I was pondering the recent announcement by Ray Boltz that he is gay. I don’t think it’s possible for a human being to read the interview he gave and not ache with empathy for the man, whether you agree with some of his current theology or not. Since lots of people on the blogosphere are discussing things, I just wanted to post my two cents.
Cent #1: All other concerns aside, I think that the story is a huge inditement of how evangelicalism handles gays. And I don’t mean in the present. While only the Lord knows the future, if there had been a church (and a Christian recording industry) which was willing to walk with sinners on the hard road of grace rather than simply condemning them, this probably wouldn’t have gone down in the same way. Since there was no place within the body for Boltz to openly reveal his struggles, he was forced to deal with them by himself, which is not the way Scripture wants it to be. Obviously, I have no desire to condone a practicing homosexual lifestyle as something which Scripture doesn’t condemn. Nonetheless, sin and temptation are constant challenges for the Christian, and they are meant to be dealt with in community. The fact that openly confessing where he was at years ago would have endangered his place both in the church and in the “Christian” music industry is a good indicator that both of them are miles away from teaching people the gospel of God’s grace to sinners.
Cent #2: A ton of people seem to be saying things like “I’ll never use his songs again for worship” or even “I guess I can’t listen to his music anymore.” This is patently absurd. Granted, there might be some hard questions as to whether they are appropriate for certain liturgical settings, but then again I’m inclined to think that his songs didn’t really stylistically belong there anyway (whole nother discussion.) That said, the idea that we can’t listen to, and even glorify God through, his music is completely unbiblical. Let’s face it: when part of the book of Proverbs is clearly based on Egyptian wisdom literature and both David and Solomon, inspired authors of the bible, lived their whole lives in adulterous relationships with dozens of women, we should think twice before leveling the cannons on someone like Ray Boltz. God’s truth is always true, and he often uses sinful vessels to articulate it in order to show his sovereign power all the more fully. If Ray Boltz says true things about God and His gospel in his music, praise the Lord all the more that he uses sinners to speak His truth.
We should be moved to compassion for this man and repentance at the fact that our own corporate sin patterns are in part responsible for his stumbling. I don’t want to justify him in any way, but it should be noted that God does justify men just like him. You and I are some of them.