Monday, September 15, 2008

...but write biblically about repentance, sin, restoration, and forgiveness

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, 
you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. 
Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 
3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
-Galatians 6:1-3

Sin is something we all have in common. Even more so, what the Puritans use to call, the sinfulness of sin. From our very thoughts (Prov. 24:9) to the most grievous transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4) - we all sin AND are sinners. Even as new creations in Christ Jesus we are still incarcerated in unredeemed flesh (Roms. 6-7) and, therefore, struggle with sin and its effects until we are home with the Lord. We've died once to the penalty of sin; we die daily to the power of sin; and one day we will be free from the presence of sin.

These words of the Apostle Paul we can all identify with: "the very thing I want to do, I do not do; and the very thing I do not want to do, I do..." There is the tension and our common struggle in this life with sin. In saying that, this does not excuse our sinning or means we are not culpable for our daily sins. We are. We do not want to be antinomian in our view of grace (Roms. 6:1-2).  Grace teaches us to deny worldliness and ungodliness and to live sensibly, righteously and holy in this present evil age (Titus 2:12). But when we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:1-2) Who, as Spurgeon says, "is more willing to forgive than we are to sin. Our finite sin cannot exhaust His infinite grace!"

But this brief post is not about that important issue here today. 

It is more about the random, almost tabloidesque, casual nature that two Christian bloggers (Tim Challies and Justin Taylor) have demonstrated recently when reporting on another professing believer's in Christ sin (btw, neither of these bloggers dealt with this issue biblically. they never encouraged prayer for the one in sin, and they didn't even mention one verse of Scripture concerning this at all in either of their posts. but the comment threads are on fire... very sad.) 

Now I am not suggesting that these bloggers were acting curmudgeonly or guilty of kitschy articles deeming another. What I am saying is that in the face of another's tragic sin, it's not enough to just point out the wrongness of the behavior - which any nonbeliever can do as well. But it takes spiritual maturity in the face of sin to show grace and humility that works for the restoration and repentance of the sinner and then remain in prayer for those who have charge over their soul. 

Exposés are mindless and easy to pen;
but biblical encouragement that produces holiness
and restoration from sin takes wisdom.
The skilled workman in God's Word 
wields the Sword of the Spirit
as a surgeon's scalpel to heal, not to needlessly wound.

Someone's personal sin issues should not be for public debate or gossip. It is a matter for the local church to deal with to encourage and work toward repentance. After all, that is the purpose of all church discipline (Matt. 18:15-20) isn't it? To see a sinning brother or sister in Christ repentant, restored and renewed in their walk with the Lord. It is never for retribution, revenge or titillating blogging banter. We do not fulfill the law of Christ, beloved, by such guttural reporting. But we do so by bearing one another's burdens.

So may I ask us all today to soberly examine our own hearts as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in the verses I have posted above. Not in light of someone else's sin, but in light of our own wicked hearts. If we have a right view of our own sin and what it cost our Lord Jesus on the cross to redeem us from sin, hell, death, and the very wrath of God which burns against us and our sins, then we will be filled not with a "Geraldo" journalistic display about the sins of public figures, but one of Christlike compassion for anyone who is struggling with sin.

Our motive then should be to prayerfully and actively restore a wayward brother or sister in the Lord; to bear the load of sinful weight that is causing them to falter in their walk with the Lord Jesus; to do so with gentleness and humility; and to do so in light of the reality of our own sinful actions. Grace does not wink at sin; it does not tolerate sin; and it does not condone sinning. But grace should keep us away from gossiping about another's sin; should cause us to speak with humility and not with self-righteous pride about another's failings; and should cause us all to take stock of our own lives in the Lord as well, lest we be tempted in a similar fashion and be brought to shame.

If we have tasted the kindness of the Lord in our salvation and have been saved from all of our sins and the penalty due those sins, then we will also exercise in turn grace to another when confronting others in their sin or even hearing about a sin issue in their lives. 

"Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). And as MacArthur, Gill, JFB and many others point out on this verse, the "covering" means protecting the scope of who has knowledge about another's sins. IOW, true biblical Christlike love does not seek to broadcast someone's sins, it rather seeks repentance and restoration of the one caught in a trespass.

May we humbly seek to employ that in our own lives today.  Amen? 


Anonymous said...

Amen Steve! Your words make me think of the story Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax collector. "I thank you that I am not like this tax collector." As compared to "Have mercy on me, a sinner."

I remember when Ted Haggard's failings came out in the news. His sins were splashed all over the blogosphere. I just kept thinking, "That man has a family. I cannot imagine what they must be going through right now."

How often we forget that our words, whether spoken or in writing, can cause damage that can never be repaired.

Thanks for this reminder.

Carla said...

I'll have to second the amen on this one. Like josephmcbee said, I also had the same thought the more I saw Haggard's controversy all over the Christian blogging community.

I thought a lot about this very topic last night, and wondered, "what if it were me?" Now of course I'm a nobody as far as being a recognized name, but what if I did something horrible and Christian bloggers made it their business to make me the topic of the week, simply because I'm a Christian? My family would eventually get wind of it and it would hurt them all the more. How is that bearing my burden, by making my sin the hot topic?

