Sodom and Gommorah & the Modern Church

My previous post about church leaders and homosexuality opened up another interesting point, so I thought I’d dig around in it a bit.

In church, I grew up being taught that Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed because of homosexuality.  Actually, the Bible says these cities were destroyed because “they were wicked and sinners” (Gen. 13:13) and makes no specific or implied connection between homosexuality and their destruction. 

Even more clearly, Ezekiel 16:49 says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”  God very succinctly spells out exactly why He destroyed Sodom and Gommorah and it was not because of homosexuality.  It was because of:

  • Pride — and religious pride is the worst sort because it masquerades as humility
  • Gluttony and/or being characterized by excessive self-gratification
  • Idleness
  • Lack of concern for those in need; specifically lack of active involvement in helping the needy change their lives

Now, if there was ever a verse that more clearly described our culture, and even more specifically the modern Christian church including fundamentalist churches, I don’t know what it could be! 

How often do we hear preachers go on about how God is going to destroy our country because of our stance on homosexuality? It looks to me like it’s more likely He would destroy it because the church has become characterized by pride, self-gratification, idleness, and inaction toward those in need.

Another interesting point to note, when God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded for the cities (Gen. 18). Ultimately, God said He would spare the cities if there were just 10 righteous people living there. Just 10 righteous people between the two cities would have saved them all. And Lot’s family, who lived in Sodom, included at least 8 people. It is apparent, through the course of the narrative, that not even Lot’s immediate family were righteous. But if Lot had reached just his own family and in-laws the requirement for 10 righteous people would have been met and all the lives in those two cities would have been spared. And preachers like to point the finger at homosexuality???

In the church we spend so much time pointing fingers outward, when those inside our doors need to get themselves straight first. The rest would most likely work itself out in the process of Christians living out relationship with Christ if we would just be responsible for getting our own affairs in order! If Christians are so incredibly concerned about affecting society, looking inside our own pews will be more effective than all the political action we can stir up.

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6 Responses

  1. stumbled upon by accident… but must agree that you make a convincing and refreshing point!

  2. You have are right when you say that the Church as it is constituted now is in slumber unable to see its own blemishes. You are right about Ezekiel 16:49. But no verse stand on its own. We have to get into OT and the NT to find a definitive and a comprehensive answer

    You are wrong when you say that perversity was not a cause for destruction of the two cities –

    Genesis 19:5 – clearly indicates Homosexuality in the twin cities (or Sodom to be specific). It was a mob – men young and old that was demanding perversity! Lot calls it wicked (Gen 19:6). We see that this specific act was the turning point. The city is destroyed by the men of God.

    Later Jude 1:7 gives a apt NT interpretation to this event –

    “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.”

  3. I agree that the Bible indicates there was homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah. That does not mean they were alone in that distinction however. Homosexuality is and has been a far more universal issue, as history records.

    The incident in Gen. 19 occurred after God had already met with Abraham in Gen. 18 and told him He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, so the incident in Gen. 19 was not a pivotal one, though it certain didn’t seem to shock Lot so it must have been normative. Reading both chapters together, it appears to me that God’s focus was more on the lack of Lot’s influence of righteousness than the measure of unrighteousness of Sodom and Gomorrah. If Lot had reached just his own family and in-laws there would have been 10 righteous people and the two cities would have been saved – even with this type of unrighteous behavior going on!

    And the verse in Jude does not specify homosexuality. It says fornication – which we know is certainly a heterosexual issue as well. It also says strange flesh, which in the original language is not specifically linked to homosexuality in any way.

    Greek sarx:

    flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specially), a human being (as such):–carnal(-ly, + -ly minded), flesh(-ly).

    This could just as easily be referring to idolatrous religious practices, which perhaps included sexual practices. We just do not know. But there is definitely nothing there to definitely indicate homosexual overtones.

    While this verse in Jude is not specific the verses I mention above are very specific and state exactly why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Homosexuality is not included in the list God went to the trouble to clearly enumerate.

    — Danni

  4. Hmm… I think the crux of it was the desire to take what they perversely wanted by force with no regard for the people they wanted to abuse for there own pleasure. Bluntly, they wanted to rape the two men. The last three chapters of Judges relate a similar situation that almost resulted in the annihilation of the tribe of Benjamin.

  5. What Katherine said… 1,000 years later through Ezekiel, God is reminding them of the fate of Sodom and enumerates several heart issues — which issues can clearly be seen culminating in Genesis 19 as the willingness to rape and murder. Also, Jude might not specifically state homosexuality, but many other places in Scripture clearly indicate God’s opinion on the subject. It is not insignificant that this is the information we are given along with the term “wickedness” while God makes a decision to destroy a city. To each his own interpretation.

  6. The word “homosexuality” was not introduced into the English translation of the Bible until the mid 20th century. There is no exact English translation for some of the words now substituted with the general term “homosexuality”. Sometimes it refers to refraining from homosexual acts as this was a form of pagan ritual. Sometimes it refers to homosexuality in terms of male prostitutes.

    Nowhere does Jesus condemn anyone for homosexuality and nowhere in the Bible does it codemn a fully consentual, adult, loving same-sex relationship. In fact, there are places where these relationships are used as examples of friendship and commitment to each other, not mentioning whether sexual relations were invloved at all…..Something to think about!

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