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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - The Apocrypha, Young Earth, and Sexual Identity

John Bradshaw - The Apocrypha, Young Earth, and Sexual Identity

John Bradshaw - The Apocrypha, Young Earth, and Sexual Identity
TOPICS: Line Upon Line, Apocrypha

John Bradshaw: Hey there and welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. These are questions that have been submitted by viewers of It Is Written programs. They've said, "Can you answer my question"? Our answer is always we'll do our very best. If we don't know the answer, we'll either find it, or we'll let you know we just don't know the answer. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Pastor Wes Peppers. Wes, great to have you here.

Wes Peppers: Always great to be here, Pastor John. A good day to answer some Bible questions.

John Bradshaw: Every day's a good day for that.

Wes Peppers: Yes.

John Bradshaw: I think we've got some challenging questions, some interesting questions.

Wes Peppers: We do.

John Bradshaw: Why don't you start us off by reading question number one?

Wes Peppers: All right. Our first question comes from Deborah, and she says, "What is the Bible position on sexual orientation? Is it genetic or a learned characteristic"?

John Bradshaw: Okay, that's a terrific question, a very timely question because society's grappling with this, wrestling with this, more now maybe than ever before. I think the answer is... well, I'll give you two answers. Answer number one is it doesn't even matter. And answer number two is maybe. So, here's the thing. What your sexual orientation is, is one thing, but how you live within that is another, right? You might be predisposed to be angry, doesn't mean you should be angry. You might be predisposed to kleptomania, doesn't mean you should steal. You might come out of the womb like this or like that. No matter how you are born, no matter what you figure you were born with or like or how, you still must be moral. And there's a biblical moral code to live with. Now, Wes, someone is going to say, "Ah, but I was born with this particular leaning, and you're telling me that I can't exercise that particular leaning". Let's put that to the side. Are there other sins that someone might be "born with" that God would say, "No, even though you inherited this or you were born like whatever you were born like, I don't want you to do"? So, what I'm saying is we shouldn't make one sin in a special category.

Wes Peppers: Worse than the others.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Yeah. And notice I'm using the word "sin".

Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Someone's gonna pick up on that. I mean anything outside the will of God.

Wes Peppers: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: And let's consider another sexual behavior or practice. What about that guy who can't keep himself to himself or the woman who can't keep herself to herself and has multiple partners within a marriage relationship or outside a marriage relationship?

Wes Peppers: That's right.

John Bradshaw: You see, if one were to consider the practice of homosexual behavior outside the will of God, you gotta understand there's all kinds of sexual behavior outside the will of God.

Wes Peppers: That's right.

John Bradshaw: And that is "verboten". Ya don't do it. "But what about me over here? I'm perhaps homosexual. I have a terrible struggle". The heterosexual has a terrible struggle as well. So your struggle as someone who's gay is no more special than someone's struggle who is straight. The question is, does God have the power to help somebody or to enable somebody to live a faithful life irrespective of their leanings or preferences or their genetic predisposition? Does God have the power, I'm asking you?

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I heard it once said it doesn't matter how you're born; you can be born again.

That's right.

And the grace of God has power over any sin. It doesn't matter what that sin is. Now, it doesn't mean that the temptations are gonna be easy.


It's gonna be difficult. It's gonna be hard. There's a struggling against sin that always has to take place. And Paul talks about this in Romans, chapter 7. He says, the things I want to do, I don't do; the things that are natural for me, which are sin, I do do. But in the end of that struggle, he makes an important point, and he says, "How do I get the victory over this? What's the solution"? He says, "Thanks be to God," for Jesus Christ, "who gives [me] the victory".

That's right.

And God can give us a victory. Sometimes, God gives us a victory over sin, and it's immediate, and we never struggle with that thing again. Other issues that we may struggle with, He may have to give us the victory moment by moment.


And it doesn't matter what it is. Sometimes we like to, I would say, culture likes to kind of protect the sin of homosexuality. But in reality, it's the same as any other sin. And God wants to give us the victory. He can give us the victory. There has to be some wrestling, but through prayer and through study of God's Word and through surrendering and yielding to Him, the victory can be had.

