9/28/2008

Did God make Ray Boltz Gay?

How will your church respond to Ray Boltz coming out as a homosexual?

TWO QUESTIONS:
1. What has your church done with Sandy Patty and Amy Grant?
2. What will your church likely do with Boltz?

Keith Drury

59 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I think how we answer this one is really dependent on how we view Scripture and marriage.

First, is Scripture different from other religious texts? If so, how much does it differ? What does inspriration mean? Does one view Scripture as inerrant, infallible? Are words to be understaood literally, or figaratively? If literally, then, how is one to understand the difference in translations of language? If figuratively, then how is one to understand where to draw lines where social change dissolves the proper boundaries around what the ?Church should be affirming...like marriage.

If marriage is the key issue, then marriage has to be understood for its purposes. From Scripture, all Christians believe that marriage is to represent Christ and the Church. But, what about marriage is representative of Christ and the Church? Paul addresses how the two must relate to one another. The Genesis account says the purpose of marriage is to reproduce, to replenish the earth. If the only reason for marriage is to produce children, then what is a couple to do when they are barren? Is the man to seek out another so that he can produce an heir? This was the view in ancient cultures.
If marriage is viewed as an exclusive relationship that should represent the fidelity of Christ to the Church, then, reproduction, is not the main purpose for marriage. Marriage is then useful for character training.

As far as your questions...whether science is proven to be the cause of homosexuality through the "genes" or whether it is due to the upbringing through the dysfunction of the social structures of the family and/or other mentoring structures...then, is one responsible to suppress the behavior, re-learn new behavior patterns, or what?
I don't believe that homosexuality should be considered in the same camp as alcoholism, gambling, etc., other addictive behaviors, because the issue is sexual identity, and not just a behavior that is destructive to society and oneself...Is homosexual behavior destructive to society and the homosexual, if it is within the confines of a monogomous relationship?
I think that Paul addresses homosexuality within the "bath houses" of the Greco Roman world, where indencencies of every kind were practiced. This is what he was forbidding. ..
It really depends on how you understand your faith in regards to what the "law" requires. Chirstians will differ on this one, I believe.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

By the way, Keith, how does one understand Judiasm and Christian faith as a sect of Judiasm, within world religions and world history. isn't it about politics after all. History is made by politics and Scriptures were written within a political framework. So, the political is the realm of the real interpretation, not the spiritual.

Since Christianity was a "purification" of Jewish moral law, i.e. ministry to humanity, then, there is no "relgious truth" per se, it is about a life lived within a political context.

shawnbarr said...

Here is What I wrote on the subject.

(Thanks for the tip Keith!)

shawnbarr said...

As always Keith you make us think about this issue from a variety of angles.

Genetics - If they do find that same sex attraction (SSA) is genetic would that make it moral? To me we can ask the same question about any other behavior: alcoholism, adultery, or picking our nose. I don't see that just because something is genetic makes it moral. A bank robber could use the same argument. Of course, the gay community will say that activities that harm others are automatically immoral - and to them, homosexuality is a personal issue not harming anyone. Of course being a drunkard could be the same thing. It doesn't harm any one so drink up! Most would disagree.

The Fall - It seems reasonable to say that the fall affected every part of humanity - even genetics. Thus, saying "it's in the genes" doesn't really mean anything. Sandy Patti could say the same thing about adultery. I could say the same thing about being addicted to coffee or football.

Our Response - Interestingly enough, we have a situation in our church right now regarding a similar issue. We have a former member who want's to return. He used to be a he, but is turning into a she. He wears a dress and wants to use the ladies room versus the men's room. We're determining our response at the moment - it was a deacons meeting agenda item tonight.

A response to this issue regarding Boltz hasn't even been discussed at our church. It probably won't be unless some of his music is requested. I'll be interested in how your readers respond.

Thanks for making us think.

Pastor James said...

Haven't we been preaching forever that sin was past through genetics from Adam and Eve? It didn't transfer through osmosis. We are all genetically prone to sin ever since Adam and Eve sinned first. It's part of our genetics that will be healed when we meet Christ. However, I am a firm believer in the process of sanctification. As we grow in grace our desires ought to change. We should eventually come to the point in our life when we desire God more than sin.

I'm going to make it a point from now on every time I hear a Ray Boltz song to pray for his spiritual condition. Cancer is often times genetic. But, we don't blame God when we get cancer. Often times it is because of our behavior. Bad behavior mixed with a genetic incline towards sin can be disastrous. Let's hope that what Wilbur Williams says will come true in the life of Ray Boltz, "What Satan meant for bad God will use for good."

My heart goes out to Ray Boltz. I still want to hear the song Thank You when I get to heaven.

Nathan Crawford said...

This is a little off subject, but pertinent to the discussion - at least, I think so.

If we are going to discuss the Fall and place it within the very genetic makeup of humanity, I think we run into problems for other areas of theological thinking that are very important for evangelicals (esp. Wesleyans). First, if original sin (the consequence of the Fall) is part of the person's DNA (our genetic makeup), then what does this say about Jesus? Does he have sin within his very genetic makeup? If so, it does not seem that he can get out of having some degree of sinfulness? If not, does this make Him fully human? I think this could be a large problem.

