Sodom and Gomorrah, and Trump and Clinton

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Gerald "Jerry" Bowyer is an American economist, author, and columnist.

What destroys a nation? People keep telling us that if we don't support this candidate or that candidate that we will reach a point of no return, and the nation will be destroyed.

But let's start with first principles. If we're Christians, we get them from the Bible.

We have a story from the Bible about two "nations" which reached their point of no return; Sodom and Gomorrah. Something rendered them unsaveable. Was it the fact that they tolerated homosexuality? Probably not. Lots of ancient civilizations tolerated, even mandated, homosexuality, including the homosexual abuse of children and they went on for centuries.

Something was different about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

What's so perfect about the Sodom story is that we're actually given the advantage of a peek into God's mind, because He engaged in a process of negotiation with Abraham about the destruction of those two city-states. Abraham was a "friend of God," which to modern ears sounds like they were pals, but to ancient ears it meant that Abraham was a member of the cabinet. He was invited to council meetings. Friend of God doesn't mean, we, ya know, just, like hang out together. It means that we're part of the administration.

For an example note the way the crowd of Judeans threatened Pilate by telling him that if he let Jesus go, he was "no friend of Caesar." In other words, Pilate, whose Roman sponsor Sijanus had just been executed for treason by Caesar, was being told that the Herodian authorities would they write to Rome (again) to raise doubts about Pilate as a loyal member of the Tiberius administration.

So, back to Sodom. God told his friend, Abraham, that he would spare Sodom if it had ten righteous citizens. He didn't say that he would save Sodom if it had leaders who were slightly less evil, or that he would spare it if righteous people played shrewder electoral politics or more willing to engage in dodgy political compromises and alliances. He didn't say he would destroy Sodom because its rulers were wicked. He said He would destroy it if there were not at least ten righteous.

Why?

Because ten righteous equals a minyan, the minimum number of people required (according to traditional Torah interpretation) for public religious observations such as worship. Ten righteous men is a synagogue, proclaiming God publicly on a weekly basis. But one righteous man is "vexed," as the New Testament said of Lot (2 Peter 2:7). There is no counterculture with one or two families, just vexation and slow assimilation through intermarriage. That's what happened leading up the flood. The distinct faithful witness was lost so that in the end you didn't have a faithful counter-culture, you just had (after the death of Lamech) one vexed man and his family.

But with ten, you've got the minimum requirement (according to tradition) of a synagogue, and with a synagogue you have an institutional voice of truth, an agent that can teach, and warn and explain (when national pain and crisis comes) what the meaning of that pain is and how to respond to it through repentance.

S&G were a blight upon the earth; they were cities set along trade routes and instead of offering hospitality, they offered rape (Ezekiel chapter 16, says that lack of hospitality is what got S&G wiped out). Judgment, famine, plague, etc. could not fix the situation on their own, because the only way that pain works is when accompanied by instruction. If there is no instruction, there really is no discipline, just pointless anguish. If you are a God of the sojourner, then why let two sojourner rape cities continue to exist if there is no redeeming voice left to make punishment effective?

So here's the application.

America is done when God's people are done ... speaking the truth, when we are too frightened, or too divided or too intimidated, or too compromised, when we are a vexed atomized speechless undifferentiated glob of pitch in the mortar of the Great Tower. Until then, we can survive wicked rulers: Israel did it for centuries. What we can't survive is voiceless vexation, because what would be the point?

Jerry Bowyer is the President of Bowyer Research, editor of AffluentChristianInvestor.com, host of the video series Principled Reasoning: An Economic Worldview , and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership