TO ATTEND OR NOT TO ATTEND?

by Dr. Peter Jones on May 14, 2013

Attend or not to attend

Someone wrote to me to ask if his daughter should attend the “gay marriage of a homosexual friend. With such an invitation, this is where the rubber meets the road, at the practical level of friends. What principles should inform such a decision?

 Friendship is important and must be cultivated, but real friends understand when friends have principal problems. So what is the principle involved?

A wedding is not just fun with friends. A wedding is a legal event, where we witness the joining together of two spouses before the civic and religious authorities. In classical wedding ceremonies, those in attendance are asked to speak up publicly if there is any reason “why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony.” Thus a wedding is a public event that is part of the fabric of culture to which both the collectivity and God give their blessings.

Because it is a “wedding” I do not think you can separate attendance from endorsement. That is doubtless part of why gays want the formality of marriage. It obliges the rest of society formally to affirm the rightness of their relationship. As soon as Christians attend gay weddings as a matter of course, in the name of friendship and even “love,” we will have lost the public attempt to preserve creational marriage as society’s norm. If you want gay marriage as part of the law of the land, supporting individual gay marriages is a sure-fire way to make it happen.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Karl May 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

Dr. Jones, Thanks for this article. I am not convinced that attendance=endorsement. Would you consider this issue similar to the questions surrounding attendance at a wedding where a Christian has chosen to marry an Non-Christian?
In my thinking, the question in the beginning of the ceremony about any reason why these two should not be wed, was simply an opportunity for someone to stand up and say- She is my wife- you can’t marry her. In other words- is it a lawful (Man’s Law) marriage.
I am very grateful that you have so thoughtfully brought this issue up. There will be many faithful people asking this question in the future.

Reply

Ralph Blair May 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

A follower of Jesus surely wouldn’t want to be caught associating with “sinners”. To refuse to attend the wedding would be to treat that couple as Peter and Rebecca Jones want to be treated, right? Let’s all hear it for the Golden Rule, the point of all the Law and Prophets.

Reply

Joshua Gielow May 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I do believe we should associate with sinners, so it is not from a sense of superiority, judgmentalism or holier-than-thou thinking that I wrote my comment. Indeed I refuse moralism. My thinking is determined by issues of cosmology. None of us endorses everything that happens in the world or everything our friends do. Your phrase “the Law and the prophets” presupposes an ethical universe without which the golden rule would have no meaning. I believe one should have homosexual friends, so associating with “sinners” under certain circumstances is perfectly in order, but marriage is a public statement that is so made as to demand endorsement. Attenders are not just friends. They are public witnesses. The wedding party are witnesses. The bridesmaid and the best man are formal witnesses. The minister is a witness. Nothing is haphazard. That is why homosexuals demand marriage.

If the ethical universe is worth saving, then maybe we need to think hard about what the general acceptance will of ssm will do to those ethical structures that make life livable as God the Creator intended.

Peter Jones

Reply

Nathan Keen June 9, 2013 at 5:44 am

Yes there’s a tension between wanting to reach out to sinners, and not being a part of sin. I’ve come to understand the basic principle as this: if sin is being celebrated, don’t be a part of it. You could only reach out by protesting. But if there are just sinners present, and the focus is something else, then by all means join in.

Reply

Susan June 28, 2013 at 7:52 am

A few years ago I counseled a friend who asked my advice
whether to attend a baby shower for the girlfriend
of her nephew. They weren’t planning to marry. I advised
we don’t want to be mean but send a baby gift
and don’t attend. She followed my advice. Her sister-in-law wasn’t happy
and untrue things were said. I might add the couple lived together
and had another child. It’s difficult to be salt and light these days, but unless we see ourselves in the light of God’s holy Law, we don’t think we need to repent of our sin and believe the Gospel. When Jesus talked with the woman at the well He mentioned her five divorces and the fornication relationship she then had. I might add she quickly changed the subject to religion regarding where to worship when He did mention it.

Reply

Susan June 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

PS The nephew’s parents had reared their children in our church but had left
left to attend another church over the doctrine of
Election so the families mentioned were Christians not
unbelievers.

Reply

Andy July 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Gracias Dr. Peter; por estos consejos. debemos estar alertas ante estos acontecimientos que buscan deteriorar la imagen de Dios y sus mandamientos.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: