“The Real Sin of Sodom”: A Sermon

by Kim on June 10, 2007

Cities don’t get a very good press in the Bible. The garden of Eden is the biblical paradigm of peace, order, and well-being. The first biblical city was founded by the fratricide Cain (Genesis 4:17), and ever afterwards cities are suspect for their rebelliousness and defiance of God - and none more so than the city of Sodom. Sodom is synonymous with sin, and I don’t need to spell it out, we all know what the sin is, now don’t we? And here in Luke 10:12, our Lord himself joins the homophobic chorus. Of a town that rejects the gospel message, Jesus says, “on Judgement Day God will show more mercy to Sodom than to that town!” Unbelievers and faggots - they either turn or burn - it’s in the Bible.

Or is it? Is the sin of Sodom, enshrined as it is in our collective consciousness, and encoded in our common discourse, is it what we always take it to be, take it to be what we assume Jesus took it to be? Shall we take the line: “Don’t bother me with the evidence, I’ve already made up my mind”? Or shall we not rather turn to the Bible, look at the evidence, and see what it actually is? Of course I have you at a disadvantage here: I already know how this sermon is going to turn out. So let me warn you: not only is the conventional interpretation of Sodom so wrong as to suggest that it could only be held by the blindest of the prejudiced - that’s not my main concern here; no, my main concern is to discover what the real sin of Sodom was. And a hint: readers of the Daily Mail are in for an ironic and unwelcome surprise.

Let’s start with Genesis 19. On second thought, let’s not. For the story actually begins back in Genesis 18. It begins with the visit of three mysterious strangers to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. Abraham welcomes them to his home, has Sarah bake and cook for them, fetches a fatted calf and serves the veal himself. He is the very model of hospitality, and he is rewarded for his virtue by the promise that old Sarah will yet bear him a son. Two of the three visitors then make their way to Sodom; the one who remains, now identified as the Lord, then tells Abraham that he too will go to Sodom to see if the city is as wicked as its reputation.

Now: what actually happens in Sodom? The two men, now identified as angels, arrive in the city where again they are offered hospitality, by Abraham’s nephew Lot, who freely provides them with bed and board. It’s at this point that the menfolk of Sodom surround Lot’s house and demand that he turn the two men over to them. Lot protests. On what grounds? On the grounds of hospitality: the men are his guests and therefore should be treated with respect. Indeed so important is this imperative of hospitality that Lot actually offers the mob his own two virgin daughters if they will only leave his guests alone. They refuse. Lot is, like his uncle, a migrant, and, like the visitors, a foreigner. “Who are migrants to tell us what to do with foreigners? What obligations do we have to you or them? If we want to storm your house and gangbang your guests, then that’s just what we’ll do!” But, fortunately, not in this instance. As they start to break down the door of the house, they are struck blind, and Lot, his family, and the two angels escape.

See the connection between the two stories? On the one hand, the hospitality of Abraham, and then Lot; on the other hand, the brutal inhospitality of the men of Sodom. The inhospitality takes the form of intended homosexual gang rape, but what does homosexual gang rape have to do with loving, faithful, stable gay relationships? Would it have been okay if the mob had raped Lot’s daughters instead? Of course not! In the context of the current discussion on human sexuality the story of Sodom is quite simply irrelevant. The sex of the intended victims has got nothing to do with the sin of Sodom. Male or female, the sin of Sodom would have been rape, and the rape would have been so sinful not least because it was a crime against hospitality.

And note well: the hospitality due to strangers, to visitors from another country. The Bible, you see, doesn’t have all that much to say about sex, let alone about gay sex, but it’s got a lot to say about hospitality to strangers. And not as a matter of charity but of duty. In the Bible to welcome foreigners is not an option, it is a solemn obligation. It is a matter of justice. The people of God - people like Abraham and Lot - they are known not only for but by their hospitality. And, conversely, those who are not the people of God, or who don’t act like the people of God, who reject God’s will and law, who have their own nationalistic agenda - today we call them xenophobes, the mobs who in policy, print, and picket lines shout, “Out! Out! Out!”

And the authors of Genesis aren’t the only Old Testament writers who lambaste the sin of Sodom. The prophets too are incensed by it. It is already proverbial for them - but, again, not in the way it’s proverbial for us. In the very first chapter of his oracles Isaiah condemns the ruling classes of Jerusalem. Why? What have they done? Isaiah spells it out. It’s not that they lack “religion”. Indeed the churches are packed, like the good old days, like the 1904 Welsh revival that some folk long and pray for. The Temple was the prototype of today’s megachurches! But Isaiah tells the people that such popular worship is not popular with God. Indeed, it disgusts God. Because the leaders and their spin doctors are thieves, fixing the economy to favour the rich and fleece the poor, and failing to defend the most vulnerable members of society. “See that justice is done!” cries the prophet (like Amos before him) - “help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows” (Isaiah 1:17). And who might be “the oppressed”? It is almost an Old Testament litany to hear of God’s special concern, as it goes, “for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger at your gates“. So that if foreigners don’t exhaust “the oppressed”, they are certainly included among them. Again, the sin is being unwelcoming to strangers, the sin is xenophobia. And so Isaiah says, “Jerusalem, your rulers and your people are like those of Sodom” (Isaish 1:10).

Over a hundred years later and Jerusalem has still not learned its lesson. Jeremiah (23) targets the court prophets, the King’s cabinet, the cheerleaders of the nation - “Israel right or wrong!” - for their lies. “They are all as bad as the people of Sodom!” (Jeremiah 23:14), declares the prophet. And Ezekiel (16) refers to Jerusalem as “Sodom’s sister”, because, like Sodom, “they had plenty to eat … but they did not help the needy” (Ezekiel 16:48f.). Plenty to eat, little to eat - it’s hospitality again, isn’t it? - or rather the lack of it. “Don’t scrounge on us! Don’t take our jobs! Don’t sponge on our taxes! Crawl back into your holes! Go back to where you came from!” - thus read the headlines of the tabloids of Jerusalem, directed against the peasant poor who have come to the city looking for work. Again, sound familiar? Where today are “Sodom’s sisters”?

Finally, Jesus in Luke (10). He sends out the seventy-two “like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). He has no illusions about the reception they are likely to get as they move from village to village. The welcome-mat will not always be laid out for them. In which case they aren’t to waste their time, they’re to shake the dust off their feet and move on. And Jesus concludes with that ominous prophecy: “I assure you that on Judgement Day God will show more mercy to Sodom than to that town!” (Luke 10:12). And, yet again - and oh so consistently - what have these towns done that is so wicked as to warrant such judgement? The text is clear: they have not welcomed strangers - and here the point is really driven home - strangers who have come as God’s messengers. The ultimate in xenophobia: the Other who comes with good news is rejected as bad news.

Speaking of the story of Sodom, the late Anglican theologian Michael Vasey concludes: “Like certain New Testament texts that have often been used to justify anti-semitism, it remains a warning of the way profound, irrational fears can arise within a culture and take captive even the scriptures. Careless exegesis costs lives” - homosexual lives. Indeed. And - how convenient - it also shields the prejudiced from acknowledging in themselves the sins that the texts are actually talking about - violating the sacred trust of hospitality - at the cost of more lives still. Think about it - think about the real sin of Sodom - the next time you read a homophobic or xenophobic editorial in one of our viler newspapers. And then ask yourself: Who are the real Sodomites here?

Kim Fabricius

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Richard 06.10.07 at 7:22 pm

Bravo! And Amen!

2

Bob Cornwall 06.10.07 at 10:56 pm

Kim,

Wow, this is powerful!!! I’m going to put a link to this on my site. You have nailed it on the head.

3

Peter Kirk 06.11.07 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for a great sermon!

Just one small issue. You write that Abraham “is the very model of hospitality, and he is rewarded for his virtue by the promise that old Sarah will yet bear him a son.” But this goes clearly against Paul’s treatment of the Abraham story, which that Abraham was received the promise because of his faith, not because of good deeds. And I don’t think it fits the context in Genesis either. Many people would have been hospitable, indeed Lot also was, but what made Abraham stand out in Genesis was that he had the faith to leave his home country and go to where God sent him.

4

Gord 06.11.07 at 2:01 pm

Amen and Amen.

5

Kim 06.11.07 at 4:05 pm

Fair point, Peter - I’ve used “reward” in a “weak”, conventional sense. I certainly don’t want to gainsay the sola gratia/fide in the patriarchal narratives!

6

dh 06.11.07 at 4:17 pm

I think the issue of Sodom WAS the fact that they were homosexual. It was brought to show how deprived they were in their area of sin. When one reads this message in light of Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6 then one can truly understand how the sin of Sodom was multi-faceted as opposed to one facet as it is presented here. Also, to suggest that Jesus’s response was “homophobic” seems rather odd. To suggest that Jesus condeming Sodom for promoting homosexuality as being “homophobic” I think shows more indication of the person saying it is then what Jesus is saying. We must love all people in whatever sin condition they are in but that doesn’t mean we should state that a particular sin is not sin from what the Bible says. The sin of Sodom was so much more than “lack of hospitality”.

7

dh 06.11.07 at 4:23 pm

The evidence is beyond just the inhospitality. I agree with you that there was some of that but what Sodom did as sin was so deprived and beyond all that you said here that to deregard all of the evidence like you did seems rather odd to me but that is MHO. To suggest my response here as “homophobic” is also rather odd in light of Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6. Can’t people who believe that homosexuality is a sin stop being looked at as “homophobic”? I have a lot of repsect for you Kim but posts like this one kind of surprise me. I personally believe the mercy toward Sodom in relation to the future is to show how even more perverted the future will be as opposed to being “hospitible” and the like.

8

Wood 06.11.07 at 5:36 pm

So you’re ignoring what the Bible says, DH?

9

Chris Stacey 06.11.07 at 6:13 pm

Fantastic post Kim.

In reference to the predictable distortions of the passage:
“I assure you that on Judgement Day God will show more mercy to Sodom than to that town!” - If you twist the passage so that the Sodom reference is to homosexuality, this can hardly be made out to be ‘hate the sin, love the sinner”… I’d say that’d qualify as homophobia.

“promoting homosexuality” erm… was there a gay pride rally? Angry mob = promotion of homosexuality??

10

dh 06.11.07 at 9:24 pm

I’m not ignoring what the Bible says. The Bible shows that the actions (thought, word and deed) were beyond just the “hospitality” part of Sodom.

Chris I don’t see it as “homophobic” when the passage is in reference to ALL of the actions (thought, word and deed) of Sodom. I’m not focusing solely on homosexuality but that is part of it with regard to the passage. You are missing the point of the “judgement of God” passage you reference. The point is that the sin of Sodom would be more prevelent in degree, number and in variety. It is true one of those sins would be homosexuality but the passage refers to the level of degree and the shear numbers of the people doing any number of sins that Sodom commited.

Also, these aren’t distortions when one understands the number of various sins and level of degree of Sodom was so terrible and severe that in light of Abraham “trying to stand in the gap” for Sodom that God sais there was “not even 10 righteous” in the city for the cities to be spared. Notice the passage in reference to the people of the city says “righteous”. As you can see it is evident that they commited homosexuality but their unrighteousness was way beyond that. They were so rebellious that God knew that no matter how much he revealed Himself to them (by sending angels) that they would still reject Christ and in such a way by the shear numbers that it would more people into sin. That is the “promotion” I’m talking about. That with less than 10 righteous the entire region of the two cities was unrighteous and in obvious rebellion against God in such a way they could be forced to accept God to repent. At least God tried to show His love to them by sending angels but even that didn’t change their hearts. Their hearts were cold as Pharoah.

Sometimes loving the sinner from God’s standpoint requires judgement when God knows that a particular person is rebellious like these people or like Pharoah, etc. That judgement from God doesn’t come from hate but for love of those who could be attracted to sin. THat is the whole point of the “ites” being removed by God, etc. I know my God is fair that if people would change by any action from God and His people He would forsake judgement for their redemption. Otherwise, God has no choice as part of His love but to judge them for the very points I mentioned. This is beyond homosexuality and more the heart attitude toward sin.

11

dh 06.11.07 at 9:27 pm

It seems to be a total distortion to focus solely on the sin of unhospitality as opposed to all of the various sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems to be a clear distortion by Kim. To state that I’m “distorting” seems rather strange in light of the passage irregardless of the “Scripture in light of Scripture” that I pointed out on top of the story alone of Sodom and Gomorrah. “pot calling the kettle black” to say I’m distorting. The only ones ignoring what the Word says are those who focus only on one sin of Sodom and Gomorrah when Scripture mentions so many more sins and the rebellion to the point of not desiring repentence of the people therein.

12

Nikki Strandskov 06.12.07 at 1:30 am

Excellent sermon, and just as relevant to us in the USA! Keep up the good work.

13

Wood 06.12.07 at 8:49 am

Ezekiel 16:49-50: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me…”

pace the vague phrase “abominable things”, what you’re saying is that’s not the word of God, then? Also, note the more important of the two.

14

PamBG 06.12.07 at 10:02 am

It’s strange, but for the women’s fellowship this week, I actually did a talk on ‘hospitality in the bible’.

I do agree that the central sin here is ‘inhospitality’, I also think that ‘inhospitality’ of Sodom was: a) raping people/angels as an act of humiliating aggression against them and a possible precursor to violent murder and b) this was being done - in the story - to the angels of God. This story stands in contrast to the story of Abraham and the angels when Abraham immediately welcomes God’s angels, washes their feet and, rather than subjecting the angels to a ritual of ‘testing the stranger’, indicates that he thinks that it’s he who needs to be approved by the angels, not vice versa.

Whether or not one thinks homosexual acts are sinful, I think that focussing on ‘inhospitality’ actually renders the narrative truer to it’s original meaning than focussing on homosexual acts. This is not the ‘inhospitality’ of failing to offer someone a cup of tea. The is an ‘inhospitality’ that puts peoples’ lives in danger and threatens aggression against them. Certainly murderous desire encompasses ‘all the sin’ (or almost) that most people are capable of. This is a rape of war, not an act meant with sexual pleasure in mind.

15

dh 06.12.07 at 2:56 pm

Wood, as evident of all of the other passages mentioning the additional actions of Sodom that happened to be sin, Ezekial is pointing out some of the many actions thought, word and deed that they did that were sin. I totally agree that they were pridful, hurt the poor but they also did homosexual acts, raped, inhospitable, stealing, murder (intentional killing not in self-defense of the innocent), etc. So you see when you focus solely on the “hospitable” part and not on ALL of the many actions (Scripture in light of Scripture aka Ezekial in light of Genesis, Leviticus, Romans 1, 1 Cor 6, 10 commandments, passage that state how a person or group can be abominable, etc.) then one truly can understand the truth of Sodom. When one focus solely on one sin and not the various sins of Sodom then you miss out on what truly was the problem of Sodom.

I also don’t believe all of us are capable of murderous desire. I would say all sin is founded on pride and rebellion toward God. The bigger issue with Sodom was the fact they did the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by declaring something that was from God as not being from God or of the flesh by their desire to comingle with the angels.

Pam, the biggest issue is that Sodom didn’t believe in God and were rebellious to God to such a degree in everyway that God didn’t find 10 righteous. This was a city of hundreds of thousands of people and not 10 people were righteous. To declare someone “unrighteous” goes beyond “inhospitality” whatever definition you use. Being unrighteous, abominable, etc. requires doing multiple sins with no remorse and no desire to repent and even worse thinkg they were being okay when they weren’t. I think it is dangerous that we making the concept of being abominable to the concept of one sin when being that is so much worse in degree and level than just being “inhospitable”. When one looks at Scripture in light of Scripture then one can understand this. Why would the Scripture in reference to Sodom even bring up the homosexual acts if in the Bible it is okay? The fact remains that was one act of many, many that they commited that was sin.

16

dh 06.12.07 at 3:04 pm

Wood also it mentions “she and her daughters had pride and They were haughty and did abominable things before me…” This shows there were many more actions beyond what is given here that made it necessary to say these things as well. It wasn’t solely “inhospoitable” or “lack of care for the poor” but ALL of the actions (thought,word and deed) that the passage uses “did abominable things before me”. Also, I don’t believe that it was level of degree or that the passage is chronilogical with reference to the actions of Sodom. God through Ezekial is pointing out some of the many and the passage is stated to show that there were many more actions thought word and deed beyond what was mention in that particualr passage. When one reads this in light of the actual story in Genesis and other passages that define the terms indirectly related to the story then one can truly take the passage in its proper context as opposed to focusing on a few sins of Sodom in contrast tothe truth of the various sins of Sodom.

I will say and agree that being inhospitable and lack of care for the poor were sins but these were few of the many sins of Sodom. The point of Sodom was the many sins by calling them “unrighteous and abominable” to the point that there weren’t even 10 out of hundreds of thousands to the point that the whole region God destroyed because of it. Their hearts were hard to the point that not amount of revelation from God would turn their hearts toward repentence of ALL of their many many sins not just the two mention in the post and others on the thread.

17

PamBG 06.12.07 at 5:21 pm

Pam, the biggest issue is that Sodom didn’t believe in God and were rebellious to God to such a degree in everyway that God didn’t find 10 righteous. This was a city of hundreds of thousands of people and not 10 people were righteous. To declare someone “unrighteous” goes beyond “inhospitality” whatever definition you use.

I agree with what you say about rebelliousness against God. I don’t agree with your apparent trivialisation of inhospitality.

Being unrighteous, abominable, etc. requires doing multiple sins with no remorse and no desire to repent and even worse thinkg they were being okay when they weren’t. I think it is dangerous that we making the concept of being abominable to the concept of one sin when being that is so much worse in degree and level than just being “inhospitable”. When one looks at Scripture in light of Scripture then one can understand this.

Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying here. I’m saying that I think that ‘inhospitality’ encompasses all of Sodom’s sinful rebellion in a way that reading this story as only a forbidding of homosexual acts does not encompass all their rebellion. ‘Inhospitality’ in the near east 4000 years ago at worst meant being killed or left to die - which is clearly the meaning in this story. ‘Hospitality’ was about immigration, not having someone over to dinner. The modern equivalent would be God’s angels appearing in the UK as Eastern European immigrants (the new class of immigrants we love to hate) and being beaten and raped. It shows a heart that is not concerned for the welfare of the stranger.

Why would the Scripture in reference to Sodom even bring up the homosexual acts if in the Bible it is okay? The fact remains that was one act of many, many that they commited that was sin.

I’m not particularly arguing about whether homosexuality is right or wrong. I’m arguing about the central theme of the story which I honestly don’t think is about homosexuality. But bring out your virgin daughters to be raped, by all means.

18

dh 06.12.07 at 5:49 pm

I believe you are trivializing the multi-faceted nature of ALL of the sins of Sodom. If you reread my responses I don’t single out homosexuality. I may include it but in no way am I singling out it. I believe that Scripture here points out the level of degree and ALL of the sins of Sodom which goes way beyond just “inhospitality”. I agree “with your definition of hospitality” that they did sin there but their level and various sins were so many that God pronounced them “abominable” and “unrighteous” to the point that not even 10 were righteous. I agree that the issue about Sodom was not solely homosexuality. However, they did that act and MANY MANY more things that were perverted. For me the central theme of Sodom was their rebellious nature toward God and the things of God that they didn’t desire nor would desire repentence for ALL of their various sins.

I’m not trivilizing “inhospitality” but point out that their sins were many beyond just that. It wasn’t one single sin that made God condemn Sodom but many many sins the last staw being a hard heart toawrd God where no amount of revelation from God would have made them desire repentence of sin one of which is the inhospitality and another which (which you might disagree with homosexuality) and many many other sins which were just as equally bad.

I hope you don’t get the idea that I believe that the central theme of Sodom was homosexuality. I hope you truly understand what I’m getting at here.

19

PamBG 06.12.07 at 7:34 pm

I hope you don’t get the idea that I believe that the central theme of Sodom was homosexuality. I hope you truly understand what I’m getting at here.

