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Alistair Begg Responds to Furor Over His Counsel to Attend “Trans Wedding”

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2024 2:00 am

Alistair Begg Responds to Furor Over His Counsel to Attend “Trans Wedding”

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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February 3, 2024 2:00 am

GUEST: JUSTIN PETERS, preacher/evangelist

In case you haven’t heard the controversy that is being hotly debated in Christian circles, pastor Alistair Begg, who leads Parkside Church in Cleveland but who is even more well-known for his daily radio program Truth For Life, which features his preaching and is heard by millions around the world, said in an interview that he received a letter from a grandmother asking whether she should attend her grandson’s wedding to a transgender person.

Here is the transcript of Begg’s advice to the grandmother:

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.”

I said, “Well then, okay. 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.”

“Oh,” she said, “what?” She was caught off guard.

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.’”

Loving and engaging with non-believers is prescribed by Scripture but attending a ceremony that openly rejects God’s design for marriage? For the vast majority of theologically conservative Christians, this was a line that ought not be crossed.

We reported last week that American Family Radio, after discussion with Truth for Life representatives, has removed the program from their network. And this week, it has been reported that Begg will no longer be speaking at Shepherds’ Conference, a worldwide event for pastors held at John MacArthur’s church in March.

To his credit, Alistair Begg responded to the controversy in a full 40-minute message to his church this past Sunday night. We encourage you to watch it here.

This weekend on The Christian Worldview, preacher and evangelist Justin Peters will again join us to discuss whether Alistair Begg’s response was faithful to Scripture.
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Alistair Begg responds to the Fuhrer over his council to attend a so-called transgender wedding. That is a topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host. The Christian Worldview is a listener-supported radio ministry.

You can connect with us by visiting our website, thechristianworldview.org, calling toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or by writing to box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Now, in case you haven't heard the controversy that is being hotly debated in Christian circles, Pastor Alistair Begg, who leads Parkside Church in Cleveland, but who is even more well known for his daily radio program Truth for Life, which features his preaching and is heard by millions around the world. Alistair said in an interview that he received a letter from a grandmother asking whether she should attend her grandson's wedding to a transgender person.

Here's how Alistair Begg counseled that grandmother. 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. I said, well then, okay, 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. Oh, she said, what? She was caught off guard. 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. And it is a fancy, it is a fine line, isn't it?

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. Now, loving and engaging with non-believers is prescribed in scripture, but attending a ceremony that openly rejects God's design for marriage? For the vast majority of theologically conservative Christians, this was a line that ought not be crossed.

We reported last week that American Family Radio, after discussions with Truth for Life representatives, has removed their program from their network. And this week, it has been reported that Begg will no longer be speaking at Shepherds Conference, a worldwide event for pastors held at John MacArthur Church in March. This speaks loud and clear for how significant Begg's comments to this grandmother are being taken. But to his credit, Alistair Begg responded to the controversy in a full 40-minute message to his church this past Sunday night.

We have that video linked at our website, thechristianworldview.org. We're going to play some audio clips from Alistair Begg's message today to give as much context as possible about his reasoning and why he counseled the way he did. And then later in the program, Justin Peters will join us for some follow-up discussion. But before we get to the audio clips, I'd like to give three takeaways that I think are important to keep in mind with regard to this situation.

And the first takeaway is this. Alistair Begg has been a faithful preacher for many decades. This does not mean that we would be perfectly aligned with him, but he is clear and sound on the gospel, as he is with sexuality and marriage. He does not affirm homosexuality or transgenderism. His advice to the grandmother doesn't make him a heretic or an apostate.

Those are people who reject Christ and the gospel. But anyone who listens to him should keep his position on this issue in mind. Now, 1 Timothy 5 says, Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father. Begg is an older man, he's a pastor, and we will not sharply rebuke him. And we do appeal to him to reconsider his position. But we will also state clearly why we think his position is unbiblical and is a slippery slope to even more compromise.

The second main takeaway. In pursuit of loving our enemies and having compassion for the lost, in our view, he goes beyond what Scripture allows, models, or calls Christians to do, which is attend and participate in a covenant ceremony that mocks and rejects God's design for marriage and celebrates what Scripture calls in Romans 1 a depraved relationship. Once you give the advice he did, on what basis would you tell a grandmother not to attend the abortion procedure of her granddaughter or that a Christian church shouldn't host a transgender wedding? We don't believe there's any biblical support for scenarios like that. And further, this advice will cause some other believers to violate their conscience and attend a ceremony like this, and it puts pressure on other Christians to conform. After all, Alistair Begg is counseling Christians to do this, to reach out to the lost.

