Why 'sodomite' instead of 'gay' or 'homosexual'?

One of my seminary professors who remains a dear friend just wrote taking issue with my use on this blog of the word 'sodomy' to refer to same-sex carnal knowledge:

I find your use of the word 'sodomites' a bit inaccurate, because the sin of Sodom was not solely homosexuality, but also (maybe primarily) lack of concern for the poor.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Jude 7 In 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.

I hear this objection frequently. One of my dearest friends told me several months ago that he thought my constant use of 'sodomy' and 'sodomites' made me look to our readers like I was a member of the lunatic fringe.

Well, I've thought carefully about it and I can't find another construction that is as helpful, spiritually, in referring to the practice of same-sex sexual intimacy. So if you're one of our readers who's inclined to give us a chance, maybe I'll be able to convince you that this is a usage we can't give up. Anyhow, what follows is my defense.

Growing up in an editor/writer's home, I'm very sensitive to language and I want to say at the outset that my use of 'sodomy' is intentional. Until recently I never used the word. Instead, I spoke of the unrepentant sodomite as "gay" and the repentant sodomite who had put his faith in Jesus Christ as someone "tempted by same-sex intimacy." A very long construction, that last one, but it has the merit of not identifying a man as if he were constantly doing something that is a sin. Also, it avoids labeling the man in such a way as to communicate that this form of sexual temptation is central to his personal identity.

I still refer to those "tempted by same-sex intimacy," but instead of 'gay' or 'homosexual' I now speak of 'sodomy' and 'sodomites'. Why?

First, the words 'gay' and 'homosexual' say things that aren't true. 'Gay' carries a connotation of someone taking pride in his sin and we ought not to join in the lie. Objectively speaking, the man who glories in his shame is in need of correction. To allow him to choose the language we use for his shame in such a way as to deny the shame and evil intrinsic to that sin is to join in his sin, even if we continue to condemn the practice we have allowed him to rename. So the word 'gay' must be repudiated by all Christians, even when we are in dialog with sodomites. It is impossible to use this word without implying a whole host of things that are spiritually destructive and contrary to God's revelation, both natural and special.

But what about the word 'homosexual'—what's wrong with that?

'Homosexual' does not carry the heavy ideological baggage 'gay' does, but it does carry some baggage that's not good. If 'gay' is political, 'homosexual' is clinical; some men have sex with the opposite sex and others with the same sex, hence hetero (different) and homo (same) sexual. To describe the practice clinically is not to speak to men's souls, nor is it to be faithful witnesses to our Lord and His Truth. Scripture condemns sodomy over and over again, and in our libidinous and sexually anarchical culture, it's critically important that we continue to use biblical language to confess the Faith. Thus we speak of fornication rather than 'premarital sex' or 'living together'; we speak of 'committing adultery' rather than 'cheating on his wife' or 'having an affair.'

Today there is a growing movement among adulterers to call themselves 'polyamorous'--literally 'many-loving'. These are men who take their identity from their rejection of marital fidelity and their giving themselves to many different sexual partners. So out with 'adultery' and in with 'polyamory'. The missing element, though, should be obvious. There is no moral judgment. Rather, these men are taking pride in their sin. They are glorying in their shame. 'Polyamory' is not simply an objective clinical description but a political ideology that carries with it an entire rejection of the Seventh Commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

So it could be said that

gay is to homosexual is to sodomite
as
polyamorous is to polygamist is to adulterer.

To give up the historic Christian term 'sodomy' is for us to bow our knees to Baal. The Church has used this word to refer to same-sex carnal relations for most of two thousand years, now, and in the face of the evil onslaught against God's moral law so pervasive in our culture, we ought to continue to use the word simply because of its biblical witness and the shame it carries.

Sadly, though, Christians today think the real shame belongs to those who have not updated their language, thereby indicating (according to the modern conceit) that they are intolerant, legalistic, censorious, homophobic, or maybe even latently homosexual.

So is this what we're prepared to argue about our church fathers from the New Testament age on? Were these the motivations of Jerome in the fourth century; the writers of the penitential literature of the sixth century; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, in the eighth century; a monk of the Carolingian abbeys in the ninth century; Regino of Prum in the tenth century; Bishop Burchard in the eleventh century; Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century; and so on down to our own time?

Can the Church fathers be sane and those today who use 'sodomy' lunatics?

In more recent centuries some have also used the word to refer to forms of non-procreative sex, but the overwhelming usage of the Church was the more basic definition of same-sex carnal knowledge. To refer to same-sex carnal knowledge as 'sodomy' has never been an abuse of the biblical account of the men of Sodom.

But many are prepared to argue this point. And through their deceptive biblical scholarship, they have succeeded in getting Christians to change our language.

In the past few decades a whole school of biblical interpretation has grown up around the effort to repeal the Church's biblical condemnation of sodomy and one of that school's principal tactics has been to deny the connection between God's destruction of the people of Sodom and the effort to engage in same-sex carnal knowledge by the men of Sodom just prior to their destruction. This school has used various tactics. Some have argued that the real sin of Sodom was not same-sex carnal knowledge but rape. Others have tried to turn the focus away from same-sex carnal knowledge to additional sins also mentioned in Scripture as typical of Sodom--particularly the sin of not being hospitable.

