Christians often find it difficult to have meaningful conversations with people struggling with same-sex attraction. To a great extent, that’s our own fault for delivering biblical truth with a sledge hammer rather than with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Even so, it’s hard to carry on a civil discourse when you’re accused of being a homophobe engaging in hate speech. What’s more, some LGBT supporters express such hostility toward Christians that they won’t listen to a biblical approach to the issue, no matter how faithfully and lovingly delivered.
So, what should we do? Donald T. Williams suggests the Socratic method. Socrates is an ancient philosopher who taught by asking questions. Jesus proved to be the consummate practitioner of this method, plying His questions with divine love and remarkable insight.
In a recent Christian Research Journal article, Williams writes, “Well-designed Socratic questions can help to defuse tense encounters and also give nonbelievers the opportunity to encounter a different view without rejecting it outright before they even hear it.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features the last portion of Chapter 7: The Lessons of History: Remembering the Past to Defend the Faith.
Previously: Part 1 of Chapter 7
In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as they did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
In this, the third lesson from history in verses 5-7, Jude completes the illustration of the progressive nature of sin: unbelief leads to rebellion, which ultimately gives way to depravity. Perhaps no place in history is more readily identified with debauched behavior than Sodom (not to neglect its nasty neighbor, Gomorrah, or the surrounding communities). From the red-light district of De Wallen in Amsterdam to the Strip in Las Vegas, no modern-day place on earth holds a candle to the ancient flesh pot on the plains of Canaan.
Before the destruction of these cities, Moses favorably describes the area as fertile – a good place to raise crops and animals (Gen. 13:10). But God’s wrath against the sinful inhabitants is so severe that the cities are reduced to ashes. In fact, God’s judgment is so complete that the ruins remain undiscovered, and the cities’ precise location is yet in doubt. It’s possible, but not proven, that the ruins lie beneath what is now the mineral-dense water in the southern portion of the Dead Sea.
The Lord’s judgment not only buries the bodies of the wicked beneath the ashes; it plunges their souls into everlasting punishment – in part, as a dire warning to future generations that unrepentant depravity leads to an unmitigated divine response. Jude wishes to remind his readers that the false teachers who have infiltrated the church possess the same depraved nature as the Sodomites and will share the same fate – everlasting punishment in hell.
But what, exactly, is the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Jude seems quite clear that they engage in sexual immorality and practice perversions – particularly homosexuality. Yet some recent commentators argue that the Sodomites, though a salty bunch, are falsely accused and badly misunderstood.
Political correctness just got weirder.
A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post by Lauren R. Taylor describes the author’s struggle to raise her cats gender neutral.
No, really. Read her explanation: “People are coming to understand that not all of us fit into the ‘girl’ box or the ‘boy’ box. Those who don’t are claiming space to be who they are. We all need to find ways to acknowledge and respect that. My way of respecting it just happens to be raising my cats gender neutral. You can choose your own.”
Taylor is right to acknowledge the inherent value of all persons. But that’s not her ultimate purpose. Rather, she hopes to obliterate any boundaries that distinguish between celebration and shame when it comes to sexual appetites.
Thanks, Missouri Baptists, for defending the Christian faith this year through the MBC’s apologetics ministry. A few metrics in the paragraphs below illustrate the degree to which you have sought to fulfill Peter’s exhortation to “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you … with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
In 2015 the MBC released two timely new resources: What Every Christian Should Know about Islam and What Every Christian Should Know about Same-sex Attraction.
These two books have been widely distributed across the state and are still available for personal or group study in 2016. Order print copies here or by calling 800.736.6227, ext. 303. Or visit Amazon.com and order the Kindle editions.
This is the last in a series of columns about same-sex attraction, adapted from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Same-Sex Attraction,” available in print at mobaptist.org/apologetics and in Kindle format at Amazon.com.
A few years ago I joined leaders of a Christian non-profit organization in a meeting with executives of a Tennessee TV station. They were preparing to launch a new program catering to the LGBT community. We asked them to reconsider.
Among the TV executives was a lesbian. She wanted to know why Christians couldn’t accept her for who she is. It was the only time I recall speaking up, and I said something like this:
“I accept you for who you are, if you accept me. We are both sinners struggling with many desires, some good and some evil. The Bible teaches us how to tell the difference. At the end of the day, you and I must decide whether to act on our desires. When we come to the point of losing our shame over sinful behavior – and actually celebrating it – we find ourselves in deep spiritual trouble.”