So should you. He also never addressed in his message this main criticism, that attending a transgender wedding is akin to participating or being a witness of or tacitly approving of this ungodly ceremony. Not only does he not address the main criticism, but three times in the message he was really quite confusing about what his actual position is. In one place in the message he said, quote, my response to one grandmother was not in any way a blanket recommendation to all Christians to attend LGBTQ weddings. It was my personal opinion as I sensed what was best, unquote. Something like this should not be a matter of our personal opinion.

It should be, what does Scripture say? And on what basis would someone know whether to attend or not to attend? So there's confusion here.

A third takeaway is this. In his response, Alistair Begg compares faithful Christians who wouldn't attend a transgender wedding to the Pharisees, like the older brother in the parable of the lost son, who wouldn't attend his younger brother's celebration after the younger brother returned home repentant. The older brother, who represents the self-righteous Pharisees, is actually angry that his father throws a party for his younger brother after all the younger brother's debauchery. So the older brother refuses to attend the party. He won't celebrate his younger brother's repentance.

He has no room for grace like the Pharisees don't. But of course, a Christian who does not attend a transgender wedding is not the same scenario as the older brother who refused to attend the return party of his repentant younger brother. But that is the comparison that Begg makes in the message that Christians who would refuse to attend are like the older brother, the Pharisees, who are too afraid of contaminating themselves rather than reaching out to the lost. So Alistair Begg using that parable to sort of marginalize and almost demean Christians who would refuse to go to a transgender wedding was really quite disappointing. And so, in this first soundbite, he gives some context for how he came to his position. And he starts out by reading from his latest book, The Christian Manifesto. The proof that we understand how we have been loved by God, says Jesus, is to love our enemies—the kind of love that is only possible as God enables us by the Holy Spirit.

Love your neighbor as yourself when the category of neighbor includes everyone you meet, including your enemies. To do so is a supernatural action, and it is an action that is proof of our salvation. This is supposed to be an uncomfortable challenge.

Quote, It is certainly very uncomfortable to me. That's what I'm saying in the book. Here is how I think through what it would mean for me to live out Jesus' command myself. I think of people who are behaving in a way that rejects God and his ways. Now, what you need to know is that when I'm writing this, I am actually dealing with the circumstances that were in our minds when we studied Romans chapter 1—the reality of the finger in the face of God that is represented in those who have turned their backs on God, even to the point of their own sexuality being turned upside down. So when I write the line, I think of people who are behaving in a way that rejects God—that is a comprehensive reality, but this is what is in my mind—who reject God and his ways. They do it publicly, and they do it in a fashion that makes it absolutely clear that they have no interest in it while, quote, mocking Christians as bigots. That's the context.

Naturally, I do not like them. Quote, But I am called to the supernatural work of loving them, not ignoring them, not avoiding them, but actively seeking to bless them. I am not called to walk on past them like the religious leaders in the parable of the good Samaritan.

No, I am called to be like the Samaritan, who is the classic illustration of loving and lending and doing good without a calculator and without the expectation of a payback. Now, that is then the context when a grandmother phones me up in tears and gravely concerned for the circumstances in relationship to one of her grandchildren. I'm not quoting the book to her. I'm only responding to her. She wrote a long letter.

It sat on my desk for a long time. This happens to us all as pastors all the time. And on that occasion, when I listened to her talk, my great concern was for her and for her relationship with her granddaughter.

I wasn't thinking about the nature of the circumstances in that moment of time. All I was thinking about was, How can I help this grandmother not to lose her granddaughter, who has already publicly turned her back on God and her back on God's design and in every other way? And in the course of that conversation, I said, You know, one of the ways in which to catch your granddaughter off guard is actually do the opposite of what she expects you to do. What does she expect you to do? Avoid her. Stay away from her. Don't get contaminated by the situation. I said, Well, isn't that interesting?

So what would happen if you actually went? Well, that gave great pause. And I said, But you should talk to your husband.

You gotta work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Those were all the caveats that went around the conversation. But then I said, Well, I think you should go.

And why don't you give her a gift? Well, how would I ever know that I would set the cat among the pigeons? Because after all, it was a personal conversation between myself and somebody that I've never met in my entire life. And he said a lot there.

