Causing the little ones to sin

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about hospitality codes, not about homosexuality. A crowd gathering to rape a stranger is nothing like gay sex between ordinary, normal, well adjusted gay people, or even the nuttiest British gay people. And anyway, why treat Old Testament rules about homosexuality as more important than rules about shellfish? “Why can’t I own a Canadian?” You have read the text on the link before, of course, but it bears reading again, and there is an amusing clip from The West Wing too. So far, so obvious. It is clear that the Bible is no barrier to gay people in the church. So why do some Evangelicals insist it is?

I told an Evangelical “ass” that Lot knew his neighbours weren’t gay, because he offered them his daughters, and got the reply that “It was because they were sodomites that they rejected his offer and demanded he send out the angels.” This really matters to (some) Evangelicals. I think they actually want an out-group, other people that they can think are bad and destined for Hell, in order to make themselves feel better. I think they use this as a touchstone to reject Christians: if you do not condemn homosexuality, they say, you do not have a proper attitude to the Bible and are not a proper Christian. This ass refers to “Liberal ‘Christians’,” as if we are not real Christians like he is.

Whereas, his attitude is specifically condemned by Jesus. “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone”. “First take the beam out of your own eye, that you may see clearly to take the mote out of your brother’s eye.” A person who spends so much time policing another Christian’s morality just has not understood the Gospel. The ass might respond,

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

And so he would rather gay people suffer dreadfully for the rejection of themselves as God created them, or be driven from the Church, than accept God’s creation as God made it. I interpret “causes one of these little ones to sin” as meaning his act, and not mine.

Yesterday I went to the induction of a new minister at my local United Reformed Church, which is Evangelical. They are entirely accepting of gay people. They might not bless or celebrate a civil partnership as Quakers would, but the rabid rejection of gay people seems to be a canker in the church in the US, and not nearly so much here. I talked about my former girlfriend, and chatted happily to a number of people I had not met before, and specifically asked. Here, they said, it would just not be raised. My local URC where I lived before had a specific policy of welcoming gay people, and openly gay elders.

The ass has a full right of reply here, should he choose to exercise it.

9 thoughts on “Causing the little ones to sin

  1. Dear Clare

    Thank you very much for what you write. I feel this debate will run and run, because certain factions will always take as their authority what is Writ. They will not look beyond that, and so their ignorance is deliberate, calculated, even, since they see themselves as Biblical. And feel exonerated.

    These days I prefer not to involve myself in a debate of this nature, which looks not into the eyes of my neighbour, but ignores their suffering while we argue and one of us peers into an index. There is a loop which seems to stand unashamed and unbroken. Instead of trying to break it, I hope to overlook our mutual disagreements and love as best I can, in my own way.

    I am very interested that you go to your local URC. The one that my husband is now a member of, is on the main road, directly opposite the quaker meeting house. I was told yesterday that their congregation is an amalgam of four others, including the metropolitan church which, i believe, found one of its strands in being open and welcoming of the LGBT community. The existing congregation treads many a careful line, for example in the armistice day celebrations, but inclusivity is one aspect that they agree on and embrace wholeheartedly. They doubtless find much comfort in their stance, from the example of our humble antecedant, Jeshua of Nazareth.

    Have a great day!

    Ann xxx 🙂

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    • I do not normally go to the URC, but they invited the Quakers and other churches to celebrate the induction of their new minister, an American woman in her mid-forties. In a way I am sorry to hear that the MCC in Edinburgh is no longer separate, as they had a valuable ministry to people damaged by asses, but I am glad that the URC is taking on that ministry.

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  2. Okay, Clare, here goes.
    Lets have a little look at what the word of God has to say about sodomites:

    Deu 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

    Now remember, before the church existed the children of Israel were the only group of people considered to be “God’s children”. Of this group NONE were to be sodomites. Similarly the New Testament [see Romans 1 etc] is clear that Christians are not to be sodomites.

    1Ki 15:11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.
    1Ki 15:12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

    1Ki 22:46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.

    Hmmm, removing sodomites from the land seems to be “right in the eyes of the LORD”.

    Gen 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
    Gen 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
    Gen 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
    Gen 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
    Gen 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

    Funny how Lot recognised that the men of Sodom wanting to know [sexually] the two men [angels] staying with him was wicked. This has nothing to do with hospitality, that’s for sure.

