Is it right or wrong for "God-fearing men" to call themselves "gay"...

July 25, I posted my initial piece explaining why I believe Christians ought not to allow the words 'sodomy' and 'sodomite' to be silenced by the homosexualist lobby. And principal among those reasons was my concern that referring to those who give themselves to same-sex carnal relations as "gay" is to abandon the association of perversion and shame that sodomy has carried to this point.

Today, I received the following E-mail from the same friend who started this discussion, and I post it here for discussion among our readers. To my way of thinking, his arguments prove my central thesis--that those who give up on 'sodomite' and use 'gay' instead are not willing to think and speak biblically concerning this particular sin.

Is a man who identifies himself as "gay" and continues to practice sodomy "godly?" And while he identifies himself as "gay" and engages in sodomy, should he be a member in good standing of a church?

Here's my friend's argument. Is it biblical?

Remember, I'm only an audience of one, but I have some good friends who consider themselves "gay" and are decent, upstanding men, even God-fearing (or church-attending). I consider them as "brothers" even though they are caught in a terrible sin cycle...
But I have my own "sin cycles" to deal with -- as we ALL do. The sin nature just expresses itself in various ways in various people.

I would never use the word "sodomite" to describe these friends of mine -- makes them sound like vermin or the scum of the earth. Of course, apart from the redemption in Christ, we ALL are vermin and scum. To use a word of their choosing helps them to accept me as a fallen person, just as I try to accept them as fallen persons. If I ever hope to help them come to repentance over their homosexual lifestyle, I'd rather err on the side of friendship rather than being a fiery prophet of condemnation (my impression of your approach). That's all I'm saying.

Oh, yes, they DO need to repent -- and so do I need to repent (not of sodomy but other junk) -- and you do as well (unless you've reached sinless perfection, NOT a Calvinistic view). So I apparently disagree with you that the way to lead someone to repentance is scathing denunciation. Do not forget Romans 2:4, "the kindness, tolerance and patience of God leads toward repentance." Hence, a model for us in treating others with "goodness."


If we're talking about people with gay tendencies and temptations, who know that it is wrong to give in, and deplore the act as sin, then I'd say you shouldn't call them sodomites, if they slip and commit the act of sodomy. Repentance makes a huge fundamental difference.

If we're talking about people who live the lifestyle and are unapologetic about it, go ahead and call them sodomites. Just like you would call someone who collects stamps as a hobby a stamp-collector.

Here's a crack at it... First, Rom 2:4 is misinterpreted. The point of it is to not presume upon God's patience and kindness, but to use it as an opportunity for repentance.

Second, over and over and over and over again, we are told to live holy lives (1 Cor 6:19, Rom 8:15, 1 Cor 7:1, Eph 5:5, 1 Thess 4:7, Heb 10:26-31, 1John 3:6, etc), that the Holy Spirit works in us to that effect (2 Tim 1:7, 1 John 3:9, Phil 2:12), and that those who fail to do so won't enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:16, 7:21, Heb 12:14, 1 Cor 6:9, etc.). Further, that it is the task of Christians and especially elders (despite our sinfulness) to exhort and rebuke:

2 Tim 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

I wonder if he would object to the labels "thief, adulterer, fornicator, idolater and pornographer" that we use to describe those who practice other particular sins. They all carry a strong association of shame, although the sting of those terms is becoming less and less due to disuse. I agree with Eric Phillips that the term "sodomite" should be reserved for those who are unrepentant, and not used to refer to those who are faithfully striving against their particular sin.

The question that I have for your friend, Tim, is whether he will ever call his friends to repentance? It is my observation that it never happens. Further, how does one call people to repentance except by calling them to repent of particular sins? You look at the early sermons in the New Testament, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul, and they preached the same basic message - repent and believe. We have lost that today as no one calls people to repent of their sins. Now allowing the homosexual crowd to change the meaning of a word and associate with sin is not calling people to repentance. It is accepting both the change and the sin.

Jamie Thornton

Today's Gospel message is presented as simply a therapeutic salve for the minor irritations of life for a decadent, consumer driven, materialistic and relativistic, western mind.

Today, the offense of the Gospel has been taken away, and hence, there is none offered at all. Why do men marvel that the Gospel, from God, would be such an offense to a world of men totally opposed to God? There can be no Gospel message without repentence and there can be no repentence until someone realizes what he needs to repent of.

What I hear in his message is not only a failure to call for repentance, but also "Who am I to call anyone to repent?" The world's favorite verse is Matthew 7:1. This is false humility which gets us off the hook to say anything, a by-product of our worldliness and resulting enervation.

The Scripture is clear, but if we aren't reading it and are instead taking our cues from the world, what does that matter?

Jack's impression is exactly the one I got - if this is the way one argues that "sodomite" and its cognates does NOT apply to a practicing homosexual who also makes a claim to godliness in the midst of his sin ... well, on these terms, no sin should ever be admonished by its Biblical names, right?

Tim's friend acknowledges, on one hand, that he would admonish some sins. It might more quickly get to what his actual (as contrasted with his apparent) criteria are for which sins he would name **independent of the sinner's emotional reaction to that naming** if Tim would simply ask him if there are any such sins. And, if he says "Yes, sins X, Y, and Z," then Tim can ask him why he'll use the Bible's terminology for these, but allow others to choose their own terminology over against the terms the Bible uses.

It's interesting to me that nobody has commented on the significance of my friend acceding to the desire of his "godly" fellow church members who are active sodomites wishing to be known as "gay." Would this self-labelling bring none of us to a pastoral judgment concerning the nature of the repenance (or absence thereof) of these men?

There is no question in my mind that a man repenting of his sodomite sin would almost immediately stop referring to himself as "gay" since this appellation is part and parcel of the homosexualist movement.

Further, he wouldn't call himself "gay" because it would be to assign his identity as a person on the basis of who he does what with, sexually, and how. But aren't men much more than sex organs?

Godly men are never "gay." Rather, they are Christians tempted by same-sex intimacy who have turned their backs on the sodomite world.

If you are unconcerned with ministering to homosexuals, I might understand your point. But you have made a point in the past about tending to those who struggle with homosexuality. At what point does the tension between a person's stated desire to change and their actual behavior render them a "homosexualist" in your view? Someone who comes to church on Sunday crying about it but hits the gay bath houses Monday through Friday after work and before heading home to his wife and kids is a "person who struggles" while a person involved in a monogomous committed same-sex relationship who never graces a church (or a bath house) is a "sodomite." The way I read the consensus here, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that as long as the "sinner" asserts that he is fighting his urges he is OK by you? This is truly interesting to me.

I don't see a Biblical imperative to be knowingly offensive to people who disagree with you. I see no Biblical imperative to use certain language either. The Bible was not written in King James' English, after all; even its authors likely knew that language changes over time. Sodomite isn't even a particularly Biblical word anyway.

Personally, I favor you people using all the archaic language you can get your hands on; it only hastens your descent into utter irrelevency. Even at your present strength, "Homosexualists" have decisively won this battle. I do firmly and honestly believe that your type of exhortations ultimately, on a macro-societal level, help me (an unrepentant monogomous sodomite).

Ryan wrote:"Even at your present strength, "Homosexualists" have decisively won this battle. I do firmly and honestly believe that your type of exhortations ultimately, on a macro-societal level, help me (an unrepentant monogomous sodomite)."

I would not be so eager to pat yourself on the back because a sinful and fallen world, that has always stood in open defiance of God, has embraced a relativitism that affords you a position of secular sainthood. If that is your goal, you have your reward in full and that is your only consolation.

However, you will still stand before a Holy God to give an account, as will the world, which you embrace. You will either pay for your sins in eternity yourself, or repent in true contrition and allow Christ to pay for them as your surety. The world is passing and will be judged. I would hate for your desire to really be to continue to defy God and go down with it.

1 John 2:17
17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Galatians 6:7-8
7Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
James 4:4
4You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

So, Tim, if your friend's most spectacular sin is gossiping, he calls it "conversation," right? And if it's stealing, he calls it "borrowing," just to keep everybody brotherly, etc. And if your kid smashes his fist into the four-year old next door, you admonish him "not to give love taps to little Johnny." And this is love? Love as lie. It's not even calling a spade an excavating implement

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