And he was orthodox almost all the way through, loving our enemies, those we don't naturally like. But when he says, All I was thinking about was how to help the grandmother not lose her granddaughter. And by the way, Begg originally said in the interview with Bob Lapine that it was a grandson, but now it's a granddaughter, so not sure what is the case. He says, Do the opposite of what she expects.

I think you should go. He has now put subjective feeling over objective truth into the equation. All Alistair Begg should have been thinking is what kind of counsel to this grandmother is faithful to God and His word? And then he finished this section by saying that how would I know that this would cause such a big deal?

Really? I mean, the LGBTQ movement is the zeitgeist issue of our day. Christians who stand for biblical truth on this issue, who refuse to participate in so-called gay weddings, they've lost their livelihoods and more over their stance.

I have heard of no other high-profile, theologically conservative pastor publicly take this position, encouraging a Christian to attend a transgender wedding. So how, he could say, how would I ever know this would set the cat among the pigeons? I can't imagine that someone like Alistair Begg, who is very intelligent, very well-read, he often states he reads the New York Times, and so he's aware of the issues going on in the world.

He's not sequestered. Someone who is so experienced in life and ministry would think his position on this issue wouldn't cause an earthquake. Let's listen to another portion of his message. In that conversation with that grandmother, I was concerned about the well-being of their relationship more than anything else.

Hence my counsel. Don't misunderstand that in any way at all. If I was in the receiving end of another question about another situation from another person in 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, as of the last ten days. If that were the case, I would never… If that were the case, I should never have said it in the first place. If people want me to recant and to repent—to repent? I repent daily, because I say a lot of things that I shouldn't say. I mean, check with Sue, but the fact of the matter is I'm not ready to repent over this. I don't have to. Unfortunately, he sounds defiant here. Not ready to repent over this.

I don't have to. Well, that is because this is his core conviction. It's not just misspoken words or poorly expressed counsel. This is what Alistair Begg believes on this issue. But I would think if you're arriving at a different position than 99% of those who are in theologically conservative circles—people within your own ballpark theologically, like John MacArthur or James White or Owen Strand or Grant Castleberry, Phil Johnson, Tom Buck, Justin Peters, I would even say Foti Baucom, although I haven't seen him comment on this yet—you would really need to deeply consider whether your position truly lines up with Scripture like you think it does. No doubt Begg has close friends he respects. Sinclair Ferguson is one of them, I've heard. It would be very revealing to know if he's receiving affirmation for this position from anyone in a theologically conservative circle.

But what he said next is quite revealing. I've lived here for forty years, and those who know me best know that when we talk theology, when we talk stuff, I've always said, I am a little bit out of sync with the American evangelical world. For this reason, that I am the product of British evangelicalism, represented by John Stott, Martin Lloyd-Jones, Eric Alexander, Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Prime. I am a product of that. I have never been a product of American fundamentalism. I come from a world in which it is possible for people to actually grasp the fact that there are nuances in things. Those of you who are lawyers understand this.

Everything is not so categorically clear that if you put one food out of this box, you gotta be removed from the box forever. This is a low blow toward American Christians and fundamentalists. It's really European elitism. We can actually grasp nuance and aren't so binary like you Americans and fundamentalists. He went from saying he's never been in sync with American evangelicals and he's not a product of American fundamentalism. These are two different groups.

But if that's the case, the question is, well, why has he been preaching in America for all these years then, if you think we're all just a bunch of troglodytes? All right. We need to take a short break for some ministry announcements, but we have much more coming up on this issue of Alistair Begg and what he counseled about attending a transgender wedding.

So stay tuned. I'm David Wheaton and you are listening to the Christian Worldview radio program. David Wheaton here, host of the Christian Worldview, to tell you about the Overcomer Course for Young Adults held June 21st and 22nd at beautiful Stonehouse Farm in Jordan, Minnesota. Age 18 to 25 is a highly transitional time. The convictions developed and the decisions made during this crucial stage sets one's course for years to come. In eight sessions over two days addressing life's most important issues such as God and the gospel, right thinking and living, relationships and marriage, vocation, the local church and more, the Overcomer Course is designed to help young adults gain clarity and conviction on God's plan and their purpose in it.

There will be plenty of time for interaction and discussion as well. You can find out more and register by calling 1-888-646-2233 or by visiting thechristianworldview.org. We've largely lost the honor and the nobility and the glory of biblical manhood and so many young men are not trained to be a leader, a protector and a provider in a Christ-like way. That then creates the actual end product of young men who don't know how to be a man.

