Saturday, 29 March 2014


The Anglican blogger Archbishop Cranmer has certainly caused a stir with his post last Wednesday: World Vision: The Parable of the Gay Samaritan.

Through a modern retelling of Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, as recorded in Luke 10v25-37, Cranmer sets out to present as latter-day Pharisees those who objected to the decision by evangelical children's charity World Vision USA, now reversed, to employ professing Christians in same-sex marriages.

The bad guys are three American conservative evangelicals who publicly objected to the original decision. They pass by on the other side when faced with 'a six-year-old starving boy and eight-year-old trafficked girl' who were attacked by 'fanatical militia' whilst 'going down from Djibouti to Hargeysa in Somaliland'.

The good guy is a gay guy in a civil partnership:
He went to them and gave them bread and water, and bandaged the girl to stop her bleeding, hugging them both to comfort them. Then he carried the weeping girl and put the boy on his own bicycle, and brought them to a World Vision shelter and took care of them. The next day he took out $100 and donated it to the charity. ‘We must look after them,’ he said, ‘and I'm happy to reimburse World Vision for any lost sponsorship you may have as a result of your employing me.’

Two points need to be made in response to this: 

1). The controversy related to World Vision USA, not to the UK arm of the World Vision International Partnership. On Thursday, World Vision UK put out the following statement: 
Our colleagues in World Vision USA yesterday reversed a policy decision which had enabled Christians in same sex marriages to be eligible for employment. While this decision doesn’t change anything we do at World Vision UK, it has prompted questions.
World Vision UK does not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.  Individuals are hired and their performance monitored on job-specific criteria only. 

World Vision UK and World Vision USA are part of the World Vision International Partnership which operates in 97 countries. It is a partnership of interdependent national offices, each one has different policies regarding employment practice, in line with local law, culture and customs. 

This Christian partnership comes together with a core humanitarian mission to serve the world’s poorest children as a sign of God’s unconditional love. We serve all people, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability or sexual orientation. 

At WVUK we are saddened by any distraction to our core mission to bring hope to the world’s most vulnerable children.
So the gay Samaritan in a civil partnership in Cranmer's parable would have been employable by World Vision UK in its overseas projects.

2). The good news for Christians who wish to uphold the historic biblical teaching of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on the heterosexual nature of marriage is that in the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ told a story about a good Samaritan not about a gay one. The Samaritan's 'sexual orientation' did not feature in the story. If it had, then its inclusion might have led people to believe that the Lord Jesus was dissenting from the teaching of God's Word that the only right context for the expression of sexual love is life-long, monogamous, man-woman marriage.

By God's grace, the story Jesus told causes no such confusion.

And it is a story that is inspiring many Christians around the world, who uphold the Bible's teaching on sex and marriage, to countless deeds of love and self-sacrifice for suffering humanity.


  1. As I understand, the original version of the parable concerned national and ethnic prejudice.The Samaritans were consider racially inferior by many others. I don't think the idea of a "gay" Samaritan is a good analogy. Ethnicity is a matter of birth, homosexuality is not. Ethnicity is not a sin, but homosexuality is. It's comparing chalk and cheese

    1. The Samaritans (typically) also only accepted the law but rejected the prophets (like the sadducees did). But regardless, people didn't believe its inclusion meant that the Lord Jesus was dissenting from the teaching of God's Word. He was clear that the prophets are authoritative as well.

  2. There are plenty of other charities for Christians to support and, unfortunately, plenty of work for all of them.

  3. There are plenty of charities for Christians to support, and unfortunately, no shortage of work for any of them.