Typical of such pro-sodomy biblical scholarship is The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology (University of Chicago) by Mark D. Jordan. Kirkus Reviews describes Jordan's work:

A scholarly critique of how the term 'sodomy' arose in the Middle Ages and came to influence Roman Catholic moral discourse. Although the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is at least as old as the book of Genesis, the view of sodomy as a form of sexual sin seems to have been invented in the eleventh century by the Italian ascetic St. Peter Damian. Jordan (Medieval Institute/Notre Dame Univ.) restates the now generally accepted view that the sin leading to Sodom's destruction was transgression of the laws of hospitality rather than same-sex intercourse per se, and he gives some very relevant philosophical warnings about using centuries-old texts to find answers to modern questions.

It's now "generally accepted... that the sin leading to Sodom's destruction was transgression of the laws of hospitality rather than same-sex intercourse"?

Well, there you have it. Two millennia of biblical scholarship and pastoral language has been thrown to the side and those of us who continue to refer to same-sex carnal knowledge as 'sodomy' are on the lunatic fringe.

Care to join up? (Here's a helpful review of Jordan's work).

But seriously, no student of Scripture has ever denied that Sodom was guilty of greed, pride, and certainly inhospitality. Scripture condemns these sins of Sodom in no uncertain terms, but it also condemns the Sodomites' sexual perversions. The Genesis narrative itself condemns them and Jude 7 makes explicit what is only implicit in Genesis 18 and 19. Sodom and Gomorrah, we are told, "indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh (and) are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire."

"Gross immorality" and going after "strange flesh" will result in "the punishment of eternal fire." Is this one of Christ's teachings that we ought to disseminate? Teach? Preach? Should our language concerning the Sodomites "gross immorality" and going after "strange flesh" make the transfer into our discussion of same-sex carnal relations today so that God's warning will continue to live on in the consciences of men down through history? Or is this something men should only learn if they choose to come inside an evangelical church where private truths are privately, and ever so tactfully, "shared."

In the letters to the seven churches at the beginning of the book of Revelation, Jesus says this to the church of Laodicea:

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (Revelation 3:14-18)

Note that the Laodicean church was "neither hot nor cold." So across the centuries the Laodiceans have been known for being lukewarm and therefore in danger of being spit out of the mouth of our Lord. Thus the word 'Laodicean' is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "indifferent or lukewarm especially in matters of religion" and the Online Etymology Dictionary traces this usage back at least to 1564.

But note also that the Laodicean church was guilty of other sins--including presumption and complacency. They thought of themselves as rich and needing nothing when actually they were "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."

So if I were to call a lukewarm individual or church "Laodicean," would I be corrected? Would men remind me that the church of Laodicea was presumptuous and complacent, too, and that I ought not to use the word 'Laodicean' to refer only to those lacking spiritual zeal?

Of course not. There's no affirmative action for the lukewarm. So when it comes to Laodicea, our biblical language is not under assault. What about calling those who go after strange flesh and engage in the gross immorality of same-sex carnal knowledge "sodomites? Can "Laodicean" be right and "sodomite" wrong?

Some among us might be prepared to accuse God of cruelty in making an example of the Sodomites by the awful judgment He meted out to them for going after "strange flesh" and indulging in "gross immorality. But the rest of us should acknowledge that the battle over the language of sodomy that rages around is will determine whether we continue to love sodomites by presenting to them the warning God deposited in His Word.

We can appear reasonable and refer to those going after strange flesh and indulging in gross immorality as "gay" and "homosexual." Or we can join the lunatic fringe and continue to use the biblical language we inherited from the Early Church.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

The famous Martin Luther quote comes to mind:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

The problem with "sodomy" is that the dictionary use of it is not homosexual. I don't want to be overly plain here, but if you look it up, you will see why "sodomy" is a bad description of homosexuality. Furthermore, doesn't it provide an unnecessary offense to the gospel? I would imagine that someone who practices homosexuality will be less likely to respond to "sodomite." It is an unnecessary word, that is not even accurate.

On sodomy, I think we ought to agree on the definition found in Britannica:

sodomy
n [ME, fr. OF sodomie, fr. LL Sodoma Sodom; fr. the homosexual proclivities of the men of the city in Gen 19:1-11] (13c) 1: copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal 2: noncoital and esp. anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex -- sod.om.it.ic or sod.om.it.i.cal adj

sodomite
n (14c): one who practices sodomy

Changing biblical terms for softer, more politically correct terms does no good. Once we go down that path, it isn't long before language means whatever people want it to mean.

I applaud you for sticking with the Bible on this one.

Jack's Pipe,

Thank you for posting that quote of Luther. It does cut to the heart of the matter.

There's a lot to be said for sticking to the traditional meaning of a word, especially when the movement to redefine it is both political and anti-Christian. It's not accurate to call this traditional definition the "biblical" one, though. The Bible never defines or even uses the word "sodomy," and it _does_ give other reasons beyond homosexuality _per se_ for the destruction of Sodom. If we were trying to define the word from Scripture, "homosexual rape" or "complete dissolution" would be better definitions.

Say the word "sodomy" and people know what you mean. This is a long-used term that is now verboten in the culture, and it isn't because the culture was trying to protect the more full-orbed Biblical definition of it. Isn't it the most strategic word to use given that sodomy is a sin that people today are trying to convince us is not sin? It connotes judgement and disapproval.

