Ray Boltz is gay

“Watch the Lamb” will never be the same.

Just a few weeks ago, via an interview with the Washington Blade (“The Gay and Lesbian News Source of Record – DC Gay News, National Gay News, Entertainment and Opinion”), Ray Boltz informed the public that he was gay. Apparently, he’s felt this way his whole life, admitted it to himself and his family in 2004, and become increasingly comfortable with it in the last few years.

One of Ray Boltz’s most popular songs, “Watch the Lamb” was one of the first contemporary Christian songs I ever heard, back in the 80’s when CCM consisted of Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, and a few others. When I first heard the song, it became one of my favorite songs, and I have always liked it.

It will never be the same for me, not because it changes the meaning of the song, or because I can no longer like the song. It’s still a great song, and I still like it. However, whenever I hear it from now on, I will be saddened that the author of the song took his eyes off the Lamb. Instead he turned his eyes to himself and the world around him, declaring that he knew the truth about himself, and looking to the world for affirmation.

After accepting his feelings of being gay, Boltz indicates that “there was a peace he hadn’t felt before” and that he had a “feeling that I didn’t hate myself anymore, so in that sense I felt closer to God.” I have to wonder, does he really have peace with the One True God, or does he have peace with a god of his own making?

Who is his authority? He says, “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.” According to the article “he doesn’t want to get into debates about scripture.” He says, “I’m just an artist and I’m just going to sing about what I feel and write about what I feel and see where it goes.”

Boltz wrote in another popular song, “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb,” but he certainly isn’t allowing the Word become flesh to be his authority.

The other sad note from the article is the response of the Gospel Music Association. They provided a statement stating that “GMA is a trade organization that works for our members to promote gospel/Christian music, not a religious or political group. As such, we do not comment on the lifestyle choices of people in our community.” For a true follower of Christ, there is no distinction between business (trade) and the living out of our faith. To declare that lifestyle “choices” are not worthy of comment, is decidedly un-Christian.

The Purpose of Alcohol

Search the web, or ask around, and you’ll find lots of opinions about whether Christians should drink alchohol. Some people says it’s wrong (ie, sinful), and they have Scripture to reinforce their opinion. Some people say it’s not wrong (ie, not a sin), but still something to be discouraged, and they have Scripture to reinforce their opinion. Others say it’s not wrong to drink, and there is no reason to discourage drinking; it just needs to be done in moderation (ie, don’t get drunk) and may need to be avoided in certain situations (ie, don’t cause a fellow believe to stumble into sin); these also have Scripture to reinforce their position.

I think these arguments, like so many arguments, miss the point by focusing on the action (ie, the “do” or the “don’t”) instead of the purpose (ie, the “why”).

It is my intent, therefore, to take a Biblical look at the purpose of Alcohol.

In order to find passages discussing alcohol and to distinguish between different types of alcohol, let’s first review the different words used for alcohol in the Bible.

yayin (H3196) – Typically translated as “wine” in the Old Testament. Strong’s definition: “from an unused root meaning to effervesce.”

she?ka?r (H7941) – Typically translated as “strong drink” in the Old Testament. Strong’s definition: “an intoxicant, that is, intensely alcoholic liquor.”

ti?yro?sh (H8492) – Typically translated as “new wine” or “sweet wine” in the Old Testament. Wine which has been freshly pressed.

oinos (G3631) – The New Testament equivalent of “yayin.”

sikera (G4608) – The New Testament equivalent of “she?ka?r.”

gleukos (G1098) – The New Testament equivalent of “ti?yro?sh.”

There are a few other words used for various forms of alcohol, but they are used rarely or are minor variations of the words above. These word forms are sufficient to determine the usage of alcohol in the Bible and the intended purpose of alcohol. If it comes to light that a different word provides significant insight, the list will be revised.

Christian Cussing

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29)
“Therefore come out from them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

It is with a little bit of fear and trepidation that I get up on my soapbox for this one. It is not my intent to be legalistic, judgmental, or condescending. However, I think this is an issue worth pondering. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this, but it’s something to think about.

Some of the research done by the Barna Research Group has found that there is often little difference between the lifestyles, activities, and values of those who call themselves Christians versus those who do not. It occurred to me several years ago that one of those areas might be in our language. Many Christians think that one of the ways we distinguish ourselves from our non-Christian friends and co-workers is through our language. We don’t cuss or swear or take God’s name in vain. But is this really true? Granted, we have a different vocabulary, but is our speech really any different? Maybe there is something to be said for cultural acceptance of one word over another, but does using a synonym change our intent? Which is more important, the spelling of the words, or the attitude and heart condition from which the words are spoken? They say “f— this,” we say “screw this,” or we say “freaking” instead of “f—ing.” We say “crap” instead of “s—,” “heck” instead of “hell,” “gosh” instead of “God,” and “dang” or “darn” instead of “damn.” We’ve trained ourselves to use different words, but we express the same sentiments. When something doesn’t go my way, why do I feel the need to express my frustration by using one of my selected “substitute” swear words? Rather than using a “non-swear” word, why not rise above it and not get upset?

On another note, one of my personal pet peeves is the phrase “you suck” or “this sucks.” Before I started hearing people say “you suck,” I used to hear non-Christians say “suck mine,” which is a slightly abbreviated version of a more explicit phrase.  Maybe I’m wrong and the two phrases are not connected, but I have heard innuendos in sitcoms and movies that seem to confirm the obscene meaning behind the phrase. Is this the way people who should be known by their love ought to talk?

Well, I hope I haven’t alienated anyone. If you know me, feel free to call me on the carpet when you hear me use a “substitute” swear word, ’cause I do it too, but I really think it would be better if we didn’t.

Achieving Holiness

“Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:16)

I know that my spiritual life needs work, so what should I do? God calls me to be holy; therefore, I must obey God and be holy. And how do I achieve holiness? Holiness requires an absence of sin. My goal is now to eradicate sin from my life. The problem, however, is that I fail to eradicate sin from my life. This is discouraging because no matter what I do or how hard I try, I continue to sin. My discouragement and sense of failure leads to a deterioration of my standards. “Since I can’t keep from sinning, is it really all that bad if I sin a little more?” The selfish desires within me don’t want to give up the sin, but my conscience says I should. So when I’m feeling spiritual, I convince myself that the sin is truly unholy and my conscience is right. After doing this I am committed to doing away with the sin. But when I stumble and commit the sin again, it becomes increasingly harder to keep convincing myself that I must stop sinning. How am I to improve my spiritual life when I can’t seem to make good progress towards becoming holy. When I focus on trying to stop sinning, I only encounter failure. I look again at God’s command: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Ah! God wants me to be like Him. And since God came to earth as a man, I have a good model to follow. The answer then is to fall in love with Jesus. Only then, by following the Holy One, am I truly on the road to holiness.