Can Christians bake wedding cakes for gay weddings?
Can a Christian bake a cake for a homosexual wedding?
My short answer is yes. I believe a Christian can bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. I promised in this post about the Sweetcakes gay wedding cake lawsuit that I’d explain why, so here we go…
Just to be clear, I don’t think that homosexual marriages are really “marriages”. But trying to write this entire post while referring to gay weddings as “non-religious, sinful civil unions” would be rather cumbersome so I’m just going to use the terms wedding and marriage.
So let’s try to answer the question “Can a Christian bake a cake for a homosexual wedding?”.
First, I think we should acknowledge that some things are described in the Bible as being blatantly sinful….lying, murder, sexual immorality, a lack of faith (Revelation 21:8). But I don’t think that baking a cake for a homosexual wedding is one of those blatantly sinful acts.
And to be honest, I’ve never heard of anyone claiming that baking a gay wedding cake was sinful in the same way that murder or lying is. More often, the arguments against Christians baking cakes for gay weddings hinge on arguments like “Christians shouldn’t support gay marriage” or “Christians shouldn’t associate with people like that”.
I’m not going to attempt to address every passage that deals with the dangers of supporting sin, but I think that dealing with a few representative verses will suffice to make my point.
1Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler —not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “ Purge the evil person from among you.
I’ve heard 1Corinthians 5 used in reference to supporting gay marriage with the idea that if you do business with homosexuals, the leaven from their sins will infect your unleavened life. And while I see where people are coming from when they have that idea, I just don’t think they could be more wrong. And I think 1Corinthians 5 bears that out.
Starting in verse nine Paul tell the church in Corinth that Christians ARE NOT expected to cut off all contact with unbelieving sinners. In fact, Paul makes the same point that I’ll make later….That it would be impossible for Christians to avoid unbelieving sinners, without completely getting out of the world. The warning about leaven in 1Corinthians 5 is a warning for the church to purge out sinful members, so that the church would not be poisoned.
In 1Corinthians 5 Paul specifically tells the Christians in Corinth that it’s OK to associate with sexually immoral people in the world.
2John 9-11 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
The notion that many people have about 2John 9-11 is that if you greet someone (kindle a friendship or sell them a cake) who does not abide in (obey) all of the teachings of Christ, you take part in that person’s wicked works and are in sin. I’d like to refute that idea about 2John in three ways….
1-The language of 2John 9-11 doesn’t support that interpretation of the passage. In 2John 7, John is speaking of people who deny that Christ came in the flesh and calls those people the anti-Christ. In vs.8 John warns his readers to watch out for those “deceivers”. And then in vs.9 John mentions those people who don’t “abide in the teaching of Christ”. I believe that the “teaching of Christ” is the teaching that Christ came in the flesh and died for our sins. And I believe that the context supports that interpretation, starting in vs.7.
Additionally, I believe that 1John 2:23 will help to support this interpretation of 2John 9…No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Do you see the parallel in these two passages? Those people who have the Father are those people who “confess the son (1John 2:23)” and who “abide in the teaching of Christ (2John 9)”. Abiding in the teaching of Christ is believing in who Christ is.
The “teaching of Christ” in 2John 9 is the teaching about Christ, not the teachings from Christ.
2-A flawed misunderstanding of 2John 9-11 would also contradict other teachings on the subject in the New Testament, such as 1Corinthians 5. Paul plainly states that it is OK for a Christian to associate with a sexually immoral person in the world, so how can 2John 9-11 prohibit it?
3-If 2John 9-11 means what so many people seem to believe–That a Christian cannot associate with anyone who does not abide in all of the teachings of Christ….How far are we willing to take that argument?
If “abide in the teachings of Christ” means to obey all of Christ’s commands, what about a new Christian? What about the person who sits down at your kitchen table, hears about how Christ died for his sins, repents of his sins and is immersed to have his sins washed away….That person doesn’t even know all of Christ’s commands, and he certainly doesn’t have the opportunity to obey all of them. So after inviting that sinner into your home, sharing the gospel with him, watching him have his sins washed away and knowing that he’s been added to the church…Do we then cut off all association with him until he abides in every teaching of Christ? How absurd is that?
But if you take the position that 2John 9-11 prohibits Christians from having contact with anyone who doesn’t abide in all of the things that Christ taught, that absurdity is where you’ll inevitably end up.
2John 9-11 does not teach that a Christian can’t associate with sinners. And if it did it would contradict its context, other New Testament teachings and the example left to us by Christ.
Romans 14 I won’t quote the entire chapter here, but the notion of Romans 14 is that a Christian shouldn’t do something that violates their conscience, even if that thing is not sinful.
And I won’t argue this point. If it violates a Christian’s conscience to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage, then they shouldn’t do it.
But it’s also important to note what Paul says about the Christian who believes a lawful activity is sinful. In vs.2 Paul says One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Paul makes it clear that the person who believes a lawful activity is sinful is weak. But all too often we see it the polar opposite. When we see a Christian who abstains from all sorts of lawful activities, we think of them as the stronger Christian. And that leads to a race of sorts to see who can be the “more abstaining” Christian. And pretty soon we’re surrounded by modern-day Pharisees, just like the folks that Christ addressed in Mark 7, saying that they leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.
And I say it’s important because we seem to have developed into a group of Christians who won’t simply say, “Sorry, I can’t do that for the sake of my conscience.” Instead we take what our conscience believes and say, “That’s wrong. It’s sinful.” And to prove our point that something that’s not sinful, is sinful….We misuse passages like 1Corinthians 5 and 2John 9-11. And that IS wrong.
Our goal should be to have a conscience that is aligned with God’s will, not a conscience that prohibits what God allows (a weak conscience).
Aside from those Biblical arguments, I’d like to just talk about the idea that it’s somehow wrong for a Christian to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage.
Just how far should a Christian take that position?
- Should the person who drives a limousine refuse to transport a gay couple from their wedding to the airport?
- Should a gas station attendant refuse to fill the tank of the limousine that transports the gay couple from their wedding to the airport?
- Should the local plumber refuse to fix the faucets of the gas station whose attendant filled the tank of the limousine that transported the gay couple from their wedding to the airport?
- Should the local accountant refuse to prepare the taxes for the plumber who fixes the faucets for the gas station whose attendant filled the tank of the limousine that transported the gay couple from their wedding to the airport?
- And should a local baker refuse to bake a wedding cake for the accountant who so clearly supports gay marriage?
It’s an absurd example, I know. But at what point did the example become absurd? How far down the line, how many degrees of separation, are allowed before a Christian is “safe”?
I’d say that the “safety” of a Christian’s actions should be determined by the Bible. And I don’t see where the Bible prohibits a Christian from doing business with sinners.
A question that I hear a lot is about a preacher who actually officiates at a gay wedding. And frankly I just don’t see how a baker and a preacher are even compared to each other in a situation like this.
The preacher is a person who stands up and proclaims “These people are married” (when they’re not). The baker is a person who stands up and proclaims “I sold a cake to a customer”. The two simply aren’t the same.
So no, I don’t think that it’s a sin for a Christian to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding. If you wouldn’t want to bake one, I completely support that. If it would violate your conscience to bake one, I don’t think you should.
But the small step from “I don’t want to” & “It would violate my conscience” to “It’s a sin for any Christian to do it”, isn’t a small step at all. It’s actually a giant leap. A giant leap that I believe takes us well outside of scripture.