Actually, no, I have no idea what you’re trying to get at. I made a comment about the story and you apparently think that I need to be set straight. Er, no pun was actually intended.

I do actually think that inhospitality is symbolic of all human sin in this story.

20

dh 06.12.07 at 9:51 pm

What I’m trying to get at is that the problems of Sodom were way beyond just “inhospitality” even though it included that. To me all sin doesn’t start with “inhospitality” but with rebellion, pride and a lack of Faith in God. To downgrade what Sodom’s actual faults are to “inhospitality” seems rather strange in light of ALL of the many many sins of Sodom. It seems the many sins of Sodom are downgraded to one or two when in fact they were so many. That’s all. Does that make sense?

21

Deep Furrows 06.13.07 at 3:30 am

Now if it were Abraham and Steve in the desert, would their hospitality have borne fruit?

22

saint 06.13.07 at 4:25 am

I think dh is on the right track here - the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah can be summarised as rebellion, to the point of calling what is evil good.
Also why do people ignore Jude and 2 Peter here?

23

Matthew 06.13.07 at 6:04 am

Agreed. If you read the Sodom story in context, it’s painfully, painfully obvious that the story is about hospitality … or to put it more strongly, it’s about “the intent to do violence to strangers”, and OUGHT NOT EVER BE INTERPRETED AS A CONDEMNATION OF CONSENSUAL GAY SEX. Here’s a walkthrough I did a while back:

Sodom and Gomorrah

You might try to use the vice lists or the Romans passage to condemn homoerotic behavior, but you absolutely, positively cannot use the story of Sodom. Can’t do it.

24

Wood 06.13.07 at 10:07 am

DH, if you want to rationalise what the Bible says away, go right ahead. It’s not like you haven’t done it here before.

Just don’t accuse the rest of us of “picking and choosing”.

25

saint 06.13.07 at 12:53 pm

Jude:
5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

2 Peter 2:
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c] 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and despise authority.

Well a couple of NT authors saw something more than unhospitality in the example of Sodom and Gomorrah

26

dh 06.13.07 at 2:39 pm

Well Wood, it doesn’t seem that we are doing the picking and choosing but looking at ALL of Scripture on the subject. Siant thanks for the Jude and 2 Peter 2 references. They really encouraged me. Wood Sodom was condemned yes for its inhospitality but that was only part of the many many sins of Sodom. When one reads Jude and 2 Peter 2 it seems Scripture confirms this conclusion as well. So there is no “picking and choosing” but proper context and Scirpture in light of Scripture with regard to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Wood for proper balance toward myself from myself. Sodom was not condemned solely for its homosexuality (even if I believe it was partly). So you see Sodom had so many sins beyond inhospitality and homosexuality. My take is if Sodom had only those two sins maybe the judgement toward Sodom would have been different but their sins were obviously so much in number and degree that God saw fit rightly for the cities to be judged by the very nature of have less than 10 righteous in a city of hundreds of thousands. This last sentence is really the point of the passage.

27

dh 06.13.07 at 2:40 pm

Wood and Pam, what is your take on the references by Saint?

28

dh 06.13.07 at 2:42 pm

Matthew what is your take as well? It seems we CAN use the Sodom passage in light of Jude and 2 Peter 2.

29

Pastor Chad 06.13.07 at 2:55 pm

This discussion is somewhat ironic considering the claim that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality. There does not seem to be a very hospitable atmosphere here. There seems to be clear evidence that the scriptures view homosexuality as a sin. I do not think it is a coincidence that the portrayal of a complete lack of hospitality includes an extreme form of sexual perversion, extreme because it is not only homosexual, but orgiastic, and further it is rape.

I also wonder if we miss the point of Lot pushing so hard for the visitors to come to his home rather than stay in the square. Was this simple hospitality, or did he fear for the safety of the visitors?

The sin of Sodom was not ONLY homosexuality, but is was also not ONLY inhospitality. Their depravity was so great it included, and went beyond, both of these. Attempting to limit the sin to a single sin would do injustice to the mixture of things Sodom is accused of throughout the scriptures.

Nothing is as simple as it first appears.

30

PamBG 06.13.07 at 3:14 pm

To downgrade what Sodom’s actual faults are to “inhospitality” seems rather strange in light of ALL of the many many sins of Sodom. It seems the many sins of Sodom are downgraded to one or two when in fact they were so many. That’s all. Does that make sense?

I don’t think the whole conversation makes sense an I’m really tired of trying to communicate here. We just seem to talk at cross purposes.

31

dh 06.13.07 at 3:51 pm

How does it not make sense when people like yourself are not willing to accept that Sodom had more problems than just inhospitality. How does your view of Sodom compare with what Jude and 2 Peter 2 say? How do you rectify your conclusions with what God’s Word says in Jude and 2 Peter 2? I really am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Explain where the conversation doesn’t make sense? I really am trying to be clear in my statements and would like some insight where there is ambiguity.

32

Kim 06.13.07 at 4:04 pm

Hi Saint,

I have tried to look at the OT on its own terms and in its own context - and Luke 10 too (texts without contexts are pretexts, as the old saying goes). Jude and II Peter witness to another tradition - which is fair enough, but not germane to my argument. And you’ve got to admit that they are pretty marginal NT texts.

And Hi Pam,

I admire your patience and staying-power, and sympathise with your last comment. One would think we are discussing, not Sodom, but Babel!

33

dh 06.13.07 at 4:07 pm

“OUGHT NOT EVER BE INTERPRETED AS A CONDEMNATION OF CONSENSUAL GAY SEX.” Not if your like me and look at Scripture in light of Scripture. I absolutely CAN use this to condemn this and any of the other sins that Sodom commited that led them to their demise. homosexuality, inhospitalitym etc are some of the many sins that we can conclude from Sodom that led to their demise.

34

dh 06.13.07 at 4:12 pm

Kim, I’m sorry but there is a very strong connection between the Jude and 2 Peter 2 passages and the OT texts. I don’t believe they are marginal text. They point out that included with the inhospitality was the judgement for various sexually immoral acts. THe context of the OT AND the NT passages are that Sodom was condemned for more than just 1 or two sins but for many many more sins than the one or ones stated by Kim, Beth and the like. To not accept that this is the case is overlooking passage after passage of God’s Word that SHOWS the context between Scripture. Scripture in light of Scripture not Scripture independent of itself.

The reason you feel it is not germaine to your argument is that the accurate conclusion from Scripture doesn’t agree with your argument.

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Matthew 06.13.07 at 4:38 pm

According to the hermenutic I’m using, you can’t interpret an old testament passage “in light of” a new testament passage. The original author had an intent for the story, and that intent was clearly to show what happens to people who abuse the powerless.

But I make this and other points in the post I linked to earlier. If you want to know my opinion you can just read that.

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dh 06.13.07 at 4:56 pm

I agree that the intent was to show what happens to the powerless but the passage, by even mentioning all of the other sins, also shows what happens when people are rebellious to God in their sin and have an attitude that no amount of showing God’s Glory is able to get them to change. Even outside of the NT passages that was referenced, that I believe CAN be used to give clear insight into the OT passage but for the sake of argument put that aside, within your type of hermenutic it can be concluded that it was abuse of the powerless AND rebellion towards God by calling evil good and the hardening of the heart therein as well. So I agree but partly, Matthew.

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Wood 06.13.07 at 4:58 pm

DH: whatever. Delude yourself all you want. Last word is yours, as ever.

Incidentally, do you know that it’s appalling netiquette to double and triple post all the time? In some circles, they call that “threadcrapping”.

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dh 06.13.07 at 5:00 pm

Pastor Chad, you said eliquintly what I have been unable to relay effectively. I agree we all need to be “hospitable” in our responses. If I was responding in that way, people, I apologize. I hope this helps in this discussion and we can have an attitude of “iron sharpening iron” on this as opposed (speaking to myself not others) of “using that iron to loosely as to hurt people”. Again I kind of get the impression that I am the one being inhospitable and thus using the iron loosely and wanted to apologize. Will you all accept the apology? Will you also see how that the passage goes beyond just homosexuality alone and inhospitality alone?

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dh 06.13.07 at 5:01 pm

Wood, whose deluding? Isn’t saying that the judgement of Sodom was inhospitality alone delusion in light of ALL of Scripture on the post let alone the OT mentioning how Sodom was perverted?

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Richard 06.13.07 at 5:05 pm

I’ve enjoyed following this conversation. Let me see if I’ve followed it correctly:
1. There’s a widespread assumption that the sin of Sodomy was homosexuality.
2. Kim posts a challenge to that assumption, putting the story in context and offering supporting material from the prophets.
3. Some people agree with Kim wholeheartedly..
4. Some say Kim is wrong, but go on to say that homosexuality wasn’t the only issue in Sodom. Hence Pastor Chad: “The sin of Sodom was not ONLY homosexuality, but is was also not ONLY inhospitality. Their depravity was so great it included, and went beyond, both of these” and DH: “So you see Sodom had so many sins beyond inhospitality and homosexuality. My take is if Sodom had only those two sins maybe the judgement toward Sodom would have been different”.
5. So even those who say they disagree with Kim are accepting that there’s more to Sodom than sodomy (if I can put it that way).

Which leaves me asking why it is that this story is used so much as a condemnation of homosexuality as such?

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Kim 06.13.07 at 5:20 pm

Look, folks, I am not denying that the Bible condemns “homosexuality”; in fact, I insist on it. But why the Bible condemns homosexuality, and indeed how the Bible understands homosexuality, and whether the answers to these questions touch base with the contemporary discussion, including the hermeneutical discussion, are questions that need to be explored rather than begged. My own take on the subject is set out in my “Twelve Propositions on Same-Sex Relationships and the Church”, which you will find at Ben Myers’ blog faith-theology.blogspot.com, but it is not the burden of my sermon …

Exegetically, nothing has been said to incline me to withdraw a single word of what I have claimed is the real sin of Sodom - the crime against hospitality, understanding “hospitality” in the sense that Pam and I have tried in vain to specify in terms of xenophobia and its concomitant injustices. The Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel texts don’t show the slightest interest in homosexuality and Sodom, nor does the Luke 10 text, which is why in my sermon I don’t either. So if you want to preach a homophobic sermon, feel free. There are plenty of texts to choose from - but not the ones that I have explored. In fact, leave Sodom out of it and your case will be the stronger for it. Otherwise you will have to excuse some of us for thinking you are rather obsessionally tilting at windmills.

