Post On:July 1, 2013
Dear Dave Toycen,
The few Evangelicals with whom we interacted in Canada seem to follow the code of Ethics for ethical Evangelism.* They include,
- Disavow any efforts to influence people which depersonalize or deprive them of their inherent value as persons,
- Disavow the use of any coercive techniques or manipulative appeals that bypass a person’s critical faculties,
- Play on psychological weaknesses, undermine relationship with family or religious institutions, or mask the true nature of Christian conversion,
- Respect for human integrity means no false advertising, no personal aggrandizement,and no overly emotional appeals which minimize reason and evidence.
- As Christian evangelists, you accept the obligation to admonish one who represents the Christian faith in any manner incompatible with these ethical guidelines.
However we see that the situation in India is in contrast to the principles of ethical evangelism. Since you have a visible base in India, we are writing to enquire if your affiliates in India are trained in ethical evangelism.
(* As revised by Doug Whallon from “A Code of Ethics for the Christian Evangelist,” © InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/ USA, 1989)
This following people of Word Vision are co-recipients of the above mail, Hon.Patrick Boyle, Dr.Beth Cummings, Ms.Sharon Dymond, Mayor Peter Fassbender, Mr. Dan Fortin, Mr. Michael A. Gartner, Dr.Jeannie L. Haggerty, Mr.Kevin Jenkins, Ms. Cheryl Leonhard, Mr.Ron McKerlie,Rev. David Morehouse, Ms. Catherine Morris, Mr. Gerry J. O’Mahoney, Rev.Dr.Carson Pue, Ms.Sharon Y. Ramsay,Rev.Karen Reed &Rev.Dr.Don Scott.
Reply from Mr.Dave Toycen
Dear Mr. Krishna,
Thank you for writing to me and for the chance to address your concerns. As you mentioned, World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children and families to overcome poverty and injustice. As such, we hold ourselves to stringent ethical principles in order to best support real and lasting change for children and their communities.World Vision globally – including our offices and operations in India – are clear about the following:
- 1. We are committed to the poor and reject any tactics that could manipulate their vulnerability, including on matters of faith.
- 2. Our strong support of religious freedom means that we do not proselytize. Proselytism takes place whenever assistance is offered on condition that people must listen or respond to a message, or as an inducement to leave one and join another part of the Christian church and/or one religion to join another religion. We respect the dignity of those with whom we work, and do not exploit vulnerability or use the power of development and humanitarian programs to coerce conversion.
- 3. We serve all people without discrimination and aid is provided regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or religion.
- 4. We comply with international standards including the SPHERE standards, and the Red Cross Code of Conduct. It is unfortunate that you have had negative interactions with certain Christians in India but I assure you that the staff who work with us are committed to showing the love of God in a way that is respectful, dignified and always ready to lend a hand where there is greatest need. I trust this has been helpful. Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions.