Sodomy: What Say, in History, the Churches of God?
20 February, 2014
McClintock and Strong produced the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, published by Harper and Brothers, 1867-1887, reprinted by Baker Book House Company in 1981. I bought by own copy within a few years of that date and remain gratified by the usefulness of the set – a wealth of exactly what the title says.
For example, I consulted it today just to sooth my mind with some sound reading and judgments. When one lives in an age of doctrinal apostasy and intellectual idiocy when the very idea of a Standard is thought peculiar, it is good to be reminded of the sober judgments of the past. In particular, it is helpful to shore up one’s confession of the Faith today by hearing the testimonies of the past.
Our encyclopedists say this in vol. IX, p. 859 (which is available here http://books.google.com/books?id=f04XAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR5#v=onepage&q&f=false):
“SODOMY, an unnatural crime, consisting of the defilement of man with man, and thus differing from bestiality, which is defilement of man with brutes. The name is derived from Sodom, in which city the crime was frequent. Sodomy was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic law, and was punishable with death (Lev. 20:13). Among the pagan nations of antiquity, as still in many heathen countries, this was a very common vice (Rom. 1:27); the Greeks and Romans designated it by the term pederasty (see Wilcke, De Satyricis Romanis [Viteb. 1760]). In the early Church this was considered, not an ordinary, but a monster crime. The Council of Ancyra has two canons relating to this and similar crimes, imposing heavy ecclesiastical penalties upon offenders. St. Basil (Can. 62, 63) imposes the penalty of adultery, viz., twenty years’ penance; and the Council of Eliberis refused communion, even at the last hour, to those guilty of this crime with boys. There was an old Roman law against it, called Lex Scantinia, mentioned by Juvenal (Sat. ii, 44) and others; but it lay dormant until revived by Christian emperors. Constantus made it a capital offense, and ordered it to be punished with death by the sword; while Theodosius decreed that those found guilty should be burned alive. According to modern legislation, it is considered a very heinous crime, and severely punished.” See Joseph Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, bk. xvi, ch. xi, p. 9.
It is good, by the reading of the wisdom of another time, to have our minds set free from the intellectual inebriation they suffer under the influence of the Zeit Geist of the moment. Although we would be critical of some ecclesiastical pronouncements – in particular, the Council of Eliberis which denied last rites to the pederast – we find in the record a consistent, strong, monolithic, judgment by the churches down through the ages against the Lawless voices of “diversity” in our age. The current Age of Apostasy and Perversion is unparalleled in the history of the Christendom.