Second, I think we run into problems for the doctrine of sanctification. If we talk about sin being part of our DNA, then can we every be fully cleansed from sin? Are we just stuck in the old Lutheran idea that we are always saint and always sinner? If so, this seems to go against the greater part of both Scripture and the Christian tradition.

Anyway, all of this just to say that I get a little nervous about talking about the Fall affecting our very DNA. I'm not saying that this could not have happened (I don't know), but we need to think about it through all of these different angles. I also think this will color how we then approach the issue of homosexuality in our church.

shawnbarr said...

Nathan,

"Does he have sin within his very genetic makeup?"

My response would be that the immaculate conception and virgin birth took care of this issue.

The AJ Thomas said...

Nathan - I actually wrote an entirely speculative theory about this on my blog. My basic point was that some genetic traits come from a certain parent. My theory being that however the sinful nature is passed on (genetic or some form of "spiritual" DNA) that it is passed by the father.

Shawnbarr - I agree with you on the Virgin birth but the immaculate conception is a bit far fetched in my estimation and ultimately doesn't solve the problem it just bumps it back a generation.

Pastor James said...

Yes, the emmaculate conception and virgin birth took care of the problem of Jesus having some sort of sinfulness.

Plus, what Ray Boltz is doing is just the same story on a different day. John wrote 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John to combat against false teaching and gnosticism. Gnostics believed that since they were genetically bad that they could go on sinning because Christ had forgiven the sins of the flesh. John warned that we must not let these people near the Body of Christ. Especially, new Christians who would actually believe something so rediculous as: "God made me gay." Might as well say, "The Devil Made me do It." In the New Testament church there were false churches who were allowing these gnostic Christians; and yes they were called Christians; to be in leadership and continue their work in the church. However, they were not allowed in the one true church under John's leadership. The church needs to stand up against these false teachings. Satan truly has the same chess moves everytime he plays. He tries to degrade Gods holiness by tricking us into believing God accepts some of our sins and not others. He did this in the New Testament church, in the early church under the authority of Rome. His next move will be to try once again to convince people that Jesus was only a man. He will do this eventually in the form of a real person whom we will call the "Anti-Christ." All of what Ray Boltz is claiming is sadly 'against Christ..'

Thanks for letting me preach and get this out of my system.

David Drury said...

I know a lot of my generation has felt that Ray Boltz' music was "gay" for a long time. However, we were using that as a perjorative [and i'm sure offensive] term to refer to his campy and over-wrought singing... not to his sexuality.

Now we find out that he was ACTUALLY gay. So the joke isn't funny now. [Well, it's a little bit funny still.]

I'm so glad that I'm in a denomination that already took a stand on divorce so that we don't have to deal with "homosexuality" as the front line of moral/sexual issues. Oh, wait, i'm thumbing through my discipline now... bummer... now I see that we made changed in the discipline some time ago as a compromise on divorce, so I guess this is the actual front line in the Wesleyan Church.

Uh oh.

-DD

shawnbarr said...

David,

"know a lot of my generation has felt that Ray Boltz' music was "gay" for a long time."

That's funny - I've never heard anyone say that before. And I assume we're in the same generation (maybe not...I'm 44).

Angie Van De Merwe said...

The Wesleyans believe that DNA defines the person? That is, it is physicalism that underlies Scripture's "sins of the fathers"? So, which comes first? Scripture's paradigmic model that science "discovers" or science's discovery that is found within Scripture? If this is the case, there really is a literalism in the Wesleyan Church, that I didn't realize....

David Drury said...

Shawn B = don't take my first comment seriously... meant in jest. Although I must say that I've heard more than a dozen people mock Boltz's songs through the years. But music is prone to such banal partiality. [I do suspect even fewer speakers will get away with doing the Boltz "Watch the Lamb" mime at youth camps now.]

-DD

FYI: we're more than 10 years apart in age, as I'm in my early thirties, so I don't know if we're in the same generation.

alee said...

Why does the whole sin thing have to be genetic or bodily anyway? Doesn't Jesus teach us that man commits sin in his heart first and that any other action flows out of this? There is an inclination to sin in humanity, but Jesus chose to work out his life without it. He didn't sin because he was submitted to the father and was conceived and ministered to by the holy spirit, not because he was born without a male's DNA input. We have a serious problem in modern society if we place sin at the feet of genetics. What if a clone was born with the DNA of two women? Would that child
be "sinless?" As far as "being" gay, i like how shawn barr put it on his blog. We all have had desires to do wrong; practicing homosexuality strikes me as the same. I struggle with food, and lusting, and envy etc. Ray struggles with sexual feelings for men. None of it is God's desire for our lives, but one more example of something being wrong with us as a people.

(PS I totally believe in the virgin birth and immaculate concepetion as truth, just not all of the conclusions drawn from it)

shawnbarr said...

David D - No, I really did think that was funny; like in haha. :)

I'd never heard anyone say that about Boltz' music before.

Shoot, we're probably not in the same generation. I'm getting old. Sigh (jk)

Keith Drury said...

TWO THINGS I'd like to drop into the conversation:

------Let's remembet the "immaculate concepetion" is usualy known as the Roman Catholic dogma regarding Mary not Jesus (though if we say so we can apply the notion to Jesus but it usualy comes under another head).

