The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Story of Sodom

Next week I promise more mundane subjects. Be sure to read my review of Dr. Solomon's presentation at Bessemer Science and Nature.

This is by Rev. Jonathan Loppnow and Rev. Paul C. Evans of Topeka. I have permission to reprint it. I did place some emphasis here and there.

Update: This post was pretty much a response to comments on
this post about Perry Stone.

Genesis 19 The Story of Sodom

Genesis 19 describes how two angels visited Sodom and were welcomed into Lot's house. The men of the city gathered around the house and demanded that Lot send the visitors to the mob so that they might know the angels.

[The Hebrew verb yada (to know) is ambiguous. It appears 943 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). In only about a dozen of these cases does it refers to sexual activity; it is not clear whether the mob wanted to rape the angels or to meet with them, and perhaps attack them physically. From the context, it is obvious that their mood was not friendly].

Lot refused, but offered his two virgin daughters to be heterosexually raped if that would appease the mob. The offer was declined. God decided to destroy the city because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. The angels urged Lot and his family to flee and to not look back.

Unfortunately, Lot's wife looked the wrong way, so God killed her because of her curiosity.

God was apparently not critical of Lot for offering his two daughters to be raped. However, God was angry at the other inhabitants of the town. He destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone (sulfur). He presumably killed all of the men in the mob, their wives and other adults, as well as children, infants, newborns, etc. It is unclear from these few verses whether God demolished the city because the citizens:

1)were uncharitable and abusive to strangers
2)wanted to rape people
3)engaged in homosexual acts.

The Church has traditionally accepted the third explanation. In fact, the term sodomy which means anal intercourse is derived from the name of the city, Sodom.

But the first explanation is clearly the correct one.

As recorded in Matthew 10:14-15 and Luke 10:7-16, Jesus implied that the sin of the people of Sodom was to be inhospitable to strangers.

In Ezekeiel 16:48-50, God states clearly that he destroyed Sodom's sins because of their pride, their excess of food while the poor and needy suffered, and worshiped many idols; sexual activity is not even mentioned.

Jude disagreed with God; he wrote that Sodom's sins were sexual in nature. Various biblical translations describe the sin as fornication, going after strange flesh, sexual immorality, perverted sensuality, homosexuality, lust of every kind, immoral acts and unnatural lust; you can take your pick.

We are faced with the inescapable and rather amusing conclusion that the condemned activities in Sodom had nothing to do with sodomy.

Source: OCRT: Bible and Homosexuality

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah actually condemns inhospitality and idolatry, not homosexuality.

Read the Scriptural cross-references: Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 1:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Lamentations 4:6, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Amos 4:11, Zephaniah 2:9, Matthew 10:15 / Luke 10:12, Luke 17:29, Romans 9:29, Jude v.7, Revelation 11:8

NOWHERE in the Scriptures does it say that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexual sex. Even if the specific point of the story was concerning a sexual matter, rather than hospitality, the issue is rape not homosexuality. Jesus claimed the issue was simply one of showing hospitality to strangers (Luke 10:12).

How ironic that those who discriminate against homosexuals seem to be the true practitioners of the sin of Sodom.

Source: Same Gender Sexual Behavior and the Scriptures

This paper is provided as a service of the Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka, authors Rev. Jonathan Loppnow and Rev. Paul C. Evans. It may be reproduced freely as long as the entire text is reproduced and unaltered, all attributions are left intact and it is not sold for profit or included in a for-profit publication. Copyright © Jan. 7, 1998
Copyright © by the author All Rights Reserved


Joe said...

By the way, John, I used a different reference. Yes, they are gay, but don't discredit them on that account, as you have before. Just as blacks can write about blacks, women can write about women's issues, Americans can write about our country, and musicians can write about music, so can gays write about gay issues.

richard said...

LMAO. This is hilarious.
Joe, you are quoting Loppnow and Evans, whose info appears on WHOSOEVER: AN ONLINE MAGAZINE FOR GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER CHRISTIANS. This is a pathetic website that does it's best to try to make being GAY OKAY.