So we've largely lost the script for what being a biblical man is. That was Owen Strand, author of the excellent book The War on Men. This is a book for the entire family to read, understand and then pursue what biblical manhood is.

The War on Men is hardcover, 256 pages and retails for $29.99. For a limited time, you can get a copy for a donation of any amount to The Christian Worldview. To order, go to thechristianworldview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Welcome back to The Christian Worldview.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is Alistair Begg responds to the furor over his counsel to attend a transgender wedding. And he continued in his message this past Sunday night, defending his position by referencing John Stott, a British pastor who he said influenced him on his views regarding being a Christian and engaged in this world. And I dug out a book that I've had since I was in my twenties, Christ the Controversialist by John Stott.

And in that book, he is tackling the challenges of living in the world without being capitulating to the thoughts of the world. He outlines it by, first of all, identifying the attitude of the Pharisee. And he points out, after the Babylonian captivity, the people were repatriated. The infiltration of the culture into Judaism was such that there were two branches that emerged from it. One branch were the Hellenists, who said, I think that we can engage with the culture, and in doing so they surrendered some of their convictions. On the other side of the Hellenists were the Hasidians, or the Hasidim.

And the Hasidim said, no, under no circumstances are we going to get involved in any of this stuff. Pharisees, actually, is an Aramaic term for separatists. And the Pharisees were the religious exclusives of their day.

Quotes, in their determination to conform strictly to the law, they held aloof from any and every contact which, in their view, might defile them. The superior and scornful attitude which the Pharisees adopted towards the common people appears several times in the Gospels, including right here in chapter 15. So, here is where he makes what I believe to be the poor comparison between those who separate from certain situations or people, like Christians who wouldn't go to a transgender wedding out of their conviction, as being like the Pharisees. And he bases it on John Stott's interpretation of Luke chapter 15 in the parable of the lost son. The Pharisaic doctrine of holiness of separation from the world, he says, was a perverted doctrine.

The motivation to keep yourself pure and holy is a right motivation. But it was perverted by the way in which they applied it. Instead of seeking to be holy in thought and word and deed while retaining relationships of love and care with all men, they withdrew from social contact with sinners and despised those who didn't follow suit. They basically became a holy club.

And they, in the process, became harsh and censorious. And it is that which Jesus is taking on when he tells these stories and when he gives these parables. If that's the Pharisee's attitude, what is the attitude of Jesus? Well, the attitude of Jesus is totally at variance with that of the Pharisees themselves.

They were scandalized by his free and easy fraternization with these people. You can't do that! You can't go there! That's why it begins. All the publicans and sinners were saying, We gotta go meet Jesus! And the Pharisees were grumbling, Can you believe this thing? He goes to the house of publicans and sinners. He meets with sinners. The motivation for purity and holiness of life and circumspection and so on is absolutely unquestionable.

The real challenge comes when we are confronted by issues that don't just fit our clean little categories. What distinguished Jesus from the Pharisees, quotes Stott, was, in a word, grace. So Alistair Begg gives examples of Christ eating with sinners and other ones, which I didn't include, of Christ talking alone with a woman at the well or the prostitute who anointed his feet with perfume. And how this scandalized the Pharisees who thought, There's no way you can be with sinners like this and be a holy man. And the implication here is that Christ did these things.

And so the real challenge for us is, when we are confronted by issues, like attending a transgender wedding, that we need to, as he said, take the risk and do those things and not be pharisaical. Here's the account of Jesus eating with sinners. Matthew 9, verse 9. As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting in the tax collector's booth. And Jesus said to him, Follow me.

And Matthew got up and followed him, Christ. Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house of Matthew, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and his disciples. They wanted to come and see who this Jesus was. This wasn't an inherently sinful event.

It was a meal. And these men wanted to come and see who Jesus was. After all, one of their own, Matthew, had just become a disciple of Jesus. Verse 11. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, Why is your teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard this, he said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

But go and learn what this means. I desire compassion and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. And to this I think every Christian should say, Amen. We are called to go out and try to reach the lost with the gospel. Having a meal at a home where there's nothing inherently sinful going on here is very different than going to a transgender wedding, which at its core is God rejecting as it celebrates a depraved relationship and completely perverts the idea of marriage being as Christ loves his own church.

There's no comparison here, but this is the crux of the argument that Alistair Begg is trying to make. Attend a transgender wedding because Christ engaged with sinners as well. All right, just one more soundbite before we get to the conversation with Justin Peters.

