On an "Ask Pastor John" broadcast this week, John Piper was asked whether he would marry a couple who were already living together and if so, how that would be different from marrying a homosexual couple.
Piper, a Reformed theologian and long-time preacher, said he would marry a heterosexual couple who were cohabiting (and even pregnant) only if they repented of their sin (and really meant it) and remained chaste until marriage.
"That bears a beautiful testimony of the grace of God in their lives," he said.
Failing to have pure and virgin bodies at the marriage altar is not unforgivable, Piper added. "Purity on the other side of sin is possible through the justifying and sanctifying work of Christ," he stated.
As for a cohabiting homosexual couple, there is forgiveness for them as well if they repent of their sin of sexual relations outside of marriage but even then, Piper said he would not extend the blessing of marriage.
Here's the difference, Piper explained. The heterosexual couple is "moving out of sin of fornication ... marrying in accordance of God's ordinance and they're not sinning in the marriage, whereas the same-sex couple are moving out of a sinful relationship (of cohabiting) and are about to move into another one (marriage)."
Holding to the belief that homosexual behavior is sin, Piper pointed to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 which says men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
"There is no such thing as homosexual marriage, it doesn't exist, it's a mirage in our culture. The Bible knows nothing of it and therefore it can't be used as a warrant in order to justify homosexual behavior," the popular theologian argued.
He ended the brief broadcast with this: "God holds out hope for all sinners who will turn away from the sins of the past ... and move forward into lives of holiness."