It's not! Amazing that you people criticize Perry Stone, who is obviously a well respected Bible Scholar, and you use two GAY MINISTERS to try to justify what you believe.

How sad.

Joe said...

Richard, I can handle Rev Bill, John from Hoover, and Kristi. At least they are nice and reasonable. You are hateful and are the type that gives Christians a bad name.

richard said...

What did I say that was HATEFUL? What did I say that would give Christians a bad name?

I simply stated that you choose to believe GAY ministers as opposed the the overwhelming MAJORITY of Bible Scholars who would say that indeed homosexuality is a sin and was one of the main reasons for the destruction of S&G.

It is humorous in a way. And sad. I AM a Christian and I do love people. I don't hate gay people. I have friends that are gay. I DO however HATE the SIN of homosexuality, just like God hates the sin.

I pray for you Joe, and will continue to do so.

Joe said...

It's your tone, Richard. Saying homosexuality is like alcoholism is just ridiculous. By that i don't mean alcoholism is hateful. I mean it just doesn't make sense.

Scholarly research can lead to a change in opinions and in facts. That is what is happening. You turn a blind eye.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin" has no place on this blog, or in reality. Don't even bring that up. It is a flawed theory.

I am a Christian, too. If you send me an email I will forward my testimony to you so can know exactly how God showed me that I can be gay and a Christian and still enjoy his love and comfort and salvation.

And typing in CAPS is like yelling.

kristi said...

Sorry Joe. Not judging here but you CAN'T say you are a CHRISTIAN unless you try to LIVE CHRIST LIKE. We all fail, but the difference is if one is sincerely TRYING to live like CHRIST of if one SAYS they are a Christian but lives contrary to his teachings. The Bible also says that NOT EVERYONE who claims to be a Christian will enter the kingdom of heaven. You can say you are a Christian all day long, but if you are living a life that is contrary to the scripture, then your words are in vain.

I agree with YOU Richard.

Joe said...

I seem to remember asking, which is all that is required. That was over 30 years ago. For years after wards, I shared my faith using the four spiritual laws and Campus Crusade ministry techniques. Since then, I have changed in my feelings toward assault type evangelism, and no longer do that. But I continued to live what Jesus taught, advocating for the poor, etc and still do. Sometime later I accepted my sexuality, yet I continue my advocacy and living an honest life. Now Jesus said he would neve forsake me. So, tell me when did he?

Rev. Bill said...

I agree with Kristi and Richard. It is unfortunately TRUE that THE CHURCH sometimes offends people and pushes away the very people who NEED Jesus. Heck. As we reflect here on Easter weekend, we must remember that it was the RELIGIOUS LEADERS who put Jesus on the cross.

However, Kristi makes a very valid point. I can see where homosexuality and alcoholism could be connected. Both are bad for you. Both are contrary to scripture. Both can become more important that trying to live for Christ. The Bible does indeed say "be not drunk with wine" and there are NUMEROUS scriptures condemning homosexuality.

A true Christian, while imperfect and prone to fall into temptation, will not embrace their sin, but will do their best to try to walk the right road. Jesus told the prostitute "Go, and sin no more." So did she never sin again. Doubtfully. I'm sure she did. But if she was making a daily attempt to "sin no more" and follow Christ, then indeed her faith was real. But had she said, "I am a prostitute, that is what I do for a living, and I can still love God and do what I do, then she was not trying to truly live the Christian life.

I apologize for Christians and churches who might offend, but at the same time, Christian pastors are charged with teaching and leading, and while they also fall at times, sometimes their messages will STEP ON TOES. It hurts, but it must be done.

Happy Easter to everyone.

Joe said...

Bill, read what I just posted to Kristi, but to you I will pose the question differently. Had I been killed soon after college would I have entered the kingdom? Yet now you say I won't, so at what point did I lose my salvation?

rev. bill said...

