Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ray Boltz and Romans 1

Sad news has come to light about Ray Boltz. He has announced that he is a homosexual. You can read a brief article from Christianity Today HERE.

“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.”

His reasoning is well described by Paul in Romans one.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to
impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

Make no mistake. Ray Boltz knows that homosexuality is a sin just like I know that lust and pride are sins. The answer is not to adjust what God has said in order to suit my lifestyle. Rather, as a new creation in Christ I am not only able to rightly discern the sin I harbor in my life but I am blessed with the means by which I may effectively fight against my sinful impulses. Those means include, but are not limited to the continued washing in God's Word, the fellowship of God's people, and the ongoing sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean that battling against homosexual impulses is an easy thing. Indeed, who of us would call it easy to battle against pride, addiction, or covetousness? Is it loving to say to the addict, "This is the way God made you. Instead of fighting it why don't you just embrace it?" Would we say the same thing to one struggling with arrogance or materialism?

There is hope for Ray Boltz but it must involve repentance. Perhaps in his kindness God will give him some brothers in Christ who will speak to him the truth and walk with him through his struggle.


case.jess said...

When I first heard of this news, I felt like I could barely stand up out of my chair because of the gravity that came with some of Ray's words.

All I could think of after reading this news was a verse that we sing quite often from the song Our Great God:

Lord we are weak and frail,
helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels,
hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy,
His pleasure is our harm.
Rise up O Lord and he will flee,
before our Sovereign God!

Being "given over" to sinful and degrading desires is a dreadful thing. May our living God rise up and cause his light to shine in the hearts of men and women everywhere...

rmkton said...

Agree this is sad...but at the same time I am also glad that the divisions in the Bible (i.e. chapter and verse) are not inspired and are sometimes downright uninspired. I think Romans 1 & 2 is case in point. Following the condemnation of homosexual behaviour in Romans 1 Paul writes "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?"

How many Christians, when we use Romans 1 to condemn homosexual behaviour, continue on to read Romans 2? It gets even richer as one reads the rest of the text.