World Vision & Church Discipline

photoI’m making a list. A shortlist, so to speak. A short, concise list, of those who, in the wake of this World Vision fiasco, need to come under strict church discipline. I’m going to make that list, and then I’m going to make it public. Each and every person on that list must receive discipline. They’ve fallen short of the gospel, betrayed the church, and there is no repentance of their sin. And so, what they need, and what they need right now, is discipline. Straight from the Master’s heart to yours.

I’ve been told time and again, by John Piper, Mark Driscoll, The Gospel Coalition, and others that we’re on a desperately slippery slope. It has to stop. The only way to stop this is to stand up, act like men, and properly discipline the church. Yours, mine, all of ours.

So here’s where I suggest we begin:

  • All who stand in the way of the release of captives
  • All who stand in the way of sight being recovered by the blind
  • All who bar the doors, preventing the oppressed from going free

In short, I am convinced that all those who stand in the way of good news being proclaimed to the poor should come under the rigors of proper church discipline. With over 2000 verses of scripture that explore God’s position on poverty and justice, it ought to be clear.

For those who choose to turn a blind eye to these verses, let me be equally clear: you have compromised the gospel. You have fornicated with idols, and you are truly deceived. Church discipline is on its way. You must be held accountable. You will be excommunicated if you fail to repent.

I’ve thought about this list for some time. And do you know whose name I want to start with? In all fairness, it seems as though I should start with my own.

Andrew Stephens-Rennie.

I am guilty. I have stood in the way, i have shut the kingdom’s door in peoples’ faces, I have placed unnecessary burdens on others’ backs. I have played the gatekeeper with smug, self-righteous pride when it is God who decides who comes to the table, God who makes the guest list, God who opens the doors the Kingdom. I am guilty of ignoring the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned.

I am guilty. How about you? What other names should we add to the list?

Some Context
Original Article: “Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages” from Christianity Today
Response from Trevin Wax of The Gospel Coalition
Rachel Held Evans on the Fallout

Andrew Stephens-Rennie on FacebookAndrew Stephens-Rennie on Twitter
Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

He currently serves as the Director of Missional Renewal for the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa nations. He previously served as the Director of Ministry Innovation at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Andrew is cofounder and contributing editor at, and co-editor of "A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh" with Marcia Boniferro and Amanda Jagt.

9 Responses to “World Vision & Church Discipline”

  1. Chris Dowdeswell


  2. Deborah

    Count me in. I have guilt, both active and passive. Mostly passive, as in spending too much time doing my own thing and not enough doing what God calls me to do. I’m glad I’m in a faith community that constantly calls me to learn and to do.

  3. John Deacon

    Must confess to not hearing about the World Vision fiasco, but am aware of how greedy I am and how greed is adding to the oppression and deeply entrenched captivity the world’s poor are experiencing.

  4. Haig McCarrell

    Absolutely, I would include myself as having fallen short of the Gospel, both intentionally and unintentionally. I pray that I and all the church would be agents of God’s grace to point the way to Him through his Son. PS I don’t know what you are referring to re: World Vision, but on a larger note, I think to a greater or lessor extent your confession applies to all church bodies as well.

    • Andrew Stephens-Rennie

      Haig – For me, the word ‘fiasco’ is in quotation marks here. Yesterday, WV USA announced that they were no longer barring gay people from working for the organisation, and a bit of a firestorm erupted on the internet.

      I’m blown away (but not surprised) by the vast number of calls from particular corners of the church for people to stop giving through WV because of this policy decision.

      The reality is, WV is not perfect. I’m not sure I’ve encountered a nonprofit that is perfect. I’ve encountered and worked with some who have had deeply rooted problems, but this particular act of condemnation and lack of support over this particular issue seems…well…crazy.

      There are plenty of good reasons to not support a charity (even WV), but this ain’t one of ’em.

  5. Dion Oxford

    sign me up

  6. Cindy McConnell

    Absolutely, sign me up too ! It becomes clear to one when you see the ultimate extension of your sin of NOT , loving your neighbour as yourself” . My self centredness, laziness, smugness seems wrongly at times to be to me a mere small infraction, BUT this response to World Vision’s position, is what it can lead to !!! This is APPALLING and sickening ! God in heaven weeps !

    • Andrew Stephens-Rennie

      Cindy – I hadn’t quite gotten there myself, but I think you’re right. There’s something about the entrenchment of NOT loving our neighbours as ourselves that leads precisely to this kind of situation. Looking at the reversal that took place today makes me wonder what it’s like to have a bully for a neighbour, and to feel compelled to cave in to them.

  7. Cindy McConnell

    Those of us who are appalled and aware of the need to repent of this ourselves need to step up to the plate, call World Vision and take on the sponsorship of one of these little ones who will be abandoned due to this madness.


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