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Tuesday, February 13th | Responding to Alistair Begg

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
February 13, 2024 6:00 am

Tuesday, February 13th | Responding to Alistair Begg

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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February 13, 2024 6:00 am

In this episode we take a moment to discuss a serious current event in the Christian sphere.

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And as always, we're going to leave a couple of links in the description so you can do just that. And today's episode is going to be a little bit different. We're going to break from our regular programming and respond to the comments that Alistair Begg made regarding the advice he gave a congregation member regarding an LGBTQ wedding. And this is an important issue. It's something we wanted to take time to talk about.

And I'm excited to talk about it today, Dr. Shaw. Yeah. It's not something that we were planning on talking about, but since this issue has come up and we've heard from a lot of people, whether it's in church, community, asking us, what is your take on it?

What do you think? And they have a view and they want you to either support or deny that view. And we felt like we can individually talk to all these people or we can address the issue on the show where it may help a lot of people and maybe even provide a different angle to this whole issue that's going on, something maybe unique. Yeah. And if it seems like we're behind the bandwagon on that, it's because we did want to take the time to prayerfully think about this issue and think about, craft out what it is that we wanted to say, because we knew that everybody, as soon as it happened, everybody was going to be jumping on it, because they just want to get their voice out there and they want to be in the conversation, comment on it. But it was important to us that we waited, let God direct the conversation, and make sure that we as a team and as leaders in the Christian broadcast community really said something of substance. I know that was important for us as well. Right. And some people have. Some people have done an excellent job in giving a biblical response, a loving, a kind, but discerning response to this comment that was made by a pastor, Alistair Begg, and we felt like we need to do something as well.

So that's the whole purpose behind this. For anybody who's listening who has not, is for some reason just unaware of what happened, do you want to give a quick recap of what was said, like how it started and how it came to be? Sure. Well, Alistair Begg, if you've ever heard him on the radio, he has a very distinct Scottish accent. I heard about him back in, I want to say 2002 or 2003, somewhere there, where he was already popular, and somebody mentioned his name and his accent.

And what kind of an accent is that? And that just stuck in my mind. And later on, I went and did some research. I said, oh, that's who he is. And I had heard of him a little bit here and there. And some of the reformed circles.

So I was aware of who he was. He came to Parkside Church in 1983. So he's been pastoring there for about 41 years. For those who may not know, Parkside Church is in Cleveland, Ohio. So you have Cleveland, you have Pittsburgh, you have Columbus.

So right in that triangle, if you want to say, but really it's in Cleveland. And he also has a show called Truth for Life. That's based on the preaching, the teaching that comes out of that church. And on this radio show, I believe he made that comment about this interaction he had with a grandmother in his church who was really burdened because her grandson, I believe it is, was in a transgender wedding or getting married to a transgender person. And she did not know exactly what to do about that. She didn't know what the Christian protocol was for attending LGBTQ weddings, especially in a trans sense.

And that's the question I feel like a lot of people have. How should I respond? Should I attend? Should I protest and not attend? Because I don't agree with it, but at the same time, is attending mean that I have to agree with it? And so Alistair Begg made that comment regarding her moral quandary, I guess.

Right. And what he said to her was, basically is what I'm kind of summarizing here, is that you should attend it, even though you don't agree with it. You should attend it because by doing so, you're going to show love and compassion and maybe even touch their hearts.

It doesn't mean you have to agree with their stance, you have to agree with their lifestyle, whatever it is. You don't have to endorse that, but you can still be there and in the process show compassion. Be there with a gift, specifically.

Be there with a gift. And apparently this gift was a Bible. So whatever that is, that's what happened. And then of course, I don't know exactly when the show was. Somebody said the show was months ago. I believe it was months ago and it started circulating. I can find the exact air date.

And then it really took on life on the social world, right? The actual show that we're referencing aired in September. It's a part of his podcast. It's not from the sermons, but it's from his podcast. Truth for Life.

Which comes out of his sermons. So it aired in September 2023? Yes. Okay.

Thank you, David. And so that's what sparked all this controversy and that's when I began to hear from people because I didn't hear it or see it the first time. I don't watch Alistair Begg, but it came to me and people began to ask me, what do you think? And at first I was like, what do I think about what? And then it went from there to now we're doing a show on it. And I'm glad that we are because this is a situation that people increasingly find themselves in when they have a family member or a loved one who is in this lifestyle or who is connected to someone who is in this lifestyle and a wedding comes up or an event comes up. Should we attend?

