Ministry leaders and high profile preachers of the Gospel need to know: the world is watching. And our words can surely come to haunt us:

And now our time has come to count the cost
To reject this world, to embrace the cross
And one by one let us live our lives
For the One who died to give us life
Till the trumpet sounds on the final day
Let us proudly stand and boldly say
“I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
“With all my strength, with all I am
“I will seek to honor His commands
“I pledge allegiance to the Lamb”
[1]

Earlier this month, the composer of this well-known song, Ray Boltz, admitted to giving himself over to the gay lifestyle after a 33-year marriage including four children. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live,” he told the Washington Blade recently. “I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”[2]  We hear this same type of rationale from many leaders who have fallen along the way, whether to the homosexual lifestyle or any other immoral choice, leaving many observers with a bad taste for Christianity.

But for those of us in ministry, what is the truth about homosexuality and other moral failure? What can we learn from men like Ray who climb so high, only to fall so far? This is a growing issue in the evangelical church, and we need some Biblical answers.

1. It’s not my fault, I was born this way. Regardless of what the varied gene studies conclude, there is some truth to this popular homosexual claim. Turns out we’re all “born this way.” That is, with the sin gene. In each of us it battles for control over us with a unique set of depraved desires that may be influenced by our upbringing, personalities, or other factors. For some our innate desire may be for homosexuality, for others pornography, or gambling, or alcoholism, or overeating, or overspending, etc. But if you boil it all down, yes, it’s in the genes. It’s human nature to want to sin, that is the truth.

2. I’ll be happier, more fulfilled, and more at peace if I give into my desires and feelings. Feelings are not worthy of too much attention. They change frequently and often lie to us. The Christian life is all about living by faith and fact (truth), not feelings and desires. Romans 6:12 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” The ultimate example of this was Christ when he prayed in the garden the night before His crucifixion. His feelings said, “Father, my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” But His faith said instead, “Yet not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:38-39).” Look through the pages of scripture or history, and you will find that people who lived by feelings or human desires all made monumental mistakes that cost them dearly. Cain, Samson, Saul, David, Peter, Ananias and Sapphira—all would tell you today that it is not worth the price of living for the feelings of the moment.

3. Life is too short to miss out on my desires. I gave into this lie at one point in my twenties, and fell into the terrible trap of moral sin. One thing that has really helped me keep perspective since is living in the reality that this world is not my home. Many of us get caught up feeling as if life is passing us by and we must seek the desires and dreams of our hearts at any cost before it’s too late. We need to rearrange the perspective. Yes life is short, and that’s exactly why we can wait to have our hearts filled. This fallen world with all its counterfeit pleasures will never provide the fulfillment we long for anyway. We must adjust our vision of looking forward to our reward in the next life, where forever we will be filled in the deepest longings of our hearts.

4. I can live a life of sin without consequences. Every time you see a crash and burn, someone has been conned into this lie. Some of us forget and the rest of us are too naïve to know that, when we choose sin, bondage, anxiety, shame, and isolation are sure to follow. These ministry leaders have families, and these families are suffering terribly. There will be other consequences down the road of isolation from friends, perhaps disillusioned children who maybe even lose their faith because their “hero” and life teacher has fallen, potential sickness, lost opportunities, and of course, the lack of true peace. Bottom line, if you are truly one of God’s children, He will not let you off the hook but will do what is necessary to keep you from utter destruction (see 1 Corinthians 5:5).

5. That could never happen to me. It’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief and disgust. But truly, the frailty of human nature should never surprise us. We have been warned that the human heart in all of us is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We must be careful not to judge the Ray Boltz’ and the Ted Haggards of our world, but pray for repentance and restoration of their lives and their families. Any one of us is very capable, and really never more than one step away from the same life-altering, devastating sins except by the grace of God. Our pride in our good behavior will surely be our downfall.

Allegiance to The Lamb

I do not know how Mr. Boltz could convince himself that now he has found the real self who is now a man of peace, but I do know this. Satan always promises more than he delivers. Satan is the king of “bait and switch.” What may start out feeling pretty great at first will end up the opposite, as Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

I believe the key to staying on track is to keep our thoughts and feelings in check with scripture. In Psalm 26:3, David said he continuously walked in God’s truth. This is what got him back on track when he sinned, and then kept him on track for life. Feeling the urge to sin is not the problem. Giving into the sin is the problem.

We must also remember overcoming sin will never be with the absence of struggle. That is what the Christian life is all about…struggling through and fighting the battle. If only Mr. Boltz had remembered this, maybe he would have had the fortitude and courage to live by his own words. I pray he comes back to them soon, and that the rest of us still choose to live by them wholeheartedly as we pursue ministry:

“With all my strength, with all I am
“I will seek to honor His commands
“I pledge allegiance to the Lamb.”


[1] Ray Boltz, from “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.”

[2] (www.onenewsnow.com/church/default.aspx?id=250538 accessed Sept. 16, 2008.

Julie Ferwerda is the author of The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love, and has written for publications such as Marriage Partnership, Focus on the Family, and Discipleship Journal. Find out more:  www.JulieFerwerda.com.