Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Clear Thinking on Sexual Purity, Day 1

Leslie Basham: When you define marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman, you’ll have critics. Voddie Baucham has encountered some of them in his life.

Pastor Voddie Baucham: They're standing on their moral high horse looking down at you, "You narrow-minded, bigoted, unkind, so-called Christian. How dare you! All the stuff in the Bible you overlook! You do this and you do that, and you have the audacity to hold on to this antiquated rule about homosexuality!" That's what they're saying.

Leslie: So how do you respond? Dr. Baucham will talk about it here on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. It’s Thursday, June 8. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It seems like issues related to gender identity and sexuality are in the headlines all the times these days. Whether you're a follower of Christ or not, chances are you're grappling with some questions related to homosexuality. Sometimes as this issue is discussed, Old Testament laws are brought up that might sound, well, antiquated or irrelevant to today.

The thinking goes, "If we're not observing all of the Old Testament laws for ancient Israel, does that mean that none of them apply to us today?"

Not long ago, I was in the audience when Pastor Voddie Baucham gave a powerful message that dealt with these questions. I want to share that message with you today and tomorrow. I believe it will help you grapple with some of the things you may be hearing or even wondering about yourself on this subject.

So, here's Voddie Baucham at Moody Bible Institute's annual Founder's Week. 

Pastor Baucham: This area and issue of cultural apologetics is one that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time. As a person who thinks about things from this perspective and looks at what's going on around us from the perspective of cultural apologetics, there are a number of things that are just unavoidable.

Chief among them is the issue of homosexuality and so-called same-sex marriage. Not only is this a raging issue within our culture, but it is also an issue that has crept into the church in ways that are surprising to many. One of the things that's most surprising is the way that people in your generation (speaking about college students and people in their twenties and thirties) have capitulated on the issue of homosexuality.

It amazes me when I talk to twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings how you have, in many ways, sort of changed your thinking so that homosexuality is now not the sin or the problem—the problem is the church and the way the church treats homosexuals.

I'm always taken aback when I hear that, but it's pretty universal this idea that, "The problem is us, because if we were just nicer, then this issue wouldn't be what this issue is." That is not only naïve, it's dangerous, and it borders on heretical, for a number of reasons. 

Number one, it blames the beautiful, glorious Bride of Christ for sin and degradation. Secondly, it unwittingly accepts the idea of "justification by niceness." There is an eleventh commandment, and the eleventh commandment is, "Thou shalt be nice, and we do not believe in the first ten." 

And so, speaking on this issue usually results in people saying something like, "Well, what you said might have been true, but the way that you said it just wasn't [he pauses and audience fills in the word 'nice'], and therefore, I just can't get on board with you."

Now, wait a minute. Let me see if I understand this correctly. I just talked about a sin—an abomination—and you are not upset nearly as much by that sin and that abomination as you are by the fact that I wasn't "nice." And so because of that, you are willing to judge me for my judgment, but not judge them for what God says is an abomination. Am I understanding that accurately? 

And the answer to the question is "yes," that is exactly what's happening, that is precisely what's happening! And because of it, this movement is rolling like a steam roller, and it's coming after the church. Don't you believe for a moment that we can continue to move in the direction that we're moving and allow the church to continue to be the church. 

If homosexuality is successfully normalized, as it has been, and if same-sex marriage is understood to be legal and put on par with ethnicity, then that means it is no more correct to allow the church to discriminate in that area than it would be to allow the church to discriminate on ethnicity. That means, we will conform . . . or die . . . from their perspective!

Know this: we cannot be left alone, because if the other side is right, we must cease to exist. If the other side is right, being marginalized is not enough. We must be destroyed—in the sense that Christianity as we know it must be gutted of every last fiber of its foundational and fundamental understandings. That's the only way that this thing goes. There are young people in this room who are part of that undermining effort without even knowing it. 

And then there is a second layer of this. That second layer of this is people who are part of that undermining of that effort act out of ignorance. I want to deal with that more. One of the chief arguments that is being used today is this argument: "Why do you pick and choose?" Most Christians can't answer that question.

"You go to Leviticus and you talk about the abomination of homosexuality, but you eat shrimp! You wear clothes with blended material! You shave the edges of your beard! So, why, dear Christian, do you pick and choose?" 