------ I wonder if I might elicit some answers to the two very practical questions at the close of the column:

1. What has your church done with Sandy Patty and Amy Grant?
2. What will your church likely do with Boltz?

dan said...

Answer to Question #1:
At some level, we realize that divorce and affairs are events, not lifestyles. They happen at points in time and can be moved away from. There is a point when they are no more. Thus with these two women, we've been able to give a few years to allow ourselves to heal.

With that said, Sandy and Amy are 'back' but still on the outside of the in group. (Sort of with a giant red A around their neck.) Even though there is forgiveness and love for them - all is not forgotten.

Homosexuality is usually seen in a different light, because the whole debate has been focused on nature. "I am a homosexual." as opposed to "I got a divorce" or "I had an affair" These two women were able to move themselves away from their actions because they never challenged the conventional understanding of their sexuality. Ray Boltz is.

Answer to Question #2:
I think that the church will treat Ray differently for this reason:
I was having a conversation with a pastor (who at that time was on the DBA of that district) during the time when Ted Haggard was in the news. His commentary was, "I could at least understand if (the affair) was with a woman...but a man?!?" (full body shiver)

I think the only thing that will bring Ray Boltz back into the flock is if he recants his homosexual lifestyle completely. As long as he is practicing this lifestyle, and as long as he continues to say it is how God has created him, he'll never be allowed back.

John Mark said...

Sunday before last I sang Thank You. My wife, even before I told her about Ray coming out said "It's been done to death." But I had procrastinated on finding a song for a mission service.....
I have some Sunday's as many as 1/2 dozen people I strongly suspect are gay, or have been involved in homosexual relationships (mostly women); one man I know for sure because he has sought me for counseling.
I think this will be the (THE) hot potato issue for the church in this century, and I am not optimistic that we will handle it well, in part because we haven't known how to deal with divorce. As you pointed out, we let Sandy Patti and Amy back in, along with many others. I am not being critical, I honestly don't know how church leaders should have addressed this matter in a way that is both redemptive and yet adheres to biblical standards. Boycotting music, to be redundant, seems to have a limited shelf life, and besides, I have people in my congregation who are on their third and fourth marriages, so it is a little late to get all huffy about divorce, unless some of us want to go off and start a new denomination.
The one thing I see about Ray's situation is that this is considered an unassailable reason for leaving your wife: God made me this way. That was the case with Robinson, and of a young man in my town.
The COTN has drafted a paper on this, under the auspices of the office of General Superintendents, but younger Nazarenes have been, from my admittedly limited view, more critical than supportive. As everyone knows, Emergents tend to see sexual orientation in more fluid terms (Scot McKnight) and resent what they see as Dobson influenced right wing political overtones.
My gut feeling is that, perhaps not with Ray, and not right away, we will say it is OK to be gay. (No attempt at really bad poetry intended)

John Mark said...

If Dan is right, and there is a lot of truth in what he says, I still think this could become a divisive issue in the church, ala ECUSA. Perhaps we are a long way from that, because conservative Anglicans (as they prefer to call themselves these days) point out that there was a great deal of water under the bridge (for example, rejecting the divinity of Christ) before they got to where they are today.
And we can always pray for wisdom, and some sort of revival.

pastorchris'place said...

Keith -- as always, very thought provoking and challenging post.

I once heard a Wesleyan preach a sermon "The Practice, Proneness (word may not be right), and Possibility of Sin" and how God's grace worked out in the life of believers. That's not the exact title but since you delivered it you will remember clearer.

I thought Wesleyans believed in Salvation as the deliverance from the practice of known sin and sanctification the cleansing from the inclination toward particular sins. Alas...

Your questions are very important. How did we treat Patti and Grant? I personally stopped promoting their current professional endeavors. Their sort-of apologies smacked of "cheap grace" thinking -- act now and you can always ask for forgiveness later.

What to do with their previous material was for me the stickiest wicket.

Then I recalled a bit of church history. During the years of persecution, some ministers recanted their faith, denied the Lord, during suffering. Later, when the persecution subsided, they returned to the faith and sought to serve again. The church adopted a policy that stated the effectiveness of the ministry (esp. Sacraments) rested in God and not the minister.

I the principle seemed useful. "El Shaddai" and "Morning Like This" were still true and God-exalting works, though the musicians were flawed. So I continued to use such material.

With Bolz, I will follow suit. Stop promoting his current career and utilize the God-exalting material as situation arises.

Just my take on things...

shawnbarr said...

Keith, to answer your questions.

1)Our church has taken no official position on Amy Grant or Sandi Patti.

2) On Boltz - Our position will come into play regarding the use of his music; most of which is dated enough that it wouldn't be in our normal rotation. Therefore, we probably will not even discuss him or his decision. The only thing that could happen is if someone wants to use one of his numbers for special music; it would probably get vetoed.

shawnbarr said...

I also agree that the church's stance towards homosexuality (or same sex attraction, whatever you want to call it) will be one of the defininig issues of the next 20 to 30 years. Erwin Lutzer gave a message on this at Moody Pastor's conference 2 years ago. He's written a book called, "The Truth About Same Sex Marriage" that is compelling.

Burton Webb said...

Question 1 - What has your church done with Sandy Patty? - is particularly interesting to me... Sandy Patty attends my church and has for many years.

