American Family Radio announced this week it has dropped Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life program after he made much-debated comments about an LGBTQ wedding and after the two sides were unable to reconcile on the issue.
“Pastor Begg's program will no longer air on American Family Radio,” AFR Vice President Ed Vitagliano told American Family News. “He is an excellent Bible teacher. We certainly wish him the best.”
Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, made the comments in an interview about his new book The Christian Manifesto. The interview was posted on the ministry’s website in September and became the subject of social media debate in recent days.
Begg said he was asked by a grandmother if she should attend the wedding of her grandson, who was marrying a transgender person. Begg answered “yes,” but included several caveats.
“People may not like this answer--but I asked the grandmother, ‘Does your grandson understand your belief in Jesus?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Does your grandson understand that your belief in Jesus makes it such that you can’t countenance in any affirming way the choices that he has made in life?’ ‘Yes.’
“I said, ‘Well then, okay. As long as he knows that, then I suggest that you do go to the ceremony. And I suggest that you buy them a gift.’ ‘Oh,’ she said. ‘What?’ She was caught off guard.
“I said, ‘Well, here’s the thing: your love for them may catch them off guard, but your absence will simply reinforce the fact that they said, ‘These people are what I always thought: judgmental, critical, unprepared to countenance anything.’”
Begg added, “We’re going to have to take that risk a lot more if we want to build bridges into the hearts and lives of those who don’t understand Jesus and don’t understand that he is a King.”
Vitagliano said AFR representatives had a phone call with Truth for Life representatives.
“We were all in agreement that homosexual marriage is just as the Bible declares it, it's a faux marriage,” Vitagliano said. “It's not an actual marriage. It is a sinful union.”
The two sides, Vitagliano added, could not reach an agreement on the issue of the wedding advice.
“This is a critical issue in the body of Christ right now,” Vitagliano told American Family News. “And this is not only the wrong counsel, but it is deeply disturbing for Christians who want to hold the line against the cultural impact of the LGBTQ agenda.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.