Common Myths About Our Sexuality Statement
We’re talking this week about the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality. And if you’re listening to this, you probably have heard the explosion of media coverage that has come with the statement, the release of the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality out to the media. This is not, in any sense, news. The Church of Jesus Christ has believed what is articulated in our statement for over 2000 years; our church has believed what’s articulated in that statement for 184 years. In fact, our church passed the statement last fall. So in every sense, this is not news. And yet, when the media got a hold of it, it was making a massive splash. One of the amazing things about that splash is how mischaracterized the statement has become. And so what I want to do this week on the podcast is talk about the top five myths of the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality.
Myth #1: We are Obsessed with Other People’s Sex Lives
The first myth is that we, as a church, at First Baptist, are obsessed with other people’s sex lives. I can assure you that we are not obsessed with the sex lives of other people. What we are totally captivated by is the living word of God. We are transfixed by this book. We are in love with God and his revelation to us. What happens when you read the Bible from cover to cover is you discover that God has a point of view on every single thing in the world. He has a point of view on our money. He has a point of view on our conversations; he has a point of view on our prayer lives. He also has a point of view on our sex lives. And what the issue here is, is that we’re actually living in a culture that is obsessed with sinful sex. In that world where we live as Christians, faithfulness demands that we respond to a sex-obsessed culture by talking about God’s point of view on the issues that we are addressing. So as a church, as a congregation, and as ministers seeking to be faithful to the good news of Jesus, we are not initiating communication. We are responding to the sexual obsession that’s out there in the culture. We’re not obsessed with other people’s sex lives; we are obsessed, if we’re obsessed with anything at all, with the mind of Christ and bringing it to bear on what our culture is dealing with.
Myth #2: We are Singling out the LGBTQ+ Community
The second myth is that our church our statement is singling out the LGBTQ+ community. We have this statement and it singles out LGBTQ+, and that is simply not true. The best way I can prove that to you is to read the statement to you. Here’s the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality. “As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and as the only context for sexual desire and expression.” And then, in the context of the statement, several Bible passages are cited Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Romans 1:26-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 There is no statement mentioning any specific sin at all in those words. In fact, the statement itself is simply a positive exposition, a positive summary of what the whole Bible teaches about manhood and womanhood, about sexuality, and about marriage. It is true that the sins in the LGBTQ+ continuum are ruled out by the implications of that statement, but so is every other sexual sin. Adultery is ruled out by that statement. Divorce is ruled out by that statement; pornography is ruled out by that statement. Listen, as a church, we are saying all of those sins are created equal, and we mean to speak out against all of them and not single any one sin out. Now, it is true that the LGBTQ array of sins are our most aggressive opponent on the statement. But it’s not true that they’ve been singled out. That’s a myth.
Myth #3: LGBTQ+ Community Members are Unwelcome at Our Church
The third myth is that LGBTQ+ community members are unwelcome at our church. I hate this myth almost as much as I hate any of the myths. Listen for people who say that for people who propagate that myth, they’re not understanding the distinction between members of First Baptist Church and guests and visitors at First Baptist Church. As a matter of fact, at First Baptist Church, we don’t forbid anybody to come to our church. When I was a lost person, when I had not yet repented of my sins and trusted in Jesus Christ, I was a visitor at many churches. I was a visitor at the church where I actually heard the good news and got saved. We don’t want to forbid anybody to come onto our property to come into our worship services and hear and sing about the Lord Jesus Christ. But we are making a distinction between who is a member, the people who were eligible to be deacons and teach our children and take care of our children, and who are going to be part of the decision-making teams in our congregation. We’re making a distinction between those people and the people who are our guests and visitors and freely welcomed but not held to the same standard as a member.
Myth #4: You Shouldn’t Have to Agree to Something Like This to be a Member
A fourth myth of our statement is you shouldn’t have to agree to something like this to be a member. Now, that might be the most disingenuous claim of all the myths. You shouldn’t have to agree to a statement like this to be a member. Listen, every organization you can imagine has special requirements for members. That’s just the way it is. Every organization you can imagine makes a distinction between those who are their members and those who they serve. If you want to go to a sports event, if you want to go to watch a sports team play, they invite anybody they want to come to watch the sport, but they don’t let anybody just be a player. If you’re going to be a player, you’ve got special requirements, you’ve got special qualifications that you have to meet. Because you are not qualified to be a player doesn’t mean you are not qualified to watch the game. It just means that in any organization, anywhere, there are special qualifications to be a member. Of course, that is true of a church as well. As I said a moment ago, everybody’s welcome to visit our church, not everybody is able to be a member of our church. And in fact, here’s one interesting thing. The LGBTQ+ groups and organizations who are most critical of this definitely require the members of their organization to agree with their view of sexuality. So it is just disingenuous to say that at a church, we shouldn’t have membership requirements where folks agree with our ethical statements as well.
Myth #5: We are Unloving
Here’s the fifth and final myth that I’ll talk about this week on the podcast. And it’s this, that it’s unloving, that we’re pushing people away, that we’re turning people out, that we’re slamming the door in folks’ face. I’ve already said this is not meant to be unwelcoming. It’s meant to be a higher standard for our members that’s different than what anybody in the community who wants to attend has to subscribe to. But fundamentally, the charge that a statement like this is unloving is based on a mistaken view of love. Here’s the way this works. Love when you really love something. When you really love someone, there will always be something else that you say no to. For me, to love my wife means I love her best when I say no to having a relationship with other women like what I have with her. When you love your parents, you love them in a special way as your parents, and you say no to other people being in that relationship. Love never means you must do everything I want and must agree with everything I do. And if you don’t agree with everything about me, then you hate me. That is not what anybody thinks love is. If love means that, then none of us are going to love anybody ever. That is not the definition of love. What we have to do if we want to be loving is, we have to go to the Bible to learn about what love is, and here is a wonderful and a glorious description of love in the Bible. It’s the closest the Bible comes to a definition of love. It’s 1 John 4:10-11, and it says, “In this is love, [if you want to know what love is, I’m getting ready to tell you] in this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Propitiation is a big, fancy, expensive word. It means that Jesus in his life and death and resurrection when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sins, and now God is not angry at us anymore because Jesus took the penalty for our sins. Love is Jesus came and dealt with our sins. Here’s what verse 11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Listen, we’re supposed to love other people the same way God loved us; Jesus came to earth and lived and died and rose for us. How? By dealing with our sins. My friends, it is loving to come to people and deal with their sins. It is loving to say to people who are dead and their trespasses and sins that you are guilty and you must turn from sin or you will die. It is cruelty to let people die in their sins. It is cruel to let people bear the punishment without preaching a message that could save their lives. You would not go to an oncologist that told you cancer was good. You would not call a fire station that said it doesn’t matter if your house is on fire. You go to those people when they admit hey, this is a problem, and it needs to be fixed. You would say they’re loving when they tell you the truth about that problem, and it is loving for Christians in our day and age to tell the truth about a sin that is killing untold millions, untold billions, and sending them to hell. This is the message of life. It’s the message of love, and anything less is a myth.