I do not recognize any of the other contributors here as fellow attenders of Madison Park Church of God so I am a little taken back at some of your pronunciations regarding cheap grace. As someone who walked through the process, witnessed her public confession before our church and watched as her broken repentance developed into forgiveness, I think I can say pretty decisively that the grace extended to her was not cheap. In so much as one person can say this about another; her repentance was real, heartfelt, and extraordinarily painful. Sandy submitted herself to several years of church-mandated counseling and was asked to abandon her public ministry for a time (two years if I recall correctly).

She and her (new) husband have borne years of mistrust and scorn from within the church and without. Divorce is incredibly painful, the more so if you are in the public eye.

Do we sing her songs on Sunday - no, she sings them. Full voiced and with passion. More importantly, her children sing them, and their own songs as well. We offered her forgiveness and have been blessed many times over for the act.

I would not recommend this, but perhaps you should broaden the scope of the inquest if you are inclined to judge people... perhaps you should ask who the sexually impure are before you start rejecting the music you will use on Sunday. I will not name, names - but there are many arrangers and composers who write widely used choir anthems and share both Ray's proclivity and practice. They are simply more low-profile.

I suspect that we will continue to use Ray's music (and that of his fellows) when it is appropriate. I suspect that you will continue (blissfully unaware) to use the music of other homosexual men.

Chap said...

Sandy Patty, Amy Grant and Ray Boltz are so "yesterday" that most churches aren't even giving this an afterthought.
Besides, taking seriously Christian celebrities is a little like taking Paris Hilton seriously about what she has to say about family values.
When it comes to good music (Christian or secular)I say, "shut up and sing!"

Finally, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit without sin...that was decided a long, long time ago.

Dean said...

I have found the following verses very helpful to distinguish between the message and the messenger.

15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[a] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. --Philippians 1:15-18

Regarding the music of Ray Boltz... I say let the message continue. Regarding his lifestyle... It is a shame and let the Church say so.

Chap said...

Has anyone given any thought to how those 4 kids and his (ex)wife feel today in order for Ray to pursue his God-given sexual freedom and "play for the Lord" at all those metropolitan churches?

pastorchris'place said...

Burton --

I regret the description of the situation as "cheap grace." It was an overreaction to the rather glib way Christians in general deal with sin, especially the sin of divorce. I should not have attached it to anyone without knowing the back story. I apologize.

Second, one of the marks of the True Church is right administration of Discipline. I totally believe in the restoration of the fallen if it involves submission to godly leadership. I appreciate your correction to the Patti story to include such a process of restoration. Other notables who have fallen have not been submissive or entered into church discipline and that leaves much doubt as to their current effective participation in the Church.

That being said, the Church should still take a stand for marriage and describe divorce as Jesus did -- sin. It is too casually passed over, I am afraid.

alee said...

for me the question in regards to a postition on Ray or Sandi or Amy is "Is their music good, relevant, and does it speak to the work of God in our lives." I think having a postion on any person in the entertainment industry is kind of foolish. I would much rather talk about whether their music is worth my time or not. The fact that they have taken actions we may not agree with doesn't change the song. I also realize that for some people they cannot separate the person from the problem. Let's be honest, all of us have gone to movies made and starring people who have sinned or have bought music from bands and individuals who have led or lead messed up lives. People are scared that someone made it through the protective Christian bubble and brought some bad things with them. They feel tricked. How we deal with this is important we can respond like Christians usually do with bocotts and cd burnings, or we can respond in love. It doesn't mean that we don't take homosexuality seriously, but that we care more about helping him through this than we do about being right and making him pay for making us look dumb.

Jared Henry said...

Here's a link to a statment the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene put out about the issue of homosexuality.

It's worth a read.

http://www.nazarene.org/files/docs/Perspectives_Homosexuality.pdf

Kevin Wright said...

Before people begin gawk and gasp and see Ray Boltz as an anomaly, let me share with you something that one of my friends told me after he time in a church music program at a very conservative Christian School.

"If churches decided to kick out every homosexual from their midst, a lot of church choirs would be devoid of men and a lot of songs would never get sung."

Just saying...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It is interesting to me that one of the deonminations that has sanctioned change in the Church's understanding of such issues as slavery, women's rights, etc. would not be slower in judging this forthcoming social change...Historically, did the more liberal segments of the Church respond as strongly against the social changes in their day?

Craig Moore said...

Not using someone's music because they are gay or divorced is very narrow minded and judgmental. Gay's in the church, adulterers, fornicators and divorces are problems that God must deal with, our fears and distancing ourselves from these people is very unproductive and hinders the potential for ministry to them. Just because they inhabit our churches doesn't mean we condone their sin. Be nice to them, love them and welcome them. A church fellowship is where they need to be. Jesus hung out with sinners.

Keith Drury said...

NAZARENE STATEMENT.
If you were unable to get Jared's links above here is the
Nazarene statement

The AJ Thomas said...

To answer your specific questions Keith: My church didn't exist (we are 1 year old) in a time or place where anyone knew who Sandy Patty, Amy Grant, or Ray Boltz were. The possible exception being Grant's pop hit "Baby, Baby" which I whole-heartedly believe we should all take a firm and unyielding stand against.

Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan said...

