First, Dr. Steve Mc Swain’s article on what Christians shouldn’t say, now Dr. Obery M. Hendricks posts this piece of work in the Huffington Post attempting to prove that the Bible supports homosexuality. Remember that both Dr. McSwain and Dr. Hendricks are interpreting the Bible from a man-centered and not a God-centered view. They do not believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, or the authority of Scripture. That’s the key in understanding how they come up with their wacky interpretations. It may be worth your while to read my first response to Dr. McSwain’s article to get some background on liberal theology and what they believe. Dr. Hendrick’s premise is that conservative Christians shouldn’t blame the Bible and use it to support that homosexuality is a sin. As a conservative Christian, I take the opposite view. The Bible in of itself is God’s Word, and doesn’t need to be misinterpreted and changed by liberals such as Dr. McSwain or Dr. Hendricks. So I say “blame it on the Bible” because it doesn’t need mans’ excuses for what it says. It is not only God’s Word, but trustworthy and sufficient as we are about to find out. Dr. Hendricks’ arguments are presented in five numerical parts in his article, so I will deal with each of his claims accordingly.
I. The peoples of biblical antiquity had no idea of homosexuality as identity, orientation or lifestyle.
Dr. Hendricks claims that the peoples of biblical antiquity had no idea of homosexuality as identity, orientation or lifestyle. He bases this claim on the fact that the term homosexual does not appear until the 19th century. Dr. Hendricks is right in that the term homosexual or homosexuality was used at a later date. However, it doesn’t negate the fact that the Bible recognizes the unnatural sexual act between two men as sin whether it uses the term homosexual or not because the original term used for the unnatural sexual act between two males is sodomy. Dr. Hendricks also seems to split hairs and wants us to think that there is a difference in the act of sodomy committed by a heterosexual male and a homosexual male. He claims that the men of Sodom were strictly heterosexual men. The Bible doesn’t make distinctions between a homosexual man or a heterosexual man because God sees all males as men. Sexual intercourse between two men is still considered an abomination according to Scripture (Lev. 18). It doesn’t matter whether you label the sexual intercourse between two men homosexual, sodomy, or gay. It also doesn’t matter in the Genesis 19 account because all of the men in the city of Sodom committed this heinous act. In fact, in verse four of Genesis 19 notice how all the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house.
“4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” 6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7 and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.” (Gen. 19: 4-7)
In the meantime from vv. 8 – 11, the angels save Lot from the mob by bringing him into the house.
8 Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. (Gen. 19: 8-11)
In verse 11, notice how the men of Sodom were so consumed by their homosexual lust that after the angels have blinded them, they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway (v. 11).
Dr. Hendricks also claims that Sodom was not judged for homosexual sin, but for their pride and unwillingness to share what they had. It’s the supposed “lack of hospitality” argument which comes from Ezekiel 16: 44-52. Here is the passage that Dr. Hendricks is referring to:
44 “Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they. 48 As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it. 51 Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for you have multiplied your abominations more than they. Thus you have made your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have committed. 52 Also bear your disgrace in that you have made judgment favorable for your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. Yes, be also ashamed and bear your disgrace, in that you made your sisters appear righteous.” (Eze. 16: 44-52)
Here God is judging Judah for all the idolatries they have committed. In this passage, God is comparing the sins of Judah to Sodom’s. Notice that in vv. 47, 50, and 51, God calls the sins that both Judah and Sodom have committed abominations. The term abominations is mentioned five times in this passage. Now it is true that in verse 49, Sodom did not help the poor and needy. That was the sin of pride, and is considered an abomination (Prov. 16:5). However, the passage states that they committed abominations, so they committed more abominations than the sin of pride. The passage explains that as a result of Sodom refusing to repent of their sin of pride, they committed more abominations (v.51). So what were those other abominations? I’m sure that there were other abominations which Sodom committed, but the only abomination that was described in the Sodom account in Genesis 19 was homosexuality. In Lev. 18: 19-23, that passage gives the reader a clear understanding of what God considers to be abominations.
19 ‘Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. 20 You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her. 21 You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; (it is an abomination). 23 Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; (it is a perversion). (Lev. 18: 19-23)
Notice that from vv. 20 – 23 you have three abominations listed in a row which are child sacrifice (child offer to Molech) (v.21), homosexuality (v. 22), and beastiality (v. 23). This is commonly referred to as the “trinity of abominations”. If Dr. Hendricks chooses to discount homosexuality as a sin and an abomination what does he do about child sacrifice and bestiality? Is Dr. Hendrick’s willing to promote both of these abominations as well? I seriously doubt it.
In addition, Dr. Hendricks comes to the strange conclusion that if one interprets the Genesis 19 account literally therefore one should also believe that the Bible also gives divine approval to have one’s daughter gang raped as well. Here’s his quote:
“However, if anyone is hell-bent on believing that the abusive crowd was really homosexual and that the entire Sodom narrative is divinely sanctioned and literally true, then they must also accept that the Sodom narrative also gives divine approval to sending daughters out to be gang-raped. One just cannot be a biblical literalist only when it suits one’s case.”1
Dr. Hendrick’s conclusion is rather juvenile and fails to understand that the Genesis account is a historical narrative. God does not approve everything that is reported in a historical narrative. Historical narratives in Scripture whether it be the Genesis account, the histories in the Old Testament, the Gospels, or the Book of Acts in the New Testament all report the good, the bad, and the ugly accounts of its characters. That’s what gives the Biblical historical accounts credibility. The Bible doesn’t hide any of the sins and frailties of its characters. For example, the Genesis account also reports Noah’s drunkenness, Abraham’s lies, Issac’s lies, Jacob’s lies, Judah’s fornication with his daughter in law Tamar, Moses when he struck the rock with his staff in anger, Moses’ fear of man when he refused to speak in front of Pharaoh, etc. Does God also approve of these sins as well just because Genesis records it? I think not. Just because the Bible reports these actions doesn’t necessarily mean it approves of such actions. If Dr. Hendrick’s premise were true, that means the Bible also approves of the incident of incest between Lot and his daughters because the Bible records it. Dr. Hendrick’s logic simply doesn’t make sense.
II. There are only two other direct references to male-on-male sex in the Old Testament, one in Deuteronomy and one in Leviticus.
Dr. Hendricks also seems to think that the only other direct references to male homosexual sex in the Old Testament besides the Genesis 19 account are the passages described in Deuteronomy 20 and Leviticus 18. It seems that Dr. Hendricks has not read his Bible because there a lot more passages than he has mentioned. Besides the Deut. 20 and Lev. 18 passages that he is referring to, here are some more passages that he has failed to mention:
Here we have the parallel passage of Leviticus 18 which is Leviticus 20 which gives more detail of what God considers an abomination. I don’t know how Dr. Hendricks could possibly miss this passage since it’s only two chapters over from Leviticus 18.
“10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11 If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their blood guiltiness is upon them. 12 If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their blood guiltiness is upon them. 13 If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them. 14 If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no immorality in your midst. 15 If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. 16 If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.” (Lev. 20: 10-16)
Back in Leviticus 18, God gives His reasons for why He was about to judge the Cannanite nations. Take notice of how many times God states that these nations have committed abominations and have defiled the land.
“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its [n]punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 26 But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you 27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); 28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. 29 For whoever does any of these abominations, [o]those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’” (Lev. 18: 24 – 30)
Clearly, one of the many abominations which God judged the Cannatie nations for is homosexuality as described in the Lev. 18: 22.
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (Lev. 18:22)
The Attempted Homosexual Rape of a Levite Priest
Dr. Hendrick’s also missed the account of the Levite priest who encountered the men of Dan in the Book of Judges. The men of Dan were homosexuals who wanted to rape him just like the men of Sodom did.
“22 While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.” 23 Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.” (Judges 19: 22-23)
Male Cult Prostitution in the Book of Kings
Moreover, the historical narratives in the Book of Kings give account to the male cult prostitutes who committed abominations.
“There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel.” (1 Kings 14:24)
“He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.” (1 Kings 15: 11-13)
“He also broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of the Lord, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah.” (2 Kings 23:7)
Old Testament Passages Referring to the Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah
In addition, the city of Sodom is referred to in the Old Testament thirty-nine times. Its sister city Gomorrah is mentioned nineteen times in the Old Testament. If you also include the previous passages mentioned, that is a total of sixty-two times in the Old Testament that male homosexual acts are either directly mentioned, implied, or used as an example of judgment as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah is always mentioned in the Bible as a term of judgment for the homosexual acts that their people committed. As we can all conclude, the Bible is clear in its denunciation of the sin of homosexuality. It was one of the abominations that God judged the Canaanite nations for. It also shows that homosexuality was the primary cause for judgment based on the number of times Sodom and Gomorrah is referred to in the Old Testament.
Next time we will look at Dr. Hendrick’s New Testament claims.
(Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church)
1. Obery Hendricks, “Don’t Blame It On the Bible” , The Huffington Post