Some things are fair game (such as publicly professed doctrinal and theological positions), but some things are just none of our business, and should be left alone, except to be prayed about IF we are made aware of them.

Thank you for posting this, its the same thought I had, you just said it much better than I could have.

SJ Camp said...

I don't know what it is to be a man struggling with homosexuality (as is with the man that some bloggers have written about). BUT, I do know what it is like to be a sinner struggling everyday with sin.

That is my point of compassion for that man others who are professing believers in the Lord who are also gay by their own confession.

It is still God's grace that is needed for his repentance (and ours) everyday. May he not stay in this sin, but repent of it, be restored to a right relationship with the Lord, and walk in that newness of life.

Pray... we need to pray...

SJ Camp said...

Some things are fair game (such as publicly professed doctrinal and theological positions), but some things are just none of our business, and should be left alone, except to be prayed about IF we are made aware of them.


Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses. -Prov. 10:12

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. -Prov. 17:9

Deb_B said...


The Blainemonster said...

When I hear of a brother or sister who publicly confesses, I feel a holy fear because I know my own weaknesses all too well. To quote a certain beloved songwriter ;) , "...when you give in to that familiar sin, He is all you need. He'll be faithful to you when your heart is untrue and your love's grown cold. His forgiveness is real to comfort and heal your sin weary soul." One of the most beautiful things the Father does for us is to restore us when we've fallen.

I really think that when a brother or sister stumbles and/or falls, that we are well qualified to "bear one another's burdens" because we already know WHERE THE HANDLES ARE, if you take my meaning. :) None of us (in the body of Christ) is better than any other, all are sinners saved by grace.

One of my favorite lines from Spurgeon is, "May infinte wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence." This echoes the words of Paul in the Galatians 6:3 passage.

I am definitely nothing on my own. Christ is everything. May He become greater while I become less.

Deb_B said...

"...I feel a holy fear because I know my own weaknesses all too well."

Amen ... again.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for brother your kind encouragement on the song "He's All You Need."

You said, One of my favorite lines from Spurgeon is, "May infinte wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence." This echoes the words of Paul in the Galatians 6:3 passage.

I am definitely nothing on my own. Christ is everything. May He become greater while I become less.


As the Lord has said of us, "even when you have done all to be obedient, you are still unprofitable servants."

It is all of grace.

Rick Frueh said...

A very needed message, Steve. Strong warnings about sin and its consequences is needed in these times, but an exposé of a fallen brother's sins seems like unproductive as well as unredemptive voyeurism.

Thank you for some needed words of correction in the blogosphere.

donsands said...

If someone says that their sin is not sin, which is what this man has said, as far as know, and as many in the church today do; is that different, then when one falls, or is found out in sin, say, as Bill Clinton, (though I don't consider Bill Clinton a believer, though he says he is).

I thought of King David who sinned, and was hiding his sin, and then God gave him the some great consequences, even though David repneted with great sorrow, and love for the Lord.

I guess I'm just throwing this out for discussion. Seems like their's a difference. Just looking for wisdom in the Lord.

Thanks for the post Steve.

SJ Camp said...

Strong warnings about sin and its consequences is needed in these times, but an exposé of a fallen brother's sins seems like unproductive as well as unredemptive voyeurism.

It is indeed. And more than that - it is not demonstrating Christlikeness that desires repentance and restoration for the sinning brother or sister.

Fulfilling the law of Christ is to bear the load that is pressing down on someone who confesses the Lord that is causing them to sin.

Now if someone is consistently unrepentant of their sin (when biblically walking them through church discipline) then they are ultimately to be treated (not declared) as a nonbeliever (a tax gatherer or publican).

How do we treat a nonbeliever? By bringing to bear on their lives the truth claims of the gospel and the biblical call to repentance and submission to Christ Jesus as Lord.

Ultimately, the only sin ANY believer is ever disciplined for is unrepentance. For is any professing Christian turns from their sin and repents, they have won their brother.

I don't see that heart in any of these bloggers in question here today. For one blogger is was a news-link; for the other one, it was yet another philosophical rant. Both articles contained no Scripture; both articles issued no call for prayer for the man in question; and both articles offered no exhortation for us all to guard our own hearts as well.

May we all rise to a "more excellent way" when dealing with sin. And let us begin with ourselves first before we ever go to someone else.


SJ Camp said...

I used your comment as the launching pad for some other thoughts. I wasn't sharing those because I thought you were off base in your comment or were ignorant of those things.

They were meant for all here.

I appreciated your post greatly. Just wanted to clarify...


SJ Camp said...

Always good to have you post here brother.

I do agree that the brother in question does not see his sin as sin from the article I read too.

That is even more reason why we need to pray for him that the Holy Spirit would convict him of this sin and that God by His grace would grant him repentance.

David did have his Nathan. And that is a great example... Nathan did not trumpet David's sin; he confronted him privately and God broke his heart and gave him forgiveness. It was immediate.

