TCC 09: Vodie Baucham – Brokenness

The True Church Conference for years has been a source of great preaching and godly encouragement. Each year the men on the preaching schedule have not failed to put before conference attendees true spiritual meat.

This year was not an exception, but in the midst of powerfully gifted men and great preaching one seemed to stand out. This seems to have been the case in years past as well. Last year two sermons by Paul Washer rattled around in my heart and mind for weeks after the conference. This year it has been Dr.  Voddie Baucham.

Voddie was supposed to preach at this conference three years ago, but a scheduling conflict kept him away. But when he arrived this year at the True Church Conference at Grace Life Church of the Shoals, he had a message for the Lord.

His topic was brokenness and here is what I gleaned from his sermon.

Brokenness is the off ramp on the road of repentance. It is the place we come to recognize that we are sorely and miserably insufficient and it is the only appropriate response to our sin.

But, our culture tragically believes that all discomfort is problematic and that there is truly no room for it in our lives. So we avoid brokenness, especially in the church.

Voddie would go on to point out the contemporary answer to the problem of sin, is not to see ourselves in light of the Biblical Gospel and call for brokenness, but to deny the truths of scripture and to re-create God in our own image.

He would go on to point out the ministry of Rob Bell as woefully inadequate to produce in us Biblical brokenness. Bell’s message, he would say, is to teach us that God is not mad at our sin. In fact, brokenness over sin is an Old Covenant distinctive and it has no place in the life of a believer in Christ.

Dr. Baucham would go on to speak about the rise in popularity of The Shack and the Godless ideas that it is promoting. He then summed up his introduction to say that these things negate an appropriate Biblical response to sin.

Our preacher then led us to Psalm 51, which is the expression of King David’s brokenness and repentance in light of his murder and adultery. The title of the sermon was announced, Brokenness is an Appropriate Response to Sin.

1. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin stains and mars our souls (Psalm 51:1-2)

David seems to be repeating himself as he says the same things about his sin.  He used the terms blot out which is that same Hebrew word used to describe what God did during the flood to judge the world according to sin, to clear away the guilty and start again. This is what David was asking God to do, “Clear the slate, wash me clean for I am stained and I want to start fresh and new.”

David asks again to be washed by God thoroughly. This carries the image of clothes on a washboard, scrubbed over and over. this is what needs to occur in our hearts because of the stains of sin.

Then finally David asks to be cleansed which is a term for ceremonial cleansing so that he could be made ready for ceremonial use.  David knew the severity of the stains of his sin in his life before a Holy God. We are like David and we bear “scar tissue” on account of our sin.

2. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin creates memories within us that stay with us (Psalm 51:3)

We don’t have spiritual amnesia, we know our sins and they burn vivid images in our minds. David says, “I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”

God didn’t make us to  forget things easily, and the memory of sin from the past should…

  1. Allow us to testify to the goodness of God in the present.
  2. Warn us against doing the same sin again in the future.
  3. Cause us to rejoice in our victories as we recognize growth

At this point Voddie began to paint the picture of his childhood as he grew up surrounded by gangs in Southern California. He spoke of going back to the streets where he grew up and seeing the familiar signs of his youth. He went back a few years ago to bury his father who had passed away, and in the midst of this he was reminded of the horrible sins that plagued his life before Christ.

Later that day he found himself weeping the corner, and thanking God for His glorious grace that had saved him from the depravity of his soul and set his feet upon the solid rock of Jesus. And through tears he proclaimed to us that brokenness came home to him in this visit to his past, and he stood before us this night to declare through tears, ” I am not who I ought to be, but praise God I an not who I was.”

3. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because our sin is an affront to a Holy God (Psalm 51:4-6)

David confessed the heart of the matter. He did not say that he had sinned against Urriah, or Bathsheba; but “against you and you only I have sinned.”

At this point, Dr. Baucham warned his hearers about the sissified and needy Jesus that is being preached today. He referred back to Rob Bell and The Shack as examples of the diminishing of the character of Christ that is occurring today in the name of preaching.

He warned us of this meek mild Jesus that is presented as a gentleman who never asserts his authority. He warned about the preaching that presents Jesus as a needy beggar who is longing to have what only man can give Him. He told us, “You can have that sissified, needy Jesus; I’ll take the Jesus of the Revelation.”

He turned to Revelation 19:11 and he began to read…

Revelation 19:11-16  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

He went on to say, in response to those who preach that God is not mad at your sin…

It amazes me that God would pour out His wrath on His own Son, and then let you slide. When we sin, we sin against the maker of Heaven and Earth…and brokenness is very appropriate.

4. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin is a hindrance to the true worship of God (Psalm 51:7-9)

In the church today we look upon men as consumers to be satisfied and we pattern our worship in order to please consumers. Why? Because apart from Brokenness we are incapable of true worship.

Isaiah 1:10-18  ear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.  12 “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?  13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.  14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.  16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,  17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.  18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Dr. Voddie went on to say that, without brokenness over sin, all we have is appeasement for the tyrannical old man (Sin Nature). Only brokenness makes us ready to magnify the name of the Lord.

It’s when we come to the end of ourselves that we see the value of God and the goodness and worth of worship offered to Him. It is at the end of our brokenness that we see His matchless worth.

Dr. Voddie had this to say as he again warned us all of the dangers of today’s preaching…

You don’t see matchless worth in the sissified, needy Jesus that is being preached today. I don’t know about you…but I’ll take the Jesus on the white horse.”


