What is the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality?
This week on October 9th, 2022, the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, is going to take a really bold and historic step in our culture’s battle with the sexual revolution. A lot of you who listen to this go to First Baptist Church, and a lot of you who listen to this go to other churches across the world, whether you are a part of the ministry of First Baptist Church or whether you just listen to this podcast, I want to talk to you about what our church is doing. I want to talk to you about what your church might do where you are. At First Baptist, we have known for a long time that we are in a sexual revolution that is taking over the society, and as it takes over the society, it is taking no prisoners. The LGBTQ+ agenda is rampant. And it is necessary for churches like First Baptist that want to be faithful to the good news of Jesus Christ that want to be faithful to the Word of God, and want to be faithful in time and place in our day; it is essential that we take a stand and clearly articulate in a loving and gracious and compassionate way, who we are and what we believe. One of the great problems of the sexual revolutionaries is that they are redefining sin, what sexual behaviors and preferences, and desires, which always used to be understood as wrong when those are reframed, they are celebrated will a crucial reality of the gospel has been compromised, because you can’t come to faith in Jesus without first confessing and turning from sin. And so if we reframe what sin is, then the gospel has been fundamentally compromised, and First Baptist Church wants to be faithful in this day of sexual revolution.
On October 9th, this coming Sunday, we are going to adopt a statement called “The First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality.” This is something that our pastors and lay leadership have worked on for a while. On Sunday, we’re going to ask our entire church body to approve it as required for every member in our congregation. I want to read the statement to you. Here’s what it says. It says, “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 is the only context for sexual desire and expression.” As I read that statement to you, I want to explain five fundamental realities about it that are absolutely crucial for our church and Jacksonville and for your church, wherever you are.
1. Required for All Members
First of all, it starts out by saying that this is something we are requiring as a member of First Baptist Church. This is a statement that’s required for our members. We think a statement about biblical sexuality is required for all of our members because, as a church, we want to be clear about our message on this. We are not confused about it. We are clear about it. We think that this is basic to a Christian, an understanding of the Bible, and to a Christian understanding of discipleship. This is required for all of our members. It’s required for the safety and protection of our church. The First Baptist Church is not buildings; it’s not a staff structure. It’s not a budget. The First Baptist Church is a group of people that is the sum total of our members. As the sexual revolutionaries desire to leave no stone unturned in their desire to take over the conversation on this, it is crucial that our church and that your church protects itself from attack on this. When we require every member to embrace this statement, then if there’s ever a threat, a legal challenge against how we use our facilities, against who we hire, against who we allow into membership, then we will be able to say that there is no such thing as the First Baptist Church where there is compromise on this. All of our members agree, and we stand together on it. So first is this is required for our members.
2. Human Beings are God’s Creation
Second, it makes clear that human beings are God’s creation. This is where everything starts. The statement says that I believe that God creates people in his image. If you are your own maker, sustainer, and defender, then you get to decide who you are and what you do. But if God is the Creator of heaven and earth, if God is the author of human creation, then it’s what God says about that creation that matters, and not what people say. In Genesis 1:27, the Bible says, “God created man in His own image.” Because human beings are created by God, he gets to say what goes, not we ourselves. That’s the second thing.
3. God Creates Either Male or Female
The third reality I want you to see from this statement is that it says 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. This is a statement that is fundamentally at odds with the transgender revolution. The transgender revolution believes in gender fluidity that you might be male; you might be female; you might be neither; you might be something else. And in any event, the way we know is by your own personal choice. That’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says that God created people to be either a man or a woman. It says in verse 27 of Genesis 1, so “God created man, in his own image, and the image of God, He created him, male and female, He created them.” God makes people to be either male or female. The reality is all of human society has agreed, since the dawn of time, that you can tell who’s who by looking. It’s not an opinion; it’s not a matter of individual choice. It is a fixed matter of unchanging human biology from conception. Boys are boys and indicated as such with XY chromosomes, and girls are girls and indicated as such with XX chromosomes, and those chromosomes flush themselves out in actual physical characteristics that you can see and that you can hear even in the sound of someone’s voice. And so, male and female is a fixed matter of human biology and not a matter of individual choice.
4. Marriage Comes from God
The fourth reality about the statement is that it says that marriage comes from God. It says I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government. We live in a crazy world where the government believes they get to decide who’s married and who isn’t. We live in a world where it makes sense to talk about same-sex marriage because we don’t know where marriage came from. The reality is there is no state, no county, no federal government; there is no court that has a right to say two men can get married or two women can get married because the government didn’t create marriage; God did. God created marriage and presided over the very first marriage ceremony in Genesis 2:22, “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman, and brought her to the man. Then the man said this, this at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” This is the very first marriage ceremony, and it is from God and not government. And so this statement has our church going on the record that in our church, we think marriage is what God says it is, and we reserve the right to ignore what government says marriage is when and if it disagrees with what God says marriage is.
5. Marriage is the Exclusive Context for Sexual Relations Between One Man & One Woman
The fifth reality about the statement is that it makes clear that marriage is the exclusive context for sexual relations between one man and one woman. It says, “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.” This rules out, on convictional grounds, same-sex marriage because marriage is between one man and one woman. It’s not between two men. It’s not between two women. It’s not between a multiplicity of parties. It’s between one man and one woman. And in that marital context of, one man and one woman is the only place where sexual desire and expression can happen. This statement is a basic statement. I am the pastor of a church that’s 184 years old. If I went back to almost any of my predecessors and said, in 2022, we’re going to need everybody in the church to agree on a statement like this. I don’t think they could have imagined it. I think they would have found it to be completely unnecessary to agree on something so basic for every church member, but it’s not unprecedented today. It is required today in the midst of the confusion in the midst of the danger presented by the sexual revolution. It is absolutely crucial for First Baptist Church to approve a statement like this, and I think it’s absolutely crucial for your church as well.