Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chrysostom on Romans 1:26-27

Talk about politically incorrect! I have been re-reading some of the notes I jotted down several years ago as I read through Romans. I noticed several quotes I copied from Chrysostom's homilies on Romans. In looking at this passage he notes that God's in judgment upon idolators, he gives them over to (1) impurity, (2) degrading passions, and (3) an undiscerning debased mind. He notes the severity of the judgment on many levels. Primarily, that in homosexuality the soul is more the sufferer and more dishonored by this sin than the body is by any disease. It is not that people were hindered from natural and legitimate intercourse, rather they dishonored what was natural and ran after what was contrary to nature. This is one of the proofs of the evil of such an act: All humanity would go extinct in one generation if this became the norm.

The next wrung down, Chrysostom notes, is the self-degredation of women. Women have always been the guardians of public morality. The most foul-mouthed man of a generation ago, watched his language in front of women, and certain subjects were simply taboo in "mixed company." Paul does not say that these men and women were enamored with each other. No! He says they "burned in their lust toward one another." Chrysostom suggests that this is Satan's attempt to destroy the human race because the sexual desire is what, on a biological level, draws the sexes together. So Satan severs this bond and draws people into unnatural acts. Chysostom writes, "He shows that the punishment was in the pleasure itself...While doing themsleves such injury, they smile and revel over what has happened." This insight was seen by Plato (Theaet 176,7) and Sophocles (Ajax 265-277), nevertheless Greek society was riddled with homosexuality. Solon evidently thought it was a privilege too great for slaves and allowed it from free men only. Chrysostom notes that it is worse than prostitution, because at least there, though vilely sinful, at least it is an act according to nature. He calls it worse than murder; for the murderer severs the body from the soul, but this man "ruins the soul with the body." The man does not become a woman, he loses his manhood and becomes a traitor to both sexes, "deserving both of men and women to be driven out and stoned, as having wronged either sex." If someone assured you that he could actually turn you into a dog, you would run for the hills. This is worse. At least a dog is good for something - this man is good for nothing. "Consider how great this sin is, to have forced Hell to appear even before its time!" 

With all the fascination many churches seem to have with sermons and serieses of sermons about sex, somehow I don't anticipate anyone preaching like Chysostom any time soon.

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