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dh 06.13.07 at 6:56 pm

Richard, the answer is because Sodom INCLUDES homosexuality. People assume that people who are believe homosexuality is sin understand it solely for homosexuality. I don’t think people understand that we don’t believe it is homosexuality alone. However, to say that Sodom was destroyed not for its homosexuality but for some other sin is also wrong in light of Jude and 2 Peter 2. To say it is homosexuality alone is wrong and to say it wasn’t because of homosexuality is also wrong. Kim, why didn’t you explore the Jude passage and 2 Peter 2? This gives the impression from Saint and I that you are picking and choosing the passages when Jude and 2 Peter 2 mention Sodom specifically with regard to why Sodom was condemned which is totally multifaceted as opposed to your single sin of xenophobia and/or inhospitality that you prescribe.

A condemnation of homosexuality AND all of the other sins Sodom commited are the reason. To exclude homosexuality as one of the reasons is also outside of Scripture.

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MM 06.13.07 at 6:57 pm

Kim, I want to compliment your excellent blog. I join the contributors who bring up such explicitly qualifying NT passages as Jude 1, where the sin of Sodom is so clearly described in terms of fornication- IE, consensual sex outside of Biblically mandated marriage, which is what homsexual activity is.

These ideas always remind me of an issue that Carolyn Sharp at Yale often raises: where is hospitality to *God?* Granted your interpretation of the Sodom account, where in Sodom is this all-important disposition of generous hospitality towards YHWH, the God of the Levitical code?

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dh 06.13.07 at 6:58 pm

Kim, I’m not homophobic because Sodom should be included because the reason for their condemnation included homosexuality and all of the various other sins they commited when looking at Jude and 2 Peter 2 in addition the other scriptures mentioned in the NT that Kim referenced and the OT referenced as well.

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saint 06.13.07 at 7:02 pm

Kim -

When I read of Sodom and Gomorrah and angels, I am reminded of another passage where humanity overstepped their bounds with angels and was judged - comes earlier in Genesis. Think about that if you care.

Straight exegesis using some historical-critical method is valuable, but only goes so far; it cannot make the word relevant for today in today’s context; for that you need to arrive at a theological interpretation.

I do believe in progressive revelation (although maybe call it cumulative…”progressive” carries too many political and PC overtones these days) which is also relevant for a theological interpretation. That means we have to consider an event described in a text in light of salvation history, and the canon as a whole.

In the same vein, I also believe, with Christ himself and all the apostles and church fathers that the OT speaks of Christ and we read the OT in light of Christ (which is what the NT really is - the gospels for example, give us a portrait of Jesus and how he fullfilled OT prophecies etc) and use the OT to illumine the NT.

Yes all this is very very very badly expressed but it’s 3am here.

What I am saying here is you are trying to have your cake and eat it to. You want to take just selected texts, plus use just the historical context to arrive at a theological interpretation (and application) relating to hospitality.

Sodom and Gomorrah became archetypes of unrighteousness and rebellion and judgement. I find Jude and 2 Peter links of rebellion and sexual immorality (yep even with the allusions of male rape in Genesis) in keeping with Roman 1 and with Jesus’ own words.

As to 2 Peter and Jude being marginal. What are your criteria for determining which part of the canon is marginal? Because it doesn’t fit with your thesis?

A question a pastor used to love to ask us is: what would we miss, if anything, if 2 Peter and Jude were not included in the canon?

As I said, it’s really late here and I don’t particularly want to get into any debate. I don’t have the time. All I want to say is that I understand where dh is coming from and he cannot be so easily dismissed.

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saint 06.13.07 at 7:11 pm

Oh and one other point. This is not to say that there is not an element of rejecting the one who comes with good news. Reject Jesus you cannot enter the Kingdom. And guess who can’t enter the kingdom either?

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Eugene McKinnon 06.13.07 at 8:00 pm

Four years ago I would be with DH on this one, but I’m with Kim on this one. Sodom and Gommorrah was about inhospitality and there is a common tradition in Scripture of parallelism in which we see a good thing (Abraham offering hospitality) and a bad thing (Sodom and Gommorrah failing to show hospitality).

I also believe that gays in committed relationships should be permitted ordination and that same sex couples should have a blessing on their union because they are declaring that they do not want to live a promiscuous lifestyle, which is what the Bible really condemns in both hetero and homo sexual people.

Blessings,

Eugene

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dh 06.13.07 at 10:35 pm

Eugene why does the passage even mention that they were involved in homosexual acts in the Genesis text with regard to Sodom and Gomorah if it weren’t an issue in addtion to the Jude and 2 Peter 2 texts?

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dh 06.13.07 at 10:45 pm

Fact remains there wereless than 10 people declared “righteous” by God to Abraham when Abraham attempted to stand in the gap for Gomorrah. It seems odd in light of Scripture for a whole city to be declared “unrighteous” solely on the issue of inhospitality. Every reference of being declared “unrighteous” refers to multiple sins and/or the sin of hardened heart rebellion toward God with no desire for repentence and no recognition of their sinful behavior (not referring to homosexuality alone but ALL of the many many sins of Sodom).

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dh 06.13.07 at 10:49 pm

It is great to see that people are having problems with the Sodom and Gomorah text in that in light of ALL of the Scripture it seems pretty clear that it was multiple sins and sin attitude as opposed to inhospitality alone. My opinion of those who prescribe inhospitality alone is that they are being convicted by the passages and can’t rectify their “worldview” with what Scripture is actually saying with regard to Scripture in light of Scripture, IMHO. I believe we need to go from the other way around and not have the worldview affect God’s Word but have God’s Word affect the worldview. If you get my drift.

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dh 06.13.07 at 10:49 pm

That’s what Scripture does it “convicts of sin, righteousness andjudgement.”

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Kim 06.13.07 at 11:23 pm

By the way, and beside the point, granted (as I have) that II Peter and Jude represent a different tradition about Sodom than the texts I consider in my sermon:

II Peter 2:6 says absolutely nothing at all about homosexuality.

And Jude 7 is not about homosexuality either but about the attempted copulation of men with angels.

In other words, the tradition represented in these two texts about the divine condemnation of Sodom points to sexual license as such. But, again, you’ve got more than enough other much juicier homophobic texts to get your teeth into.

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dh 06.13.07 at 11:25 pm

Kim, you use homophobic when I’m not focusing solely on that. I don’t know where you get that. Could you refrain from thinking that when I’m not trying to say that? I’m saying the condemnation is multifaceted sin than just one sin either homosexuality alone or inhospitality alone but both of these and many many more.

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Richard 06.13.07 at 11:27 pm

Well,indeed, DH.
Perhaps we just need to note that that in the story of Sodom there is no suggestion of homosexuality as such. What there is is the threat of violent sexual abuse. What has that to do with homosexuality? Why should that be condemnatory of a committed homosexual couple?
Maybe one of the problems here is that people are reading about the sin of lack of hospitality and assuming that this means the same as neglecting to offer a guest a cup of tea?

Like Kim, I won’t deny that scripture condemns homosexuality (or at least, some specific acts of homosexual sex), but he is absolutely right to ask the follow-up question: Why? After all, scripture would also condemn modern banking, but most Christians seemed to have learned to live with this.

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Chris Stacey 06.13.07 at 11:28 pm

dh, for me it’s not so much that the only sin committed in Sodom was inhospitality. It’s that the main focus of the narrative, primarily in contrast to Abraham, was inhospitality (in it’s widest sense). Other sin in Sodom may well be part of the context/back story but from my reading of it the treatment of strangers is the element placed at the forefront of the story. I have a fundamental problem with “reading scripture in the light of scripture” in that it is too easy to read elements in which are marginal, if not nonexistant.

As for worldview affecting interpretation of scripture, it is naive to think that it is possible to exclude it completely. My experiences, the teaching I have received, the upbringing i’ve had, my academic formation will all effect how i read a passage - however much i can try not to (though I don’t consider this to be a bad thing). For anyone to claim that the same does not happen to them is, at best, not particularly self aware or, at worst, being disingenuous.

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dh 06.13.07 at 11:38 pm

Your latest reply here seems to be counterintuitive to the conclusion you made of Sodom being inhospitality alone. To me it isn’t a different tradition but additional facts as to why Sodom was condemned that must be included in the conclusion as opposed to looked at seperate as you have been doing.

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dh 06.13.07 at 11:50 pm

Chris, I don’t see the passage as the main focus of the narrative. I see that it is much more than that. When God says Sodom was unrighteous and that there were less than 10 righteous and mentions many of the acts they commited in the same thing then to me it points to the mutifaceted nature of the condemnation as opposed to your inhospitality alone. If it is as you say why would the passage even mention in the first place that Sodom had homosexuality in the first place?

Scripture doesn’t condemn modern banking in that in the parable of the talents Jesus mentions that the person who received 1 talent could have put it in a bank and drawn interest. If banking were condemned in scripture than Jesus wouldn’t have mentioned that the person with 1 talent could have done this or even suggest this. reference to banking refer to usary in that usary IS condemned by God but modern banking is not condemned in Scripture in light of this reply.

“Maybe one of the problems here is that people are reading about the sin of lack of hospitality and assuming that this means the same as neglecting to offer a guest a cup of tea?” You say this I believe that it is a problem to not even mention that the condemnation of Sodom is in fact mutifaceted sin as opposed to this alone. The Bible mentions many of the sin of Sodom but the original post failed to mention all of these as aspects to the detrimate of the truth of what Scripture says.

I believe that homosexuality MUST be included in with all of the many reasons for Sodom’s condemnation. I can’t agree that it is not refering to homosexuality with regard to Sodom. To me a committed homosexual couple is an oxymoron in light of Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6. I’m less harsh toward homosexuals because I believe ALL have the ability by the power of Christ to turn from that lifestyle. Being tempted to sin and commiting the action are two different things. Being born with the temptation (attraction to the same sex) is different than actually commiting the act. Either homosexual Christians be non-practicing and agree that commiting the act is sin or turn away from the temptation and be heterosexual. The latter is better on the progression and “with God ALL things are possible.” To me Romans 1 is clear with regard to how homosexuality in all of its forms is wrong.

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Matthew 06.14.07 at 6:07 am

Essentially, dh’s argument seems to be:

1. Engaging in homoerotic behavior is sinful.
2. The men of sodom were engaged in homoerotic behavior.
3. Therefore, engaging in homoerotic behavior was one of the sins of Sodom.

This argument is undeniably valid, so let’s just grant dh this one. “If* his propositions are all true, the conclusion he draws is true.

But sadly, nobody cares. We understand that Kim isn’t really trying to enumerate the sins of Sodom. Kim is trying to explain what the Sodom story is *about*, and it is almost certainly about hospitality, the homoerotic elements being completely incidental. Imagine: what if the angels had manifested themselves as human females? Would it entirely derail the story, or leave it mostly unchanged?

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seeker 06.14.07 at 7:54 am

I think that this type of sermon serves to restore the integrity and use of this passage in evangelical circles, but it goes too far in trying to excuse homosexuality.

As Romans 1 points out, and as John MacArthur has pointed out recently in his two fine sermons on Romans 1 (A Nation Abandoned by God - Part 1 and Part 2), when a people have reached the point of widespread practice and acceptance of homosexuality, they are at the bottom of the moral decline.

The fact that the residents of Sodom were not only wanting to rape the angels, but that they wanted homosexual rape, shows that their decline was total. Later, we will see God condemn all homosexuality in the law of Moses.

So while it is correct to say that the main sin of Sodom was inhospitality, the depth of their depravity is shown in the specific type of inhospitality they exhibited - unrestrained homosexual passions.

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Chris Stacey 06.14.07 at 11:03 am

“when a people have reached the point of widespread practice and acceptance of homosexuality, they are at the bottom of the moral decline.” - wow….. that’s all kinds of bizare. Matthew is spot on with his following of the logic (not that I agree with the assumptions). But it’s an incredible leap in reasoning, with no real basis in scripture, to make homosexuality central to the depravity of man.

That is where accusations of homophobia are perfectly justified. When christians make homosexuality a form of supersin, to be talked about more and some how be a sign of the state of society… That is what truely disgusts me!

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PamBG 06.14.07 at 11:44 am

How does it not make sense when people like yourself are not willing to accept that Sodom had more problems than just inhospitality. How does your view of Sodom compare with what Jude and 2 Peter 2 say? How do you rectify your conclusions with what God’s Word says in Jude and 2 Peter 2? I really am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Explain where the conversation doesn’t make sense? I really am trying to be clear in my statements and would like some insight where there is ambiguity.

DH, I’m trying to be patient. I have no idea what ‘conclusions’ you think that I’ve come to, so I don’t understand what it is in my ideas that you think you are opposing. I have expressed no ‘conclusions’ anywhere here on this thread. I was simply making some conversational remarks.

In my opinion, hating God and hating one’s neighbour pretty well encompasses all the sins that one can possibly commit.

Why are conservative Christians obsessed with homosexuality? Why do you think it’s apparently a sin that is greater than all other sins? An only somewhat facetious comment - are you all in the closet or what? I simply do not understand the obsession with sex in general and with homosexuality in particular.

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saint 06.14.07 at 2:23 pm

Well PamPG, I am sure if your husband ran off for a few quick bonks with your lovely neighbour - male or female - you would see it no more sinful than you saying a cross word out of line to your boss at work.

Not.

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saint 06.14.07 at 2:26 pm

And given that this thread has returned to the issue of homosexuality, can anyone, anyone give me an argument that advocates for homosexual sex/relationships as MORALLY right in God’s eyes. Not arguments saying oh there is no unequivocal no in the Bible or whatever, buta solid argument for an unequivocal yes.

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dh 06.14.07 at 2:55 pm

People, while I have mentioned that homosexuality was one of the sins it wasn’t solely the only sin that Sodom was condemned for. They were condemned for MULTIPLE sins. I also believe, people, that inhospitality wasn’t solely the only sin that Sodom was condemned for. They were condemned by MULTIPLE sins. I have never I repeat never said that homosexuality was a “supersin” or greater than any of the other sins. I am just pointing out that homosexuality was one of many many sins as well as inhospitality was one of many many sins. I’m not focusing on homosexuality or any of the other sins. However, to downgrade that sin boils solely to inhospitality I think is an attempt to degregate what sin really is. My only reaction was that Kim and others did not mention till recently after 63 responses that rebellion toward God was one of the sins that condemned Sodom. It was mentioned too many times this “inhospitality thing” that really got my goad. When Scripture mentions so many more sins for the reason of Sodom’s condemnation and we focus only on “inhospitality” then I believe that one really misses the truth of the passage and the point of the passage.

The story about Sodom goes way beyond just inhospitality. So Matthew I believe you and Kim miss the point. When you read Jude and 2 Peter 2 as well as the passages of the discussion between Abraham and God on Sodom as well as the story itself then you realize that isolating inhospitality does a disservice to what really took place in light of what Scripture says.

Matthew I’m not focusing on homosexuality because Sodom was condemned for not homosexuality alone. I would say it was one of many but that is in the context that all sin is equal in the sight of God except for blaspheming the Holy Spirit which Sodom did by having a hard heart toward God to the point that no revelation from God would have turned their heart and making and believing what is Holy as being flesh by their desire to “know” the angels that were sent to see how messed up Sodom was.

I don’t get how you think I’m obsessed with it when I have said the sins of Sodom were numerous and the reasons for Sodoms condemnation were beyond homosexuality and inhospitality. I just can’t say that Sodom’s condemnation was for only one sin like Kim says and it is false doctrine to say it was for only one sin that Sodom was condemned.

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PamBG 06.14.07 at 5:31 pm

Well PamPG, I am sure if your husband ran off for a few quick bonks with your lovely neighbour - male or female - you would see it no more sinful than you saying a cross word out of line to your boss at work.

In the context of this story, we’re talking about an imminant threat of murder which probably would have been carried out had it not been foiled at the last minute. If my husband murdered a man down the street, I think it would be a lot worse than if he bonked my male or female neighbour.

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PamBG 06.14.07 at 5:43 pm

I don’t get how you think I’m obsessed with it when I have said the sins of Sodom were numerous and the reasons for Sodoms condemnation were beyond homosexuality and inhospitality.

I think it’s because I’m somewhat agreeing with you but saying that ‘inhospitality’ encompasses a number of sins. And it’s because you don’t want to hear that modified agreement and want to bang on (sorry for pun) about the homosexual aspect of things.

It’s because you seem to think the sex act is not evil because it’s rape, but because it’s homosexual.

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dh 06.14.07 at 5:54 pm

Pam, how is it a modified agreement? You never once mentioned that they were rebellious toward God and that their heart was so hard that no amount of revelation from God would have turned them away from being condemned by God. Personally I believe rape AND homosexuality are both sins. They also commited many many more sins beyond these two and well beyond just “inhospitality”, homosexuality and rape. To me all sin is based on rebellion toward God not “inhospitality”. I’m not banging on the homosexual thing. I said hundreds of times they were condemned for multiple, multiple sins. I even said that if Sodom commited just homosexuality they MAY not have been condemned. If you read that reply. However, to say that homosexuality wasn’t one of the many many sins I can’t agree with as well. I’m at least trying to find agreement but people here are focusing solely on “inhospitality” and not rebellion, hardening of heart toward God, attempting to degregate angels by beleliving they were God but flesh, attempted rape and the passage mentions many many more. THe sexual sin acts of Sodom were numerous in number and in their variety. You can’t focus on only one sexual sin act. Nor have I focused on only one particular sexual sin act. I will say that to not include homosexuality as one of the many many sin acts in light of Romans 1, 2 Peter 2, 1 Cor 6, Jude, Leviticus is wrong but that truly is beside the point of the discussion which started with Kim focusing solely on inhospitality when the sins of Sodom were much more severe than that.

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Dave Warnock 06.14.07 at 7:17 pm

dh,

It is difficult interacting with you as:

a) you write stream of consciousness, no structure, lots of coded phrases, lots of repetition, no paragraphs

b) you do not take time to read and digest any arguments more complicated than “God hates homosexuals”. You certainly never think them through. Go back and read what Kim & Pam have actually written about what inhospitality is. I mean it. Go and read it properly, several times until you understand it. and don’t comment until you do. Certainly don’t write all this rubbish about more severe sins as it just shows you have neither read nor understood the argument (again)

c) You also have a strange way of reading the Bible. Where do you get all this stuff about hearts being so hard that no revelation from God could move them. Nothing in this text to support that. Also what a feeble God you worship that nothing God could do would change a few people.

d) As you are so focused on sex what about some reflection on Lot’s offer of his virgin but betrothed daughters to these men. As Lot was not condemned for this I guess you think it is not sinful.

Cheesed offedly yours Dave

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dh 06.14.07 at 8:54 pm

I never wrote in such a way that it was “God hates homosexuals”. I never even said homosexuality was the sole reason for Sodom to be condemned. Also, what is strange in the way I read the Bible when God says in His interaction with Abraham that there was less than 10 who were righteous. Remember if there were 15 righteous God would have spared the city. Also, God DID reveal His nature to attempt to move them with the angels. Remember one of the purposes of the angels to go to Sodom was to see how perverted they truly were. God isn’t goping to force someone to accept Christ under His will. He requires people to choose to accept Him. He revealed Himself through the angels to Sodom and they made something that was God to be flesh by the very nature of their response to the angels. This shows they were so deprived that no amount of revelation would get them to change. This isn’t a limitation on God but insight into how deprived Sodom truly was because we know God is fair in all aspect about Him. The text about the number of righteous that God would sparev the city shows the nature of the heart of Sodom. It is rather strange that you don’t see that.

