Back to Begging… Well, Maybe Not Exactly Begging

“The one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy but love.”

Billy Graham
Circa 1957

The Christian has to say to Homosexuals, ‘We will not treat you in those ways. We can’t revile you, but we can’t affirm you. The reason that we can’t revile you is 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.’”

Rev. Alistair Begg

A recent post here dealt with Rev. Alister Begg’s comments advising a Grandmother that she can indeed attend the perverted wedding of her grandson, and with a gift.

In the face of withering criticism coming from what remains of the Christian dissident voice in America Rev. Begg decided to double down and tell his critics to, in essence, “go pound sand.”

Actually, I admire Begg’s willingness to give the middle finger salute to his critics. I always like seeing backbone. Now if it only was backbone as standing for a righteous cause instead of backbone standing for wickedness.

Rev. Begg opens up by appealing to Luke 15 and the parable of the prodigal son. Rev. Begg tries to position himself as the Father who eagerly anticipates the return of the prodigal son. Rev. Begg sees himself as the loving Father in the prodigal son parable. Further, he sees the perverted grandson getting “married” to another pervert to be the prodigal son and Begg sees all his critics as Pharisees and tax collectors, who are the Older son in the parable.

The problem here of course is obvious to those with eyes to see. In the Parable of the prodigal son, the prodigal is returning to his Father, with a mindset of repenting to take a servant’s place in the household. To the contrary, in real life, the prodigal (perverted) grandson remains in the pig stye dining with the swine, still refusing to return to his grandmother’s God and Christian faith. So, the passage that Rev. Begg appeals to in order to double down finds him guilty of gross eisegesis.

Let it be said here that any Christian worthy of the name Christian would be the first in line to welcome back any returning prodigal pervert. The Christian faith prides itself on the fact that it restores prodigals.

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Furthermore, any Christian worthy of the name Christian would even be willing to exercise great effort to articulate the saving message of Christianity to all prodigals, commanding them to repent. However, what a Christ honoring Christian will never do is celebrate perversity, or drink a toast to perversity, or be found countenancing a stiff necked perversity happening in God’s face. A Christ honoring Christian does not deny the message of Christ in the hopes that by their denial of the message of Christ they might win some to Christ.

Rev. Begg in his sermon quotes from a book the he wrote on the necessity of loving one’s enemy. Rev. Begg admits that he does not like perverts but that is irrelevant since he is called to love them. The problem here, I think is Begg’s understanding of love. Allow me to posit that Begg advising the grandmother to attend that “wedding,” is not counsel wherein biblical love is found. It is not Christian love to the lost as God defines love to join in celebration of a pervert marriage, though I am glad to concede that it is Christian love to the lost as fallen man defines love. The most loving thing possible that Begg could counsel is to explain to the grandmother how she is demonstrating love for her grandson by not attending the wedding. Rev. Begg is using the word “love” here in the sense of “that harlot sure loved her latest customer.”

The love I am talking about is the idea found in teaching parents that it is love for a child that visits the child with discipline, and even, when warranted, spankings. Rev. Begg’s logic is the same logic that says that disciplining your children is not loving. However, as any parent knows, as painful as discipline is for both parent and child it is the very nard of love and to neglect it is not loving but is full on hate. This is what Begg told the grandmother. Begg told the grandmother, “In the name of love, you go ahead and hate your grandson by attending this ‘wedding.'” It is profoundly unwise counsel coming from a chap who is 72 years old and who has been in the ministry his whole adult life.

We should note here that Rev. Begg’s warning against Pharisaic behavior is still worthy of hearing. We all (or at least I do) have this tendency towards self-righteousness, and as such it is always good to be probed by God’s warning Word on this matter. Having said that, I continue to insist that Rev. Begg has missed the mark in accusing people of being Pharisaic because they oppose his advice. Speaking only for myself, my life has found me attending gay bars and having gay friends who were genuine friends hoping by some means to communicate Christ. (To my great sadness they never did embrace Christ.)

Rev. Begg said in his double down sermon;

“In that conversation with that grandmother, I was concerned about the well-being of their relationship more than anything else. Hence my counsel. Don’t misunderstand that in any way at all.”

Now, I will be accused of being picayune but here is Begg’s major problem. We can applaud Begg for his well intended compassion here but, as the saying goes, “good intention pave the road to hell.” Rev. Begg’s concern should have been about the well being of God’s glory more than anything else. How is God glorified by the grandmother celebrating a monstrosity called a “wedding,” which is in point of fact a mockery of God and His reality?

In the end one wonders how far Rev. Begg would take this kind of logic? I mean, let’s try a couple reductio-ad-absurdum.

If a lesbian “couple” decides that one of them will get impregnated with the sperm of the brother of her partner so as to be parents does Rev. Begg recommend that their Christian grandmothers tell the lesbians that while grandma loves Jesus and therefore can’t affirm their lifestyle choices, grandma should nevertheless go to the baby shower and take a gift?

If a farmer decides to marry his favorite milk cow does Rev. Begg recommend that the farmer’s grandmother tell the farmer grandson that while grandma loves Jesus and therefore can’t affirm her farmer grandson’s lifestyle choices, grandma should go to the wedding and take a gift — perhaps a silver cowbell for Bessie?

Where does this kind of irrationality end? Honestly the only difference between what Rev. Begg has counseled and these other hypothetical counseling scenarios is that sodomy has now been accepted socially while the others have not. It is still safe to not be seen as being mean, if one counsels grandma not to attend my two pretend scenarios but it is not culturally safe to tell grandma that she shouldn’t attend her grandsons pervert “wedding.”

Rev. Begg goes on to say in her sermon;

“What happens to homosexual people, in my ‘experience,’ is that they are either reviled or they are affirmed. 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.’”

And yet Rev. Begg has no problem whatsoever reviling those non-sodomites who are Christian for insisting he must repent. To those Christians Begg lifts the reviling voice by calling them “Pharisees,” and “Fundamentalists.” Clearly, then the problem for Begg is not the issue of reviling. He has demonstrated he is perfectly capable of doing that. The issue for Rev. Begg is “who shall be reviled.” For Begg, we do not revile perverts but we do revile those we wrongly categorize as Pharisees and Fundamentalists.

Rev. Begg, in his sermon goes on to say that a main reason why there is this problem is that he is a product of British Evangelicalism and not American Fundamentalism. Indeed, in many respects this is the key thing is Begg’s sermon because British Evangelicalism has always been weak. The Brit Evangelicals have been weak on social issues. John Stott, for example, was a proto pioneer for WOKEism. (See his vol. on the Sermon on the Mount.) British Evangelicalism was weak on Biblical inerrancy and inspiration. Even Lloyd-Jones, as solid as he was, found his own church become a laughing stock, after he left, because of his quirky doctrine on the sealing work of the Holy Spirit being a distinct second work of grace. Lloyd-Jones would have never countenanced what replaced him but it was because of his quirky doctrine that his work at Westminster chapel thoroughly deteriorated. British Evangelicalism sucks as is seen by British culture.

We find ourselves asking … Hey Alistair… how’s that British Evangelicalism working out for Britain these days?

Churches filled?
Clergy Orthodox?
Christian family life blooming?
Christian Worldview evident everywhere?
Christian Statesmen abound?
Grooming young girls brought to a halt?

Were I Alistair I would go real slow on glorying in British Evangelicalism over American Fundamentalism.

And while we are on Fundamentalism lets us say note here a dirty little secret. Everyone is a fundamentalist. Rev. Begg just prefers his fundamentalism of celebrating license while I prefer my fundamentalism of maintaining orthodoxy. However, Alister is just as much a Fundamentalist as anybody he would like to name who is opposing him. He is showing in this whole sermon that he is sticking to his fundamentals and one of his fundamentals is celebrating perversity. Rev. Begg is a liberal fundamentalist.

Begg goes on to note how he has been orthodox in the past on marriage and how he has opposed sodomy in the past. He seems to think that because he got it right in the past that makes his getting it wrong today ok, as if being in severe contradiction is not a problem. Sorry, Alistair but a past getting it right does not make sense of a contradiction presently where you get it grossly wrong.

As my Grandmother used to tell me when I did something stupid; “Your heart was in the right place,” so I don’t doubt that Rev. Begg’s heart is in the right place. He has the best of intentions. It’s just that his intentions are driving him to say stupid things that don’t really serve his intentions. Also, there is the matter that when Rev. Begg speaks like this it makes easier for some other young minister somewhere to also compromise because, “Well, if someone like Alistair Begg can say this then certainly I have to be gracious as well.” But, again, this isn’t gracious speech. This is hateful speech on Rev. Begg’s part and good intentions doesn’t change that.

Let’s send British Evangelicalism back to Britain.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “Back to Begging… Well, Maybe Not Exactly Begging”

  1. “The one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy but love.”

    Smooth words indeed… But doesn’t “love” need to be defined in an biblically orthodox manner? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Begg says:
    “The Christian has to say to Homosexuals, ‘We will not treat you in those ways. We can’t revile you, but we can’t affirm you. The reason that we can’t revile you is 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.’”

    Here Alistair equates quiet and polite opposition with “reviling”. I say… “Not so fast you weasel. Not so fast.”

  2. “Were I Alistair I would go real slow on glorying in British Evangelicalism over American Fundamentalism.”

    We can see from the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation that there can be great differences in the quality of different local churches. And Britain is today a disgustingly decadent country, and tree is known by its fruits. Whatever might have been happened in the past, today the British “highbrow” culture is nothing to be proud of, unless it is taking firm oppositional stance to what is going on in that island these days.

  3. Thank you for unlike Begg, not being luke warm.

    Poor grandma is trying to draw boundaries and it is a very difficult thing to do in these situations.
    Begg isnt telling her to be loving.
    He’s telling her to be weak. He’s telling her to be quiet and don’t make a fuss, lest she be called homophobe… As if that’ll win them over.
    Grandma needs the churches love and help more than ever over this.
    What a slap in the face to Christian grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, neices, nephews, friends etc… who have lovingly drawn boundaries in this same situation.
    Shame on him!

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