A prominent pastor and radio personality has been dropped from a Christian radio network following his statements on if people of faith can attend LGBTQ+ weddings or not.
The pastor suggested Christians could “build bridges” with the LGBTQ+ community by attending non-traditional weddings, even if they disagree with them on religious grounds.
Now, following online backlash from critics in the faith community, he’s out of a job.
You Can’t Be Sirius
Pastor Alistair Begg of Parkside Church in Cleveland has been host of the nationally syndicated Christian radio program “Truth For Life” for the last 12 years. Until a week ago, the program was carried on nearly 1,800 radio stations nationwide.
In September, Pastor Begg discussed a Christian grandmother who asked him for guidance on attending her grandson’s wedding to a transgender person. Here is how he said the conversation went:
“I asked the grandmother, ‘Does your grandson understand your belief in Jesus?’
‘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?’
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.’”
Begg argued that refusing to attend would only reinforce stereotypes of Christians: That they are “judgmental, critical, unprepared to countenance anything.”
His employer, apparently, disagrees.
Not on the Same Wavelength
“Recently, it came to our attention that Pastor Begg made statements that were unbiblical,” wrote American Family Radio (AFA), which carries Pastor Begg’s show nationally. “We believe it to be an act of unfaithfulness to God to attend a ceremony that celebrates any union outside of the biblical model of marriage,” they wrote.
“We will no longer air Pastor Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life program.”
AFA head Tim Wildmon compared Pastor Begg urging Christian family members to attend an LGBTQ+ wedding to a father driving an alcoholic son to a bar. “I’m not driving you to the bar,” he postulated, “if you go to the bar and you're an adult, that's your decision, but I'm not going to be a part of that."
“You could be culpable in God’s eyes if those people go to Hell,” AFA leadership stated.
Though he argues he made the comments in a very specific context about a grandmother maintaining her relationship with her grandson, Pastor Begg is refusing to back down. “If people want me to recant and to repent … I repent daily because I say a lot of things that I shouldn't say,” he stated. “But the fact of the matter is, I'm not ready to repent over this. I don't have to.”
At the core of this disagreement is whether anti-LGBTQ+ Christians can attend a so-called "unbiblical" wedding through a “love the sinner, hate the sin” lens, or if simply showing up at all is a tacit endorsement of an "unchristian" union.
Pastor Begg would argue the former… and he paid the price for it.
What is your reaction?