While I have trained myself to never use the term 'gay' - which is a corruption of a word and the opposite of reality, both now and in eternity - isn't homosexual acceptable to use (if not preferable to sodomite) given that it is how many translations interpret, say, 1 Cor 6:9?

One reason I have been personally slow to jump from 'practicer of sodomy' to 'sodomite' is because I have long associated it with Pentecostalism, people who would almost spit the term out. And so perhaps it hasn't just been corrupted on the "left."

Romans 1:26-27
"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

We don't see the word sodomy used at all in this text yet it clearly defines the sin of homosexuality. Making a term like sodomy the only definition for a specific action limits how scripture has historically been used. We are able to fully grasp the entire meaning of an action and its' spiritual implications when we broaden our vocabulary. Adultery defined is not just the actions that a person commits but includes the spiritual repercussions that were defined in Matthew 6.
I don't deny that sodomy is exactly what occurs when there is sexual contact between two men, however what is involved spiritually in this act and why it is a sin against God is more than that.

It seems to me that "homosexual" is, if anything, more judgmental than "sodomite," as the former has a nuance of referring to the person himself, while the latter is specifically aimed at the sinful actions. A sodomite is one who sodomizes, which doesn't necessarily mean that that's a vital part of his nature. (Maybe for him it's just a hobby or something; I don't know.) But to call a man a homosexual defines him by his sexual practices.

I agree that the word needs to be kept. I usually use "homosexual" in conversation, because it's neither obnoxious nor approving, but I think "sodomite" is much more appropriate.

James West illustrates my point on the insufficiency of sodomy very well when he cites Britannica (and every other dictionary will be essentially the same). When you read the dictionary, you find very quickly why "sodomy" and "sodomite" are inadequate to describe the sin of homosexuality. The legal use of "sodomy" includes much more than homosexual sex.

Using "homosexual" is hardly going light on the sin of homosexuality. In no way is it bowing the knee to Baal. "Baal" doesn't care what word we use, if we say what the Bible says about it. And neither should we.

I didn't say that the Britannica definition was the Bible definition. As I understand it, the Bible does not give an exact definition of the sin, i.e. all the ways the sin of homosexuality is carried out. It is, however, understood in every culture to be unnatural and unclean. It is quite obvious that going after strange flesh, when it refers to males, implies a form of sex that is different than that which is performed with the opposite sex. If "hospitality," as some have suggested is sodomy, this would not explain how it could be so serious as to invite divine retribution. The word in Hebrew, according to Strong, means "male prostitute, those practicing sodomy and male prostitution." Can anything be clearer? Such a person was forbidden to serve in the priesthood. Such persons are described as "perverted persons" in the NKJV on 1 Kings 14:24. So the biblical definition of a sodomite is one who practices sodomy, i.e. sexual perversion. Should we soften down the meanings of words in order not to offend someone? That's how these other changed in phraseology came relating to the words adultery and fornication. That's how it became in vogue to call a drunkard, an alcoholic. Using Bible words does not gain points with people. Neither did "vipers" gain Jesus points with the Pharisees.

I was just pointing out that the dictionary definition which you posted made the point I was making. I didn't want to post the definition because of its explicitness.

I don't think it's a compromise to use homosexual rather than sodomy. Homosexual is a much clearer word, much more precise, and has the added benefit of not being confusing.

In addition, I don't think a hard position on sin requires us to use the most offensive word we can find to describe something. But as I suggested, I don't think using a "tougher word" will get more attention or have more convicting power.

We can condemn homosexuality in strong unequivocal terms without using a word that 1) is inaccurate to begin with and 2) is unnecessarily offensive. What do we gain by using it? I can think of nothing. To my knowledge, it is not used one time in the NT. Paul found other ways to describe the sin. So why shouldn't we?

I think that the words we use should be the best words to communicate with, and I don't think sodomy/sodomite really fits the bill. In common language, sodomy is normally used to describe things like what happened to Abner Louima a few years ago (he was the Haitian immigrant who was brutally attacked and sodomized with a plunger handle in New York.)

In that context, it's not sexual, consensual, or even limited to same-sex actions, so it doesn't really describe homosexual sex like it's being used here. To use it as a synonym is confusing, misleading, and unhelpful, especially when talking to non-Christians.

Your desired use of this word is inappropriate. Jesus taught TOLERANCE for your fellow human beings. Clearly using this DEROGATORY word gives "Christians" (particularly Impressionable Youth) a Green light to HATE Gays & Lesbians, call them names, beat them and perhaps kill them. Seems the Fred Phelps' gang *thinks* it's OK to pollute peoples' minds & hearts. Are your actions in the true light of the Christian Faith in 2006?
Then who & what is next? Should "Christians" start making up & using more derogatory terms for people who are of different races, ethnic groups, the handicapped, mentally ill or anyone perceived as being "Different"? Where does it stop? In the 20th century, Hilter exterminated how many MILLIONS of SOULS because people where different than his standards? Hitler misconstrued religion to ignite the hatred. Is that your ultimate desired effect to start a catalyst movement leading to genocide?

This is America, a country founded on the pursuit of human happiness. It shouldn't be misconstrued to become the promised land of milk & honey and "Controlled" by religion. Treat all citizens with utmost respect, that IMHO, is what Christ would prefer us to do.