May there be "a Nathan" full of courage, love, grace and truth be given by the Lord - willing to go to this man with the call to repent.

Wouldn't it be great to see him walking in the truth and honoring the Lord with a life pleasing to Him?

IMHO, restoration; not tabloid exposé, whether by link or inference, is what is needed.

I appreciate you brother.

Rick Frueh said...

I appreciate your thoughts. In the midst of preaching the gospel and believing and obeying truth, we must never discard redemption which is the heart of the gospel. Publishing personal sins is easy, offering a path to redemption necessitates a cross, and that elevates humility and sacrifice to the supernatural.

For you who are so strong on things to be just as strong on this issue reveals your heart. Let all the praise be His.

Steve said...

This is a good word, Steve, and I must say my toes are feeling a little pinched.

I was of the same mind as donsands; the person I believe we are speaking about has made a public statement on the matter and confirmed it. The application of Matthew 18 would appropriate for the local church, and perhaps for brothers & sisters who might have an opportunity to "employ" this person.

Please understand that I do care deeply for the family involved, and I pray that God will, frankly, make the person miserable in his sin for the sake of bringing him to repentance.

donsands said...

The comments on these blogs have been good nevertheless.
Much Scripture has been brought out and discussed, OT & NT, and hopefully many are praying for this man, for many have said they would be.

Perhaps the principle is wrong, but God surely does work within the shortcomings of His people.

I also noticed this person on another prominent blog. And I was thinking, since this man is now out in the public, is it alright to let the church know this man is not what we thought he was.
i know a lot of people who looked up to him, and saw him as an example. just thinking out loud again.
And also even his wife was mentioned on this other blog i mentioned.

Just praying and looking for wisdom. To be honest, I am going back and forth on this one.

Thanks for the dialog.

Rick Frueh said...

"is it alright to let the church know this man is not what we thought he was."

Perhaps he was having victory in the struggle back then. Many unsaved gays will be watching to see how we treat someone who falls. Everyone who can read knows what the Word says about certain sins, but they also should know what the Word says about restoration and humility.

SJ Camp said...

Publishing personal sins is easy, offering a path to redemption necessitates a cross, and that elevates humility and sacrifice to the supernatural.


Steve and Don
Though this person has confirmed this by a public statement, the response we are to have is one that biblically measures the sin AND seeks to see this man right with the Lord - restored and repentant. I know that is the heart of all concerned.

But that heart in the articles of the other blog pieces was not at all expressed nor even biblically addressed. That is a concern. They were either links or puff pieces.

The other issue is plain to me: none of the those commenting on this man's sin know the man... at all. But yet, because he outed himself that makes it fair game for the hoi palloi to jump in and have the freedom to have at it? I disagree.

We live in such an enquirer generation, that I think the one place that shouldn't be evident is within the Christian community (and that includes the blogosphere as well.)

I appreciate both of you brothers and thank you for being here biblically discussing these things. THAT is always worth it... Amen?

Here is an interesting verse to consider in all of this: "For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." -Eph. 5:12

Grace and truth,

SJ Camp said...

Everyone who can read knows what the Word says about certain sins, but they also should know what the Word says about restoration and humility.

There is a good balance of wisdom in those words.

Thank you.

Mike Riccardi said...

But Steve,

That verse comes right after we're commanded to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness.

I also think of 1Tim 5:20 -- Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

I think the principles you're proposing definitely apply to someone who admits a struggle, and casts himself on grace for victory. But when someone insists God is not who He is (because they insist He's said what He's not said), that's a time for the church to discipline him out.

And, like Don mentioned, since this man had somewhat of an influence on people in spiritual matters, and has for all intents and purposes shown those things to be "false fruit" (if you'll allow me that crudity), then those affected should be warned.

Of course, we don't want to do this just to beat the man down. We do it brokenheartedly and with tears. But more than "care for" the party by not advertising his sin, we care for the many others affected by him by warning them of his lack of integrity and apparent shipwreck.

I dunno. I see what you're guarding against, and I think it's right to guard against. But I think we actually do see the principle of "advertising sin" to be done in the church, if for nothing else, "so that the rest will be fearful of sinning."

SJ Camp said...

Mike R
Good to have you weigh in on this.

You are correct about that verse and its context. So here is the question: how do you expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness and not speak about the things the disobedient do in secret at the same time?

You address not personally but doctrinally. You expose them with the truth. I believe that is also in context.

But with one who is a professing believer in the Lord, then we must treat them according to their profession and as you say, church discipline would be in order. That is the process by which ones repentance or hardness of heart is determined... That is where discernment takes place.

In this case, this man's church should be the one to make the public statement of unrepentance - not a couple of bloggers who know nothing about him but are either linking to a news story in a secular gay rag or one that failed to speak biblically about the issue but rather chose to address this in a shallow pragmatic manner.

I would hope you would agree that is not the way to biblically handle such an important sin issue as this. It demonstrates no Christian charity for either the body of Christ in general or the individual who is blinded by his sin. Would you or I want to be treated in such a fashion? Of course not. Even with a public statement of admission, we must be careful to keep repentance and restoration at the forefront of any process until that one in the reprobate condition of a seared conscience would depart completely and entirely from the faith by confession and action.

