Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ray Boltz Comes Out as Gay

Call me jaded, but nothing really shocks me anymore. I have been called "negative," but I see sin at work constantly. We are a fallen humanity that wants our own way. The Christian is little different. The news of Ray Boltz pursuing a homosexual lifestyle in Florida, therefore, does not shock, anger, or frustrate me. Instead, it saddens me. But, again, I am not surprised. After reading an article based on his interview with Washington Blade reporter, Joey Diguglielmo, I see why he made the decision he did.

Numerous phrases and quotes within the article show Boltz' thought process. "Ray Boltz was tired of living a lie." "[F]amily life and going through the motions of being straight had grown so wearying to Boltz, he was in a serious depression." "I can just do what I always do and hide the truth or I can take a risk and be honest." "I accepted my sexuality and who I was." "I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, 'I’m still gay. I know I am.'" "I decided I could be born again and all of the things I was feeling in the past would fall away and I would have this new life." “I didn’t have to be who I was in the past. I didn’t have to fit somebody else’s viewpoint of what they thought I was. I could just be myself and I met a lot of wonderful people.” “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.”

Of all the connecting themes in the preceding jumble (fear of judgment, hiding, feeling, etc.), feeling is probably the most prominent and most important. What Boltz has seemingly never realized is that he is operating backwards. He is predicating belief on feelings, rather than predicating feelings on belief. He is not the only one. In fact, most of our society equates faith with inscrutable and private feelings. Thus belief or religion is just another choice among many which really doesn't effect how one lives life. Further, it leads to a dichotomy between functional life (ruled by scientific theory) and one's personal feelings (some form of ethics or religion). The former is concrete while the latter is not. The latter, as the thinking goes, must give way to the former.

All of these processes are hard at work in Mr. Boltz. Now that Boltz has embraced his desires and his feelings, he feels that things are finally made right. "His faith was in transition — tenants he’d adhered to all his life suddenly were up for reconsideration, but there was a peace he hadn’t felt before." But Boltz has bent Scripture to match how he desires to live. "I guess I felt that the church, that they had it wrong about how I felt with being gay all these years, so maybe they had it wrong about a lot of other things.” There is a lot to be risked here on a maybe. First, even if a church had their teachings on homosexuality wrong, that does not equate to error in Scripture.

Ray Boltz has used his new found freedom to embrace sin. "Boltz declines to go into specifics about the first time he was with a man, but says he has been dating and lives 'a normal gay life' now." He has sinned through homosexual sex, through divorcing his wife, and through having sex with multiple partners. Sin, however, is no longer his concern. "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."

While homosexuality is an especially heinous sin (because it dishonors God's distinctive creation of and revealed will for mankind - along with God's symbol of his own relationship with mankind), it is not the real issue here. The issue is our postmodern bent to usurp power from God. We want to be our own gods and to worship ourselves as we see fit. Our feelings play a huge part in that.

We who profess to be believers, then, must see that we must live in an opposite way from the rest of present society. Rather than basing our beliefs (and therefore our actions) on our feelings, we must base our feelings on our beliefs, subjugating them by Scripture. Nobody said that was easy, in fact it is torture to our flesh (understood as the fallen human nature - feelings). Whether we are "predisposed" to homosexuality, theft, racism, fornication, or laziness, believers must crucify their flesh daily. I am sad for Mr. Boltz because he has given up that fight. I do not know what that says about the end status of his soul, and I am not in the position to judge. I know God can save him from his sin. I can say this however; God has condemned homosexuality and says that those who practice it, "will not see heaven." It is a direct affront to his holiness. Mr. Boltz is also deceived to think that he has a better relationship with God now than he did. He has based his perception of that relationship on his feelings as well. The most disturbing part of this situation is that he now feels peace in his sin. The implications of that alone are horrifying.

A note on grace: Homosexuals have been a part of every society since early times. This fact does not sanction their actions through antiquity. Yet we Christians, while abhorring these actions, must offer grace, remembering John Bradford's sentiment, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Those of us who are Calvinists do see that God loves his own more, and differently, than the rest of humanity. Yet God does love the rest of humanity. If we are to be salt and light to the world, it means we should be so to homosexuals as well. We should love them and evangelize them, offering them a measure of grace. At the same time, we are given clear instruction not to authorize continued sin in the church. Practicing homosexuals must not be made members of any believing Christian church.

1 comment:

Steven Douglas said...

Here was an interesting and accurate comment given by "Frank Turk" on a similar article on Between Two Worlds.

"For Ray Boltz, there is still hope, but not yet any assurance. God enduring the sins of men is not God's slowness to punish sin but His patience to save from the sins we frankly love.

God didn't 'make' Ray Boltz that way in order to absolve his appetites: God made Ray Bolts 'that way' in order to show him that he needs a savior. His reaction to his sin -- that is, I am who I am, and I like it -- is the antithesis of what God is calling Ray to do: repent of your sins and escape the coming judgment."