Well, I don't think you'll find any supporters of Fred Phelps here. But to your point, tolerance as you describe it (ie. acceptance) is not what Jesus taught. And those who stand against this sin do it out of love for others (it certainly isn't "fun"). Do you know that Jesus's direct words are the source of much of our doctrine of Hell? That he warns continually of it? See Matthew 5, 8, 10, 13, 22, 23, 24, 25, Mark 9, Luke 12, 13, and 16. As C.S. Lewis said in "Modern Translations of the Bible:" "A most astonishing misconception has long dominated the modern mind on the subject of St Paul. It is to this effect: that Jesus preached a kindly and simple religion (found in the Gospels) and that St Paul afterwards corrupted it into a cruel and complicated religion (found in the Epistles). This is really quite untenable. All the most terrifying texts came from the mouth of Our Lord: all the texts on which we can base such warrant as we have for hoping that all men will be saved come from St Paul."

I see your point, Larry, but it seems clear that "homosexual" is a word that makes the sin sound more acceptable. As pointed out by another, the word is taken as simply the opposite of "heterosexual." Is the Christian to make sin sound less ugly? I agree that the use of words that condemn the sinful lifestyle of others should be spoken with love, with understanding, with compassion. People who are bound by sinful habits are to be pitied. Their sin has enslaved them, and they cannot of themselves escape. Using the more accurate word to describe their sin lets them know just how God views their sin. It should be followed with the revelation of God's grace that is greater than all our sins. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." The point here is: why not opt for using the Bible word instead of another word that connotes a socially more acceptable behavior?

Tim -

You mean we ought to call a sin a sin?

You're an innovator. Never let the guilty party define the argument.

;-)

Roy,

Huh? Who are you talking to?

I appreciate your spirit Roy, but as a practicing homosexual I read the Bible as being pretty definitively opposed to any sort of homosexual behavior. Of course I much prefer your attitude to that of those like Phelps and those on this blog who do, directly or indirectly, encourage hatred for me - especially amongst impressionable young people who are prone to violence.

Of course the theologues are correct here; Jesus was just as zealous as Paul; that argument is a whitewash by those trying desperately to be progressive churches, but in the end those churches simply subscribe selectively to an archaic book of rules and judgments just like the rest.

I am curious about female same-sex carnal relations. Would those make it into the baylygods completely self-admittedly theological definition of sodomy? Women don't seem to get much play on this blog.

1. Anyone who says that Jesus taught an amoral tolerance is ignorant of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Before we make claims about what famous teachers supposedly taught (Jesus, Confucius, whoever), we should actually know what they said.

2. Jesus taught that the Old Testament law was divinely inspired. By giving His unconditional support to Moses' writings, Jesus approved of the Law's death-penalty for homosexuality.

3. Homosexuality is a great evil. It spreads disease, it is followed by people who also molest children and youth, it usually reflects having been molested as a child or a youth, it is a severe psychological developmental disorder, it is characterized by a depraved narcisissm that often reaches sociopathic degrees, if acted out to its logical extreme it would result in the death of the human race, and God hates it so much He inflicts wrath on those who practice it, both now and for all eternity if the person doesn't turn to Jesus Christ.

In our current culture, it has become an emblem or token of hatred of God and rebellion against the very idea of "norms" or authority.

I agree with Jack on points 1 and 2. That is one of many reasons I believe it wise to disregard the Bible as a moral authority. Self-preservation admittedly reigns supreme here. I don't want to die at the hands of zealots. But it's good to know exactly where Jack stands as far as supporting killing homosexuals.

Point 3 is absurd. Though I presume he would assert I am simply lying, I was not abused as a child in any way. I do not molest children or youth. I grew up in a very strong, loving and independent Baptist household. I am not narcissistic, though I do like to look my best, as I think taking care of oneself is a socially responsible thing to do.

I don't know what taking homosexual to the logical extreme entails, as I don't think everyone is homosexual. In the past century or so the population of the world has exploded. Life expectancies are on the rise, especially in those societies which are more accepting of homosexuality. The acceptance of homosexuality certainly doesn't seem to have led to any sort of grand death sentence for humanity. The countries most riddled with rapidly spreading sexually transmitted diseases are also among the ones which most demonize homosexuality. The logic just isn't there Jack.

Ryan, although my views are much closer to Jack's than yours (I really doubt he's actually advocating that we kill homosexuals, by the way), I just wanted to quickly say that I appreciate you coming here and I think your thoughts are valuable and helpful. Thanks for stating your points clearly and civilly.

My experience around homosexual men is that it's usually a lacking relationship w/dad, whereas with lesbians it is molestation. There are other exceptions, of course.

"Self-preservation admittedly reigns supreme here."

But this is the opposite of real self-preservation. As Jesus says: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Ryan, you don't know what I think about capital punishment. The Scriptural observation remains true, that Jesus gave his unconditional thumbs-up to the Old Testament Law, so it's the nonsense talk about Jesus being a preacher of tolerance in the PC context that is absurd. Christ was born a Jew, as a man under the Mosaic code, and he wholeheartedly accepted it.

I'm not confident I can say that I know what a distinctively New Testament perspective would bring to the question of civil legislation on sexual behavior. I am not a Theonomist. But anything that is an attack on marriage is wrong, and ought to be outlawed; so too anything that spreads disease, or is closely associated with child molestation, which homosexuality is.