Time and truth walk hand in hand.

Here is the above verse mention in context: "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret."

Grace and peace to you my brother,


SJ Camp said...

Mike R
One quick follow up comment. 1 Tim. 5:20 is referring to elders/pastors only - not wayward laity. Leadership of pastoral weight demands weighty rebuke in the face of unfaithful unrepentant actions.

So for clarity's sake, that verse would not apply to the man in question nor his situation.

SJ Camp said...

And Mike, one last observation: if you notice the two bloggers who reported this story to the Christian blogging community, that neither of them got involved in biblically leading the discussion in their respective metas.

This I believe is for four reasons: 1. neither are equipped Scripturally to really engage on such a weighty matter as this or they would have; 2. one blogger is known primarily for "linking" to other articles and seldom if ever writes any articles of theological or biblical content on his own; 3. the other blogger lacks the spiritual discernment to foster meaningful and fruitful discussion from the Word of God on this or most issues; and 4. they are both politically motivated and constrained.

IOW, they are the last two men you would really want addressing this issue or bringing it to light.

I do agree with donsends that there have been some helpful comments by others on their respective blogs in the meta; but that is not because of them, but in spite of them.

The proof is in the pudding. For example, could you imagine either of these bloggers asking the same hard questions OR casually linking to or writing an exposé of say a guy like Driscoll and his unbiblical antics?

Never would happen - not in a million years. THAT is the difference. The local church is the place where real discipline and exposure of sin should take place under the care of qualified elders and pastors.

Thanks for considering this in this important discussion.

donsands said...

"Perhaps he was having victory in the struggle back then."

Maybe he wasn't.

Maybe he is a Judas. I don't know. I can't speculate.

I appreciate the discussion. This is a a good thing for me to ponder in the light of God's word.

Another thought came to me. There are definite principles in God's word for His Church.
And then there are personalities and gifts within His Church.

There are evangelists, pastors, teachers, prophets, helpers, people with the gift of mercy, those who have the gift of giving, and so on. I think we need to remind ourselves that we all compliment one another with our diverse gifts from the Holy Spirit. Just a thought.

I posted a short teaching on this subject from Bishop JC Ryle, just in case anyone wants to take a look here it is:

Carla said...

This is a critically important discussion, and our attitudes, thoughts and words on these things matter a great deal.

I very much appreciate the thoughts, points and questions I've read here tonight.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the post.

My thanks also to all the brethren and sisters here who have brought up the same questions as I'd have asked. After weighing his thoughts and looking at the issue Biblically, I'd say that I do agree with Steve.

To some degree, I personally think the Christian blogosphere has become quite critical of late, with true Christian love waxing cold.

I'm not talking about extending a warm welcome to heretics like Todd Bentley and Patricia King, but it's not unusual for us to find snarky remarks made against those who sin or fall for the tricks of these false teachers, rather than Biblical exposition of their errors in the hope that those blinded may, by God's grace, come to see the light.

On such points, I'm guilty as charged on some occasions so this is a most apt and timely reminder.

Thank you again, Steve.

Soli deo Gloria!

Hayden said...


I agree that often in the church this sin seems to bring out the worst. A man can stand up and say that he did all sorts of things (drugs, murder, etc) but mention homosexuality and it brings some terrible responses.

BUT I think you are a little over the top in this case because the person who is 'out' with this sin no longer sees it as a sin but a normal part of himself. He still is touring and singing in churches and many people are unaware of this change in his thinking. If he had denied the Trinity you would be all over it making sure that we all knew where he stood. He is denying Scripture in his assertions. He is teaching error in public and open about it, why not refute the error?

Some people have dealt sinfully with this revelation, absolutely. Some of the comments on some of the websites have been rude. I disagree with you that one of the bloggers is not fostering a useful discussion though. I know how you feel about him and I have to disagree with you on his level of spiritual maturity. (I have talked with him and am getting to know him and have found him to be well grounded)

Ultimately, Steve, I know that you care for this man and probably know him better than most in the blogosphere. You can talk to him and I have no doubt that when you do you will confront him with the Scriptures. Divorce and embrace of homosexual lifestyle is obviously against the Scripture and he is deceiving himself.

Let us all remember this when we speak of others on the internet though. You know, when we have discussions on 'lightening rods' like Mark Driscoll ;-) (I was just being a little sarcastic Steve :)

Beth said...


Just a thought… What if Ray Boltz is not repentant. What if he was confronted with the truth and rejected it. What if he has left the way of truth with full knowledge?

He has apparently “come out” loud and proud. He is now spreading a false doctrine. He is stating that God made him that way and it is o.k with God to be gay. He “came out” publicly as a gay Christian. For that he should be rebuked publicly. The way of truth has been blasphemed.

Let us so worry about the offense to our God as were are about Ray. I do pray that God would grant him repentance.

For me this isn’t about Ray personally as it is about the constant falling away of prominent Christians who then decide to take others down the broad road with them.

