CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Living in Sodom

Aug 12, 2010

Let’s face it folks: Morally and spiritually speaking, Australia – or America, or England, etc – is now on a par with ancient Sodom and Gomorrah. These two wicked cities, along with three others, were destroyed by a righteous and holy God who finally had enough of their filth, perversion and ungodliness.

But it is hard to see how Australia or any other Western nation can be said to be much better today. Indeed, in many respects we are much worse. As proof, one only needs to read some of the articles on this site, documenting the daily descent into the pit.

The West is going down the tubes fast, and the levels of iniquity and unrighteousness seem almost incomparable to past evil. A quick look at some of my pieces under the ‘Culture Wars’ section, or the ‘Political Correctness’ section should make clear the moral and spiritual freefall we are now in.

And we are far more responsible and guilty than were Sodom and Gomorrah. As Leonard Ravenhill reminds us, “Sodom had no Bible”. If Sodom was ripe for judgment without special revelation, how much more are we with it? Indeed, how many Bibles are there in Australia alone? 20 million? 50 million?

How many churches are in this land? How many Bible schools and colleges? How many Bible conferences and meetings do we go to? How many audio sermons and Bible messages do we listen to? How many religious programs do we soak up each week? We even have 24-7 Christian cable television.

Yet for a land saturated with all things Christian, what sort of nation are we? What sort of impact have the churches had on the nation around us? Are we making an impact on the surrounding culture, or are we simply being impacted by it?

While we have plenty of believers here, we do not have many pray-ers. While we have plenty of churches, we do not have many intercessors. While we have plenty of pastors and teachers, we do not have many prophets. And while we have plenty of believers who love to be entertained and amused, we do not have many who agonise in their soul over the corrupt and reprobate land we live in, and the carnal and shallow church we belong to.

The pressing need for intercessors

In light of all this, where are the intercessors? On another social forum I posted the following familiar passage: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).

A concerned Christian replied, “I wonder about all this. There are heaps of intercessors about and praying people too. So what is happening? I sure don’t know.” I wrote back the following: “2 Chron 7:14 – we need all God’s people repenting and praying, not just some prayer warriors doing all the action.”

Indeed, the problem with a passage like 2 Chronicles 7:14 is that we have heard it so many times, we are so terribly familiar with it, that it has lost its punch. We have become desensitised to its vital and revolutionary message. Let me again offer you the text:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

How many sermons have we heard on this passage? How many visiting preachers or revivalists have used this as their main text? Yet where is the fruit of all this? Why does revival tarry? Why do we not see the land being healed and God moving in wonderful ways?

The answer is as obvious as it is painful. We are simply not meeting the clearly stated conditions of all this. We are simply not humbling ourselves. We are simply not praying. We are simply not seeking his face. And we are simply not turning from our wicked ways.

I travel and speak rather extensively around the nation and overseas, and I do see tiny pockets of this activity scattered here and there. I praise God that a very small minority – a godly remnant – are living and acting on these necessary truths. However, they are way too few and far between.

But can we really say that the first half of 2 Chron. 7:14 accurately describes the Australian church today? For the most part, it certainly does not seem to. The great majority of Australian Christians seem quite happy with the status quo. They do not regard themselves as particularly sinful or in need of revival, and they tend to regard those who do as extremist fruitcakes.

Indeed, we can go back to Ezekiel 22:30. Amongst God’s own people Yahweh was looking for someone – anyone – who meant business with God, who reflected his broken heart over a sin-soaked world, and who was willing to do the hard work of standing in the gap and pleading with God for mercy, not judgment. Yet he found no one!

As Iain Duguid comments, drawing us back to the Sodom theme, “There was literally no one to stand in the gap for her. In Abraham’s day, a quorum of ten righteous men might have saved Sodom. In Jerusalem, the new Sodom (Ezek. 16:46), there is not even left one righteous Lot who will escape.”

If Yahweh can refer to his own city of Jerusalem as the new Sodom, how much more must we refer to modern ungodly Australia as the new Sodom? But since Yahweh was speaking against his own people, what does he say to his people today?

