World Vision and the Spirit of the Antichrist

Barb Wire

“Even now many antichrists have come…Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist — denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:18, 22).

“But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist” (1 John 4:3).

The above New Testament verses are not referring to the Anti-Christ, the sinister character who will rise to prominence before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. Rather, this is a warning about those who deny our Lord and His eternal principles. 

Within moments of Richard Stearns’ now-reversed decision to acknowledge self-avowed, practicing homosexual “Christians” and same-sex “marriage” at World Vision, the shockwaves reverberated throughout the entire Christian world. Immediately, thousands of bible-defending Christians bombarded the humanitarian organization with serious concerns and complaints.  

That Stearns was living in inexplicable denial was clearly demonstrated by his ridiculous statement, “We are absolutely resolute about every employee being followers of Jesus Christ. We are not wavering on that.” Call this a novel concept, but in my book, following Christ essentially means “following Christ” — completely and without reservation. However, as we shall see, their short-lived policy change actually represented an abandonment of the way of Christ and seriously endangered the ministry viability of World Vision.

While many will undoubtedly question the motivations of the WV leadership’s sudden change of heart and others may also call for their to be consequences as a result of this momentary aberration from the truth, we should all nonetheless be extremely thrilled that this policy has now been consigned back to the pit of hell from whence it came. Moreover, there are valuable lessons that we can all glean from this brief flirtation with evil.

There are many who have been, and will be, deceived into believing that the approval of homosexual behavior and same-sex “marriage” is the loving, compassionate and Christlike thing to do, but nothing could be further from the truth. We must never forget that embracing sin of any type for any reason is, in fact, the incarnation of the spirit of the antichrist. There is nothing loving about endorsing rebellion against God or contributing to another person’s descent into depravity. Celebrating someone’s choice to take “the road that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14) embodies a grievous breach of Christian responsibility.  

Probably one of the best and earliest prototypes of an individual who followed the spirit of the antichrist is one who actually lived centuries before the Advent of Jesus, the God-man. Nevertheless, even before the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem, biblical Christology teaches us that our pre-existent Lord dwelt in heavenly glory as the second person of the Trinity. So, the spirit of the antichrist was alive and well long before it was ever called by that specific, nefarious name. Therefore, we will consider one man from the Old Testament who set the ancient “bar” for antichrist-like behavior quite high: the occultic priest Balaam.

The parallels between what Richard Stearns/World Vision initially proposed (and have now repented of) and the actions of the obscure Balaam are uncanny. Through a little juxtaposing, let’s take a look at the striking similarities. This provocative exposé should function as a somber warning to anyone or any ministry that might be tempted in the future to capitulate to the sin of homosexuality and the spirit of the antichrist. Several New Testament writers also make reference to Balaam’s ungodly example as a cautionary illustration for Christians.

Balaam: Balak, King of Moab, asked Balaam to put a curse on the nation of Israel to aid in their destruction (Num. 22:4-6).

Stearns: World Vision’s now-defunct policy change was anathema to the Gospel and would have caused the blessing of God to be replaced with a curse. Heresy never experiences divine favor. So, although Stearns first stated, “This is not us compromising,” we knew better. Or, when he made the back-peddling claim, “We’re not a theological arm of the church,” didn’t Stearns realize at the time that his endorsement of what God rejects actually represented a theological statement, albeit an inaccurate one?

This short-lived demonic policy change would have hastened the demise of their organization, ushered them along the way to perdition and invoked a curse upon their formerly hoodwinked house.

Balaam: The Lord told him not to go with the elders of Moab and Midian (Num. 22:12). Therefore, Balaam certainly knew the instructions of the Lord. There was no honest way of manipulating the meaning of God’s directive.

Stearns: There are plenty of Bible verses instructing Christians to never endorse homosexuality and same-sex counterfeit “marriage” (Gen. 1:27, 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8; 1 Cor. 7:2; Eph. 5:31). Scripture is incontrovertible and not open to interpretation on this issue.

Despite what Stearns initially claimed, there is no remaining “neutral” when it comes to the absolute, immutable Word of God. Every Christian is called to believe, live and proclaim His timeless truth. Instead of remaining “neutral,” it might be more accurate to say that World Vision temporarily “neutered” itself in this debate.

Balaam: When more distinguished Moabite Princes arrived to make a second request, Balaam again prayed about it even though God had already made himself explicitly clear (Num. 22:15, 19). 

Stearns: The World Vision board reportedly prayed for years about this issue despite the fact that God had already provided numerous, unambiguous instructions in the Bible (see above). Once again, the common human propensity to “spiritualize” sinful decisions was on full display for all to see. The immediate outcry by many of their ministry partners fortunately demonstrated that there is a large number of believers who haven’t fallen as easily for the homosexual ruse.  

Balaam: God eventually gave him over to his destructive desires (Num. 22:20).

Stearns: The temporary presumption that World Vision’s drastic policy change had the sanction of God was actually another tragic example of an individual/group being given over to their reprobate yearnings (Rom. 1:26, 28). In fact, Stearns made the strange confession that “we’re not caving to some kind of pressure…There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us.” As if that statement somehow made things any better? We are typically inclined to be a little sympathetic towards, but not at all in agreement with, those who have succumbed to the relentless and withering barrage of homofascist attacks, but to surrender before the battle has even been fought was asinine.

So, for a moment, Stearns basically sold out Christ for nothing, except possibly the selfish human craving to embrace, and to be embraced by, the world and its ideologies and goodies. In other words, in all likelihood, World Vision momentarily ventured the way that humanity’s fallen sinful nature led them. No external promptings or pressure were required. Thank goodness, as WV admitted in their recent letter of repentance, the “spirit of Matthew 18” jarred them from the spirit of the antichrist.     

Balaam: Experiencing spiritual vision impairment, he was not able to see the avenging angel in his path (Num. 22:22-23).

Stearns: World Vision briefly lost sight of God’s way and the truth, and they didn’t immediately realize the disaster that awaited them along the way. And how Stearns could ever claim with a straight face that World Vision was still upholding it’s purity and moral standards despite this decision was beyond me. “Abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage” means nothing if marriage is defined by state law and not the Word of God. I’ve heard of situational ethics before, but this was the first time that I had ever heard of locational morals (determined by what state one lives in). It must have been a passing symptom of spiritual macular degeneration – or more precisely, matrimonial degeneration.  As the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins put it at the time, they were “trading a vision to reach the world for the world’s vision of marriage.”

Balaam: God reprimanded him for taking a reckless path (Num. 22:32).

Stearns: With a compromised mission, World Vision was perilously heading over the moral cliff. It was the path of outright rebellion against God.

“The board and I wanted to prevent this divisive issue from tearing World Vision apart,” Stearns stated, “and potentially crippling our ability to accomplish our vital kingdom mission of living and serving the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ.” But capitulating to homosexual sin, or any sin for that matter, should never be considered a part of Christ’s mission and instead represented a black mark on the pure name of Christ.

It would have been just a matter of time before this “divisive issue” actually did manage to tear their organization apart from the inside. Deals with the Devil never work out well, and there can be no cordial fellowship between light and darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). Besides, God severely admonishes those who “have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam” (2 Pet. 2:15). Therefore, no one should ever be tempted to tread this reckless path. We would be wise to learn the lesson that WV’s temporary dance with the Devil has taught us all.

Balaam: He bowed before a pagan altar (Num. 23:4, 14, 29-30).

Stearns: The seductive allure of government money may have had World Vision sacrificing principle and bowing before the altar of mammon. As Bryan J. Fisher estimates, their organization receives anywhere from $180,000,000 and $333,000,000 in federal funds, and they may have been trying to protect their piece of the fiscal pie. The Lord, however, condemns those that emulate “Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness” (2 Pet. 2:15) and mindlessly rush “for profit into Balaam’s error” (Jude 1:11).

Balaam: After the Lord prevented him from pronouncing a curse, he introduced sexual immorality as an alternative method for bringing the Israelites down to defeat (Num. 25:1-3, 31:16).

Stearns: The approval of “gay Christianity” and same-sex “marriage” would have thrown the door wide-open to sexual perversion at World Vision. So, while Stearns may have once asserted that “we are determined to find unity in our diversity,” what they actually found was perversity, not diversity. Big difference.

Like the church at Pergamum, the Lord’s declaration to this humanitarian organization was, “I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin…and committed sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14). However, WV’s sudden reversal means that they will not have to find out “what it is like to have me [the LORD] against you” (Numb. 14:34).

Balaam: Ultimately, he faced the wrath of God (Num. 31:8).

Stearns: God would have held Stearns and World Vision extremely accountable for embracing, and ultimately promoting, the delusion of homosexual debauchery. Their former protestations that this merely represented a “very narrow policy change” and that it was only “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity” were just vain attempts to rationalize a devastatingly corrupt decision. For a fleeting moment, this “operational arm of the global church” was tied behind our backs. World Vision was effectively useless to us, and Christians everywhere understood that they couldn’t be party to such perversions. The finances of the faithful were quickly being diverted to similar ministries that were standing fast against “all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). Believers everywhere knew that it would be unconscionable to support and sustain such apostasy.

A legacy of 64 years of ministry was in serious jeopardy all for a big, fat lie that was inspired by the spirit of the antichrist. The same should be said for any ministry that is considering the folly of abandoning of the pure teachings of Christ.

In these days of anti-Christian sentiment and moral relativism infiltrating the Church, the Lord is doing something of paramount important. Apostasy is being condemned, and God is also raising up a group of uncompromising followers who are willing to fight for the heart and soul of America and the world.

Also, be sure to express your gratitude and to affirm World Vision’s restoration of biblical principles. Please keep Richard Stearns, the WV board and their ministry in your prayers. If this incident has taught us anything, it’s this: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:21).

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jeff Allen is both a senior editor and columnist for BarbWire. He also serves as senior pastor in a mainline Christian church in Indiana. He is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Jeff is involved in several community ministries.

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