On d), Lot got his just reward by the actions of his daughters incest. Lot did sin but there is a difference between sinning and being unrighteous to the point of being judged on earth to the point of death. If Lot deserved judgement like Sodom experienced then Lot wouldn’t have been saved from the fires of Sodom. At the same time if his response to the people of Sodom were different with regard to his daughters I would say that the incest from his daughters would have probably not have occurred. Lot was condemned as a result of his daughters. He paid the price. However, I believe the conclusion between Lot and Sodom is based on the level of depravity. Sodom experienced so many more sins and was so deprived with regard to their heart toward God that God had no choice but to condemn them like He did. It wasn’t based on homosexuality alone or on inhospitality alone.

You say my God is feeble. I say my God is righteous and Holy. God can do anything but He can’t be unrighteous. Therefore to be truly omnipotent and omniscience one must be righteous and Holy if something isn’t those then no claim of omnipotence or omniscience can be claimed.

I have reread the arguments and did he or Pam ever say that the sins of Sodom were beyond just inhospitality? I don’t buy that all sins encompassed in “inhospitality”. I believe if there are all sins originating in a few things it would be rebellion and pride but I wouldn’t even pursue an argument consolidating sins like it is presented by Kim or Pam.

If one rereads my rersponses you can see I actually agree more with Pam from the latest response when she went beyond inhospitality than previously. However, why did it take so long for that to be presented? Should we point out ALL of the many sins of Sodom rather than look at just one whether it be homosexuality and/or inhospitality? That is all I’m saying. I think we all can agree with that.

Also, I have never said or implied that “God hates homosexuals”. I’m also not focused solely on sex. Where do you get that from my posts when I said that the reasons of Sodom’s condemnation was beyond homosexuality and inhospitality? I think the one misunderstanding statements is you. I truly understand what Kim is saying and not once did he say the condemnation of Sodom was beyond inhospitality. If you reread it you don’t see it. I have reread all of it. Also, Pam doesn’t mention it till later with regard to it as well.

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dh 06.14.07 at 8:56 pm

Pam is a little more toward me by mentioning the attempted raping of angels but I don’t buy the argument that focusing on inhospitality makes the meaning of the text more clear. Focusing on ALL of the sins of Sodom is what makes the text more clear for its true meaning.

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Matthew 06.14.07 at 9:35 pm

dh, i think you’re imposing your own “rebellion” rubric on the Sodom story. When I read the story, the hospitality theme practically jumps off the page. There’s nothing in the Sodom story that talks about rebellion. Not one word.

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dh 06.14.07 at 9:49 pm

Well, there are those things mentioned with regard to 2 Peter 2 and Jude passages. They are part of the story as well. I’m not impossing the rebellion rubric on the story. God said there was less than 10 righteous in the whole city, it mentions multiple sins, they attempt to sexually rape angels which requires a rebellion toward God to even begin to have a concept to commit and the inhospitality isn’t the only thing mentioned in the whole story as well. One must look at ALL of the passages that directly mention Sodom with regard to its condemnation to fully understand that it wasn’t inhospitality alone. To disregard 2 Peter 2 and Jude like you are doing and disregarding the number of righteous that God said to Abraham with regard to Sodom I believe is a disservice to what actually are the causes, because they are many, of Sodom’s condemnation.

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dh 06.14.07 at 9:59 pm

I think people are projecting inhospitality when in fact it is the fact that they make something that is spiritual, angels, into the flesh, by wanting to rape them. This is clearly a rebellious act toward God to desire to have sex with angels. In an overgenerlistic way it is inhospitality but to use that phrase alone is where I take issue and this doesn’t get into the various number are variety of sins of Sodom for its condemnation.

“20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

“6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c] 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and DESPISE AUTHORITY.”

“6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.”

So from this is it for “inhospitality” alone?

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saint 06.14.07 at 10:36 pm

I have to agree with dh here.

Let me also say, Kim concludes:

The text is clear: they have not welcomed strangers - and here the point is really driven home - strangers who have come as God’s messengers. The ultimate in xenophobia: the Other who comes with good news is rejected as bad news.

The other side of the coin is for people to call what is evil good.

Trouble is, Kim and others on this thread don’t want to concede that, despite the biblical witness to the same. Instead Kim goes on to make a quantum leap from rejecting Christ to :

Speaking of the story of Sodom, the late Anglican theologian Michael Vasey concludes: “Like certain New Testament texts that have often been used to justify anti-semitism, it remains a warning of the way profound, irrational fears can arise within a culture and take captive even the scriptures. Careless exegesis costs lives” - homosexual lives. Indeed. And - how convenient - it also shields the prejudiced from acknowledging in themselves the sins that the texts are actually talking about - violating the sacred trust of hospitality - at the cost of more lives still. Think about it - think about the real sin of Sodom - the next time you read a homophobic or xenophobic editorial in one of our viler newspapers. And then ask yourself: Who are the real Sodomites here?

And personally I think it inappropriate to lump anti-semitism and homophobia together (in fact homophobia is 9/10ths lie for people who can’t cope with people who see homosexuality as immoral, in the same way adultery, fornication etc are immoral).

DH’s argument takes the whole canonical witness into account. Sins (including homosexual and lesbian acts Rom 1) are both the cause and outcome of rebellion which leads one to reject Christ - to call the good news bad news - and to also to proclaim what is evil as good.

Reject Christ reject the Kingdom.
Enter the kingdom live in righteousness.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:9-11

What Kim also fails to take into account in his quantum leap at the end of the sermon

(a) Jesus was not ‘inclusive’ in the modern PC sense of the word. Two types of people in the world: those who say to God: your will be done. And those to whom God says: OK, your will be done.

(b) Jesus’ hospitality (table fellowship) was with the purpose of making one holy by fellowship with him. Some call it contagious holiness. This is why the church is enjoined to judge those amongst it and cast out false teachers, and also discipline (by excluding from communion) those in habitual sin, so that they may be ultimately restored to righteousness and fellowship

(c) The onus is on us to listen to those men and women who speak correctly of God, not to welcome those who speak falsely, or want to call evil, good. That is goes to opening our pulpits to shysters as much as it is conducting our friendships in such a way as to condone and encourage sin.

(d) And again, for those who really want to use this as a nail in the coffin of the “homophobic”: please show me, all of us, how God gives an uniquivocal “yes” to gay and lesbian relationships. Give me the arguments FOR such relationships being moral and right in God’s eyes.

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dh 06.14.07 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for the agreement Saint. However, I agree with you that homosexuality is a sin. However, I wouldn’t go as far to say homosexuality alone was the reason for Sodom’s condemnation. I would say it was that and many many other sins in its combination. I would agree with Kim and others that it included inhospitality but that alone was also not the reason.

I will say that I agree with you that Sodom rejected the Kingdom of God to its own demise. Which I would say is the ultimate form of rebellion.

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saint 06.14.07 at 11:42 pm

“I wouldn’t go as far to say homosexuality alone was the reason for Sodom’s condemnation”

I hope I didn’t infer that.

I am bringing up homosexuality because some want to use this post as yet another reason to argue against the church’s condemnation of homosexual acts/homosexuality as sin.

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Dave Warnock 06.15.07 at 12:38 am

Saint

(a) Jesus was not ‘inclusive’

Yes he absolutely was. Hew created all people and he died that all people can be forgiven. He gives all people freedom to choose to accept the gift of forgiveness or not. He included in his disciples and followers people excluded by society (eg tax collectors, women). He healed those excluded by the Law and religious authorities (lepers, unclean woman etc). Paul recognised this as he understood Jesus came not just for Jews (see Ephesians 2:11-22) and in Galatians 3:26-29).

(b) Jesus’ hospitality Again you misunderstand. Take Matthew 18:15-16. He says treat those habitual sinners as tax collectors and pagans. How did Jesus treat such people? He ate with them, shared fellowship with them. Consider too this weeks gospel reading Luke 7:36-8:3 When this sinner came to him and the religious complained he ended saying “her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Your description of the Church has little to do with the teach and ways of Christ.

(c) I have no idea what this has to do with the discussion.

(d) … Give me the arguments FOR such relationships being moral and right in God’s eyes.

There are plenty of these. Far too many to include in a comment here. Firstly note that Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. So as Richard has written in a newer post we should very carefully consider the priorities that Jesus gave in his teaching. That means things such as

- not being “religious” and self-righteous

- seeking justice, healing and reconciliation for the poor and excluded

- being very worried about greed and wealth

- being peacemakers

- showing love, respect, compassion & mercy to sexual sinners

- bringing forgiveness, hope, faith and love to society in the name of the Lord Jesus

I absolutely refute any suggestion that we find a homophobic Jesus in the gospels.

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saint 06.15.07 at 2:25 am

Dear Dave,

(a) Please reread the gospels. He won’t reject anyone who comes to Him. But do all come to Him?

(b) I stand by my statement. Doesn’t matter if you are a prostitute or a tax collector. Hang out with Jesus you don’t stay a prostitute or a (corrupt) tax collector.

(c) Not surprised you don’t get it.

(d) Name one.

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Dave Warnock 06.15.07 at 3:04 am

Dear Saint

(a) The point is that he includes all in his offer (as you say he won’t reject anyone who comes to him) clearly therefore that includes homosexuals. There are plenty of Christian homosexuals who have experienced God’s acceptance and love who will testify to this.

(b) So what about the tax collectors that Jesus ate with at Matthews house. Where is your proof that they all became disciples. Hang out with Jesus and you still get to choose to accept or not.

(c) What do you mean by that? Are you claiming that because I do not agree with you that I am some kind of shyster or false teacher?

(d) God created all people. Some people are homosexual. God offers forgiveness to all people. Some people are homosexual. We have seen God at work in people who are homosexual. We are called by Jesus to love all people, especially our enemies. Jesus makes it clear that all sin is important not just sexual (eg woman caught in adultery). Jesus does not say anything about homosexuality.

All these are examples of important data points. Jesus did not say homosexuality is ok, but equally he said nothing against it. So the wider context of his teaching is more important and as I said before this cannot of been very important to him or he would have spoken of it. Therefore far higher priorities ought to follow the priorities of Jesus. Homosexuality is not among them, but justice, love & forgiveness certainly are.