GREAT question Joe. Pesonally, I do not believe that one can lose their salvation. There are NUMEROUS verses to prove this which I won't go into, but if you want them I would be HAPPY to supply them.

But here is the thing. In the post above, you said "I accepted my salvation". You also said something about "changing your views about assault evangelism". Have you ever heard of The Great Commission. It is from Jesus, and it simply says GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERYONE. If that is not ASSAULT evangelism, I don't know what it is. But I think I know what you mean. It is a shame the way "Christians" go about trying to reach others. But STILL, by to you accepting your sexuality, you can't really do that either Joe. I am NOT condemning you my brother, but I am saying that if you TRULY ARE a Christian, then you will sincerely try to live by God's commands. That means you TRY to live a sin-free life. You don't live a life of homosexuality, that completely contradicts what the scriptures teaches, and yet still say you are a Christian.

What I have noticed, and I have noticed it here on more than one occassion. Often times the Gay community will try to convince themselves that the life they are living is okay. This posting by you is a perfect example. Gay ministers trying to explain something that MOST BIBLE SCHOLARS would completely disagree with, that being the reason S&G was distroyed.

I know that it is difficult. But many many people have come out of that lifestyle and have become mothers and fathers and they will tell you that they were living a life contrary to the teaching of the scriptures.

I pray that you will see the light this Easter.

Joe said...

And Bill, I pray that you will achieve a greater understanding as well. The same type of Biblical arguments were used to advocate for slavery and for suppresion of women. Yet scholarly research and taking into consideration ancient customs led Christians to see their error. That will happen again, I am sure.

Joe said...

I think people have diffeent definitions of Christian. Some might say one is a Christian if they accept Jesus as their savior. Others might say they are Christian if they follow the teachings of Christ. Others might say they are Christian if they attend a Christian church. In certain circumstances, any of these definitions could be true.

You said,"We all fail, but the difference is if one is sincerely TRYING to live like CHRIST (or) if one SAYS they are a Christian but lives contrary to his teachings."

I challenge you to find one example of Jesus urging me not to live my life as a gay individual in a loving relationship while following his teachings.

You will be glad to know I attended a Southern Baptist church service on Easter Sunday. The message, of course, was about the Easter story and part of it included not only Salvation but Security. I feel secure in my salvation. "Security" is not security if it can be taken away.

Anonymous said...

Dear everyone who questions Joe's faith,

HOW DARE YOU?! WHEN DID YOU BECOME GOD?!?! (for only He truly knows Joe's heart). Sounds to me like Joe is doing everything in his ability to be the best Christian he can.

You people really need to go re-read your Bible, you are missing the KEY points!!


A concerned CHRISTIAN
(... or am I a Christian? Please do tell me. Maybe I and God are mistaken in our relationship. Obviously you guys know better.)

Anonymous said...

I feel it is of UTMOST importance to state that Christians are saved through FAITH not through works. Kristi, Rev. Bill and others are making it seem that WORKS are what really matters. TRY, TRY, TRY, and if you keep TRYING you will be a "real" Christian.

Yes, we should all try to live like Christ! But if we fail are we somehow not "real" Christians? If we didn't "try" hard enough are we not "real" Christians? If we had it all wrong, will God not forgive us, (for we know not what we do)?

Do you really think GOD doesn't know the heart of every man? That somehow it got past GOD that Joe (or whoever) didn't really mean it when he asked for salvation? NO! Joe meant it when he asked, and he received it. That is Biblical.

Joe also already stated that he went out and witnessed to many. Apparently, that was over-looked. Clearly, he has been informed of the great commission.

Joe seems to be displaying a lot of love and PATIENCE with this blog, even among the sexual slurs and hateful responses. That to me is emulating God's love.

Joe is loving his neighbor as himself. What are you people doing? You are placing Joe BELOW yourselves,condemning him, and then saying "oh, we really mean that we love you- we just hate everything about you".

