John MacArthur walks back comments stating that ‘it’s not sinful for a cakemaker to make a cake for a gay wedding’

John MacArthur, a prominent evangelical pastor and author, recently came under scrutiny for his comments regarding the morality of making a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding, prompting a response from his ministry to clarify his beliefs on the subject. During a 2017 conference, MacArthur stated that it is “not sinful” for a baker to create a product for a same-sex wedding, drawing comparisons to serving food at a restaurant or selling bread at a market.

MacArthur, the pastor of the evangelical Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and president of The Master’s University in Newhall and The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, participated in a panel discussion during Ligonier Ministries 2017 regional conference in Los Angeles on June 9.

During a question-and-answer session, MacArthur provided insight on two theological questions regarding homosexuality.

One question posed was whether it is “truly sinful” for a Christian business person to create a product for a same-sex wedding.

MacArthur addressed the question by stating, “No, it’s not sinful for a cake maker to make a cake for a gay wedding anymore than its sinful for a guy who runs a restaurant to serve dinner to somebody who is gay, sits in a booth and eats the food, or goes to the market and buys a loaf of bread and you own the market.” He emphasized, “What the issue is, is not whether that’s sinful. It’s whether the federal government can demand that people do certain things, which goes against their Christian conscience.”

He further explained that he believes this is “more of a political governmental issue” and emphasized the importance of showing love to all individuals, both inside and outside the kingdom. MacArthur added, “a gesture of kindness toward some unregenerate person is in itself not a sin.”

The renewed concern and clarification of MacArthur’s comments follow the controversy surrounding fellow pastor and author Alistair Begg, who was initially invited to speak at MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference this year but later cancelled. Begg’s remarks suggesting that a woman should attend her grandson’s wedding to a transgender person and even buy a gift sparked much debate.

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However, a recent video posted on the YouTube channel for iThink Biblically, a channel with over 89,000 subscribers, indicates a shift in MacArthur’s ministry’s response to the 2017 question, acknowledging that the answer he gave then was “incomplete”, and that if he was “given another opportunity to answer that question, he would strive to make the critical distinction as clear as possible,” according to the ministry statement by Phil Johnson and read in the video.

The original iThink Biblically video criticizing MacArthur’s remarks, which was put out prior to the follow-up video and following Begg’s controversial statements, caught the attention of evangelist Justin Peters, who reached out to Phil Johnson of MacArthur’s ministry. Peters then provided a response to iThink Biblically, leading to the follow-up video.

In the follow-up video, the iThink Biblically speaker commended MacArthur for addressing any confusion and affirming that it is not appropriate for a Christian to participate in a same-sex wedding, such as by providing a wedding cake, though still disagreeing in part with some of the response provided by Phil Johnson and MacArthur’s ministry.

The Scripture states in Ephesians 5:11-12: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them, for it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

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