Why Churches Must Return to the Use of the Word, Sodomite

I know—it’s not politically correct, but we must return to the use of this word if we will be true to reality and honest with people who engage in same-sex behavior so that they may repent and believe the good news.  Allow me to explain.

First, the pagan world has invented the following terms of recent origin, primarily, “homosexual,” “bisexual,” “transgender,” etc., while simply redefining the word, “gay.”  And they have done an excellent job of making sure that these words are understood as referring to a STATE OF BEING; to wit, one IS homosexual, one IS gay.  They want you to understand that this is what one IS and has no choice in the matter.  Therefore, when you, as a Christian, say that so-and-so is gay or homosexual, you are playing right into their hands.  You are in essence admitting that that someone is what he or she says he or she is, and when you admit this, you have no choice but to accept that person as homosexual and thereby dismiss his or her sin and even reckon it as virtue.  The Christian cannot do this.  By way of contrast, the word, “sodomite,” places the emphasis where it belongs—ON THE BEHAVIOR.  A person is a sodomite because that person commits acts of sodomy—those being sexual acts between persons of the same sex.

As a Christian who believes in the doctrine of original or ancestral sin, I understand that people are born with sinful proclivities, and same-sex attraction is one of those.  But we should never allow such proclivities to define our character or (to borrow today’s term) identity.  Similarly, though I agree that we must know our weaknesses, I have never thought it wise to say, “Hi!  My name is John, and I’m an alcoholic.”  John might struggle with alcohol, but please don’t tell John to define his whole being by his weakness.  Rather have John say this: “Hi!  My name is John, and I struggle with alcohol, but with God’s help, I shall overcome it.”  Such a statement allows John to own his weakness while not being swallowed up by it.  The same is true with same-sex attraction: Admit the struggle and then turn it over to God and ask Him to help you.

A second reason to avoid using “homosexual” and “gay” is that they are paired with “heterosexual” and “straight” (respectively) for the purpose of rendering the words equal.  So, one might say, “Some people are gay, and some are straight” or “Jack is homosexual, but Fred is heterosexual.”  The effect is to make same sex and opposite sex attraction equal and relative because both are a matter of being.  But “sodomite” has no opposite word with which to pair itself because the emphasis is on behavior; that is, there is no word of which I am aware that refers to that act of intimacy between a husband and a wife with which “sodomy” can pair itself and thereby render equal and relative to itself.  They might say that two men or two women “make love” just as a man and a woman.  But we would maintain that sodomy is not “lovemaking” at all but only an ugly counterfeit of a husband and wife’s “knowing” one another.

The third reason why we should use “sodomite” is that it is the word the Church used down through the centuries.  To some people, that will mean nothing, but it means everything to me.  Our spiritual fathers and mothers frankly understood the truth better than we on this occasion: They understood same-sex behavior to be exactly that—a behavior.  And they used the biblical reference to denote that behavior. 

Some will say, “Well, what person will come to Christ having been called a ‘sodomite?’”  I answer, “What person will come to Christ when you concur with their self-proclaimed identity as ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay?’”  As I said above, you are agreeing with him that this is who he is.  He can’t change.  He must either believe that God made him this way but hates him or made him this way and loves him for what he dubs his “identity.”  Neither is acceptable for the Christian.

“But the word is shaming!”  So are “whore” and “slut.”  Did we gain anything by tossing those words?  Now a girl is merely “sexually active,” a much more palatable word which hides her sin.  Perhaps we should call liars, “alternative truth-tellers”; adulterers, “men who are faithful to other women in addition to their wives”; and thieves, “klepto-active.”  Adopting the world’s nomenclature blurs the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior—between sin and virtue.  This is exactly what the world demands we do.  And worst of all, by adopting the world’s language, we short the truth, compromise the gospel, and leave no way for sinners to repent as they have no sin for which to repent and be saved.  To sum up: WORDS MATTER.

Finally, I do not say that one should use “sodomite” in contexts which would put him, his family, or livelihood in jeopardy.  Proverbs warns us to choose our words wisely depending on context.  But at least among ourselves, within the Church, and in those contexts where the truth must be told, we should use language that is closest to the truth of the matter.  In this instance, “sodomite” answers that truth: 1) It places the emphasis on the behavior; 2) Names the sin thereby calling the sinner to repentance; 3) Keeps us from adopting language that is false thus leaving the sinner without hope; and, 4) Is the word used by the Church down through the ages.

No, “sodomite” is not politically correct, but neither is the gospel.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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