Human beings are born spiritually dead, and as a result evil desires emerge out of our hearts spontaneously (greed, hatred, war, lust). So I can believe that you embraced this perversion out of your own lust, just as I fight against impulses of spontaneous, defiant heterosexual lust erupting up out of my own heart. But underneath it is a refusal to acknowledge God or thank Him. Homosexuality is itself an expression of God's wrath against the idolatrous individual, according to the apostle Paul.

You and I would (presumably) agree that there are times when it is morally imperative to pass and enforce laws that pertain to sexual behavior. In fact, there are many laws that pertain to sexual behavior. What constitutes marriage is one of those areas. Sexual behaviors that can be connected to other destructive outcomes are candidates for censure, everything from mild penalties like fines up to imprisonment, and capital punishment. For instance, I believe that rape should be punishable by death.

But morality is not defined by mutual consent.

Actions aren't right or wrong just because an individual feels that they are; e.g., moral precepts aren't established by personal opinion or polls or intuitive sentiment. That's how Auschwitz was justified.

It is hypocrisy for a homosexual to justify his behavior by claiming there are no cosmic moral rules about it, but then morally criticize other people in the society for anything at all. The homosexual liberal, for instance, has no basis for saying that the Iraq war is wrong, or that pro-choice is right. You want to legislate your own free-floating rules no less than anyone else, by means of the ballot box -- which is your right.

But don't then commit special pleading by saying that such-and-so political view "X" is wrong. How do you know anything is "wrong"? What right do you have to say such a thing about anything? The answer is, amoralists say so, not for good reasons, but solely because they selfishly want it to be so. That's the thinking behind sociopathy. Homosexuals want to define morality around themselves and their own hyper-individualistic wishes, and then they fear the violence that would get turned against them if everyone else thought about morality as they do.

You want everyone to believe that murdering a homosexual would be morally wrong, and it would be. But how can you convince people of that, if at the same time you say that morality is purely a matter of personal taste? If that's true for sexuality, it's true for everything.

Ryan;

The Gospel is no less a call to you than it is to any other man.
There are numerous sins and all hated and condemned of God. The fact that this sin is particularly noted in scripture may cause
you offense, but the Gospel was as much an offense in its day
as it is now. It will continue to be an offense, but it is not God's
truth that is the genesis of that offense, but the vitiated taste and nature of fallen men,
on whom the truth of its hammer falls. To whom it falls may be so inclined
as to "cast it off as a moral authority" because it tells us who we are. All of us.
Cast God off, but he is still there. Where do you suppose you can hide
from God?

The call is you, man, created in God's image and likeness. We have
sinned and fallen and thus have a currupt nature within, and
from within do willfully commit the fruit of outward sins as well.
Thus, much deserving of the righteous displeasure of God.
The penalty for that sin is a death sentence and eternal condemnation
of a Holy and just God. However, in his mercy, he has ordained to
save some. Those who repent, acknowledging and turning from
their sins, and turning to God for forgiveness through faith in Christ,
will be saved. For the just shall live by faith. Repenting does not
mean you come to God and make demands upon how you are to
be accepted. It also does not mean you are perfect before repenting, hardly. You come to unconditional surrender to the King of Kings
and ask for mercy and forgiveness, realizing your only hope is not within
you, but the perfect, sinless, and completed work of Christ, who atoned
for the sins of his people. That he is the way, truth and life and without
him, you are totally lost. He lived the life we could not and suffered
the death and curse due us.

Do not, therefore, try to throw the offense back upon the Lord's people or his written
word.
We're all sinners, deserving of God's wrath and have had to all
come to the end of ourselves and bow our knee humbly to the Lord of Lords.
Do you hold his people in contempt for calling sin what it is or just hate
God for calling you to repent; and therefore obtain life and forgiveness? Think about it. God is calling you to repent, so he may bless you.

We, in no way, hate you. We ourselves, many of which once walked as you,
are simply recipients of God's mercy. That merciful call is made to you as well.
Do you only hear God's "NO" and not his "yes"- which is the call of the Gospel to YOU,
a sinner. For Christ came, not to save the righteous, but sinners; and while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Expect God's people to fail and
to sin; just like you do. However, the call is still to YOU.
Are you willing to lose your life that you may find it? Are you willing to
surrender to God, and find life everlasting through Christ the Lord?
If not, do know that there is but one end for you and the Holy
judgement of God rests over you like a sword ready to plunge. Just as it did
for us.You have been such warned and exhorted to repent and embrace your heavenly father
through his son.

Wonderfully stated, Jeff.

I appreciate your welcoming comments Keith. Though I do wonder about how, if one does subscribe to the view that the Biblical Jesus sanctioned the Mosaic Covenant, and further, if one bases one's morality on that premise, it would be possible to disavow the penalties associated with it. I have inquired in comments before about whether the blog authors believe in the Biblically mandated punishment and have not yet seen an answer. I know they do support civil criminal penalties for my sexual behavior, as there has been much dismay expressed herein about the removal of civil laws against it. I suspect that the knowledge that advocating death for gays (or sodomites, whatever you want to call me) renders one a pariah keeps people from shouting such a wish from the rooftops.

Jack, your anti-moral relativism tirade is tired. Relativism is a tricky fact of nature (Einstein, right?). But we don't have to leap off the post-modern logic train here; even without relying on relativism (for which I don't begin to understand the math), I don't seek a license to murder someone, just to love someone. When my relationship dissolves your marriage, I might start to worry about it. Where does my relationship force an end to yours? I really don't understand this ubiquitous point from the fundamentalist camp.

Jeff, our argument over hatred is semantic in nature. If you hate to be considered a hater, than I'll concede that you don't think you hate me. But in my mind legislating civil penalties (jail, death, what have you) for my wonderful 8 year relationship that in no way affects whatever relationships you may or may not have is nothing short of a blind loathing.

I'm sure your duty to exhort is done. It should be clear that I know all about the "good" news. Bought it for a long time hook, line and sinker.

Logician, heal thyself. Ryan, everything you say is a string of meaningless non sequiturs, circularity, and clouding the issue; but of course, you already know that.

Since Jesus Christ forbids homosexuality, then sexually loving a fellow male is forbidden by Jesus Christ. Then the issue is, is Jesus Christ the Son of God? That's where the ultimate issue rests.

Since love = obeying God's moral law, and the moral law forbids homosexuality, then what you're all about is selfish lust, and Showing God Who's the King.

Since no one claims that your sodomizing legally dissolves our marriages, saying that is either a stab at being deceptive, or stupidity. The first is more likely, since I don't think you're self-deceived. I think you're quite proud to be spitting at God every day. Sure are showing your Dad and all those horrible Fundamentalists. But even with their silly KJV Bibles, polyester suits, and stifling Baptist legalism, they're still right on this matter, while in opposition to them you want the right to invent your own personal moral rules.

Like I said, this is a religious issue, and it's all about you hating God -- homosexuality is just the outward manifestation of your arrogance and self-worship.

And by the way, Ryan: you never believed in Christ. If you actually had, you would never have apostasized. He would not have allowed it to occur (since He runs things).

"I appreciate your welcoming comments Keith. Though I do wonder about how, if one does subscribe to the view that the Biblical Jesus sanctioned the Mosaic Covenant, and further, if one bases one's morality on that premise, it would be possible to disavow the penalties associated with it. I have inquired in comments before about whether the blog authors believe in the Biblically mandated punishment and have not yet seen an answer. I know they do support civil criminal penalties for my sexual behavior, as there has been much dismay expressed herein about the removal of civil laws against it. I suspect that the knowledge that advocating death for gays (or sodomites, whatever you want to call me) renders one a pariah keeps people from shouting such a wish from the rooftops."

I asked Tim the same thing a while back, and he said the only laws he wanted back on the books were anti-abortion laws:

http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/archives/023648.html

There are very very few actual theonomists in Christendom. I think what Tim is getting at is that, where the law is in agreement with the Bible, we shouldn't work to throw those laws out. I disagree, for a variety of reasons, but I know where he's coming from.

One thing I doubt, though, is that Tim cares if he's considered a pariah or not.

I looked up the word "pariah" because I was unfamiliar with it. My mind made a connection with the flesh-eating fish, but I wasn't sure. I also thought it might have something to do with fire. So I looked it up.

Under the post, "Why Chirstians oppose embryonic stem cell research," Archie exhorted Adam to search himself to see if he would subject himself to the authority of scripture. Mr. Barcs' response reminded me that I Cor. 1:18-25 is true:

'I'm sorry but I simply can't have a rational philosophical/scientific debate with people who seem to rely on an ancient middle-eastern compilation of word of mouth folk tales and metaphors as their sole source of knowledge. ...
"Quit trying to rationalize and look at what the scripture has to say"? Haha! That pretty much says it all right there. I rest my case. Peace out.'--end quote

Archie is very willing to be a pariah. I think Tim has proven himself to be willing to be a pariah. Ezekiel definitely didn't want to, but was called to be a pariah.

I think it is not that we would choose to be unpopular, or weird, or an outcast, or hated or burned or devoured by wild animals. I think it is that we fear not man, who is only able to embarass us, or make us feel stupid, or kill us; but rather God, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

Our loyalty is to God, and our call is to be His witness. Make it so, Lord Jesus.

Rachel

I believe I said exactly that Jack, that my relationship cannot dissolve yours. I never said it could dissolve a marriage, that was my point. My relationship is no threat to yours, so why should you deny my right to have it?

Point out my circular argument please. You have to do more that say it's there, you have to actually point it out. If my logic is incorrect because I reject your single-source worldview, then I guess we do have a bit of an impasse there.

As far as the church of my youth, it was an independent Baptist church, KJV was not very well represented. Even in Southern Baptist churches they don't make too much of that anymore. You seem to assume nothing in the world ever changes. Natural entropy, however, renders you wrong on that point entirely. Read up Jack. The physicists didn't get their work done in time to be canonized into your single source.

I suspect that polyester is more frequently a factor of economics vs. taste. I marvel that you rub others' faces in it.

I work hard on my relationship with my father, and over the years we have made much progress. It saddens me that people out there like you thrive on the misery of others and throw it up in their faces to make your point that Jesus loves me (or do you believe that, I still can't get my head around "unconditional election"). But it's laughable that you believe anyone who disagrees with you is a rebellious child.

In the church of my youth they taught that speculation such as yours on the beliefs and claims to salvation of another human is sinful.

Rachel, happy to have added a new word to your lexicon. Good luck making people really upset. What a noble aspiration! I'm sure people will see the light of Jesus in your eyes. The more you succeed there the better chance I have of getting my relationship officially sanctioned. While I feel sorry for the people Fred Phelps hurts, he has done more for my cause than any pride parade ever could.