Should we support? Where's the line between truth and love and what does that look like to hold both in tension? Well, one thing that he said, and he said this in his, and I guess maybe we should talk about this first because when he was confronted about this issue, it wasn't that he was like, okay, I goofed up. I made a mistake.

I wasn't thinking clearly. He doubled down. Right. He doubled down. Even from the pulpit, he doubled down. That's right.

That's right. In fact, there was I think a Sunday night meeting recently, maybe a week ago, Sunday, and in that meeting seemed like a packed house. He pretty much said, yes, that's what I said, and I am standing by it. People have called me to repent.

To repent for what? And he pretty much kind of sort of spoke from a moral high ground, I guess you can say. Yeah, no, I think so because he started off the entire, and we can probably link to that if it's still up, but he started off that entire discourse with, I really assumed that people could put two and two together and come up with four. Right, right.

So already not a great place to start from. I think that was the very first thing in that clip is that, well, I assumed that people could put two and two together and just come up with four, meaning this is a clear issue. I'm clearly right.

I don't know why people are backlashing. And I watched his podcast, mainly the section where all this begins to happen. I watched a sermon that he preached or this message that he gave to the people addressing the issue with all the firestorm over what's been going on in the past 10 days, I guess. And there are several things that I noticed in that message that I felt something's not right with this. Now, let me go and tell you where I stand on this issue and then you will know how I'm approaching this. I've had people ask me that. I've had people come to me and said, what do you suggest we do? And I told them no.

I can go and tell you if I were in your situation and if that was happening, I would not attend that wedding. And it's not out of a place of hate. It's not out of Pharisaism. It's not out of some American fundamentalism.

Shucks, I didn't even grow up in America. But I can assure you that is not right. There's nothing right about it. I also told the people who asked me that doing this, you cannot toe the line between supporting them and just supporting the idea of gay marriage or transgender marriage.

It's very impossible to even do that. And in that message, he talks about nuance. A lot of things are nuanced.

And I know what he's trying to say. It's like there's a gray area there where you need to support the person but not necessarily support the sin. And supporting the person who is in sin is supporting sin. Right.

Yes. Well, one of the things he said in his response is, as a Christian, how do you express the love of Christ without compromising? Is it with admonition or was it silence? And then he says that with a Christian, neither one is possible. It can only be done in love. Meaning that going to that wedding is a form of love.

Right. And it kind of speaks to what we've been talking about all throughout February, this misconception of love. Of what love truly is. Yeah, even among Christian leadership, there's a twisted, perverted view of what love is. Now, Alistair Begg himself will say, and again, I have admiration for him. I haven't followed him. He's not one of my list of preachers that I listen to. But I have seen him in Reformed circles. He holds up many British evangelical, like Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who I had great admiration for. Not his preaching as much. I think he was a wonderful, orthodox, great man of God. Right. But his preaching, he would go on and on on one little word forever and ever.

Not my style. I prefer G. Campbell Morgan, who was his predecessor. I preferred him over Martin Lloyd-Jones.

But having said that, Martin Lloyd-Jones was far more conservative-minded than even Campbell Morgan. He even claims John Stott or Eric Alexander or Sinclair Ferguson. And these are the names that he mentions who are his heroes. And many of them coming from rich Reformed circles. So for him to say, that's the person and that's the sin. If anything you learn from Reformed theology is the person is the sin. Right. We have a nature of sin.

We are dead in trespasses and sin. One of the cardinal doctrines of Reformed theology, and which I espouse very much. I mean, I agree with all the tenets of Reformed theology, but I do agree with that one.

So how can you separate those two? And he's calling us to understand the nuances and that we are dumb if we don't. He didn't use that word, but that's pretty much what he's saying. It's a very condescending tone.

It was very condescending. He comes at it from a place of a moral high ground, like you said. It very much seems like he's looking down. My question is, is this rhetoric, is this new to him? Or has this been underlying in his messages to this point that we're just now seeing?

I don't know. I haven't followed his preaching teaching. I don't know, David, if you have heard much on that, or John, if you did some research on this.

Yeah, I've done some research. I haven't listened to a lot of his sermons, but I definitely have listened to a lot of his interviews on the topic. I've read some of his interviews from other websites.

