by RC Sproul, Jr
Some of our deepest challenges as believers involve dealing with the sins of others, particularly those whom we love. Whether it is a relative struggling with addiction, a best friend unfaithful to his spouse, or a loved one embracing sexual perversion we often feel caught between our genuine love for the sinner and our genuine revulsion at the sin. The bromide “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” while at least infused with a touch of wisdom, doesn’t typically answer all the hard questions.
When confronted with tough moral calls it’s often wise to slow down and define our terms. First, let’s consider what it means to attend a wedding. Attending a wedding is not at all like attending a concert, or going to a movie. First, when we attend a wedding we are endorsing it. There is a reason for the “publishing of the bans”- that part of marriage ceremony wherein the officiant asks for reasons the two should not be married. If we “hold our peace” we are in fact affirming the legitimacy of the wedding. Secondly, when we attend a wedding we are there to serve as witnesses of the vows. We are a legal party to the proceedings, with a call to see that the vows are kept. Is that something Christians should be doing?
It is true enough that there are plenty of reasons why Christians are called to object to some heterosexual marriages. Those unbiblically divorced are not in fact free to marry, and Christians should not attend such weddings either, for the same reasons. The argument isn’t that both parties are sinners, and therefore we shouldn’t go. All those who marry are sinners. The question is, is the wedding itself biblical?
Which brings us to our second term, “wedding.” One could argue that my original question is moot for the simple reason that there is no such thing as homosexual weddings. You can no more witness a homosexual wedding than you could draw a square circle. Weddings are between men and women. That said, those participating in these events believe they are participating in a wedding. Our attendance, no matter how well intentioned, encourages them in their delusion. Which is one key reason why they so object to our not attending their weddings, or our not beautifying them with cakes and flowers. If we won’t admit that the naked emperor is dressed to the nines, the state will be called and we will be ruined.
Homosexuality is at one and the same time like other sins and unlike other sins. It is like other sins in that it is forgivable, and a sin for which Jesus died. After all, such once were we (I Corinthians 6:9-11). While the behavior is rightly revolting, those caught up in it bear God’s image and are not beyond the reach of grace. It is unlike some sins, however, for two reasons. First, it is gross and heinous sin. The folly that all sins are equal has done great damage in the church and in the world. All sins are cosmic rebellion and are due the eternal wrath of God. But that doesn’t mean they are equal. Second, unlike most other sins, this is a sin that its practitioners insist is no sin at all. Greed is wicked, but we don’t have parades celebrating it. This is a sin that in our day glories in its shame. Do we really want to join in that glory by attending their “weddings?”
I know it is difficult. I know it is painful and can divide families. I know it makes us look to the world like bigots and haters. But that, friends, is a shame we truly can glory in, for He promises us blessing (Matthew 5:10-12). This doesn’t, of course, mean we abandon homosexuals, or have nothing to do with them. Jesus often met sinners where they were. But He always called them to come to Him. He calls us to do the same.