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saint 06.15.07 at 3:42 am

Dave
(a) where did I say he didn’t include all in his offer?
(b) the rest of the OT and NT
(c) nope
(d) no need to tell me about God’s grace.

Perhaps you need to argue my points rather than the ones you think I am making.

But here’s a thought. Even if we assumed the evangelists told us everything Jesus talked about (a big assumption…) Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality(or incest etc) because his primary mission was to Jews (yes Gentiles were in mind as well…but his prioirty was towards Jews). Homosexuality (incest etc) was expressly forbidden by Torah. The big contests - Sabbath, divorce etc and the big context - Kingdom of God - were of interest and of contention amongst the Jews (and yes, Kingdom of God was a Jewish concept) Following Christ’s death and resurrection both the early Christian Fathers and later rabbis unequivicably condemned homosexuality. i.e both before and after Christ there is continuity - not to mention Paul’s own condemnation.

So one would have to mount a really huge argument to say Jesus was doing anything but advocating true Torah even while fulfilling it Himself.

Not rocket science. Well at least not down here where I live.

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Dave Warnock 06.15.07 at 9:52 am

Saint,

(a) You said Jesus was not inclusive. I have given detailed examples of exactly how inclusive he was. How is that not answering your point?

(b) So tell me where in the OT and NT your evidence is that “Hang out with Jesus you don’t stay a prostitute or a (corrupt) tax collector.”? Yes the offer is there for them but there is no evidence all accept it.

(c) Then I fail to see the relevance of this point

(d) It is not an assumption that the evangelists told us all that is important of Jesus because if they did not then that undermines the central tenant of Christianity that Scripture contains all we need for salvation.

Creating a theology based on interpreting the silence of Jesus is difficult. Paul may have condemned homosexuality (and the debate is definitely on as to what he was condemning) but he also wrote a great deal about the law and it’s applicability.

However, all this is by the by, my point was again that you are building a huge tower on very little. Homosexuality and sex in general was not the central theme of the teaching of Jesus. Therefore the way you keep trying to make it the centre is mis-representing the gospel.

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saint 06.15.07 at 11:57 am

Ah David.

Who said I was making it a centre. As I said in a previous comment:

“I am bringing up homosexuality because some want to use this post as yet another reason to argue against the church’s condemnation of homosexual acts/homosexuality as sin.”

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seeker 06.15.07 at 11:05 pm

But it’s an incredible leap in reasoning, with no real basis in scripture, to make homosexuality central to the depravity of man.

Actually, if you had followed my links to the MacArthur article, you would see that Romans 1 outlines such a decline - from rejecting God to culmination in a host of sins, of which sexual immorality, and finally homosexuality, are flagship indicators of moral decline in a society.

Why are conservative Christians obsessed with homosexuality? Why do you think it’s apparently a sin that is greater than all other sins?

Actually, due to the fact that sexual sin often has very serious medical complications, because it is so very common, and because scripture takes a very dim view of sexual sin in general, homosexuality, along with promiscuity and adultery, are all featured prominently in christian theology and activism.

In one sense, all of these sins are equally heinous - promiscuity most of all, since it leads to the spread of disease. And so christians are involved in supporting traditional marriage and the family, and warring against things like porno and promiscuity, (esp. teen pregnancy), which damage the family. Homosexuality is just another disease-producing family-undermining sexual sin that Christians must contend with.

But because our nation has declined so severely that such practice, like promiscuity, is accepted and encouraged, we have to focus on it. When the bestialists and polygamists and polyamorits start clamoring to make their aberramt practices common and privileged just the same as regular, natural marriage and sex, Christians will focus on that. It’s a matter of response, not obsession.

As far as it being a supersin, what sexual sin could be worse among humans? Maybe pedophilia. But it’s the fact that is against nature and nature’s design for the body and soul that makes it so bad - it’s not just lust, or twisting of a normal impulse of a man for a woman, it’s affection for something not intended at all.

It’s because you seem to think the sex act is not evil because it’s rape, but because it’s homosexual.

As I said, rape is really bad. Homosexual rape is even worse because homosexuality is unnatural to begin with. It shows a total departure from the natural use of sex and romantic affections. It’s the sin of rape on top of the perversion of homosexuality. It again is merely a telling piece of evidence of the total depravity of sodom, not the main reason for God destroying the city per se.

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PamBG 06.16.07 at 4:53 pm

If I’m ever raped as a woman, I shall remember that it would be a worse sin if I’d been raped as a man. I shall take comfort that the sin done against me as a woman was not as bad as it could have been had it been homosexual rape. I take comfort that the millions of people starving in Darfur have, at least, not been homosexually raped. And I take comfort that people being murdered in civil wars around the world are, at least, not being homosexually raped.

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seeker 06.18.07 at 5:17 pm

If I’m ever raped as a woman, I shall remember that it would be a worse sin if I’d been raped as a man. I shall take comfort that the sin done against me as a woman was not as bad as it could have been had it been homosexual rape. I take comfort that the millions of people starving in Darfur have, at least, not been homosexually raped. And I take comfort that people being murdered in civil wars around the world are, at least, not being homosexually raped.

Classic misapplication of the ideas presented above. Rape is always heinous. The idea you are missing is that homosexuality is a perversion of the natural use of the body, while heterosexuality is not. So gay rape is a compounding of two great sins. That doesn’t lessen the wickedness of hetero rape. Saying that one sin is worse than another does not lessen the impact or sinfulness of the lesser.

We are not comparing them by way of which one causes the most direct suffering, which your sarcastic but misdirected interpretation seems to do, but rather, the level of moral depravity involved.

And if you use a purely humanistic and short-term view of sin that only sees sin measured by how much a victim suffers in the immediate act, then you might make such conclusions. But if you look at the long term affects of sin to both the sinner, the victim, and the society, you might measure differently.

For instance, if you had been God looking at a religious teacher in Darfur who promoted hate, how would you measure that? I mean, which is worse? The act of the one who encouraged the wickedness of “serving other Gods” (a seemingly innocuous act), which led to thousands of rapes and murders, or the single rapist who performed one act of rape?

While both are guilty, all the first one did was teach. And yet God may see that as just as serious, or more serious.

Admittedly, such measurements are somewhat bogus because all sin is wicked - your hate, my hate, their hate. But that does not take away the value of recognizing the epitomes of sin, compounded one upon the other, as in the example of homosexual gang rape.

However, the complicating factor of the Sodom story is that the visitors whom the Sodomites wanted to rape weren’t just men, they were angels. Their total lack of fear and respect for God was part of their sin here, so you could argue one of two ways.

You could say that the homosexual aspect of it was not relevant, and what WAS relevant was the fact that the Sodomites totally lacked respsect for God. Or you could say that in addition to that, they were wanting to Sodomize them, and that made it doubly wicked. I’d say, based on Romans 1 and other passages, that the latter is the case.

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Richard 06.18.07 at 8:23 pm

What we’re clear and agreed about is that the Sodomites threatened the visitors with rape. Asking whether one kind of rape is worse than another is a bit like arguing that stabbing someone is worse than shooting them. Rape is rape, and always abhorrent.
But since we’re agreed that we’re talking about rape here, why would anyone believe that this has anything to do with homosexual relationships?

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dh 06.18.07 at 9:07 pm

because we believe the sin of Sodom was multi-faceted. We all agree it included rape but seeker and I are saying it was rape, inhospitality, homosexuality, rebellion toward God, etc. In light of ALL of the references in Jude, Romans 1, 2 Cor 6, 2 Peter 2. Seeker and I, while I wouldn’t say it in as harsh a way as he is so we aren’t 100% together on this, are trying to say is that ALL of the particular sins of Sodom were the reason for the condemnation of Sodom. Each and everyone of these sins in their combination were the reasons for the condemnation. To exclude a particular sin in the condemnation is taking the Scripture out of context in light of Scripture in the light of Scripture aka all Scriptures in any location that directly reference another passage and/or a specific act in another passage that is mentioned as sin in another passage. I hope this clears up the “scripture in light of Scripture” that Seeker and I are saying is so important.

An analogy of a particular crime is like a person who successfully robs the bank and in the act of stealing murders someone. No one would say there is only one sin here in that stealing and murder are both sins. So we can say that this person committed multiple sins. So it is with Sodom and the act of rape and of homosexuality. The analogy of stealing and murder that was committed by this person is analogous to the people of Sodom committing rape and homosexuality. They were both multiple sins in both situations.

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seeker 06.19.07 at 6:32 am

Asking whether one kind of rape is worse than another is a bit like arguing that stabbing someone is worse than shooting them. Rape is rape, and always abhorrent.

Yes, but no one is really arguing that. What we are saying is that homosexual rape is actually two grievous sins together, and that the fact that the Sodomites wanted that kind of sex shows their utter depravity, even more than if had been the sin of hetero gang rape.

why would anyone believe that this has anything to do with homosexual relationships?

Because the passage says that all the MEN of the city came out, and wanted to have sex with the MALE angels.

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paul.n.jersey 06.21.07 at 10:39 pm

People, when are you going to learn that it is a fable?

There may have been cities Sodom and Gomorrah, and maybe they somehow fell through warfare or natural disaster, and primitive and barbaric peoples determined that the ill fate was caused by some deity.
That’s it. The fact that there are different rationales in the Bible — the first in Genesis blaming God’s anger at homosexuality, and the second in Ezekiel blaming injustice — is evidence that the Bible writers are not reporting facts but writing polemics to burnish a point.

If God hates fags, why doesn’t he burn all cities that have gays? Why doesn’t he throw thunderbolts at all rish, snobbish cities? Why pick on this one? Makes no sense, unless it’s just an excuse to blame people you hate for random activities, like Pat Robertson blaming 9/11 on hurricanes or gays.

Everybody, please grow up.

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dh 06.22.07 at 4:20 pm

The Bible IS reporting facts. There is no contradiction like you are trying to project. There were multiple reasons for Sodom and Gomorrah demise and Genesis mentions a few reasons and Ezekial focuses on one of the reasons. Just because two passage focus on specific reasons doesn’t mean the specific reasons contradict each other if there were in fact multiple reasons. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah are historically know cities. They weren’t analogies of many different “Sodom and Gomorrah’s” Archeologists have found the real life Sodom and Gomorah of the Bible and the Bible is very much historically accurate with regard to these cities.