Craig,

To a degree. If they proclaim a personal relationship with Christ, than we need to hold them accountable to end their sin.

John Mark,

Lets not assume that all emergents are liberal and their thoughts are "forever morphing."

Keith,

As with Patty and Grant, we dont sing them anyone anyway..way to outdated.

As with Boltz, we will no longer be singing his songs. Simply because everyone now knows his lifestyle and it becomes to distracting during a worship service.

Did God make Boltz gay? Absolutely not. As a good Wesleyan, I believe that Boltz chose to be gay and hence has lost his salvation because of his repeditive sin.

John Mark said...

SAW,
You are right, I should not assume. And I don't automatically assume that "their thoughts are forever morphing." But 'spokesmen' for the movement, such as McKnight, have repeatedly been on record as saying those kinds of things (they are politically and socially liberal, or "tend to be"- which is what I said) and as far as I know, have not been challenged.
But I accept your correction. Thank you.

Kevin Wright said...

"As a good Wesleyan, I believe that Boltz chose to be gay and hence has lost his salvation because of his repeditive sin." -SAW

As a good Wesleyan, I believe that God has the final say in salvation and that God's grace is greater than we will ever know. I believe that God's grace hounds us into Heaven and that salvation is a gift freely given and not something snatched away by a greedy God.

Pastorwes said...

This whole discussion makes me want to puke. Our Methodist Mother church should move over quickly and make room for us because we are catching up to her in every way!

pastorchris'place said...

Kevin --

Certainly an interesting perspective on the nature of God and his grace to say it's "something not snatched away be a greedy God." As a Wesleyan (good, bad or ugly) I would never say God is greedy or that he snatches away grace. We do believe, at least on the paper used to print our Discipline, that humans can forfeit that grace by their choice and fall away.

In Paul's discussion of those who have rejected the grace and truth of God, he describes this particular sin as something "God gave them over to..."

Keith Drury said...

I wonder the extent to which Sarah Palin’s position on homosexuality in last night’s debate is relevant to this discussion…
see my comment here

Outside-the-Beltway Drury said...

When I first read this post I said, "Ray who?!" Since, someone has hummed me at least one tune I knew...

The fact is coming "out" anymore is pretty weak. At least in the old days, it really meant something--"Hi, I'm gay" and you got thrown to the lions.

Now you say that and you get elevated to Episcopal Bishop.

That said, I like the questions. Here are my thoughts.

1) Within the next two years a study will "prove" that being homo is genetic. Get ready for it. Most Christians are completely unprepared to challenge scientific "proof." For those of us still opposed to alcohol consumption, most still can't begin to argue against the "it's good for you" junk science. How can we expect to fare better with the "truth" of genetics.

2) I'm glad no one has really bitten on this question. (or if they have, I haven't been willing to read them) It's almost silly to even put in a blog. As if in a few paragraphs someone will solve the "big" question. I like the way one of my five year olds put it, "Why did God create the devil anyway?"

3) Ban is such a harsh word. In most cases a friendship with someone who comes will remain but change. (At least that's my experience--I'm pulling a Palin). As for Boltz, I'm not his friend. I now know him because he is in the business of selling music. Ban? He makes his living selling music. Should I support his new lifestyle by continuing to buy it? I stopped going to McDonalds why not Boltz. Let his new "friends" buy his music.

Observation on the relational aspect of this:

It was illuminating to see the contrast between the comment by someone who really has a relationship with Sandi Patti and her family and the rest of us who only have the illusion of a relationship because she was/is in the business of selling music. Ban Sandi from our churches? No. We just don't buy as much of her music.

4) This is a collective question but I will give a personal answer. I respond to a professed Christian making a declaration of "gaydom" by looking to see where my kids are and quietly moving them in the opposite direction. If my church decided to "love" this gay Christian and he stuck around, I would look for a reason to leave and do so quietly. I've got kids to raise. There is a qualitative difference between someone you thought you knew (and your kids knew) professing gaydom and someone who walks in off the street who is gay.

5) This is a tough one. I think it is legitimate to say there should be some difference in treatment. I certainly wouldn't knowingly allow a gay male to associate with my boys. So, no music lessons from gay Ray. I wouldn't have the same problem sending my boys if he were just divorced Ray. That's a difference. And a fair one I think.

Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan said...

Its not often I agree with Outside the Beltway.

But I will on part of this. I believe that homosexuality is a sin that can be overcome.

Such as any repetitive sin, ex, adultery, gossip, slander, lying, stealing, etc.

If they refuse to change, than they are to be held accountable. (Read any of Peter's letters lately...come on guys..context is key)

With divorce, its a huge mistake but one can be restored from it...as with post homosexuals.

As a Wesleyan, I cannot believe that God created someone born a homosexual. That would mean that Judas was born (created) in order to betray Christ and that people are born (created) for destruction.

We are NOT Calvinists. Come on guys..context is key.

Keith Drury said...

Outside-the-beltway... perhaps those who have referenced "the fall" have addressed the second (original article) question... the doctrine of the fall attributes some things to sin and the fall and not God..even if we "proved" a genetic inclination to one/all sin the doctrine of the fall could account for it thus as some have observed one can never say "because I prefer a certain sin God must have made me this way and thus it is not really a sin." maybe the blog posters were not clear enough to make this a reasonable discussion for you, but they tried heroically ;-)

Rev. Vaughn W. Thurston-Cox said...