I know he did a piece with, oh my goodness, it wasn't, oh, well, American Family Radio dropped his show, and so he did some, I think he did an interview with Christian Post. But basically what he said was, you know, I'm not going to change my answer no matter what anybody says on the internet. And he said, it's basically him saying that the issue is not with the Bible, the issue is in your minds. The issue is in your emotions and your feelings. So I'm sorry if I said something that triggered you, but this isn't, and this is the subtext, this is not what he said. The impetus of it, I guess, is that this is a problem with you. I haven't said anything wrong.

I don't feel sorry about anything that I've said. And you can find a way to reckon it with yourself. If you attend a wedding and you bring a gift for the couple that is getting married.

And mind you, he says the gift was a Bible. Right. By nature, you are supporting that union. So here's what I want to, I agree with you. One of the things he said in his response, this is from the pulpit, this is in God's house that he says this, is that as Christians, we cannot revile the LGBT community, neither can we affirm them.

Okay, cool. Going to a wedding, I have never been to a wedding that I didn't affirm. I've never seen a person go to a wedding because the purpose of going and attending a wedding and bringing a gift is you are affirming that. You are a witness of that union. You're a witness of the union.

That's the purpose of the crowd. In secular weddings, that's the case. So we can neither revile homosexuals nor affirm them, sure. But we can't pretend that going to the wedding is not affirming the union. Right, right. And what he's saying is I can do that.

I'm so sorry that you're not able to do those things, but I can do that. And I beg to defer with him that he is wrong. He is terribly wrong on that matter because that person is in sin. That person is living sin. You cannot differentiate between that person and the sin.

The moment you do that, I don't know, maybe drop the Reformed theology, maybe try something else, but that's not it. Well, I appreciate the fact that you're taking this from a theological doctrinal standpoint. He's right.

We can argue about opinions on the Internet all day long. The nature is sin. Yes. So are you telling me that my nature is not me? So what exactly? Are you supporting that primordial soul in that person? What are we talking about here?

What is your angle? We have diverged somewhere from the theology that we hold and espouse to be true. Well, he even says again in his response that this is not a blanket statement, that I'm advising people to go out and attend LGBTQM. Right, he even said that. In the next instance, I may just completely defer with that. And again, I'm paraphrasing here.

And say something different. So wait, so what exactly are you saying? So what is sin? What is sin? Is it dependent upon the person? Right.

Is it based on an individual account? Is it just an action? Right.

Or is it a nature? And I think he would even say and has said, like, yes, that person is in sin, but you are not in sin by attending that wedding and, I guess, supporting it, affirming it, even though it's not affirming it. Or a person, affirming that person, not the act or the ritual or whatever. It feels like it would have been easier to just say, hey, you know what, I wasn't thinking straight. I pulled the episode.

I gave bad advice. Yep. But he's Scottish, right? Yeah.

They don't do that. There's no backing down. That's Braveheart right there. Never surrender. Right. Right. So if the goal is then to show love, the goal is to be loving. That was the whole impetus behind the grandmother's question, how do I love my grandchild through this? Wouldn't the most loving thing be to point them to Christ?

Yes. Wouldn't the most loving thing be to point them away from sin? If I had a kid who was running headlong into something that was dangerous and they wanted me to support them and they wanted me to love them, I am not going to hold their hand as they run into the danger. I'm going to pull them back away from the danger and usher them to safety.

That seems like a no-brainer to me. I even feel like just from the pulpit, like getting up on the pulpit and speaking to the people of God, like look your people in the face. Look them in the face in front of God and men and tell them that the apostle Paul or Jesus would have attended that one. Right.

Yeah, exactly. Look your congregation in the face seriously and say, I believe in my heart that Paul would have attended. Well, they will bring up instances like where Jesus went to the homes of the tax collectors and the sinners or he hung out with the publicans and all that.

Yes, he did. But keep in mind, even with the adulterous woman, whether you believe the passage in the scriptures or not, it says, go and sin no more. Exactly. Neither do I condemn you. So the idea is you are sinning. Unless the grandmother is planning on getting up and saying, I hope you won't sin anymore, then maybe we can talk about it. I hope the grandmother is also planning on getting up and telling Zacchaeus, hey, I'm coming to your house and today salvation has come to this house. I mean, that's not going to happen. You're just going to sit there and eat that cake and sit there with a sour look and hug your grandchild and then sheepishly make your way out. That's probably what you're going to end up doing. You think that's what Jesus would do?

