By Richard J. Boone
Sodom and Gomorrah — just the mention of these ancient cities shudders anyone familiar with Bible history. Their inhabitants’ horrific wickedness and God’s utter destruction of them for their wickedness stand as a testimony for all generations (2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7). For ten righteous people they would have been spared (Gen. 18:32).
I believe America has more than ten righteous people in her midst (1 Kings 19:18; Rom. 11:4-5). I firmly believe that God is in full control of the universe (Isa. 40:10-31). I also believe, based on what I learn from the Bible, that God allows individuals and nations to make moral choices (Prov. 14:34). I am concerned that unless some of our national moral choices change, we are racing toward catastrophe — and for the same sins as Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Sodomy” — a modern term and practice whose origin is in the ancient city destroyed by God. Why do I suggest that we are heading in their direction? If so, what can we do about it? These and other questions I will pursue here. Please stay with me — you need to read this; it is that important for our country’s future!
Prevalence Of Homosexuals
How common is sodomy (homosexual conduct — men having sex with men, women having sex with women)? While it is not possible to document every encounter, it is estimated that of the general population, 2-3% of Americans are homosexual (LaGard Smith, Sodom’s Second Coming, 41-52). (This is a significant downscale from the admittedly flawed Kinsey surveys of 1948 and 1953 which estimated 1 in 10 were homosexual.) Based on the 1990 U.S. census (250 million), this tallies to between 5 and 7.5 million people. By comparison, the last estimated populations for Atlanta and New York City I recall were 4.5 million and 8 million. Perhaps this helps us to better realize the magnitude of the situation.
Progressive Exposure To Homosexuals
Though we could begin much earlier, I will document the push of the homosexual movement to the front burner only from the 1990s. Each year brought an increased exposure to this lifestyle.
The March 12, 1990 issue of News- week reported more than 50 openly homosexual elected officials; by 1993, it would be more than 75 in local, state and congressional positions (Smith, 7). A 1991 episode of Roseanne drew fire from viewers as the result of unashamed bisexual Sandra Barnhart’s and actress Morgan Fairchild’s “near kiss.” The May 11, 1992 issue of The Tennessean carried “Gay TV Comes Of Age” (3-D) listing shows with homosexual characters from ABC (Civil Wars, Life Goes On), NBC (L.A. Law, Quantum Leap, Seinfeld), and CBS (Northern Exposure, Murphy Brown). A January 15, 1996 article in the Chattanooga Free Press was titled “TV Makes Room For Gay Characters, But Not Sexuality.” 1997 was a banner year for homosexuals — Ellen Degeneres announced her gayness on Ellen (April 30, 1997). She appeared on an April cover of TIME Magazine (“Yep, I’m Gay”) and was interviewed on ABC’s 20/20 by Diane Sawyer (April 25, 1997). (Ironically, her show was canceled in 1998. Entertainment Weekly titled the story, “Yep, I’m Too Gay.”)
Public education in America is shamelessly used as the humanist pulpit (James P. Needham, Humanism: Devotion to Man [1985 Florida College Lectures] 13-14). Elementary school children have been targeted for indoctrination by homosexuals with such books as Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy’s Roommate, Gloria Has Gay Pride, and How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? As recently as November 1999, U.S. public school superintendents were mailed a 12-page booklet “informing them that there is ‘no support among health and mental health professional organizations’ for the idea that homosexuality is abnormal or mentally unhealthy” (The Indianapolis Star [November 23, 1999], A1; via Truth Magazine [44:2.59], “Quips and Quotes,” January 20, 2000). This booklet is a lie!
