Pastor axed for telling grandmother to attend LGBTQ+ wedding refuses to ‘repent’
A Christian pastor whose show was dropped by a radio network for advising a grandmother to attend her grandchild’s LGBTQ+ wedding has refused to back down or apologise.
Alistair Begg, the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio sparked controversy due to comments he made to a grandmother on his Bible teaching program, “Truth for Life,” in September 2023.
He told the woman to attend her grandson’s wedding to his transgender fiancé, as long as the grandson was made clear that she was not “affirming” his life choices.
“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 said.
The Christian pastor went on to explain that he believed that attending a same-sex wedding was a matter of personal conviction, and that by attending the wedding, the grandmother would be building a bridge to continue sharing the Gospel with her grandson.
However, his open-minded comments resurfaced on social media recently, causing a backlash that led to his daily radio programme being dropped: The American Family Association announced last week that its radio ministry, American Family Radio, would no longer be broadcasting his content.
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“American Family Radio has aired Pastor Alistair Begg’s Bible teaching for over a decade. Recently, it came to our attention that Pastor Begg made statements that were unbiblical and fail to line up with the decades of faithful adherence to Scripture that listeners have come to expect from him,
“At American Family Association, 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 as being between one man and one woman. Members of our leadership team held a call with Alistair Begg’s team and were unsuccessful in convincing them of his error. As a result of this, we will no longer air Pastor Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life program,” they told Fox News Digital.
However, the Christian pastor dropped by his radio network has refused to ‘repent’ over his comments.
In a sermon at his church in Ohio on Sunday (28 January), he spoke about the backlash, describing it in terms of the parable of the prodigal son.
He compared the proud attitude of the older brother in the parable to the negative attitude Christians display towards non-believers. He argued they are not living out Jesus’s command to “love your enemies.”
That “is the context” for his conversation with the grandmother in 2023, he explained.
He also read out comments from other pastors in support of his stance: “Following the criticism he has received… thank you Pastor Begg for a balanced Christian approach to a difficult topic.” Other pastors praised Begg for showing “compassion” for the LGBTQ+ community.
However, he did also make it clear in the sermon that he believes same-sex marriage is not supported by the Bible, and recollected the time he gave a speech at a Christian college, saying: “the only place for sexual relationships is within a heterosexual, monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, for life.”
Begg went on to say: “If I was on the receiving end of another question about another situation from another person at another time, I may answer absolutely differently. But in that case (of the grandmother), I answered in that way, and I would not answer in any other way no matter what anybody says on the internet as of the last ten days,” describing the row as a “storm in a teacup”.
He added that: “the fact of the matter is, I’m not ready to repent over this. I don’t have to.”
Begg then doubled down by saying that Christians should neither stay silent, nor reject people who identify as LGBTQ+. He said his advice to the grandmother had been his personal opinion.
The Christian pastor said: “What happens to homosexual people, in my ‘experience,’ is that they are either reviled or they are affirmed. The Christian has to say, ‘We will not treat you in either of those ways. We cannot revile you, but we cannot affirm you. And the reason that we can’t revile you is the same reason why we can’t affirm you, because of the Bible, because of God’s love, because of His grace, because of His goodness.’”
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