is on full display in your founder Richard Stearns’ book, “The Hole in Our Gospel”. A critique on the book with which I agree can be found at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/06/15/a-hole-in-our-gospel/.

Here is a quote from the aforementioned article, to give you a flavor for what I find so objectionable:

“Second, the way Stearns employs statistics is misleading. He states that “the wealthiest 7 people on earth control more wealth than the combined GDP of the 41 most heavily indebted nations.” But why say “control” instead of “earned” or “created”? He tells us that “the top 20 percent of the world’s population consumes 86 percent of the world’s goods” (122). But why not give statistics on what percentage of the world’s goods that twenty percent also creates? I’m sure many rich people are rapacious goons, but it is unhelpful to frame the numbers as if wealth were a zero-sum game. Stearns argues that “the wealthiest countries, where just one-fifth of the world’s population lives, spend 90 percent of the world’s health care dollars, allowing the remaining four-fifths of the planet to spend only 10 percent of the money” (141). This makes it sound like there is a fixed pie of health care dollars and all the rich countries raided the pie before the poor countries had a chance to get to the table. This is bad logic and bad economics.”

I have seen the results of this “social justice gospel” in the writing and literature that has been sent to me by my sponsored children. I have held my peace for this long because I did not want to jeopardize children. However, I am now convinced that you are “causing these little ones to stumble” because you are preaching a false gospel.

Here are three examples which demonstrate the problem:

Example 1: In 2009, I received the following “Christmas” card from my sponsored child in India:
Cover of card
Inside of card

I say “Christmas” card tongue in cheek, since there is no mention of Christmas or CHRIST anywhere in the card. To add insult to injury, the leftist Gandhi is quoted. Since when is peace a right? Apparently Matthew 10:34-36 is not being taught to my sponsored child: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” Perhaps you mean peace with God (although that is not a right, either), but that is only possible through His Son, Who is not mentioned at all on this card.


Example 2: In 2010, I received the following “Christmas” card from my sponsored child in India:

 Outside of tent folded card
Inside of tent folded card

Again this “Christmas” card makes no mention of Christmas (again with the “Season’s Greetings”) or of God’s only begotten Son.  It despicably cloaks environmental leftism in Christianity. Fools! It is not possible to “bequeath to our children a world which is safe, clean, and productive” - though we should strive for those things - but not as an end in themselves. What we CAN do for children is to teach them to recognize and combat lies like this with the truth, clarity, and purity of the true gospel in a wicked and perverse generation.

Example 3: Today I received my sponsored child’s annual progress report. Inside, it describes for me just what my sponsored child has been learning, courtesy of World Vision and my sponsorship money.

In the “Life School Transformational Development” section, I read, “In this program 415 children, [and] teachers from 22 communities participated. Children gathered together in one place for the 3 day program and they participated with full enthusiasm. The topics emphasized were Environment, Education, Child-Rights, Global warming and Gender Equality.” WHAT? Again, no mention of Christ. (You are a “Christian” organization, are you not?) Instead, you are teaching global warming? Perhaps you are unaware of all the evidence that global warming is not occurring? Do you not care about the truth? What are child-rights? The “child-rights” that I am aware of involve the sanction by the UN of children suing their parents for spanking them.

The “Hole in Your Gospel” is that you do not preach the true one.  I will no longer allow you to use the fruit of my labor to lead His children astray. You may NOT continue to charge my credit card. I am ending my sponsorships.

Sincerely,
Jeanette Ward

4 comments:

Jeanette said...

Here is World Vision's Response (part 1), received this morning:

Dear Mrs. Ward,

Thank you for contacting World Vision regarding your sponsorship of Kanhaiya Ram Dayal in India and James Zulu in Zambia. We welcome the opportunity to be of service.

Please know that we appreciate your opinions; therefore, your comments have been added to our Voice of the Donor report, which is reviewed by key decision makers within the ministry. We want to assure you that we appreciate your comments.

As requested, we have inactivated your Mastercard ending in 1810 so no additional donations will be drawn from the account. Our records show the last draw was taken on July 26, 2011.

Our records indicate that you have been faithfully supporting our child sponsorship program since January of 2000. Because your support is such a blessing, before we discontinue your sponsorship of Kanhaiya and James we would like to address your concerns to help you understand World Vision's position on these issues.

We understand your concern regarding the special greeting cards you received from your sponsored child in India. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization, and our faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our ministry and everything we do. Our work involves not only feeding and helping people but also ministering to them spiritually. Our mission is to follow our Lord and Savior in working with the poor and oppressed to transform lives, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the kingdom of God.

In many countries in which we serve it is often against the law to speak openly about the Christian faith, or even to convert. In some places, initiating a religious conversation could cause us to be expelled from the country. Yet if we are questioned concerning our faith, we are allowed to reply. In countries where there are few, if any, Christians, World Vision workers show their faith, hope, and Christian values through Christlike living and caring actions, as they work with the children and their families.

