Conclusion of the Sodom Series and Challenge

God Hates Fags

Sodom Series, #16

We see from a study of the Scriptures—all the passages which mention Sodom—that the sins of the cities of the Plain are idolatry, pride, gluttony, violence, hatred of strangers, and inhospitality to outsiders—not same-sex coupling.

When we compare Genesis 19 with the Judges 19 account of Gibeah, we understand that rape—the dehumanization of one human being by another—is the ultimate expression of their hostility and violence toward strangers, whether male or female.

We must study the Scriptures thoroughly before forming doctrine

A thorough study of the Scriptures, as this series has provided, should suffice to determine what the sins of Sodom were. This is especially important when we use the Bible to form doctrine about Christian living while we ignorantly flirt with the danger of condemning entire classes of people.

Christian teaching should speak only what the Scriptures teach. It should conform its logic and argument to that contained in the Scriptures. Most importantly, it should remain silent when the Scriptures are silent. Mark Jordan asks:

Do we meet these tests when we invoke the history of Christian moral teaching to speak about what we call homosexuality? Our readings in medieval texts have suggested that we do not meet them. Indeed, we fail much lesser tests. We typically disregard the most basic rules of respectful reading when arguing about same-sex love. We rip words out of context; we magnify what is microscopic and ignore what is enormous; we refuse to examine the rifts that divide our languages, our discourses, from the patristic or medieval discourses we want to invoke. (The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, 160)

The Apostle Peter admits that some things in Scripture are hard to understand, “which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16b NKJV). We therefore must be diligent to correctly interpret and apply its teachings.

This wrenching of the Scriptures leads to the dangerous process of demonization.

Demonization of sodomy

The crimes of the destroyed ancient cities changed from the original scriptural understanding to focus solely on one type of sexual behavior. From there, the term sodomy was coined and abstracted to refer to homosexual behavior and then to homosexuality in general.

“The last thing we should do is to translate ‘Sodomy’ as ‘homosexuality.’ ‘Homosexuality’ is a term from late nineteenth-century forensic medicine, a diagnostic term for regulating the behavior of the patients or prisoners it presumes to classify. If you ask, What does medieval moral theology have to say about homosexuality? the only precise answer is, absolutely nothing. ‘Homosexuality’ is no more discussed by medieval theology than are phlogiston, Newton’s inertia, quarks or any of the other entities hypothesized by one or another modern science. ‘Sodomy’ is not ‘homosexuality’(Jordan 161, emphasis mine).

“There are two separate mistakes here,” Jordan points out. “The first is to think that the story of Sodom is centrally about same-sex pleasure—or even a particular kind of same-sex copulation. It is not” (162). Yet, a great segment of the Church believes that all homosexuals are sodomites, worthy of a fiery death sentence.

The citizens of Sodom lumped together all outsiders as strangers, suspicious as a class and worthy to be abused and violated. They condemned visiting travelers to certain victimhood in every case. Just as nothing good could come from Nazareth, nothing good could come from outside the walls of Sodom.

Tom Horner discusses this process of demonization:

It is doubly unfortunate that a great portion of the public identifies all homosexuality with the conduct of the men of Sodom and says, “The men of Sodom were bad; therefore all homosexuality is bad.” Well, the men of Sodom were bad, but they were bad not because of their homosexuality but because they had allowed themselves to become so callous in their dealings with other human beings that they had turned themselves into brutes. (Jonathan Loved David, 47, emphasis mine)

Those who name Jesus Christ as their Savior and claim to live according to the Bible must see that such disregard and mistreatment of people, even if they’re considered “sinners,” is unquestionably unchristian and bring reproach upon not only the gospel message, but the Lord himself.

When we, in our own relationships, disregard other human beings as persons, we kill them little by little.

Who are the real sodomites?

It is ironic that for almost two thousand years in Western culture this is how people have been treated who’ve been honest enough with themselves to accept homosexuality as a given fact of their existence. They’ve been treated as less than human for no other reason than because they have expressed a sexual preference for members of their own sex.

If we would begin to judge people as individual persons, instead of prejudging them on the basis of their sexual prefer¬ence, maybe we would begin to see where the real propensity for violence and lawbreaking in our society lies. (Horner 57)

McNeill aptly states an irony: for 1000 years in the Christian West, homosexuals have been the recipients of inhospitable treatment. “Condemned by the Church, they have been the victims of persecution, torture, and even death” (Taking a Chance on God, 42).

There’s a sad irony about the story of Sodom when understood in its own historical setting. People oppose and abuse homosexual men and women for being different, odd, strange or, as they say, “queer.”

Lesbian women and gay men are simply not allowed to fit in. They are made to be outsiders, foreigners in their own society.

They are disowned by their families, separated from their children, fired from their jobs, evicted from apartments and neighborhoods, insulted by public figures, denounced from the pulpit, vilified on religious radio and TV, and then beaten in the schools and killed on the streets and in the backwoods of our “great,” “freedom-loving” nation. And all this is done in the name of Christ.