So, the question from Deborah was, "Is it genetic or learned"? And Deborah, the answer is it just depends. You're asking us to put every person with homosexual leanings or tendencies or preferences, or whatever you wanna call it, in one box. And you can't. There are some people, it's clearly learned; it's a choice: "I was heterosexual till I was 20, 30, 40, 50, and, you know, one day I thought, hey, let's give this a try". That happens. Let's not pretend it doesn't. However, there are some people, you'd have to be denying their experience. They say, "I've never had an attraction to members of the opposite sex. As long back as I can remember, I have had attractions to people of the same sex". I don't think we need to pretend that's a myth. Is every homosexual lying? I don't think so. I think that's the genuine experience of many people. You don't wanna put everybody into one category because that's dishonest and inaccurate and unfair. But you also, I don't think it's wise, Wes, I'll stick my neck out of it, I don't think it's wise for Christians to say, "Oh, you don't have to be that way".

That's right.

I think that's ignorant.


It's unsympathetic.

It's uncompassionate.

Yep. And it denies the reality that people are experiencing.

That's right. That's right.

Parents of homosexual kids will tell you, "We did everything a certain way. We provided everything as our parents did for us and their parents did for them, and yet, my child is homosexual. We didn't teach it to them. It came naturally". Do we have to deny that?

No, we...

We don't have to deny it., we can't deny that, and people are struggling with different things. There's different things going on in the mind and the heart and the body, and there's all kinds of influences from culture, and people are struggling, and we need to be real about that and not just shut that down, but at the same time, recognize that the grace and the power of God are stronger than any influence in our life and can give us victory and can lead us more and more and closer and closer to His ideal.

Yeah. We know that's true because both you and I know people who've lived in all kinds of sexual situations, and they've come out of those, and they're following a very straight biblical path.

That's right.

I'm gonna add to this. I think it's time for Christians everywhere to figure out how to relate to homosexuals.

Mm-hmm. I agree.

Not with banners that say, "Y'all are going to hell". That was never fair. It was never appropriate. There are people who genuinely believe this is who they are. There are people who are genuinely struggling. I've spoken to people who've wept rivers of tears talking to me about their struggle. You'd be sympathetic to someone who was angry or prideful, or had a gambling addiction or anything else. We have to relate to everybody with love and respect. Now, someone's gonna say, "Well, John, you called it sin. That doesn't sound very loving". Well, sorry. I intend to be loving, but I believe that's the Bible position, that action, indulging that, is outside the will of God. The Bible teaches us the way to love everybody. And figure out a way to do that while still being faithful to God and the Word of God.

That's right. And the perfect example of that is the life of Jesus. He did that with everybody He encountered. And if we follow that example, unfortunately, the church hasn't always followed that perfect example.

That's right.

The church has often been harsh, and so there's a right balance to have, yes. We wanna address sin, and we wanna help people get the victory over it because that's the most loving thing we can do.

That's right.

But at the same time, we have to be sympathetic and kind and understanding of their situation, not agreeing with it. There's a difference in understanding, of being compassionate and agreeing with something. We may not agree with that sin or that issue, but we can come down and take them by the hand and lead them out, lead them to Jesus, and help them see that there's a better way.

Yeah, and love people always in all things.

That's right.

All right, well, that was a little longer, but that's a complex question.

Yeah, it is.

And I wanna be balanced about that.

That's right.

As balanced as I'm capable of being.


Robert asks this question; Wes, I'll ask it of you: "Many people complain about the hardships [they face] in life, also seem to be disregarding, guidelines, God gives us, [they say] we're no longer bound by the law". So evidently the question is some people are disregarding God's Word and then complaining about the hardships maybe they set themselves up for; I don't know. "Did God change His mind about these things? I think He doesn't change". What sayest the Scripture?

Sure. You know, the Bible does give us many health laws and different types of things to follow, principles and guidelines that are for our own good. And they strengthen us, they benefit us, and when we ignore them or disregard them, many of the hardships we see in the world aren't always necessarily caused by the devil, but just simply our disregard for the truth of God, so there is some truth to that.

Yeah, there are laws that are set in motion. The law of gravity is what it is. If you step off that cliff, the law of gravity is gonna end up doing you in.


Well, don't blame the law.

That's right.

You knew the law. You stepped off the edge. There are consequences.

That's right.


So there are some laws in Scripture like the ceremonial laws, the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament that are no longer applicable.