I find myself in an interesting situation. A Free Methodist Elder in Michigan I am now working for the Wesley House at Ferris State. The Wesley House is a United Methodist ministry, and my contact at the West Michigan Conference office is a self-avowed lesbian.

When I discovered this I had to ask myself how I would choose to respond.

I could renounce her and refuse to interact. I could change my values, and say that it really wasn't wrong.

What I settled on was very simply receiving the grace God gave me through her. My purpose in meeting with her is not to discuss her sexuality; it is to see to his Kingdom made real.

I wouldn't condone her lifestyle to be certain, but I choose to respect her as one who comes along side those in ministry.

Why do you make everyone mad at you, Vaughn?

Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan said...

But did God make that woman gay? Did God make Ray Boltz gay? The answer to both is no.

They chose to give into sin.

Hence, if they are proclaiming themselves to be Christians without accountability to change and to conquer, unfortunately someone as the job of saying "no...thats not how that works."

God did not make Ray Boltz gay.

He did not make Son of Sam a serial killer.

He did not make Donald Trump greedy.

He did not make many of our brothers and sisters fall immorally.


Now, I am not as educated as some of you. Thank goodness but I think I am on the right track.

Anonymous said...

One other point, God left David in as king after he got Bathsheba pregnant, killed her husband (by another) and lived with her at least 9 months. It does not say how old the child was when God took him/her or what year in that process David was in when Nathan confronted him with his sin!

Obviously, God left him in his position for a while before dealing with him directly!

Let this mind be in you that was in Christ!

tse horng said...

I know what the early church did to David, even though he committed adultary and murder, they kept his Psalm.

jfrank said...

I think the last post nailed it pretty well - but to say it another way, Harold Best, in his book "Music through the Eyes of Faith" says this: "I maintain that artists and their works can be separated and their works are to be understood simply as handiwork. Even so, artists remain personally accountable for what they believe, how they behave, and for the reasons they make their art and music the way that they do."

I hope that sums it up pretty well.

Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan said...

Are you saying that because Ray Boltz created beautiful music that its ok that he's now chosen to be a homosexual?

I don't think that one post summed it up at all.

Marsha Lynn said...

Interesting discussion. As to the two questions, my church doesn't often identify songs with the artist/composer and even less seldom comments on the character of such a person. If the song stood on its own before, it's still the same song now. If God could use it before, He can still use it now. Is "It Is Well with My Soul" rendered any less powerful if we are troubled by aspects of Horatio Spafford's later life?

If we use only songs written by sinless people, I don't suppose we'll do much singing. If we use only songs written by people whose sins are invisible to us, are we discouraging transparency in Christian artists?

As to the situation, I find that trying to apply scripture to my own moral and ethical decisions is enough of a challenge that it leaves little space to figure out right and wrong for other people. Same-sex attraction is so completely outside my own experience that I can't even begin to make a right/wrong determination for responding to it. One can read every recorded word of Jesus Christ and be completely clueless that SSA exists. Reading the rest of the New Testament doesn't give even a hint that a follower of Jesus Christ might deal with ongoing sexual identity issues. Yet, we have people among us who obviously DO have such issues. I think the best we can do is hold forth the supreme standard of loving God and loving others. In the case of someone like Ray Boltz, for me, that means mourning what he has lost (his marriage and fellowship with much of the Christian community), and leaving room for God's grace in his life.

Ken said...

keith, i'm late to the party but i'll take a stab at it...

(1) GOD didn't make ray gay; ray made ray gay. he chose. he may have inclinations, but it's still a personal responsibility to say 'no' to inclinations that can lead toward unnecessary temptation or biblical sin. so in that sense, GOD made ray with an inclination toward gaydom (or at least, allowed it as a result of the FALL), but GOD also gives power to overcome anything biblically defined as sinful.

(2) what will we do with ray? honestly, like many others, the answer is nothing. most don't know who he is. we have asked people to stop singing 'watch the lamb' and 'thank you', not because ray's gay, but because the songs are old and amazingly overdone. anyone looking to rock the perm and fu-man on 'the anchor holds' really shouldn't be coming to our church, anyway...


i would add... i intensely wrestle with your additional questions about sandi patti and amy grant. my reason for struggle? we don't really know these people, and we don't know the extent of their authentic repentance. from everything i read during those times, it SEEMED like sandi patti was truly remorseful, while amy grant never SEEMED to acknowledge the depth of her affair with vince gill.

but hey... who am i to judge? only GOD knows the extent of their authenticity before the throne. however, i am ashamed that as a Christian community we threw michael english to the wolves while larnelle harris barely got a tongue-lashing...

so i think there's something to say about what we really DON'T know about entertainers in Christian music. their songs may give us a sense of connection, but for the most part they're complete strangers who happen to worship the same LORD as me.

Twinsfan1 said...

I also am late to the party on this one, but it's because I wanted to take my time in responding.

For context, my father-in-law was gay (he died after injuries in a vehicle accident). I have also lost 2 friends to AIDS, and had a roommate in college who later entered the gay lifestyle.

I believe that Scripture calls homosexual behavior a sin.