Here's another word for all of you: myopic.

Ryan;
You still claim I hate you? Legislation? Huh? It is a false presupposition and a circular arguement on your part.

Truth is not a matter of the will. You may not "like" God's truth because it conflicts with your life; but the truth it is; transcendant and immutable.

How convenient this presupposition is on your part, however. It allows YOU to consider yourself victimized and therefore you justify yourself before us AND before God. You claim a "moral highground" with its basis as the spirit of this age and your own preference to mold a truth that will give you a stamp of approval you so seem to desire. It also allows you to cast stones at all those who remind you that your "truth" is indeed your creation and not God's. However, it is a straw man and you build your foundations upon the sand.

I say none of this in a spirit of triumphalism, but to relate that I too, was a child of this age and have thought as you. I stand before God with no more righteousness than you and fully deserving his wrath and condemnation. In my heart still resides all sorts of wickedness. I believe simply because God, through Christ, took pity upon me and showed me mercy. I owe all to God as he is the "just and the justifier."

Know this, you will stand before this God as all of us will. We will do it in your own strength and righteousness, which God's word says are "filthy rags," or we will stand clothed in Christ's righteousness as our surety. Either way, our sin is not overlooked. It must and will be paid for. Either we will pay it eternally, or repent and allow Christ's atonement on our behalf.

This event is a certainty. It is given man once to die, and then the judgement. No postmodernist, pluralistic, nihilistic, relativism, or political flavor of the month, will alter this outcome.

If you believe I have taken this time to have write this simply out of "duty," you are mistaken. I do it, because when I was lost; someone cared enough to share with me this "good news" you seem to mock.
I did not immediately accept it, but God was merciful with me. So I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God to all who believe. Choose this day whom you will serve Ryan.

Jeff, I was under the impression that you supported civil penalties for my sexual behavior and civil limitations on my full participation in society. If you don't, I apologize and I will certainly not deny your right to view my behavior as you think your God does.

Sodomy, correctly understood, includes all sorts of filthy acts (popularly but inaccurately known as "oral sex" and "anal sex") which are routinely practiced by heterosexuals, including many Christian married couples. This in the mistaken belief that such "expressions of love" are somehow sanctified by being performed in the marriage bed. What a shock it would be to them were someone to suggest that the uncleanness they commit is actually in the same moral category as the practices of male sodomites.

I recently came across a "Health Questions Answered" forum posted by the Student Health Center at a well-known Christian college. Regarding "oral sex" between married couples, the (Christian) health expert states that such acts have no moral dimension as long as what takes place is within both partners' psychological comfort zone and as long as "cleanliness" is observed. I found it extremely ironic that a little later in the same forum, the same "expert" condemns masturbation as a sinful and unhealthy practice, to be avoided by Christians if at all possible. Fascinating.

Ryan,

You introduced yourself to this group as a "practicing homosexual" as a former practitioner I can clearly say that your self-proclaimed love for your partner is null and void. There is no ground for a practicing anything to stand on compared to the holy ground that is marriage. I am not now a practicing wife or mother, the love that God has given me for my husband and children is within a covenant that we have with Him who is the author of love who holds all things together. I trust your practicing is at best self-gratifying and likewise for your partner but in no way is it of the level of self sacrificial love that Christ has for his church.

You would do well to heed the call that Jeff has sent forth as offering a drink of water to a dry parched soul.

Glenda

Ryan,

Thanks for the new word, and the new guy.

Fred Phelps: I googled him. I found his website. I found much truth there, presented in the most obnoxious and hateful way possible. I found celebrations of how many days in hell people are spending. Jesus wept because he longed to take the people of Jerusalem under His wing, but they refused, and later killed Him. Fred Phelps is myopic. Christians, pray for this guy that the name of Jesus may not be blasphemed because of him.

Sometimes we focus on one sin. However abhorant that sin is, it is only one sin. God, keep us from the error of the pharisee.

Myopic:

In the context that you mention it, it could be the basis for some interesting and potentially enlightening conversation. I'll start:

Point taken. I would say, though that most people who suffer from myopic thinking would not realize it until it is pointed out to them.

I, for example, just got my license plate notification in the mail. This happens every year, but every year I find myself scrounging for the lush sum they are requiring I pay to legally drive my vehicle. In regards to this situation, I am myopic.

One day at Planned Parenthood, I was standing on the sidewalk, praying and reading Scripture, and a young couple came along and I smiled and said, "Good morning." They attempted to open the front door and it was locked. I told them where to find the entrance. I was myopic. I was looking at the moment. I did not want to offend. That was months ago. I'm fairly sure their child is dead, and they did not that day hear about Christ, and His sacrifice on their behalf. Their blood and that of their child is on my hands.

I could go on, there was that thing with my brother, that potential conflict with my Mother-in-law, my daughter, my co-workers... I won't bore you or take up more space.

Many people, including many Christians and gay activists are myopic. I actually think it is part of our fallen nature, that which creates idols or seeks to preserve itsself (however even our efforts toward this desire are myopic). It is totally understandable, and totally wretched and depraved and without excuse.

Politics have a tendancy to create or nurture myopia. People get very focused on their cause and have difficulty seeing past it, around it, or even behind it. "I will cling to my right to ___, and you can't do anything about it, in fact you're wrong to say I'm wrong." We are deceived by ourselves, by others, by our circumstances, by our culture.

