A Christian radio ministry has dropped the senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Alistair Begg, from its programming lineup after the pastor advised that Christians could attend same-sex weddings to “build bridges” with the culture at large.
The 71-year-old pastor is a host of the radio ministry “Truth For Life,” which is carried by nearly 1,800 radio stations nationwide.
The controversy stems from recently resurfaced comments Begg made in a podcast for “Truth For Life” in September, in which Begg discussed his new book, The Christian Manifesto.
As part of the podcast, Begg touched on a specific question he said a grandmother asked him about her grandson, who she said was “about to be married to a transgender person,” and whether she should attend the wedding.
“We field questions all the time that go along the lines of, ‘My grandson is about to be married to a transgender person, and I don’t know what to do about this, and I’m calling to ask you to tell me what to do,’ which is a huge responsibility,” Begg said.
“And in a conversation like that just a few days ago — and people may not like this answer — but 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, OK. 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 went on to explain that Christians not attending such a ceremony could reinforce “judgemental” stereotypes the culture holds about the Church.
“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 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” The Christian Post reports.