Angie, you're having to assume an awful lot to figure that Paul was only discussing bathouses. A liberal pastor friend of mine feels that Paul was addressing pederasty, the practice of sex with young boys. He also denies that Romans is God's Word, saying that it is only the words of a man ignorant of the reality of committed same-sex relations.

Schuyler Avenue, I must also disagree with you. I don't think Ray or anyone else chose to BE gay. I would agree he chose to behave in that manner.

We cannot choose what attracts us. Some are attracted by chocolate, others can't stand it. Some are attracted to alcohol, others are repulsed by it. Some are attracted to porn, others don't see how it could have the pull it has.

We may not choose our attractions, but we can choose our response to them. I believe that the issue of sanctification is what deals with our response - that by the power of the Spirit living and working in us, we can say no to ungodliness and yes to holiness.

jovicase said...

Ray made Ray gay, not God. Like all sin, Ray made a choice.

Regarding Ray, Sandy, and Amy, I think Jesus put it this way with regard to casting judgment: "Let him without sin cast the first stone."

Who shall be first?

Sin is sin. If Ray is out, how many of us should also be excluded for our choices.

Instead of churning on whether to keep the Ray's, Sandy's, and Amy's out of the church, the more noble course is to figure out how to love and pray these folks back into grace.

I sometimes think that we evangelicals fixate on the "who's in/who's out" debate so we don't have to deal with our own sin.

Ray said...

The answer is simply "NO" God did not make Ray Boltz or anyone else gay. If you believe the bible is God's word, then there is no way you can even begin to think that God could make someone gay. It is something that people get during life in this world that has turned their backs on God so they can do what they want, and not follow Gods commandments.
As for Sandy Patty and Amy Grant, some people in our church listen to them and some do not. I personally believe that yes they made mistakes and as long as they have truly repented with God that God will forgive them. Only God truly knows their fate, but the word of God does tells us that we can be forgiven, however it also says that if we continue to willfully sin after we had received the knowledge of the truth there will be no covering for our sin. That being said Ray Boltz can be forgiven as well, so long as he turn from this way and turns back to God. Living a Christian life he knows the truth and knows he will go to Hell if he doesn't turn from his ways and return to God. To say God made him that way is a cop out and a way for him to try and make himself believe that he is ok, when actually nothing could be further from the truth.

Alice Robbins said...

I am trying to understand why homosexuality is different than any other sin? (I have never seen it that way, even as a scared teenager in the 80's when you were told that if you were even in the same room with a homosexual, you could get aides.) I would think that PRIDE should be seen as "worse" than any other sin since it means that we are placing ourselves before God and an idol. Isn't this the basis of all sin?

My problem with Ray Boltz is NOT because he is gay. That is a sin and if I have a problem with that, then I should have a problem with everyone else (including myself) who sins. I have Christan friends who struggle with being gay. They do not act upon it, but it is as powerful as any other sin that constantly tempts and "teases". They suffer and struggle and give it up to God everyday just as I do with my sin.

My problem is that Ray has turned his sin into his god. It sounds like (for I do not know his heart, just see his actions) he has placed lifestyle above God. He is even blaming God by saying that he was made that way. James talks about that it is our own evil desires which causes us to sin. In Genesis, Adam and Eve would not have sinned had it not been for the fact that they trusted their own guidance and not God's. They declared independence from God. When I chose to sin, whatever that sin may be, I do the same. I am saying that my way is better than God's.

My church has made Amy and Sandy personal decision since they are not "leaders". However, there have been consequences to their sin, ie. people don't listen to them anymore or less. I know my church would do the same for Ray, should he turn from his sin and allow God to fill the whole in his soul that only God can fill.

I think we have forgotten about consequences of sin once a sinner comes back to God. We MUST offer grace, and restoration, but we must not ignore their weaknesses so that our brother and/or sister can fall again.

My view may be very simplistic, but so is sin. When we do not walk in dependence on God, we follow idols and God is a very jealous God!

My hope is that Ray will someday see that ONLY GOD can fill the whole that seems to be empty right now.

Pastor Johnny said...

I don't believe God made anyone gay. God hand created Adam and Eve and left the pro-creation from that point up to them. The Fall of Man caused the infestation of sin on mankind. I am sure scientists will somehow try to discover a gene for homosexuality but that does not prove anything. It does give validation to the Word of God though. Sin has been passed down through each generation. Is this not why we need a Savior. I have personally met Ray Boltz at a concert back in 1990 when I was a senior in High School. Ray sat down and talked to me and other teenagers there at the time. He encouraged us to keep the faith and to keep walking for the Lord. I sung a lot of his songs in my Assembly of God church. His songs helped me grow as a christian and to stay strong even after high school when I went into the military. I am a pastor today partly because of his influence. I still have most of his albums. I was hurt and deeply sorrowful when I heard about his coming out. My church and I are praying for his return back to the fold.

I agree with your comments about Sandi Patti and Amy Grant. I believe a sin is sin. Repentance is needed for each one. True repentance that we have somehow gotten away from.

Anonymous said...

Being gay is NOT a choice. I know because I am. On the other hadn, being a Christian IS a choice...no one is born with the belief in Jesus Christ; it is something you learn. What amazes me is the judgment from many commenters. Schulyer Aveune Wesleyan, you say that being gay is a sin that can be overcome. Are you gay? Are you bisexual? If not, how can you say that?

