Gay Weddings & the Christian

Tim Cantrell

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Many have been asking lately, “Should a Christian attend a gay wedding?” The biblical answer is extremely nuanced and highly complex: Never, no, not under any circumstances. In the eyes of God and according to His Word, any such pseudo-wedding is an abominable, blasphemous profaning of marriage and a pagan celebration of the sodomy that destroys lives, ruins society, makes a mockery of Christ, and merits eternal punishment (Gen 1–2; 19; Lev 18; Rom 1:18–32; 1 Cor 6:9–10; 1 Tim 1:10; Eph 5:22–33). 

None can dodge this as merely some “American fundamentalist” issue. Last Sunday in our church in Johannesburg, I asked for a show of hands from those who have been invited to attend an LGBTQ-affirming wedding or event of some kind, and easily half of our congregation raised their hands—some 100+ people. As Carl Trueman said, “You may not be interested in the sexual revolution; but the sexual revolution is very interested in you.”

As our local association of churches, Sola5, declares in Core Value #5 on Marriage and Sexuality:

God created mankind male and female, and ordained marriage as a life-long union between a natural man and a natural woman (Gen 2:18–25). . . . We further affirm that marriage is by nature heterosexual (Gen 2:24), and that any expression of sexual intimacy is holy only in the covenant of marriage (Exod 20:14; Heb 13:4). We deny the legitimacy and permissibility of homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, pornography, paedophilia, bestiality, prostitution, incest and other forms of sexual perversion (Rom 1:24–27). 

If we believe that statement is a biblical and unchanging truth from God, it cannot be diluted, softened, or weakened no matter how personal the matter becomes. If my precious grandchild begs me to attend their gay so-called “wedding” twenty years from now and I am tempted to compromise and capitulate, I may need you to send me this article I wrote long ago! Rosaria Butterfield gave a similar warning that if you attend your child’s gay wedding now, but God later answers your prayers and saves them, you will have to repent to them of your previous hypocrisy. 

How in the world did the Church become so weakened and cowardly that we’re tired of pursuing holiness and separation from the world (1 Pet 1:13), and we’ve stopped defending marriage and have surrendered the culture war to secularism?  Is marriage no longer worth fighting for, even though we’ve reaped untold benefits from it (Heb 13:4)? Have we grown so tired of being salt and light that we now succumb to the decay and darkness (Matt 5:13-16)? May it never be! 

As Voddie Baucham once said: “There’s a difference between ‘eating with sinners‘ and solemnizing their sin in a ceremony that traditionally is characterised by phrases like: ‘We are gathered here today in the sight of God to witness. . . . If there is anyone here who can show just cause.’ That is not the same!”

In short, a Christian may attend any lawful wedding (according to God’s Law); but a Christian may not attend any unlawful, illicit, unrighteous, or false wedding. Examples of unlawful weddings would be: a Christian marrying a non-Christian (1 Cor 7:39); an unbiblically divorced person remarrying, which Jesus said is adultery (Matt 5:32; 19:9); a polygamous wedding; any homosexual pretend wedding, “gay mirage.” It is however, not wrong for a Christian to attend a wedding of two unbelievers, since marriage is not a church ordinance, but a “creation ordinance” (Westminster Confession 24.3). This position is what the Christian Church has always believed and never doubted until recently.   

The division and confusion among believers over this is not coming from those defending traditional, biblical marriage; the schism is being caused by those spreading error. God’s Word makes clear that there are places that a Christian must never be seen (1 Cor 8:10; 10:14, 21).  Attending a gay wedding is a twenty-first century version of a pagan worship ritual, an idolatrous ceremony at today’s LGBTQ altar. 

How then do we reach our lost LGBTQ friends and loved ones, for whom our hearts break and our tears flow? We must reach them the same way we reach any lost soul—not by pragmatic compromise, but by faithful proclamation of both God’s Law and gospel, calling them to repentance and faith (Matt 3:2; 4:17; Acts 17:30; 20:21), and leaving the results in God’s hands.   

While we cannot signify any approval of homosexuality, we can still prayerfully find dozens of ways to keep blessing, befriending, and loving our gay friends and family and seeking to tell them of the only Savior for sinners (Matt 9:36–38; Col 4:2–6). We must also take their questions sincerely and give them gospel answers with patience and respect (1 Pet 3:15).

If you would like my fuller explanation from which this article was taken, see here

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Tim Cantrell

Tim serves as Sr. Pastor of Antioch Bible Church and President of Shepherd's Seminary in Johannesburg, South Africa.