But the health laws, you know, in the Old Testament it says, wash your hands, bury your waste, these types of things. We don't disregard those; those are still applicable to us today. So there are many laws that we have in the world today that are based upon the Old Testament biblical laws, and those things are helpful and good. Now, should we beat people up when we've obviously seen that they aren't following those things? No. The same application of grace and compassion and helping people learn that there's a better way, I think that's very important.

When it comes to the principles of health in the Bible, and there are numerous principles of health, there's a difference between clean and unclean animals. That's always been the case. I was meeting with some friends recently, old high school friends, and a good buddy, he's put on a little weight over the years, and he says, "Oh, there's this restaurant I go to". And he talked about this food that he would eat there. I mean, you'd never eat it in a thousand lifetimes. I don't know what he's doing eating it, but he enjoys it.

Yeah, yeah.

And then he says, "Oh yeah, but after that, my gout flares up. I don't have gout until I eat this stuff".


"I eat this and I got gout". Well, for him, it's okay. He figures he's just gonna go through life having this fight with gout, and that it's worth it because he gets to eat his garbage. The better thing would be to say, I do not need to be sowing and therefore reaping...

That's right.

...those unfortunate health situations. Yeah, good common sense. You follow the word of God, follow the principles found in Scripture. They're there for your benefit. Okay, let's be quick and see if we can be quick. Ryan asks, "Why did God choose death as the punishment for sin? [It] seems a little harsh. Why not a spanking or 30 days of hard labor or something less drastic"?

That's humorous and, you know, a good question. But the reality is, is that the Bible tells us in the book of James that sin, when it's fully matured, it "brings forth death".

That's right.

So, I don't know that God chose death as the punishment, but the punishment... or not the punishment, but the consequence of sin is death.

I'd have said it exactly the same way.

It's like a cancer.

Well, what is sin? What is sin? Sin is separating oneself from the will of God.

That's right.

The Bible says, "He that hath the Son hath life". But when you sin, you're choosing not Jesus, but you're choosing sin.

That's right.

The consequence of that is death. Life is only found in Jesus. There's only one place. When you're connected with Jesus, when you're united with Jesus, you have found life. And when you step outside of that, no more life. Isaiah 55, verse 2 tells us that sin brings separation from God. So, it's not that God said, "Hmm, sinners. What shall we do? Ah, let's kill them"! God with, I don't know, tears in His eyes, as it were, with a very, very heavy heart, knew that when you step away from God, that's sin, and that invites and brings death. The good news is the gift of God is eternal life. Death is the consequence for sin, but you don't have to suffer that consequence. You instead can enjoy life in Jesus. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. We will be back with more in just a moment.

Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. By the way, we are willing to answer your question. If you have a Bible question you'd like us to tackle, send it to us by email to [email protected], [email protected], and we'll take a run at your question. Here's one, Wes, from Cheryl: "In John 3:13, Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one is in heaven, but we know Moses and two others were in heaven when Jesus said this to Nicodemus. So what does He mean"?

Sure. You know, in the context of this whole chapter, Jesus is unfolding to Nicodemus that He is the Son of God, that He is divine, He's not just a man, He's the Son of God and the Son of Man, and so, you know, Nicodemus just wasn't quite getting it.


And so when He says that "no one has ascended," He doesn't just mean physically, but He means no one has ascended or ascended from heaven who belonged there. And of course, at that time, yes, Moses was in heaven, but Moses was not divine. Jesus was divine. And He's trying to get that point across to Nicodemus, and He has to do it several different ways because Nicodemus just isn't getting it. And of course, we know when Jesus died and resurrected, Nicodemus became a very faithful follower of Jesus in the early church, and so eventually he does get it, but human nature is often dull, and we get kind of stuck on sometimes things that are not really the main point, and that's kind of what was happening here, so.

And Jesus really is appealing to His own divinity.

Mm-hmm. That's right.

This is the chapter in which Jesus says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son". Right around this time, Jesus refers to that kind of interesting story in the Old Testament where the Israelites got bitten by venomous serpents. Moses put a brass serpent on a pole, he said, "Look and live," and they looked, and they lived. And that serpent, of course, represented Jesus, the sin-bearer. Look to Jesus.

That's right.

So, John 3 is Jesus impressing upon Nicodemus that Jesus is the divine Son of God. Okay, another question for you, let me roll this one away. Maurizio says, "Some people try to defend their beliefs by referring to the apocryphal books of the Bible. [So] who decided what method was used to include books in the current Bible? And why do we not accept books included in the Apocrypha"? Now, some people go, "Ooh, we know the Apocrypha". Others will say, "What in the world is that"? The Apocrypha is a small collection of books, including Wisdom, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the book of Judith, and there's a Daniel, chapter 13.


Oh, just for fun, you wanna Google that. Read the story of Bel and the Dragon and ask yourself, what were they smoking when they wrote that chapter? Whoever it was, it certainly wasn't Daniel. It absolutely has no place in the Bible. And it's indicative of some of the creative writing that found its way into these apocryphal books. Now, some of them are good for history, some interesting historical stuff there.


The story of the Apocrypha, let's go.

Yeah, you know, there's a lot of things in the Apocrypha that don't line up consistently with other parts of the Bible. And you know, like for instance, Daniel, chapter 13, you know, it doesn't follow the pattern of what Daniel was writing in the first 12 chapters (or the only 12 chapters) of Daniel, so there's a number of things there. And theologians and councils and various ones throughout history have recognized that and they said, "These do not match the unity of the rest of Scripture, and we're gonna reject those". And so, you know, again, there's some interesting history there, but also some theological points that are inconsistent with the rest of the Bible, and therefore that's why they have to be eliminated. When you look at all of the Bible, it's written over the course of 1,500 years by more than 60 authors of different backgrounds, farmers, doctors, fishermen, and so forth, but one thing that's maintained throughout those books is the consistency of thought. It's obvious that there was one writer, the Holy Spirit, that's inspiring these Bible writers, and they are consistent all the way throughout, and the books of the Apocrypha don't line up with that consistency, and so therefore they were rejected.

The books that were included in Scripture are those that were deemed to be authentic, written by people who were there or spoke to the people who were there.

That's right.

They were historically accurate, and there was a consistency among them as the church many, many hundreds of years ago were wrestling with this idea: What books do we rely on as authoritative, and what do we leave out? Because, of course, there were many writings that were swirling around. Many of them were obviously fraudulent. Some of those were dabbled with for some time, and then over time, the church came to its senses, said, "No, we wanna reject some of those". It's okay, I think, to admit that theologians wrestled with some of the books of Scripture.


Martin Luther had a hard time with a couple of books of the Bible. Now, one of the reasons that there are some people who are enthusiastic about keeping the Apocrypha is that in one of the apocryphal books, you can find something that supports the idea of purgatory.


Now, that is a uniquely Roman Catholic doctrine. And of course, Roman Catholics are motivated to keep the Apocrypha because in there, you can find support for one of the most, well, one of the many dubious theological beliefs. There's no purgatory. It's just a fantasy. But what a great thing for a church to be able to say: "Well, here's a writing or writings that we believe buttress our claims that purgatory is an actual thing".'s pretty clear to me that the reasons for including the apocryphal books are dubious and spurious and self-serving, not theologically sound.

Well, Pastor John, let me just add a word of caution to those watching that a lot of times there's people who are all about the Apocrypha or some other eccentric writings, but they kind of ignore the Bible. They're not as excited about the actual books that we do have confirmed versus those that we don't have confirmed. And so sometimes people are just always on this edge or periphery of excitement and eccentric ideas, and we have to be careful about that. Read the Bible, and it contains the words of life, and don't put as much emphasis on these other things as much as we do the Word of God.

Yeah, yeah. Regarding purgatory, if you have to go to the Apocrypha to find support for purgatory, you've got all kinds of theological problems.

That's right.

You can't find it in the 66 books of the Bible that start with Genesis and end with Revelation.


God has given us enough in the books that's He's given us. This is kind of a repeat of a question we had before, so we'll acknowledge it because it came to us from Wanita. She asks, "Are Christians [supposed] to keep the 613 laws? Are they listed in our Holy Bible"? I think she's referencing to what some refer not the 10 Commandments, but the other commandments found in the Old Testament. Are we to keep 'em? Well, it depends on what they are, doesn't it?