I am offended that my LORD’s name is profaned among the Gentiles because of this. The least Ray can do is not come out and profess to speak for God. Ray will most likely continue to be welcomed in “christian” circles and may possibly “lead worship”. What god will he be worshipping? He certainly isn’t worshipping the One True God in spirit and in truth.

What if 1 John 2:19 applies…”They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

What if 2 Peter 2:1-3 applies…”But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”

Steve…the Lord said we will know them by their fruit. I don’t have to see his heart on this matter. His fruit is there for all to see. How much bad fruit does someone have to exhibit before they are rebuked?

He should be rebuked publicly because his ministry is in public and he is spreading lies about our God.

Commentary from the John MacArthur Study Bible

2:1 false prophets. Peter described false teachers in detail in this chapter so that Christians would always recognize their characteristics and methods. The greatest sin of Christ-rejecters and the most damning work of Satan is misrepresentation of the truth and its consequent deception. Nothing is more wicked than for someone to claim to speak for God to the salvation of souls when in reality he speaks for Satan to the damnation of souls (cf. Deut. 13:1–18; 18:20; Jer. 23; Ezek. 13; Matt. 7:15; 23:1–36; 24:4,5; Rom. 16:17; 2 Cor. 11:13,14; Gal. 3:1,2; 2 Tim. 4:3,4). among the people. “The people” is used in the NT of Israel (cf. Acts 26:17,23). Peter’s point, though, is that Satan has always endeavored to infiltrate groups of believers with the deceptions of false teachers (cf. John 8:44). Since Eve, he has been in the deceit business (see notes on 2 Cor. 11:3,4). secretly bring in destructive heresies. The false teachers parade themselves as Christian pastors, teachers, and evangelists (cf. Jude 4). “Heresies” means self-designed religious lies which lead to division and faction (cf. 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20). The Gr. word for “destructive” basically means damnation. This word is used 6 times in this letter and always speaks of final damnation (vv. 1–3; 3:7,16). This is why it is so tragic when a church makes a virtue out of the toleration of unscriptural teachings and ideas in the name of love and unity (see 2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Tim. 4:1–5; Titus 3:9–11). denying the Lord. This phrase exposes the depth of the crime and guilt of the false teachers. This unusual Gr. word for “Lord” appears 10 times in the NT and means one who has supreme authority, whether human authority or divine authority. Peter here warns that false prophets deny the sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ. Though their heresies may include the denial of the virgin birth, deity, bodily resurrection, and second coming of Christ, the false teachers’ basic error is that they will not submit their lives to the rule of Christ. All false religions have an erroneous Christology. who bought them. The terms which Peter used here are more analogical than theological, speaking of a human master over a household. The master bought slaves, and the slaves owed the master allegiance as their sovereign. (For an OT parallel, see Deut. 32:5,6, where God is said to have bought Israel, though they rejected Him.). Doctrinally, this analogy can be viewed as responsibility for submission to God which the false teachers had refused. Beyond this, they are probably claiming that they were Christians, so that the Lord had bought them actually and personally. With some sarcasm, Peter mocks such a claim by writing of their coming damnation. Thus, the passage is describing the sinister character of the false teachers who claim Christ, but deny His lordship over their lives. swift destruction. This refers to either physical death or judgment at the return of Christ (Prov. 29:1; 2 Thess. 1:7–10).
2:2 many will follow their destructive ways. Many people will profess to be Christians but deny Christ’s lordship over their lives, refusing to live as obedient servants to Christ and His Word, following instead the lusts of the flesh, the world, and the devil. Such nominal Christians tragically will be included in the Lord’s condemnation of hypocrites at the judgment (Matt. 7:21–23; cf. Jude 4,7). Denying the lordship of Christ while claiming to be a believer destructively infects other people and discredits the gospel. the way of truth will be blasphemed. The world mocks and scoffs at the gospel of Jesus Christ because of nominal Christians who do not follow the Lord they claim, and have been unmasked as hypocritical people.

SJ Camp said...

He should be rebuked publicly because his ministry is in public and he is spreading lies about our God.

I agree with you. But what these other bloggers did was not offer a biblical rebuke or even do any kind of research to see what his own local church has done concerning this issue already. One linked to another rag as a news story and never once engaged with his own blog biblically about this. The other blogger gave no Scripture as well (something he does frequently) and offered little more than his own two cents.

Neither of those ways are helpful.

The rebuke should come from the Word of God being applied to the actual substance of what he has said and done. These bloggers treated this in a frivolous fashion not addressing the seriousness of this biblically.

Biblical rebuke is beneficial; exposé shallow journalism personal opinion invective is not.

So I again, I do agree with you, but let's see this situation handled biblically and not by knee jerk reaction.

Thank you for your comment.

Deb_B said...

"This is cause for tears my brother; this is a heartbreak; this is very tragic and sad. It is not to be treated lightly or unbiblically..."


"...and that to me is the greater issue I am trying to address."

And you have done so well, along with others here.

This is a fruitful, needful discussion, IMO, FWIW.

SJ Camp said...