Myopia used to be the air I breathed and the reason I got up in the morning. There was no other purpose than that of the moment, the week, the year. I couldn't see past the current date, relationship, marriage, life span. Trust me, Ryan, I have played the game of not offending, and it is a deadly game, and no one wins. I am still myopic most of the time, but God isn't.

It is God who sheds light on the long run, on eternity. It is He who knows the end from the beginning. It is He who knows what our souls really need, not just for the moment, but for the long run.

Rachel
(4 eyes)

It may be worth noting that certian sins seem to flock together. For example, adultery (for ages) has gone hand-in-hand with lies and all kinds of deception to hide the adultery. For three years I have attended a very liberal state university, and I've met many sodomites here. In my experience their sexual sin almost inevitably comes with a nauseating arrogance and self-absorbtion; if men enslaved to sodomy five thousand years ago were anything like men who are enslaved to sodomy today, it should come as no surprise that the sodomy of Sodom came bundled with arrogance, inhospitality and a general self-seekingness that would lead to a neglect of the poor. Certainly there must have been other cities in the ancient Middle East that were arrogant and/or inhospitable etc.; that Sodom's sodomy made it unique and brought on it its particular punishment is more indicative of the gravity of certain sins compared to others.

For a more lengthy response to some of the above objections raised against my arguments, please see the more recent post:

http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/archives/025725.html

Glenda,

I don't care what you call it, I am, in your view, an "unrepentant sodomite," you don't "believe" in what I actually am, so it doesn't really matter what you call it. I personally do view you as a practicing heterosexual. Just like most priests are non-practicing heterosexuals. The minutia that traps you people is mind-numbing.

Abram,

I have rarely encountered greater arrogance than that practiced on this website. That's not to condone that of the homosexuals you found at your university. Arrogance is unfortunate regardless of its practitioner.

Rachel,

Myopic is a single-source worldview (along with some amorphous self-referential revered criticism and interpretation, of course).

Phil,

Your very excellent point is one that the Fundamentalists will never admit to. In the public sphere, there are only two things they care about. Gays and fetuses. All else is apparently insignificant. In my view, the greatest health related crisis in the country is obesity. That one uses tons of precious resources. Been to a church lately?

Ryan

According to the scriptures of the OT which were resoundingly affirmed in Romans chapter 1, those who practice this lifestyle deserve death. The fact that civil governments are presently shirking their responsibility does not exonerate you.

PM

Plowman,

I seem to remember a bit in your single source about the wages of sin being death, with no disclaimer about what type of sin deserves that punishment. Apparently the civil government has been doing a lot of shirking lately from your perspective. But I duly note that you want me dead. I really don't understand my power to threaten you all.

**The problem with 'sodomy' is that the dictionary use of it is not homosexual.**

Dictionaries consistently define 'sodomy' as "(sexual intercourse) of one male with another." And they give its etymology as "Anglo-French sodomie; sexual intercourse between men, from Old French, from Late Latin Sodoma Sodom, from the supposed homosexual practices of the men of the city in Genesis 19:1-11." The last few centuries the word has come to have additional secondary meanings, legally. But with all word meanings, context is everything.

Still, dictionaries follow usage and one sure way to kill sodomy's primary meaning is for Christians to stop using it.

Two comments on this post taken from another blog:

**(Bayly) did not take Sodom's explicitly stated sins very seriously.**

Actually, I do take them quite seriously. Jude tells us the account of Sodom's destruction is given to us by God as an example of His judgment against those who go after "strange flesh." And "strange flesh" refers to the sodomy of the Sodomites. The Genesis account is the context for Jude's "strange flesh" and "gross immorality."

But then again, maybe by "explicitly stated sins" the reader meant those explicitly stated in texts *other* than Jude 7? If so, his standards for Bible teaching are unrealistic. No pastor ever addresses every possible sin that can be addressed by a particular text. So no, I was not making a joke out of pride, arrogance, and inhospitality by choosing to focus on sodomy.

**(Bayly's) presupposition that the main sin was sodomy took over (his post).**

Jude tells us the centrality of sodomy in God's judgment of Sodom. This is no presupposition, but the Holy Spirit interpreting the Old Testament through the New.

My problem with most of the posts here is the lack of love for the eternal state of homosexuals/sodomites/gays, etc. Stated fact (no rebuttal necessary): sex between men is sin. The Bible is clear about that. Nature is clear about that (missing parts). And besides, cuddling with a hairy man who is sweating is beyond my ability to comprehend! But to be hateful to those who are sinful is no different than condemning an alcoholic from receiving Christ until he confesses with his slurred mouth that he is a vile drunkard. This post is a silly exercise of etymology used as a cloak to cover our own lust/adulteress fantasies/pornographic voyeurisms. Share Christ's love to a person deluded in sodomy instead of arguing ad nauseam about the other guy's sins.

The Church has used this word to refer to same-sex carnal relations for most of two thousand years, now, and in the face of the evil onslaught against God's moral law so pervasive in our culture, we ought to continue to use the word simply because of its biblical witness and the shame it carries.

I realize this is an old post, but the relevance couldn't be more "today." A recent poll demonstrates the wisdom in this post. Word usage does have cultural consequences.

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/poll-results-differ-using-gay-than-homosexual/

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