This has been an interesting week in the news, especially involving the Christian relief agency, World Vision. A couple of days ago the organization announced a change in their policies that would allow the hiring of employees who are in gay marriages or partnerships. There was an immediate reaction to that announcement from many Christian leaders and organizations. Today, there was a reversal of that decision. An Associated Press story reported the following:
The aid group told supporters in a letter that the board had made a mistake and was returning to its policy requiring celibacy outside of marriage and faithfulness within the Bible covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. "We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness," the agency said in the letter, signed by World Vision president Richard Stearns and board chairman Jim Bere.
I, for one, am happy to see the decision to return to the values we see in the Word of God. I would hate to see an organization like World Vision lose their vision to that extent and begin to flounder. The Word of God cannot be adjusted or changed to meet our own thoughts or opinions.
One of the difficulties we face when standing for truth is the accusation of being judgmental. Many times people who do not stand on biblical convictions will say, "You have no right to judge me or anyone else. The Bible says, Judge not, that you be not judged."
However, the judging that Jesus spoke of there has more to do with trying to judge people's motives, or passing judgment on them for not meeting our standard or expectation of behaviour. When someone, who claims to be a follower of Christ is living contrary to the clear standards of Scripture, we are commanded to go to them to encourage them to adjust their behaviour to what God demands.
There is never a place for rejecting any person because of their lifestyle or behaviour. However, accepting the person does not mean accepting and approving choices and actions which clearly violate the Word of God. We must always stand for truth and encourage one another to live according to the truth.
Well, there goes another resolution. Somehow the days go by and I don't get around to writing up any of my observations. But I guess that is no reason to keep on ignoring this blog.
Over the past few weeks I have been taking a course online from the Institute of Jewish Studies. The Institute is an arm of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. I have appreciated the work of FOI for many years and have been a long time subscriber to their magazine, "Israel, My Glory."
The course I was taking was called "Jewish History: Modern." It covered approximately the past 150 years, examining the Zionist movement that led to the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, and the years since that time. It was a real experience for me, learning about the passion of the Jewish people and their determination to forge a rebuilt Israel, against unbelievable odds.
Many times, including the first days after the declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948, it looked as though the nation could not possibly survive. Five Arab nations, with 50 million people, against one tiny nation with a total population of 600,000 Jews seemed like a certain defeat. Yet, with hardly any weapons, and very little training, the new nation held off their attackers.
Again, during the Suez Crisis in 1956, the Six-Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, along with endless terrorist attacks over the years, the Jewish people stood firm and defeated much stronger nations whose goal was to annihilate the nation. There is only one possible explanation--the hand of Almighty God, whose promise to Abraham of a land for his descendants is more powerful than the armies of those who would destroy Israel.
Today we see many leaders in our western world who are urging Israel to give up almost everything to appease the Arab nations, who will be appeased by nothing less than the destruction of Israel. I am so thankful for Prime Minister Harper who has openly declared his support for the nation of Israel.
The Jewish people are God's chosen people and He clearly said to Abraham that, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2-3) Even though, as a nation, they are not faithful to God, yet his promise still stands.
Gordon Rowland has been a Missionary-Pastor with Village Missions of Canada for over 35 years. Gordon and his wife Val have lived and served in Clive since 2001. They have four children and nine wonderful grandchildren.