So here's the challenge. How do you honor God, obey his Word, and treat your neighbors and your friends and your family members who have decided to go down this wrong path? Some people have decided the way to handle it is by admonition. So you just simply stand up and keep telling them, This is terrible. This is terrible.

This is terrible. Some people have decided, We just won't say anything at all. Just let it go. Who cares? You know, it's a big world.

It's a big world. People do different things. Neither is a possibility for a Bible-believing Christian. We are to treat with honor those who view us with hatred. Now, understand that this grandchild was an enemy of the gospel—an enemy, really, in the family circle by dint of her lifestyle—an enemy.

And Jesus says, You're supposed to love your enemies. We can disagree over whether I gave that grandmother good advice or not. Not everybody on the pastoral team thinks I gave very good advice.

And as I said, you know, on another occasion with a different person and a different context, the advice may be very different. But at least let's acknowledge the fact that what we're doing is we're wrestling with biblical principle. And when principle for, let's say, holiness of life, comes up against the principle of love for your enemy, how are you gonna put that together? 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. But 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 Christian has to say, We will not treat you in either of those ways. 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, and because of his goodness.

Of course, this is true. Christians should not revile or affirm homosexuals or transvestites. But there are many options for faithful Christians between reviling or affirming homosexuals and transvestites without attending their sinful ceremonies.

How about telling this granddaughter how much you love her, giving her that Bible, and saying you will get together with her three days a week if she'd like? But your love for God does not allow me to attend a ceremony that dishonors my God. The assumption that attending a ceremony that dishonors God is going to show your love and going to win them to Christ is a wrong assumption. Sometimes God uses a rebuke to change the heart of a hardened sinner. Sometimes God uses our kindness to bring someone to saving faith. But kindness can be shown without attending a God-dishonoring ceremony.

Alistair Begg has put himself in a difficult situation. And I'm assuming he knows this. Homosexuals and transvestites won't be satisfied that he's willing to attend their ceremonies but not affirm them in their sin.

Would Begg advise using preferred pronouns to show love now? That's what they will demand. Will he allow a transgender wedding in his church to a granddaughter of a member to show their love and not to appear critical and judgmental?

They won't stop until they are celebrated. Remember in the Bible, in Sodom, they pounded at Lot's door, and even when struck with blindness by the angels who were there, it says they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. Even being struck blind didn't keep them from trying to get into Lot's house. So before we get to Justin Peters, just a reminder to continue to pray for Alistair Begg. He says he doesn't have to repent, but God has his ways of bringing us to repentance. Begg started a hot fire here, perhaps not intentionally, and I'm sure he's feeling the burn. And if not everybody on his pastoral team thinks he gave good advice, like he just said, one wonders what his future will be at the church. Divided elder boards lead to divided churches. Okay, we'll take a short break, but up next is Justin Peters, preacher and evangelist, to offer some further comments on this situation with Alistair Begg. I'm David Wheaton, and you are listening to the Christian Reel View Radio Program. What is the Christian Reel View Radio Program really about? Fundamentally, it's about impacting people, families, churches with the life and eternity-changing truth of God's Word. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that saves us from God's wrath, by God's grace, for God's glory.

And we know the Bible is the inspired Word of God, providing the only way to think and live to the glory of God. We are a non-profit, listener-supported ministry. If you would like to help us impact listeners with the biblical worldview and the gospel, consider becoming a Christian Reel View Partner who regularly give a specified amount to the ministry. As a thank you, Christian Reel View Partners automatically receive many of the resources featured on the program throughout the year. To become a Christian Reel View Partner, call us toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or visit thechristianreelview.org. David Wheaton here, host of The Christian Reel View, to tell you about the Overcomer Course for Young Adults, held June 21st and 22nd at beautiful Stonehouse Farm in Jordan, Minnesota.

Age 18 to 25 is a highly transitional time. The convictions developed and the decisions made during this crucial stage sets one's course for years to come. In eight sessions over two days, addressing life's most important issues such as God and the gospel, right thinking and living, relationships in marriage, vocation, the local church, and more, the Overcomer Course is designed to help young adults gain clarity and conviction on God's plan and their purpose in it.

There will be plenty of time for interaction and discussion as well. You can find out more and register by calling 1-888-646-2233 or by visiting thechristianreelview.org. Welcome back to The Christian Reel View. I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianreelview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter.

Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry. Preacher and evangelist Justin Peters joins us for the rest of the program to talk about this situation with Alistair and David. Welcome back to The Christian Reel View. I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, to talk about this situation with Alistair Begg. There was a lot in that message, Justin, but as you heard it, what were some of the main things that stuck in your mind hearing Alistair Begg respond to all the criticism that has come his way?

Sure, David, thank you so much for having me back on. And yes, I did listen to the sermon. I listened to it twice, actually, last night, took some notes. So his main text was Luke 15. He talked about the one lost sheep and the woman with the 10 silver coins, but the emphasis was primarily on the prodigal son. And David, I'm sad to say, he took scripture way out of context, way out of context. I mean, some of the things he said were right in and of themselves, but the overall point that he was trying to justify, the advice that he gave to this grandmother, is not at all, not even tangentially supported by the text. He focused, as I said, primarily on the prodigal son, that we should show love and hopes that the prodigal son will return. But David, that is not love. You cannot celebrate something that God calls an abomination. In fact, someone put up a statement on Twitter earlier today and I saw it and I was like, this is so good.

His name is Colin something. In reference to what we're talking about, he said, we want the prodigal home repentant safe, which is why we don't take him a housewarming gift for his pigsty. That's so well said and so succinct. You can't use an unbiblical means to bring someone to the Lord. God has not only ordained the end, but he's also ordained the means to the end. And his ordained means to his ordained end is preaching the gospel, speaking the truth in love, not celebrating something that is wicked and is an abomination, and even giving a gift in honor of that. I have no doubt that Alistair Beggs' intentions are good. I have no reason to doubt him when he says that his intentions were to save the relationship between this grandmother and her granddaughter. I have no doubt that that was his heart in it.

But how far do you take this out? Take into its logical conclusion, if you're going to give a gift in honor of a trans wedding, which is no wedding at all, if you're going to do that, do you also give a gift if after they get quote unquote married, this homosexual trans couple decides that they want to adopt a child? Do you throw them a baby shower? Do you give them a gift in honor of them raising a child in a home that is full of sexual deviancy and robbing that child of a mother and a father? Do you celebrate that?

And if not, why not? So that's where the logic takes you. And so I was really hoping and praying, David, that Alistair would come out and say, you know, I've rethought this. I've gotten counsel from a multitude of counselors and I realize I was wrong.

This was bad advice, but he didn't. He doubled down. He tripled down and even said that those who were criticizing him compared us to Pharisees. We're legalists.

We're Pharisees. We don't have love. We don't understand nuance.

Sadly, David, it was a train wreck. He created sort of a dichotomy here, though, Justin. It was either you are compassionate like Jesus. Again, he didn't draw the lines, as you were mentioning, that what would be appropriate. How far do you go to try to reach out? Do you participate and engage in and give a gift to an inherently sinful ceremony?

Or do you draw the line a little bit before that and have more for dinner? There's lots of other things you could do in between before involving yourself in something that is inherently dishonoring to God. Talk about the other side of this that brings someone to saving faith, not just purely compassion. It's a false dichotomy, David, to say that somehow love and truth are opposed to one another or even love and law are opposed to one another. We are to speak the truth in love.

Ephesians 4 15. Speaking the truth in love does not mean we water down the truth. It doesn't mean we dilute. It doesn't mean we apologize for it. It means just what it says. We are to speak the truth, the full truth.

We're just not to be jerks about it. And so the most loving thing you can do for someone is to tell them the truth. Jesus did indeed. This is one of the problems with Begg's sermon. Yes, he ate with tax collectors and sinners, but he did that to reach them with the gospel, to confront them in their sin, as he did all throughout his ministry, as he did with the Pharisees, as he did with Zacchaeus. He confronted sinners in their sin, called them to repentance. He did not affirm them in their sin, and he certainly did not give his approval, not even a tacit approval, to anything that is inherently dishonorable before God, exhibit A of homosexual wedding or anything like that. He would never have countenanced that. And so you cannot draw a parallel between eating with tax collectors and sinners and attending a homosexual wedding, because when you attend a homosexual wedding, quote unquote again, you're giving your tacit approval to it.

I put up a video about this on my YouTube channel. I said the only way, the only way that I could ever, in good conscience, attend a ceremony like this would be if I knew with 1,000 percent certainty that there would be a time in the service where the pastor would say something to the effect of if there's anyone here who has any reason that these two should not be joined, and holy matrimony, speak now forever, hold your peace. And at that point, I would stand up and say, I object, here's why I object, this is not a wedding, this is an abomination, and I would open air preach the gospel, and then I would be escorted out.