No, I don't think so. Again, I think it goes to a point of moral superiority that just oozes in that response. You can really see it. I watched that response twice through, all the way through. One of the first things he does is, again, he says, I assumed that people would be able to put two and two together, meaning this is really obvious to me.

I'm sorry it's not obvious to you. But then he goes on and he says, my daughter calls me on the phone and he said, Dad, you've always been so smart on this. You've always been ahead of the curve. You've always been so wise. And it's one of those weird things where he compliments himself and affirms his correctness via a proxy. Through a third party report.

Through a third party. I've always had people tell me, you're so brilliant, you're so wise. Eventually, you will start to say, yeah, those people are right. Well, I hate to also bring this up. A lot of this is a publicity stunt. Sorry, people.

If you love watching Alistair Begg, just go and tell you. It's a publicity stunt. Back in last year, a book came out, The Christian Manifesto, if I'm not wrong. And much of this discussion is coming from that book or about that book. So it's Jesus's life-changing words from the Sermon on the Plain, how to live the Christian life and experience true blessing as a disciple of Jesus.

I mean, this is the book that came out and I think some of this conversation is being done to promote, to spark interest, and stuff like this. So again, this man must have done great things for the Lord. I do not doubt the faith he has in Christ. I'm not going to say anything about that.

I don't doubt the people who attend that church are born again, saved, godly people with strong convictions. I get all that. But I think this is a publicity stunt. And it's very risky, very dangerous. And he'll have to give an account for that.

Yes. Theology, theological differences, departing from the truth should not be your path to fame. Right, and publicity stunts have consequences. Sometimes they're not as egregious, but this publicity stunt has sold out biblical convictions. And it has, in a sense, it has affirmed the sexual immorality that God despises.

I don't know how many grandmothers will now start going to their transgender grandson's wedding, but I know a lot of young people who will take this as an approval, as a green light, that this is OK. Because what will happen, I agree 100%, because what's going to happen is they're going to go to the wedding. And it's not going to be debauchery. It won't be a big travesty of sin and, you know. Sexual immorality or whatever. Right.

It'll be a nice time. And so what those young people will see is, oh, you know what, this really isn't that bad. And our young people, the young men and women of today, Gen Z and now Gen Alpha, have so many sources right now telling them what is and is not appropriate, what they should and shouldn't believe. Everybody online is telling them what is acceptable as far as homosexuality and transgenderism go. And then for someone who is a noted prominent voice in the church to come out and support these worldly values, these worldly convictions, I mean, that just undermines everything that we're trying to do. One of the things that I think I would have had more respect for is, again, if he had said, hey, I was wrong to say that. Or just to come out flatly and say, hey, listen, I know that I've always been conservative as far as sexual morality goes. I know I've always vied for Christian ethical sex within God's domain. But I've changed my mind. But he's saying, I think we were talking about it earlier, he said, you know, I've preached on Romans before.

I've preached on how homosexuality is a sin and no one said anything then. But it's because you're espousing that both are true at the same time. It's not that anyone's upset. I mean, we would be upset if you had changed your mind.

But I would rather that than you say both are true. He is demonstrating a behavior that is often found in people, I would say, especially, and he actually brings it up. So I commend him for that. In his little talk on a Sunday night at his church, he brings up the distinction between British evangelical and American fundamentalists. And he says, I didn't grow up in American fundamentalism where it's black and white, or something like that, he says. But he definitely brings up the distinction between British evangelical and American fundamentalism. He says, I didn't grow up with this American stuff.

I grew up where there are nuances there, this and that. He's right. British evangelicalism is not very strong when it comes to the inerrancy of scripture. British evangelicalism is not very strong when it comes down to are there contradictions in the Bible.

So maybe he is revealing who he really is. I will not for a moment call him a false prophet. If I call him a false prophet, I will also call C.S. Lewis a false prophet. I will also call John Stott a false prophet.

I wouldn't do that. I believe there were wonderful people of God and did great things, and I consider them as my heroes, but I also know where their weaknesses were, and I cannot follow them there. But here, that's not what is being presented. This is almost being done underhandedly and very dangerous, and I think he needs to really recant. And we're not the only ones talking about this. There are some others who have done a great job talking about this, and I commend them. Owen Strand has done that, but I feel like more people need to stand up and speak up, and I'm seeing more people doing that.