Denominations have not escaped untouched. Several fully accept homosexuals (individuals and couples), ordaining them and performing “union” ceremonies. In November 1999, the Georgia Baptist Convention “withdrew fellowship” from two Atlanta-area churches — Oakhurst and Virginia-Highlands — which violated an explicit 1998 GBC constitutional amendment forbidding homosexual ordination and union ceremonies (John D. Pierce, “Georgia Baptists dismiss two churches for affirming homosexuality,” The Christian Index, November 1999, 1-2, via materials from the Georgia Baptist Convention [Atlanta, GA] and The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention [Nashville, TN]; January 21, 2000). A January 18, 2000 article by AP Religion Writer Richard N. Ostling entitled “Clergy Endorse Sexual Declaration” stated, “Dramatizing the most divisive issue in American religion, 850 mostly liberal members of the clergy and other religious figures issued a declaration Tuesday urging all faiths to bless same-sex couples and allow openly gay ministers” (http://www.infobeat.com/stories).
Churches of Christ are affected, too. Don’t doubt it! I have a brochure advertising “A Cappella Chorus: Gay and Lesbian Members of the Churches of Christ,” a group formed in the Houston, TX area in 1979. It states, “In 1979, gay and lesbian members of the Houston area Churches of Christ formed a fellowship to provide educational and spiritual support to each other and the Church as a whole. . . . Gay Christians seek the opportunity to worship the one God in peace and love supported by the Church as we are supported by God. We seek no more, and no less, than acceptance, as does everyone who believes, in the fellowship of those who are striving to do God’s will.”
Moreover, I conducted an informal survey among preachers in June 1999, asking this question: “Without stating the names or localities of the persons involved, how many cases of homosexual conduct have you encountered among Christians?” From 16 responses received, there were more than 60 cases covering a wide spectrum — teenagers, young adults, middle-aged couples, and elders, deacons, preachers and their wives. Some situations were corrected and restored, other relationships ended in divorce. In September 1999, I learned about a brother whom I have long known whose wife was lured into lesbian relationships with multiple women through an Internet chat room! Brothers and sisters, we cannot ignore the reality — homosexual conduct is a problem we must face and address, not only in society but even among our own number!
The Homosexual Agenda
There are numerous homosexuals who militantly push their agenda through groups like Act Up, Queer Nation, etc. Far beyond “don’t ask, don’t tell,” their quest is for legitimacy and equality (sometimes more) in every respect to the “tradi- tional family” – father (male), mother (female), child(ren).
Philosophically, the goal is to make all ethics situational — no moral absolutes. If there are no moral absolutes, then complete freedom exists to express one’s sexuality. Any vestige of divine authority (God) or unchangeable moral codes (the Bible) must be removed. A careful reading of Humanist Manifestos I and II (Prometheus Books) will show how pervasively our society has been infected. This philosophy, though, has been pushed through a covert war.
Practically, the “Trojan Horse” has been used — disarm opposition from within the ranks. The following summary reveals how successful they’ve been: “1. Boldly claim freedom from social restraint and demand independence from the moral order. 2. Associate homosexuals with others in order to achieve legitimacy. 3. Depict decent folks with traditional family values to be the bad guys. 4. Promote the proven lie that gays constitute 10 percent of the population, so that there is legitimacy through sheer numbers. 5. Confuse the terminology so that no one realizes the difference between sexual orientation and sexual behavior. 6. Enlist science and medicine in a bogus search for some genetic cause for homosexual behavior. 7. Don’t let anyone know what it is that gays actually do sexually. 8. Find creative ways to sidestep what the Bible teaches about homosexual conduct. 9. Open the door to the church and get its blessing for homosexual expression. 10. Break down legal restrictions against sodomy and instead establish legal restrictions against discrimination. 11. Dismantle the American family and make it possible for gays to marry and adopt children. 12. Perpetuate myths about heterosexual AIDS so that the disease becomes a political asset for the gay movement” (Smith, 18).
The Bible – The Insurmountable Wall For Homosexuals
The homosexual agenda will only be propagated, by necessity, through civil legislation, political activism and, increasingly, sheer intimidation. Endorsement from the religious community is sought and frequently received. No matter how much endorsement from men is received, though, one barrier eternally and unalterably stands against homosexual practices – the Bible.