I'm quite confident. So you cannot go and sit there and give your approval with your silence, which is what that is. And even giving a gift on top of that, that makes matters worse. So the most loving thing you can do is to confront someone in their sin. As Christians, we should not expect lost people to act like anything but what they are, lost. So I don't expect an unregenerate person, a homosexual, to act like a Christian.

I could not attend that ceremony, but could I talk with those people before and even after? Of course, yes, I would talk with them to lovingly give them the gospel. I don't hold lost people to the same behavioral or moral standards that we as Christians are held to. You don't have to dishonor God and go against scripture, which is what this would be.

If you attend a homosexual wedding, you are violating scripture. You do not have to do that to have an avenue to present the gospel. You don't have to go to a nude club or something like that to have opportunities to share the gospel. All you have to do is walk out your front door to find someone who's lost and you share the gospel with them.

Yeah, and I think that's the whole point. No one would have said anything if Pastor Begg had advised his grandmother to say, you know, I think you should invite your granddaughter over, even with her transgender partner. Go to dinner with them, invite them to church, you know, get together with them every Friday. No one would have said one word about it. It has everything to do with participating, being there as a witness to this ungodly ceremony that is, I think, where the line needs to be drawn. And if you think about it, you and I and other believers and Alistair Begg are all about showing compassion for the lost and preaching the gospel. People need to be saved.

We remember our old life, and we needed to hear the gospel, and we needed to be saved. He was willing to go about four more steps. In other words, you and I, Justin, I think—we're on the same page here—we wouldn't go into the ceremony.

We would not go. And Alistair's willing to go further than that into a situation where the ramifications, I think, become really difficult once you do that. You already alluded to this. You mentioned the one regarding should you then, as a Christian grandmother, be celebrating going to the baby shower when they adopt a child. A really obvious one that I think should be mentioned is, if it is compassionate, Justin, to attend this ceremony for an individual Christian to show compassion and to show kindness and to prove that you're not judgmental and critical and so forth. Isn't it just logical to say, well then, that Christian churches should actually host these ceremonies to show that they are loving and that they're not critical and judgmental? Because after all, you get this couple into a church, they're going to hear the gospel. How can that be a bad thing? I mean, you can see where once you cross the Rubicon here, the line, it opens all sorts of other things up. And isn't that really just the point of what's going to happen now?

And I feel badly for Alistair Begg because I think he's going to be inundated constantly now. A weak spot's been sensed, and that's going to be tried to be capitalized on by those who are in the quote-unquote gay-affirming world. That's right. In fact, David, you're 100% right. Where do you draw the line?

The camel's nose is under the tent. In fact, just this morning, actually a few minutes before you called me, Matthew Vines is a homosexual pastor, again, air quotes or audio quotes, calls himself a pastor, but he's a homosexual. And he has a tweet from this morning. He says, Alistair Begg, a non-affirming pastor, recently encouraged a grandmother to attend her grandson's, it's actually granddaughter, but whatever, same-sex wedding as a way to show him Christ's love. I'm grateful that despite significant backlash, Begg has chosen to stand by his advice this week.

Okay, David, exhibit A. Here is Matthew Vines. He is kind of the tip of the spear trying to introduce an affirming position in regards to homosexuality within the evangelical church. This is a guy who believes in the deity of Christ, says he does, believes in the deity of Christ, believes in the Bible as the word of God, calls himself an evangelical. He's just an affirming evangelical. And so he's written this book entitled God and the Gay Christian. He's trying to make homosexuality acceptable within evangelical ranks. And sadly, he's had enormous success at it. And here he is, exhibit A, exactly what we're talking about.

This is why it's so dangerous. You have a homosexual pastor now praising Alistair Begg. And Justin, we know, I've been seeing this movement for a long time. Tolerance is not their goal. They already have that in our society, just tolerating that they can exist and do what they want to do in the privacy of their home. They must have affirmation. And even beyond that, they must have participation from everyone now.

And we see that even with the children, the drag shows and so forth. And anyone who dissents, by the way, must be punished. But how do you see Begg's position impacting the younger generation of Christians? Error always begets more error, right? Sin spreads. Sin metastasizes. It spreads like gangrene.

It's never isolated. So kind of the old, you know, proverbial statement, give him an inch, he'll take a mile. Well, that's what sin will do. And it will absolutely go exactly the direction you're talking about.

It will become more and more normalized. In listening to Alistair's sermon from this past Sunday night, he said, I was concerned about the relationship with her granddaughter. He said, in a different situation, I may have given a different answer. That is situational ethics. The truth changes depending upon the situation.