Also your premise suggesting those here say “God hates fags” is plain wrong. No one here is saying that God hates the sin but loves the person. Also, we are talking about two cities that had less than 10 people who were righteous. I know no city where there happened to be the case. I believe that is why we haven’t seen the destruction like in OT past.

Also, just because there hasn’t been judgement on cities that are this impure doesn’t mean that in the future God would not respond this way. The Bible says so in the days of Noah and so in the days of Sodom and Gomorah that that will be what it will be in the future.

The people in the days of Noah responded just like you with regard to the flood which was due to the same type of scenario of Sodom. For over a hundred years Noah built the ark and people laughed at him but they aren’t laughing now. Are they?

The fact remains is that we haven’t seen the level of judgement on cities like what happened to Sodom and Gomorah because they hasn’t been any cities as despicable as Sodom and Gomorah but that isn’t to say that in the future there won’t in fact the Bible predicts that there will be.

There aren’t different rationales but multiple non-mutually exclusive reasons and Sodom and Gomorrah violated ALL of those reasons.

As for Pat Robertson, (I’m being humorous here on this) I totally don’t agree because I have over 10 friends who I know are righteous in NO and NY and that is more than what were in Sodom and Gomorah.

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Beth 06.25.07 at 4:19 pm

“As I said, rape is really bad. Homosexual rape is even worse because homosexuality is unnatural to begin with.” Wow. I’ll be really careful not to get raped by another woman, then.

But let’s think a bit about a little sidetrack here - Lot’s offer of his two daughters.

In order to come to some explanation of the idea that Lot’s actions were faithful and pious, a comparison of this incident with God’s order to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac might be illuminating. Just as Abraham’s intended sacrifice is certainly not intended to be seen as condoning any parent’s murder of their child, perhaps we may read in Lot’s offer a willingness to sacrifice his daughters through faith in God which does not in any way condone even heterosexual rape or prostitution. Lot’s faith, the attribute which has set him apart from the Sodomites and guarantees his safety, leads him to recognize the holiness of his visitors, and so, like Abraham, he is prepared to sacrifice even his beautiful children when he recognizes the message, or in this case the messengers, of God. The horror of murder or of rape only makes the faith of the two fathers more astonishing and complete; the very evil unpleasantness of the potential fate of his daughters makes the sacrifice one which shows Lot’s faith and fits in with the wider scope of biblical narrative.

I would also like to think about the numerous claims here that a belief in the sinfulness of homosexuals which is based in faith is not homophobic. Let us consider the case of those who, in previous centuries, used Biblical texts to support the enslavement of black men and women. Are we not permitted to call those people racist, simply because they believed they had biblical sanction for what they did?

Those of you who are anti-homosexuality but claim not to be homophobic are asking me to ignore the fact that I completely disagree with your reading of the Bible, and accept simply that a claim of adherence to the Christian faith absolves you of the crime of homophobia. In that case, anyone who uses the Bible to support their prejudice against black people, even if we believe that their interpretation of the Bible is utterly false, is equally protected from being called racist.

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dh 06.25.07 at 5:03 pm

Beth, I have never tried to say that homosexuality was the only reason for Sodom and Gomorrah’s condemnation. I hope you can at least see some consolation in that. Where I take issue is people saying the number one thing is the “inhospitality” when in fact the problem with Sodom and Gomorrah was way, way beyond that. It also was way, way beyond homosexuality.

On the “black people” thing: No where in the Bible does it say specifically that “black people are not equal with the rest” and the Bible actually says “that there is no difference in terms of race between people”. However, the Bible DOES say that homosexuality is a sin in Romans 1, 1 Cor 6, Jude, 2 Peter 2, Leviticus and the like. So you see it is the specific mention as opposed the other that should show that it is NOT homophobic to believe that homosexuality is a sin. Is homophobia a sin? Absolutely but one must define it. For me the definition is a “hate of homosexual people”. I’m not going to speak for others but only for myself, I personally do not hate homosexual people. I totally love them as Christ loves them but my love for people doesn’t change the fact that certain behaviors by people I love are actually sin. For example: I love my parents with all of my heart but if they ever have lied to me I would know they sinned but it wouldn’t change the fact that I love them. I might not trust them in certain things but that wouldn’t change the fact I love them. If I hated them to the point of WANTING them condemned that is a different story.

So in conclusion I’n not homophobic I don’t desire homosexuals to be condemned for I know with God ALL form of change is possible and that my God is not limited in His power except within His Holiness (in that He cannot sin). This isn’t a misinterpretation of Scripture like those who are racist against other races because no Scripture specifically mentions looking down at other races. Also, there is a difference between a crime and sin. I hope this helps you realize that I’m not perpetrating a crime or am in sin. If ever I had an attitude of hate I would definitiely confess it. I have looked at my heart on all of the statements I have said with regard to the issue of homosexuality and I can honestly say that I was never homophobic/hateful in my response to people who happen to be in that lifestyle. There is no protection in the Bible for being racist as there is no protection in the Bible for being homphobic. One must define homophobic and the attitude of hate toward homosexuals must be the definition and not to include believing that homosexuality alone as being in that category.

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Beth 06.26.07 at 12:27 am

Richard - disappearing post - any reason, or should I rewrite?

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Richard 06.26.07 at 7:10 am

Has something disappeared? If so, there’s no reason that I know of…

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Beth 06.26.07 at 1:45 pm

Sorry, but I tried reposting it and it’s not here… Is it maybe in a queue of some kind?

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Richard 06.26.07 at 2:43 pm

I don’t understand, Beth. The moderation queue is empty. Must be some sort of glitchy-type thingy. My apologies.

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seeker 07.09.07 at 6:30 pm

In order to come to some explanation of the idea that Lot’s actions were faithful and pious,

The bible does not claim this. Please see my own discussion at The Sin of Sodom - Inhospitality or Homosexuality?, including this coomment which includes the following explanation for Lot’s actions:

“Again, this one act of desperation and fear does not make Lot unrighteous. As I said, he was not only scared out of his wits, but he knew that if he allowed the angels to be attacked, God’s judgment, or even retribution by the angels, could be instant and terrible. Just because scripture declares Lot as a righteous man in no way means that God was “pleased” with the offer of his daughters. That’s just narrow hermeneutic.”

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dh 07.09.07 at 8:49 pm

Seeker, I really enjoyed these posts. It really goes into further detail. Thanks so much for the posts and links.

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Jimmy 09.29.07 at 6:58 pm

Unfortunately, this article while right on many points doesn’t exhaust the Scriptural references to Sodom and its sin, and has a blind spot in its exegesis. Indeed, Sodom’s chief sin was not homosexuality. Indeed, Sodom’s chief sin, as Ezekiel 16 points out was pride, and as a result of their pride social injustice and other “abominations” (Ezek 16:48-50) occurred in that city. These other abominations, according to to Jude 7 were sexual in nature. To quote Jude, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah… indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh… are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (NASB)

So, PART of Sodom’s sin, inclusive of everything else, included sexual immorality and going after strange flesh i.e. homosexuality. It’s not simply that the men of Sodom were inhospitable towards Lot’s divine guests, nor was it simply that they wanted to gang rape them. The fact that they wanted them at all (even over Lot’s daughters!) was part of their sin.

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WBG 03.03.08 at 12:07 am

Oh My Goodness!

Is this close to being a correct interpretation?

1. The dh camp is saying (exhaustively, if not sincerely): The sins of Sodom are many, not just lack of hospitality. And because she believes the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, and the men of Sodom wanted to rape two male guests/angels that homosexuality is part of the story.

2. The Kim camp is saying… For generations we have believed that the story of S & G = condemnation of homosexuality, when really it is a story condemning inhospitality and all the ugliness that entails.

I think perhaps we are ranting about apples and oranges

A. Let’s start by assuming no one is going to change anyone’s mind re: the sin or lack of sin of homosexuality on this thread

B. We are actually agreeing on more than we are disagreeing on (which remains to be seen I guess)

Perhaps we could agree that

1. Raping anyone’s guest (by any standard) is pretty darn inhospitable (male or female)

2. Ignoring the marginalized, the poor, widows, anyone seeking refuge, etc. is also abhorrent in the sight of God

3. The references made to Sodom’s sin both Old and New Testament most likely refer to the unconscionable treatment received by Lot’s guest’s, exacerbated by the fact they were emissaries of The Lord

And finally….and here I am going out on a limb

4. The MAIN point of the story is not told to make a case against homosexuality, but indeed told to make a point about inhospitality and all the ugly variations that takes. Some (read dh) would include homosexuality as one of the ugly aspects, others would not

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WBG 03.03.08 at 12:19 am

BTW
When I say
“The references made to Sodom’s sin both Old and New Testament most likely refer to the unconscionable treatment received by Lot’s guest’s, exacerbated by the fact they were emissaries of The Lord”

I would of course mean to include the attempted rape, and the ugliness of ALL of S & G’s sins, because nothing ugly would be part of God’s plan for perfect “hospitality”

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Anonymous 06.14.12 at 1:29 am

This article has to be one of the most ignorant things I have ever read…… Read your Bible, ask Jesus to come into your life and be born again. If you are truly born again and filled with the holy spirit, he will guide you from there.

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Richard 06.14.12 at 6:47 am

It’s a pity you couldn’t be more helpful with your comment, Anonymous, but I’m grateful for the reminder of what I thought an excellent sermon. I’ll reblog it.

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David 06.21.12 at 2:48 am

Excellent. The Truth will always be ignored by some so that they may continue with their prejudice and blissful ignorance. The Word of God is clear. The Sodomites are in the “church” while they do very, very little to help those that Christ told us to. And they are so willing to blame, malign, degrade, and even kill (yes, murder) gay people because they can’t STUDY the Word of God for themselves. They are too ignorant. They prefer for their bigoted preacher to pour his hate into them.

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