Such wickedness is the very sin of which the people of Sodom were guilty. Such cruelty is what the Bible truly condemns over and over again. So those who oppress homosexuals because of the supposed “sin of Sodom” may themselves be the real “sodomites,” as the Bible understands it. (Helminiak 49–50, emphasis mine)

Being gay is not the unpardonable sin

In some parts of the Church, there is neither mercy nor forgiveness for those who identify themselves as homosexual. “Sodomy,” says Jordan, “seems to be an unrepentable sin… an exception to divine grace…” (Jordan 162). However, there is only one unpardonable sin: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29; Luke 12:11).

Yet God’s promise to those who are hospitable to strangers, those who accept the outsider and the gospel messenger remains:

I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes along with theirs…
–Ezekiel 16:53 NRSV

What will you do?

Two final questions:

  • What will you do to combat the ignorance and misinformation of the Church toward LGBTQ people?
  • How will you treat the stranger in our midst?

The Judge of All the Earth awaits your answer. Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

More information:

The Sin of Sodom coverTo read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.

John Is Out, Christ Is In

John the Baptist

What are the signs of Christ’s ministry? From a prison cell, John the Baptizer asked the same question. Here’s what Jesus told him—and what I believe will happen someday.

John lands in prison

John did his ministry in the Galilean wilderness. He called people to repentance—a change of heart by turning away from dead religion and worldliness that was confirmed by public water baptism (Matt. 3:1-3).

But John paid the price when he denounced Herod Antipas. Antipas had divorced his wife Phasaelis and married a woman named Herodias, who was previously married to his brother Herod Philip I (Matt. 14:3-4).

Herod Antipas was a tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) of the kingdom he’d inherited from his father Herod the Great, who had years earlier ordered the massacre of all male infants in the vicinity of Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-18).

In the fashion of his father, who disliked contention from the New Age movement (the Magi), Herod Antipas wouldn’t stand for it from the Religious Right (John the Baptizer). So he threw the prophet in prison (Luke 3:20).

Jesus raises a boy from the dead

One day when Jesus and His disciples reached the town of Nain, they met a funeral procession. Men were carrying out on a bier a widow’s only son.

Jesus stopped the procession and commanded the young man’s corpse to get up.

And he did.

The mourners were gripped with fear and said things like, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” (Luke 7:11-17)

Without the help of radio, television, newspapers, email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the astounding news spread throughout Judea. Even John heard about it in prison.

John questions Jesus

18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples
19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
–Luke 7:18-19 NRSV

John’s ministry was very different from Jesus’. Although John came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), no miracles are recorded in his ministry.

John’s basic message was, “Change your heart and get your life right. Be born from above.” He did a lot of fasting, denouncing, and baptizing.

When Jesus arrived to be immersed, John declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29-30).

Jesus, however, came eating and drinking, feeding the multitudes, and changing water into wine. Religious leaders called Him a glutton and a drunkard (Matt. 11:19).

Perhaps John thought that, if his cousin really was the Christ, Jesus should have some other kind of ministry. Still stuck in prison, John apparently expected different results from the Messiah he had spent his life preparing people to receive (Matt. 3:1-3).

Jesus answers with evidence of anointed ministry

Since raising the widow’s son at Nain, Jesus was busy curing many people of diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits—even opening the eyes of the blind. John’s disciples met Him and relayed the Baptizer’s query.

22 And [Jesus] answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.
23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
–Luke 7:22-23 NRSV

“Are you the Christ?”

Jesus did not answer John’s question directly. Instead, He told John’s emissaries to deliver an eyewitness account of the results of his ministry:

  • Blind eyes are opened.
  • Physically disabled people—paraplegics and quadriplegics—are walking again.
  • Lepers and those with skin diseases are cleansed and accepted back into society.
  • The deaf hear once more (or for the first time ever).
  • The dead are even coming back to life.
  • The poor get the good news delivered to their doorstep.

The theme of these supernormal deeds is freedom for captives. As John had preached deliverance from sin and false religion, his message was only to prepare people for greater freedom that would come through the ministry of Christ.

Unfortunately, Jesus’ good news would not set John free; he was beheaded in prison (Mark 6:17-29). Perhaps this is why Jesus told him not to be offended with Him.

John vs. Christ today

With the rise of the Religious Right in recent years, we’ve witnessed the militant exaltation of a narrow set of religious values (and an even narrower set of “family values”).

These views march lockstep with the condemnation of every class of people who do not conform to their constricted code of morality, one that is often hypocritical—like legislators campaigning on a ticket of family values and the sanctity of marriage while they have had multiple affairs and divorces.

The purity of John’s ministry, though harsh, is corrupted in today’s political right-wing religiosity.

Like the ministry of John the Baptizer, this contemporary hardline stance has served a purpose. Yet it will not last forever; it will fail to usher in a right-wing “kingdom of God.” One day soon, it will overstep its bounds, backfire, and find itself in prison.

What’s coming?

Many dispensationalist Christians—both evangelical and Pentecostal—believe that there will be a great persecution of the faithful before Christ returns to rapture them.

