Rejection of the Witness

rejection-of-the-witness

The Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah is usual read as God’s rejection of the twin cities vile and wicked practices. And more often than not by most Christian readers the homosexual acts that are explicitly written about tend to be the reason for Gods’ judgment. We even use the term “sodomy”, a word derived from this biblical town, to describe “any of various forms of sexual intercourse held to be unnatural or abnormal, especially anal intercourse or bestiality”(answers.com). But what if we have read the story wrong? What if we have read into the story a justification of the judgment of certain sin?
Homosexuality is the villain of all sin in modern Christendom. As someone once said homosexuality is like the “deal breaker” sin. Go-ahead lie, cheat, steal, God will still forgive you, but god-forbid your engaged in homosexuality. Its instant damnation… I mean after all look at Sodom and Gomorrah God just wiped them off the face of the earth because they were practicing homosexuality.
I think it’s safe to say that homosexuality is not an activity condoned by Scripture along with many other practices such as adultery, drunkenness, disobedience to one’s parents, etc…
Yet, the issue of this text has more to do with Sodom and Gomorrah’s rejection of the witness’s God sent to them. In Genesis 18 Abraham meets 3 men, these 3 men are taken to be angels and one seems to be a theophany (God appearing to man).  As the men leave camp with Abraham God tells Abraham his plan to go “inspect” Sodom and Gomorrah. After a minute of bargaining with Abraham God acquiesce that if 10 righteous men can be found he will spare the two cities.
In the end, only Lot and his family are spared. However, the text does not say they are spared because of their personal righteousness, but because they recognized, welcomed, and obeyed the two witnesses sent from God.
Likewise, Jesus confirms this interpretation when he speaks the towns of Korazin and Bethsaida. He says there punishment will be worse on the Day of Judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah. And their judgment comes because they rejection of the testimony of Jesus, not because of any particular sin or grievance.  I suppose even if we were still to assume Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of sexual deviance, Jesus says a more heinous sin is rejection of his testimony.  If there ever was a deal breaker sin its rejection of Jesus not homosexuality.  In way or another, Jesus said this is how all men will be judged; based on acceptance or rejection of the witness of God they have received.

* In Matthew 10 Jesus tells those who reject the testimony of  Jesus brought via the disciples will be judged more serious than Sodom and Gomorrah.

Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Matthew 11:20-24

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1 Comment

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One response to “Rejection of the Witness

  1. Ben

    Great post. In studying Jonah for the upcoming series, I see some similarities between what was going on in Ninevah and Sodom and Gamorrah. God brought judgement because of their rejection of Him, not because of specific sin.

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