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.
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.”
This is the fourth 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 from Amazon.com.
Six passages of Scripture speak directly to the issue of same-sex conduct. This column offers a brief survey of Gen. 19:5: “They [the men of Sodom] called out to Lot and said, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!’” (HCSB)
God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because of the people’s wickedness, expressed most egregiously in their homosexual behavior. Jews and Christians traditionally have understood the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to speak directly to the issue of homosexuality – revisionist explanations of this passage notwithstanding.
Gen. 13:13 tells us, “Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the Lord.” When the Lord, accompanied by two angels, visits Lot, He says, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious” (Gen. 18:20).
This is the third 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.
The best place to begin a Biblical analysis of same-sex attraction is, well, in the beginning. The first three chapters of Genesis introduce us to God, reveal His eternality, instruct us in His sovereignty, suggest His triune nature, and demonstrate His power and purpose in creation.
He created man and woman as the crown of His handiwork (Gen. 1:26). He created us for exclusive intimacy with Him; that is, He shares His glory with no other god and is jealous for our full devotion to Him.
He also made us for exclusive intimacy with our spouses, and gave us an expression of His creative power through procreation in the context of monogamous, life-long, heterosexual marriage.
Note that God allows Adam to discover he is alone and in need of a helper. The animals are not suitable helpers for the man – not because they lack utilitarian value, but because they are unable to help Adam carry out God’s command to “fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
Eve, however, satisfies this role. Together, the first two human beings procreate, engaging in sexual intimacy that results in other humans who bear the image of God.