Yeah, it depends on what they are. Many of them are ceremonial. or fulfilled through the life and death of Christ, and so they're unnecessary, the sacrificial laws and so forth. There are many of the health laws that we mentioned still have benefit today and clean and unclean, being sanitary, washing hands, and so forth. And I think with some of these things, we have to use common sense. Are they still relevant for our culture today? Some of the laws talk about beard trimming and other things.

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Obviously those are not impactful or relevant for us today. So you gotta use common sense. And sometimes people can tend to be fanatical about these things or even have the idea that our salvation depends upon them. I think we have to remember that we're saved by grace. The 10 Commandments are applicable to us today. But some of these things can still be helpful, so, you know, some are fulfilled and are no longer needed; some are still relevant and applicable. Just use your sense and look at what the rest of the Bible says.

Amen. Kaye says, "I'm watching from...Canada. Pastor John, how old is the earth, according to the Bible"? Kaye, that's a great question. I've got a great answer. At least, I think it's a great answer. The Bible doesn't come out and say this is how old the earth is, nor does it say, like... Paul would've really helped us if he had written about the creation, "The invisible things of God are clearly seen in the creation, [which happened 4,000 years ago.]" Wouldn't that have been great?

That'd been great.

I was having a conversation with some friends yesterday, scientists, and we were talking about how helpful it would've been, or they were mentioning, if some Bible writers had said certain things and not said certain others. There are reasons God allowed some... some things into the Bible because He wants us to dig and grow and learn, wants us to study, and wants us to have faith. About the best that I can tell, and I confess I'm sharing the scholarship of others on this as well, but if you go through the Bible, you do the mathematics, it appears that the Bible, the earth was created about 6,000 years ago. I had somebody say, "Less than 10,000 years". Well, 6,000 is less than 10,000 years. So if I'm wrong about that by a day, a month, or week or a year, you're gonna be gracious towards me. "If you think it's not 6,000 years, John, you're stuck in the past," then I'm stuck in the past with some pretty solid people. I'm okay with that. If you say less than 10,000, I'm not gonna jump all over you, but I do wonder why you've got away from 6,000 when the Bible seems to indicate right around 6,000 years. That's if you look at Ussher's chronology and so on. The clear thing is, "In the beginning God created". Something for ya: The United States is eroding at a certain rate, a certain constant rate. It's between about a foot and three feet a year, depends on where, but the coasts are eroding.


If the planet was 400 million years old, there wouldn't be a United States.


It would have eroded away. Our mountains wouldn't be mountains. Well, given the current rate of erosion, they would've been 50 times higher than they are now. That's a descriptive thing.


I don't know if that's literal, but way higher than they are now. There's no reason to believe in an old earth, not from a scientific point of view and certainly not from a scriptural point of view. The Bible makes clear it's a young earth. Again, I don't want this to be a hill anybody dies on. I'm thinking 6,000 years of age. That's the best I can figure out. Is it a little longer? Well, I'll leave that to you, but as far as we can tell, 6,000.

What we know is that there's more and more evidence suggesting the young earth theory.


And, you know, I was an atheist at one point in my life. I have a degree in science from a state university, and I learned all these theories about millions and millions and billions of years old and so forth, and they're finding that those things don't have the evidence to support them. They are theories, they are ideas that somebody proposed, but as you said, the rate of decay, it could be different. Some of the dating methods they've been using, they've found that they're not as reliable as they once thought.


And so we can trust the Bible, the Bible's clear, but also the evidence is starting to stack up more and more as time passes in favor of what the Bible said thousands of years ago. And it's pretty fascinating to see that progress through time.

Yeah, you don't have to think that every scientist marches in lockstep.

That's right. That's right.

They just don't. And here's what I find interesting. You'll see a headline that says the earth is, you know, 3 billion years older than we thought. That's a big mistake: 3 billion years.


But it demonstrates that scientists haven't arrived at absolute truth.


They're learning too. They're learning too. Hey, good fun. That went by pretty quickly.

Yeah, that was great.

Thanks for that. Let me remind you that if you have a question for Wes, the hard ones, address them to Wes, the really hard ones; nice easy ones, address them to me. The way you do that is write to us at [email protected], [email protected]. We'll see you again next time. Thank you for praying for us. We are praying for you. Great fun to be able to answer your Bible questions. We'll do it again next time. This has been "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
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