On Monday, I wrote about how unlikely it would be for the Shepherds Conference to cancel Alistair Begg over his comments on homosexual weddings. This has apparently aged poorly as two things have changed. The first is the sermon by Begg attacked American Evangelicalism, thus making the situation worse. The second was that the article was part of a mounting pressure for ShepCon to respond. And now they have.
The news was broke by Religion News Service, a liberal outlet.
Begg had been scheduled to speak in March at the Shepherds Conference, a major Reformed evangelical pastors’ gathering led by California pastor and author John MacArthur. After Begg’s comments became public, he and MacArthur talked and decided the controversy would be “an unnecessary distraction,” according to a spokesman for Grace to You, one of the conference sponsors.
“Pastor MacArthur’s counsel on that issue would be completely different from the counsel Alistair Begg said he gave an inquiring grandmother,” said Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You told Religion News Service in an email. “So both agreed that it was necessary for Pastor Begg to withdraw.”
John MacArthur and Phil Johnson told the liberal media that Alistair Begg was dropped from ShepCon before telling their own audience. It was not until the middle of the afternoon on Thursday that the ShepCon website was updated with the removal of Begg after the story had circulated.
The objection has been raised about why not have this be discussed at ShepCon. David Morrill of Protestia gives a unique take arguing that Alistair Begg could not defend his position in a discussion, and all sides know that. Therefore, canceling his appearance at ShepCon is a way to preserve Begg’s reputation.
Evangelical Overton Window
To those who would decry this move by MacArthur, Johnson, and Ligonier, as cancel culture, they should be reminded that Alistair Begg was in sin for counseling a grandmother to attend to celebration of an abominable union. He defended this sin. Defending sin is outside of the ideal Evangelical Overton Window.
The ramifications of the story that Evangelical Dark Web broke regarding Alistair Begg in the first place continue to ripple through Evangelicalism. This was certainly unforeseen, but this level of compromise should ideally have consequences. ShepCon did the right thing; however, they handled it poorly by not making the announcement ahead of the liberal media.
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