Joe seems to be treating others the way he would like to be treated and this is evident by his eloquent responses to hurtful, hateful comments (not just this blog- I have read several).

Joe has clearly studied God's word, and is trying to make a difference in the world and spread a message of love and tolerance, not hate.

So what is the problem? Are you really afraid Joe might go to Hell? Are you afraid that his salvation is somehow not as "real" as your's, because he is gay?

What about you? What makes you so worthy? I was under the impression none of us are worthy, but that through God's great MERCY we can be saved. Did God suddenly decide to make an exception to the rule and exclude homosexuals?

{More in next few comments. My comment was too long to post all at once. Please read the following comments as well.}

Concerned Christian

Anonymous said...

(Cont. from "Concerned Christian")

If being gay is a sin (debatable), then you are basically saying Joe's sins are worse than your's. You are saying that Joe is worse than a reformed murderer, because at least the murderer stopped killing!

It doesn't matter if Joe lives a sinful live in your eyes, because YOUR EYES aren't whose eyes matter! GOD is all that matters.

I personally believe that it is not only inappropriate, but also wrong to debate whether Joe is a "real" Christian. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but only Joe and God know if Joe is a "real" Christian.

The Bible says that if we choose to judge a fellow Christian, we will also be subjected for others to judge us(paraphrasing). Therefore, I feel that by my previous questions, that were in fact judgments, I am within my right as a Christian to ask such questions. You opened yourselves up to it- as have I.

I am deeply saddened that the church as a whole has made such a big deal about homosexuality to the point that many homosexuals will not step foot inside a church, and constantly feel looked down upon by Christians. That IS NOT what a "real" Christian should do(your term, not mine).

I am personally proud of Joe for rising above the stigma and accepting an all loving God as his Savior despite the a fore mentioned problems within the church.

BTW- The term you should be using in place of "real" is perhaps "an active Christian" or "righteous/pious Christian". Again, whether someone is a "real" Christian is not up for debate in this case.

I would like to say that I am a female Christian, active in a church that does not support homosexuality (sadly, not many do). I am heterosexual, and have sinned many, many, many times. I have sinned in a sexual manner as well.

After I was saved I did "try" to not live an active sexual lifestyle, but messed up a few times. I asked for forgiveness and carried on. So according to your rules of "trying", I suppose I have done well.

I love the Lord and desire to do HIS will and make an impact in the world for HIS glory. However, I see a difference between MY sins and Joe's lifestyle.

First of all, I had sex outside of wed-lock. I endangered my body (temple of God) by exposing it to STD's (I got lucky and did not contract anything). I hung out with strippers and prostitutes and did not try to get them to stop. I had multiple partners- once I had two in one day. Pretty disgusting huh?

Joe has a loving partner. He is NOT exposing his body to STD's because he is living a monogamous lifestyle. IF gay-marriage were legal, he would not be having sex outside of wed-lock, and it is possible that in God's eyes, Joe is married, because God is above the law(I know... debatable). I have a feeling that IF Joe has stripper or prostitute friends he would try to get them to stop.

So aside from the debatable fact that Joe is sinning by being a homosexual, and aside from gay-marriage being illegal, thus Joe having no choice but to have sex outside of marriage; Joe to my knowledge, is not sinning due to his "lifestyle".

Now, after I was saved I did stop living the lifestyle I previously mentioned. When I eventually find someone I love, I will get married (as Joe would probably like to do) and have sex, without the fear of harming my body (God's temple). At this point, Joe and I will be the same, with one minor difference: the gender of our partners.

So IF it can be proven or even accepted that being a homosexual in a monogamous, healthy, (preferably married) relationship is okay, then Joe, in my opinion, IS living a Christian lifestyle. He is doing the best he can given the circumstances anyway.

More in next few comments...

Anonymous said...

(More cont. from "Concerned Christian" a woman of many words lol)

So, why do I keep saying that homosexuality could possibly not be a sin or that it is "debatable"? Because you HAVE to look at the culture, time frame the books were written in, the original language, context, and what the author actually meant! Rev. Bill, you should KNOW this!!