Good to have you weigh in on this issue.

A couple of thoughts that I would like your response to:

1. In regards to the two bloggers that picked up on this story yesterday, where did any of them deal with this situation biblically? I didn't see any Scripture mentioned in either of their responses. Leaving aside your "personal" phone calls with one of them which is not relevant in this discussion, where did he correct the errors (which you and I agree on) from the Word of God?

He didn't.

At best, he bolded the words "I and me and myself" to try and support his assertions that it was an "I" focused belief... Shallow and weak. One commenter on his blog used that same tactic against him and his words and showed the frivolousness of that kind of argument.

If he is going to make the case biblically - then he should make it biblically! But let's not confuse his shoot from the hip shallow opinions with applying the standard and truth of God's Word as being the same thing. You are a pastor and know the difference.

2. You said, If he had denied the Trinity you would be all over it making sure that we all knew where he stood. He is denying Scripture in his assertions."

That is true... and why is there a difference here? Because you can measure easily doctrinal error when it raises its ugly head and then apply the standard of Scripture to those claims and refute them.

When it comes to personal sin issues, like the one we are facing here, those must be dealt with biblically and within the context of the local church (Matt. 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-3; 1 Cor. 5). So what has his local church done about this and what is their official ruling and rebuke? Do you know? I don't either. But I am trying to find that out and will report on it when their official statement is given to me and verified.

3. You also said, He is teaching error in public and open about it...

Help me out here, what doctrinal error is that and what public venue is he teaching from and what source would you site?

Now, if you are referring to the Blade interview - that works in the general scope of things, but not when it comes to addressing doctrinal error. That deserves a more serious inquiry then quoting a portion of an interview out of a gay rag.

So do you have any other source you can point us to on that issue?

4. Lastly, with guys like Driscoll and other emerging voices, you can read their books, listen to their sermons, etc. and apply the standard of God's Word to them and show the error or concerns.

But let me be clear here, if some blogger came out with a personal sin issue that Mark had committed and treated it as these bloggers have done, I would be just as concerned and outraged and would defend Mark against such tabloid exposé.

No one deserves to have their sin issues treated as titillating fare. Sin is far too serious of an issue to it so casually displayed. And btw, not one of the bloggers pertaining to this post, that came out with this story called the body of Christ to pray for the repentance and restoration of this man being mentioned. Not one time. That is not the heart of a Christian towards a wayward or sinning person... is it?

This is cause for tears my brother; this is a heartbreak; this is very tragic and sad. It is not to be treated lightly or unbiblically - and that to me is the greater issue I am trying to address.

Is homosexuality sin? Yes, grievously so (Roms. 1:18ff). Is the practice of it even in a monogamous fashion consistent with biblical Christianity? Not at all. Can someone be a Christian and wrestle with being gay? Yes they can. Can they remain permanently in that lifestyle, practice it without repentance and be considered a genuine brother or sister in Christ? No they cannot.

So I am back to my initial response here, pray for this man that the Lord would convict him of this sin, that he would repent of it, and come back to the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him in purity of life and doctrine once again.

Or, you can read those other blogs and pretend they have really ministered to this man and dealt with this situation biblically by their shallow treatment of a very serious issue.

I appreciate you brother... Think biblically, not culturally.


SJ Camp said...

Thank you for your comment. I was editing my previous comment a bit and you posted before I could repost.

Thank you for your encouraging words.


Deb_B said...

"I was editing my previous comment a bit and you posted before I could repost."

My oops! I tend to work out of MailWasher ... which grabs everything immediately, methinks.

Hayden said...

Thanks Steve for your thorough response.

Mr. Boltz is still singing publicly in the name of Christ, isn't he? (Just go to his website and see, he is singing at a 'gay church' in September)

I am praying for him and have counseled some with this sin. It is truly a struggle for many more men than the church would like to think. Our sexualized culture plays right into this.

As far as the bloggers go, have you talked to either of them personally or chatted with them and the Elders of their churches? I went back and read one of the articles and see what you mean about the "I" thing. "I" think his point was ok but he didn't state it well.

Actually, a friend of mine at "Hip and Thigh" wrote about this as well and I think he was much more biblical about it. (He has also written many articles about homosexuality and the 'revisionist' churches that are trying to do away with homosexuality as a sin)

Steve, I know that your heart is to minister to this man and that is admirable. Some of the bloggers have made this tabloid news, but there have been some great and biblical discussions about the sin of homosexuality on one of the sites you are talking about in spite of the quick link.

Ray seems to, from his website and statement,have embraced this lifestyle and needs to come to repentance.(He did give the interview, a 90 minute interview, to the rag 'The Washington Blade') He is publicly profaning the Scriptures and he should be refuted from the Scriptures when he publicly speaks.

Too often people treat this sin as the 'unforgivable' sin as if no one can repent of it! Instead of giving biblical truth we take a 3rd grade approach and say 'EWWWWWWWWWH, that sin is yucky!'

Thanks for trying to strike a balance between gracious rebuke and open warning. Thanks for bringing this up, and may we ALL remember this every time we speak about another person.