Daniel Block offers this commentary on the Ezek. 22 passage: “To clarify the divine disposition, Ezekiel borrows a metaphor from his older contemporary, Jeremiah, who was commanded to scour the streets of Jerusalem in search of anyone who practiced justice and pursued truth (Jer. 5:1-6). The image of Yahweh searching for someone to man the breach is military….

“Unless the gap was quickly repaired or armed men were stationed in the gap, the invader would have easy access to the city. . . . If only there had been a voice to announce the certain judgment of God in the face of their criminal activity, to warn the people of Yahweh’s approach (cf. Ezek. 3:17; 33:7). But like false prophets in 13:5, the leaders were all too preoccupied with their own affairs to worry about the welfare of the city.”

Do you mind if I lightly rephrase that last bit? ‘Australian Christian leaders were too preoccupied with building their own kingdoms, bringing glory to their own names, and entertaining the masses to worry about the welfare of the nation.’ Indeed, recall that we are about to have a national election. John Taylor’s words aptly fit here: “Any nation which lacks godly leadership, as Israel did at that time, must surely be on the way out.”

Sodom had to be judged. How much more so us? Unless we, God’s people, begin to take seriously the message of 2 Chronicles 7:14, I fail to see how God can remain just and yet not judge us. Remember, judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17).

This nation is in a mess because the church is in a mess. And the church is in a mess because you and I are in a mess. We must begin with ourselves. And the best place we can begin is on our faces before a just, righteous and holy God who will not tolerate evil and degradation, nor allow it to continue unpunished.

[1282 words]

57 Responses to Living in Sodom

  • Woweee! I am first on the rank on this exciting and challenging article – thanks Bill.

    First, Bill there was no mention of Holy Spirit without whom Jesus did not move from conception to Cross to hell to ascension through to continuing Intercession NOW.

    Secondly, yes, it is military, biblically and spiritually. One reason why we are so powerless is that we do not appear to absorb 2 Timothy 1: 7 without which we are ill equipped.

    Thirdly, as an intercessor for a number of years, a dominant challenge has been non acceptance by the church and a theology that by way of Dispensation allows them to “ex communicate” adherents called “charismatics”.

    Fourthly, introspection has choked off a kingdom view of what Yahweh is all about in His fullness as “I AM”.

    Finally, I continue to intercede in His church in the market place, in the judiciary,in the administration and on the hills of our locality – in obedience. No pride here – just an aching heart to see Christ Honoured.

    Ray Robinson

  • Bill,
    Here is a suggestion – Why don’t we start a prayer group like the tiny pockets of activity you mentioned above? I pray regularly like this by myself but I think I would be much more encouraged if I was part of a group that had a prayer agenda and we all had a topic to pray for each day or pray for one topic for a week and then another topic next week ad lib. We could all get the topic emailed to us and then we can pray fervently over it on a continuing basis. It is just an idea but if you or some of the other people wanted to commit to this format then count me in without question!
    Steve Davis

  • Thanks Steve

    Yes sounds good to me. You can of course start this right away on a local level. But there already are a number of national prayer networks and intercessory prayer groups, eg:
    ausprayernet.org.au/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill

    I posted a few simple thoughts on 2 Chron 7:14 this morning on my little blog and am much encouraged that the Holy Spirit had you cover the same theme.

    @Steve – Count me in

    Glenn Christopherson

  • Thanks Glenn

    Just had a quick look – well done. Yes we are on the same wavelength, but more importantly, we are on God’s wavelength. He is stirring his church to get its act together. It is either that or face the judgment we rightly deserve.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Indeed Bill, reformation must begin in the hearts of believers — through prayer, contrition and repentance. Only after that can the church be revived and, perhaps, the nation as a whole.

    By the way, I do not think that “living in Sodom” is simply a convenient metaphor. I think that we truly are living in Sodom — a culture which has embraced homosexuality as normal. As Paul and Jude explain, and Sodom exemplifies, this is the high point of rebellion against our Creator.

    Jereth Kok

  • Thanks Jereth

    Yes Romans 1:18-32 is so very relevant here. I need to write an article on this vital passage soon.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • OK, ‘Sodom had no Bible’ but how many churches really have the Bible?

    Many of our churches cherry pick bits of the Bible that are comfortable, but quietly ignore the rest. Most do not even believe Genesis 1-11, the Creation, Fall, Judgement narrative foundation of the Gospel.

    Many even say, and I quote: “The bible doesn’t mean what it says: it means what it means!” I kid you not. Exactly that was emphatically taught to a large group of volunteer “Christian Religious Education” teachers only a couple of years ago.

    Currently I am getting opposition within my denomination by daring to say that the Bible opposes practicing homosexual members, ministers and bishops in the church. My opponents rarely give a reasoned biblical argument.

    The church seems to often regard the Bible as an outdated feel-good optional extra. Rather it is the infallible word of God on which, alone, we should base all Christian teaching.

    We need warriors in prayer and in defence of the Bible.

    Peter Newland

  • You’ve hit the nail on the head again, Bill. I wish and pray that this was preached from pulpits across the land without fear of having congregation members leave in droves. What a revolution we would see, repentance, revival.

    You said, “This nation is in a mess because the church is in a mess”. That says it all. Let’s ask the Lord to radically transform us to be the salt and light we were intended to be.

    Dee Graf

  • Thanks Dee

    Yes revival of the churches is the need of the hour. It is repent or perish basically, as I recently read one saint put it. For the most part, we just cannot go on as we have been.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • WOW!! Bill, a perfect summation of our sin.
    You have stirred me to repent and get on my knees.
    Peter Friend

  • Many thanks Peter

    That is the result I seek for all of us, beginning with myself. Bless you.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • “Yes Romans 1:18-32 is so very relevant here. I need to write an article on this vital passage soon.”

    Waiting in eager anticipation, Bill.

    Just make sure that you don’t fall into the good old soft evangelical trap of saying “homosexuality is just one type of sin, just like all other sins — lying, stealing, swearing, etc.; no one type of sin is worse than another”.

    Despite being oft-repeated, this is unbiblical poppycock. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 clearly explains that sexual sins are of a more serious nature than any other sin. Sexual sins are among those which carry the weightiest punishments in the Law of Moses. Sexual immorality is frequently used in the prophets as a depiction for the worst kind of rebellion; a depiction which John picks up in Revelation 18. And Romans 1 makes it very evident that homosexuality is not just an example of sin; it is the very pinnacle of sin.

    Jereth Kok

  • Yes quite right Jereth.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • To Pete Newland – what church and denomination do you belong to? Just out of interest.
    Steve Davis

  • I think David had his priorities right when he said “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I shall dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple”. (Psalms 27:4) Until we learn to have this same yearning ourselves to be in the presence of God, to know God and the beauty of His name, His character, and, as AW Tozer writes “to enter into the Holy of Holies and live our lives there”, we are probably only fighting the symptoms, rather than addressing the causes.
    Peter Baade

  • Absolutely right Peter.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,
    I hope you and your family are all well. I think one of the greatest factors in the demise of the west is materialism. I know, (though I like to think of myself as a follower of Gods word) that I find it very hard to make the sacrifices Jesus calls us to make if we are to pick up our cross and follow him. Prayer alone is not enough. We must resist the temptation to constantly indulge ourselves on the material things that are so readily available and offer these sacrifices to Jesus in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. The divine mercy is a very powerful prayer to beg for mercy and forgiveness when all seems hopeless.
    Catherine Dodd

  • Thanks Catherine

    Yes quite right. Materialism, consumerism and greed are just aspects of the rampant worldliness which has such a stranglehold over the church in the West. If we are looking for something to repent of, this would be a very good place to begin.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Glenn, how do I get in touch with you so we can get started?
    Steve Davis

  • Bill, in your text you mention the following:

    ‘John Taylor’s words aptly fit here: “Any nation which lacks godly leadership, as Israel did at that time, must surely be on the way out.”’

    I’ve been reading (actually listening on CD) to 1 & 2 Chronicles recently. Again and again I’m struck by the fact that the kings (leaders) led the people either in following God or astray from Him. Whether there was a godly or an ungodly king had tremendous impact on the people and their situation.

    What will happen to Australia if we elect a self-confessed atheist as our leader?

    Alison Feguson

  • Thanks Steve
    I will pass on to you his details.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Reading the forgoing contributions encourages me to remember another time spoken of in Malachi 3:16, where those who sought the Lord in the midst of a compromising nation were called God’s treasured possession!
    Stephen White

  • Thanks Alison

    Sadly perhaps most believers today have never read Chronicles, let alone the entire OT. We need to be reading freely from both Testaments to get God’s heartbeat on all this.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Steve for reminding us of that text. Indeed, vv. 16-18 make for a very powerful package.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Catherine it is interesting to see a resurgence of interest in God and spiritual things when the comforts of this life are threatened. Even for Christians we have to work hard at trusting in our Saviour when we are surrounded with these same comforts. Perhaps this is why God calls us to fast. He knows it helps us to focus on the important things.
    Keith Lewis

  • You know what? I don’t think we hate sin. We are not on our guard and do not despise the things that God despises. We have let ourselves tolerate things that God clearly does not tolerate and the end result is high-handed wickedness that spits in the face of Christ.

    Perhaps many of us in the Church are not of Christ because we don’t really love the things He does. We judge according to the flesh because we are of the flesh and don’t really belong to God. This should utterly terrify us – but we don’t like to be terrified because it is not a “Christian” thing. We would rather feel self-righteous because we embrace everyone and everything as we fall into the trap our enemies have set, even as they try to tell us what Christianity is really all about. Thanks for that Bob Brown! Bob should be terrified that one day he will stand before the living God to give an account for himself. Righteousness should reign in our nation because God’s people love him so much it hurts their childs’ heart to dishonour Him and the ungodly should act in obedience because even they know one day they will face the great I AM.

    We as a nation “humbly [sought] the blessing of the Almighty God” at our founding and yet here we are with sworn enemies of Christ trying to control the governance of this land. Still I think the Church sleeps and unless we turn from our slumber I fear God will take away all those things that turn us from Him, not because He is a merciless God but because He loves us too much to let those things destroy our soul. You are all so right we must get on our knees and pray for our nation but more than that we must ask to be broken enough to really obey our Lord and our God. Part of me shudders at this but still I ask it anyway because I know our God is truly good.

    Phil Twiss

  • A good article to support Dr Kok’s claims is Are all sins equal? by Rev Dr Peter Barnes, November 2008. The answer is (summarized): Of course not! How could anyone seriously ignore the copious biblical evidence to the contrary?

    Even on pragmatic grounds, we can answer the Gay-stapo and their useful idiot allies in the church who whinge (as per Dr Kok’s paraphrase), “homosexuality is just one type of sin, just like all other sins — lying, stealing, swearing”. Simply, where are the Liar Pride parades, vocal campaigns to legalize stealing (apart from by the government), or Christians being fired, hauled before Human Rights kangaroo courts, or jailed for opposing these other things?

    Jonathan Sarfati, USA

  • As well as the overwhelming need for intercessory prayer, there is a great need to fight against the corrupting vices of pride ,lust and greed in all their forms, by consciously striving every day to practice the opposite virtues. By seeking to practise purity, humility and self-denial in our thoughts words and actions each day we fight the poison which infects The Body of Christ. Paul was very clear in explaining how intimately interdependent are the members of this Sacred Body. Everything about how we live affects the whole church. All the virtues are important but these three perhaps most of all {certainly when judged by the enemy onslaught against them}.
    I am very much consoled and encouraged by the faith and faithfulness, so evident among those who post comments here.
    Thanks for all you do Bill.
    Anna Cook

  • Romans 1:32, after discussing how people are willfully ignorant of God and are thus given up to same-sex perversions:

    “Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

    Would that not apply to any churchians who vote for a party like the Watermelon Greens, who officially support same-sex “marriage” and pre-natal baby-butchery?

    Jonathan Sarfati, USA

  • Bill,

    Your essay is filled with much truth. It could also apply to America, as well as Australia. Our nations are going through the same types of chaos and lack of respect for God and His Word. The days are certainly evil.

    When I feel myself getting down because “the days are evil,” I pick up my study guide called “The Mysteries of Heaven” by Dr. David Jeremiah. It is a great little book – thoroughly Bible-based, too. It gives me comfort during times of fear, doubt, worry and turmoil.

    My son has the following Bible verse on his Facebook page today:

    He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
    Titus 1:9

    That describes our work today. This is what you are doing via this wonderful blog and on Facebook. I can only imagine Jesus looking at your heart and saying, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

    I continue to learn a lot from you, my Christian brother! And I am so grateful that I found your blog “for such a time as this.” God bless you and keep up the great work!

    In Christ,
    Christine Watson, USA

  • Many thanks indeed Christine.

    Your kind and encouraging words are greatly appreciated. And keep up your terrific ministry as well. Every blessing,

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill – re your comment on reading the Old Testament. I’ve just finsihed John Stott’s book on the message of Galatians, and one of the many things that struck me was how much the interpretation (and implications) of the New Testament depends so much on the Old Testament.

    Jonathan – thanks for the link to Peter Barnes’ article. The concluding sentence reads “It is misleading to say that God is equally opposed to each of our sins, but it is true to say that He utterly opposes all of our sin”. Maybe sometimes we can focus too much on the first part of that sentence, rather than the second part?

    Peter Baade

  • Well said, good and feisty Jonathan Sarfati! We love you because you love the Truth, and to love the Truth is to hate evil.
    Ian Brearley

  • To Phil Twiss, I think your post is excellent and gets to the heart of the matter in more ways than one. I am starting to realise even more that the position you state is quite a very real one. I often ask myself the hard questions in your post and in all honesty I think that despite us coming to Christ and being saved, there is the bitter truth that until he returns, we will still be weak and sinful beings with all our faults, failings and shortcomings and I think it is the situations you described that perhaps God uses these things to show us that despite being forgiven, we cannot afford to be complacent about our lives and become self righteous. We really need to examine ourselves every day if we are to avoid the trap that the devil has set.
    Steve Davis

  • Yes we are quiet pitiful ain’t we?

    This is how I feel about Australia, people swanning around like fools. I say to them, you know God wont stand for this sort of behaviour forever you know? But I’m rejected again as a trouble maker.

    May I please bring up another Bill? I’ve had to my back teeth with the church funded trips to china, or where ever to see how they worship or eat some unusual food. Seriously we are in deep troubled times here.

    Daniel Kempton

  • @Steve
    You can contact me on my blog if you like. Leave an email address in comments.They’re moderated and won’t be published. Click on my name to go to blog. Blessings,
    Glenn Christopherson

  • Hi Bill, Glenn & Steve, if you’re interested I am happy to setup a listservice for interested posters to this list, and other who wish to join in prayer for these things, where pray points can be posted and delivered automatically to anyone who subscribes.

    To be honest, I find that much intercessory prayer in church is only for topical points: people in need, healing etc. and for church growth, church decisions – all good but that where it mostly ends. In churches I’ve attended the has only been the occasional prayer for our leaders, and I think that the church body by-and-large misses God’s heart on core issues.

    It all comes back to the fact that we’re not seeking Him and His righteousness so much as other ‘good’ things which are a bi closer to our hearts.

    Garth Penglase

  • Just reread Peter Newland’s post. Thank God that there are people within the more liberal denominations who are not going with the flow. Now is the opportunity for those people to influence others with the truth of God’s word before it just gets so bad in the secularized ‘church’ that the true believers just have to get out. It’s exciting to think what God is going to do with this new move of the Holy Spirit amongst the ‘come out from amongst them and be separate’ church.
    Dee Graf

  • There are no shortage of prophets but there is a shortage of listeners. In our time scale God seems to move slowly but he does move. If we look in the book of revelation we see that one third of all the trees will be burnt up. Now that’s already happened but people still look for that prophesy. Do they expect that God was referring only to the forrest remnants and one third of IT? We had the gulf oil spill if you looked at that you could conclude that a mountain of fire fell into the sea and killed the marine life but by it’s size alone it is insignicant. Volcanic mountains have fallen into the see but do not necessarily pollute and kill marine life albeit a few might get cooked, Many species live near underwater inner earth leakings but do not die so this has not yet come to pass. Jesus said observe the signs. Had half the city of Gommorah or Sodom been good people and obeyed Gods commandments I doubt he would have done what he did after all the good seed must grow with the tares. But if the whole barrel is rotten then dump it.
    Before that God said to Noah I shall wipe the earth clean of my creation. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life and all that was in the dry land died. There was no mention of the sea or river life so It would be reasonable to presume Noah supplemented some of his food supplies from the waters. Even sea weed is food.
    Noah had faith and put all his resources into building his Ark over a very long time. God had a plan.
    This is why I hate abortion on demand because it removes our trust in God and his plan. If population were the problem God could solve that in a moment. We have no idea what his limitation is. We would do better to accept a big population and whatever problems it brings, it is only greed and selfishness of the high corruption that banishes some people to abject poverty. I look upon that as another test from God as to how his people will respond to this circumstance will we share what we have? We already know how the corrupt and greed ridden so called Elite of this world will re-act. Kill the babies and the people otherwise they will affect and pollute our lifestyle.
    When people of old were thrown to the Lions many accepted that willingly rather than deny Christ. It was a hard decision but there is an uplifting glory in it. Many people in the past have been willing to die for their country are we as Christians willing to die for our God? Jesus said mention me and I will mention you in heaven. Die for me and i will give you a crown of life. Seriously what has the devil got to offer except more torment on this earth? God gives us the freedom of choice, The devil through man seeks to control and subdue it.
    What is the difference between a sheep herder in Gods early earth years and now?
    Nothing!
    Except control, manipulation, taxation, inspections, orders, regulations, paperwork and a mountain of beaurocracy living off anothers work. Err no thanks Mr Satan.
    Dennis Newland

  • Well put Bill ……
    Jeffrie Trika

  • Thanks, Jonathan.

    The Christian church is in urgent need of a theologically robust and biblically literate, yet easily accessible discussion about the sin of homosexuality.

    On the one hand we must proclaim that ALL sin merits God’s wrath; in God’s eyes there are not some people who are more worthy of hell and some who are less worthy of hell — hell is the destination of all unforgiven sinners. Similarly, divine grace is able to cover all sins, no matter how great. Apart from the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, no sin (provided it is repented of) can keep somebody out of eternal life.

    At the same time, it is foolish to say that all sins are equal. The differing degrees of punishments seen in the Mosaic law make it clear that some sins are weightier than others in God’s judgment.
    Sins are not equal in effect. Killing someone causes more harm than stealing a loaf of bread. Jesus’ remark “he who has been forgiven much, loves much; he who has been forgiven little, loves little” does not make sense if we regard all sins as carrying equal weight. Neither does Paul’s remark that “Christ Jesus came to forgive sinners, of whom I am the worst”.

    Sexual sin is clearly a more serious kind of sin because it is committed “against the body” (1 Cor 6) — that is, it is engaged in by the whole person, mind, spirit and body. No other sin — not even murder — requires such complete and utter self immersion. Even idolatry, which is the most serious kind of spiritual sin, typically engages the mind and spirit but not the body (though in the ancient world this was not the case; idol worship usually involved sex as well). Furthermore, sex is inextricably linked with procreation (Gen 1:28a), one of the central aspects of human existence; hence sexual sin has extremely wide ranging consequences, often multi-generational.