In Biblical times, male prostitution was a huge problem. Young boys were being FORCED to have sex with older men (sometimes as an initiation practice that made them a "man"). This is called RAPE!

So in Sodom (and elsewhere), you had a SLEW of prostitutes, and both male and FEMALE rapists. Yes, female rapists. They would take young boys and bring them to older more "sexually experienced" women, where they would learn sexual "techniques" under the guise that this would help them be a better husband. that is still rape in my opinion. Masturbation was taught to the young girls so they could be better wives. However, I am sure little girls were raped too- I can only assume as much.

In fact, in some modern tribal cultures, some of these practices still take place. One very historic area the male/young boy practice took place was Sparta!!

So, if you were a Jew (or person of morals), living in Sodom, and had a young son, and someone told you that soon your son would need to go see an elder to become a "man", and you did not support this practice, would you not be appalled? Would you not say "that's unnatural and you are giving in to disgusting kinds of lust?"

If your daughter became a prostitute because it was "the thing to do" (literally- no pun intended) would you not be horrified? The Jews living in those parts, and outside those parts were.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were godless people all around, and it did not solely have to do with sexual practices. They worshiped idols, had affairs, were known gluttons while they watched others starve,etc. God didn't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah JUST because of sexual practices- but because of a whole slew of disgusting sinful practices.

Some might ask why the kids had to die too. I say they were spared. If their parents had to die because they were rotten people, how would the newborns/ children survive? Plus, would the young boys/girls even want to survive? They were probably so damaged that God took them home to be cared for in His loving arms.

So, if you were a Jew and witnessed any type of forced homosexual practice, or homosexual prostitution in either of those cities, or surrounding areas (as I previously explained it was not just contained to those two cities), would you not start seeing every homosexual practice as evil? I probably would. I would associate it with rape and prostitution.

Also, since it was not just contained to those two cities (and this is documented fact), then it is illogical to assume God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah due to sexual practices- or else he would have destroyed ALL of the cities engaging in such behavior. The point of the story of S&G is that these cities were exceptionally evil.

Cont. in next few comments

Anonymous said...

More from "Concerned Christian" cont.

Remember that these people relied heavily on oral traditions in those days, so what was explained and passed down as "homosexuality" was probably describing something different and is NOT the term we use today.

Also, I believe the term "sodomy" was NOT referring to anal sex in the original language, but rather to the practice of sex between a young boy and man(rape) and or male prostitution. IF that is true, (as I have been told it is- but I do not speak Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic so I can not attest to the accuracy of the following statement) then there are only a FEW verses in the Bible that specifically use the word "homosexual" in the original language. The rest would refer to something entirely different.

The remaining references to "homosexuality" can honestly be explained by lack of medical and scientific knowledge at the time.

I can understand a straight person in Biblical times seeing, or hearing of homosexual sex and feeling that it is "unnatural" because it could not produce a child. Seems logical. However, I like what someone said either in this blog, or another one of Joe's, that human sex is NOT just for procreation. God designed it to be pleasurable. He created us as sexual beings and to desire sex. We sometimes even desire it before we are able to have children (I masturbated before I hit puberty). We also desire sex after we are no longer fertile. We desire it when we have no partner. Why? I think it would be illogical to assume it is only some innate desire to keep the species alive. It is also a desire for closeness, intimacy and pleasure, or else God wouldn't have made it so amazing!! If it were all about babies, God would have made us more like the animals who ONLY desire sex to pro-create (unless they are Dolphins who are species on the same intelligence level as chimps and parrots, just below humans (perhaps above) but that's a whole other blog.

So as someone else put it earlier, if you feel it is "unnatural" based on the fact that it is not productive, then a barren or sterile person should never have sex, you should stop having sex after your wife hits menopause, etc. However, the Bible says that a husband and wife should "come together often"... it doesn't give limitations.