That's a page right out of the liberal playbook. And I would have to think that Alistair knows that, that we've got to stand on truth regardless of the situation. And then he tried to make an argument, well, I'm from Scotland, and I'm not familiar with American fundamentalism. And truth doesn't change with your geography. It's not dependent upon latitude and longitude.

It's not dependent upon culture. None of this makes any sense. I kept wondering, like, have you read Matthew chapter 10? Because Jesus speaks to this directly and precisely. He says in Matthew chapter 10, verse 34, do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And the man's enemies will be the members of his household. David, Jesus told us this would happen. Yes, our stand for Christ, our fidelity to God's word, may cost us relationships, even relationships within members of our immediate family.

It may do that. Jesus told us this. We have to be ready for it.

This is a test. The situation that Alistair was talking about with the grandmother and her granddaughter, that's a test of her faith. That's a test of her fidelity to scripture. So might it cost her the relationship with her granddaughter? Yes, it very well may. But Jesus told us that this would happen. So this shouldn't surprise any of us.

This is exactly what the Bible warns us about and is trying to prepare us for. So we don't compromise the truth in hopes of saving a relationship. You stand on the truth, and if it costs you the relationship with your family member, so be it. Is it hard? Yes. Is it painful?

Of course it's painful. But we've got to honor Christ before anyone else. And Jesus said also in Luke 14 26, anyone who does not hate his own father, mother, wife, sister, brothers, his own wife, his own children, even his own life, cannot be my disciple. David, we can't pretend like Jesus didn't say these things. He did. He said them for a reason. So we should expect these kinds of tests, and that's exactly what it is.

It's a test. That is so well said, Justin. Justin Peters with us today on the Christian Real View of Preacher and Evangelist. JustinPeters.org is the website to get connected with his ministry.

Our quote-unquote hatred for our family is not, we don't want to hate our family members, but in comparison to how much more we love Jesus Christ, it will appear as hatred to our family members. Now, we both, and I'll speak for myself personally, love Alistair Begg. He's had a very big impact on my spiritual formation.

I've listened to all kinds of messages of him over the years. This actually personally hurts, because now I think, yeah, what do we do with Pastor Alistair Begg going forward? I do not think this negates everything he's ever taught, of course.

This doesn't make him, I don't think it even makes him a heretic. I think it's a very wrong position, but we love this man, this preacher. We want him to finish well, but what should listeners be thinking and doing like with Alistair Begg now going forward, Justin? I echo your sentiments.

This hurts. This is the kind of stuff I would expect from a Beth Moore or some woke person out there, not Alistair Begg, and so it hurts. This is a gut punch, but I'll say now, like I said in the video that I did on my YouTube channel, because of this, and especially now, especially now that he is tripled down on his position, and it flat out said, I have no reason to repent. I mean, he said that directly.

I have nothing to repent of. Because of that, I cannot in good conscience recommend Alistair Begg as a preacher. I could not sit under his preaching. I have benefited from his preaching in years past, and I recognize that he is not saying that homosexuality is not sinful. He believes that it is. This is a big, big fail, David.

This is not a minor issue. This is not an adiaphora. You know, we can agree to disagree. This is a basic application of basic Christian doctrine, and it's very dangerous advice. It's profoundly unbiblical. I'm not saying he's not a brother.

I'm not saying he's lost. Nothing like that, but preachers are held to a very, very high standard, a frighteningly high standard. And because of this, until he repents, I cannot in good conscience recommend him, and I could not sit under his preaching. We need to pray for him. I know our listeners and those who follow your ministry will do that, Justin, and we so appreciate your comments, just really trying to speak truthfully and yet with grace toward this man who has helped so many through his preaching of the word. So we thank you for your comments today, Justin, and we wish all of God's best and grace to you, and keep standing firm in Christ.

Thank you very much. God bless you, brother. We encourage you to connect with Justin's ministry.

His website is justinpeters.org. Thank you for joining us today on The Christian Worldview. In just a moment, there will be information on how you can hear a replay of today's program, order transcripts and resources, and support this non-profit radio ministry. Let's anchor ourselves in what scripture says. Jesus Christ and his word are the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The mission of The Christian Worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out What Must I Do to Be Saved, go to thechristianworldview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Worldview is a listener-supported non-profit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Worldview partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to The Christian Worldview.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 01:49:06 / 2024-02-10 02:08:44 / 20

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