By Brian Orme
There are two kinds of Christians in the world today—those who would and those who wouldn’t attend a gay friend’s wedding. So who’s right?
When Christians respond to this question, “Would you attend a gay friend’s wedding?” you typically hear two answers:
1. “Absolutely! Jesus said to love one another, not judge one another.”
2. “No! I stand by the Bible. I cannot endorse something I believe is sin.”
That’s obviously a simplified version, but is there really a correct answer for this question? Is group #1 one sinning and group #2 saintly—or is it the other way around?
If you would attend a gay friend’s wedding, does that make you a progressive softy when it comes to the Bible? And if you wouldn’t attend, does that make you an ultra-conservative hate-mongering fundamentalist?
I really don’t think so. I’ll explain why in a moment, but let’s dig a little deeper into both sides.
God definitely wants us to show up in the world—in unlikely places—to be a voice of love and grace pointing to the Gospel. We need more of this, frankly. The world has seen a contentious, judgmental Christianity for far too long. We need more chest-beating beggars in the church today—people who are so rapt with the gift of forgiveness that they don’t see others’ sins greater than their own.
God also wants us to be bold and unashamed of the Gospel. God doesn’t want us to water-down sin, and he surely doesn’t want us to endorse it. God wants us to love holiness and justice and to be set apart from the world—both as a sign of judgment and an invitation to repentance.
But is there a way to do both? Can we be humble sinners and bold witnesses at the same time? Yes. Living a life of grace isn’t about loving others without boundaries, and being a bold witness isn’t about continually calling out sin. Being a disciple of grace is about merging the love and the justice of Jesus into a lifestyle that’s both willing to lose it’s reputation and stand boldly for truth at any given moment.
So, back to attending a gay friend’s wedding. Would a grace-filled believer find it okay to accept the invite and stand as a witness for a union that God clearly doesn’t endorse—for the sake of love and grace? Would Jesus attend a gay wedding?
These are deep things to think about. Things of the conscience. Things of conviction, prayer and weight.
I certainly believe God instituted marriage to be between a man and a woman; that’s not the question here. The question really comes down to this: If I attend a gay friend’s wedding, am I endorsing—or even celebrating—a sinful relationship that tears down the institute of marriage the way God intended it?
In my opinion, attending a gay friend’s wedding is much weightier than popping into a graduation party, a birthday or even a wedding shower—and needs much thought and prayer.
I’ll share my answer, and I’d also like to hear yours in the comment section below. Whatever side you’re on, I hope you give me a little grace.
After much thought, I believe I could attend a gay friend’s wedding without explicitly endorsing the union—in the same way I have attended weddings of unsaved friends who’ve been living together or divorced and remarried couples.
If I choose to attend a gay friend’s wedding, God knows my intent. It is not to endorse a lifestyle but to love a person in hopes of seeing him or her become a disciple of Jesus. Would this tarnish my reputation? It might, but it’s a decision, I believe, I could make in clear conscience with the Spirit.
I believe seeing a sinner, one like myself, saved is more important than appearances—or even perceived endorsements. There’s an old saying that goes like this: “Do anything short of sin to see a sinner come to Christ.” I’m not sure who said it, but I feel like it has merit.
I’d much rather be on the side of bold outreach than timid complacency.
Now you might see it differently, and that’s completely okay. I think there’s a lot of room for our differences on this topic. The Bible never explicitly deals with the issue of gay weddings, so there’s room for dialogue, discussion and difference.
I would only ask that the dialogue we create is focused on grace—giving each other plenty of room to move—and that, at the end of the day, the world sees our love for each other. That will speak louder than any wedding we would or would notattend.
It’s your turn.