India is identified by World Vision as one of the countries in which we ask sponsors to refrain from referring to Jesus or Christianity, using evangelistic language, or making comparisons between religions when sending packages, writing letters, or sending emails. This communication can be confusing and may alienate your sponsored child, alarm his parents, or create relationship challenges for World Vision staff. This is why we have a different version of cards for children in these countries to send to their sponsors. The card you received from James in Zambia would have shared the Christmas message because he lives in a country where we are free to share our faith.

World Vision is grateful to be allowed to work in countries where culture and religious beliefs prevent many other organizations from reaching out to hurting children and families. Our concern for the safety and well-being of the children and families we serve may prevent us from sharing the gospel outright; however, as we work alongside people of different faiths, we strive to reflect the compassion and care of Christ. That unconditional care, along with our staff's commitment, competence, and character, are tangible witnesses to Christ. The loving commitment of our donors also serves as a powerful demonstration of God's love.

...continued

Jeanette said...

World Vision's response, continued...

Regarding your concern about "The Hole in Our Gospel," written by Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., Mr. Stearns hopes the book will inspire readers to consider the whole gospel God is calling us to, as expressed in James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Since coming to World Vision over a decade ago, Mr. Stearns has been on a journey which has deepened his faith and broadened his understanding of what the gospel is all about: the good news. He states, "It was about Jesus coming to preach the good news to the poor, the good news of salvation, the good news of forgiveness of sins, but also that we, his followers, would then be good news to the poor, that we would actually minister in his name as followers of Jesus Christ, that we would stand up for justice, that we would bind up the broken-hearted as well."

Mr. Stearns explains: The reason I wrote this book was because I believe that the Christian community in the United States for the most part has been missing something in our understanding of the gospel. We tend to think of the gospel as a private transaction between us and God. It's about being forgiven for our sins and being saved, which is good news, it's the good news of the gospel that we have been forgiven and we've been saved, but often we leave it there, we leave it as a private transaction between us and God. I don't think the gospel was ever meant to be private. I think it was meant to be public as well, and just like we have a private relationship with the Lord, we have to have a public and transforming relationship with the world, and that as followers of Jesus Christ we're meant to take this good news across the globe, but not just the good news of salvation, but the good news of God's love for the poor, his concern for the sick and the downtrodden and the broken-hearted. We're to minister in his name. We're to stand up for justice in our world and fight for the underdog. That's why the gospel was good news for the poor, and I think we in America have missed that. Yes, our churches do a lot of good things in our country and our communities and around the world, but we're not doing nearly enough. We're the wealthiest community of Christians in the history of Christendom in 2,000 years. We have tremendous resources, we have tremendous opportunities, and we need to rise to this challenge to truly be the gospel, to be the Good news to the world.

Jeanette said...

The rest of World Vision's response...

Mrs. Ward, regarding your concern about World Vision's response to climate change conditions around the globe, it is our pleasure to respond to your important and relevant question. World Vision has seen the growing and destructive impact of climate change on the impoverished children and families we are privileged to serve. To an increasing degree, droughts, flooding, and related food shortages, especially in Africa are scientifically linked to climate change. While World Vision is not an organization that specializes in climate change issues, we have carefully reviewed the processes and conclusions drawn by leading international experts. We believe they are correct, in part because their findings match what World Vision field staff are observing first-hand worldwide, such as changing weather patterns, significant declines in vegetation growth and water supplies, and the resulting conflicts as communities attempt to adapt to these difficult developments.

World Vision is effectively responding to the debilitating effects of these conditions through the implementation of region-specific initiatives. If you are interested in learning more about World Vision's work with agriculture and the environment, please visit our website using the following link: http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/learn/ways-we-help-agriculture?open&lpos=ctr_txt_Agriculture-and-Environment
.

We hope this information is helpful and that your concerns have been sufficiently addressed. It would be our privilege to continue the generous partnership you have maintained with World Vision since 2000. Please let us know if you would like to continue sponsoring Kanhaiya and James. You may either reply with history to this email or call our toll-free number at 1.888.511.6432. A Donor Service Representative will be glad to be of service. If we do not hear from you by August 12, 2011, we will discontinue the sponsorship.

May God bless you,

Anonymous said...

Dear World Vision after reading your response I see the deception at work.

Reading my Bible I “never” see a call to compromise preaching the Word because it would close a door. You have to decide if you are about winning souls or “temporarily profiting a person’s needs while denying them the “the true treasures, salvation and the knowledge of the Lord and ALL His LIFE found in the Word of God” In a sense you are denying these children and families the fullness of the redemptive work of God in ALL it’s facets which is what God uses to make us FREE – You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. So we’re sending them all this money and denying those people 99% of what they need to become what God intended!

Regarding climate change- you are again disregarding God’s Word and “promise” that He is “preserving” the earth until He judges it.

WV increasingly prove they have weak Bible understanding of human condition and needs other than giving them food-which is a great thing but not the most important thing.