    Homosexuality is the immersion of the whole self (mind, spirit AND body) in a perverse act which completely rejects God’s purpose for the body. Our body’s sexual purpose is explained in Genesis — to become one flesh with a member of the opposite sex. Homosexuality completely overturns this purpose. Accordingly, Paul explains in Romans 1 that homosexuality is the ultimate corollary of rejecting God. Other kinds of sin follow as well (verses 29-31) but homosexuality is the pinnacle sin. It makes complete sense that Scripture consistently treats Sodom and Gomorrah as the archetype of sin. [If we are indeed “living in Sodom”, this is very, very serious]

    Brothers and sisters, don’t be intimidated by people saying that we are just a bunch of sex-obsessed moralistic nutcases who should focus equally on moral issues other than gay marriage. The Bible by no means ignores other sins, and neither should we, but it does place emphasis on sexual sin as being the most destructive and weighty of all sins, and makes it clear that homosexuality is the most perverse kind of sexual sin. Who are we to contradict the Bible?

    (Gosh, I feel like I’ve started to do Bill’s job for him!)

    Jereth Kok

  • Yes thanks Bill, another important article – prayer that lines up with God’s prescription for positive change is most needed – the challenge goes out to the people of God –“IF”- He is waiting for His people. Right praying and repentance gets right results. No matter what ministry we have, God calls all His people to pray His way.
    Stephen Lewin

  • @Garth
    Sounds good to me.
    Glenn Christopherson

  • Thanks Jereth

    Hey, feel free! You are more than qualified to take over my role. I then can go on a nice long vacation. Of course the problem is, you will then have to receive the regular barrage of criticism, hate mail and death threats. And the steady criticism from other Christians can be far more painful and discouraging. And of course you will have to quit your day job and do this 24/7! And without any financial compensation. But aside from these minor considerations, it is a piece of cake!

    Just kidding. I will keep fighting the good fight, but my job is made much easier by people like you and all your valuable input. Keep it up.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Garth, I will be in it, you hit the nail right on the head, you are certainly right about the main body of intercessory prayer, I hardly ever remember hearing anything about praying for the sort of stuff discussed on this site for example! I do know that in the past I used to ruffle a few feathers by praying for the removal of dictators and justice against drug dealers etc. I was told that I need to be careful about being too judgemental etc., but the crunch came last year when I was praying on Father’s Day, I prayed that wives would love their husbands and recognise the contribution that they make to the marriage and apparently some egghead in the congregation had a moan and said that I was implying that men should relax more and wives should work harder! How they managed to extract that from the prayer I prayed is wildly beyond me! nothing I said even remotely implied that so yeah, you have to watch it these days!
    Steve Davis

  • Thanks Bill for your excellent article.
    This again has nothing to do with your article, but I will ask you anyway.
    I have heard about EMILY’s list. Do you have any information about this list?
    Thanks
    Anne van Tilburg

  • Thanks Anne

    Yes I have mentioned it often on this site recently. Julia is of course a founding member of this feminist pro-abortion group. You can read all about them at their own site: www.emilyslist.org.au/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Jonathon Sarfati, may I encourage you to engage with these posts more often? And Bill, another excellent post.
    Stan Fishley

  • Hi Bill,

    So much has been said already, that I probably can’t offer much more. But I just want to encourage you, since what you have written is so vital. Thank you for trying to shake the church out of its spiritual lethargy so that it might be able to stand in the gap for a sinful world. I will be getting on my knees for some fervent prayer.

