American Family Radio announced this month it has dropped a program hosted by Alistair Begg, a pastor in Cleveland, Ohio, after he suggested Christians could attend same-sex weddings to “build bridges.”
“Pastor Begg’s program will no longer air on American Family Radio,” AFR Vice President Ed Vitagliano told American Family News. “He is an excellent Bible teacher. We certainly wish him the best.”
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The comments that landed Begg in hot water came from a recently resurfaced episode of his podcast, “Truth for Life.” During an episode in September, the pastor touched on a question from a grandmother whose grandson was “about to be married to a transgender person.”
“[P]eople may not like this answer — but I asked the grandmother, ‘Does your grandson understand your belief in Jesus?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Does your grandson understand that your belief in Jesus makes it such that you can’t countenance in any affirming way the choices that he has made in life?’ ‘Yes,'” Begg said.
He continued, “I said, ‘Well then, OK. As long as he knows that, then I suggest that you do go to the ceremony. And I suggest that you buy them a gift.'”
Not attending the ceremony, Begg added, could unintentionally reinforce “judgmental” stereotypes.
“I said, ‘Well, here’s the thing: 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,'” the Scottish-born preacher asserted.
“And it is a fine line, isn’t it?” he continued. “It really is. And people need to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. But I think we’re going to take that risk. 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.”
AFR released a statement on its severed relationship with Begg after the old podcast resurfaced on social media. The radio station partnered with the pastor for more than a decade.
“Recently, it came to our attention that Pastor Begg made statements that were unbiblical and fail to line up with the decades of faithful adherence to Scripture that listeners have come to expect from him,” the statement read. “In essence, when the question was asked of him whether or not a family member should attend an unbiblical wedding ceremony between two homosexuals, Pastor Begg counseled Christians to attend and take a gift.”
It continued, “At American Family Association, we believe it to be an act of unfaithfulness to God to attend a ceremony that celebrates any union outside of the biblical model of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Members of our leadership team held a call with Alistair Begg’s team and were unsuccessful in convincing them of his error.”
“As a result of this,” it concluded, “we will no longer air Pastor Alistair Begg’s ‘Truth for Life’ program.”
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