Lest we underestimate homosexuals’ disdain for the Bible, listen to homosexual theologian and advocate, Robert Williams: “The point is not really whether or not some passage in the Bible condemns homosexual acts; the point is that you cannot allow your moral and ethical decisions to be determined by the literature of a people whose culture and history are so far removed from your own. You must dare to be iconoclastic enough to say, ‘So what if the Bible does say it? Who cares?’” (Just As I Am — A Practical Guide to Being Out, Proud, and Christian, 42; via Smith, 117, 128, 249; italics mine-rjb). In other words, the Bible is irrelevant to our day; what it says can be disregarded. This is blatant blasphemy!
More subtle efforts to undermine the authority and force of Scripture continue. One method is to reinterpret (explain away) any passage opposing homosexual conduct; another is to suggest several homosexual relationships in Scripture (i.e., Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathon, Jesus and John, Paul and Timothy, etc.). While we are shocked to hear such arguments, we really shouldn’t be. The Devil and his disciples have always used this approach — when you cannot answer truth, attack the credibility of the Bible and/or teachers of truth (Gen. 3:1-5; John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; 2 Pet. 2:10-11; Jude 4, 8, 10, etc.).
What The Bible Says About Homosexual Conduct
Due to space limitations, I will not discuss every pertinent passage. There are several (Gen. 19:4-11; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Judg. 19:22-25; Rom. 1:24-28; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:8-10; 2 Pet. 2:6-10; Jude 7). My focus is on three key passages — Genesis 2:18-25, Genesis 19:4-11, and Romans 1:24-32.
Genesis 2:18-25: At Creation, God ordained the marriage relationship (Gen. 2:18-25). Companionship was a key factor (v. 18), but not the only one. Another factor is vital — God created a female for the male! The male-female relationship was upheld by Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:3-6; Mark 10:2-9). A scripturally-eligible man and woman who marry have chosen the relationship God ordained for our good (Deut. 6:24; Prov. 18:22; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:3-5, 32-34; 1 Tim. 5:14; etc.). When God’s arrangements are maintained, he blesses that relationship! When that relationship is violated by fornication (pre-marital or extra-marital sex, bestiality, homosexuality, etc.), sin is committed and problems develop. No matter how much homosexuals try to blunt the force of this passage, they cannot!
Genesis 19:4-11: Before learning of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, we were told of their great wickedness (Gen. 13:13; 18:20). This assessment is powerfully confirmed in Genesis 19. Homosexuals have tried to reinterpret the sin of this event to be inhospitality. This explanation will not harmonize with this text or related ones.
The men of the city — young and old — called for the messengers in Lot’s house so they could “know them carnally” (Gen. 19:5; NKJV). To “know” one is a common euphemism for sexual relations in the Old Testament (Gen. 4:1, 17, 25; 19:5, 8; 24:16; Num. 31:17, 18, 35; Judg. 11:39; 19:22, 25; 1 Sam. 1:19; Jack Lewis, “The Old Testament and Homosexual Acts,” Counseling Homosexuals [Bill Flatt, et. al.], 3-7). It does not mean, in these passages, a lack of acquaintance or hospitality! Lot understood the nature of their request — it was for wickedness (Gen. 19:7). Furthermore, theirs was an act of choice — not genetic predisposition — as they refused Lot’s two virgin daughters (Gen. 19:8).
The “filthy conduct” and “lawless deeds” of those in Sodom and Gomorrah, according to 2 Peter 2:6-8, “oppressed” and “tormented” righteous Lot. Was this mere inhospitality? Jude 7 is another divine commentary. Sodom and Gomorrah had “given themselves over to sexual immorality” and went after “strange flesh.” Is this a lack of friendliness or hospitality? Such explanations do not correspond with the stated biblical reasons. Male-male sexual relations do!
(Note: In conjunction with Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, I highly recommend Sodom’s Revival USA by Terry Benton of Trussville, AL, a recent and excellent review of What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by homosexual advocate Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D., 1994.)
Romans 1:24-32: “This is a particularly painful passage for gays. And especially so for lesbians, since it is the only passage making direct reference to female homosexuals” (Smith, 129). Before stating their homosexual actions (vv. 26-27), Paul unfolds the step-by-step departure from God the Gentiles took (vv. 21-25). Included are significant statements about motive and mind set.
