This past Sunday, Alistair Begg defended his recent advice to a grandmother that she should attend her granddaughter’s gay “wedding” by suggesting that he was being compassionate—instead of condemning.
He said: “If I’ve got to go down on the side of one or the other, I’ll go down on this side. I’ll go down on the side of compassion with people actually accusing me of just weakness, rather than go down on the side of condemnation which closes any doors of opportunity for future engagement with those who know exactly what we believe about the Bible and about Jesus.”
I’m used to that kind of fallacious argument from progressive “Christians”, not Alistair Begg. Of course, Alistair Begg isn’t a progressive. He maintains a Biblical view of marriage, sexuality, and gender.
As Phil Johnson said yesterday: “The difference of opinion between Pastor Begg & his critics is not about whether we approve of same-sex marriage. Alistair has clearly said NO to that. Be fair to him. The disagreement is about HOW TO SHOW LOVE to someone pursuing such a sinful lifestyle.”
In other words, this disagreement is about what compassion looks like when a Christian is invited to a gay wedding. To answer that, we must first define: what is compassion.
Since gay and transgender people are growing in number, gay weddings have become increasingly common. This means most Christians in the West will probably receive wedding invitations from family members or friends. So how we define compassion is crucial.
Compassion is a specific type of love. It means to “have pity or mercy.” It’s a feeling that produces acts of kindness. Therefore since God is love, compassion is one of his attributes (Psalms 78:38).
God is merciful towards us because of his compassion, and he’s compassionate because he is love.
Since compassion is a form of love, it doesn’t celebrate or tolerate sin (1 Corinthians 13:6). Real compassion won’t make a person tacitly betray their Biblical convictions in order to maintain a relationship with a loved one. The word we should use to describe Christians who attend a gay wedding is compromise, not compassion.
To be clear, we should be compassionate with LGBT people. We should eat with sinners—we should eat with LGBT people. We should be full of compassion and love towards them. After all, we’re also sinners. The only difference between Christians and LGBT people is the sovereign grace of God. If it wasn’t for the mercy of God, my (sexual) sins would make me an enemy of God.
That is why we should eat with LGBT people. We should meet them for lunch or welcome them into our homes (with wisdom) so we can preach the gospel of our compassionate God. That is what Jesus did.
When Jesus ate with sinners, it was at Matthew’s home—one of his disciples. Matthew was a tax collector who apparently invited his friends to hear the gospel from Jesus (Mark 2:15-17). So Jesus ate with sinners for the sake of the gospel, he didn’t eat with people who were actively mocking the gospel.
That is what gay “weddings” do. They mock the gospel. They exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship sin instead of God. It’s a celebration of God’s judgment. It’s a vow contrary to nature and a commitment to shameless acts.
God says: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Do not take any part in gay weddings. Do not attend a gay wedding. Have compassion for the gay couples. Grieve over their sin, grieve over their unrepentant hearts. Pray that God would have mercy on them, just as he’s had mercy on us. If you receive an invitation to a gay wedding, invite the couple to your home or write them a kind letter and tell them why you cannot attend.
That is what compassion looks like when you get an invitation to a gay wedding.