    And a simlar account in Judges:

    Jdg 19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
    Jdg 19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
    Jdg 19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
    Jdg 19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

    Sodomites = abomination:

    1Ki 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

    And then in the New Testament:

    Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    And the “effeminate”:

    1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    No need for me to elucidate further on what both the Old and New Testaments make abundantly clear.

    At the end of the day, Clare, your argument isn’t with me, but rather with the word of God. I’d advise you to accept God’s counsel – to not do so has eternal consequences.

    Also, God’s word advises us that not all who claim to be Christ’s disciples are in fact Christians:

    Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    “… choose you this day whom ye will serve …”

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  3. Thank you for your long response. There is a great deal of work in it.

    The argument between us is this. I see my friends John and Darren, in a committed loving relationship until John’s death from cancer. John, a lifelong Christian, brought his partner into the church. I think they are followers of Christ, and that all Christians should celebrate that and welcome them into fellowship. This matters, because there are people excluded from the church, which is a loss to the church. You think that to be welcomed in, they must cease to express their love for each other.

    First, what is “sodomy”? Why do you think Lot thinks the gang rape of his daughters is better than the gang rape of his guests? You quote “unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof”- seems pretty clearly to be about hospitality to me. The Judges account condemns gang-rape: here the bad people are happy to gang rape two women, so are not simply homosexual. What do the women in your church think of this passage, indicating that it is right to sacrifice two women to save one man? This has nothing to do with the expression of love between two men in a loving relationship.

    Of the books of the Law, I could refer you to Acts 15:19-21, but then we would be debating the meaning of the word “fornication” there. I think it has nothing to do with gay sex in a committed relationship, as the context, “abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood,” refers to alien religious observance, which could include sex acts. That is the explanation of Romans 1. Paul is talking of those who “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles”. He is condemning other religious practices, of which there were many in Rome, and not the physical expression of love between two equal partners.

    Indeed, not everyone who calls on the Lord serves the Lord. But, Romans 14:4: “Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

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  4. Clare, it matters not one wit what I think on the matter when God’s word is crystal clear and leaves absolutely no room to move.

    I noticed you essentially ignored ALL the scripture quoted above – obviously too hard for you to refute and so you put your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist or say it says something other than the plain text. Remember Christ’s words – [Joh 12:48] “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

    God’s word[s] will judge you when you stand before Him – especially when you can no longer claim ignorance after I have highlighted them to you. Better to judge yourself now in this life and repent, than to have God do it and ‘reward’ you accordingly at the Great White Throne judgement.

    PS If you were a real friend to Darren [too late for John] you would advise him to do likewise. Remember, no sin is too great that God cannot forgive it. But the next step is really up to you [and Darren].

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  5. Kris, the actions condemned in the Bible have very little in common with the lovemaking of John and Darren. The fundamental thing missing in them is Love. I do not think God Who is Love will condemn the Love of God’s creatures. I am sorry that you do. You drive people away from God’s church. You might not care about driving away Darren, but what if you drove Rose away?

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  6. And that raises the issue of exactly what constitutes “God’s church”, as you put it, Clare. IMO “God’s church” is founded upon God’s word – all of it, not just the bits you’re comfortable with. And while God is indeed a God of love, lets not forget He is also a God of justice, and a God of judgement for those who reject His standards as outlined in His word. Love without justice is meaningless.

    Lets not forget that Christ warned against false prophets, false Christs … and indeed a false church, especially as we neared the end of the age.

    Like I quoted above:

    Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    The question is, Clare, are you [and your friend Darren] in God’s church, or in some all embracing, liberal, anything goes ‘club’ which tickles the ear rather than founds itself upon the authority of the scriptures?

    An important question – especially as only one leads to eternal life, the other to eternal damnation. To be in the TRUE church requires us coming to God on His terms; and those terms are clearly defined in God’s word. I suggest you read it, repent where necessary, receive Christ on His terms, and find a good conservative Bible-based local church which preaches the ENTIRE counsel of God. I know where I’m going when I die, Clare, do you?

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    • I have not ignored any of your biblical citations. You refer to biblical condemnations of gang-rape and the worship of Ishtar or Isis, and think that these apply to two men making love together. You have no understanding of the Bible, and, worse, do not realise that, so are condemned to rot in your current mistakes. I will not publish further comment from you, if you simply continue to reiterate threats of damnation which Do Not Come from God, but the diseased imaginations of people like you, and your foolish false interpretations of Scripture to justify your ignorant bigotry. Have the last word on your own nasty little blog, which is well named “Arse”.

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