Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky, has said that Christians should not attend a same-sex wedding, even of their own child, because doing so demonstrates "moral approval" for such unions.
"At some point, attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union," Mohler writes in his new book, We Cannot Be Silent, Charisma News reports. "If you can't congratulate the couple, how can you attend?"
In his book, which goes on sale Oct. 27, Mohler reveals that he has never attended a same-sex wedding and would refuse to even if one of his children or grandchildren were marrying. In explaining his stance, Mohler says that while Jesus regularly ate with sinners, "his constant call was to repentance" and in no case did he endorse sin.
Even if scientists are able to prove that people with homosexual tendencies are born that way, the "sinfulness of homosexuality" would not be eliminated because human sin taints the world, Mohler writes. He also charges that transgender people who turn from their ways should consult with their pastors about whether to have surgery to return to their original gender.
Mohler, who has led Southern Baptist seminary for 22 years, also weighs in on whether it is okay for Christian parents to let their kids play at the home of children with gay parents. He says it is, as long as the parents instruct their child first on "scriptural authority and sexuality."
"We should make every effort to develop real and authentic friendships with our LGBT neighbors," he writes.
Charisma notes that Mohler wrote his 213-page book, subtitled "Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage & the very meaning of right and wrong," for "intelligent evangelical readers," pastors, other church leaders and the public.
Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the USA, numbering a little less than 15.5 million members.
Earlier in October, the Southern Baptist theological seminary held a three-day conference, titled "Homosexuality - compassion, care and counsel for struggling people," in which leaders within the denomination discussed how the church can better respond to the LGBT community.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Mohler said that psychological therapy, including reparative therapy, is a "superficial" response to the struggle people face in dealing with same-sex attraction and transgender identity.
"In the case of many people struggling with this particular sin, we do not believe that some kind of superficial answer whereby they can turn a switch from being attracted to persons of the same sex to being attracted to persons of the opposite sex," he said, the Washington Post reports.
However, Mohler reinforced the Biblical idea that marriage should be only between a man and a woman and said that gay people are able to turn from their ways through the grace of God.
"By God's grace, that might happen over time as a sign of God's work within the life of that individual. But ... for many, many people struggling with these patterns of sin, it will be a lifelong battle," he contended.
Mohler also lamented that in the past, Christians have sinned against the gay community by "ignoring their presence among us, by remaining silent when we should speak the truth and by reducing a massive human struggle to simplistic explanations."