Hospitality and the Judgment of Sodom
by Don Costello 6/21/2008 / Bible Studies
Hospitality and the Judgment of Sodom
A common thread in every book, every website that advocates homosexuality and claims to be Christian will say that Sodom was not destroyed because of homosexuality. It is the universal cry of this apostate doctrine. After that initial attempt, the advocates for homosexuality branch off, some taking the view that inhospitality was the major sin, while some look at the other passages that mention Sodom to find why they received such a strong reaction from heaven. My research has revealed the following three examples are typical of numerous so called "Christian" individuals and groups that advocate homosexuality, i.e., sexual immorality. The following is from the book titled The New Testament and Homosexuality, by Robin Scroggs:
Even more popular has been the attempt to deny that the sin of Sodom described in Genesis 19 was sexual in nature. The evil ascribed to the cities in later Jewish and Christian traditions is not homosexuality. Rather, when the sin is identified, it is a lack of hospitality.
Another book, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, written by Daniel Helminiak, another advocate of homosexuality, echoes the same interpretation.
"So what was the sin of Sodom? Abuse and offense against the strangers. Insult to the traveler. Inhospitality to the needyTo use this text to condemn homosexuality is to misuse the text."
After their attempt to establish inhospitality as the sin of Sodom, many will appeal to statements from Jesus to bolster their erroneous interpretation. In 1995 the Bishops of the Episcopal Church got together to discuss human sexuality and the resulting document was called Continuing the Dialogue. The document was just a report on the study of human sexuality, and it did not change church doctrine. What it revealed, though, was a group of so called "bishops" within the Episcopal Church that endorse and encourage sexual immorality. Reading through the document you can see their influence and their attempt to bolster the error that inhospitality was the sin of Sodom.
"Jesus, when referring to the mistreatment of his own disciples, seems to stand in a line of interpretation which views the sin of Sodom as inhospitality (Luke 10:10-12; Matthew 10:14-15; see Luke 17:29 and Matthew 11:23-24)."
Well, let's look at a few of these passages and see what Jesus was really saying. Although the whole context surrounding Matthew 10:14, 15 is Matthew 10:1-15, it won't be necessary to quote the larger context to see the error of their view. In the whole context Jesus is sending out the twelve Apostles, outlining the authority he gives them and so forth. Backing up to verse 11, Jesus is telling the Apostles how they are to respond to those who reject the message of the gospel, and that leads us to verses 14 & 15.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
The comparative passages to Matthew 10:1-15 are Mark 6:7-13 and Luke 9:1-5. In all of these passages, the acceptance or rejection of the gospel message is discussed not inhospitality. When Jesus said, "whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words," he was talking about the gospel, because the message of the gospel offends people. In Matthew 10:40 (NIV) Jesus said, "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me." Then in Luke 10:16 (NIV) Jesus spoke about those who rejected the preachers of that same gospel, "he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me".
The attempt to use these words of Jesus to bolster the erroneous view that Sodom was destroyed because of it inhospitality is the clearest look at how the reprobabate mind works.
Why then did Jesus bring up Sodom and Gomorrah? Jesus was comparing the different severities of judgment that occur to different cities because of varying amounts of "light" given to those communities. Proof of this is seen when we look at two other passages in Matthew. The first is Matthew 11:20-24:
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which had been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Why did Jesus say it would be "more tolerable" for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, "in the day of judgment" than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum? It's because Jesus was doing "mighty works" in their midst and they refused to repent, yet he said if those same mighty works had been done in Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, "they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes" and they "would have remained until this day". Those three cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were given greater light. Those three cities were in the area where Jesus moved his headquarters in the beginning of his ministry, Matthew 4:13-16:
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
The people in this area saw greater light than what Sodom saw, which leads me to think about how much more light America has seen than the cities around the Sea of Galilee. In spite of what secularists say, the gospel of Jesus Christ had a prominent role in the founding of America. Unless there are some powerful reversals in the way our culture is going I believe judgment is inevitable. One of those reversals has to be in the way our nation views homosexuality.
It is incredible that out of the abominations listed in Leviticus 18:1-30, two of them are constitutionally protected behaviors in 21st century America; child sacrifice, Leviticus 18:21 and homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22. Homosexuality, though, I believe will be the one that causes the most persecution upon the Church.
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.