Pastor and well-known author Alistair Begg said over the weekend he’s “not ready to repent” after facing intense backlash for comments he made last year about whether Christians should attend same-sex wedding ceremonies.
American Family Radio announced in late January that, in response to the Cleveland-based pastor’s comments, it would no longer carry his “Truth for Life” program on its stations.
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In September of last year, during an episode of his podcast, Begg addressed whether Christians should attend homosexual wedding ceremonies. He was fielding a question from a grandmother whose grandchild was “about to be married to a transgender person.”
The Scottish-born minister suggested that, so long as it is clear one does not agree morally or theologically with the union, it is acceptable to attend the ceremony and bring a gift to “build bridges.”
While Begg has not addressed the kerfuffle with the media, he did speak about it from the pulpit Sunday.
During his sermon at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Begg — preaching from Luke 15 — warned against the “inclination toward Pharisaism,” which he said is “alive and well within all our hearts.”
“In that conversation with that grandmother, I was concerned about the well-being of their relationship more than anything else, hence my counsel,” he explained from the stage. “Don’t misunderstand that in any way at all.”
He continued, “If I was on the receiving end of another question about another situation from another person at another time, I may answer absolutely differently, but in that case, I answered in that way, and I would not answer in any other way, no matter what anybody says on the internet.”
Begg also spoke staunchly against those who have called him to repentance for his statements.
“If people want me to recant and to repent … I repent daily, because I say a lot of things that I shouldn’t say,” the pastor said, joking about his relationship with his wife, Susan. “I mean, check with Sue.”
“But the fact of the matter is, I’m not ready to repent over this,” he added. “I don’t have to.”
At another point in the sermon, Begg — who has made clear he holds to a biblical view of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman — went on to paint a picture of how he envisioned the grandmother in question attending her grandchild’s wedding ceremony.
“You got a problem with the grandmother showing up, sitting on the front row in a context that she absolutely despises, and sitting on her lap nicely wrapped with beautiful paper and a bow around it is her gift — the gift of a Bible for a granddaughter she knows has no interest in the Bible?” he asked.
“But,” Begg continued, “because she believes that the entrance of God’s Word brings light, she is prepared to trust the Holy Spirit to do the work.”
“What happens to homosexual people, in my experience, is that they are either reviled or they are affirmed,” the pastor explained. “The Christian has to say, ‘We will not treat you in either of those ways. We cannot revile you, but we cannot affirm you. And the reason that we can’t revile you is the same reason why we can’t affirm you: because of the Bible, because of God’s love, because of His grace, because of His goodness.”
You can watch Begg’s full sermon below:
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