Walter Stanley Mooneyham

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Walter Stanley Mooneyham (14 January 1926 in Houston, Mississippi – 3 June 1991 in Los Angeles, California, USA) Dr. Stan Mooneyham was a remarkable evangelical visionary with an even more remarkable heart for seeing and meeting global needs of the world's most hurting populations. He cared deeply for suffering people and tangibly secured relief for them in the most direct ways possible. He authored the books, "Is There Life Before Death?", "Come Walk the World, "China: A New Day", "Sea of Heartbreak" and "Dancing on the Strait and Narrow". The world was his home, traveling 70% of the time. He had unprecedented success in gaining audiences with world leaders to initiate needed humanitarian change, saving many lives in the process. While with National Association of Evangelicals, he started as Editor of 'United Evangelical Action (1959–1964), later he was Vice President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association', during which time he moved his family to Berlin, Germany to direct the first World Congress on Evangelism. After this success, they moved to Singapore for the Southeast Asia Congress on Evangelism. '(1967–1969) He then became President of the Christian humanitarian NGO World Vision (1969–1982).[1][2]

Mooneyham thought of himself not as liberal or conservative but as pragmatist and his positions were similar to the positions of the U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, an evangelical who was conservative on issues like abortion but who sided also often with liberals, such as his opposition to the Vietnam War and who was on the board of World Vision at this time. During Mooneyham's leadership, World Vision developed from a small organization near bankruptcy to an organization with a budget of several hundred million dollars. In addition to disaster relief, World Vision introduced a form of development work during Mooneyham's presidency, where evangelism is regarded as an integral part of the organization's operations; Mooneyham viewed evangelism and assistance as going hand in hand.[3][4]

In 1982, after the invasion of Lebanon by Israeli forces, Mooneyham personally lead a convoy to the Palestinian refugee camps near Sidon and Tyre. Being appalled by the conditions and treatment of the people, he protested the Israeli actions and issued statements to the U.S. press, which were published. These actions caused severe attacks from conservative evangelicals as well as from the Israeli Prime-minister Menachem Begin. Although under pressure, Mooneyham did not retract his statements but to the contrary arranged for the publication of a report about the situation in the September issue of World Vision Magazine.[5][6] He described Israeli actions as "reminiscent of Warsaw.”[7] In the same month, he resigned as president of World Vision International after severe criticism within the World Vision Board; according to Ken Waters (a World Vision employee at that time), accusations ranged from a dictatorial leadership style to an ethnocentric American communication style.[8] New president of World Vision International became the conservative evangelical Ted Engstrom.[9][10] After his resignation, Mooneyham became a pastor in Palm Desert, California.


  1. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (1999). Religious leaders of America: a biographical guide to founders and leaders of religious bodies, churches, and spiritual groups in North America. Gale Research. p. 391. ISBN 978-0-8103-8878-9.
  2. ^ Lloyd, James B. (1981). Lives of Mississippi authors, 1817-1967. University Press of Mississippi. p. 338. ISBN 978-0-87805-139-7.
  3. ^ J.R.Hamilton: "An Historical Study of Bob Pierce and World Vision's Development of the Evangelical Social Action Film" Dissertation, University of Southern California, 1980, pages 175,306,306
  4. ^ Greame Irvine: "Best Things in the Worst Times: An Insiders View of World Vision" BookPartners, Inc. (1996) ISBN 1-885221-37-1 p. 63
  5. ^ "The Link", American for Middle East Understanding, Vol. 25, Issue 4, p.8 (1992)
  6. ^ David Stoll, Is Latin America Turning Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth, University of California Press, Oxford 1990, p. 282ff. ISBN 0-520-07645-1.
  7. ^ Moon, Luke (December 2016). "World Vision's Decades-Long Hate Campaign Against Israel". The Tower Magazine. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  8. ^ Ken Waters: "How World Vision Rose From Obscurity To Prominence: Television Fundraising 1972-1982" American Journalism, 15, Nr. 4, 69-93 (1998)
  9. ^ J.R.Hamilton: "An Historical Study of Bob Pierce and World Vision's Development of the Evangelical Social Action Film" Dissertation, University of Southern California, 1980, p 317/318
  10. ^ Russel Chandler: "New World Vision President Named Robert A. Seiple, 44, Will Replace Ted W. Engstrom, 70." Los Angeles Times. 13. Dec. 1986