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Why Christians Who Love Their Gay And Trans Neighbors Won’t Attend Their Weddings

If Christians want to convey love, there are other — and truer — ways of doing so than attending a celebration of sin.

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Alistair Begg, a 71-year-old evangelical Scottish pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church, who has an influential radio ministry called “Truth For Life,” should repent of the dangerous advice he gave on his program.

In response to a question from a grandmother as to whether she should attend her grandson’s wedding to “a transgender person,” Begg said that, so long as the grandson knows that she “can’t countenance … the choices that he has made in life,” she should “go to the ceremony” and “buy them a gift.” The context of Begg’s advice indicates it applies also to gay unions. Indeed, a wedding involving transgenderism invariably entails a homosexual component, for the “transgender person” is either the same sex as the spouse or pretending to be so.

Not an Agree-to-Disagree Issue

    From a biblical perspective, attendance at a gay or transgender wedding is no more an agree-to-disagree point of practice than is a Christian attending the marriage between a man and his mother, or a Christian going to an idol’s temple as a non-worshipper to maintain contacts. There is no faithful early Christian leader who would have advocated such attendance. Remember that in a transgender or gay union, the parties declare their intent to sin without remorse as long as they live and invite attendees to celebrate that commitment with them.

    Nor is it loving to attend such a ritual event, since the attendance speaks louder than any words claiming disagreement. Attendees are expected to offer expressions of joyful affirmation at the ritual and reception: applaud, smile, congratulate in a receiving line, lift one’s glass repeatedly with others to toast the couple, share in a festive meal, and likely dance. The whole atmosphere conveys the celebration of a good, which one’s presence and participation acknowledge tacitly, if not directly. By attendees lending tacit acceptance, those engaged in this sacrilegious parody of a true wedding are led further down the path of sexual self-degradation and ultimately destruction.

    Given Begg’s status as an elderly and trusted spiritual leader, his advice is a sign of how deeply LGBT rot has seeped into the evangelical house. It shows the degree to which many Christians are ill-informed about clear scriptural guidance on a homosexual or transgender wedding, unskilled at analogical reasoning, and so captivated by cultural influences that they balk at the scriptural view that homosexual practice and transgenderism are worse than even adult-consensual incest.

    Misguided Justification of Future Evangelism

      Begg justified his response by appealing to an alleged evangelistic hope: 

      Your love for them may catch them off guard, but your absence will simply reinforce the fact that they said, ‘These people are what I always thought: judgmental, critical, unprepared to countenance anything.’ And it is a fine line, isn’t it? … We’re going to have to take that risk a lot more if we want to build bridges into the hearts and lives of those who don’t understand Jesus and don’t understand that He is a King.

      If Christians want to convey love, there are other — and truer — ways of doing so than attending a celebration of sin. Contact can be continued after the event in shared meals and expressions of concern for well-being that do not entangle the Christian in the formal endorsement of immorality.

      Yes, Jesus ate with sexual sinners and tax collectors who were interested in his message. Yet that’s a world of difference from attending a ritual celebration of the tax collectors’ economic exploitation or going to a ritual celebration of an immoral and unnatural sexual union where the participants are committing themselves to engage in this immorality lifelong. 

      Even apart from the first and foremost concern of offending God, attendance at a gay or trans wedding is far more likely to have a negative effect on the Christian attending than to have a salutary effect on those tying the knot to accept a true gospel. 

      In the case Begg cites, although the grandson “knows” his grandmother doesn’t agree with the marriage, her attendance at the ceremony and reception conveys she can’t be that opposed to what is happening. Else, she would be weeping at the ceremony, not making merry​.

      This then becomes the basis for the grandson to extort from the grandmother acceptance of the relationship in the future. Knowing the grandmother has already caved on her “principles” by attending their celebration, the grandson can presume further concessions by using her desire for a continuing relationship as a form of blackmail. 

      Sadly, the grandmother is more likely to be influenced to accept the validity of the union than the grandson is to be influenced to renounce his immorality. Through her attendance, she has become desensitized to the idea of a homosexual or transgender union. Her conscience has been seared to some extent.

      Finally, the grandmother would be stumbling other believers, especially the young, for they can see that attendance implies limited acceptance, whatever the grandmother might say. Those peddling such an evangelistic or missionary justification, knowingly or not, have become partners (koinonoi, 2 Cor. 6:14) to evil, compromised Christian morality, offended God, and stumbled the weak​.

      Biblical Analogy

        The closest analogue to a trans or gay wedding would be an adult-consensual incestuous wedding. Incest is a comparably severe offense, and both involve people who are too much formally or structurally alike (one as regards kinship, the other as regards sex or “gender”). Can anyone imagine Paul giving Begg’s advice to the situation described in 1 Corinthians 5, where a self-professed “Christian” man is sleeping with his stepmother? 

        To claim Paul gives us no advice in 1 Corinthians 5 about attending an incestuous wedding, just because it isn’t explicitly discussed, would be misplaced. It is inconceivable that Paul would countenance attendance at an incestuous wedding as a means to building an evangelistic bridge, after demanding “in the name of the Lord Jesus” that they cease to associate with the incestuous man, noting how abhorrent the behavior is to God, and insisting that they mourn rather than celebrate an unrepentant sinner facing eternal exclusion from God’s kingdom. Telling the Corinthians to “flee sexual immorality (porneia)” (1 Cor. 6:18) is antithetical to attending the ritual celebration of incest​.

        Homosexual practice and transgenderism are worse than incest because they violate what Jesus defined as the foundation upon which all other sexual standards are predicated: “male and female [God] made them” (Gen. 1:27) and, “For this reason a man … will become joined to his woman, and they [later: the two] shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). 

        Granted, Paul is dealing with a self-professed Christian engaged in the behavior. But Begg doesn’t even inquire whether the grandson is a self-professed Christian. Not that the Christian profession of the offender would make any difference in Paul denouncing the celebration of sin.

        Evangelical leaders who seek to persuade fellow believers that it is permissible to attend a transgender or gay wedding have, at least on this particular point, been influenced more by their culture than by God’s Word​. This is especially true of an elder statesman of the evangelical world like Alistair Begg. His ministry should not be supported until he repents of this well-intentioned but sinful advice.


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