The sin of homosexual behavior made Sodom and Gomorrah the nadir of spiritual corruption in the narrative of Biblical history. God destroyed the city and its sinful inhabitants with fire and brimstone (Gen. 19:24-25; Luke 17:29; Jude 7). The angels sent to execute this destruction justified their warnings with reference to an offended God: “For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it” (Gen. 19:13).
Those warnings came to Lot the believer, whom the scripture describes as one who vexed his soul with compromise with wickedness: “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Pet. 2:8). This believer’s offer of his own daughters to appease the sexual demands of a sadistic and violent mob was just as tragic as the homosexual behavior that brought God’s judgment upon these cities (Gen. 19:8). Lot seemed to be like one who mocked, as he endeavored to save his sons-in-law, because his compromise with wickedness completely incriminated his desperate warnings to those he loved (v. 14).
That our nation has embraced the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is a matter of public record. The marriage laws of fourteen states and Washington, D. C. solemnize homosexual sin. In addition, seven other states offer civil union and domestic partnership rights to those engaged in homosexual relationships. Forty-three percent of our nation’s population lives in a state that treats perpetrators of homosexual behavior as a protected class. Gay wedding ceremonies are performed at the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral, laws like California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act have been struck down, and the Pentagon has announced military benefits for same-sex couples. America’s cry is waxing great before the face of the Lord who judged Sodom and Gomorrah.
These evil conditions call for a response from believers as they did in the days of Lot. But sadly, the compromise that undermined Lot’s warnings is not unknown in our day. In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Southern Baptist Rick Warren claimed that “the jury is still out” on whether or not a human can be born a homosexual. Joel Osteen told Oprah Winfrey that he believed that a gay person would be accepted into heaven while stumbling to finally call homosexuality sin. Andy Stanley’s ambiguity about the sinfulness of homosexuality has confused many. Fuller Theological Seminary allows students to self-identify as homosexual and gave official authorization to a student-led homosexual group called OneTable. Exodus International has disbanded and issued an apology to the homosexual movement. A Baylor University study, titled “How the Messy Middle Finds a Voice: Evangelicals and Structured Ambivalence toward Gays and Lesbians,” found that 24% of evangelicals surveyed were ambivalent toward civil unions involving homosexuality.
By way of contrast, the apostle Paul did not equivocate or compromise with the sin of homosexual behavior. Writing to churches filled with some who were saved from the sin of homosexuality, he makes clear that “such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). Perpetrators of homosexual behavior cannot inherit the kingdom of God (vv. 9-10), but those saved from this sin by the precious blood of Christ and the new birth of His Spirit certainly can and will. Paul explains that those who seek the gay and lesbian lifestyle invite their Creator to give them over to their vile affections and a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:26-28). Yet God’s law is designed to show those living with homosexuality their need for the glorious saving gospel of God’s grace in Christ (1 Tim. 1:9-11). Uncorrupted by compromise and the fear of man, Paul’s message was that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its annual convention, October 22-24, 2013, at Hardingville Bible Church, Monroeville, NJ, resolves never to compromise with the sin of homosexual behavior in fulfillment of our commission to preach the gospel that Paul preached. We stand united in prayer for one another, that utterance may be given unto us, that we may open our mouths boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel in our evil day (Eph. 6:19). We commit ourselves to the truth that God’s law, including the lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah, must be used lawfully, showing the utter sinfulness of sinners and their sin, while pointing them to Christ Jesus who came into the world to save sinners, of whom we are chief.
Picture: John Martin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons