Next year’s CMS summer school speaker says you can attend transgender weddings

CMS Alistair Begg

Pastor Alistair Begg, the Scottish-born but US-based voice of the Truth for Life Bible-teaching ministry, has been announced as a key speaker at the CMS Summer School 2025 event in Katoomba, NSW. Recent comments by Begg have caused controversy among evangelical Christians.

Addressing the topic of self-righteousness, and Jesus’ sermon on the plain on the Truth For life podcast while discussing his book The Christian Manifesto, Begg gave this example: “The old song that we never sing – you know, ‘It’s not my brother nor my sister, but it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer’ – I mean, that is foundationally the case. And so I hope that that would be multiplied. I hope that our church family, those who choose to read this book, that it might have an impact among us.
“Because learning to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ learning to say, ‘Please forgive me,’ learning to say, you know, ‘I’m not at my best at the moment; can you come alongside me?’ learning to say, ‘Yes, I know that these people believe a very different agenda, that their lifestyle is orientated in another direction,; and learning to say, ‘But I have no basis upon which I could argue that I myself would not be where they are were it not for the amazing grace of God, were it not for his compassion towards me.’

“And in very specific areas this comes across. I mean, you and I know that we field questions all the time that go along the lines of “My grandson is about to be married to a transgender person, and I don’t know what to do about this, and I’m calling to ask you to tell me what to do”—which is a huge responsibility.

“And in a conversation like that just a few days ago—and people may not like this answer—but I asked the grandmother, ‘Does your grandson understand your belief in Jesus?’


“’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?’”’


“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.”’

“And it is a fine line, isn’t it? It really is. And people need to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.But I think we’re going to take that risk. 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.”

It took a couple of months for the podcast, broadcast in September, to be noticed but perhaps not unexpectedly, Begg has attracted criticism. For example, California pastor, and a past Katoomba Christian Convention speaker, John Piper, said, “And here’s why I assume that’s what they really want to know, not just whether I’d go or not, but why wouldn’t you? Number one, it’s not a wedding because it’s not a marriage, and therefore attending it as a wedding is to be false. Like everyone there is being false. There is no such thing as a so-called same-sex marriage. God has defined marriage as a covenantal union for life between a man and a woman, his husband and wife. This isn’t that. Therefore, this is not a marriage, and this is not a wedding. I’m not going to lie about it by going to this union, if you can dare to call it that, is not being joined in heaven. Jesus said, ‘what God has joined together; let no man separate.’ This is what makes weddings awesome. They’re not human accomplishments. God joins a man and a woman; marriage is made in heaven. 

“Jesus said not between two people merely or a pastor or a judge. And this pairing of two men or two women is not being joined in heaven and to give the impression that it is is an offence to heaven. Number three, this blessing of this event would be hateful. It would be hateful for me to do it because it would be confirming a life and a lifestyle that will lead to hell. The apostle Paul said, don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral or idolaters or adulterers or men who practise homosexuality or thieves or greedy or drunkards or revilers or swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. They won’t. So to celebrate this lifestyle is to celebrate the destruction of human beings, and that’s hateful. It would be like gathering to celebrate, theft, gathering to celebrate drunkenness gathering, to celebrate swindling. Let’s all have a meeting and celebrate greed.” 

American Family Radio (AFR), the radio ministry of the American Family Association, decided to drop Truth For Life from its radio stations. But Begg has stuck by what he said:

In this new message, Begg does not retract his advice to that grandmother who “phoned me in tears.” “I was thinking about … how can I help this grandmother not to lose her granddaughter who has already publicly turned her back on God and her back on God’s design and in every other way. And in the course of that conversation, I said one of the ways in which to catch your granddaughter off guard is actually to do the opposite of what she expects you to do.

“What does she expect you to do? Avoid her. Stay away from her. Don’t get contaminated by the situation. I said, well, isn’t that interesting? So what would happen if you actually went? Well, that gave great pause, and I said, but you should talk to your husband. You got to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. And those were all the caveats that went around the conversation. But then I said, well, I think you should go and why don’t you give her a gift? …

“If I was in the receiving end of another question about another situation from another person in another time, I may answer absolutely differently. But in that case, I answered in that way, and I would not answer in any other way. No matter what anybody says on the internet as of the last ten days, if that were the case, if that were the case, I should never have said it in the first place. If people want me to repent and to repent, to repent, I repent daily because I say a lot of things that I shouldn’t say. I mean, check with Sue, but the fight of the matter is I’m not ready to repent over this. I don’t have to. Now, lemme say something that would be a little explosive. 

“I’ve lived here for 40 years, and those who know me best know that when we talk theology, when we talk stuff, I’ve always said I am a little bit out of sync with the American evangelical world for this reason that I am the product of British evangelicalism represented by John Stott, Martyn Lloyd Jones, Eric Alexander, Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Prime, I am a product of that. I have never been a product of American fundamentalism. I come from a world in which it is possible for people to actually grasp the fact that there are nuances in things….

“How do you honour God, obey his word and treat your neighbours and your friends and your family members who have decided to go down this wrong path? Some people have decided the way to handle it is by admonition. So you just simply stand up and keep telling them, this is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible. Some people have decided, well, we just won’t say anything at all. Just let it go. Who cares? It’s a big world. People do different things. Neither is a possibility for a Bible believing Christian, we are to treat with honour those who view us with hatred.

“Now, understand that this grandchild was an enemy of the gospel, an enemy really in the family circle by dint of her lifestyle an enemy. And Jesus says you’re supposed to love your enemies. Now we can disagree over whether I gave that grandmother good advice or not. Everybody on the pastoral team thinks I’ve given very good advice, and as I said on another occasion with a different person in a different context, the advice may be very different, but at least let’s acknowledge the fact that what we’re doing is we’re wrestling with biblical principle and when principle for let’s say holiness of life comes up against the principle of love for your enemy, how are you going to put that together? You got a problem with the grandmother showing up, sitting on the front row in a context that she absolutely despises and sitting on our lap nicely wrapped with beautiful paper and a bow around it is her gift? The gift of a Bible for a granddaughter she knows has no interest in the Bible, but because she believes that the entrance of God’s word brings light, she is prepared to trust the Holy Spirit to do the work.

“What happens to homosexual people in my experience … is that they are either reviled or they’re 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.”

It seems to The Other Cheek that next year’s Summer School deserves to be packed out.

One Comment

  1. a big “thumbs up” emoji. We are ALL sinners; we all nbeed to repent and seek God’s forgivenss. The sin of the practicing homosexual is more obvious to my fellow than my sin, but God knows it all

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