Most Christians respond to that question with, "Uh . . . just . . . um. . . I've never noticed that clock up there before! It's an amazing piece of digital machinery, that thing right there." We have no idea. We have no idea where to even start answering that question.

Because of that, it is being emphasized more and more and more. There's a famous episode of the TV show The West Wing where the President is dealing with a woman who is a radio talk show host. It's supposed to represent—well, I won't even tell you who it's supposed to represent—and the President just takes her to task.

There's something happening there in the White House and she's there, and he just attacks her and rips her to shreds [verbally]. "You call it an abomination? I just want to know, do we need to stone the Redskins for playing football with a dead pig? How about this? How 'bout that?" And he just goes on this whole litany. Basically, the smack-down is all about this question: "Why do you get to pick and choose?"

We have to answer that question. We have to! Peter makes it clear that we are always to be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks us the reason for the hope that is in us. We have to do that, so we have to answer. How do we answer?

I'll tell you how I answer that question. The first thing I do is acknowledge the fact that I pick and choose, but I know why I pick and choose. Why is this important? Because the person who's accusing me also picks and chooses, but they don't know why.

Open with me if you would to Leviticus. We'll look first at Leviticus 18 (beginning with verse 22) and the accusation against me and those who hold the position that I do: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion." There it is.

And we go there, and they say, "Okay, fine. That's there, granted, but you pick and choose: you eat shrimp, you cut your beard," and all these other sort of things. And we just go, "Uhba . . ."

The first thing I do is, I say, "Yep. I pick and choose, I absolutely pick and choose. Yep, I cut my beard, the shrimp thing . . . I love me some shrimp! In fact, it's best when it's wrapped with bacon. Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord! But you also pick and choose."

So, you go forward. For example, look at Leviticus 19:11: "You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another." Guess what? The person who's accusing me of choosing hypocritically wants me to obey that law, but not the ones around it, which means they pick and choose hypocritically.

There's more! Look at 19:13, "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord." Go on to the next paragraph.

Verse 15: "You shall do no injustice in court." I mean, we can go on and on and on, right here in this Levitical code. These people who point the finger and say, "You're a hypocrite because you uphold this part of Leviticus and not that part of Leviticus," do the same thing!

But what's the difference between us and them—those of us who are informed on this issue? The difference is, we have reason to do so, and they do not. What is the reason that I do so? There are a number of reasons; let me give them to you, in turn.

Let me just say this up front: My answer is based on my understanding of the Scriptures as a Reformed Baptist. I stand in the historic tradition of Protestant Reformed thinking on this issue. There are others who may come at this a slightly different way than I do, but the point is still the same: we have reason to do what we do.

Number one: I do this because I understand the three-fold division of the Law, that not all laws are the same. I understand:

  • There are moral laws that are forever binding on all people in all places.
  • There are ceremonial laws, and those ceremonial laws prefigured Christ and His work and had to do with worship in Israel—which is the reason we understand the work of Christ.
  • There are civil laws. These civil laws were specifically for the nation of Israel, as a nation.

Listen to the way it's expressed in this historic Baptist confession, The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689 (so this is not new thinking; this is Second London, it's also Westminster. All the historic Protestant Reformed Confessions will give you this three-fold division of the Law. So again, listen to this.)

On the chapter of The Law, paragraph 2,

The same law [talking about this moral law], that was first written in the heart of man, continues to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall, and was delivered by God upon Mt. Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tablets, the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.

So the moral law is summarized in the Ten Commandments. That Confession goes on to say, "that forever binds all people everywhere."

Paragraph 3:

Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give the people of Israel ceremonial laws containing several typical ordinances . . . partly of their worship, prefiguring Christ, His grace, actions, sufferings and His benefits . . . and partly holding forth diverse instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only Lawgiver—Who was furnished with power from Father for that end—abrogated and taken away—were not obligated to keep the ceremonial law.