SJ Camp said...

Thanks for your response.

As far as the bloggers go, have you talked to either of them personally or chatted with them and the Elders of their churches?

What? Is this a joke? Surely you jest...

I went back and read one of the articles and see what you mean about the "I" thing. "I" think his point was ok but he didn't state it well.

Apology accepted :-). The point was silly and unbiblical. Even the title of the article (brought to you by the letter "i"). This is not Sesame Street and should be treated with more sobriety and seriousness biblically. Btw, you did notice that no Scripture in any form was quoted or even mentioned there, correct?

but there have been some great and biblical discussions about the sin of homosexuality on one of the sites you are talking about in spite of the quick link.

I have already stated this and agree. Not only in spite of the link, but in spite of him. The unfortunate thing, is that he won't engage in discussion on his own blog even on an important issue like this one.

Ray seems to, from his website and statement, have embraced this lifestyle and needs to come to repentance.(He did give the interview, a 90 minute interview, to the rag 'The Washington Blade') He is publicly profaning the Scriptures and he should be refuted from the Scriptures when he publicly speaks.

He should be refuted from the Scriptures... So why didn't they?

I sent an email to Ray from his website a few hours ago. I also left a message at his former church as well and trust the pastor will contact me today. I spoke to a former employer of his and we prayed for him.

The concerts you mentioned he was doing were at two gay churches MCC. Once last weekend and one this weekend. According to his own website he stopped touring to evangelical venues it seems in 2004/5 and these two appearances are rare and recent.

This man needs the gospel of grace to shed light once again on this sin issue. What Ray is doing is what we all do when we sin in small and large ways - we try and justify it. We all have PhD's in rationalizing our behavior don't we? I mean just look at the blogosphere :-). So the work to be done here is spiritual. It will take the Lord through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and His Word to bring this man to repentance and restore him to fellowship.

Prayer is our work to be done in the meantime. When I hear from his pastor, I will blog biblically about this and as always welcome your comments.

Grace and peace my friend,
Col. 3:23-24

littlegal_66 said...

“If my people who are called bloggers, will use their respective blogs to relate the news of a brother’s struggle with sin, I will hear from the blogosphere and forgive that brother’s sin and bring about healing and restoration.” Oh, wait, that’s not from God’s Word, but I believe this is. (Wow, for a minute there, I thought Geraldo Rivera had started a Christian blog).

These are truly “troubled days.” And I strongly agree, Steve--we need to pray (and pray hard) at this juncture.

Situations such as this should drive me to my knees, not to my keyboard.

Yes, I am heartsick over this, as I have been when it has occurred previously. But I’m also heartsick over the way it has been handled in our little Christian blogging kingdom. To spread such scandalous information ("Geraldo-style") regarding a brother or sister, (outside the realm of biblical church discipline), to others in a church, a community, or even cyberspace only serves to complicate the possibility of restoration.

From my current station in life, my only recourse in this matter is to pray….fervently.


Mike Riccardi said...


Thanks for the response. Your points are well-taken. I agree that even the way it's been dealt with hasn't been right. I also agree that the direct and primary application to the passages I produced were to happen in the context of a local church, and that it should be the man's church leadership that brings this about. I don't want to suggest that it's the bloggers job to enact church discipline. I also agree that it isn't fair to just post and offer no insight or comment or direction. I have quite a few thoughts on that, but that's for another meta.

In any case, like I said before, I agree with you as you caution us against what you're cautioning us against. We've got to balance the Scriptural principle of exposing the deeds of darkness with the Scriptural principle that love bears (or covers) all things.

I honestly believe the difference is made in whether or not the sinner is repentant. But I suppose that's muddy water.

Anyway, thanks for the interaction dude. I hope, as you seem to have some sort of personal relationship with this guy, that you'll be able to minister to the truth to him unto repentance.

Talk to you soon,


Scott Schuyler said...


Thank you for your original post. I have been praying for Mr. Boltz after learing about this yesterday.

More recent years within the CCMI are making your 107 Theses very "prophetic." As a former Christian store employee, I grieve over this industry and the reproach it often brings upon the name of Christ.

I thank God for artists like yourself that are unashamedly bold in proclaiming Christ and in living a holy life.

God keep us all close to Him and clean!

littlegal_66 said...


I trust that it goes without saying that I wasn't referring to the manner this has been dealt with here at COT; quite the contrary...I think this thread is a great example of how situations such as these should be approached in blogland.


Derek Joseph said...

Steve, thanks for the reminder of our need to be humble, remembering our own sins and the great gospel as we confront the sins of others. It's such a needed reminder.

I also appreciate that you are probably closer to this situation than most; thank you for your exhortation to pray.

I'm not sure that what Taylor and Challies did constitutes tabloid journalism. They merely linked to very public news stories in news sources (CT) about something that Boltz has done openly, publicy, and without apology.

Those two (and I am a bit surprised by your analysis of those two brothers in general) merely repeated what was public knowledge - Challies making observations about it.

If what you're reacting to is a lack of compassion, I think I can understand that. On the other hand, I'm not sure there's anything sinful about acknowledging what is public knowledge.

littlegal_66 said...