The Gentiles “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (v. 25). They abandoned moral absolutes. They “worshiped and served the creature (themselves-?) rather than the Creator.” Their aim was to please only themselves. When a person, group, community, or society abandons moral absolutes and decides to live as they please, then anything goes (at least to them). For the Gentiles, anything went (vv. 28-32). When they were determined to so live, “God gave them up” to uncleanness, the lusts of their hearts, dishonor and vile passions (vv. 24, 26).
Some harsh realities about homosexual behavior are revealed in verses 26-27. First, it is a matter of choice — they “exchanged” and “left” the natural (male-female) for the unnatural (male-male; female-female). Second, their choice was “against nature.” Third, such behavior is “shameful.” (To understand how homosexual behavior is truly “against nature” and “shameful,” I defer to the descriptions by Smith [64-65, 101-115] and Tim LaHaye [What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality, 21-59].) Fourth, there were consequences to their actions — “receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when others are rightfully repulsed at such behavior and when depression, sickness, and disease riddle the mind and body. Finally, God, in his righteous judgment, deems this conduct — for those who practice and approve it — as worthy of death (v. 32). While “gay” it may be called, it is no laughing matter!
Eternal condemnation: If one is guilty of homosexual behavior and does not meet God’s terms of forgiveness (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:22, 24; 1 John 1:7, 9), then that soul is eternally condemned (Jude 7; Rev. 21:8). God desires all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), but his justice demands that sin be punished (Rom. 11:22).
What Shall We Do?
On Pentecost a multitude asked this vital question regarding their salvation (Acts 2:37). Our subject is different, but the question is equally vital — “what shall we do” regarding the increased practice and acceptance of homosexuals and their conduct?
We must know the truth about homosexual conduct from Scripture. As Jesus did when facing the devil, we must equip ourselves with truth (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). The importance of truth is supreme (John 8:32; 17:17; Eph. 4:15; 6:14; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:22; etc.).
We must “buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23). We cannot compromise for any reason, no matter what the cost. This means teaching the truth to our families, in our Bible classes, from the pulpits and in any other teaching medium. It also means upholding each other as we do so (2 Tim. 1:8, 12-18).
We must inform ourselves about the progress and plans of the homosexual movement in our society. Jesus did not ignore the motives and methods of the devil (Matt. 4:1-11). Although it would be easier and more pleasant, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore the realities before us!
We must suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake if necessary (1 Pet. 4:14-19). It means being ridiculed now for “bigotry,” but in the future opposition to homosexuals may rise to the criminal level — one could be charged with a crime for standing against homosexual behavior (study the Hate Crimes Prevention Act currently before Congress). It may mean that property and facilities will be lost in lawsuits. If the homosexual agenda continues in its current direction, it may even mean bodily harm or death. Don’t think it can’t happen — read Revelation. In all this, “we must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29), no matter what!
We must remember that Jesus died for all sinners — including homosexuals (John 3:16; Tit. 2:11-14; Heb. 2:9; etc.).
We must not classify sin — God doesn’t (Gal. 5:19-21). It is right (and easy) to oppose homosexual behavior, but we must stand against all types of sin, regardless of their nature and source “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
We must teach the gospel to homosexuals (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Paul did in Corinth and some of them changed. The same powerful gospel that changed them then is the same powerful gospel that can change them now (Rom. 1:16)! Though we may not observe the gospel’s effects, it will accomplish God’s purpose (Mark 4:26-29; Isa. 55:10-11).
Merciful Jehovah would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah for ten righteous souls, but they could not be found. Their doom was sealed because of their wickedness and impenitent hearts. Sodomy remains their legacy. As a nation, the United States is increasingly acceptant of homosexuals. We need to know about their growth and goals, but more importantly, we must stand for truth and righteousness, regardless of the costs, offering salvation through Christ to them. This “we” includes you and me — as individual disciples of the Lord, as families and as local churches. As long as we continue to proclaim and live the truth, we can “commit [our] souls to [God] in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Pet. 4:19). May we never consider any other option!
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