John MacArthur on Having Gay Children: Alienate Them & Turn Them Over to Satan

John MacArthur was recently asked by a reader how they should respond to an adult child who has acknowledged they are gay. His parenting advice?

Alienate them.

Separate them.

Isolate them.

Refuse to have a meal with them.

Turn them over to Satan.

Here’s the full clip:

I have a better idea: if you have a child who comes out to you, regardless of your theological opinion, here’s what you should do:

Walk across the room, give them a big hug, and tell them that you’re always going to love them.

What troubles me about MacArthur’s advice, and so many who think like him, is the horrible inconsistency that often is used when it comes to shunning. One of the key passages folks use to support shunning comes from 1 Corinthians 5– the unfortunate truth, however, is that Paul lists several sins he thought were shun-worthy. Folks like MacArthur have lifted sexual immorality out of that passage while completely ignoring the rest of what Paul taught.


Because it would be horribly inconvenient to actually practice this verse. In it, Paul teaches that we are to have nothing to do with Christians who are… greedy.

Which in America, is a whole lot of us. I wonder if MacArthur would also suggest you shun an adult child who makes $200,000 a year but doesn’t tithe or give any of their money to charity? Somehow, I doubt it.

I wonder if MacArthur would teach that we should isolate, alienate, and turn over to Satan our children who struggle with over-eating? That can be a form of greed because it is taking more than you need.

Or, what about the idolators mentioned in that same passage? I know a boat load of Christians who are trusting in firearms for their safety instead of God– which is idolatry. According to Paul, they should be shunned as well.

And, don’t even get me started on the fact that Paul also mentions “abusive” people in that passage also. That’s a whole other can of worms that would require shunning a lot of Christians in leadership.

Paul goes on to also include drunks and swindlers… so let’s make the list of people we’re going to shun even longer.

I’m just glad that I worship Jesus– not MacArthur (or even Paul himself!).

Jesus is the one who religious conservatives hated because instead of shunning, he had meals with people.

The drunks.

The hookers.

The swindlers.

You know, the kind of people we’re supposed to shun.

This is precisely why we are to make Jesus– and nothing else– the center of our faith and practice. Because it is through Jesus we find that sharing a meal, not alienation, is what love looks like.

So, please– if you have a child who comes out to you, forget everything that MacArthur is saying on shunning, and exchange it for giving a hug and sharing a meal.


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About Benjamin L. Corey

Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is an Anabaptist author, speaker, and blogger. He holds master degrees in theology and mission (Gordon Conwell) and is a Doctor of Intercultural Studies (Fuller Seminary) with extensive field research in Human Trafficking. His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, is available wherever books are sold. Benjamin is also the co-host of That God Show with Matthew Paul Turner and a syndicated author with MennoNerds. He lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and his daughter Johanna.

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