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This past week, World Vision made a major, controversial decision on hiring homosexuals and then reversed it. I have watched and participated in a lot of discussion stirred up by these events. I have read the blogs of conservatives and progressives. I have read the twitter and Facebook posts of both. And I noticed a huge difference–not the obvious difference centered on what they believe about homosexuals but a bigger difference—the reaction of both groups. 

While the reaction to the decision and reversal was not clean cut, there was a majority response from both sides. The conservatives overall called everyone to boycott and pull support of World Vision. From John Piper to Franklin Graham to Russell Moore to average Christians, the cry was “farewell to World Vision.” According to World Vision the numbers were in the thousands who dropped sponsorship–less than 5000 but still in the thousands. Now there were many who said they would keep supporting the child they sponsored because they couldn’t see letting that relationship fall to this social/cultural/doctrinal debate. But overwhelmingly, the cry was to cease supporting World Vision.

One of the posts that floored me actually stated that if this is between protecting or defaming God’s Word, let the children starve if our Lord is going to be defamed. That sounds really harsh. But that pretty much was the actions of the Conservative Evangelicals.

Then the reversal happened. And I watched as the progressive bloggers like Matthew Paul Turner, Rachel Held Evans and others who felt betrayed by the reversal asked and even begged those who read their posts to continue to support World Vision anyways. There was an overwhelming cry to see the needs of the children are bigger than this disagreement.

I have heard conservatives say the difference is because the progressives don’t stand for anything. But I think that dismisses the progressives too easily. From what I read, they have struggled and wrestled with Scripture sometimes more than the conservative bloggers I have read.

The Church has never been 100% united on every doctrine or course of action. Paul and Peter had their differences. The early church had to wrestle with the issue of circumcision for Gentile Christians and the eating of food offered to idols. There were heated confrontations between early church fathers over the deity of Jesus and whether the Spirit flows from the Father and the Son or just the Father. There were debates among the Church over unleaven bread or leaven bread to be used in Communion. And to this day we do not agree on what happens at the Table of the Lord–the very place unity is exemplified and taught. Christians supported slavery using Scripture. We have a long history of disagreeing. And there have been some shining examples of “in essentials unity, in non essentials liberty, in all things charity.” So the disagreement this week is nothing new. But our reaction to the decision and reversal is very telling.

So here is my dilemma–

Jesus healed on the Sabbath and was condemned by the Pharisees. They would rather allow a person to suffer than to even look like there was a Law of God broken.  And Jesus told them the Sabbath was made for man not man made for the Sabbath. He accused the pharisees of loving the letter of the law rather than the Spirit. Jesus was not disregarding the Law or dismissing it. He was holding to God’s law while loving a human being. Because the law and the doctrines and principles and traditions were never meant to keep people down and suffering.
Isaiah 1 and Amos 5 even state that God despises our religion when people are left in need. James tells us that true religion always cares for the poor. And Jesus said in Matthew 25, as you do to the least of these you have done to me. I really have a hard time telling Jesus I cannot feed him because I disagree with a charity over a doctrinal issue.
It seems the progressive get this about Jesus. There is a way for their voice to speak for the doctrine and truth as they know it without putting needy children in jeopardy.

I was brought up in the conservative evangelical church. I know it holds to doctrine really well. But I question what is most important to you? Please tell me. I know why you believe and hold to the doctrines so fiercely. But as you hold to those doctrines so fiercely, I am not hearing the love of God for humanity in your words or actions. I guess I am looking for a reason not to walk away completely from the conservative evangelical church.