One other thing...I totally missed the "Geraldo" reference in Campi's original post---hence the reference to Geraldo in my post above. Sorry. (I thought I was being clever, but as usual, the Cotmaster beat me to the punch). :-)

SJ Camp said...

Those two (and I am a bit surprised by your analysis of those two brothers in general) merely repeated what was public knowledge - Challies making observations about it.

I appreciate some of the things that both of these brothers do on their own blogs. But JT very seldom if ever writes his own articles and takes a stand theologically on any issue. He links. That's alright, but in this case there should have been some interaction from him pointing to and instructing from God's Word. There was none.

Challies as well. Very rarely does Tim speak from the context of Scripture on these kinds of issues. He usually just gives opinion like he did on this - which is not helpful nor profitable.

I wasn't being sorely against them, just making an observation. I apologize if it needlessly offended...


Derek Joseph said...

Steve - no problem. I wasn't offended. I just figured you'd consider JT and Challies more as comrades in arms.

I do hope and pray that you're able to interact personally with Mr. Boltz. This issue is heartbreaking.

m b redmond said...

I think we should make them walk around with a big "T" (for tabloid) on their chest and then point at them! oooo,oooo, no we should make them put a big "T" on their blog so everyone will know...

SJ Camp said...

m b

REM said...


Ray Boltz's said his homosexuality helped with the breakup of his family. He also told a National circulated magazine he accepts his new lifestyle of active sodomy and is now holding concerts at despicable churches to encourage others in his exact same selfish lifestyle against God. These are unchallenged facts from Ray's own mouth & life that aught to break the heart of every Christian who knows anything about Boltz. While not agreeing with how the issue was handled by the sources that reported it to you, I find it astounding that you use harder words of rebuke for Challies and JT for handling this unbiblically than you do for any of Ray's indulgence in and promotion of sodomy, which we know is unbiblical and now know is undeniable at this point.

Based upon a reporting alone, the Apostle Paul commanded the church to expel a sexually immoral man and had already passed judgment on him before his letter hit the Corinthian church's ears (I Cor 5). I would say that is pretty immediate and a very good biblical standard to uphold. However, neither you, Challies or JT passed judgment with your words here on what is acceptable behavior for a NT Christian to walk in and I was not sure why. At the very least Challies & JT reported it, while you are still not wanting to get accused of being tabloidesque and searching for facts that are truer than Ray's own words. Steve, simply put, I thought your actions were disproportionate, awkward and a bit confusing.

Although I cannot favor one sin over the other, I hypothetically wish Ray Boltz only would have said ---- at a concert. At the minimum, I know that would have earned him an immediate rebuke from you. Apparently, Ray telling all of us that engaging in a homosexual lifestyle that is destroying his family and his soul isn't good enough for immediate rebuke from anyone in the blogsphere, you included. I am perplexed why you chose to correct JT and Challies & not include Ray’s blatant activity. Please straighten me out, because I’d love to be wrong here.

Regardless, I think it is a sad day for all of us. This news was definitely heartbreaking and I pray God would open Ray's eyes to his sin. Those in Christ were there once too.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for your comment.

My main point was this: any blogger can spread tabloid tales on the sins of others. And the two bloggers in question here did so without any biblical instruction as to how to respond OR to have the Christian charity to call their readers to pray for this man and his repentance.

THAT should concern us all.

Are their hearts so calloused against this man that would not be brought to tears over the deception that has taken his life and blinded him from the truth? Was it only numbers and increased readership for the day that they would be content posting this story but yet not encourage others to at least pray for this man?

I have tried several times to reach this man and make contact with his last known church from about three or four years ago. I have not be responded to by anyone yet.

But in the meantime, once again I would call upon the readers of this blog to pray for Ray and his repentance. And in doing so, to beware that each of us would watch our life and doctrine closely as well. This is a tragedy and heartbreak. It is sin according to Romans 1 that is shameful and evident of a reprobate mind (Roms. 1:25ff).

I pray that God grants him the grace to repent and to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word to live obediently for Him once again. If this is unmasking his heart that may not have been regenerate to begin with, then may we pray as well for his salvation. Only the Lord knows truly for sure the state of his soul.

But one thing we do know, casual tabloid reporting of this does not accomplish the will of God or aid in his repentance. It simply fosters further gossip at best...

Grace and peace,
Galatians 6:1-3

Deb_B said...

SJC: " I would call upon the readers of this blog to pray for Ray and his repentance. And in doing so, to beware that each of us would watch our life and doctrine closely as well. This is a tragedy and heartbreak."

A very solemn Amen.

REM said...

Thanks for your comments Steve. It still think it is odd to pinpoint the correction of messengers here for the manner they rerepeated a national story of someone's own confession of apostasy in action against the Lord Jesus. I simply thought the Apostle Paul would have used some tough words for the public unrepentant sexual immorality at hand, rather than applying comparably tougher words toward those who the lacked biblical instruction, Christian charity and calls for prayer in their notification methods of what was already public domain. That was all.