They pointed to Christ and His finished work. It's done, amen? It's done! So I don't have to go slay animals. The Lamb has been slain. But I wouldn't have understood the Lamb that was slain without the ceremonial system where lambs were slain. I wouldn't understand the Passover and Christ as the Passover Lamb were it not for Israel keeping the Passover for thousands of years. When Christ came, and the picture was brought to fruition, I could understand what God was communicating. That's my relationship with the ceremonial law.

Paragraph 4:

To them also He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution . . . their general equity only being of moral use.

Israel had certain laws that were civil laws, that were particular for Israel in the ancient Near East, and they're not particular for us, because we don't in Israel in the ancient Near East. Folks, this historic understanding answers an abundance of questions in terms of why we pick and choose when we go to the Law.

If you understand that there is moral law, that there is ceremonial law, and that there is civil law, it makes all the sense in the world that there would be some things that you would hold to and obey and other things that you wouldn't. You have an example of some of that here.

Leviticus 18 starts in verse 6 with the moral teaching about incest. After you have the moral teaching about incest, you have the moral teaching about homosexuality, and after that you have the moral teaching about bestiality. This is based on the moral law, this is based on the Ten Commandments: "You shall not commit adultery." That moral law is foundational to this, so that we understand that these are moral teachings.

Here's an example of that: There are a lot of people who are arguing today (one judge, for example, in Australia) that laws on the books against incest ought to be overturned. Why? Because we have two things that make them no longer necessary. One, we have genetic testing and, two, we have abortion.

Since we have genetic testing and abortion (and the only reason in the judge's view to have laws against incest is because of genetic maladies that it may cause with children), then we no longer need this law. If we had time, we could read through this first section and see, for example, that the incest laws cover more than blood relatives.

God doesn't give the incest laws solely because of the things that can happen to a child born of incest. The incest laws have to do with morality and the way that relations are to be held—not because of possible consequences. It's based on moral law.

Well, then we could go forward, for example, and look at Leviticus 19:5: "When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted." That's obviously ceremonial, amen? So, immediately I know that I'm not going to just go and rip that right out of its context and take it and apply it right here to my situation and circumstance.

I need to read that through the lens of the purpose of the ceremony. It is only then that I can understand how this law is applicable. So, the first answer to that question, "Why do I pick and choose?" is, "You pick and choose, too." Don't forget answer number one. We all pick and choose. That's powerful folks, because here's what people are doing when they do that. 

They're standing on their moral high horse looking down at you, "You narrow-minded, bigoted, unkind, so-called Christian. How dare you! All the stuff in the Bible you overlook! You do this and you do that, and you have the audacity to hold on to this antiquated rule about homosexuality!" That's what they're saying. 

So immediately, you go, "You're right. I do. You do, too! C'mon down here. Let's get right here . . . you do, too."

They respond, "No, I don't."

You say, "Yes, you do. Here are a couple of things right here that come out of the same part of the Law."

"I can't believe you, you hypocrite!"

"That's okay; we're hypocrites together." Why am I smiling and acknowledging I'm a hypocrite? Because I know Somebody who saves hypocrites!" Amen?

The second answer is, the three-fold division of the Law. 

Nancy: We've been listening to a message from Pastor Voddie Baucham, and he's been addressing some of the contentious issues of our day by showing us how to accurately interpret different kinds of laws that we read about in the Old Testament. Dr. Baucham will be back with the second half of that message tomorrow.

I remember listening to the end of that message and thinking, This is so powerful. Everyone needs to hear this message." So I hope you'll be back with us tomorrow.

At Revive Our Hearts, we believe it's really important to accurately interpret and understand God's Word. The apostle Paul encouraged his young protégé, Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

Handling God's Word carefully will have a huge effect on our day-to-day life choices. So we're calling women to know God's Word and then to live it out practically. Sometimes that means airing messages that may not be politically correct or popular with the culture.

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It frees us up to say what we believe needs to be said without having to worry that we'll take a hit in donations. That group is called the Revive Our Hearts Monthly Partner Team. These friends commit to pray for the ministry and to support it for $30 per month or more, and to share the message with others.

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So if this ministry has been a blessing to you and you want to help make it available to others, be sure to look up the Monthly Partner Team at ReviveOurHearts.com

Tomorrow we'll hear part two of the timely biblical message we began today with Voddie Baucham. Please be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you think biblically about the issues in our day. It is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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