Answering Three Popular Arguments for Attending a Same-Sex Wedding

By Published on April 27, 2024

Saying “no” is hard. I get it, especially when it means telling someone you love that you can’t attend the biggest event of their life: their wedding. It’s what makes the question “Should a Christian attend a same-sex wedding?” so difficult.

Be Prepared to Respond to Three Popular Pushbacks

Often, the difficulty doesn’t end when you give your answer because then you face another question: “Why not?” Here are three popular pushbacks you may have to respond to, each one intended to justify Christians attending same-sex weddings.

“Attending a wedding doesn’t mean you agree with it.”

This is technically true but not relevant. While anyone can attend an event they privately don’t affirm, when it comes to a wedding, one’s presence at the event is still a public celebration of the marriage itself. Attending the event implies support.

When you participate in a wedding, you’re there as an honored guest and a public witness. Accepting the invitation and attending the event entails your affirmation of that marriage. Your personal convictions aren’t on display. What you’re expressing publicly with your attendance is support and celebration.

Jesus dined with sinners not to celebrate their sin, but to call them to repentance and offer the same forgiveness we all need. He never attended an event condoning or celebrating sinful behavior.

Also, it’s impossible to escape the wider cultural perspective. Even if the couple and all the guests understood your personal convictions about homosexuality, your attendance within our current cultural context would still lend support to something God does not find honorable. The public act of attending the event carries with it public meaning, regardless of your private intentions, which is why making your convictions known to the host and other attendees ahead of time wouldn’t solve the problem.

The better choice for everyone involved is to graciously decline the invitation ahead of time, explaining why.

“Christians should use the opportunity to build bridges with unbelievers.”

Recently, a well-known pastor used this rationale when he advised a grandmother to attend her grandson’s wedding to a transgender person. He reasoned that the grandmother’s attendance would strengthen her relationship with her grandson and also be an opportunity to witness to him by giving a Bible as a gift.

I understand the pastor’s motivation, but I think this is bad advice for two reasons.

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First, we all want to lovingly open the door to gospel conversations. However, these good intentions are not sufficient reasons to participate in events that are offensive to God. I doubt any pastor would recommend attending a polyamorous “group wedding” or someone’s induction ceremony into a white supremacist group to make friends feel loved and accepted. Some invitations you wouldn’t think twice about turning down due to their offensive nature. Remember, we get our moral direction from God, not the culture.

Second, you can’t let friends and family control your actions by threatening to cut relational ties when you disagree with their sinful choices. We have to put our relationship with God ahead of even our relationships with friends and family.

“Refusing to attend a same-sex wedding is pharisaical.”

Jesus spent time with sinners. He ate meals with sinners. This was one of the problems the religious establishment had with him. When the Pharisees saw Jesus and his disciples dining with sinners, they rebuked him. Jesus responded, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). Is your refusal to attend a same-sex wedding more like what a Pharisee would do than Jesus?

Jesus did hang out with sinners — a lot. Jesus loved sinners, but he never attended any event where sin was being openly celebrated. In Luke 19, Jesus invited himself to Zaccheus’s house for dinner even though Zaccheus cheated his own people when collecting their taxes. After spending an evening with Jesus, Zaccheus gave half his wealth to the poor and repaid fourfold everyone he had defrauded (Luke 19:8). Jesus dined with sinners not to celebrate their sin, but to call them to repentance and offer the same forgiveness we all need. He never attended an event condoning or celebrating sinful behavior.

As the culture becomes more accepting of immorality, I know it’s hard to hold firm to biblical convictions. The issue of attending a same-sex wedding is just one example. As ambassadors for Christ, we have to act with courage, clarity, and compassion.

 

Jonathan Noyes has worked as a speaker with Stand to Reason since 2019. He earned a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

Originally published at Stand to Reason. Reprinted with permission.

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