Indeed, the persecution will come.

What they don’t understand is that some will have earned it for all of them by making themselves a stench in the nostrils of everyone else in the world through self-righteous rejection of outsiders. The tide will suddenly turn, and they will find themselves in the minority.

(I’m not talking about those who are truly meek and loving like Christ. I’m referring to those who take part in a churchianity that seeks to impose their views on everyone else through political manipulation and governmental legislation. I’m talking about false religion that rejects the marginalized and cares not for widows and orphans [James 1:27].)

The Kingdom of God does not come riding the beast of politics and prejudice. Bible faith will never be established by burning the Koran or hatefully protesting LGBTQ people.

Soon, those Americans who want to unfairly enjoy financial and societal benefits for themselves while denying them to all those outside their religious comfort zone will find these roles reversed.

When the ministry of John is fulfilled in this present age, it will be decapitated so that the ministry of Christ may come forth to heal and deliver those who have been damaged and rejected by God’s self-appointed “chosen few.”Jesus healing a blind man

Militant religious conservatives will languish in a prison of misunderstanding and betrayal while the Spirit of Christ is poured out on those they sought to socially marginalize and politically squash for so long. As Jesus told John, please don’t be offended.

To the “outsiders,” Jesus’ flock of another sheep pen (John 10:16), the Lord says:

6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
   I will take hold of your hand.
   I will keep you and will make you
   to be a covenant for the people
   and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
   to free captives from prison
   and to release from the dungeon
   those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the LORD; that is my name!
   I will not yield my glory to another
   or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
   and new things I declare;
   before they spring into being
   I announce them to you.”
–Isaiah 42:6-9 NIV

Zelophehad’s Daughters Were Right

Zelophehads Daughters

Did God account for every gender situation in the Bible?

No.

Does God make new rules?

Yes. Let’s learn why from Zelophehad’s daughters.

Moses counts the Israelites

Through Moses, God delivered the Israelite people from slavery in Egypt—you know, the whole Charlton Heston Ten Commandments thing: stubborn Pharaoh, ten plagues, the Passover, crossing the Red Sea, and traveling around the mountain for forty years.

In Numbers chapter 26, God directs Moses to take a census of the Israelites so that land could be divided among the sons of those who escaped from slavery in Egypt.

Did you get that?

SONS. Males, men, guys.

Then a peculiar situation arose.

Zelophehad’s daughters

1 The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher…, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. They came forward
2 and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said,
3 “Our father died in the wilderness. He… left no sons.
4 Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”
–Numbers 27:1–4 NIV

Zelophehad, who died in the desert, had sired only daughters.

These four women approached Moses at the Tent of Meeting, the place where Moses met with God. This was a few thousand years before the 1970s and the Women’s Lib movement; in an ancient Middle Eastern culture, it was a bold act.

The women presented their situation to Moses: “Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”

5 So Moses brought their case before the Lord,
6 and the Lord said to him,
7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.
8 “Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter.
9 If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers.
10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.
11 If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the Lord commanded Moses.’”
–Numbers 27:5-11 NIV

God makes new rules

Ponder these intriguing points:

  • When God told Moses that land was to be divided among the sons of the Israelites, didn’t God know that Zelophehad had only daughters?

    If not, then God is not omniscient—a biggie among divine attributes, along with omnipotence and omnipresence.

  • If the situation where a couple bore only daughters was inherently wrong in God’s plan, then why did God not design genetics to work so that a son was always born—so that all God’s rules of inheritance could be followed?

    This is silly, of course; we know it’s not inherently wrong that a couple bears only daughters—it’s merely one possible outcome because of how genetics do work.

  • If God knew there was a family in Israel that had only daughters and God had not misdesigned genetics to break the rules of property inheritance, then why did God not mention this special case in the first place when initially handing down the laws of property inheritance?

    Did God forget, make an oversight, was the fine print too small to chisel in stone?

Consider this:

When a class of people with a special circumstance brought their case before the Lord, God confirmed that they were right, and added a special exception to account for it (see vv. 8–11). God said this decision, previously unaccounted for, was to become a new legal requirement.

Based on God’s own fairness and unchanging nature, God still does this today. GOD MAKES NEW RULES!

Exceptional situations occur because of how genetics work. This includes 3.5% or more of the population being born gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This possibility happens through genetics, which the Creator designed.

Why? Because God doesn’t know about these situations, or doesn’t care about the people they affect?

Of course not.

Predicated on our understanding of God’s goodness, fairness, and character, we must make our own decisions concerning such situations that arise in the course of human development based on the love and acceptance of God.

Will you accept like God accepts?

Should LGBTQ+ people be denied an inheritance in God’s kingdom? Zelophehad’s daughters weren’t. God accepted them and gave them an inheritance among God’s people.

Acceptance is what LGBTQ+ people need today—not continued judgment and rejection by those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ, the only One who never turned anybody away.

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
–Ephesians 1:5 NKJV

More information:
This post is taken from Response to a Concerned Heterosexual Christian