Alistair Begg Dropped From Shepherds Conference + “An Unnecessary Distraction”

Alistair Begg will no longer be speaking at the upcoming 2024 Shepherds Conference, according to a spokesperson for Grace To You to RNS, following the fallout and controversy of his recent remarks advising a grandmother to attend an LGBTQ wedding and then a much-panned follow-up message justifying his reasons. 

“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.”

Begg has been a frequent speaker at Grace Community Church events, including speaking at the Shepherds Conference in 2015 and 2023, and a regular guest lecturer for the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary.

This is a developing story.

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15 thoughts on “Alistair Begg Dropped From Shepherds Conference + “An Unnecessary Distraction”

  1. How many times has John MacArthur touted himself as some kind of “Biblical fighter for the truth”?

    Dropping Alistair Begg for being “an unnecessary distraction” is very weak.

    If MacArthur doesn’t take issue with Begg’s advice to attend the trans/gay wedding then there is no reason to disinvite him apart from caving into the un-woke mob that decided his advice was bad 4 months after the fact. If MacArthur disagrees with Begg, then he needs to have the spine to say that’s the reason why.

    Either way, it has been very interesting to watch this story unfold because of the way conservative Christians are reacting to it and drawing moral lines in the sand that are kind of arbitrary and are determined more by personal sensibilities than the Bible. One of the things that is so ironic about this is the amount of people rebuking Begg for telling grandma to go to a gay wedding when nary a peep was made when John MacArthur told bakers to produce wedding cakes for gay weddings. Seemingly, that’s not a problem for a lot people because John MacArthur is special and it’s different when he says it.

    1. A voluntary civil transaction is wholly different from an affirming presence at an event (which is no more than a civil service taking place in a ‘church’) that is wholly mocking God.

      This goes back to the weaker brother argument / freedom of conscience vs. affirming an activity that is clearly called out in Scripture.

      1. Selling a generic sheet cake to a customer who happens to be a homosexual (aka “A voluntary civil transaction) is not the same as baking and decorating a cake for Adam and Steve’s wedding. The same thing goes for photographers. Taking headshots for someone’s LinkedIn who just so happens to be homosexual (aka “A voluntary civil transaction) is not the same as taking their wedding photos.

        You are right when you say this is an issue of conscience, and the Bible addresses matters of conscience in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33. However, when someone comes up to a Christian and says they want them to engage in “A voluntary civil transaction” to accommodate their event that is wholly mocking God, that falls into a category where there is no plausible deniability. Is a gay wedding really a wedding in God’s eyes? No. Are idols really anything? No. But in 1 Corinthians 10:28 Christians are commanded to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols not because of the meat, but because non-Christians know that Christians know that the meat was sacrificed to idols and they ate it anyway.

        John MacArthur wasn’t giving permission to do business with unsaved sinners, he was giving permission to enable them to mock God by baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding, and his advice is essentially the same as Alistair’s.

        1. Taking advice from a Pastor that is not the pastor of the Church you attend is a foolish endeavor and places a burden upon him that he did not sign up for.

          You don’t care for MacArthur ? Fine, I don’t agree with him 100%. But to intentionally conflate different categories just demonstrating your refusal to engage in a good faith discussion. You are beyond disingenuous and twist Scripture to support your flawed position.

          But you do you

          1. You are assigning motives to my argument that don’t exist, and for the record I like John MacArthur just fine, but I won’t do mental gymnastics to ignore areas where he is wrong. I hear things like “I don’t agree with so-and-so 100%” but most of those people would be hard pressed to specifically identify a single point of disagreement.

            When Alistair Begg gives bad advice on his Q&A radio program, it’s good to cancel him.

            When John MacArthur gives bad advice during Q&A sessions at both a Shepherd’s and Ligonier conference, you’re being “foolish” for pointing it out because he’s not really your pastor and you’re placing “burdens” on him.

            When Alistair Begg is in error, it’s good to rebuke him for unbiblical advice.

            When John MacArthur is in error, it’s bad to rebuke him because the only reason anyone would ever criticize John MacArthur is if they had an axe to grind.

            If you really think the advise John MacArthur gave is essentially different than Alistair Begg’s, then his question shouldn’t have been “does your grandson know you disapprove?” it should have been “Is your grandson paying for you to be there?” because apparently all it takes in your mind for something to be justified is if it’s a “voluntary civil transaction”.

  2. So thankful for John MacArthur’s clarity YET again.
    I highly recommend everyone listen to Owen Strachan’s podcast on this topic (broadcast on 1/30, I believe). Very helpful in every way!!

  3. The Shepherd’s conference is nothing more than Calvinistic indoctrination. Yay, bombard the participants with Reformed Theology and fifty books, so they can go back and indoctrinate, divide, and split churches.
    When did just preaching the Good News of the Gospel become not enough?

    1. The Doctrines of a grace are merely a framework with which to understand the Sovereignty of God. It is not the Gospel is wholly orthodox

      IF you have a disagreement with the concepts, which one do you challenge and why ?

      That is, assuming you really want to dialog vs. just heaving stones and then running away. Give me an email and we can dialog

  4. When you are purging allies who just aren’t as pure as you’d like, you’re fundamentalism becomes puritanism. Nobody will buy on to that except those living at the extreme edges.

    1. If you understand who the Puritans really were you would blush at your display of foolishness.

      But you refuse to understand and prefer to hurl what you believe to be invective.

      Most helpful

  5. Begg has either become compromised to Biblical truth regarding what marriage is or Begg has always held this view but has never expressed up till now. Either way it’s very troubling and alarming. There is no Biblical justification to attend a gay wed-ding.

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