Reading into the Bible what’s not there
Unfortunately Christians have a long-standing habit to read into Scriptures what is not there, thus justifying their own sins and their spirit of judgmentalism.
Saying that the last recorded acts of the Sodomites − the demands for same-gender sex − are proof that they were destroyed for the sin of homosexual sex is like saying that a condemned man cursing his guards on the way to his execution is being executed for cursing his guards.
Sodom was judged worthy of destruction before the incident with Lot and the angels. And we have examined the complete Bible record of Sodom’s sins above.
Fundamentalists who like to see issues in black-and-white terms generally like to see Sodom’s destruction as a judgment on homosexuality. I believe that this conclusion is not justified by the Bible record.
Gay theologians, on the other hand, commit the same error of over-simplification by seeing Sodom’s destruction as a judgment on inhospitality. The Bible record does not support that conclusion either.
Real life is usually more complex than either the fundamentalists and the gay theologians like to admit, and the great “Judge of all the earth” sees all there is to our lives.
Conclusions about Sodom
I believe that if we examine the Bible record with an open mind, we are forced to conclude that Sodom was destroyed for sins that are not uncommon in today’s affluent society − sins that are rooted in self-sufficiency and flaunted in rebellion. Sexual sins were part of the problem, no doubt, but it is unworthy of Christians and misrepresentative of the Lord to wrest Scriptures in order to make someone else’s sins appear greater than our own more common sins of pride, hypocrisy, gossip, and a judgmental spirit. One of my favorite authors had this to say on the subject: “The Redeemer of the world declares that there are greater sins than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. . . . And still greater sin is theirs who profess to know God and to keep His commandments, yet who deny Christ in their character and their daily life.” (Ellen White in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 165, in the chapter, “Destruction of Sodom.”)
We should be careful to handle the Word of God with due reverence for its Author and its revelation of the character of God.
By His grace, we may avoid the sins of Sodom in our own lives, recognizing our moment-by-moment dependence on God both for our physical life and our spiritual salvation. Only then are we prepared to talk to gay people about what the Bible has to say to them.
And we won’t begin with any “abomination” texts.