Also, as previously pointed out, science has proven that many animals do have homosexual sex, and some animals even chose to have a same sex life partner (birds for example).

Everyone likes to use the verse about the homosexuals being "punished" for their sexual sins in their argument against homosexual sex. But AIDS and other major STD's did not even exist back then!!

People always say AIDS is the gay curse. How is that Biblical when it didn't exist yet? Also, God must really love lesbians because they have the lowest rate of AIDS and STD's out of all sexual groups.

So, regarding this Biblical "punishment"; is it not possible that the "punishment" was some kind of legal repercussion for say... raping a young boy or being a male prostitute?... Not a disease? We don't have the answer b/c the Bible does not say- but one thing is certain, it was NOT AIDS!

Concerned Christian

Anonymous said...

(More from "Concerned Christian" cont.)

Is living a gay lifestyle for everyone? NO. There have been many gay people who have changed and decided to live a straight lifestyle. My employer is one example.

She was a lesbian and even had a child with her partner via artificial insemination (now THAT's unnatural- why don't we start jumping all over those "artificial" people huh? *sarcasm*). After her daughter's birth she became a Christian. She felt that God called her to live a straight life. She claims God changed her and now she lives a happy straight life, and never even struggled with her sexuality. This is her testimony.

Wow, that sounds great right? Joe maybe God will change you too! Oops, I left out a big chunk of that story (as my employer likes to do as well).

My employer was abused as a child, raped at a young age, had over 50 male partners by age 16, had an absent father, is bi-polar, was previously married to a man, was previously pregnant and lost the baby. After she lost the baby she fell into a deep depression. She met a beautiful woman and they became friends. She had never felt the way she felt about the woman the way she had about any man before (she was only 18/19). So she left her husband and became a lesbian.

For 13 years she was head of a lesbian organization and a top lesbian performer at clubs. During this time her mental disorder spiraled out of control and she developed an eating disorder. She blew up to 280 lbs on a 5'5 frame. Now the only person who would stay with her and love her crazy,intolerable,fat self, was Jenny-- her partner who loved her more than life.

Jenny kept my employer alive and happy. So, they decided to have a baby together. Once my employer had the baby, and had some time to feel more stable mentally, she came to her senses and realized she was never a lesbian - that it was a faze- and that she did it because she was damaged and nuts. So, she went back to men (crushing Jenny BTW- who lost her child in the process b/c my employer was the one who actually carried the baby).

But now my employer speaks at church groups and gives her testimony about how God changed her from gay to straight. She never bothers to tell anyone else WHY she became gay. She CHOSE being gay. Not many people do.

Joe didn't chose this- he is not my employer so please do not place every gay person into the category of possibly "being cured/healed and living a happy straight life like SO MANY OTHERS". We don't know their whole story and my guess it, neither do you.

Concerned Christian

Joe said...

Just a quick response to anonymous. My thought is that your employer is bisexual, to some degree. She is a person who has some attraction to women as well as men.

In this case, she would be able to make a choice as to who she loves, and might even be able to convince herself that she is no longer attracted to women.

Remember the Kinsey scale? She could be one who falls more toward being attracted to the opposite sex than the same sex, and it became easy for her to fall for a woman when that type of nurturing relationship was needed and easy for her to fall for a man when a different type of relationship was needed.

But like you said, I don't know the whole story. This is just a possibility.

Rev. piggie said...

I love Joe, although we have never met. I love him because of his obvious acceptance of eneryone. I do lot love sentences that begin with "God said...", God thinks...", or "God wants...". Here's a newsflash: the Bible is just a book. Not a bad book - actually has some decent ideas in it (usually in red letters), but not a dependable reference book for history, science, anthropology or even ethics when taken as a whole. Humans come in various shapes,sizes, races, genders and yes! sexual preferences. So do various other species. Get over yourselves people. None of these things are "right" or "wrong". And no so-called "God" gives a shit or "he" wouldn't have made them that way.