This crazy, sad incident has, in a sense, restored my hope in people. Well, I mean, you've got to think about even the position we're in. We are leaders in the Christian broadcast community, and as leaders with a voice, like when you adopt this microphone, you adopt responsibility. I can't just get on here and say whatever I feel is right in the moment, especially in a Christian context, especially in syndicated radio. There's an adoption of responsibility that comes with it, and that comes with consequence, so if I said something like that, I mean, you better believe people should be standing up and correcting me.

Which is also why we didn't want to fire off a response right out of the gate. We wanted to take time to think through it, prayerfully consider what the response needed to be, because we recognize there is a responsibility on our shoulders as a Christian broadcasting show to tell you what is true from the Bible, theologically what the Bible says. Let me talk to you about another grandmother, if that's okay. And this was after my dad came to pastor the church. He had already been to seminary, but had been kicked out of his home, went to seminary, went on to pastor this little church, and then he decided to take a trip back to see his family. And he got the taxi driver to drop him off about a block off from his grandmother's home and told him to stay there. He said, I'm going to go and see if my grandmother is there and if she is everything's okay, then I'll let you know and I'll pay you whatever. And he did the same thing with his parents' home, too. But he went there, and his grandmother came out, and she was ecstatic.

Oh, my goodness, you're home. She knew what had happened. She knew that my dad had become a Christian and his father, that would be her son-in-law, had kicked him out of the home.

She knew all of that. And yes, she came out, just hugged him, and said, oh, my goodness, and to come today. I'm so happy you came today. My dad was sort of confused for a moment. He said, what's happening today? It's Eid. Eid is one of the high feasts among the Muslims. And that's when it hit him. Oh, crud.

I showed up on Eid, which is where lots and lots of food and meat and sweets, and you can imagine, but they're all sort of dedicated to Allah. And he had to say, I'm here, but I can't eat. I can't eat. And that hurt her feelings. I mean, that really hurt her. She said, OK, well, never mind, never mind. We'll get something from somewhere.

You're home, and I'm glad you're home, and all of that. But my dad stood up to his own grandmother, who he hadn't seen in years, but it happened to be a day where she was celebrating their Muslim feast, and he said, I can't take part in that. Could we not have that story?

Yeah, I know. Why is that not the story that's circulating right now? Instead of compromising and giving in to whatever the world says. Well, it's important, because people have really turned this into a family issue. Because one of Alistair Begg's comments was, I would rather be known for my compassion rather than my condemnation. And his advice to that grandmother was, your love for them may catch them off guard. Again, love, I'm going to put that in quotes. Your love might catch them off guard, but your absence is simply going to reinforce the fact that they said, these people are always what I thought.

They're judgmental, they're critical, they're unprepared to countenance on anything. And so I think the underlying thing that he's really putting out there in communicating is that you've got to keep that family together. You know what I'm saying? That trumps any biblical conviction.

You have to have that relationship. You have to have that potential for sharing the gospel rather than halting your biblical convictions. And I get it, I get it. But I'll go back to Matthew chapter 10, 34. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. I'm imagining someone writing into the show and be like, now, Dr. Shah, would you seriously tell that grandmother who wrote into you, would you tell her that? My cross for Jesus Christ will always supersede anything else, even evangelism.

That's right. Amen. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, if today's episode was helpful for you, write in and let us know what you think about it.

That's 1-8-2-5-2-5-8-2-5-0-2-8. Such an important topic for us to discuss today. You can visit us online at, and don't forget, you can partner with us financially on that same website. Scroll to the bottom and let us know that gift is coming from our Clear View Today show family. Also, I want to remind you to visit

Check out the line of products they have over there. Use the promo code today. That's T-O-D-A-Y when you check out. A portion of those proceeds come right back here to the Clear View Today show. Jon, what's coming up in tomorrow's episode? Tomorrow, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming. This was, after all, a special episode, so we are going to be celebrating Valentine's Day in a really fun way. We're going to have some special guests on the show, three of them to be exact. I'm not going to spoil it, but if you tuned into last year's show, I think you might know who they are. Love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow with Clear View Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-13 08:14:15 / 2024-02-13 08:28:19 / 14

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