Addressing one of the most pressing issues Christians face today, author and pastor John Piper answered a question from a listener on his podcast about whether or not Christians should attend the wedding of a couple who lived together before marriage.
The listener is someone who was firm in his resolution not to attend the wedding of a lesbian couple, because it would give the impression that he “affirms their lifestyle,” which he absolutely cannot do. (How he has gay friends at all with that kind of attitude is not mentioned.)
He also has other friends — a heterosexual couple this time — who are getting married. But he doesn’t want to give the impression that he affirms their unbelieving, pre-marital sexing lifestyle either. (Since that’s obviously what everyone at the wedding will be thinking about.)
His question was simple: Would it be hypocritical of him to attend that wedding but not the lesbian one?
In all his infinite wisdom, Piper responds by first addressing the lesbian couple:
What I would want to be sure to say is that not attending the so-called wedding of a so-called marriage between two men or two women is not the last word about the relationship that you may have with these people. In other words, it may be exactly the right thing to do. I think it generally is — not to be affirming of that kind of relationship by attending that ceremony. Yet it may be the right thing to continue showing principled kindness to those folks in the hope of revealing the truth of Christ.
So… skip the wedding because their relationship is wrong, but continue being friends? Does the lesbian couple get any say in this? Because I’m guessing they won’t have a strong desire to continue a “friendship” when they’re constantly being judged for who they are.
At any rate, the straight cohabiting couple will no longer be sinning once they tie the knot, so shouldn’t the wedding be a celebration?
… I think it is ordinarily wrong to attend the ceremony of the so-called gay marriage. But I think it is ordinarily right to attend the ceremony of a couple who has been living in sin, but in marrying are not in principle sinning.
In the first case, the ceremony is a celebration of sinful behavior. In the other case, it is not necessarily a celebration of sinful behavior. That’s why it’s not inconsistent to go to the one and not the other.
Piper seems to think a straight wedding has nothing to do with sex, but a same-sex wedding is nothing more than a giant hedonistic orgy. (Maybe if he ever got invited to a gay wedding, he’d realize those are about love, too, but I wouldn’t wait by the mailbox for that invitation.)
Even with the straight couple, though, Piper has caveats.
If the couple that we’re talking about here, whose wedding you’re going to attend, has only stopped doing the act of fornication, but has not stopped believing that fornication is right, then they probably (if they belong to a Bible-believing church) are in a position where they should be disciplined — because we don’t just discipline people for unrepentant actions of sinning, but also for unrepentant belief that sin is right or permissible.
So the Christian letter-writer can attend his friend’s straight wedding as long the couple understands they were wrong to ever have sex up until that point. As long as they feel really guilty and ashamed, party on!
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be Piper’s friend. It must be like walking on eggshells all the time, perpetually concerned about making the slightest mistake or saying the wrong thing, which would then put you in a position of needing to be “disciplined.”
Maybe the person asking the question should just stay home. He doesn’t sound like he’d be very fun at weddings anyway.
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