Pastor John MacArthur has said it's "deadly" to allow people to define themselves as gay, because "God didn't hardwire anybody" to be attracted to the same sex, and shared his thoughts on whether people who identify as "gay and Christian" will go to Heaven.
MacArthur, who pastors Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, weighed in on the issue while speaking earlier this month at a conference for Ligonier Ministries in Los Angeles, CA.
The famed pastor and radio host was asked: "If one holds on to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, however is gay, will he enter the Kingdom of Heaven knowing that we are all sinners saved by grace?"
MacArthur responded by first emphasizing that "no one is gay."
"If you mean by that, that that's some hardwiring... no one is gay," he said. "People commit adultery, they commit sins of homosexuality, they lie, they steal, they cheat. That's like saying, 'You know, I keep robbing banks, but I'm a robber. I'm a bank robber. What am I gonna do? I'm a bank robber.' That is not an excuse for what you do."
He added: "Are there certain kind of impulses that lead people in that direction? Yes. But I think one of the really deadly aspects of this is to let people define themselves as gay."
MacArthur continued: "They are not gay any more than an adulterer is hardwired to be forced by his own nature to commit adultery. Those are all behavioral sins that are condemned in scripture. God didn't hardwire anybody in such a way that they are not responsible for certain behaviors."
In response to the question of Heaven, the pastor said it's necessary to "cancel that out of the sin list and welcome them into the Kingdom of God, because you can't do anything else. "
"But I think we do no service to people who are caught in the vicious sins of homosexuality by letting them define themselves by that sin," he contended.
Macarthur also weighed in on whether it was sinful for Christian to bake a cake for a gay wedding, explaining that it's "not sinful for a cakemaker to make a cake for a gay wedding, any more than its sinful for a guy who runs a restaurant to serve dinner to somebody who is gay."
"The issue is is not whether that's sinful, it's whether the federal government can demand that people do certain things which goes against their Christian conscience," he said. "I actually think that we need to show love to everyone, and particularly we need to good to all those that are outside the kingdom as well as inside the kingdom as much as possible.
MacArthur said that a "'gesture of kindness toward some unregenerate person is in itself not a sin, but if it violates your conscience in some way then you don't want to train yourself to ignore your conscience, so I think it's a personal issue."
This is not the first time MacArthur has shared his thoughts on the controversial issue; in 2014, he told the Blaze that churches that support homosexuality are "Satan's church."
"They have no allegiance to the Bible," MacArthur said. "You go back to every one of those seminaries ... for a century [they] have been deniers of biblical authority, they have no relationship to scripture, they are the apostate church, they are Satan's church."
He also warned that "cultural Christianity" was "dying at a warp speed."
"Institutional churches ebb and flow, denominations ebb and flow. They are made up of true believers and false believers - the genuine and the diluted," the "Being a Dad Who Leads" author said.
"There is a sense in which there's always going to be an ebb and flow in the institutional church."
Earlier, he criticized popular televangelists like Carl Lentz and Joel Osteen for their refusal to preach against homosexuality, noting that many modern pastors focus on advancing a prosperity gospel that is "spirit-centered" when it should be Christ-centered.
"If the Charismatic movement was being produced by the Holy Spirit, the glory of Christ would prevail everywhere," said MacArthur in a speech given at the Strange Fire Conference held at Grace Community Church.
"It would be Christ-dominated and everyone in the movement would be bowing the knee to the true Christ in belief of the true Gospel."
In addition to MacArthur, other speakers at the Ligonier Ministries conference included Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church located near Cleveland, Ohio; W. Robert Godfrey, president and professor of church history at Westminster Seminary California; Stephen Tong, founder and senior pastor of the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia; and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler.