Internationally known Christian pastor, author, teacher, and speaker Voddie Baucham visited the Chicagoland area this past weekend (October 21st and 22nd, 2011) to conduct his Transforming Marriage conference. The event was sponsored by Mission Dei church of Mokena, IL, and held at Peace Community Church in Frankfort, IL. My wife and I are avid students and fans of Mr. Baucham and were thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the conference.
Mr. Baucham is President of Voddie Baucham ministries and he currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has authored several books including “The Ever-loving Truth”; “What He Must Be”; “Family Driven Faith”; and his latest “Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead their Homes”.
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to hear Voddie speak, or have read any of his books, you know that he pulls no punches, never minces words, and fearlessly preaches the truth. He means what he says, and says what he means. He’s a gifted preacher and incredibly passionate about God’s word, and very inspiring. Well, the Transforming Marriage conference is true to form.
Right out of the gate, Voddie warned us this conference would not be what we expected — i.e., not therapy, not behavior modification, not legalism or moralism. Instead, he would boldly call husbands and wifes to step up to the plate, view and respect marriage the way God intended, and honor and fullfill our God-given roles in marriage and as parents. Rather than merely provide us with a cookie-cutter list of steps to take or principles to follow to improve our marriages, Voddie stressed what was necessary was to transform our view of what marriage is, and why and how God designed it, and also to understand who we are — our condition — as human beings. Ultimately the conference would be about Gospel centered transformation.
With the stage set, Voddie turned to the New Testament book of Ephesians. This book contains the clearest biblical teaching on marriage, on communication, and on the application of the Gospel to marriage. As Voddie stated many times throughout the weekend, “You can’t understand all the other stuff until you understand this.” The point being, Ephesians contains the foundational truths necessary for understanding what marriage is and should be. Once this material is understood and lived out, husbands and wives don’t need a list of do’s and don’ts and rules to follow for behavior modification in marriage. No. Behavior modification will naturally result from a right understanding and high view of marriage, a Gospel-centered focus, and the obediance produced through repentance and faith.
Thus, the Transforming Marriage conference consisted primarily of Voddie’s expository preaching through the entirety of Ephesians. What’s it all about? The overarching message is:
1) Christ’s headship over His body (the body of believers — the church)
2) Unity in Christ’s body
3) The glory the body gives to its head (Christ)
Marriage is a picture of a living, breathing, relationship between Christ and His church. Men and women, husbands and wives, are called in each of their respective roles to model Christ’s love and submission for his church. When these roles are embraced and correctly fullfilled, successful, God-honoring marriages result.
One point Voddie stressed that I found particularly profound is the fact that husbands and wives should not expect their spouse to satisfy all their needs. This is both unrealistic and impossible. Spouses are not meant to fully satisfy us. Only a relationship with the one true living God can truly satisfy us.
All and all it was a great conference — very eye opening and informative. My wife and I returned home with a new outlook and a renewed appreciation for each other and for our marriage. My only complaint was that the conference went too quick and ended too soon. I was left yearning for more. How about a week long conference next time Voddie!