I had a long-term boyfriend that went to an ex-gay ministry to not lead a "gay lifestyle." It doesn't work. Need I mention Larry Craig or Ted Haggart or many others?

Repressing one's same-sex attractions causes a lot of damage. Listen to what Alice Robbins' wrote...she said that she has friends that struggle being gay. How sad is that? Why struggle? Why not be happy? God created you. Love who you are.

I am now married to a wonderful guy (we were legally married in California before Prop.8...or Prop H8, as we call it). Gays deserve the same rights as everyone else. Whether you are comfortable with it or not, don't vote against people's rights. Do you really think Jesus would be against love? I don't. But then again I am writing to people who won't even listen to an Amy Grant song because she has gotten a divorce. Again, very judgmental. And very sad.

I feel badly for the gay youth and adults that "struggle" with their sexuality because they read things from people like Schulyer Aveune Wesleyan, Dan and others and commit suicide.

I just hope that if someone feels God doesn't love them because they aren't straight, that they go to someone that understands them and guides them to love themself for who they are.

EJ said...

Ray Boltz made several comments regarding who he is and how he views himself in relation to his continuing confession of being a Christian. However, it was the final thing that he was quoted as saying in the article that held my attention and has given birth to my comments.

“This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”1

In other words, Mr. Boltz believes that God made him and intends him to be gay, so his decision to live this way – true to who he is – will not cause God to condemn him to hell. If God created him with a specific type of sexual inclination, and his continued attempts to suppress it for decades has not caused it to wane in its ferocity but instead it has continued with vigor, then he should not feel ashamed of it, nor should he feel that his claim of being a Christian will be rendered void by living out his natural inclination. With all due respect, I must, on the basis of Scripture, patently reject this logic and. I don’t see any consolation in Scripture for the person who claims to be a Christian but yet lives a life of unrepentant and blatant sin.

The problem with Mr. Boltz’s theology (as stated above, anyway) is that he doesn’t understand the depravity of man; neither generally with the entirety of humanity nor specifically with regards to himself. I am becoming more and more convinced that a misunderstanding of sin – its effect, scope, and result – leads to so many of the problems and inconsistencies that we see in theology. Furthermore, I think that this error is surpassed in its potential damage only by errors relating to Scripture (denying its sufficiency, inerrancy, inspiration, etc.) and errors related to the Person of Christ Himself.

Mankind, as a whole, is born in sin and is completely and utterly defiled because of our sin in Adam. And because of our sin in Adam, all of the parts of our being have been corrupted from the perfect and sinless model of our first father. In other words, God made a perfect creation but we have corrupted it. So, in a sense, it is both true and untrue for Mr. Boltz to say that “God made me this way” relating to his sexuality. God did not create man to be homosexual, but God did create Ray with the sinful proclivity that lends itself towards homosexuality. This neither justifies Ray, or anyone, in rebelling against God’s command to abstain from that kind of activity, nor does this render God as being unjust or as being unfairly malicious in His eternal condemnation of men and women who practice such forbidden things.

Because if one reads the Scriptures consistently in the way in which they intend to be read (as being a perspicuous divine revelation), there is no way to avoid the condemnation of any sexual activity (mentally or physically) outside of the bounds of monogamous heterosexual marriage between one male and one female. Would it would be wrong if, and I doubt that Mr. Boltz or his “church” body would not disagree with me on this even though they may reject the analogy, after decades of marriage to one woman that produced four grown children, I decided to leave her and go off to engage in all sorts of sexual encounters with as many women as I was able to. If so, then why?

I’m an average man. And any honest hetero-sexual man that I have ever met has desires and tendencies to have as much sex with virtually as many different people as you could imagine. Why should I not go out and live in a lifestyle of free love? That is where my natural proclivities point me? And based on Mr. Boltz’s summarization of his situation, there are no Scriptural grounds upon which to condemn my promiscuous lifestyle. This is done to the utter disregard of the Scripture when it is clear that fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God, and neither will the homosexual!2

So, whether you’re a homosexual ex-Contemporary Christian recording artist who has just decided to come out of the closet or whether you’re an average Joe who has decided that warring against the constant bombardment of sexual thoughts is foolish because “God made me this way”, and you’ve decided to live out your natural desires for sexual fulfillment – you are giving evidence that you have not been born again and that you do not love Christ Jesus at all. You love what is plainly called sin in the Scriptures more than you love the God of the Scriptures.

Christians sin. Some Christians have homosexual attractions and desires. All Christians have natural desires that are contrary to the Biblical call for holiness and purity. All Christians war against these sins, and we die still in the war against our sinful desires. Whether we die in while losing a skirmish or standing on a mountain of triumph, we’re still in the fight.

Those who leave the fight, give up the fight, deny that there is a fight and utterly forsake the call of Christ to war against the sin that is present in the flesh give evidence to the fact that they haven’t been redeemed by Christ. It is impossible for man to resist his natural inclinations in the way that Christ calls us to. It takes a supernatural victory and the alien righteousness of Christ to first make war and then to continue that war on the flesh throughout the remainder.

Ruth said...

A challenging question for the Church and one with no easy answers.
Here's part of my group's journey: http://sgworship.blogspot.com/2008/10/eggshells.html