Check out the new Convergence Church Network! 

Visit and join the mailing list.

Enjoying God Blog


Recently Alister Begg, highly esteemed pastor of Parkside Church in Ohio, counseled a grandmother to attend a wedding that involved her grandson and a transgender person. He also urged her to take a gift. At the same time, Begg reaffirmed his belief in the biblical nature of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. He also asserted that he believes homosexual practice is sinful and contrary to the revealed will of God.

The pushback and criticism have been relentless. When confronted, Begg doubled down and refused to alter his position. Begg’s radio program has been canceled and he has been dropped by John MacArthur from speaking at the annual Shepherd’s Conference in California.

My purpose in this short article is to provide some principles to guide us in the decisions we make when confronted with this question.

What are the reasons some give for attending such an event?

(1) Being at a wedding doesn’t entail agreement, nor does it mean that you are affirming the legitimacy of the relationship. It would be easy to communicate to the couple that you do not approve of their “marriage.”

(2) It is essential to being a Christian that we have compassion for unbelievers and demonstrate true love for them.

(3) Attendance at such an event serves to build relational bridges with unbelievers.

(4) Attendance at such an event provides an opportunity for evangelism. It will likely cause the unbelieving couple to be more open to hearing the gospel.

(5) To refuse to attend this sort of event is a display of Pharisaical censoriousness. It is a legalistic stance that will only serve to drive unbelievers away and reinforce in their minds that Christians are arrogant and hateful.

(6) If I do not attend the “wedding” of my son/daughter, it will forever destroy our relationship and close off all opportunity to share the gospel with them in the future.

(7) To refuse to attend may elicit the question: “Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

What are the reasons for not attending such an event?

(1) There is no such thing as “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage.” The Bible is clear that marriage is always and only the union of one man and one woman. Regardless of what our government may say or what laws may be passed, the Christian bows to a higher moral authority: the written Word of God (see Gen. 2:18–25, Mal. 2:13–15, Matt. 19:4–6; Eph. 5:22–33).

(2) Although a person may not intend their presence at such an event to be seen as an endorsement, it is virtually impossible for one’s physical presence not to be interpreted as approval by others in attendance.

(3) A so-called “gay wedding” unavoidably celebrates and solemnizes a lie. In effect, it declares what is false to be true, and calls beautiful what God declares to be an abomination.

(4) In years past, it was common for the officiant to ask of those in attendance, “Is there anyone present who has grounds for objecting to this marriage? If so, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Those present are understood to be providing their stamp of approval on and their celebration of the “marriage” of two such people.

(5) A Bible-believing Christian simply cannot support or endorse (or fail to condemn) a union that is an offense to God, a union that puts the souls of those in the ceremony in jeopardy of eternal damnation (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:5-6; Gal. 5:19-21).

(6) To attend such an event as an expression of love for the couple grossly misunderstands what it means to truly love another person. It is never love to encourage or endorse a belief or activity that puts the soul of a person in jeopardy of eternal damnation.

(7) “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11).


Should we look at this question as a matter of personal choice that falls within the category of Christian freedom? Some argue that whether one chooses to attend or not is a matter of conscience, with neither answer being wrong or right.

Is such an event different from attendance at a birthday party or sharing a meal at a gay couple’s home?

Jesus ate dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes. Should we be less inclusive than he?

Would you attend a meeting at which a friend or relative is being inducted into the Ku Klux Klan?

Might you say to a couple that although you cannot attend their ceremony, you would like them to come to your house for a meal?

Would it be permissible to attend the wedding of two unbelievers? What about a wedding in which one person is a Christian and the other is not?

Can a Christian participate in the baby shower of a same-sex couple who have either adopted a child or conceived one by way of a surrogate mother?

Can a Christian photographer or baker provide a service at a “same-sex” wedding?

As you can probably see, I do not believe a Christian should attend a so-called “wedding” of two people of the same gender. What is your opinion?



Would your conclusion change if you substituted “prosperity gospel teaching church” or “healing in the atonement this side of eternity preaching church” instead of “same sex wedding”?

Why or why not?
Thank you, Sam,
I found this to be helpful. I enjoy reading your books and you often come up in discussions with my grandfather about theology. He owns every one of your books. If you ever have time to communicate with a young new pastor, I would greatly appreciate it.
I’m so thankful for your article. Our pastor actually spoke about this very thing today in our service. There were two new people visiting our church sitting right in front of me and they got up and left as soon as he brought up what Alistair Begg had done and how he disagreed according to what the scripture said. We were reading from Ephesians 5 verses 11 through 16. I agree on this.

Right after becoming a new believer years ago, I had found out I was pregnant two weeks later. I was not married. And there was no one around me that shared with me about being unequally yoked to a non-believer. I am now divorced and estranged from one of my children. I have been deeply grieved over the fact that nobody shared with me, including the pastor that married us, that we shouldn’t be getting married. There were multiple Christians that attended our wedding.

I have to confess that I attended a wedding of a family member who is a professing Christian who married somebody that doesn’t seem like they are a believer and they have been living together before the wedding. I had confronted them about this and I was told that my family members parents, who are also professing Christians, had supported them living together before marriage. I was very grieved over this and very confused. These are family members that I love dearly but I’ve not been really close to. And I confess that even though I confronted them, I allowed fear of man to not let me be as bold as I could’ve been. Fear of rejection. I couldn’t enjoy the wedding. It still weighs on my mind and heart.

After reading your questions, I realize I probably shouldn’t have attended the wedding. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I would love to hear more about how to confront and stand firm with people that you dearly love and want to stay in relationship with, but be courageous enough and remember that no matter how they respond, that my relationship with Jesus is most important. I don’t know if you could share any other articles or your thoughts on attending weddings of nonbelievers or unequally yoked people. I’ve always appreciated your teachings, and they have helped to bring some freedom to my life. So thank you for continuing to speak the truth boldly, and to encourage the body to live according to God’s Word.
Thanks Dr Sam for your response and reflection on Alister Begg’s controversy. I equally believe that it is crucial important to define terms biblically, especially nowadays when terms like God, man, sin, church, pastor, marriage, freedom, etc do not necessarily weigh the same significance as it was some years ago. Thus, in biblical terms, marriage is a covenant of companionship between a biological man and a biological woman. Interesting enough that we need to be that details to make things clear. Any so-called marriage to which that biblical definition does not apply is not marriage. Now what happens when I’m invited to a gay wedding? Well, nothing happens. I will peacefully stay home, have my coffee made, go about my day without any disturbance of thoughts, with a clear conscience that by nature of being a Christian I do not owe anybody an explanation of my refusal to attend such a wedding.
While there are specific times we have not gone, because it’s how we felt the Lord leading us, and it was also people our children know and other circumstances, my opinion is closer to Alistair Begg.

I go to family funerals and viewings where the entire family will say the Hail Mary, I will definitely not say that prayer, but my presence is not an endorsement, it is a participation in my families life. I can conceive of situations where it might be right to be there, but to be real clear what you do and don’t believe about marriage.

Write a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.