Pastor and broadcaster Alistair Begg is doing damage control after his recent advice about attending a transgender wedding drew widespread backlash. In a recent sermons, he said his comments were not meant to be blanket advice for all Christians but instead were aimed at helping a grandmother find a balance between reviling and affirming her grandchild.
A social media debate broke out over comments Begg made in an interview in which he advised a grandmother to attend the wedding of her grandchild who was involved in a transgender relationship. The grandchild knew that the grandmother was a Christian who opposed homosexuality, Begg encouraged the grandmother to take a gift, noting she was worried about losing the relationship with the grandchild.
“In that conversation with that grandmother, I was concerned about the well-being of their relationship more than anything else — hence, my counsel,” Begg said. “Don’t misunderstand that in any way at all. If I was on the receiving end of another question about another situation from another person and another time, I may answer absolutely differently. But in that case, 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 10 days.”
Begg noted that the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son rejected the grace and forgiveness that was shown to the younger son. He said his natural inclination on the subject of LGBT issues is to be like the older son.
“What happens to homosexual people, in my experience, is that they are either reviled or they are affirmed,” he said. “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.’”
Meanwhile, Begg said one of his goals is to guard against Phariseeism in his own life. Pharisees “had nothing to say to sinners,” he said.
“Phariseeism is alive and well in all of our hearts,” he said. “We have to guard against it. The motivation for purity and holiness of life and circumspection and so on is absolutely unquestionable. The real challenge comes when we are confronted by issues that don’t just fit our clean little categories.”