John MacArthur repudiates Alistair Begg's advice for Christians to attend LGBT weddings

'It's not loving to help somebody celebrate stepping into the fury of God's judgment'

John MacArthur, the pastor of California's Grace Community Church, delivers a sermon to his congregation in January 2021.
John MacArthur, the pastor of California's Grace Community Church, delivers a sermon to his congregation in January 2021. | Screenshot: YouTube/Grace to You

Pastor John MacArthur recently repudiated Pastor Alistair Begg's comments suggesting Christians ought to attend LGBT weddings.

Responding to a congregant who asked for his take on the controversy during a question-and-answer period at his Grace Community Church in Los Angeles last weekend, MacArthur also suggested Begg's advice will tarnish the Christian radio personality's otherwise faithful 40-year ministry.

Begg, who serves as senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, drew backlash when comments he made last September on his popular "Truth For Life" podcast reemerged on social media and went viral last month.

While discussing his book The Christian Manifesto, Begg mentioned on the podcast how a grandmother had asked him whether she should attend the wedding of her grandson, who she said was marrying a transgender-identifying individual.

Begg said he advised the woman to attend the wedding and buy a gift to avoid reinforcing "judgmental" stereotypes about Christians.

“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,'" he said.

"And it is a fine line, isn't it? It really is," he continued. "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."

Days after his comments caused a stir, American Family Radio (AFR) announced it would no longer be airing "Truth For Life" after more than a decade. Begg was also scrubbed from the website of the Shepherd’s Conference, which is a ministry of MacArthur's Grace Community Church.

MacArthur noted last weekend that while he has "great affection" for Begg and their friendship goes back 45 years, he disagreed with his advice.

"I also want to say that you shouldn't judge a man by his weakest moment," MacArthur said. "All of us will have a moment of weakness. Having said that, I have to disagree with the answer that he gave to the question."

MacArthur explained that he believes there are "a lot of reasons" why a Christian should decline to attend a homosexual or trans wedding, and rejected Begg's argument that attending would be compassionate.

"My response to that is the most loving thing you could possibly do would be not to go, and to condemn the relationship; that is loving," he said. "It's not loving to help somebody celebrate stepping into the fury of God's judgment."

"This is not a time for you to celebrate, thinking that your affection for somebody is the means of their salvation," he continued. "They will come to salvation when the Lord exposes their sin. That's why the Holy Spirit — John 16 — convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment. And what should be said to somebody is: 'This is wrong, this is against God's order, this is not a marriage.'"

MacArthur went on to argue that same-sex marriage is "not a marriage at all" because it goes against God's design for the institution.

"It is a blasphemy against God, as is transgender life and homosexuality, as well," he said. "That is the message to give in love."

MacArthur doubted whether he would personally have the ability to "survive" sitting through a wedding ceremony he believes to be sinful while giving the appearance that he is supportive. To do so, he said, would be "to aid and abet the celebration of something that is defying God's design and [is] the very point of the spear, currently, of the corruption of this entire culture."

MacArthur also expressed bewilderment regarding why Begg would even wade into the issue, given its potential for damaging his ministry and reputation.

"Particularly, if I was at all prone to suggest that [attending an LGBT wedding] might be OK, I would never say that, because you'd have to calculate the cost of that," he said. "And how do you calculate that? The price for that is really epic. It's really epic."

"And there's so much more about [Begg] that is wonderful and faithful — and his ministry, he just passed 40 years of pastoral ministry in that church. It was a great celebration. And now he's going to be defined by that," he added.

Begg, who has been in pastoral ministry since 1975 and became senior pastor at Parkside in 1983, said in a sermon last month that he feels no need to repent over his advice. In the message based on Luke 15 and titled "Compassion vs. Condemnation," he warned about the "inclination toward Pharisaism" that is "alive and well within all our hearts."

He also noted how little attention his decades of teaching on biblical marriage received compared with one podcast episode.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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