There’s been a lot of kerfuffle, hand-wringing, and general angst about whether Christians should bake cakes (or provide any services) for things that they find morally objectionable.
Not even including the legal side of things (which is huge), this issue is massively important for us as Christians. It touches on what it means to love sinners and how Christian businesses should operate in a sinful world.
As I’ve interacted with people over the issue, I’ve heard two primary arguments as to why Christians should bake cakes for gay weddings (and presumably other events they find objectionable).
Before I dive into these arguments, I need to acknowledge that there are issues of conscience and wisdom here. You may not see things as I do, and that’s okay. But regardless, all of us should wrestle deeply with these things. These situations are only going to become more common in the future, and we need to know how to respond in a biblical and godly manner.
With that said, here are the arguments I’ve heard and why, in spite of these, I still wouldn’t bake a cake for a gay wedding (assuming I could bake).
But Didn’t Jesus Love Sinners?
Again and again in scripture, we see Jesus loving sinners. He ate with them, entered their lives, and told them about the glories of the kingdom of God. He wasn’t afraid of sin.
As Christians, we’re called to emulate his example. To spend time with those who don’t believe the gospel. To be present in their lives. To be friends of sinners.
But this argument fails to make one, really important distinction: Jesus loved sinners but didn’t honor their sinful lifestyles.
In other words, Jesus didn’t participate in activities that were a celebration of their sinful choices.
For example, Jesus ate dinner with Zacchaeus the tax collector. He didn’t attend a party in which Zacchaeus dedicated a new house that had been purchased with money stolen from people. Jesus welcomed prostitutes, but he didn’t celebrate the relationship of the woman at the well and the man who wasn’t her husband.
Jesus delighted to be with sinners and was deadly serious about sin. He appealed for people to repent so that they wouldn’t go to hell.
Certain events do celebrate and honor things that God calls wicked. I realize that sounds extreme, but we need to come to terms with that reality. A gay wedding is, essentially, a celebration and party for the union of a same-sex couple.
By providing services for a gay wedding, whether it’s baking a cake or being a DJ, I am contributing to that celebration, and I believe that’s wrong.
My father-in-law is an electrician. If the owner of a strip club asked him to do the wiring for the club, he would be contributing to the opening of that business. If an unbelieving friend owned a strip club and asked me to come to the opening celebration, I couldn’t do that, even if nothing sexual was happening at that particular event. An opening celebration is rejoicing in all that’s going to happen in that club.
Problems arise when we assume that loving sinners and refusing to celebrate sin are mutually exclusive. They’re not. I can have a gay couple over for dinner without also attending their wedding. Will this possibly add some strain to the relationship? Sure. But that’s the challenge of living in a sinful world, and the gospel is more than able to overcome relational strain.
I do wonder if part of this argument may be based on the fact that we don’t take homosexuality with the same seriousness that we take other sins. Not celebrating the opening of a strip club seems like a no-brainer, while a gay wedding seems to be a more innocuous event.
So Should We Never Do Business With Sinners?
The second argument assumes that if I don’t bake a cake for a gay wedding then I can’t do business with sinners at all. For example, if I run a hardware store, I can’t sell hammers because someone might use a hammer to hurt a person. Or if I sell guns, I can only sell to Christians because a non-Christian might use the gun to kill a person. Or if I make craft beer, I can’t give it to non-Christians because they might get drunk. You get the point.
This argument misses one key element: knowledge.
There’s a HUGE difference between selling a product with no knowledge of how it will be used and selling something that you know will be used for wrongdoing.
I run a freelance writing business and often work with companies to improve their marketing. Is it possible that a company could use something I write to rip someone off? Sure. Maybe they intentionally sell a defective product that I don’t know about. But unless I’m writing blatantly deceitful material, I have no way of knowing that.
On the other hand, if a Mormon church came to me and asked me to help improve their branding, I would refuse. Do I want to be friends with Mormons? Yes! Do I want to hang out with them and have them over for dinner? Of course! Do I feel okay about helping them promote a false gospel? Never!
Not all business transactions are neutral. Knowledge of the transaction really does matter. I will always do business with unbelievers…unless I know that something explicitly sinful is involved in that business deal.
We Can Still Be Friends
If you disagree with me, that’s okay. I know that in many cases, things aren’t black and white. I do believe scripture is relatively clear on these issues, but I also understand that we all must wrestle with what it means to follow Christ in a dying world.
And if you’re gay, I would LOVE to be friends with you. Come on over for dinner. Meet the fam. Bring your partner. This probably confuses you, but that’s okay. We can talk about it over the dinner that my wife will be cooking.