    Scott Buchanan

  • Music to my ears Scott. If we would all spend far more time on our faces before God, imagine the impact this might have. Many thanks for your kind words of encouragement. They do mean a lot, especially in face of all the criticism and hate mail I get, most of which I cannot even publish here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Years ago, I listened to a sermon by David Wilkerson, called “Sodom’s sister”, I think. One thing I remember clearly about that is the use of the word sister. We often talk about “sister cities” and I found this analogy interesting. Indeed Ezekiel refers to Sodom as a sister city. There is much the Bible has to say about Sodom and Gomorrah. Here’s a sample: www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=Sodom&version1=31&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no

    One verse is particularly significant: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV). The people of Sodom only cared about themselves, not those in need. This really begs the question: Do we care about those who are poor and needy, that is not just those who have little money and have special physical needs, but more importantly those who do not know Christ and need his grace, or do we just care about ourselves? As we read in James, faith without works is dead. If you truly believe something you will act accordingly. So we should not just pray for those in need and for love for them, but act in faith and do things.

    In addition to Sodom and Gomorrah, it is also well worth considering Babylon, which is found in the Bible from cover to cover as well, beginning with the Tower of Babel. I’ve been listening to talks on Isaiah recently and learnt much about Babylon, a city much like Sodom.

    Matt Vinay

  • Jonathan, that brief article by Peter Barnes is excellent. Christians need to be much more wary of taking lazy theological shortcuts, such as “WWJD” and “all sins are the same in God’s eyes”. We need to be reading our Bibles with a lot more care and discernment.

    Jereth Kok

  • Completely agree with your assertion about Christians leaders who look down to Earth rather than up to the Heavens, seeking to please men rather than God. It is as if the Christian left see evil and lack the will to fight it, rather seeking to come to some sort of shabby compromise with it (one can only imagine the state of the universe if Jesus looked to find “common ground” with Satan as opposed to rebuking him).

    Fr Frank Brennan SJ is a prime example of what is wrong with much of Australian Christianity. He seems to seek the praise and adoration of the Australian left, supporting policies and parties which are highly incompatible with Christianity (like the charter of rights, the Greens party) whilst paying the odd bit of lip service to the much more pressing issues like the culture of death and the disintegration of the family unit.

    I doubt whether many of these “Christian lefties” have ever bothered to read the Bible and many seem hell bent on turning Christian churches into social welfare agencies with crosses tacked on the wall and a token mention of God here and there.

    Nick Smith

  • Thanks Nick

    Sadly, I believe you are quite right. There is of course plenty of room in the church for social action, and the history of the church is the history of Christians helping people with all their needs, not just spiritual ones. But when compromise enters the equation, and/or when the basics of the gospel are sidelined or eliminated, then we simply have the old Social Gospel of the theological liberals.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The reason so many are indifferent is that they’re not aware of the trends that have been creeping up on us, embracing the whole society in way that is suffocating it. In my country (the USA), the number of violent crimes is five times greater than in the beginning of the Sixties and the same with addiction and so on. Meanwhile over the same period, illegitimacy has risen eightfold. The sexual revolution of which approval for homosexuality is merely the latest phase, is much more responsible for the crime rate than any other factor, but people are just not connecting the dots. We hear on the nightly news about rates of interest and unemployment, while the rates of social dysfunction, which are much more important, are ignored. As for sexual sin being more serious, you can prove it not just theologically but also statistically. If we can get people to connect all these dots, they will understand the seriousness of the situation and turn to prayer.
    John O’Connor, USA

  • When I was a young christian everyone took their own bible to the meetings. Today, very few do. Do you think that the leadership of the church doesn’t want people to read the bible as they might discover something that is being taught that is contrary to the word of God?

    Bottom line…we do not war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places.

    The antidote? Prayer and intercession and spiritual power. How interesting that the church in general has banished both. The church is innefective because it is trying to deal with spiritual powers with human thinking and wisdom. In other words, we don’t need God, we can solve the problems ourselves.

    There are territorial spirits all over the place, keeping people in bondage. The most common one in the church is a religious spirit. That is the one that fights to maintain the status quo at all costs.

    It is most relevant if you do the same thing as you have always done, you will get the results that you have always got. In most cases, nothing except the status quo.

    A lack of faith in God and his word and a “don’t rock the boat” mentality is sending the church to an early grave. Out of it will rise the true church whose motto will be “whatever it takes.”

    Hasten the day Lord!!!

    Roger Marks

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