About Justin Wheeler

Justin Wheeler is the preaching pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wylie, TX. He is married to Leigh and has three children.
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6 Responses to TCC 09: Vodie Baucham – Brokenness

  1. From my personal perspective, I have never been more broken as a result of nor seen anyone more broken about systemic injustice and sin in the world than that of Rob Bell. Assuming the role of the convicting Holy Spirit is not something that we are called to do and those who do assume that role are really poor at actually causing any change inducing conviction within people mainly because they can see right through the agenda that should not be theirs in the first place. Conviction over sin should be something that someone internalizes and demonstrates, not preaches from a pulpit. Thank you for hearing my perspective as I have heard yours. Nothing, but love.

  2. simplemann says:

    I’m not sure I understand David Goodrich’s comment at all, but I sure did appreciate Voddie’s message. Wow. I liked what he said about the memory of our sin, and its importance to us as believers. Good stuff. I was not able to travel to Muscle Shoals with my wife and other church members, but she brought back the DVDs for me. Powerful, powerful preaching, and a sorely neglected topic. I’m so thankful that these men are standing up and preaching about the “Wonderful Grace of Repentance” and about brokenness and sin. One friend of mine who was there said that during Voddie’s sermon, he realized that he was not broken about not being broken. And God used this message to break him. I am thankful that the message, “Repent and believe” is being proclaimed again. I cannot think of one time in the Biblical record or in church history when true revival occurred when it was not preceded by true repentance and brokenness for sin. Praise the Lord that He is raising the voices of His people to call us away from our sins… like the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Make straight the paths for the Lord!”


  3. Justin Wheeler says:


    I couldn’t agree more with your statements. Vodie’s sermon was spot on in proclaiming that brokenness over sin is an appropriate response to the mercy, grace and matchless worth of God. Though, this message of brokenness leading to repentance is oft neglected; it’s must be preached by men who have and are experiencing it themselves.

    Thanks for the comments.


  4. Simple Mann says:

    Very true. I think that, after re-reading Mr. Goodrich’s comment a couple more times, I better understand what he’s saying. I think he took offense to Vodie calling out Rob Bell and William (Paul) Young. Not to try and pick on Mr. Goodrich, but his defense of Rob Bell and the statement he makes is to me a common misunderstanding of the emergent/emerging mindset, and its embrace of the “social gospel”.

    I am still baffled by his statement:

    “Assuming the role of the convicting Holy Spirit is not something that we are called to do and those who do assume that role are really poor at actually causing any change inducing conviction within people mainly because they can see right through the agenda that should not be theirs in the first place. Conviction over sin should be something that someone internalizes and demonstrates, not preaches from a pulpit.”

    I would like to know of one prophet or apostle who was called of God that did not think brokenness (the conviction over sin) and repentance should be “internalized” but not “preached”. Our Lord Himself began His ministry with the word, “Repent!”

    Mr. Goodrich claims to “have never been more broken as a result of nor seen anyone more broken about systemic injustice and sin in the world than that of Rob Bell.”

    The BIG problem I see with this way of thinking about brokenness over sin is that it is precisely at odds with Mr. Goodrich went on to say about conviction of sin being “internalized”. Being “broken” about “systemic injustice and sin in the world”–that is, the sins I have no control over because they belong to other people–is the exact opposite of the type of brokenness and repentance that our Lord demands. Not that we should condone those things, but neither will we be condemned by them, either.

    The biggest problem with the so-called “social gospel” is that it focuses on the sins of society while ignoring the sins of the self. Vodie (and all the other men who preached at the True Church Conference) are right to preach on sin and repentance. Sadly, these doctrines have been been withheld for too long in our “comfortable” (indulgent!) American churches. It is a message that is grounded in Scripture and the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, there is certainly an allure to the “social gospel” and it is not too difficult to understand why so many people are drawn to it. Conrad Mbewe says it better than I ever could. Speaking on Romans 8:7-8, he says:

    Here the whole of the human race are being divided into two categories, those who are living according to the Holy Spirit and those who are hostile to God, enemies of God. They may be religious people and church goers, but all you need to do is open the God of the Bible before their eyes and before long they will be hissing at you and will run you out of the church. They are worshipping a God of their own making

    They are worshipping a god who doesn’t mind their sin and pleasure seeking. A God who tickles them in the midst of the sinfulness, that god they will worship.

    But once you declare a holy and righteous God who is jealous for his own honor and who says you are to live for me and sacrifice to me and I am to be your all in all; that God they do not want.

    This is the God that they are hostile toward. They will not submit, they cannot submit, they are totally unable to do so.

    I don’t need any help seeing other people’s sins. But I sure need to be brought back to mine. Over and over again. Brokenness and repentance aren’t one-time events in the Christian life. If they are not a continuing part of the process, something is wrong.

    Peace and blessings, pilgrim.

    Simple Mann

  5. simplemann says:

    Oops. I wrote:

    I would like to know of one prophet or apostle who was called of God that did not think brokenness (the conviction over sin) and repentance should be “internalized” but not “preached”.

    I meant to say:

    I would like to know of one prophet or apostle who was called of God that thought brokenness (the conviction over sin) and repentance should be “internalized” but not “preached”.

  6. Greg Gordon says:

    I am watching this sermon now. very good so far.

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