Should Christians Attend Gay Weddings? Does It Matter Whether They’re Religious or Secular?

There are countless ways you can love those who identify as homosexuals without joining them to celebrate their marriage, which in God’s sight is not a marriage, and not to be celebrated.

When you attend a gay person’s birthday party, you’re joining in celebrating their birthday, right? That’s great. When you invite your gay or lesbian friend over for dinner, you’re celebrating friendship and life—no problem. When you toast to good health, great. But when you raise your glass and toast to a wedding that you are convinced dishonors God, or is not a true wedding at all,  isn’t that radically different?

 

As Kevin DeYoung, one of my favorite bloggers, attests, the question of whether a believer should attend a homosexual wedding is now frequently asked. (I’ve addressed the question previously in a video, and also shared some ideas for how someone could lovingly decline attending such a wedding.)

I’m well aware that my response to this issue will not only offend unbelievers, but also many believers. I’ve received pushback before and will again. But for what it’s worth, I have honestly tried to find a biblical way to conclude that love and grace, which I feel in my heart toward the people seeking to be married, means it is good to demonstrate friendship by joining in the celebration. But partly because love needs some reference point in truth to be true love, I’ve simply been unable to come to this conclusion.

I have talked with a number of people, including some pastors from good churches, who advocate saying yes to attending homosexual weddings. Their argument centers on the fact that Jesus was and is a friend of sinners and is full of grace. So true. But I have never seen a single wedding invitation to a wedding that doesn’t request people’s presence to join them in celebrating the couple’s union.

When you attend a gay person’s birthday party, you’re joining in celebrating their birthday, right? That’s great. When you invite your gay or lesbian friend over for dinner, you’re celebrating friendship and life—no problem. When you toast to good health, great. But when you raise your glass and toast to a wedding that you are convinced dishonors God, or is not a true wedding at all,  isn’t that radically different?

There are countless ways you can love those who identify as homosexuals without joining them to celebrate their marriage, which in God’s sight is not a marriage, and not to be celebrated. Let’s love them in the other ways, but not feel we must join them in celebrating what God’s Word shows us is not to be celebrated. (For more on that subject, I highly recommend Kevin’s book What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?)

Is it possible to attend a wedding without sending the message of participating in the celebration? I honestly don’t see how. Loving unbelievers doesn’t mean endorsing their beliefs about what constitutes a true marital union when those beliefs are contrary to God’s Word. My loyalty to Christ and to the welfare of people means that I should not encourage or celebrate their sins any more than they should encourage or celebrate my sins (which are many). Of course, that will come across as judgmental and unloving to many people. But is there a time when we need to be willing to accept such condemnation because of our commitment to God and what He says is true? If it incurs God’s judgment to commit homosexual sin, just as it incurs his judgment to commit heterosexual sin, is it really “loving” of us to encourage and celebrate such sins?

Yet because I know sincere brothers and sisters in Christ, who love Jesus and believe His Word, see it differently, I do not want to point an accusing finger. I can only say how I think Christians should approach this issue. While I’ve tried to see it differently, I haven’t found a biblical basis for it. Jesus ate and drank with sinners, of course. But in doing so He did not celebrate gluttony or drunkenness. He didn’t attend a feast dedicated to the purpose of applauding what dishonors God and brings harm to people.

I can’t believe that weddings are not celebrations, nor can I believe that celebrating sin can honor God. That’s why I’ve not gone to heterosexual weddings where a believer is marrying an unbeliever. Yes, I want the marriage to last once it takes place, and yes, I will later gladly do what I can to help the marriage stay together. But I can’t join in the laughter and toasts and feasting and dancing, which are a celebration of what Scripture, in my opinion, makes clear is wrong.

I can wish that the unequally yoked man and woman will stay together because God recognizes their marriage and wants them to remain married, even though they shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. But this isn’t true of a homosexual marriage. Can I really hope and pray in good conscience that the couple will continue to live together? No. It isn’t God’s will, nor is it in their best interests.

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